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Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread

mike

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Ooops, sorry. The feast of her is on 2nd of December, I mistook it with my mum's birthday.
 

Fr. George

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mike said:
Ooops, sorry. The feast of her is on 2nd of December, I mistook it with my mum's birthday.
Right - St. Myrope of Ephesus and Chios (Dec 2).

http://www.antiochian.org/node/17084
The Holy Martyr Myrope was born in the city of Ephesus at the beginning of the third century. She lost her father at an early age, and her mother raised her in the Christian Faith. St. Myrope frequently visited the grave of the Martyr Hermione, daughter of the holy Apostle Philip, taking myrrh from her relics, and healing the sick with it. Myrope went with her mother to the island of Chios during the persecutions by Emperior Decius (249-251) where they spent their time in fasting and prayer.

Earlier, a soldier, Isidore, a man of deep faith and great piety, was martyred. Upon her visit to Chios, St. Myrope secretly removed the body of the martyr and buried it. The soldiers, who had been ordered not to allow the Christians to take Isidore’s body, were sentenced to death. St. Myrope took pity on these condemned men, and told the soldiers and governor what she had done.

She was arrested, and at her trial, she confessed herself a Christian. For this, she was beaten and then thrown in prison. At midnight, while she was praying, a light shone in the prison. St. Isidore appeared before her, surrounded by angels, and St. Myrope thereafter surrendered her soul to God. The prison was immediately filled with a sweet fragrance. The pagan guard, trembling at the vision, told a priest what had happened. Later, this same pagan guard accepted Baptism and a martyr’s death for his confession of Christ.
I have an extended account which I can summarize a bit later.
 

mike

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cleveland said:
I have an extended account which I can summarize a bit later.
There's no need for you to do this. That's enough. Great thanks :)
 

Fr. George

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mike said:
cleveland said:
I have an extended account which I can summarize a bit later.
There's no need for you to do this. That's enough. Great thanks :)
Since I already pulled the book out:
[quote author="The Great Synaxaristes, Holy Apostles Convent, Vol: May, pp. 51-53"]
Saint Myrope
However, at that time a certain pious and devout Ephesian virgin, named Myrope, came to dwell in Chios.  She had lost her father at an early age and was raised only by her mother.  After she received holy Baptism, she remained near the sepulcher of Saint Hermione, commemorated by the holy Church on the 4th of September, who was one of the four daughters of the Apostle Philip, and was a virgin and prophetess [Acts 21:8, 9].  The blessed Myrope received the myrrh which miraculously flowed forth from the tomb and distributed it generously to all who hastened to the site.  hence, she received the name Myrope.

Her mother, fearing Emperor Decius who vehemently persecuted the Christians, was constrained to take the maiden to Chios, where she had her ancestral home and property.  Thus, both mother and daughter remained at their home, in constant prayer to God.  Upon the martyrdom of Saint Isidore {My note: the account of his martyrdom preceded that of St. Myrope in the Synaxaristes listing for her feastday}, Myrope was consumed by divine zeal and devotion for the martyr, and wished to recover his body and bury it.  Therefore, she drew nigh after dark with her maidservants; and finding the soldiers sleeping, secretly, she and her maidservants took up his relics from their midst and departed.  Later, she anointed the relics with sweet ointments and interred them in a fitting place, as was meet.

When the prefect learned that the relics of the saint had been stolen, he bound and shackled the guards in irons, and ordered other guards to search for the body.  If they did not recover the remains within a certain time, he would have the shackled guards beheaded.  Then, the virtuous Myrope, witnessing the suffering of the soldiers caused by the cumbersome and weighty fetters which they bore, and tormented by the constant fear of death, took pity upon them, and said to herself, "If they are punished for my deed, my soul will certainly be burdened; for I will have become the reason for their death!  Woe unto me when the day of judgment should come!"

Therefore, she straightway informed the soldiers, saying, "My dear friends, it is I who took the relics which you missed as you slept."  Thereupon, although they wondered greatly, they still laid hold of her and brought her before the prefect, declaring, "Master, this woman stole the body of that man who died an evil death!"  The prefect said to the holy Myrope, "Is it true what they say of thee?  Didst thou steal the remains?"  And she replied, "Of a truth, it was I!"  The prefect then berated her: "And how didst thou dare, O cursed woman, to do such a thing as this?"  Filled with courage and faith, the holy maiden replied, "I dared, because I scorn and spit upon thy depravity and godlessness!"

These bold and defiant words of the saint sent the arrogant prefect into a maniacal and unrestrained rage.  Thereupon, he immediately ordered her beaten mercilessly with heavy rods.  After she was scourged to the executioners' exhaustion, they dragged her by the hairs of her head through the city, while others thrashed her body.  As the soldiers carried out the commands, they struck her cruelly and brutally, until she was nearly dead.  Then they cast her in prison.

However, nigh toward midnight, while the saint was praying, a great light appeared and illumined the gloomy cell.  Forthwith, a choir of angels appeared chanting the Trisagion Hymn.  The holy Martyr Isidore stood in their midst.  As he looked intently upon the Martyr Myrope, he uttered, "Peace be unto thee, for thy supplication to God has been granted; thou shalt join us and receive the crown of martyrdom, which has been prepared for thee!"  As the saint spoke these words, the Martyr Myrope surrendered her soul into the hands of God and ended her earthly sojourn.  The jail was then filled with an indescribable fragrance, so that the guards were astonished and awestruck by such a wonder.

These wonderous marvels were disclosed by a prisoner who was also confined to that prison.  He had been roused from sleep and recorded all that he saw and heard.  On account of this, he also came to believe and was baptized and, later, suffered martyrdom for Christ.

The holy relics of the Virgin-martyr Myrope were interred where she had earlier buried the relics of Saint Isidore.  Both tombs, separated by a single wall, may be seen to this day.  According to tradition, Constantine Pogonatos, emperor of the Rhomaioi, built a splendid royal church at the site.  In all likelihood, it was constructed from the abundant and excellent marble that existed in the earth surrounding this church, which survives to this day over the tombs of the Martyrs Isidore and Myrope.

It is known that the holy relics were abducted by the Franks, who held sway of Chios, and that the Christians have since venerated only the vacant tombs with awe, respect, and honor for the martyrs, through whose intercessions, O Christ God, have mercy on us and save us.  Amen.[/quote]
 

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Lent with the Irish Saints - Brigid

'One day in Lent, because of the previous harvest having failed,
[Brigid's] community found themselves on the brink of starvation.
Being forced to make some provision, Brigid set out with two of the
sisters to visit a neighbouring monastery, then in charge of Ibar, and
beg from him the loan of a supply of corn. The distance between the
two churches was great and the nuns arrived exhausted and famished at
the monastery. Famine was prevalent in the district. A meal - all that
was available, bread and bacon - was set before the guests, and Brigid
thankfully began on it. Presently she noticed that her two
nun-companions were pointedly refraining from the bacon. There was a
sniff in their attitude, implying, "Well, we're going to keep Lent
anyhow, whatever you do".

Not to avail of dispensation accorded under such circumstances of such
stress was really more than Brigid could stand. Rebuking the nuns
sharply and with vehemence, she even turned them out of the room! In
all the mass of legendary stories and traditions concerning Brigid,
this is the sole instance recorded where she displayed anger. What
provoked it is worth remembering: pharisaical formalism masquerading
as piety.'

Alice Curtayne, St. Brigid of Ireland (rev.ed., Dublin, 1955), 99-100.

 

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Saint Benedict of Nursia  -  14 March

    One day when the venerable Benedict was keeping to his cell, Placidus, who was one of the holy man's monks, went out to fetch water from the river.  Lowering the bucket he was holding into the water without due care, he overbalanced and fell in after it.  The current immediately took hold of him and dragged him into the middle, almost an arrow's flight away from the bank.  Although the man of God was inside his cell, he realized at once what had happened and quickly called Maurus, saying, "Run, brother Maurus!  That boy who went to fetch water has fallen into the river and the current is already carrying him away."

    Then a remarkable thing happened which no one had experienced since the apostle Peter.  After asking for a blessing and receiving it, Maurus, at the abba's command, ran swiftly right to the place where the boy was being swept away by the current.  Although he thought he was running on land, he was actually moving over the surface of the water. He grabbed the boy by his hair and ran back, still at great speed.  As soon as he reached the bank, he came to himself and, looking behind him, he realized that he had run over the water.  He would never have dared to do this!  He trembled with shock at what he had done.

    Maurus went back to his abba and told him what had happened. Benedict, that venerable man, tried to attribute this, not to his own virtue, but to Maurus' obedience.  But Maurus took the opposite view. He said that this had happened solely as a result of Benedict's order and that he himself had no part in the miracle he had performed without even knowing it.  Then the boy who had been saved came forward to arbitrate in this friendly dispute in which both parties were vying for humility.  He said, "As I was pulled out of the water, I saw the abba's sheepskin cloak above my head and I watched him pull me from the waters."

Gregory Dialogos (The Great), Life of Benedict, 7.2 3
Benedict of Nursia, commemorated 14 March
 

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Lent with the Irish Saints - Ruadan


xv. (45) Once during Lent Ruadan [Rowan] stood and said to his monks : “There
is a company of saints coming to visit you; set meat before them, and
eat of the meat yourselves when it happens that you cannot provide
enough for them of other food.” When the saints had arrived, the monks
brought the meat. Ruadan sained the meat, though he was abashed before
them. The Lord Jesus Christ turned the meat into bread in honour of
Ruadan.

(46) When, however, the saints set themselves at table, a novice who
had come with them to the place, refused to eat the bread, through
doubt and in devotion, because he had seen that the bread had been
made out of meat only a little while before. A sufficiency of other
bread was found for him. And while the novice was eating the bread, it
appeared to the clerks, and to all besides, that bright red blood was
dripping from his lips, and that it was flesh that he was eating. It
was evident to him that every one was gazing at him thus. The novice
repented earnestly of what he had done. When Ruadan saw the repentance
of the novice, he sained his portion ; and the Lord turned it into
natural bread in honour of Ruadan afterwards.

C. Plummer ed. and trans., Life of Ruadan, in Lives of Irish Saints,
Vol. II, (Oxford 1922,) 317.

 

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Saint Enda of Arranmore, Father of Irish Monasticism


Feast Day:  21 March (also Eanna, Endeus, Enna)

Born in Meath; died at Killeany, Ireland, c. 530 or 590; feast day
formerly on March 16.

In the 6th century, the wild rock called Aran, off the coast of Galway,
was an isle of saints, and among them was Saint Enda, the patriarch of
Irish monasticism. He was an Irish prince, son of Conall Derg of Oriel
(Ergall) in Ulster. Legend has it that the soldier Enda was converted
by his sister, Saint Fanchea (f.d. January 1), abbess of Kill-Aine. He
renounced his dreams of conquest and decided to marry one of the girls
in his sister's convent. When his intended bride died suddenly, he
surrendered his throne and a life of worldly glory to become a monk. He
made a pilgrimage to Rome and was ordained there. These stories told of
the early life of Saint Enda and his sister are unreliable, but the rest
is not. More authentic "vitae" survive at Tighlaghearny at Inishmore,
where he was buried.

It is said that Enda learned the principles of monastic life at Rosnat
in Britain, which was probably Saint David's foundation in Pembrokeshire
or Saint Ninian's (f.d. September 16) in Galloway. Returning to
Ireland, Enda built churches at Drogheda, and a monastery in the Boyne
valley. It is uncertain how much of Enda's rule was an adaptation of
that of Rosnat.

Thereafter (about 484) he begged his brother-in-law, the King Oengus
(Aengus) of Munster, to give him the wild and barren isle of Aran
(Aranmore) in Galway Bay. Oengus wanted to give him a fertile plot in
the Golden Vale, but Aran more suited Enda's ideal for religious life.
On Aran he established the monastery of Killeaney, which is regarded as
the first Irish monastery in the strict sense, `the capital of the
Ireland of the saints.' There they lived a hard life of manual labour,
prayer, fasting, and study of the Scriptures. It is said that no fire
was ever allowed to warm the cold stone cells even if "cold could be
felt by those hearts so glowing with love of God."

Enda divided the island into ten parts, in each of which he built a
monastery, and under his severe rule Aran became a burning light of
sanctity for centuries in Western Europe. Sheep now huddle and shiver
in the storm under the ruins of old walls where once men lived and
prayed. This was the chosen home of a group of poor and devoted men
under Saint Enda. He taught them to love the hard rock, the dripping
cave, and the barren earth swept by the western gales. They were men of
the cave, and also men of the Cross, who, remembering that their Lord
was born in a manger and had nowhere to lay His head, followed the same
hard way.

Their coming produced excitement, and the Galway fishermen were kept
busy rowing their small boats filled with curious sightseers across the
intervening sea, for the fame of Aran-More spread far and wide. Enda's
disciples were a noble band. There was Saint Ciaran of Clonmacnoise
(f.d. September 9), who came there first as a youth to grind corn, and
would have remained there for life but for Enda's insistence that his
true work lay elsewhere, reluctant though he was to part with him. When
he departed, the monks of Aran lined the shore as he knelt for the last
time to receive Enda's blessing, and watched with wistful eyes the boat
that bore him from them. In his going, they declared, their island had
lost its flower and strength.

Another was Saint Finnian (f.d. September 10), who left Aran and founded
the monastery of Moville (where Saint Columba spent part of his youth)
and who afterwards became bishop of Lucca in Tuscany, Italy. Among them
also was Saint Brendan the Voyager , Saint Columba of Iona, Jarlath of
Tuam (f.d. June 6), and Carthach the Elder (f.d. March 5) These and many
others formed a great and valiant company who first learned in Aran the
many ways of God, and who from that rocky sanctuary carried the light of
the Gospel into a pagan world.

The very wildness of Aran made it richer and dearer to those who lived
there. They loved those islands which "as a necklace of pearls, God has
set upon the bosom of the sea," and all the more because they had been
the scene of heathen worship. There were three islands altogether, with
lovely Irish names: Inishmore, Inishmain, and Inisheen.

On the largest stood Saint Enda's well and altar, and the round tower of
the church where the bell was sounded which gave the signal that Saint
Enda had taken his place at the altar. At the tolling of the bell the
service of the Mass began in all the
churches of the island.

"O, Aran," cried Columba in ecstasy, "the Rome of the pilgrims!" He
never forgot his spiritual home which lay in the western sun and her
pure earth sanctified by so many memories. Indeed, he said, so bright
was her glory that the angels of God came down to worship in the
churches of Aran (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, D'Arcy, Delaney,
Encyclopaedia, Farmer, Gill, Healy, Husenbeth, Kenney, Montague).

Article on the Monastic Life of the Aran Islands
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01677b.htm

Troparion of St Enda tone 8
O Father of Irish monasticism, from Candida Casa thou didst settle on
the Isle of Aran,/ where thou didst train Saint Colum Cille and other
glorious Saints./ Holy Father Enda, pray to Christ our God to grant us
His great mercy.


 

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The Holy Orthodox Popes of Rome


http://orthodoxengland.org.uk/ortpopes.htm



In this present short work it is our aim to present a full list of the holy
popes of Rome, a work which to our knowledge has never been carried out
before in its Orthodox context. We feel that this task is particularly
valuable at the present time for two reasons:


Firstly, Rome remains the historic centre of the Western Patriarchate and
remains a holy place of Orthodox pilgrimage after that Patriarchate ceased
to confess Orthodoxy. Indeed, the very word 'pope' is Greek, meaning
'father' and to this day the official title of the Patriarch of Alexandria
remains 'Pope of Alexandria'. Some fifteen popes were Greek and another six
Syrian and the first Latin pope was St Victor (+ 198).


