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Offline Fr. George

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Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« on: December 06, 2007, 01:37:25 PM »
I want to start a location where we can post lives of the Saints, for people's edification, and to help bolster the resource material here on OC.net.

NO DEBATE PLEASE.

Below is a list of the Saints whose stories & sayings are in this thread, in order of posting.  A * indicates a duplicate entry (the first entry will not have the *).

If you are considering posting a new entry, please scan this list before you post.  You can use the search function of your browser to expedite the process, but remember that there may be alternate spellings (e.g. -us instead of -os) for the Saint's name.

Please include at least the name & feastday of the Saint, and a link to where the information comes from.

PAGE 1
St. Nicholas of Myra (Dec 6)
St. George (Apr 23)
All Saints of Britain and Ireland
St. Dympna of Gheel (May 15)
St. Peter of Alexandria (Hatour 29)
St. Kosmas Aitolos
Sts. Justinian & Theodora (Nov 14)
St. John of Damascus (Dec 4)
St. John of Otzoon
St. Lucy  (Dec 13)
Sts. Hermagoras and Fortunatus (Jul 12)
St. Juliana of Lazarevo
St. Savas the Sanctified (Dec 5)
Sts. Constantine & Helen (May 21)
St. Photios the Great (Feb 6)
St. Mark of Ephesus (Jan 19)
Sts. Rufus and Zosimus (Dec 18)
St. Sebastian & his companions
St. Elias the Cave-dweller (Sep 11)
St. Vrtanes
St. Krikoris
St. Husig
St. Patrick (Mar 17)
St. Sebastian of Rome (Dec 18)*
St. Laurence of Rome (Aug 10)
St. Maria Skobtsova (Jul 20)
St. Aristakes
St. Martin the Confessor (Apr 14)
St. Peter the Aleut (Sep 24/Dec 12)
St. Philothei (Feb 19)
St. Agatha of Palermo (Feb 5)
St. Ambrose of Milan (Dec 7)
Sts. Nicholas, Raphael, and Irene
St. Herman of Alaska (Aug 9 / Dec 13)
St. Hilary of Poitiers (Jan 13)
St. Martin of Tours (Nov 11)
St. Genevieve of Paris (Jan 3)

PAGE 2
St. Catherine (Nov 24)
St. Mary of Egypt (Apr 1)
St. Anastasia (Dec 22)
St. Sylvester (Jan 2)
St. Ammon (Dec 20)
St. Hripsime & St. Gayane & their companions
St. Ignatius (Dec 20)
St. Anastasios XII (Dec 21)
St. Moses
Sts. Sergius & Bacchus (Oct 7)
St. Juliana & her companions (Dec 21)
St. Zeno (Dec 22)
St. Chaeromon (Dec 22)
The Uncondemning Monk (Mar 30)
Sts. Emiliana & Tarsilla (Dec 24)
St. Stephen (Dec 27)
Sts. Gaspar & Balthasar (Dec 25)
10 Martyrs of Crete (Dec 23)
St. Matrona of Moscow (April 19)
St. John the Evangelist
St. Theodore the Confessor
St. Aileran (Dec 29)
Sts. Sarkis & Mardiros
St. Nicholas Planas (Mar 2)
Sts. Anysia & Anysios (Dec 30)
St. Sabinus (Dec 30)
St. Liberius (Dec 30)
St. Sylvester (Dec 31)
St. Melania (Dec 31)
St. Zoticos (Dec 31)
St. Aidan (Aug 31)
10 Martyrs of Crete (Dec 23)
St. Basil the Great (Jan 1)
St. Gregory Nazianzus
St. Aquilinus (Jan 4)
St. Rigobert (Jan 4)
St. Mavilus (Jan 4)
Sts. Theopemptos & Theonas (Jan 5)
St. Syncletica (Jan 5)
St. Syncletiki (Jan 5)
St. Oswald (Aug 5)
St. Athelm (Jan 8 )
St. Foellan (Jan 9)
St. Julian & companions (Jan 9)
St. Marcian (Jan 10)

PAGE 3
St. Nicanor (Jan 10)
St. Peter Urseolus (Jan 10)
St. Alexander (Jan 11)
St. Theodosius (Jan 11)
St. Theodosius Cenobiarch (Jan 11)
St. Hyginus (Jan 11)
St. Mary Magdalene (Jul 22)
St. Nicholas of Japan (Feb 3)
Sts. Cyril & Methodius (May 11)
St. Tikhon (Apr 7)
St. Andrew of Crete (Jul 4)
St. John Climacus (Mar 18)
St. Simeon the New Theologian (Mar 12)
St. Moses the Black (Aug 28)
St. Christopher (May 9)
7 Youths of Ephesus (Aug 4)
St. Simeon the New Theologian
St. Barbara (Dec 4)
St. Olaf (July 29)
St. Finnian of Clonard (Dec 12)
Sts. Sergius and Herman of Valaam
St. Anna of Novgorod
St. Gabriel the Youngling (Apr 20)
St. Gregory Peradze (Dec 6)
St. Euphrsyne of Polotsk (May 23)
St. Basil Martysz (Apr 21)
St. David of Wales (Mar 1)
St. Myrope of Ephesus and Chios (Dec 2)
St. Brigid
St. Benedict of Nursia (Mar 14)
Ruadan
St. Enda of Arranmore (Mar 21)
The Holy Orthodox Popes of Rome
St. Bishoy (Jul 15)
St. Anthony of Supraśl (Feb 4)
St. Cyril of Turov (Apr 28)
St. Maxim of Gorlice (Sep 6)
St. Sophia, Dutchess of Slutsk (Mar 19)
St. Matthew the Far-Sighted (Oct 5)