Secondly, although Rome has not been an Orthodox centre for a thousand years
and has often ferociously attacked the Orthodox Church since then, it has
nevertheless conserved important vestiges of Orthodoxy. However, with the
passing of time, it seems to be losing these vestiges, abandoning even its
saints. Some Roman Catholics themselves today doubt the survival of what for
us are vestiges of Orthodoxy much into the third millennium. It would seem
to us therefore that the following list would be useful for all.


Let us ask the prayers of these holy Orthodox popes of Rome of the first
millennium, asking that, through their prayers, Rome and all it once
represented and all that remains there of Orthodoxy may, with the third
millennium, yet return to the Orthodox Faith of the first millennium. Let us
pray that papal supremacy may one day become again papal primacy in its
Orthodox sense. In praying to the past, we pray for the future, in calling
on these Western Patriarchs, we pray for the salvation of the West, we pray
for a West with saints, not a West without saints. And who will pray, if not
we Orthodox?


We would remind readers that St. Peter was never a pope of Rome, indeed he
was not a bishop at all, but an Apostle. This is the early tradition of the
Church of Rome itself and therefore remains the tradition of the rest of the
Orthodox Church today. Moreover St. Peter founded not the Church of Rome,
but the Church of Antioch. The Church in Rome was founded by St. Paul. This
is clear to any reader of the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistle of St.
Paul to the Romans. In the following list, popes who already appear in all
Eastern Orthodox calendars are marked with an asterisk.


St. Linus (+ c. 78), first pope, Martyr. A disciple of the Apostle Paul, he
was consecrated by him. One of the Seventy Apostles, he is mentioned in 2
Timothy 4,21. He was pope for about twelve years and may have been martyred.
Feast: 23 September (In the East 4 January and 5 November). *


St. Anacletus (Cletus) (+ c. 91), by origin a Greek from Athens and possibly
a martyr. His name, correctly Anencletus, means 'blameless' (see Titus 1,7)
and he may originally have been a slave. Feast: 26 April.


St. Clement of Rome (+ c. 101), martyr. One of the Seventy Apostles and a
Church Father, he was consecrated by the Apostle Peter. He is mentioned in
Philippians 4,3 and his letter to the Church of Corinth still exists. He was
much venerated in the West in the early centuries and still today in the
East. The church of San Clemente in Rome probably stands on the site of his
house. According to tradition, he was banished to the Crimea and there
martyred. Feast: 23 November (in the East 4 January, 22 April, 10 September
and 25 November). *


St. Evaristus (+ c. 109), perhaps a martyr and almost certainly of
Hellenic/Jewish origin. Feast: 26 October.


St. Alexander I (+ c. 116), the fifth pope and possible a martyr and by
tradition a Roman. Feast: 3 March (in the East 16 March).*


St. Sixtus (Xystus) I (+ c. 125), possibly a martyr. A Roman of Greek
origin. Feast: 3 April. *


St Telesphorus (+ c. 136), a martyr, Greek by origin. Feast: 5 January (in
the East 22 February). *


St. Hyginus (+ c. 142), by origin a Greek philosopher from Athens. Also
perhaps a martyr. Feast: 11 January.


St. Pius I (+ c. 155), from Aquilea, probably born a slave and perhaps the
brother of Hermas who wrote 'The Shepherd'. He defended the Church against
Gnosticism. Possibly a martyr. Feast: 11 July.


St. Anicetus (+ 166) the tenth pope and of Syrian origin, he fixed the date
of Easter, opposed the Gnostics, perhaps martyred. Feast: 17 April.


St. Soter (+ 174), of Greek descent, he may have been martyred. Feast: 22
April.


St. Eleutherius (+ 189), Greek, possibly martyred. Feast: 26 May.


St. Victor (+ 198), an African and the first Latin pope. A forceful
character, he fought for Orthodoxy and against Gnosticism. He may have been
martyred. Feast: 28 July. *


St. Zephyrinus (+ 217), of Greek descent. Although not a strong character,
he still fought for Orthodoxy against Adoptionism and Modalism and may have
been martyred for it. Feast: 26 August.


St. Callistus I (+ 222), the fifteenth pope and originally a slave. Pope
Callistus, with his Greek name, was known for his mercifulness and defended
married clergy against fanatics. He condemned modalism. Probably martyred.
Feast: 14 October.


St. Urban I (+ 230), Roman, possibly martyred. Feast: 25 May.


St. Pontian (+ 235), Roman, he was persecuted for the faith and deported to
Sardinia, where he died as a confessor. Feast: 19 November.


St. Antherus (+ 236), Greek and perhaps martyred. Feast: 3 January (5 August
in East). *


St. Fabian (+ 250), Roman martyr. Described as an incomparable man, 'his
death matched the purity and goodness of his life', he did much to help the
poor. Feast: 20 January (5 August in the East). *


St. Cornelius (+ 253), the twentieth pope and a Roman, he was greatly helped
by St Cyprian of Carthage in the struggle against novatian fanaticism. He
was renowned for his mercifulness and died as a result of persecution.
Feast: 16 September.


St. Lucius (+ 254), a Roman he was exiled as soon as he was elected in a
persecution. Supported by St Cyprian, he was certainly a confessor and
perhaps was martyred. Feast: 4 March.


St. Stephen I (+ 257), a Roman and a strong character, perhaps a martyr, he
is well known for his argument with St Cyprian of Carthage about the baptism
of heretics. St Stephen defended the view of economy, that invalid baptism
outside the Church was made valid by entry into the Church, and there was no
need to repeat the actual rite. Feast: 2 August. *


St. Sixtus II (+ 258), an Athenian. He was 'a good and peace-loving man' who
was much helped by Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria. He was martyred by
beheading, together with his seven deacons, one of whom was St Lawrence. He
was and is greatly venerated in the Orthodox Church, West and also East.
Feast: 7 August (10 August in the East). *


St. Dionysius (Denis) (+ 268), one of the most important Roman popes of the
third century. He was a learned Greek, who opposed several heresies, helped
the persecuted and also reorganized the Church in Rome. Feast: 26 December.


St. Felix I (+ 274), the twenty-fifth pope. A Roman, he opposed the
adoptianist heresy. Feast: 30 May.


St. Eutychian (+ 283), a native of Tuscany. Feast: 7 December.


St. Gaius (+ 296), possibly from Dalmatia. It seems that he was martyred
together with his brother, a priest, and his children. Feast: 22 April (11
August in the East). *


St. Marcellinus (+ 304), possibly a martyr, and certainly a penitent for
previous errors and apostasy. Feast: 2 June (7 June in the East). *


St. Marcellus I (+ 309), a confessor who died as a result of persecution.
Feast: 16 January (7 June in the East). *


St. Eusebius (+ 310), the thirtieth pope and a Greek by origin. He was
deported to Sicily by the Emperor and died there as a confessor. Feast: 17
August.


St. Miltiades (+ 314), probably from Rome, although he had a Greek name. The
Emperor Constantine gave him a palace on the Lateran as his residence. He
condemned Donatism. Feast: 10 December.


St. Sylvester I (+ 335), Roman. Feast: 31 December (2 January in the East).
*


St. Mark (+ 336), Roman. Feast: 7 October.


St. Julius I (+ 352), Roman. A defender of St. Athanasius, this most
Orthodox Pope condemned arianism. Feast: 12 April.


St. Liberius (+ 366). The thirty-fifth pope, he was not of strong character
and even compromised the Faith at one point in his life, confessing
arianism. However, like St Marcellinus, he then repented, atoned and is
recognised as a saint of God. Feast: 27 August. *


St. Damasus (+ 384). Of Spanish origin, he was born in Rome in c. 305, the
son of a priest. He fought for Orthodoxy and opposed several heresies. He
did much to establish the Latin text of the Bible, developed the liturgy and
the veneration of the Roman martyrs. Although as a new pope, he made several
arrogant errors, he repented for these and was recognized as a saint at the
end. Feast: 11 December.


St. Siricius (+ 399), Roman. An imperious man like St Damasus, he
nevertheless forbade the harsh treatment of heretics and supported ascetics.
He received the support of St Ambrose of Milan and opposed those who
slandered the Mother of God. Feast: 26 November.


St. Anastasius I (+ 401). A man of poverty and apostolic mind, he did much
to stop the spread of origenism. Feast: 19 December.


St Innocent I (+ 417). The son of St Anastasius I, he had an imperious
character and thirty-six letters of his survive. He supported St John
Chrysostom and condemned pelagianism. Feast: 28 July.


St Zosimus (+ 418), the fortieth Pope, by origin a Greek. Although initially
he made many errors of tact and judgement, he was anti-pelagian. Feast: 26
December.


St Boniface I (+ 422), a Roman and son of a priest. He was kind, humble and
fought for Orthodoxy. Feast: 4 September.


St Celestine I (+ 432). A strong character, he was active against
pelagianism, he sent St. Germanus of Auxerre to Britain and St. Palladius to
Ireland. He also strongly opposed nestorianism and supported St Cyril of
Alexandria. Feast: 6 April (8 April in the East). *


St Sixtus III (+ 440), Roman. He vigorously opposed the heresies of both
Pelagius and Nestorius. Feast: 28 March.


St. Leo I, 'the Great' (+ 461). He was born in Rome at the end of the fourth
century. He was very energetic, opposed many heresies and protected Rome
from the barbarian Huns and Vandals. His teaching on Christ was acclaimed by
all the Orthodox at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Feast: 11 April (In the
East 18 February) *.


St. Hilary (+ 468), the forty-fifth pope and by origin Sardinian, he
actively opposed many heresies. Feast: 28 February.


St. Simplicius (+ 483), he supported the Orthodox in the East against
monophysitism. Feast: 10 March.


St. Felix II (+ 492), the son of a priest, he was also the grandfather of
St. Gregory the Great. He sternly opposed monophysitism. Feast: 1 March.


St. Gelasius I (+ 496), African, but born in Rome. He helped the poor and
was sternly opposed monophysitism. Of imperious character, he put the
authority of the Pope on the same level as that of the Emperor. We have from
him over a hundred letters or fragments and six theological works. He was
the greatest Pope of the fifth century after St Leo. Feast: 21 November.


St. Anastasius II (+ 498), Roman and the son of a priest, he had a
conciliatory character. Feast: 8 September/19 November.


St. Symmachus (+ 514), the fiftieth pope and by origin Sardinian, he was
very active and a builder of churches. Feast: 19 July.


St. Hormisdas (+ 523), from Italy and father of St. Silverius (see below),
he helped end the monophysite schism. Feast: 6 August.


St. John I (+ 526), Tuscan. A confessor, he suffered much from the Arian
Goth Theodoric, King of Italy. He was immediately revered as a saint on his
repose. Feast: 18 May.


St. Felix III (+ 530), the fifty-third pope and saint in succession, he was
greatly loved for his simplicity and almsgiving. He was succeeded by
Boniface II, who was the first pope of Germanic origin, and John II, neither
of whom is considered a saint. John II was the first pope to change names on
assuming that office. Feast: 22 September.


St. Agapitus I (+ 536), the son of a priest, he opposed monophysitism and
reposed in Constantinople. Feast: 22 April and 20 September (In the East 17
April). *


St. Silverius (+ 537), he was exiled to Asia Minor as a result of political
intrigues. He later died in exile from starvation and various hardships and
injustices. He was venerated as a martyr for Orthodoxy. He was succeeded by
five popes who are not saints. Feast: 20 June.


St. Gregory I, 'the Great' (in the East 'the Dialogist') (+ 604). One of
only two popes to be called 'the Great' (with St. Leo), this able and
energetic saint was possibly the greatest of all Roman popes. Known as 'the
Apostle of the English', he also did much to convert the Lombards and the
Goths. A true monk and ascetic, he wrote much about the monastic life, and
was greatly concerned for liturgical life and the poor. Some 850 of his
letters survive as well as other extremely important patristic and pastoral
works, especially his Dialogues. Notably, he condemned as 'antichrist' any
bishop who claimed universal jurisdiction and supremacy. Feast: 12 March. *


Boniface IV (+ 615). A follower of St Gregory the Great, he was also a true
monk. Preceded by two popes who are not saints. Feast: 25 May.


Deusdedit I (+ 618), Roman. 'Simple, devout, wise and shrewd', he loved
ordinary priests and did much for those then suffering from the plague. He
was succeeded by five popes who are not saints. Feast: 8 November.


St. Martin I (+ 655), from Umbria. Condemning the monothelite heresy, he was
arrested in Constantinople and starved to death. He was the last Pope of
Rome to be martyred. He is widely venerated in the East. Feast: 12 November
(In the East 14 April). *


St. Eugene I (+ 657), Roman. Famed for his mildness and kindness to the
poor, this saintly man resisted threats to his life from the Emperor in
Constantinople. Feast: 2 June.


St. Vitalian (+ 672), opposed monothelitism and appointed the first Greek
Archbishop of Canterbury, St Theodore. Feast: 27 January (In the East 23
July). *


St. Agatho (+ 681), Sicilian of Greek origin. Preceded by two popes who are
not saints, he was a kindly and generous man, who also helped call the Sixth
Oecumenical Council and helped end monotheletism. Feast: 10 January (20
February in the East). *


St. Leo II (+ 683), Sicilian, possibly of Greek descent. He confirmed the
condemnation of a predecessor, the heretical Pope Honorius I (+ 638), who
had fallen into the monothelite heresy. He loved the poor and was also much
concerned with church music. Feast: 3 July.


St. Benedict II (+ 685), Roman. He loved the poor and was humble-minded and
gentle. Feast: 7 May.


St. Sergius I (+ 701), born in Palermo, he was a Syrian. Able and energetic,
he did much for missionary work in England and northern Europe. He loved the
liturgy and church singing and introduced the feast of the Exaltation of the
Cross into the West. He was preceded by two popes who are not saints and
succeeded by four other non-saints, two Greeks and two Syrians. Feast: 8
September.


St. Gregory II (+ 731), the most outstanding Roman pope of the eighth
century An able leader, he condemned iconoclasm as a heresy and did much to
encourage missionary work, like that of St Boniface among the German tribes.
He restored churches and fostered the monastic life. Feast: 11 February.


St. Gregory III (+ 741), Syrian. He was acclaimed Pope by the crowds at his
predecessor's funeral. He vigorously opposed iconoclasm, built churches and
had them adorned with frescos, and also encouraged the monastic life and
fostered missionary work in northern Europe. Feast: 28 November.


St Zacharias (+ 752), a Greek and the last Orthodox saint in this see, he
opposed iconoclasm, adorned churches with frescos, and did much for
missionary work and peace all over western Europe. Feast: 15 March.


Readers will notice that information on many of the early popes is lacking.
Many of these are also traditionally held to be martyrs, but there is some
uncertainty about this. It should be added that many of the popes were
opposed by antipopes, often heretics. This became more and more the case in
the Middle Ages when the Orthodox period of the papacy is over and the
institution becomes more political and worldly than religious and spiritual.


The reader will no doubt be struck by the fact so many of the early popes
are revered as saints, indeed, the first fifty-three in continuous
succession. If we take the period up till St Zacharias inclusive, of 90
popes, 68 are revered as saints. Perhaps even more striking is the fact that
since St Zacharias, the last Orthodox Roman pope to be a saint, there have
been no fewer than 173 popes. Of these only seven are today considered to be
saints by the Vatican: one of these was Nicholas I, the notorious filioquist
who condemned St Photius of Constantinople, another was Leo IX, the pope
ultimately responsible for excommunicating Patriarch Michael of
Constantinople in 1054.


Thus with our thoughts on the holy Orthodox popes of Rome, let us pray with
one mind and one soul for the salvation of the once Orthodox lands of the
West and their salvation in this new millennium.


Holy Orthodox Popes of Rome, pray to God for us!


 

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Saint Bishoy "The Beloved of Christ"

Sermon notes: given By HG Bishop Daniel on St Bishoys Feast Day | Audio Sermon Given to youth By Parish Priest Hegomen Fr Antonious Kaldas

Abba Bishoy was born in A.D. 320 of righteous parents in a village of the Nile Delta. He was the youngest of seven children. One night his mother saw a vision; an angel appeared to her and said, "The Lord says, 'Give me one of your children to serve me.'" The mother answered, "here are my seven children, choose the one you want." Then the angel touched Bishoy, but the mother said, "This is a weak boy, please choose a stronger one who can serve the Lord better." The angel replied, "The power of God is made perfect in his weakness."

At age twenty, Bishoy joined the monastery of Scetis. His spiritual father was the Great Saint Abba Pambo. Bishoy was very alert over his ascetic life: praying constantly, fasting for long periods, and learning the holy books by heart. It was said that he loved to read the book of Jeremiah, and that the prophet himself used to appear to him and explain what was hard to understand.

Abba Bishoy did not cease his vigils nor his prayers, which would continue for days without any sleep. One day, the Lord Jesus appeared to him. He told him, "My beloved Bishoy, you have suffered much." The saint was frightened and fell. The Lord touched him by the hand, and lifted him up. Deeply touched, Bishoy replied, "It is You, my Lord, who suffered for me, and for the whole world; You were crucified in order to save us. I have done nothing."

Abba Bishoy's sweet aroma diffused and filled the wilderness. As a result, multitudes of monks flocked to him seeking his teaching and advice. He became the father of approximately eight thousand monks. He taught them the fear of God, and implanted into their souls the spirit of meekness which is the essence of the spiritual life.

The monks knew about the Lord's appearances to Abba Bishoy. One day, they asked him to plead to the Lord on their behalf, so that He might bless them with such an appearance. When Abba Bishoy saw their eagerness, he mentioned to the Lord their desire, and pleaded for them saying that such an appearance would increase their enthusiasm and encourage them in their spiritual life. The Lord Jesus Christ promised to appear to them on the mountain on a certain day at a certain time.

On the appointed day, early in the morning, all the monks raced to reach the mountain as early as possible. It happened that Abba Bishoy, being a fairly old man, was walking at the end of the group of monks. He waw an old bony man who looked to weak to walk. Abba Bishoy stopped and asked him where he wanted to go. When he learned that he wanted to go to the same mountain he had pity on him, and offered to carry him. The old man refused at first, but agreed when Abba Bishoy insisted.

At the beginning of the climb, Abba Bishoy did not feel any weight, but gradually he felt that the old man was getting heavier and heavier until he could not continue. At that moment, the saint realized that he was carrying the Lord Himself. He said, "My Lord, heaven is too small for You and earth rembles at Your glory. How can a sinner like me carry you?" The Lord replied, "Because you carried Me, my beloved Bishoy, your body will never decay."

Abba Bishoy continued his journey to the mountain where he saw all the monks waiting with eagerness to see the Lord. Their disappointment came when Abba Bishoy told them that the Lord had already appeared, and that they had all seen Him, but having closed their hearts they did not recognize Him.

One of Saint Bishoy's distinguished merits was his hospitality to the strangers. One day while he was sitting outside his cell, he saw a stranger weary from walking. He stood up and invited the stranger to his cell. Then he got a basin, filled it with water, and insisted on washing the stranger's feet. While washing his feet, he heart the Lord's voice saying, "My chosen Bishoy! You are an honorable man." Realizing that he was washing the Lord Jesus' feet, he knelt down and worshipped Him. The Lord gave him peace and comforted him.

There was an aged monk living in a town called Epsi in Upper Egypt. Misled by the devil, he deviated from the Orthodox belief, denied the existence of the Holy Spirit, and started to spread his heresy openly. As God wanted to save him, he disclosed his case to His Saint Abba Bishoy.

Abba Bishoy made some baskets with three hanles each, and set off to the place where that monk was. When he arrived there, the old monk welcomed him with great hospitality. The other monks in the area gathered around him to receive his blessing. The three handles of the baskets attracted their attention and they asked the meaning of it. Abba Bishoy answered, "I always do my manual work after the example of the Holy Trinity." On hearing htis, all the monks exclaimed, "So Father, there is a Holy Spirit!" The saint started to teach them about the Holy Spirit, the Thrid Person of the Holy Trinity. As he quoted many verses from the Scriptures, they all believed and professed their faith in the Holy Spirit.

After the Barbarians attacked Scetis, Abba Bishoy went to Ansena in Upper Egypt. There he met a spiritual friend called Abba Paul El-Tamouhi. The strong spiritual bond between them was blessed by the Lord. Abba Paul saw a vision and heard the Divine Voice promising that their bodies will always be together.

On July 15, 417 A.D. Abba Bishoy commended his soul in the hands of his Savior. Three months later Abba Paul El-Tamouhi died also and his body was buried beside Abba Bishoy. In 842 A.D. the two bodies were moved to Scetis where the monks received them with palm branches, praising the Lord who had brought the body of their spiritual leader back to the monastery.







http://www.stbishoy.org.au/modules/patronsaints/stbishoystory.php
 

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St. Venerable-martyr Anthony of Supraśl

Commemorated on 4th of February​

He was born in second half of 15th century in Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In his youth he was violent and irresponsible man what resulted in having committed a murder. To atone this sin he went to Annunciation Monastery in Supraśl (now in Poland, 14 kilometres from Białystok), where he took monastic wows and name Onuphrius.

He wished to die as martyr in Muslim countries to finally repent for his crime, but he was not allowed to do so by his Abbot. He took Great Schema wows with a name Anthony ant went to Athos, where he settled near Protaton Church in Karyes. But Athonite Monks also did not allow him to die as a martyr.

He set off to Thessaloniki and he went to Holy Theothokos Church, which had been changed to mosque. During Muslim prayers he started praying in Christian way. He was beaten and imprisoned. He refused to betray Christian faith and started to preach it to Muslim authorities.

In prison he spewed at a guard who tried to convince him to became Muslim. He was killed by a club. In order not to start a veneration of him Muslim authorities decided to burn his corpse and throw away the ashes. He was forgotten until in 2005 a life of him was discovered in one book in History Museum in Moscow.

source: http://www.cerkiew.pl/index.php?id=swieci&tx_orthcal[sw_id]=949&cHash=43cff8750e

 

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St. Cyril of Turov, the Belarusian Goldenmouth

Commemorated on 28th of April and on 3rd Sunday after Pentecost (Synaxis of Belarusian Saints)​

He was born in 30' of 12th century in Turov (southern Belarus) in wealthy family. After becoming an adult he abandoned his goods and went to the Monastery of St. Boris and Gleb in Turov. He was known as a pious and obedient monk. After some years he was chosen as Bishop.

He was a very good ruler of Turov-Pinsk Diocese. He was also a skilled author. Up to these days there are 24 prayers, repentance canon and sermons for 12 Mayor Feasts left. Before he passed away he resigned from being a Bishop. He passed away in 1183.

source: http://www.cerkiew.pl/index.php?id=swieci&tx_orthcal[sw_id]=180&cHash=a8a953ad2e
his writings in Russian and Church Slavonic
 

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St. Hieromartyr Maxim of Gorlice

Commemorated on 6th of September​

He was born in 1886 in Żdynia on Galicia (now southern Poland) . This area was under Austrian authority on that time. He was a son of Church cantor. After primary school he went to the Byzantine Catholic Seminary. He was disappointed with spiritual level there so he went to the Orthodox Pochayiv Lavra. With a blessing of the Abbot, he was sent to Theological Seminary in Zhytomyr (centre Ukraine). He got married and in 1911 he was ordained to the Priesthood.

In 1912, in his first Parish in the village of Grab (southern Poland) he was arrested by the Austrians accused of spying for Russia. After 2-year-long imprisoning in Lviv he was acquitted of that.

Right after I WW outbreak he was arrested again and sentenced to the shot with no trial. On 6th of September 1914 he was executed. His last words were: Long life Rus and Holy Orthodoxy! He was buried in Żdynia.

He was canonised by Church of Poland in 1994.

source: http://www.cerkiew.pl/index.php?id=swieci&tx_orthcal[sw_id]=601&cHash=2eb031fbcc
 

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St. Righteous Sophia, the dutches of Slutsk

Commemorated on 19th of March and on 3rd Sunday after Pentecost (Synaxis of Belarusian Saints)​

She was the last from Slutsk Dukes, descendands of Lithuanian duke Algirdas. She was born on 1st May in 1585. She was raised by related to her Chodkiewicz noble family, because her parents died early. She married a noble Janusz Radziwiłł in 1600 in Orthodox Church in Brest.

Her husband was leaving her in Slutsk for long periods of time. She made the Polish king to write an edict protecting the Brest's Orthodox from Union. She was helping the Monasteries around, embroidering Priest's vestments and engaging in other activities helping the Church. She died on 19th of March in 1612 while giving a birth for a first time. Her relics are now kept in Holy Spirit Cathedral in Minsk (Belarus).

source: http://www.cerkiew.pl/index.php?id=swieci&tx_orthcal[sw_id]=891&cHash=c3392b1df9
 

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St. Venerable Matthew from Kiyev-Peczersk Lavra, the Far-sighted
Commemorated on 5th of October and  on 28th of September (Synaxis of Saints from Kiyev-Pieczersk Lavra)​

He lived in 11th century. He was gifted by God the ability to foresee the future and see impure forces on earth. He often taught fellow monks what leads to salvation and what leads to damnation.

One day, during service, he saw the devil disguised as a knight who was throwing on monks some sticky flowers. These monks who had got shot, started to loosing the interest in service and eventual left the Church for some reasons. They went to cells and fall asleep. These, who hadn't been got by the flowers remained until the service was over. He told that the rest of monks and they all started to fight over the temptation to leave the Church before the right time.

Another time he sat on the stone for some rest after he had gone out the Church after Matins. He leaved the Church as the last monk. His cell was far from the Church. He fall asleep and in his dream he saw mane stranger people entering the Lavra. They told him that they had come for Father Michael. When he checked this out he realised that Father Michael after Matins had gone out the Monastery and on the road he was tempted much. Mathew taught the Monks not to go out the Lavra and to spend most of the time in cells on prayer.

He passed away approximately in 1085.

source:http://www.cerkiew.pl/index.php?id=swieci&tx_orthcal[sw_id]=663&cHash=bd2d9ca53e
 

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Equal of the Apostles Great Prince Vladimir, in Holy Baptism Basil, the Enlightener of the Russian Land


Commemorated on July 15

From http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?SID=4&ID=1&FSID=102031

Then followed an unforgettable and quite singular event in Russian history: the morning of the Baptism of the Kievans in the waters of the River Dneipr. On the evening before, St Vladimir declared throughout the city: "If anyone does not go into the river tomorrow, be they rich or poor, beggar or slave, that one shall be my enemy." The sacred wish of the holy Prince was fulfilled without a murmur: "all our land glorified Christ with the Father and the Holy Spirit at the same time."

It is difficult to overestimate the deep spiritual transformation of the Russian people effected by the prayers of St Vladimir, in every aspect of its life and world-view. In the pure Kievan waters, as in a "bath of regeneration", there was realized a sacramental transfiguration of the Russian spiritual element, the spiritual birth of the nation, called by God to unforeseen deeds of Christian service to mankind.



Troparion - Tone 4

Holy Prince Vladimir,
you were like a merchant in search of fine pearls.
By sending servants to Constantinople for the Orthodox Faith, you found Christ, the priceless pearl.
He appointed you to be another Paul,
washing away in baptism your physical and spiritual blindness.
We celebrate your memory,
asking you to pray for all Orthodox Christians and for us, your spiritual children.


Kontakion - Tone 8

Most glorious Vladimir, in your old age you imitated the great apostle Paul:
he abandoned childish things, while you forsook the idolatry of your youth.
Together with him you reached the fullness of divine wisdom:
You were adorned with the purity of holy baptism.
Now as you stand before Christ our Savior, pray that all Orthodox Christians may be saved.
 

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Venerable Benedict of Nursia

http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?SID=4&ID=1&FSID=100800


commerated on March 14

Saint Benedict, founder of Western monasticism, was born in the Italian city of Nursia in the year 480. When he was fourteen years of age, the saint'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 St Benedict 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. People soon began to gather to him, thirsting to live under his 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 from among his experienced disciples, and only the novice monks remained with St Benedict for instruction.

The strict monastic Rule St 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 Church. The monastery possessed a remarkable library. St Benedict wrote his Rule, based on the experience of life of the Eastern desert-dwellers and the precepts of St John Cassian the Roman (February 29).

The Rule of St Benedict dominated Western monasticism for centuries (by the year 1595 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 acclimated to monastic life. Every deed required a blessing. The head of this cenobitic monastery is the igumen. He 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 perfection.

St Benedict was granted by the Lord the gift of foresight and wonderworking. He healed many by his prayers. The monk foretold the day of his death in 547. The main source for his Life is the second Dialogue of St Gregory.

St Benedict's sister, St Scholastica (February 10), also became famous for her strict ascetic life and was numbered among the saints.


 

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Commemorated on April 21

Hieromartyr Januarius Bishop of Beneventum, and the deacons Proculus, Sossius and Faustus, Desiderius the Reader, Eutychius and Acution suffered martyrdom for Christ about the year 305 during the persecution ordered by the emperor Diocletian (284-305).

They arrested St Januarius and led him to trial before Menignus, the governor of Campagna (central Italy). Because of his firm confession of Christianity, they threw the saint into a red-hot furnace. But like the Babylonian youths, he came out unharmed. Then at Menignus's command, they stretched him out on a bench and beat him with iron rods until his bones were exposed.

In the crowd were Deacon Faustus and the Reader Desiderius, who wept at the sight of their bishop's suffering. The pagans surmised that they were Christians, and threw them into prison with the hieromartyr Januarius, in the city of Puteolum. At this prison were two deacons who had been jailed for confessing Christ: Sts Sossius and Proculus, and also two laymen, Sts Eutychius and Acution.

On the following morning they led out all the martyrs into the circus to be torn to pieces by wild beasts, but the beasts would not touch them. Menignus claimed that all the miracles were due to sorcery on the part of the Christians, and immediately he became blinded and cried out for help. The gentle hieromartyr Januarius prayed for his healing, and Menignus recovered his sight. The torturer's blindness of soul, however, was not healed. He accused the Christians of sorcery, and ordered the martyrs beheaded before the walls of the city (+ 305).

Christians from surrounding cities took up the bodies of the holy martyrs for burial, and those of each city took one, in order to have an intercessor before God. The inhabitants of Neapolis (Naples) took the body of the hieromartyr Januarius. With the body, they also collected his dried blood.

Since the fifteenth century, the blood liquifies when the container is placed near another relic, believed to be the martyr's head. Many miracles proceeded from the relics of the hieromartyr Januarius. During an eruption of Vesuvius around 431, the inhabitants of the city prayed to St Januarius to help them. The lava stopped, and did not reach the city.