PAGE 4
St. Vladimir (Jul 15)
St. Benedict of Nursia (Mar 14)
St. Januarius (Apr 21)
St. Dionysios (Dec 17)
St. John Maximovich (Jul 2)
St. Athanasius of Brest (Sep 6)
St. Ignatius of Jableczna (Jul 28)
St. Finnian of Clonard (Dec 12/ 25)
St. Stylianus (Nov 26)
St. Manach of Lemonaghan (Jan 24)
St. Anthony the Great (Jan 17)
St. Adalbert the Hieromartyr, the Enlightener of Prussia (Apr 23)
St. Paul the Hieromartyr and St. Joanna the Martyr (Aug 15)
"Some Irish Saints of March"
St. Alexios, the Man of God (Mar 17)
St. James the Confessor (mar 21)
St. Anatole of Optina (Jul 30)
St. Rupert of Salzburg (Mar 14)
The Pre-Schism Orthodox Saints Who Evangelized Western Europe & The Scandinavian Lands
St. Irene the Great Martyr (May 5)
St. Anthony the Roman of Novgorod (Jan 17)
St. Attracta  (Aug 11)
St. Nicholas of Alma-Ata and Kazakhstan (Oct 12)
St. Barnabas the New Confessor (Oct 30)
34 Holy Martyrs of Valaam Monastery (Feb 20)
St. Frumentius
St. Ninian
St. Bruno of Querfurt (Feb 14)
St. Claudia (Aug 7)
Saints Benedict, John, Matthew, Isaac and Christian, the Protomartys of Poland (Nov 12)
St. Patrick (Mar 17)
« Last Edit: March 17, 2012, 08:55:54 AM by Michał Kalina »
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2007, 01:37:58 PM »
The Life of St. Nicholas of Myra

http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsLife.asp?FSID=103484

St Nicholas the Wonderworker and Archbishop of Myra in Lycia
Commemorated on December 6

 
Saint Nicholas, the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia is famed as a great saint pleasing unto God. He was born in the city of Patara in the region of Lycia (on the south coast of the Asia Minor peninsula), and was the only son of pious parents Theophanes and Nonna, who had vowed to dedicate him to God.

As the fruit of the prayer of his childless parents, the infant Nicholas from the very day of his birth revealed to people the light of his future glory as a wonderworker. His mother, Nonna, after giving birth was immediately healed from illness. The newborn infant, while still in the baptismal font, stood on his feet three hours, without support from anyone, thereby honoring the Most Holy Trinity. St Nicholas from his infancy began a life of fasting, and on Wednesdays and Fridays he would not accept milk from his mother until after his parents had finished their evening prayers.

From his childhood Nicholas thrived on the study of Divine Scripture; by day he would not leave church, and by night he prayed and read books, making himself a worthy dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. Bishop Nicholas of Patara rejoiced at the spiritual success and deep piety of his nephew. He ordained him a reader, and then elevated Nicholas to the priesthood, making him his assistant and entrusting him to instruct the flock.

In serving the Lord the youth was fervent of spirit, and in his proficiency with questions of faith he was like an Elder, who aroused the wonder and deep respect of believers. Constantly at work and vivacious, in unceasing prayer, the priest Nicholas displayed great kind-heartedness towards the flock, and towards the afflicted who came to him for help, and he distributed all his inheritance to the poor.

There was a certain formerly rich inhabitant of Patara, whom St Nicholas saved from great sin. The man had three grown daughters, and in desparation he planned to sell their bodies so they would have money for food. The saint, learning of the man's poverty and of his wicked intention, secretly visited him one night and threw a sack of gold through the window. With the money the man arranged an honorable marriage for his daughter. St Nicholas also provided gold for the other daughters, thereby saving the family from falling into spiritual destruction. In bestowing charity, St Nicholas always strove to do this secretly and to conceal his good deeds.

The Bishop of Patara decided to go on pilgrimage to the holy places at Jerusalem, and entrusted the guidance of his flock to St Nicholas, who fulfilled this obedience carefully and with love. When the bishop returned, Nicholas asked his blessing for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Along the way the saint predicted a storm would arise and threaten the ship. St Nicholas saw the devil get on the ship, intending to sink it and kill all the passengers. At the entreaty of the despairing pilgrims, he calmed the waves of the sea by his prayers. Through his prayer a certain sailor of the ship, who had fallen from the mast and was mortally injured was also restored to health.

When he reached the ancient city of Jerusalem and came to Golgotha, St Nicholas gave thanks to the Savior. He went to all the holy places, worshiping at each one. One night on Mount Sion, the closed doors of the church opened by themselves for the great pilgrim. Going round the holy places connected with the earthly service of the Son of God, St Nicholas decided to withdraw into the desert, but he was stopped by a divine voice urging him to return to his native country. He returned to Lycia, and yearning for a life of quietude, the saint entered into the brotherhood of a monastery named Holy Sion, which had been founded by his uncle. But the Lord again indicated another path for him, "Nicholas, this is not the vineyard where you shall bear fruit for Me. Return to the world, and glorify My Name there." So he left Patara and went to Myra in Lycia.

Upon the death of Archbishop John, Nicholas was chosen as Bishop of Myra after one of the bishops of the Council said that a new archbishop should be revealed by God, not chosen by men. One of the elder bishops had a vision of a radiant Man, Who told him that the one who came to the church that night and was first to enter should be made archbishop. He would be named Nicholas. The bishop went to the church at night to await Nicholas. The saint, always the first to arrive at church, was stopped by the bishop. "What is your name, child?" he asked. God's chosen one replied, "My name is Nicholas, Master, and I am your servant."

After his consecration as archbishop, St Nicholas remained a great ascetic, appearing to his flock as an image of gentleness, kindness and love for people. This was particularly precious for the Lycian Church during the persecution of Christians under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). Bishop Nicholas, locked up in prison together with other Christians for refusing to worship idols, sustained them and exhorted them to endure the fetters, punishment and torture. The Lord preserved him unharmed. Upon the accession of St Constantine (May 21) as emperor, St Nicholas was restored to his flock, which joyfully received their guide and intercessor.