Troparion - Tone 3

Consecrated through anointing with oil,
You became pastors for your godly wise people.
You were slain as honorable lambs
And offered to the Word and First Shepherd,
Who was Himself slain as His sheep,
O most laudable Hieromartyrs Januarius and Theodore,
Beacons for all the world.
Therefore we all honor your holy memory in love,
As you intercede for our souls.

Troparion - Tone 3

Naples has found you a champion in dangers,
O Januarius, our glorious father.
You delivered her from plague, famine and affliction,
And from the fire of Vesuvius.
With faith and love we venerate you and honor your holy relics!

Kontakion - Tone 3

You were adorned with the anointing of the priesthood
And the blood of martyrdom, O glorious Januarius and Theodore,
And you shine forth everywhere,
Rejoicing in the highest,
Looking down upon us who come to your temple
And cry out unceasingly:
Preserve us all, entreating God who loves mankind!

Kontakion - Tone 4

The Master has given you to Naples, O holy one,
As a precious treasure and fountain of healings.
You are a guardian and protector of the faithful,
And you avert the evils of Vesuvius’ fire.
Therefore we cry to you in faith:
Rejoice, O Januarius,
Our father and protector!
 

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St. Dionysios of Zakynthos. The Saint of Forgiveness
The Bishop who forgave his brother's murderer.
Commemorated December 17th


The Life of Saint Dionysios of Zakynthos

Saint Dionysios, widely known for the act of forgiving his brother’s murderer and as the "Walking Saint," was born in 1547 on the Greek island of Zakynthos. During his childhood years, public education in Zakynthos did not exist. However, St. Dionysios was educated at a school run by Orthodox priests on the island, where he began to learn Greek, Italian, and Latin. Upon completing his primary school education, he continued with his studies at home with private religious tutors and theologians who instructed him further in language and theological studies. By the age of twenty-one, St. Dionysios not only was fluent in several languages, but he was known as a theological scholar by all. Therefore, upon his parents’ deaths, it was no surprise that he decided to enter into the priesthood and to assume a life of monasticism. At this time, he was given the name of Daniel, and spent time in seclusion before being ordained to the priesthood in 1570.

He spent the next few years traveling between Zakynthos and Strofades, at the two monasteries in which he served. St. Dionysios gained much respect from the clergy and people in both places, and in 1577 he was ordained Archbishop of Aegina-Poros. With the ordinations that were bestowed upon St. Dionysios, it seemed that a special gift also was bestowed upon him. The many blessings, which he granted to his people, seemed to produce miracles and caused St. Dionysios’ popularity to grow even more. St. Dionysios served as the Archbishop of Aegina for one year before feeling the need to return to Zakynthos. With his return to the island, St. Dionysios was appointed Bishop and President of Zakynthos, which allowed him to continue serving his people. However, by the spring of 1622, St. Dionysios’ health had deteriorated greatly, and he was forced to permanently remain in his cell, unable to carry out his responsibilities. In the autumn of that year, St. Dionysios took a turn for the worse and moved to his sister’s home where he could receive care. On December 17, 1622, St. Dionysios came to rest in the arms of God. Several years later, when his body was removed from its grave, his remains not only were found intact, but his body emitted a mixed fragrance of flowers and frankincense. Upon finding this, the monks of Strofades began to venerate Archbishop Dionysios as a saint, and at the end of the seventeenth century, the Patriarch of Constantinople proclaimed his divine nature by making his sainthood official.

Among the many blessings and miracles for which St. Dionysios will be remembered is his unbelievable act of forgiveness. In December of 1580, St. Dionysios’ brother, Konstantinos, was murdered by a man, who in trying to flee from the authorities, found refuge at the monastery where St. Dionysios served as abbot. While at the monastery, the murderer confessed the sin to St. Dionysios, who not only forgave him of the crime, but hid him from the soldiers and helped him escape across the sea to the shores of Cephalonia. St. Dionysios serves as a continual reminder to all Orthodox Christians that we should not let our hearts be hardened by evil or burdened with vengeance, but should forgive those who do wrong.

St. Dionysios also is known for the numerous miracles which he performed after his death. Currently, St. Dionysios’ body resides intact in a locked, viewable, tomb at the Church of St. Dionysios in Zakynthos. Often times, his tomb is unable to be opened. Many believe that this happens when St. Dionysios is out walking to perform a needed miracle. This is because often times when the tomb is unlocked and opened, seaweed is found at his feet, and his slippers are worn thin. In fact, his slippers need continual replacement because they receive so much wear. Furthermore, there are many stories told by people who have seen St. Dionysios alive and walking in front of them, or who have received one of his miracles. Because of these occurrences, upon visiting the relics of St. Dionysios, and upon hearing of his numerous stories and miracles, many of the Ionian Village participants remember St. Dionysios as the "Saint of Forgiveness" or as the "Walking Saint."

The Apolytikion of St. Dionysios

Let us, the faithful, in one accord honor Dionysios, the offspring of Zakynthos, the Bishop of Aegina, and the protector of the Monastery of the Strophades.

Let us entreat him in sincerity: By your prayers save those who celebrate your memory and cry out to you: Glory to Christ, who has glorified you; glory to Him who has granted you to us as our unsleeping intercessor.
 

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St. John Maximovich, commemmorated July 2.

Troparion to St. John of San Francisco
Tone 5

Thy care for thy flock in its sojourn has prefigured the supplications which thou didst ever offer up for the whole world. Thus do we believe, having come to know thy love, 0 holy hierarch and wonder-worker John. Wholly sanctified by God through the ministry of the all-pure Mysteries, and thyself strengthened thereby, thou didst hasten unto suffering, 0 most gladsome healer — hasten now also to the aid of us who honor thee with all our heart.

 

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St. Venerable-martyr Athanasius of Brest

Commemorated on 6th of September​

The date of birth of saint Athanasius Filipowicz is assumed between 1595 and 1600, however the exact year is unknown.  His father was a nobleman or a town craftsman.  Athanasius attended the religious school, which prepared him well to defend the Orthodox faith against Greek Catholics and Roman Catholics.  He knew four languages: Polish, Ruthenian, Latin and Greek.  The Saint was working at Grand Duchy of Lithuania’s Chancellor’s, Lew Sapieha, court for seven years and was teaching Luba, Maryna Mniszek’s son.  However, Athanasius did not feel happy at the court and wanted to focus on spiritual life.

Athanasius left Sapieha’s court in 1627 and joined The Holy Spirit Monastery in Vilnius.  However, he decided to leave this monastery and started to look for the best place for himself. At first he joined Monastery in Kutielsk near Orsza and then Miezyhgrski Monastery near Kiev.

Having sthreghten his vocation, Athanasius returned to Vilnius. On his way back he met a lame man, whom Athanasius took on his back and carried. The stranger talked about the idea of Christian life and the importance of the prayer.  When the man disappeared, Athanasius thought that it was God’s sign for him to struggle for the Orthodox faith.

In 1632 he was ordained hieromonk and took the position of the head of Dubovsk Monastery. However, he was not there long as in 1636 the monastery was taken after by the Jesuits. St. Athanasius went with monks to Kupiaticki Monastery near Pinsk, which was established on November, 15, 1182 at the place where the miraculous icon of the Theotokos appeared.  The Orthodox church was built there, but in 1240 it was burned by Tatars and the icon was hidden in the ashes for over 250 years. The icon was found in the 15th century and the monastery was rebuilt. In 1655 the monastery was seized by Greek Catholics and the icon was taken to the Sofia God’s Wisdom cathedral.  That icon of the Theotokos played an important role in St. Athanasius' life.

St. Athanasius got acquainted in the monastery with the monk Makarius Tokarewski. The Saint got soon a task to collect donations for rebuilding the Church of Kupiaticka icon of the Theotokos. Before entering the church Saint Athanasius prayed to Kupiaticka icon of the Mother of God for pointing generous donors.  The Theotokos replied to his prayers, saying: ‘Go to the tsar. He will build the church for me.’  St. Atanazy, following Her words, went to Moscow. However the journey at that time was difficult and dangerous because of the war.  Nevertheless, the Saint got to Moscow safely thanks to the protection of the Theotokos. The tsar Mikhail Fiodorowicz welcomed him warmly and made a generous donation.

After his mission had been completed, St. Athanasius received a new task that he was conducting till the end of his life. In the year 1640 monks from St. Simeon Monastery in Brest nominated two candidates for the position of igumen: Makarius Tokarewski and Athanasius Filipowicz. Athanasius was chosen for that post and he went to Brest.

He was struggling for better situation of the Orthodox community in that town.  He preached Orthodox Christians to be strong in their faith.  St. Athanasius was trying to oppose various forms of proselytism from the Catholic Church. Not only did he preach but also participated actively in the political life. One of his major successes was that king Wladislaw IV promised a decree confirming all the privileges of the Brest brotherhood and granting autonomy to the Orthodox Church.  However the decree was never validated due to the Jesuits’ and Greek Catholics’ influences. When St. Athanasius asked Lew Sapieha for help, he heard: ‘If you were Uniates than you would receive privileges’.

The Orthodox clergy in Warsaw did not want to help either. Nobody was willing to talk about well-being of the Church.  St. Athanasius wrote in his diary: ‘O, righteous God, nobody cares about the Orthodox faith or Your glory anymore; everybody seems to be ashamed of it…’

He very often during tough days prayed to Kupiaticka icon of the Mother of God. Once, while reading akaphist, the Saint heard the Theotokos: ‘Athanasius you should stand before the Sejm and show everyone my Kupiaticka icon put on the cross.  Preach the king and Polish people that they should change their attitude otherwise they will be punished.  Firstly, they have to stand against the Union, this is the most important and can help them’.  Saint Athanasius followed the directions and in 1643 he went to the Sejm meeting in Warsaw.  On his journey he stopped at St. Onuphrius Monastery in Jabłeczna and prayed to the saint for help. At the Sejm session St. Athansius gave magnates and senators the Kupiaticka icons of the Mother of God together with the Theotokos’ warning of God’s anger for approving the Union and persecuting the Orthodox people by the Jesuits and Uniats. He also threatened the Polish king with God’s anger if the Union was not ended and the Orthodox Church did not regain its rights.

The Saint was put in prison for the time of the session because of those words.  To fulfill the Theotokos’ will St. Athanasius became ‘fool for Christ’.  On the Day of the Baptism of Christ the Saint escaped from the prison wearing only klobuk (headdress) and mantia (the monk’s outer cloak).  He was running across the streets of Warsaw and went into the churches, yelling: ‘The infidels will be punished!'  Athanasius was punished for such a behaviuor by being thrown into a deep muddy ditch. He was bitten, kicked and then judged.  He was deprived of the position of the igumen and he was prohibited to be the priest at all.   St. Metropolitan Peter Mohyla was asked to confirm the judgement. However, after the scrutinized research, the metropolitan made St. Athanasius the priest and igumen again and sent him to Brest.

The situation of the Orthodox community in Brest was getting worse.  Orthodox Christians were persecuted by Latin and Uniat clergy.  The Orthodox churches were ruined; the services had to be interrupted because of the crowd entering the church.

Saint Athanasius was praying to Kupiaticka icon of the Mother of God.  During one of his prayers he again heard the Theotokos: ‘Athanasius go one more time to the Sejm meeting and ask the king and Polish country to end the Union.  If they listen to me, they will live happily’.  However the Saint was not able to fulfill the will as he was arrested and sent to prison in Warsaw.  He was charged with the accusation that during his stay in Moscow he had conspired against Poland.

The Saint wrote the letter to the king describing how the Orthodox Church in Poland was persecuted. He also explored on the Universal Church, explained the importance of the Universal Councils. St. Athanasius also wrote about the Union and the bishops’: Pociej, Terlecki, Rahozy actions. He reminded as well about king’s promise to improve the situation of the Orthodox Church.  After receiving the second St. Athanasius' letters, the king ordered to release the Saint on the condition that Kiev metropolitan would take responsibility for him. The Saint stayed at Kiev-Piechersk Lavra until the year 1647 when St. Peter Mohyla reposed.

In 1648, when St. Athanasius had already came back to Brest, the Chmielnicki uprising broke out.  On July, 1 Athanasius was arrested and accused of bringing gunpowder to the participants of the uprising. However no proof against the Saint was found during the inspection of the monastery. He was then accused of profaning the Union.  Asked by Andrew Gębicki, the Roman Bishop of Lutsk: 'Did you oppose the union?’ he said: ‘It is cursed!’  He was arrested and put into the prison in the castle in Brest. The Jesuits threatened St. Athanasius and tried to force him to renounce the Orthodox faith and join the Union. They promised to grant him freedom but the Saint did not want to take the offer. At dawn on September 5 Athanasius was taken to the forest which was 2 kilometers from Brest. He was tortured by singeing and then the grave was dug in front of his eyes. He was given one more chance to change his opinion on the Union. However, the Saint firmly confirmed his previous utterance.  One of the soldiers was given the order to shoot Athanasius in the head. However, the soldier saw the Saint’s great courage and kneed before him asking for forgiveness and blessing.  After that he shot twice into Atanazy's head, nevertheless the Saint stood still.  He was thrown into the grave but managed to cross arms on the chest and straighten the legs. The Saint was buried alive.

That night nobody slept in the town. Athanasius' students, who were observing the whole situation hidden in bushes, wrote: 'The night when the Saint was murdered evoked fear in us. The sky was cloudless but it was thundering and lightening’.

On May, 1, 1649 students dug out the body of Athanasius, which after eight months was not decayed at all. The relics were put into the tomb located in the main church of the St. Simeon Monastery in Brest.

The cult of the Saint has started at that time. There was a light above the relics and people by his tomb were healed.  In 1856 10-year-old boy, Alexander Poliwanow, was healed from the paralysis and in 1860 priest Wasilij Sołowiow was healed from the fatal disease. However, there were many more instances of miraculous healings.

On November, 8, 1815, St. Simeon Church was burned down together with the relics of Saint Athanasius. The remains of the relics were found in the ashes and put under the altar in the rebuilt church. In 1823 they were put in the sarcophagus so that people could prey to St. Athanasius. On September, 20, 1893 the relics were taken to the newly built St. Athanasius of Brest Church in Grodno.  Next year part of the relics was given to the convent in Leśna Podlaska. However, when nuns were evacuated to Russia the relics were taken to Siberia and then to Provemont in France.

The relics were brought by Seraphim, Archbishop of Brussels and whole West Europe (ROCOR) to the Orthodox Lublin-Chełm Diocese at the request of Abel, Archbishop of Lublin-Chełm Diocese and with Vitaliy, ROCOR’s Primate's blessing.

On October, 27, 1996 St. Athanasius icon with part of his relics consecrated at the Monastery of the Theotokos in Leśna were brought to Biała Podlaska and put in the St. Athanasius Orthodox Church.

He is the patron-Saint of Lublin-Chełm Diocese

source
 

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St. Venerable-martyr Ignatius of Jabłeczna

Commemorated on 28th of July​

St. Ignatius was born in the sixties of the 19th c. He decided to become a monk and entered St. Onuphrius Monastery in Jabłeczna - the most prominent Orthodox place in the eastern part of Poland. The name Ignatius he took in the monastery. In the interwar period he was one of the oldest monks but he was greatly respected by the Orthodox people. The Second World War turned out to be a difficult time for all monks in the monastery. At night in August, 9/10, 1942 the army attacked the monastery. Soldiers set fire to the buildings and did not let monks to extinguish it. Some of the monks hid in the orchard. However Saint Ignatius decided to come back and started to ring bells. He sacrificed his life protecting the monastery. The martyr was buried at the churchyard. In spring 2003 his grave was opened and the relics were put in the St. Onuphrius Church in Jabłeczna.

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Fr. George

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NOTE: I have updated the first post of this thread with information & directions.  Anyone who wishes to add to this thread should read it first.
 

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Saint Finnian of Clonard 12/ 25 December, 550AD

December 12 sees the commemoration of one of our most important Irish fathers of monasticism - Finnian of Clonard.


He is often called the "Teacher of Irish Saints." At one time his pupils
at Clonard included the so-called Twelve Apostles of Ireland:

Brendan of Birr (f.d. November 29)
Brendan the Voyager (f.d. May 16)
Cainnech (f.d. October 11)
Ciaran of Clommacnois (f.d. September 9)
Columba of Iona (f.d. June 9)
Columba of Terryglass (f.d. today)
Comgall of Bangor (f.d. May 11)
Finian of Moville (f.d. September 10)
Kieran of Saigher (f.d. March 5)
Mobhi (f.d. October 12)
Molaise (Laserian) of Devendish (f.d. August 12)
Ninidh of Inismacsaint (f.d. January 18)
Ruadhan of Lothra (f.d. April 15)
Sinell of Cleenish (f.d.October 12).

(You might note that this is more than 12; this is a very elastic twelve
with different saints added at different times

Below is a paper on the life of Saint Finnian from the Irish Ecclesiastical Record which records what is traditionally known of him. Modern scholars are engaged in a debate as to whether Finnian of Clonard, Uinnau the Briton, Finnian of Moville, Finbarr of Cork and Ninnian of Candida Casa are all one and the same person. In the nineteenth century, however, when this paper was written, all of these saints were viewed as distinct individuals, and the writer brings together some of the stories told of Saint Finnian as founder of Clonard and of the many saints who flourished under his tutelage. Saint Finnian is also the patron of the Russian Orthodox Church (MP) in Belfast ( http://stfinnian.webs.com/ )
Holy Father Finnian, pray to God for us!

Troparion of St Finnian of Clonard tone 8

Truly thou art the 'Tutor of the Saints of Ireland', O Founder of Clonard, great Father Finnian./
As thou didst tirelessly teach the faith in thy native land,/
so teach us to follow thy example that many may come to know Christ and be led into the Way of Salvation.


ST. FINNIAN OF CLONARD.

SAINT FINNIAN of Clonard, " Tutor of the Saints of Ireland," lived in the sixth century. He was a native of Leinster ; his birthplace is generally supposed to have been near the present town of New Ross. Saint Finnian was of the race of Ir, and belonged to the Clan na Rudhraidhe. His name appears to be a diminutive of Finn, "white." He was a contemporary of Finnian of Moville, whose name comes next in the list of saints of the second class.

Saint Abban baptized Finnian, and at an early age he was placed under the care of Bishop Fortchern of Trim. With him he remained thirty years. At the end of that period Finnian proceeded to Britain, and settled at Kilmuine or Menevia, where he placed himself under David, Gildas, and Cadoc. David was grandson of an Irish prince, Bracan. He taught St. Aidan of Ferns, was first Bishop of Menevia, and died A.D. 589. Gildas was the author of De Excidio Britannia, according to the Annals of Ulster. He died A.D 570. Cadoc is represented as cousin to St. David, and was a pupil of St. Thaddeus, an Irishman. Saint Finnian is said to have founded three churches in Britain, but they have not been identified. While a monk at the monastery of St. David, Finnian on one occasion was asked to supply the place of oeconomus, or house steward, in the absence of the monk who generally filled that office. Finnian replied that he would be unable to do so, as he was unprovided with the necessary requirements for carrying wood and provisions. His superior having insisted on his undertaking the task, Finnian obeyed, and we read in his life that an angel came to his assistance. What before had seemed an impossibility he was able to accomplish by the aid of this heavenly messenger.

How long Finnian remained at St. David's monastery is uncertain. Lanigan thinks he returned to Ireland about A.D. 520. Before leaving Britain Finnian determined to undertake a journey to Rome, but an angel warned him not to do so, but to return to his own country " Redite ad vestras plebes, Deus enim acceptat intentionem Vestram." Finnian was accompanied to Ireland by several friends, among whom special mention is made of Biteus and Genoc. On his passage to Ireland, says Dr. Lanigan, he stopped a while with his friend Caimin, and landed at the port Kille-Caireni, in Wexford.

Finnian sent messengers to Muiredeach, sovereign of Ky-Kinsellagh, asking permission to enter his territory. The king generously acceded to his request, and came himself to see Finnian, in whose presence Muiredeach prostrated himself on the ground, and promised the saint a site for a monastery. Saint Finnian erected an establishment at Achadh Abhla ; i.e., “Field of the Apple-Tree," which now bears the name Aghowle, or Aghold, in the barony of Shillelagh, County Wicklow. It was anciently called Crosalech. Here St. Finnian resided for sixteen years. At Mughna, County Carlow, he erected another monastery, and is said to have lectured there for seven years on the Sacred Scriptures. It is probably while there that he preached on one occasion in presence of St. Brigid.

We now approach the most important event in St. Finnian's life in his settlement at Clonard, County Meath, which during his lifetime became the most celebrated sanctuary in Ireland for piety and learning. Cluain-Eraird i. e., Erard's Lawn or Meadow is the derivation given by O'Donovan. Erard was a man's name, very common in Ireland, signifying lofty or noble. Again, we find it related in the saint's life that an angel appeared to him directing him as to where he should take up his abode. Saint Finnian entered Clonard repeating the psalm " Haec requies mea in Saeculum Saeculi hic habitabo quoniam elegi eam."

The date of the saint's arrival at Clonard is said to be about A.D. 530. It is a matter of doubt whether St. Finnian was a bishop. The Four Masters simply term him abbot. Such is the title accorded to him in the Martyrology of Donegal and other Irish calendars. Dr. Lanigan seems to think that St. Finnian was only abbot. It is, doubtless, a fact that Clonard was an episcopal see, but it is quite possible that it did not become so till after Finnian's time. His successor at Clonard, St. Seanach, is called bishop by the Four Masters. The school of Clonard in a short time became famous in Ireland. Those great men who were afterward called the Twelve Apostles of Ireland came to seek instruction from Finnian viz., Columba, the two Brendans, Ciaran of Saigher, his namesake of Clonmacnoise, Columb of Tir-da-ghlas, Mobhi Claraineach, Molaish, Canice, and Ruadhan of Lothra. Three thousand scholars are said to have been educated at Clonard during the saint's lifetime, and the holy founder was justly termed "Magister Sanctorum Hiberniae sui temporis." In the Life of St. Ciaran of Clonmacnoise we read : " In schola sapientissimi magistri Finniani plures Sancti Hibernise erant ;" and in that of St. Columb of Tir-da-ghlas : "Audiens famam S. Finniani Episcopi de Cluain-Eraird, ut Sacram Scripturam addisceret accessit ;" and, lastly, we find it said of St. Ruadhan :"Legens diversas Scripturas et multum proficiens in eis." Colgan enumerates thirty two saints who received instruction from St. Finnian, and bears testimony of the fame of Clonard, where students assembled from various parts of Europe.

Saint Finnian did not permit his multifarious labours in behalf of learning to interfere with his duties towards the needy and afflicted. We read in his life that he was a father to all who sought help from him: " Flebat cum flentibus." "Infirmabatur enim cum infirmis." On a certain occasion a bard named German presented St. Finnian with a beautiful poem, in which many of his virtues were extolled; the bard demanded from the saint not gold or silver, or any worldly substance, but only fertility of produce in his lands. Finnian answered him, and said : "Sing over water the hymn which thou hast composed, and sprinkle the land with that water." The bard did as he was directed, and his land produced abundant fruit.

In the historical tale "The Expedition of the Sons of Carra," published by O' Curry in his MS. Materials of Ancient Irish History, we have a description of St. Finnian's interviews with the three brothers, who had plundered the churches of Connaught. O 'Curry observes that while these tales often contain matter without resemblance to facts, we are not to reject them wholly on that account, but rather make allowance for poetic embellishment, at the same time having good ground for believing that a foundation of truth exists. The story is as follows : -

" Three brothers actuated by an evil spirit plundered the churches of Connaught. In their wicked enterprise they were joined by a band of adventurers as daring as themselves. They commenced by pillaging the Church of Tuam, and never ceased till they had laid waste more than half the churches of the province. When the three brothers arrived at the Church of Clothar, they determined to kill the old man, who was the Airchennech of that place ; he was their grandfather; but he, though suspecting their evil design, treated them with kindness, and assigned to them a comfortable resting-place. Lochan, the eldest of the three brothers, that night had a vision, which alarmed him so much that he became conscience-stricken. He saw represented before him the eternal joys of heaven and the torments of hell. When morning came he acquainted his brothers of what he saw, and like him they felt remorse for their wicked deeds. The brothers Carra sought the pardon and prayers of their grandfather. They took counsel with the old man as to what course they should pursue in order to obtain God's forgiveness and to make reparation for the past. He told them to repair to St. Finnian, the great teacher, and to submit themselves to his spiritual direction. The Ua Carra immediately put off their warlike attire, and donned the garb of pilgrims, and with staves instead of swords hastened to Clonard. At their approach the inhabitants fled, for the fame of their evil deeds had spread far and wide. St. Finnian alone came out to meet them ; the brothers threw themselves on their knees, and besought his friendship and pardon. ' What do you want, said Finnian.' ' We want,' said they, ' to take upon us the habit of religion and penitence, and henceforward to serve God.' ' Your determination is a good one,' said Finnian, ' let us come into the town, where my people are.' They entered the town, and Finnian took counsel with his people respecting the penitents. It was decided that they should be placed for the space of a year under the direction of a certain divinity student, with whom alone they were to converse during that period. The Ua Carra faithfully complied with the mode of life laid out for them, and when the year expired presented themselves before St. Finnian for his benediction. The saint blessed them, saying, ' You cannot restore to life the innocent ecclesiastics whom you have slain, but you can go and repair, and restore as far as is in your power, the churches and other buildings which you have ruined.' The sons of Ua Carra took an affectionate leave of St. Finnian, and as the Church of Tuam was the first which suffered from their plundering, they wished it to be the first that they should restore. They repaired it, and proceeded from place to place, making amends for the injury they had inflicted on the churches of Connaught. Having restored all the churches but one, the Ua Carra returned to St. Finnian, who inquired if they had finished their work. They replied, 'We have repaired all the churches but one.' ' Which is that?'asked Finnian. 'The Church of Ceann Mara (Kinvara),' they said. ' Alas !' said the saint, ' this was the first church you ought to have repaired the church of the holy man Coman ; return now, and repair every damage, you have done to that place.' The brothers obeyed St. Finnian's command, and restored the church. By the advice of St. Coman they built a canoe, and undertook a voyage on the Atlantic Ocean."

Thus far the tale refers to St. Finnian ; the voyage and its results does not come within the scope of this paper.

St. Finnian's mode of life was very austere, his usual food was bread and herbs ; on festival days he allowed himself a little beer or whey ; he slept on the bare grounds, and a stone served him for a pillow.

In his last illness the saint was attended by his former pupil St. Colomb, of Tir-da-Ghlas, who administered to him the Holy Viaticum. The Four Masters record his death A.D. 548; but the year 550 or 551 appears to be the correct date. It is stated in some of our annals that Finnian died of the plague ; there is no doubt that the plague was in Ireland during this period, viz., 548 and 551. In the Chronicon Scotorum, under 551, we read : "A great mortality, i. e., the Chronn Conaill." St. Finnian is enumerated among its victims.

This great saint is commemorated by Oenghus in the following verse :

" A Tower of Gold over the sea,
May he bring help to my soul,
Is Finnian fair, the beloved root
Of the great Cluain-Eraird."

St. Finnian's sister, St. Regnach, was Abbess of Kilreynagh, near the present town of Banagher, King's County.

Hardy, in his Descriptive Catalogue of British History, mentions four lives of St. Finnian: viz., Ex. MS. Salmanticensis (which is given by Colgan) ; MS. Life, Duke of Devonshire ; MS. Trinity College, Dublin, referred to by Bishop Nicholson in his Irish Historical Library ; and MS. Bodleian Library, which begins thus : " Fuit vir nobilia in Hiberniae partibus." (Hardy's Catalogue, p. 128, vol. i., part 1.)

December 12th (the day of his death) is observed as his Feast.

JOHN M. THUNDER.

Irish Ecclesiastical Record, Volume 13 (1892), 810-815.
http://www.archive.org/details/s3p2irishecclesi13dubluoft
 

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St. Stylianus -- Commemorated on November 26

Saint Stylianus was born in Paphlagonia of Asia Minor sometime between the fourth and sixth centuries. He inherited a great fortune from his parents when they died, but he did not keep it. He gave it away to the poor according to their need, desiring to help those who were less fortunate.

Stylianus left the city and went to a monastery, where he devoted his life to God. Since he was more zealous and devout than the other monks, he provoked their jealousy and had to leave. He left the monastery to live alone in a cave in the wilderness, where he spent his time in prayer and fasting.

The goodness and piety of the saint soon became evident to the inhabitants of Paphlagonia, and they sought him out to hear his teaching, or to be cured by him. Many were healed of physical and mental illnesses by his prayers.

St Stylianus was known for his love of children, and he would heal them of their infirmities. Even after his death, the citizens of Paphlagonia believed that he could cure their children. Whenever a child became sick, an icon of St Stylianus was painted and was hung over the child's bed.

At the hour of his death, the face of St Stylianus suddenly became radiant, and an angel appeared to receive his soul.

Known as a protector of children, St Stylianus is depicted in iconography holding an infant in his arms. Pious Christians ask him to help and protect their children, and childless women entreat his intercession so that they might have children.

(From oca.org)
 

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Celtic and Old English Saints          24 January

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St. Manach of Lemonaghan
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St. Manchan lived in Leamonaghan, it is about two kilometres from
Pollagh. St. Kieran of Clonmacnoise gave him some land and he formed a
monastery in the year 645 AD. Nothing now remains but the ruins and the
surrounding graveyard. The foundations of the original buildings may still
be traced but the larger ruins are those of a church built at a later date.

About 500m from the monastery is a little stone house which Monchan built
for his mother Mella. This place is known locally as Kell and the ruins of
the house can still be visited today. It is said that one day the saint was
thirsty and there was no water at the monastery. He struck a rock and a
spring well bubbled up, it is now known as St. Manahan's well. It is visited
by people from all around especially on January 24 each year. It is claimed
that many people have been cured of diseases after visiting the well.

There are many stories about the saint. One of the most famous of them
explains why the people of Lemonaghan will not sell milk. St. Manchan had a
cow that used to give milk to the whole country side for which there was no
charge. The cow became famous and the neighbouring people of Kill-Managhan
got jealous and stole his cow. When St. Manchan eventually found his cow it
was dead, he struck it with a stick and the cow came back to life and
returned to supplying milk.

St. Manchan's shrine was made in 1130 AD in Clonmacnoise, it contains
some of his bones including the femur. On the shrine are placed brass
figures, in 1838 it was placed in Boher church. It is the largest shrine
of its kind in existence today. The guardians of the shrine through
the centuries are the Mooney family (my ancestors!)

St Manchan's Shrine is preserved in Boher church, near-by. This shrine is
the largest and most magnificent ancient reliquary in Ireland and was made
at Clonmacnois about AD 1130. It is a gabled box of yew wood with gilt,
bronze, and enamelled fittings. It still contains the relics of the saint.
There are ten remaining figures of a possible 50 or 52 on the cover.