Despite his great gentleness of spirit and purity of heart, St Nicholas was a zealous and ardent warrior of the Church of Christ. Fighting evil spirits, the saint made the rounds of the pagan temples and shrines in the city of Myra and its surroundings, shattering the idols and turning the temples to dust.

In the year 325 St Nicholas was a participant in the First Ecumenical Council. This Council proclaimed the Nicean Symbol of Faith, and he stood up against the heretic Arius with the likes of Sts Sylvester the Bishop of Rome (January 2), Alexander of Alexandria (May 29), Spyridon of Trimythontos (December 12) and other Fathers of the Council.

St Nicholas, fired with zeal for the Lord, assailed the heretic Arius with his words, and also struck him upon the face. For this reason, he was deprived of the emblems of his episcopal rank and placed under guard. But several of the holy Fathers had the same vision, seeing the Lord Himself and the Mother of God returning to him the Gospel and omophorion. The Fathers of the Council agreed that the audacity of the saint was pleasing to God, and restored the saint to the office of bishop.

Having returned to his own diocese, the saint brought it peace and blessings, sowing the word of Truth, uprooting heresy, nourishing his flock with sound doctrine, and also providing food for their bodies.

Even during his life the saint worked many miracles. One of the greatest was the deliverance from death of three men unjustly condemned by the Governor, who had been bribed. The saint boldly went up to the executioner and took his sword, already suspended over the heads of the condemned. The Governor, denounced by St Nicholas for his wrong doing, repented and begged for forgiveness.

Witnessing this remarkable event were three military officers, who were sent to Phrygia by the emperor Constantine to put down a rebellion. They did not suspect that soon they would also be compelled to seek the intercession of St Nicholas. Evil men slandered them before the emperor, and the officers were sentenced to death. Appearing to St Constantine in a dream, St Nicholas called on him to overturn the unjust sentence of the military officers.

He worked many other miracles, and struggled many long years at his labor. Through the prayers of the saint, the city of Myra was rescued from a terrible famine. He appeared to a certain Italian merchant and left him three gold pieces as a pledge of payment. He requested him to sail to Myra and deliver grain there. More than once, the saint saved those drowning in the sea, and provided release from captivity and imprisonment.

Having reached old age, St Nicholas peacefully fell asleep in the Lord. His venerable relics were preserved incorrupt in the local cathedral church and flowed with curative myrrh, from which many received healing. In the year 1087, his relics were transferred to the Italian city of Bari, where they rest even now (See May 9).

St Nicholas is the patron of travelers, and we pray to him for deliverance from floods, poverty, or any misfortunes. He has promised to help those who remember his parents, Theophanes and Nonna.

St Nicholas is also commemorated on May 9 (The transfer of his relics) and on July 29 (his nativity).
« Last Edit: December 06, 2007, 01:44:18 PM by cleveland »
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2007, 01:44:51 PM »
Life of St. George the Great Martyr and Trophy-Bearer

http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsLife.asp?FSID=101184

Greatmartyr, Victory-bearer and Wonderworker George
Commemorated on April 23

 
The Holy Great Martyr George the Victory-Bearer, was a native of Cappadocia (a district in Asia Minor), and he grew up in a deeply believing Christian family. His father was martyred for Christ when George was still a child. His mother, owning lands in Palestine, moved there with her son and raised him in strict piety.

When he became a man, St George entered into the service of the Roman army. He was handsome, brave and valiant in battle, and he came to the notice of the emperor Diocletian (284-305) and joined the imperial guard with the rank of comites, or military commander.

The pagan emperor, who did much for the restoration of Roman might, was clearly concerned with the danger presented to pagan civilization by the triumph of the Crucified Savior, and intensified his persecution against the Christians in the final years of his reign. Following the advice of the Senate at Nicomedia, Diocletian gave all his governors full freedom in their court proceedings against Christians, and he promised them his full support.

St George, when he heard the decision of the emperor, distributed all his wealth to the poor, freed his servants, and then appeared in the Senate. The brave soldier of Christ spoke out openly against the emperor's designs. He confessed himself a Christian, and appealed to all to acknowledge Christ: "I am a servant of Christ, my God, and trusting in Him, I have come among you voluntarily, to bear witness concerning the Truth."

"What is Truth?" one of the dignitaries asked, echoing the question of Pontius Pilate. The saint replied, "Christ Himself, Whom you persecuted, is Truth."

Stunned by the bold speech of the valiant warrior, the emperor, who had loved and promoted George, attempted to persuade him not to throw away his youth and glory and honors, but rather to offer sacrifice to the gods as was the Roman custom. The confessor replied, "Nothing in this inconstant life can weaken my resolve to serve God."

Then by order of the enraged emperor the armed guards began to push St George out of the assembly hall with their spears, and they then led him off to prison. But the deadly steel became soft and it bent, just as the spears touched the saint's body, and it caused him no harm. In prison they put the martyr's feet in stocks and placed a heavy stone on his chest.

The next day at the interrogation, powerless but firm of spirit, St George again answered the emperor, "You will grow tired of tormenting me sooner than I will tire of being tormented by you." Then Diocletian gave orders to subject St George to some very intense tortures. They tied the Great Martyr to a wheel, beneath which were boards pierced with sharp pieces of iron. As the wheel turned, the sharp edges slashed the saint's naked body.

At first the sufferer loudly cried out to the Lord, but soon he quieted down, and did not utter even a single groan. Diocletian decided that the tortured one was already dead, and he gave orders to remove the battered body from the wheel, and then went to a pagan temple to offer thanks.

At this very moment it got dark, thunder boomed, and a voice was heard: "Fear not, George, for I am with you." Then a wondrous light shone, and at the wheel an angel of the Lord appeared in the form of a radiant youth. He placed his hand upon the martyr, saying to him, "Rejoice!" St George stood up healed.