Shrine of Saint Manchan
http://www.ardaghdiocese.org/page5.html
http://www.ardaghdiocese.org/img20.gif
http://www.ardaghdiocese.org/img21.gif



St. Manchan lived in Lemonaghan for 19 years. During this time he looked
after the spiritual needs of the locality. He waas known for his kindness
and generosity, his wisdom and his knowledge of sacred scripture.

In 664 AD he became ill and was struck down by the yellow plague a disease
which desolated Ireland at the time. He died and wad buried locally. After
his death the place became known as 'Liath Manchan', which means Manchan's
grey land.
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How St. Manchan came to Lemonaghan

In 644, Diarmuid, High King of Ireland was on his way to fight a battle
against Guaire, the King of Connaught, when he stopped off at Clonmacnois to
ask the monks for their prayers for his success. Having won the battle, a
grateful Diarmuid granted Ciarбn, abbot of Clonmacnois, the "island in the
bog" which we now know as Lemonaghan, provided that he send one of his monks
there to Christianize it.

St. Ciaran chose St. Manchan for the mission. The thriving community that
was already on the island were converted to Christianity by St. Manchan. He
then went on to establish a monastery there. He built a cell for his mother,
St. Mella, in an adjoining piece of high ground, and the intervening bog was
bridged by a togher or walkway made from sandstone laid on brushwood and
gravel. St. Manchan is alleged to have taken a vow never to look at a woman
as part of his orders, so he is supposed to have had to sit back to back
with his mother in order to communicate with her.

St. Manchan had many followers at Lemonaghan and ancient headstones still
survive from the era. St. Manchan's well was used for cures since pagan
times, and continues to be used for a variety of cures today, as is the holy
water font in the ruined church in the graveyard.
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St. Manchan
a visit to a historic Offaly centre Monday, 24th January
Midland Tribune 27th April 1935
By Tomas O'Cleirigh, M.A., National Museum.

I was in the little two-horse train which labours west from Clara to
Banagher and the outlook was desolate. There was another chap in the
carriage. He sat hunched up in the corner with his nose to the window. One
glance convinced me that it was useless to say anything and there the two of
us kept on staring rather lovingly at a wilderness of bog stretching away to
the Slieve Bloom Mountains. It seemed to me that there was a kind of
promised land on the other side. On past a few scattered farm houses some
grey boulders and the ruins of a church. I found myself thinking dismally
enough of the tourists. After all what do they get? Just ruins, ruins and
more ruins- the saddest ruins in Europe. Then suddenly I heard my friend of
the opposite corner speak in a mournful kind of way with his nose still
glued to the window - "That's Leamanaghan, a quare kind of place, decent
people, too, the best in the world, people who'd give you all the milk you
could drink but wouldn't sell a drop of it for all the gold in Ireland and
it's all by raison of a cow, saint Manchan's cow."

The Grey Land

I went through a storm of real Irish rain to see Leamanaghan that very
evening. It is four miles from Ferbane in County Offaly and hidden away in a
vast bog region which is dotted with scattered boulders of magnesian
limestone. The general depression is summed up in the name - Liath Manchan -
the grey land of Manchan. Aye! The grey, lonely, chill land of Manchan. St.
Manchan lived here and died in A.D. 664. That might have been only
yesterday, however as far as the good neighbours are concerned because he is
the one subject over which every man, woman and child can get really
voluble.

I was taken to see the ruins of his church and then down to his well and
heard how when you are sick should pray here, walk three times round it and
then, go back and leave a little present for the saint himself in the window
of the church. He had quite a good collection when I was there - a strangely
human and pathetic little collection among which I noticed a girl's brooch,
some small religious articles, a boy's penknife, a G.A.A. footballer's medal
and strangest gift of all for a saint of Manchan's calibre - a demure little
vanity box! After that I was told that on the 24th January when all the rest
of the world works, the people of Leamanaghan just take a holiday and make
merry because it would be the unpardonable sin to think of work on their
Saint's day.

The Saint's Cow

They have all kinds of stories about the good saint but the best one of them
all explains why Leamanaghan people don't sell milk. Here it is -
Saint Manchan had a cow - a wonderful cow that used to give milk to the
whole countryside - good, rich milk for which no charge was ever made by the
saint. Then, the people of the neighbouring Kill Managhan got jealous and
watched and there chance. One fine day when Manchan was absent they came and
stole the cow and started to drive her along the togher through the bog back
home to Kill Managhan. The good cow, suspecting something was wrong, went
backwards and most unwillingly, fighting, struggling and disputing every
inch of the way. Now she'd slip designedly on the stones: again she'd lie
down but every where she went, she managed to leave some trace of her rough
passage on the stones of the togher. The marks are there to this day, - hoof
marks, tail marks - every kind of marks and the chef-d'oeuvre of them all
has a place of honour at the entrance to the little school. Alas! In spite
of that very gallant resistance, the cow was finally driven to Kill
Managhan. There, horrible to say, she was killed and skinned.

In the meantime, the saint returned, missed his cow, and straightaway
started in pursuit. He succeeded in tracing the thieves by the marks on the
stones and arrived just at the moment when she was about to be boiled. He
carefully picked the portions out of the cauldron pieced them together,
struck at them with his stick and immediately the cow became alive again.
She was every bit as good as ever, too, except that she was a wee bit lame
on account of one small portion of a foot which was lost. She continued to
supply the milk as before, and, of course, no charge was made by the saint.
Ever since the famous custom still lives on, and good milk is given away but
never gold by the loyal people of Leamanaghan. Now, can any lover of the
grand faith of Medievaldom beat that?

The very old vellum books state that Manchan of Liath was like unto
Hieronomus in habits and learning. I can well believe it. Some distance away
from the church is the little rectangle cell which he built for his mother -
Saint Mella. Cold, austere and with no window, you get the shivers by even
looking at it. There is also a large flag-stone on the togher leading from
the well, and they say the saint and his mother used to meet here every day
and sit down back to back without speaking a word because the saint had
vowed never to speak to a woman!

A Famous Shrine

Leamanaghan people are, I gather, a tenacious class. Not only have they so
zealously guarded the cow tradition but they have succeeded, despite the
groans of sundry learned antiquarians, in still keeping in their midst the
saint's precious shrine. It has a special altar all to itself in the church
of Boher. But the first thing I noticed when I went along to see it was a
wonderful green in a Harry Clarke window. The shrine itself has been many
times described, notably so by the Rev James Graves in 1875.
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St. Manchan is credited with writing a poem in Irish that describes the
desire of the green martyrs:

Grant me sweet Christ the grace to find-
Son of the living God!-
A small hut in a lonesome spot
To make it my abode.
A little pool but very clear
To stand beside the place
Where all men's sins are washed away
By sanctifying grace.
A pleasant woodland all about
To shield it (the hut) from the wind,
And make a home for singing birds
Before it and behind.
A southern aspect for the heat
A stream along its foot,
A smooth green lawn with rich top soil
Propitious to all fruit.
My choice of men to live with me
And pray to God as well;
Quiet men of humble mind --
Their number I shall tell.
Four files of three or three of four
To give the Psalter forth;
Six to pray by the south church wall
And six along the north.
Two by two my dozen friends --
To tell the number right --
Praying with me to move the King
Who gives the sun its light.


St Manach's Shrine
http://www.offalyhistory.com/content/reading_resources/books_articles/manchans_shrine.htm
or
http://tinyurl.com/43qwo


These Lives are archived at:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celt-saints
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Antonis

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Our Father Saint Anthony was born into a wealthy family in Egypt around 254 AD. After reading and then teaching Matthew 19:21, or, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven; and come, follow Me" he sold everything he owned and gave the money to the poor. He then left his home city of Coma and became a disciple of a local anchorite. He later left civilization completely to live in a desert region west of Alexandria. The devil fought St. Anthony by "afflicting him with boredom, laziness, and the phantoms of women, which he overcame by the power of prayer" according to Athanasius of Alexandria. After these trials he moved to a tomb where he depended only on local villagers to supply him with food. When the devil saw his intense worship, he beat him and left him unconscious. When villagers found him, they carried him to their local church.

After recovering, he left to live in an abandoned Roman fort where the devil attacked hime again with wild beasts, wolves, lions, snakes and scorpions. He laughed and said "If any of you have any authority over me, only one would have been sufficient to fight me."At that, they disappeared and God gave him victory. He emerged from the fort later with the help of nearby peasants and emerged healthy and serene. This amazed the villagers who thought that he would have gone mad.

He went to Alexandria to become a martyr and visited those who were imprisoned for their belief in Christ the Saviour. He was warned to never come back to the city, but he refused to heed the threats and continued returning. Despite him disobeying, he was not martyred.

He returned to the old fort where people visited to hear his teachings. These visitations kept him away from his worship, and so he went further into the Eastern Desert. He traveled for three days before finding a spring of water and palm trees where he settled down. This spot is now the place where St. Anthony the Great Monastery stands. He adopted a life of "prayer and work" by participating in manual labor like cultivating a cardon and weaving mats from rushes.

In what is considered another great achievement of his life, he was summoned by Athanasius of Alexandria to refute the teachings of Arias, and in this he succeeded.

As his end drew near, he had his disciples give his staff to St. Macarius and sheepskin cloaks to Saint Athanasius and St. Serapion. He told his disciples to bury him in an unmarked grave, so that his body would not be divided into pieces, as was the custom in Egypt during that time. He lived for a long 105 years.
 

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St. Hierarch-Martyr Adalbert, the Enlightener of Prussia

Commemorated on 23rd of April​

Adalbert (Vojtěch) was born into a noble Czech family of Prince Slavník and his wife Střezislava in Libice nad Cidlinou, Bohemia. The Chambers Biographical Dictionary mistakenly gives his year of birth as 939. His father was a rich and independent ruler of the Zličan princedom that rivaled Prague (see Slavník's dynasty). Adalbert had five full brothers: Soběslav (Slavnik's heir), Spytimír, Pobraslav, Pořej, Čáslav and a half-brother Radim (Gaudentius) from his father's liaison with another woman. Radim chose a clerical career as did Adalbert, and took the name Gaudentius. Adalbert was a well-educated man, having studied for about ten years (970-80) in Magdeburg under Saint Adalbert of Magdeburg. Upon the death of his mentor, he took the name Adalbert. Gifted and industrious, Adalbert soon became well-known all over Europe.

In 980 Adalbert finished his studies at Magdeburg school and returned to Prague, where he became a priest. In 981 his father, Prince Slavnik, and both his mentors died.

In 982, still not yet thirty years old, Adalbert became the Bishop of Prague. Although Adalbert descended from a rich family and could afford comfort and luxury, he lived poorly of his own free will. He was noted for charity, austerity, and zealous service to the Church. His duty was difficult even in baptized Bohemia, as the pagan creed was deeply embedded in the peoples' minds. Adalbert complained of polygamy and idolatry, which still were not unusual among the Czechs. He also strongly resented the participation of baptized Christians in the slave trade.

In 989 he resigned from his bishop's cloth and left Prague. He went to Rome and lived as a hermit in St. Alexis Benedictine monastery.

Four years later, in 993, Pope John XV sent him back to Bohemia. Adalbert became the Bishop again. That time he founded a monastery in Břevnov, near Prague, the first one in the Czech lands. Nonetheless, the nobility there continued to oppose his ministry. Also, according to Cosmas' chronicle, high clerical office was a burden to Adalbert, and in 994 he offered it to Strachkvas who was Přemyslid and Duke Boleslav's brother. Strachkvas, nevertheless, refused.

In 995 Slavniks' former rivalry with the Přemyslids (alied with Vršovci) resulted in the storming of Libice led by Boleslaus II the Pious. During the struggle four (or five) Adalbert's brothers were murdered. Thus the Zličan princedom became part of the Přemyslids' estate.

Adalbert damned the murderers (Vršovci) in church and, according to the legend, predicted that Vršovci would be severely persecuted. After the tragedy he could not stay in Bohemia and escaped from Prague, despite the Pope's call for him to return to his episcopal see. Strachkvas was eventually appointed to be his successor. However, when he was going to assume the Bishop office in Prague, he suddenly died during the ceremony itself. Circumstances of his death are still unclear.

As for Adalbert, he went to Hungary and baptized Géza of Hungary and his son Stephen in the city of Esztergom. Then he went to Poland where he was cordially welcomed by Bolesław I the Brave. After the short visit Adalbert went to Prussia with a Christian mission.

Adalbert of Prague had already in 977 entertained the idea of becoming a missionary in Prussia. After he had converted Hungary, he was sent by the Pope to convert the heathen Prussians. Boleslaus the Brave, duke of Poland (later king), sent soldiers with Adalbert. The bishop and his followers - including his half-brother Radim (Gaudentius) - entered Prussian territory and went along the Baltic Sea coast to Gdańsk.

It was a standard procedure of Christian missionaries to try to chop down sacred oak trees, which they had done in many other places, including Saxony. Because the trees were worshipped and the spirits who were believed to inhabit the trees were feared for their powers, this was done to demonstrate to the non-Christians that no supernatural powers protected the trees from the Christians.

When they did not heed warnings to stay away from the sacred oak groves, Adalbert was executed for sacrilege, which his co-religionists interpreted as martyrdom, in April 997 on the Baltic Sea coast east of Truso (currently Elbląg, Elbing), or near Tenkitten and Fischhausen. It is recorded that his body was bought back for its weight in gold by Boleslaus the Brave.

Unfortunately he is not officialy venerated by the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church.

source
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St. Hieromartyr Paul and St. Martyr Joanna

Commemorated on 15th of August and on first Sunday of June (Synaxis of Saints of Kholm and Podlachia)​


Saint Martyr Paul Szwajko was born in 1893 in Zabłotce village (Brody district). After finishing school he attended the Seminary in Jekaterynosław (now Dniepropietrowsk), which he graduated from in June 1918. He soon returned to his home region. When Paul was 30, he married 24-year-old Joanne Łotocka in the Orthodox St. Nikolai Church in Gaje Lewiatyńskie village (Krzemieniec district) in the Wołyń region. Joanne got higher education in economics – she graduated from School of Economics. In September 1924 Paul was ordained a deacon and then a priest, the latter in St. John the Theologist Orthodox Church in Chełm, by metropolitan Dionisius. His first parish was in Potok Górny, Biłgoraj region. At the end of 1927 the priest was sent to Łemkowszczyzna region; his parishes, among others, were Świątkowa Wielka and Desznica (Jasło district) villages. His parishioners were Łemks who were reconverting to the Orthodoxy. In 1938, during the persecution of the Orthodox people in Chełm region, 44-year-old Paul became a parish priest in Siedliska in Zamość region. At that difficult time, when Orthodox people were forced to convert to the Catholic faith, the priest struggled to strengthen the parishioners in their faith. During the war Saint Paul worked in various parishes in Chełm region, among others, Śniatycze. There was a great hostility towards the Orthodox people and that is why the priest and his wife experienced robberies and were beaten. In 1943 he was sent to Grabowiec (Hrubieszów district). On the feast day of Dormition of the Theotokos, Paul and his wife died as martyrs.

source
an icon: http://www.cerkiew.pl/index.php?id=swieci&tx_orthcal[sw_id]=995&cHash=cc7e3b2797
 

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Some Irish Saints of March

Below is an article on some of the saints whose feasts occur within this
month. Not surprisingly, Saint Patrick is the first saint the author
deals with and as the article dates from 1921, she presents the
traditional view of our patron as the all-conquering national apostle.