When the soldiers led him to the pagan temple where the emperor was, the emperor could not believe his own eyes and he thought that he saw before him some other man or even a ghost. In confusion and in terror the pagans looked St George over carefully, and they became convinced that a miracle had occurred. Many then came to believe in the Life-Creating God of the Christians.

Two illustrious officials, Sts Anatolius and Protoleon, who were secretly Christians, openly confessed Christ. Immediately, without a trial, they were beheaded with the sword by order of the emperor. Also present in the pagan temple was Empress Alexandra, the wife of Diocletian, and she also knew the truth. She was on the point of glorifying Christ, but one of the servants of the emperor took her and led her off to the palace.

The emperor became even more furious. He had not lost all hope of influencing St George, so he gave him over to new and fiercesome torments. After throwing him into a deep pit, they covered it over with lime. Three days later they dug him out, but found him cheerful and unharmed. They shod the saint in iron sandals with red-hot nails, and then drove him back to the prison with whips. In the morning, when they led him back to the interrogation, cheerful and with healed feet, the emperor asked if he liked his shoes. The saint said that the sandals had been just his size. Then they beat him with ox thongs until pieces of his flesh came off and his blood soaked the ground, but the brave sufferer, strengthened by the power of God, remained unyielding.

The emperor concluded that the saint was being helped by magic, so he summoned the sorcerer Athanasius to deprive the saint of his miraculous powers, or else poison him. The sorcerer gave St George two goblets containing drugs. One of them would have quieted him, and the other would kill him. The drugs had no effect, and the saint continued to denounce the pagan superstitions and glorify God as before.

When the emperor asked what sort of power was helping him, St George said, "Do not imagine that it is any human learning which keeps me from being harmed by these torments. I am saved only by calling upon Christ and His Power. Whoever believes in Him has no regard for tortures and is able to do the things that Christ did" (John 14:12). Diocletian asked what sort of things Christ had done. The Martyr replied, "He gave sight to the blind, cleansed the lepers, healed the lame, gave hearing to the deaf, cast out demons, and raised the dead."

Knowing that they had never been able to resurrect the dead through sorcery, nor by any of the gods known to him, and wanting to test the saint, the emperor commanded him to raise up a dead person before his eyes. The saint retorted, "You wish to tempt me, but my God will work this sign for the salvation of the people who shall see the power of Christ."

When they led St George down to the graveyard, he cried out, "O Lord! Show to those here present, that You are the only God in all the world. Let them know You as the Almighty Lord." Then the earth quaked, a grave opened, the dead one emerged from it alive. Having seen with their own eyes the Power of Christ, the people wept and glorified the true God.

The sorcerer Athanasius, falling down at the feet of St George, confessed Christ as the All-Powerful God and asked forgiveness for his sins, committed in ignorance. The obdurate emperor in his impiety thought otherwise. In a rage he commanded both t Athanasius and the man raised from the dead to be beheaded, and he had St George again locked up in prison.

The people, weighed down with their infirmities, began to visit the prison and they there received healing and help from the saint. A certain farmer named Glycerius, whose ox had collapsed, also visited him. The saint consoled him and assured him that God would restore his ox to life. When he saw the ox alive, the farmer began to glorify the God of the Christians throughout all the city. By order of the emperor, St Glycerius was arrested and beheaded.

The exploits and the miracles of the Great Martyr George had increased the number of the Christians, therefore Diocletian made a final attempt to compel the saint to offer sacrifice to the idols. They set up a court at the pagan temple of Apollo. On the final night the holy martyr prayed fervently, and as he slept, he saw the Lord, Who raised him up with His hand, and embraced him. The Savior placed a crown on St George's head and said, "Fear not, but have courage, and you will soon come to Me and receive what has been prepared for you."

In the morning, the emperor offered to make St George his co-administrator, second only to himself. The holy martyr with a feigned willingness answered, "Caesar, you should have shown me this mercy from the very beginning, instead of torturing me. Let us go now to the temple and see the gods you worship."

Diocletian believed that the martyr was accepting his offer, and he followed him to the pagan temple with his retinue and all the people. Everyone was certain that St George would offer sacrifice to the gods. The saint went up to the idol, made the Sign of the Cross and addressed it as if it were alive: "Are you the one who wants to receive from me sacrifice befitting God?"

The demon inhabiting the idol cried out, "I am not a god and none of those like me is a god, either. The only God is He Whom you preach. We are fallen angels, and we deceive people because we are jealous."

St George cried out, "How dare you remain here, when I, the servant of the true God, have entered?" Then noises and wailing were heard from the idols, and they fell to the ground and were shattered.

There was general confusion. In a frenzy, pagan priests and many of the crowd seized the holy martyr, tied him up, and began to beat him. They also called for his immediate execution.

The holy empress Alexandra tried to reach him. Pushing her way through the crowd, she cried out, "O God of George, help me, for You Alone are All-Powerful." At the feet of the Great Martyr the holy empress confessed Christ, Who had humiliated the idols and those who worshipped them.

Diocletian immediately pronounced the death sentence on the Great Martyr George and the holy Empress Alexandra, who followed St George to execution without resisting. Along the way she felt faint and slumped against a wall. There she surrendered her soul to God.

St George gave thanks to God and prayed that he would also end his life in a worthy manner. At the place of execution the saint prayed that the Lord would forgive the torturers who acted in ignorance, and that He would lead them to the knowledge of Truth. Calmly and bravely, the holy Great Martyr George bent his neck beneath the sword, receiving the crown of martyrdom on April 23, 303.
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Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2007, 05:25:46 PM »
Russian Church Institutes Feastday of All Saints of Britain and Ireland

(in English)  http://www.interfax.ru/e/B/politics/28.html?id_issue=11842406(in
(in Russian) http://www.interfax.ru/r/B/politics/2.html?id_issue=11842306


Moscow, August 21, 2007, Interfax - The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church instituted a holiday to honour Christians who lived on the islands of Great Britain and Ireland and were canonized before the 1054 schism that divided Christendom into the Western Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches.