I am always interested to see which saints are selected by writers at
different times, here we have not only the well-known Saints Patrick
and Kiaran of Saighir, but the lesser-known Finian the leper as well
as two missionary saints of European fame - Frigidian and Fridolin.

Interestingly, the article ends with the English Saint Cuthbert, whom
various Irish writers of that era were keen to claim as being of Irish
descent or birth. 1921 was of course a rather momentous year in Irish
history and the chance to claim that one of the greatest of England's
saints was really an Irishman doubtless acquired an added piquancy!

Irish Saints in March.

http://brigid-undertheoak.blogspot.com/2010/03/irish-saints-of-march.html

 

ozgeorge

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Alexios Man of God
Commemorated on March 17th




The rare title, "Man of God," was bestowed on St. Alexios for the manner in which he gave himself over to Jesus Christ, forsaking a bride even at the altar in order to fulfill 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 AD 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 St. 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 St. 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 St. Peter's. He died for Christ on 17 March 440AD, after thirty-four years of celibacy and anonymity.
 

ozgeorge

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Our Righteous Father James the Confessor


St James the Confessor took up the monastic life from his youth in the Monastery of Studite, where he became a disciple of St 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). St 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. St Theodore composed a homily in honour of this St 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".
 

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Saint Anatole of Optina

Commemorated 30 July, and 11 October (Common Feast for all the Optina Elders)



Monks at Optina, Before the 1917 Revolution


A Visit to Optina

Prince G.N. Trubetskoy, Russian Ambassador to Serbia during World War
I, concludes his memoirs of those years with the following passage:


            I do not wish to lay aside my pen without relating the
last impression with which the year 1916 ended for me.


            Before going to Vasilyevskoe, my olderst son Kostya and I
decided to go to Optina Hermitage.  I had thought about this long ago
and Kostya was interested in the accounts of his friend, Misha
Olsufev, who had been at Optina not long before this.  We had at our
disposal two days in all for we wished by Christmas Eve to go to
Vasilyevskoe.  Those two days spent at Optina Hermitage left, however,
on both of us an unforgettable impression.


            First and foremost, on entering the monastery, I felt such
peace and quiet which could not fail to react upon the most perturbed
and frenzied soul.  Here at the threshold of the monastery gate
earthly anxieties subsided.  Around these churches and cells
generations of prayerful people had created an atmosphere of spiritual
concentration.


            In the morning after Divine Liturgy I went to the Elder,
Fr. Anatoly.  He lived in a small white house with columns and a
superstructure.  Mounting several steps onto the porch, I opened the
outer door and went into a passage, where quite a number of visitors
were sitting along the walls.  Some for want of a place were
standing.  Here were persons of every calling, townspeople and country
folk, wandering pilgrims, monks and nuns, but most numerous were the
peasant men and women.  There were those from afar and those from
nearby.  They all were waiting for the Elder to come out, some for
several hours.  In the room silence reigned, occasionally interrupted
by some brief conversation in a half-whisper.  What faces, what eyes.
I was struck especially by one peasant with a handsome, fine-looking
face, a big Russian beard and a deep, fixed look from under
overhanging brows.  It was evident that a great worry lay on his
heart, which he was bringing to the Elder.  Beside him sat an officer,
probably from the front, while opposite him was a young pilgrim with
long hair.  He was gnawing a hunk of black bread.  Near the door stood
a woman with a city look, probably one of the regular visitors, who
knew the customs and routines.  With her were children, including a
diminutive schoolboy, probably of the preparatory class.  “Last year
Fr. Varnava every time used to give me an apple,” he said dreamily.
“You see, you were still little then,” his mother remarked in an
admonishing tone.  “I’m not expecting it now,” the boy answered with
dignity, although one felt that he would by no means refuse an apple
if it were offered.


            The door creaked and opened.  Out came the Elder’s
attendant, Fr. Varnava, with a wonderful gentle face and voice.  On
seeing me he approached and inquired where I was from and who I was.
Then he went to report to the Elder and after a minute asked me to go
in.  I passed through a small ante-chamber and went into a little
room.  I had only laid eyes on the Elder and wished to bow to him,
when he turned toward the icons and began to pray, as if inviting me
to begin with that.  Then he bowed to me, pointed to a chair, and sat
down himself, and here I looked him over.  He was a little, bent, old
man with a grayish beard, small facial features, all covered with
wrinkles, diminutive, and somehow otherworldly.  When he addressed me
in his kindly, old man’s voice, I did not immediately understand him.
He spoke rapidly and mumbled.  Everything that he said was perfectly
simple and ordinary, but besides the words which I heard from him
something far more significant issued from his personality.  He
proposed to me to make my confession reading aloud a confession of
sins written in Old Slavonic characters.  I was struck by the fact
that although the same confession was read by every one, he listened
attentively to every word and, as it were, pondered.  That inner
spiritual ear, which detected the true thoughts of the heart in an
intonation emphasized or underemphasized, was in his case probably
developed to a high degree.  At the same time he was quickly thumbing
through a pile of printed leaflets, setting some of them aside.  At
the end of confession he gave them to me.  These were pamphlets of
varied, edifying contents and of course not of identical value, but
there was one which he purposedly looked for and gave to Kostya to
pass on to me.  In it there was told of the confession of a certain
wandering pilgrim.  I was amazed on reading this pamphlet; it so
corresponded to that feeling which I myself experienced yet did not
fully acknowledge during confession.  Clearly, the Elder’s spiritual
insight gave him to understand that precisely that one should be given
to me.  The Elder blessed me with a little icon.


            In the afternoon my son Kostya visited him, then on the
following day after partaking of Holy Communion we again called on
him, and he received each of us separately and spoke with each.  I was
glad to see how happy and deeply moved Kostya was when he emerged from
the Elder’s cell.  The second visit left a still greater impression
upon me than the first.  It is impossible to communicate the Elder’s
conversation; it might seem ordinary, uninteresting.  The charms of
his personality, the light with which he shone, were incommunicable.
In the beginning his eyes seemed small, but during the conversation,
under the impression of the heart-felt tenderness which he imparted,
they grew as it were and seemed huge.  In his glance one felt a
burning, which was assimilated.  He penetrated into the soul and spoke
with it in an inaudible yet unceasing speech, and I felt that which I
had very rarely experienced in a dream, in contact with the dead, when
an ineffable communion and union of souls occurs.  I pray that no one,
when I am no longer among the living, on reading these lines will take
them for an exaggeration, the fruit of an abnormal fantasy.


            As I write I try to remember conscientiously, to realize,
and to communicate my experience but feel that I am unable to do this
properly and therefore can of course be guilty though
unintentionally.  Only I should not wish in any way to becloud the
clear, radiant image of the Elder with his great, gentle, loving
spirit, the living incarnation of the apostolic behest, which at one
time my mother wrote on the title page of the New Testament which she
gave me:


Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice.  Let your
moderation be known unto all men.  The Lord is at
hand.                                                (Phil. 4:4)


His spiritual, loving cheerfulness formed the special charm of the
Elder.  That is the spirit which inspired Dostoevsky when he created
the Elder Zosima in The Brothers Karamazov.  The forms of the
Christian spirit and of Christian activity are very varied.


In the Optina Hermitage the joy of a gentle, loving spirit was handed
down from one Elder to another and preserved like a living and sacred
tradition, and it is felt like a great force.


Those monks with whom we came into contact, Fr. Martinian in charge of
the monastery guest house, where we stayed on the instructions of my
niece, S.F. Samarin, who directed me to him; the attendant of Fr.
Anatoly, Fr. Varnava, the monk who managed the monastery bookstore –
they all as it were reflected in themselves the same loving, kindly
spirit, whose living source was in the cell of the Elder.


Church service in the Optina Hermitage was not as fine as one might
have expected.  The war had touched even the monastery and about 150
novices had been called up for military service, as a consequence of
which the singing and church services could not be conducted with the
former splendor.  They served better, more distinctly in the skete, in
the chapel.  The skete stood in a pine forest.  We were there during
the night.  A full moon illumined the tall pines covered with hoar-
frost.  White snow glistened on the road and in the clearings.  Far
off, at the end of the road, the enclosure of the skete showed white.
The long, drawn-out ringing of the bell called at midnight to matins.


Everything together created inexpressible poetry, elevated and deeply
akin to the spirit of the people.  And in the daytime when I returned
to my cozy attic room I saw how on the porch of the monastery church
an old, bent monk with a gray beard was scattering grain, and on all
sides doves were flying down, fluttering like a halo around him.
Where is war, where are politics and agitation!  Peace and rest, but
the rest is not idle or empty; it is impregnated with prayer and a
burning of the spirit – that is the last bright image of the
disquieting year 1916, on which I conclude, for before what should one
fall silent if not before this foreshadowing of the pacification of
everything earthly, of eternal rest, and of God’s peace.


(Translated by Mr. M.W. Mansur from Ruskaya Diplomatia 1914-1917 i
Voina na Balkanakh by Kn. Y.N. Trubetskoy, $18; available at Holy
Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, N.Y. 13361.)


Following such a wonderful introduction to Elder Anatole, we would be
remiss were we not to include a passage from Russia’s Catacomb Saints
which described the way in which he received a martyr’s crown


One of the first targets of the Soviet campaign to liquidate religion
was Holy Russia’s monasteries.  Optina became State property.  “Thanks
to the efforts of local lay believers, the monastery achieved the
status of a State museum, with one church being allowed to function.”
The monks were terribly harrassed; some fled, others were arrested.


“Starets Anatole’s turn finally came.  Red Army soldiers arrested him
several times, shaved him, tortured and mocked him.  He suffered much,
but he still received his spiritual children whenever he could.
Towards evening on July 29th, 1922, a Soviet commission came,
interrogated him for a long time, and was supposed to arrest him.  But
the Starets, without protesting, modestly begged a 24-hour delay in
order to prepare himself.  His cell-attendant, the hunchback Father
Barnabas, was menacingly told to prepare the Elder for departure, as
he would be taken away the next day; and with this they left.


“Night came on and the Starets began to prepare himself for his
journey.  The following morning the commission returned.  Leaving
their cars, they asked the cell- attendant, “Is he ready?”  “Yes,”
answered Fr. Barnabas, “the Starets is ready.  And opening the door he
led them to the Elder’s quarters.  Here a disconcerting picture
presented itself to their astonished gaze:  the Starets, having indeed
‘prepared himself,’ lay dead in his coffin in the middle of the room!
The Lord had not allowed His faithful servant to be mocked any
further, but had taken him to Himself that very night.”


(from Orthodox America)
 

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The Life of Saint Rupert of Salzburg, Apostle to Bavaria and Austria
http://orthodoxengland.org.uk/oeaustri.htm

March 27th (OS) is the feast of St Rupert, a most holy and blessed man. This feast commemorates the day of his repose, which brings spiritual joy to devout minds and refreshes hearts throughout the entire year. As the Scriptures say, "The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance." He who passes into the angels' joy is made worthy of men's remembrance: as the Scriptures say, "A wise son is the glory of the father," and how great is his glory, who redeemed so many barbarian nations through the knowledge of God in Christ Jesus through the Gospel!

When Childebert the king of the Franks was in the second year of his reign, the Bishop of Worms was the Holy Confessor Rupert, who was born into the ranks of the Frankish nobility, but was far more noble in faith and piety. He was gentle and chaste, simple and prudent, devout in praise of God, full of the Holy Spirit. He was also circumspect in his decisions and righteous in his judgement. He possessed great spiritual discernment, and his good deeds formed his flock into true images of Christ, for he inspired them not only with his words, but by the example of his works. He often kept vigil, weakened himself with fasting, and adorned his works with compassion. He gave away his riches that the poor might not go hungry, believing himself to be one who should clothe the naked and help the destitute.

When the great fame of this most venerable man had spread to the ends of the world, powerful men, not only in that region but from other nations, poured in to hear his most holy teaching. Some with many sorrows came to receive consolation through his holy words, and other churchmen came to learn the purity of true Orthodoxy from him. Many were freed from the snares of the ancient enemy by his loving spiritual advice, and were able to set out on the path to salvation. But unbelievers, who were numerous in the vicinity of Worms, not understanding his holiness, exiled him from the city in a most shameful manner. They caused him terrible suffering and beat him with rods. At that time Theodo, the Duke of Bavaria, hearing about the miracles which this most holy man had performed and of his blessedness, desired to meet him. With firm resolve he dispatched his most trusted men to summon him to his court and to enquire of him how long might he consent to visit the regions of Bavaria, and could he instruct him in the way of life-giving faith? The blessed bishop, having received such a sincere and heartfelt request knew that it came from Divine dispensation and thanked the Merciful One, because "those who sat in the darkness and the shadow of death" longed to know the author of life, Jesus Christ.

As a result of this he sent his own priests, as if they were rays of faith, to return with the ambassadors of the Duke, and he himself after a short time undertook the journey to Bavaria. When the Duke heard the news that the blessed one was on his way he was overcome with great joy, and he and a large retinue hastened to meet St Rupert, overtaking the saint in the city of Regensburg. Although exhausted and hungry from his long journey, St Rupert, right away began to reveal to the Duke the mystery of the heavens and instructed him in the Orthodox faith. He convinced the Duke to renounce the worship of idols, and baptized him in the name of the Holy and Indivisible Trinity. The nobles and the simple people were also baptized with the noble duke, praising Jesus Christ the Saviour of the world, who considered them worthy to be called wondrously into His light from their darkness through His confessor, the most blessed Rupert. By his holy words their darkened hearts were enlightened and the souls of the unbaptized thirsted for the fountain of life.

When the saint had revealed Divine Truth by having baptized the Duke and his people, Theodo came to understand the mystery of saving baptism. He begged the holy Rupert to carry the light of Orthodoxy to others and the saint, fulfilling his desire, boarded a ship and sailed down the River Danube. Through the towns, villas, and forts, he declared the gospel of Christ in a great voice. To the ends of Noricum, into the lower parts of Pannonia, he brought the light of the teachings of Christ which illumines all. Having returned by land, he entered Lauriacum (torch on the River Enns), in whose water he baptized many, freeing them from the worship of idols. In the name of Jesus Christ he healed many who had been oppressed by various illnesses and passions. After he left Lauriacum he saw the spiritual darkness of the tribes in that region; he boldly undertook to smash images and to proclaim everywhere the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ as well as His most holy incarnation. He brought them to believe that He truly is both God and man, truly begotten of the Father before all ages. He taught them that Christ is the Word of God conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary for the salvation of mankind.

Having accepted the episcopacy after being entreated to do so by the Duke and his people, he went to the placid waters of Lake Wallersee, where a church had been built in honour of the chief apostle Peter. He moved from there to the Juvavian (Salzach) River, the site of the city of Juvavia, which had been erected in ancient, tumultuous times. At one time it had had great importance among Bavarian cities, but by the time St Rupert arrived it had become overgrown with trees and weeds and only a few people lived among the ruins. The servant of God considered this a suitable place for his episcopal cathedral, because being situated high in the mountains, it was far from the tumult and distractions of crowds. He went before the duke, and spoke to him with great enthusiasm about his plan to build a basilica there in honour of the blessed Peter, Chief of the Apostles. He was granted the vast sums needed to build the splendid church by the generosity of Theodo. When the church was finished he ordained priests, and commanded them to celebrate the daily offices in canonical order. The saint of God then wished to enlarge his holdings in the vicinity of the cathedral, so he petitioned the Duke for yet another donation, and with the funds donated to him he purchased the estate known as Piding for thousands of solidi, a great sum of money at the time. Thus, by the will of God and the bequests of kings, noblemen, and the faithful, the centre of spiritual life for the kingdom began to grow.