The holiday will be an annual event observed on the third Sunday after Pentecost in the Julian Calendar.

The Synod, which met on Tuesday, also ordered that these saints' names be included in the Menology after their Christian exploits have been studied.

The Synod's decision follows an appeal of March 3, 2007, in which the diocese of Sourozh, a Russian Orthodox diocese having the islands of Great Britain and Ireland for its territory, asked the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Alexy II, and its Holy Synod to institute a holiday for pre-1054 British and Irish saints.

All Saints of Britain and Ireland pray to God for us.

Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2007, 05:29:31 PM »
I'd like to post some Lives of the Celtic Saints as their feastdays come along through the year.  But there are about 15,000 - too many to post all of them!

I put out a daily e-mail via Yahoo! with their Lives if anyone is interested in subscribing.

Lives of the Celtic Saints  - by daily e-mail
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celt-saints
 

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2007, 05:51:57 PM »
Father,

Can you post the life of our Holy Mother St Dymphna?

Theophan.

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2007, 11:50:38 PM »
Hello,

Can we include those Saints on the Roman Calendar that the Orthodox might not have on theirs (i.e., Saint John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, etc.)?

Not to be insulting or dismissive, but this being an Orthodox Christian discussion forum, I'm not sure that would be such a good idea to post stories of men and women whom we Orthodox don't glorify as saints.  Not my call to make, however (AFAIK).
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2007, 12:04:21 AM »
Can you post the life of our Holy Mother St Dymphna?
*

From
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celt-saints/message/2678

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
St. Dympna of Gheel      15 May
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=


Died c. 650. Dympna is said to have been the daughter of a pagan Irish (from Monaghan?), British, or Amorican king and a Christian princess who died when she was very young, but who had baptized her daughter. As Dympna grew into a young woman, her uncanny resemblance to her dead mother aroused an incestuous passion in her father.

On the advice of her confessor, Saint Gerebernus (f.d. today), Dympna fled from home. Accompanied by Gerebernus and attended by the court jester and his wife, she took a ship to Antwerp. She then travelled through wild forest country until she reached a small oratory dedicated to Saint Martin on the site of the present-day town of Gheel (25 miles from Antwerp). The group settled there to live as hermits and during the several months before they were found, Dympna gained a reputation for holiness because of her devotion to the poor and suffering.

Dympna's father had pursued her to Antwerp, and he sent spies who found them by tracing their use of foreign coins. The king tried to persuade her to return, but when she refused, the king ordered that she and Gerebernus be killed. The king's men killed the priest and their companions but hesitated to kill Dympna. The king himself struck off her head with his sword. The bodies were left on the ground. They were buried by angelic or human hands on the site where they had perished.

The whole story gripped the imagination of the entire countryside especially because, according to tradition, lunatics were cured at her grave. Great interest in her cultus was renewed and spread when the translation of the relics of Dympna was followed by the cures of a number of epileptics, lunatics, and persons under evil influences who had visited the shrine.

Under her patronage, the inhabitants of Gheel have been known for the care they have given to those with mental illnesses. By the close of the 13th century, an infirmary was built. Today the town possesses a first-class sanatorium, one of the largest and most efficient colonies for the mentally ill in the world. It was one of the first to initiate a program through which patients live normal and useful lives in the homes of farmers or local residents, whom they assist in their labour and whose family life they share. The strength of Dympna's cultus is evidenced by this compassionate work of the people of Gheel for the mentally ill at a time when they were universally neglected or treated with hostility.

The body of Dympna is preserved in a silver reliquary in the church bearing her name. Only the head of Gerebernus rests there, the remains have been removed to Sonsbeck in the diocese of Muenster.

Many children in Belgium are called Dympna, but in Ireland she is remembered under the form Damhnat, while in England Daphne is used.

Dympna is invoked against insanity, mental illness of all types, asylums for the mentally ill, nurses of the mentally ill, sleepwalking, epilepsy, and demoniac possession (Roeder). Her feast day is kept in Ireland and Gheel.

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Offline EkhristosAnesti

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2007, 10:59:04 AM »
The Coptic Synaxarium Reading for: Hatour 29
_________________________________________________________________________________
The Martyrdom of St. Peter, the Seal of the Martyrs, 17th Pope of Alexandria.
_________________________________________________________________________________

This day marks the martyrdom of St. Peter, the 17th Pope of Alexandria and the seal of the martyrs. His father was the archpriest of Alexandria whose name was Theodosius, and his mother's name was Sophia.

St Peter's parents were God-fearing people and they had no children. On the fifth day of the Coptic month of Abib, the feast of the Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, St Peter's mother went to church and saw other mothers carrying their children. She was exceedingly sorrowful and she wept. She besought our Lord Jesus Christ with many tears, to grant her a son. That night, Sts Peter and Paul appeared to her and told her that the Lord had accepted her prayers and that He would give her a son, and to call him Peter. They commanded her to go to the Patriarch, to bless her. When she woke up, she told her husband about what she saw and he was exceedingly glad. Then she went to the father, the Patriarch and told him about what she saw and asked him to pray for her. He prayed and blessed her.

Shortly after, she gave birth to this saint and called him Peter. When he was 7 years old, they gave him to Pope Theonas, as was done with Samuel the prophet and he became as a son to him. He placed him in the theological school where he received his education and excelled in preaching and counseling. He then ordained him as a reader, then as a deacon, and shortly after as a priest. He relieved the Pope of many church administrative duties.

Before Pope Theonas' departure, he recommended that Abba Peter be his successor. When he was enthroned on the See of St. Mark, the church was enlightened by his teachings.

It came to pass in the city of Antioch, that a man of high authority had agreed with Diocletian the Emperor, to return to paganism. That man had two children and because of him, their mother could not baptize them there. Therefore, she took them to Alexandria. On her way there, the sea was troubled by a violent storm and she was afraid that her two sons would drown and die without being baptized. She therefore dipped them in the sea three times saying, "In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit," then she cut her breast and with her blood made the sign of the Holy Cross over their foreheads.

Eventually, the troubled sea calmed down and she arrived safely to Alexandria with her sons. On the same day, she brought them to be baptized. Whenever the Patriarch St. Peter tried to baptize them, the water would solidify as stone. This happened three times. When he questioned her, she informed him of what had happened to her at sea. He marvelled and praised God saying, "That is what the church proclaims, that it is one baptism." Therefore, the baptism she performed in the sea was accepted by the Lord.

Also in the days of this Pope, Arius the heretic appeared and St. Peter advised him several times to turn from his wicked thoughts, but he would not hearken to him. Consequently, he excommunicated him and prevented him from fellowship with the church.

Arius contacted Emperor Maximianus, the infidel, and reported to him that Peter, the Patriarch of Alexandria, incited the people not to worship the gods. The Emperor was outraged and he sent messengers with orders to cut off his head. When they arrived in Alexandria, they attacked the people and destroyed most of the cities of Egypt. They robbed all their valuables, their women and children. In total, about 840 thousand of them were killed, some with the sword, some with starvation and some with imprisonment. Then they returned to Alexandria and captured the father, the Patriarch, and imprisoned him.

When the people heard about their shepherd's arrest, they gathered in front of the prison door and wanted to save him by force. The officer in charge of his slaying was worried that the general peace would be disrupted, so he postponed the execution till the next day. When the saint saw what had happened, he wanted to deliver himself to death for his people, for he feared what might happen to his flock. He wished to depart and be with Christ, without causing any disturbances or troubles. He sent for his people and he comforted them and advised them to adhere to the true faith.

When Arius, the infidel, learned that St. Peter was departing to be with the Lord, leaving him under the band of excommunication, he entreated him, through the high priests, to absolve him. St. Peter refused and told them that the Lord Christ had appeared to him this night in a vision, wearing a torn robe. St. Peter asked Him, "My Lord, who rent Your robe?" The Lord replied, "Arius has rent My robe, because he separated Me from My Father. Beware of accepting him."

After this, St. Peter summoned the Emperor's messenger in secret and advised him to dig a hole in the prison's wall on the side where there were no Christians. The officer was amazed at the bravery of the father and he did as he commanded him. He took him out of prison secretly and brought him outside the city, to where the tomb of St. Mark the evangelist, Egypt's evangelist. There, he kneeled down and asked the Lord, "Let the shedding of my blood mark the end of the worship of idols and be the end of the shedding of the blood of Christians." A voice came from heaven and was heard by a saintly virgin who was near that place. It said, "Amen. May it be to you according to your wishes." When he finished his prayer, the swordsman advanced and cut off his holy head.

The body remained in its place until the people went out hurriedly from the city to the place where he was martyred, because they did not know what had happened. They took the pure body and dressed it in the pontifical clothes and seated him on the seat of St. Mark, which he refused to sit on during his life. He used to say that he saw the power of God sitting on the Chair and therefore, he did not dare to sit on it.

Then they placed his body with the bodies of the saints. He occupied the throne of St. Mark for 11 years.

His prayers be with us. Amen.
No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

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Offline Timos

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2007, 04:48:43 PM »
One of the most important and attractive individuals to appear among the Greek people during the period they were subject to the Ottoman Turks was a diminutive monk named Kosmas. Because he was a native of the province of Aitolia in western Greece, he is best known as Kosmas the Aitolian, although among the people of his time he was simply referred to as Father Kosmas.

His love, concern, and tireless labor among ordinary people, his honest and forthright preaching, his unassuming character, his sterling and uncompromising personality, and his great love for and dedication to Jesus Christ earned for him the titles of 'Equal to the Apostles,' 'Teacher of the Greek Nation,' and the 'Apostle of the Poor.'

The impact Father Kosmas had on the people-both lay and clergy-was such that he was considered a saint many years before he was cruelly put to death by the Turks. The secret of his great success was due, above all, to the fact that he not only preached the Gospel but lived it in such a way that many who heard him were moved to follow in his footsteps.

According to Kostes Loverdos, a writer of the past century:

The anchorite and hieromonk Kosmas arrived [in Kephallenia] in 1777. Initially, he preached in the rural areas and then in the city, being followed by thousands of inhabitants of every class and sex. The austerity of his character, the evangelical simplicity of his words and the power of his arguments brought about such a transformation of life that families that were enemies were seen living together as brothers, having exchanged the kiss of peace and asking of each other forgiveness. Men who had committed serious crimes were seen crying bitterly over their sins. Broken marriages of long standing were restored again. Prostitutes abandoned their shameful work and returned filled with repentance and prudence. Rich upper class young ladies gave away their valuable jewelry to the poor or to churches. Court trials ceased. Stolen articles were returned. Insults were forgiven. Depraved men took up the monastic habit and followed the preacher. In a few words, the appearance of the island was transformed." (See Historia tes nesou Kephallenias. . . [Kephallenia, 18881, pp. 171-72.)

Kosmas, who was baptized Konstas, was born in a mountain village named Mega Dendron (Great Tree) in 1714 to parents who hailed from Epiros but had moved to the province of Aitolia, where they worked as weavers. Kosmas remained and worked with his parents until the age of twenty. He had received little or no formal education during this time, although his brother Chrysanthos had given him the rudiments, of an education when he was much younger.