Here is an account of a wondrous event in the life of St Rupert. Some very reliable men came to the blessed hierarch and told him of an amazing phenomenon which had taken place when they had gone into an unnamed wilderness area now called Bongotobum (Pongau). Three or four times they had seen heavenly lights shining like bright lamps in the sky and they had also experienced a wonderful fragrance in the same place. The pious bishop sent the priest Domingus to Bongotobum because of the reports which he received concerning these lights. It was his desire that the priest would verify the authenticity of these wonders by erecting in that location a wooden cross which the holy one had made and blessed with his own hands. When Domingus arrived, he at once began the First Hour with the monks who had come with him. They saw a bright heavenly light which descended from the sky and lit up the entire region with the brightness of the sun. Domingus saw this vision on three nights in a row, and experienced the wondrous fragrance as well. He erected the blessed cross in that place, and it was miraculously transported to a spot above the dwelling of St Rupert, confirming the truthfulness of what had been reported to him! St Rupert took word of the miraculous occurrence to Theodo and then he himself went into the wilderness to the very spot, and seeing that it was suitable for habitation, began to cut down aged oaks and brought in building materials that he might build a church with dwellings for a monastic community..

At about the same time, Theodo fell into ill health, and felt the end of his life approaching. He called to his bedside his son Theodobert, appointing him the Duke of Noricum, admonishing him to be obedient to St Rupert and to aid him in his holy work as well as to firmly establish and support the Juvavian church with love, honour, and dignity. He also adjured him to protect and exalt it. When he had instructed his son in all good things and had given him his final testament, he ended his earthly life and fell asleep in the Lord. After the repose of his God-fearing father, Duke Theodobert along with his nobles remained followers of St Rupert because of his great sanctity. Having travelled to see the saint in his far hermitage, the duke honoured him with pious affection and went to pray in the church which the saint had built there. The duke donated three parcels of land in honour of St Maximilian and gave property on all sides of the forest, as well as an estate in the Alps. He gave gifts to support the monastery and the hieromonks whom the most blessed Rupert had ordained for the Service of God.

When this had been accomplished, the man of God saw that the most noble man of Bavaria had submitted himself to the yoke of Christ and had left worldly concerns to the lesser men of his kingdom. St Rupert then accompanied the duke back to his homeland and then returned with twelve of his closest spiritual children (among whom were Kuniald and St Gisilarius, both priests and both holy men). His niece, St Ermentrude, a virgin dedicated to Christ also accompanied them to the city of Juvavia. There in the main fortress of the city he built a monastery in honour of Our Lord Jesus Christ the Saviour and His Most Pure Mother, the Ever-Virgin Mary. He placed as abbess in that monastery St Ermentrude, that she might serve the King of Heaven. With the generous support of Duke Theodobert, who gave many gifts to the nuns, he established a monastery which had all its spiritual and physical needs well taken care of.

When all this had been accomplished, the blessed man became eager to complete the missionary efforts he had begun with the help of Christ. Accompanied by clergy and monastics, he resolved to visit his followers in the Norican kingdom. Having left the city of Juvavia he visited people on whom the light of faith had not yet shown, and he sowed the wheat of faith amid tares. The deception of the devil fled from the hearts of these barbarian tribes, and Rupert sowed in its place faith, love, mercy, and humility, for through these Christ, the giver and source of all good, is able to take up residence in the human heart. He travelled to all the ends of Bavaria, and converted the people to faith in Christ, and strengthened those who had remained steadily faithful. Having sent out several priests and men of God who brought the Divine Mysteries to the people, he became anxious to return to Juvavia. Because he had the gift from God of knowing the future, he knew that the day of his repose was at hand. He revealed this to his disciples, who were filled with sorrow and anguish. Because of this, there was much weeping and great mourning when he took leave of his newly enlightened Christian flock.

Filled with certainty and faith in Christ, St Rupert commended the city, the Norican people, and all who had been received into holy Orthodoxy to the Most High and All-Knowing God. He chose Vitale, a holy man whom the people themselves had accepted, as his successor. When the forty days of Great Lent had passed, Bishop Rupert became very ill and was exhausted by a high fever. When the most holy day of the Resurrection of Our Saviour Jesus dawned, he celebrated the solemn Liturgy, and was fortified for his final journey with the precious Body and Blood of Christ. He comforted his priests, monastics and flock with a beautiful sermon filled with much love. Then, surrounded by his weeping spiritual children he breathed his last and returned his most pure soul to God. A host of angels were sent by Christ and the saints in the heavens who bore his holy soul with melodious voices to eternal happiness. Thus the faithful servant of God rested in peace. He whose life was praiseworthy and blameless was in death equally blessed. Thus it is written: "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." Shortly after his repose many miracles were attributed to him, for God was gracious through the relics of His saint and manifested His tender mercy. By the prayers of the friend of God, St Rupert, the faithful were comforted and the Church adorned through innumerable miracles. Indeed the Blessed God, One in three Persons, lives and reigns; to Him be all praise and glory unto the ages of ages. Amen.
 

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THE PRE-SCHISM ORTHODOX SAINTS WHO
EVANGELIZED WESTERN EUROPE & THE SCANDINAVIAN LANDS


The chart of Icons below is an indicative but prayerful reminder to all the peoples of the present-day European Continent that our Holy Orthodox Faith, in the person of all the Saints who had evangelized its inhabitants during the first millennium A.D., is the only secure foundation upon which European unity should be built and continued.

May we all have their blessings!

http://www.oodegr.com/english/istorika/europe/orthodox_evangelists_west_europe.htm


 

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Henry (Heric)  June 24
+ c 880. Born in Hery in Yonne in France, he became a monk at Saint-Germain d'Auxerre.
More info, please.
 

mike

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mike said:
Henry (Heric)  June 24
+ c 880. Born in Hery in Yonne in France, he became a monk at Saint-Germain d'Auxerre.
More info, please.
OK, fuond more, but still not enough: http://www.aquinasandmore.com/fuseaction/store.PatronSaintPage/saint/176
 

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The Skull of St. Irene the Great Martyr in Patras


In the city of Patras in the district of Riganokampou a basilica dated from the 10th century was dedicated to St. Irene the Great Martyr of Thessalonike and was in operation until the 17th century. During a building project in the area of the church in 1984, the church was rediscovered. The excavation was funded by Ancient Byzantium, a local association of Patras.

This church at one time had been stavropegial, which means it was under the direct authority of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and had in its possession the sacred skull of St. Irene the Great Martyr. Records from those days show that this skull was called "the treasure of Patras". The skull was here until the Frankish Crusaders invaded Constantinople in the 13th century and later came to occupy Patras. During these dark times many relics from the Orthodox world were stolen and brought to the West, especially to France. The skull of St. Irene suffered this same fate.

During this Frankish Occupation of Patras, the Orthodox Metropolitan was removed and a Latin Archbishop from Rome was installed. The first archbishop was one Antelmus from Rome, who presided over the Latin Church of Patras for some twenty-seven years (1205-1232). During this time he sent the holy skull of St. Irene to Hautecombe Abbey in Savoy, France as "a gift". The document issued with the "gift" of the relic is dated 5 March 1231 and survives till this day, indicating not only the authenticity of the relic but also of the exchange of the relic from the church in Patras to the abbey in France.

All these discoveries were made when the Church of Saint Irene in Riganokampou was discovered and excavated. It was the desire of the local clergy and laity to restore this church and the name of St. Irene who was associated with the area. This was first undertaken by Metropolitan Nikodemos of Patras with the help of the local people who had a new church built dedicated to the holy martyr very near the old church, since the old church was not able to be fully restored. The foundations for this church were laid on 5 May 1994, the day that Saint Irene's feast is celebrated. A very large crowd was in attendance, as well as the Greek army and various politicians. It officially opened as a parish in August of 1999 and the first Divine Liturgy was celebrated on 3 October 1999. The consecration of the Holy Altar was done two years later on 30 September 2001 by Metropolitan Nikodemos of Patras.

With this first project completed, it was the desire of Metropolitan Nikodemos to have the skull of St. Irene returned to Riganokampou. These efforts began in 2001 when the Metropolitan as well as Mayor Evangelos Floratos of Patra took initiative by contacting the Vatican. In May 2002 Metropolitan Nikodemos, Mayor Evangelos and the parish priest of the Church of St. Irene met with Archbishop Paul Tavet at the Vatican. During this meeting they received permission from Pope John Paul II to be given the holy relic. It should be noted that after Vatican 2, the veneration of relics died down much in the West and St. Irene came to be regarded as a mythical figure of the early Church, which the Orthodox very much disagreed with. Archbishop Laurent Ulrich of Chambery was contacted in France as well as the abbot of Hautecombe Abbey Olivier Turbat to return the relic of St. Irene to the Orthodox of Patras. The holy skull of St. Irene was returned to Riganokampou on Saturday 5 October 2002 after 771 years amidst much joy and celebration and was handed over by the Catholic bishop of Chambery to Metropolitan Nikodemos. Over the next forty days a Divine Liturgy was celebrated daily together with a Supplication Service to the Saint as thousands came to venerate the holy relic and seek the Saint's intercessions.

In April of 2004 the holy skull of St. Irene was brought to Larnaka, Cyprus for ten days and was venerated by a great number of faithful there at the Church of Saint Irene.





For more, including the Life of Saint Irene, please go here
http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/05/skull-of-st-irene-great-martyr-in.html
 

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St. Anthony the Roman of Novgorod
(Feast Day - January 17 and August 3)



St. Anthony was born in Rome in 1067, soon after the Church of Rome had separated itself from the Universal Church. His parents remained faithful to the Orthodox teachings of the Eastern Churches, and raised their son in a spirit of Orthodox piety. St. Anthony was given a good education, and was able to read the Holy Scriptures in both Latin and Greek.

His parents died when he was seventeen, and he had already determined to dedicate his life to serving God. He took no interest in his material inheritance and, distributing it among the poor, left the noisy city with its many distractions in search of solitude. In a remote area of the country the youth joined a small community of monks who had likewise preserved their Orthodox faith. He spent twenty years there in ascetic labors, until the community was discovered by the Latins who demanded that the monks submit to the authority of the Papal Church. The persecuted monks were forced to disperse.

St. Anthony settled on a large rock at the very edge of the sea. There he labored for more than a year in solitary prayer, nourishing himself with wild grasses and roots. On September 5, 1105 a violent storm arose. An enormous wave lifted the rock on which the Saint was standing and miraculously transported it--as if it were a light boat-- across the sea, north to the river Neva, across Lake Ladoga, then upstream along the river Volkhov, until it arrived, by God's will, at Great Novgorod. On the Feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos, the stone halted 3 versts from Novgorod on the banks of the River Volkhov near the village of Volkhov. This event is testified to in the Novgorod Chronicles.






The Saint was overjoyed to learn from a Greek merchant that he was among Orthodox people. He gradually learned the language and was warmly received by the ruling bishop, St. Nikita the Hermit (January 31 and May 14). The bishop, hearing of St. Anthony's miraculous voyage, marveled and looked upon him as an angel of God. "The Lord has granted you great gifts, like unto those bestowed upon the ancient God-pleasers. God transported Elijah in a fiery chariot, the holy apostles flew through the air on clouds, and you have come to us across the waters on a rock. Through you the Lord has visited and blessed these newly-converted peoples."

There on the shore where the Saint had landed the bishop blessed him to build a church. In 1117, the saint built a stone church in honor of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos (in memory of the feast on which he miraculously arrived there). The church, built during the lifetime of St Anthony in the years 1117-1119 by the renowned Novgorod architect Peter, and adorned with frescoes in the year 1125, has been preserved to the present time.

St. Nikita's successor, the bishop St. Niphon, persuaded St. Anthony to become a priest and elevated him to the rank of abbot in 1131. St. Anthony wisely guided the monks in his care, without relaxing his ascetic labors. His cell and cell-chapel were so small that his spiritual struggle could be compared to that of the stylite saints.



In another year, fishermen recovered the barrel containing St Anthony's inheritance, cast into the sea many years before. The saint recognized his barrel, but the fishermen did not want to give it to him. Before a judge, St Anthony described the contents of the barrel, and it was returned to him. The saint used the money to buy land for the monastery. Spiritual asceticism was combined at the monastery with intense physical labor.

In his humility, St. Anthony had begged Bishop Nikita never to reveal the story of his miraculous voyage, but, nearing the end of his life, the Saint related the story to one of his monks, Andrew, and after his repose, on August 3, 1147, the miracle was made known to the glory of God and the edification of the faithful.

The monastery preserved St. Anthony's cenobitic rule, the rock on which he had been miraculously transported to Novgorod, a reed which he had held during his voyage, his vestments, and six icons dating from the Saint's lifetime.





St. Anthony's relics lay incorrupt in an open reliquary in the cathedral. His glorification in 1597 was promoted by Archimandrite Cyril of Trinity - St. Sergius Lavra, who received healing after praying before the Saint’s relics.

His memory is also celebrated (uncovering of his relics) on the first Friday after the Feast of the Foremost Apostles Peter and Paul (June 29), and on January 17, on the same day that St Anthony the Great is commemorated. The first Life of St Anthony the Roman was written soon after his death by his disciple and successor as igumen, the hieromonk Andrew. A Life, with an account of the uncovering of the relics, was written by a novice of the Antoniev monastery, the monk Niphon, in the year 1598.

St. Anthony the Roman is considered the father of monasticism in the Novgorod region.

http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/08/saint-anthony-roman-of-novgorod.html


 

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Saint Attracta  - 11 August
Life at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celt-saints


How The Celtic Cross Was Given To Ireland By God In This Church
Of Saint Attracta At Boyle in the Fifth Century


The following describes the incident chronicled in the Book of Armagh:-

It is related that when St. Patrick came to Boyle to ordain priests and
consecrate bishops for various missions he paid a visit to the new building
of St. Attracta. The good woman was pleased to have this opportunity of
having the place blessed by the apostle himself. We can easily understand
that this would be much more pleasing to her because of her peculiar
position between Connell and Dachonna, and so it must have. been a great
relief to her when the great man himself promised to offer the holy
sacrifice of the Mass for her, in her new building.

It would appear from the narrative that the place was not rightly furnished.
Bishop Assicus of Elphin was one of St. Patrick's smiths and is, therefore,
the true patron of Irish Art. He possibly forgot to send a paten when the
order came from Attracta, at any rate the story of the incident is :

" When every­thing was in readiness it was discovered that the -paten, for
the celebration of the Mass, was not at hand. St. Patrick was about to defer
the ceremony when Attracta interposed, telling the saint to proceed and that
God would provide the missing paten. He did so. The preparation for the
Sacred Mysteries had hardly commenced when a golden disc appeared above the
head of St. Attracta and gently rested on her shoulders as she bent in
silent prayer. Taking the mysterious gift she reverently ascended the steps
and placed it on the altar. The paten was found to be incised with a cross,
wrought within a circle. St. Patrick it is told, taking it in his hands,
said:-

' It is clear that the Lord God has listened to thy prayer, and it is
evident that the image which this paten bears must be preserved, because it
is given thee from on high. This holy cross shall receive its name from
thee, and the Irish shall hold it in veneration, as thou hast surpassed so
many others in sanctity. And now we consecrate it in the honour of God who
hath sent it to us, and whose name be ever glorified.'


We are told that " The O'Mochains were keepers of St. Attracta's Cross, in
the Book of Lecain."



 
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