Unhappy with his life and with his inability to understand the Gospel which he loved to hear in church, Kosmas decided to leave his village and his parents to receive an education.

Kosmas first attended the school in the village of Segditsa. Later he moved on to the School in Lompotina, where he studied with the teacher Ananias Dervisianos. In four years, Kosmas had made such progress in his studies that he was appointed an assistant teacher in the same school.

Kosmas, however, did not confine himself to teaching; he often preached in the church as well, thus giving an early expression to what would be his life's work.

From the village of Lompotina Kosmas moved on to the school in the village of Gouva, in the area of Vragiana, whose school was directed by his brother Chrysanthos. There Kosmas studied Greek, theology, and even some medicine. The latter would prove very useful to him during his ministry among the poor and often illiterate mountain populations he felt called to serve.

How long Kosmas remained in Vragiana is not known. Nor do we know many details of his life for the next ten years, for Father Kosmas rarely spoke of himself, and his biographer and disciple, Sapheiros Christodoulides, adds few facts. Father Kosmas was too modest, while Christodoulides was more interested in the Teaching of Kosmas and in the miracles that accompanied his preaching and work than in biographical details.

Once, feeling the need to introduce himself to his audience, Kosmas said:


My false, earthly, and fruitless homeland is the province of Arta, in the district of Apokouro. My father, my mother, my family are pious Orthodox Christians. However, I too am, my brethren, a sinful man, worse than anyone. But I'm a servant of our Lord Jesus Christ who was crucified - . . . Leaving my homeland fifty years ago, I traveled to many places . . . and especially to Constantinople. I stayed the longest on the Holy Mountain, seventeen years, where I wept over my sins. (See page 157)

We know that Kosmas went to Mount Athos in 1749 to attend the Theological Academy established there in the same year by Patriarch Kyrillos V (I 748-5 1 ; 1752-57) at the Monastery of the Great Lavra. At Athonias, the name by which the Academy was known, Kosmas studied under such well-known clergymen-teachers as Neophytos Kafsokalyvites, Panagiotes Palamas, and especially Evgenios Voulgares, who was the school's most distinguished director and teacher.

Unfortunately for theological education, within ten years trouble and conflict arose in the Academy which resulted in Voulgares' departure. Months later, Kosmas also left (the Academy would close within the next year) and entered the Monastery of Philotheou where he became a monk, changing his name from Konstas to Kosmas.

In Kosmas' own words: "I stayed the longest on the Holy Mountain, seventeen years, where I wept over my sins. Among the countless gifts which my Lord has granted me, he made me worthy to acquire a little Greek learning and I became a monk." (page 15)

Months later, Kosmas the monk responded to the invitation of his fellow monks and was ordained deacon and then priest. But the life of a cloistered monk was insufficient for Kosmas. He felt the very strong need to leave the quiet of the monastery to enter the 'world' and serve his fellow Christians. "Studying the holy and sacred Gospel," he said, "I found in it many and different teachings which are all pearls, diamonds, treasures, riches, joy, gladness eternal life. Among the other things I also found this teaching which Christ says to us: no Christian, man or woman, should be concerned only with himself, how he can be saved, but must be concerned also with his brethren so that they may not fall into sin." (pages 15-16)

Convinced that he had a call to preach, Kosmas received permission from Patriarch Sophronios 11 of Constantinople (1757-61). For the next nineteen years, beginning in 1760, Father Kosmas became an itinerant preacher, spending most of his time among the poorest and most unfortunate of his fellow Orthodox Christians. Traveling on foot, by donkey and by ship, followed by scores and often by hundreds and even thousands of men and women, priests and monks, Kosmas undertook three 'apostolic' journeys. The first took him from Mt. Athos to Constantinople (Istanbul), through European Turkey and Macedonia, Thessaly, and Aitolia, crossing over to the island of Kephallenia. On his second journey he covered much of the same provinces except that he visited the islands of Skiathos and Skopelos instead of Kephallenia and spent much additional time in Aitolia, going northward into Epiros and southern and central Albania. His third and final journey was spent primarily in Albania, Epiros, Aitolia and Thessaly, but also included the Ionian Islands, the Kyklades, and even some of the Dodecanese Islands.

Among the factors contributing to Kosmas' enormous success as a preacher were his humility and his identification with the people among whom he moved and worked.

"Not only," he said of himself, "am I not worthy to teach you, but not even worthy to kiss your feet, for each of you is worth more than the entire world." (page 14) On another occasion he said: "I'm a servant of our Lord God Jesus Christ who was crucified. Not that I'm worthy to be a servant of Christ, but Christ condescended to have me because of his compassion." (page 15)

He spoke in their language, taking his illustrations from the experiences and surroundings with which they were familiar. He was selfless, ex ' pending all of his time and energy in the service of others, while never accepting any payment for his services.

Hearing, my brethren, this sweetest teaching which our Christ spoke, that we should labor among our brethren without charge, it seemed to me in the beginning to be very hard. Later, however, it seemed very sweet, like a honeycomb, and I glorified and glorify my Christ a thousand times because he guarded me from the passion for money. So with the grace of our Lord and God Jesus Christ, the Crucified One, I have neither purse, nor house, nor chest, nor another cassock from the one I am wearing." (pages 16-17)

Although he was a monk who believed monks could only be saved if they remained in monasteries, Father deliberately took Ms chances:

A monk can't be saved in any other way except to escape far from the world . . . But you may say, you too are a monk. Why are you involved in the world? I too, my brethren, do wrong. But because our race has fallen into ignorance, I said to myself, let Christ lose me, one sheep, and let him win the others. Perhaps God's compassion and your prayers will save me too." (page 111)

In addition to feeding the soul, Father Kosmas attempted to feed the body as well as the mind. He spoke out against social injustices, against the abuse of the poor and uneducated and against the inequities that existed between men and women. Moreover, Kosmas was a great foe of illiteracy and a strong advocate of education.

Against social injustice and the abuse of the poor by the economically more affluent he said:


We too, my brethren, if we wish to call our God father must be compassionate, and cause our brethren to rejoice, and then we can call God father. If, however, we are merciless, hardhearted, and we cause our brethren to be poisoned, we put death in their hearts." (page 22)

On another occasion he urged:


You elders who are heads of the villages, if you wish to be saved, should love all the Christians as your children and should apportion taxes according to each person's ability to pay and not play favorites. (page 53)

Against what today we could call male chauvinism, Kosmas boldly preached to the mountaineers of Epiros and Albania:

Don't treat your wife like a slave, because she is God's creature as you are. God was crucified for you as he was for her. You call God father; she calls him father too. You have one faith, one baptism. God does not consider her inferior. (page 28)
On another occasion he said:

There are women who are better than men. If perhaps you men wish to be better than women, you must do better works than they do. If women do better works they go to paradise and we men who do evil works go to hell. What does it profit us if we are men? It would be better if we were not born. (pages 97-98)

On the subject of schools and education, Father Kosmas said:

It is better, my brother, for you to have a Greek school in your village rather than fountains and rivers, for when your child becomes educated, then he is a human being. The school opens churches; the school opens monasteries. (page 77)
He advised the people of the town of Parga: "Take care to establish without fail a Greek School in which your children will learn all that you are ignorant of." Kosmas believed that our faith wasn't established by ignorant saints, but by wise and educated saints who interpreted the Holy Scriptures accurately and who enlightened us sufficiently by inspired teachings." (page 145)

Father Kosmas was persuasive enough so that in over two hundred towns and villages he was instrumental in establishing schools where none existed before. His moral authority was such that he was able not only to raise the money needed to establish the schools and to maintain them, but with the consent of the inhabitants to appoint teachers and overseers for those schools, as illustrated from his letters.

I appointed, with the consent of all, Mr. Ioannes, son of Panos, trustee; and Mr. Demos, son of Ioannes the priest, and Mr. Stavros, son of Demos, overseers and his assistants to govern the school as the Lord inspires them. '(page 150)
Kosmas' invaluable and fundamental contribution to education has caused the Greek people to regard him as a 'National Saint' and a 'Teacher of the Nation.'

"My beloved children in Christ," he said, "bravely and fearlessly preserve our holy faith and the language of our Fathers, because both of these characterize our most beloved homeland, and without them our nation is destroyed." (page 146).

Father Kosmas' primary interest in education, however, was religious. He saw in education an indispensable tool for the understanding of Orthodoxy. "Schools enlighten people. They open the eyes of the pious and Orthodox Christians to learn the Sacraments." (page 91 ) In another Teaching he said: "Schools may open the way to the church. We learn what God is, what the Holy Trinity is, what an angel is, what virtues, demons, and hell are." (page 108) Elsewhere he noted: "Blessed Christians, a large number of churches neither preserve nor strengthen our faith as much as they should if those who believe in God aren't enlightened by both the Old and New Testaments." (page 145)

In the eighteenth century the Orthodox Church was faced with a growing number of defections among the poor and illiterate Orthodox to Islam, especially in the areas of Albania and western Greece. There the Orthodox were under especially severe social, economic, and religious pressures by the dominant Moslems. It was Father Kosmas' belief that the establishment of schools where the Orthodox faith would be taught would be able to stem the tide.

So, my children, [he advised the people of Parga] to safeguard your faith and the freedom of your homeland, take care to establish without fail a Greek School. (page 145)
But Father Kosmas was realistic enough to know that this was not enough. "How can our nation be preserved," he asked, "without harm in its religion and freedom when the sacred clergy is disastrously ignorant of the meaning of the Holy Scriptures which are the light and foundation of the faith?" (page 145)

The only schools available at that time, besides the Moslem schools, were those conducted in Greek. This is why Kosmas discouraged the use of other languages (Albanian and Romanian) and strongly urged the Orthodox to use Greek. "Teach [your children] their letters, and especially Greek, because our Church uses the Greek language." (page 80)

Perhaps the most significant of Father Kosmas' teachings is his treatment of Christian love. For this 'Apostle of Love,' love is not something a person theorizes about, but something that one practices.

Kosmas never tired of saying:

God has many names ... but his principle name is love ... All Christians must have two loves, one for God and one for our fellow human beings. Without [these two loves], it is impossible to be saved. (pages 90-91)
Standing on a low pulpit a gift of one of the local Turkish officials-in front of a large wooden Cross, as was his custom, Father Kosmas was not content merely to repeat the above words concerning love, but he immediately challenged people to love and translate this love into effective and meaningful assistance to those in need. Agreeing that love was important and necessary was meaningless for Father Kosmas unless one was willing to prove it with deeds.

"How can I determine, my son, whether or not you love your brethren?" he challenged someone in his audience.

"Do you love that poor boy?" "I do," was the reply.

"If You loved him you would buy him a shirt because he is naked ... Will you do it?"

"Yes." (page 22)

Father Kosmas was able to challenge his listeners to respond Positively to the call to love because he himself was an example of that kind of love. Therefore, when he said: "Perfect love is to sell all your possessions and to give alms, and even to sell yourself as a slave, and whatever you get to give in alms," and "whoever has wronged any Christian, Jew or Turk, return what you have taken unjustly because it is cursed and You'll never get ahead," his listeners responded immediately and Positively. (pages 46, 63)

Father Kosmas took his vow of poverty very seriously and never accepted anything for himself. But money was given to his followers and disciples. This money, however, was used to buy various articles which were distributed by the thousands among the people: kerchiefs, combs, crosses, prayer ropes, candles, booklets, and even baptismal fonts.

Consequently, when he advised men to allow their beards to grow, he provided them with combs which they could not buy for themselves. When he urged women to cover their heads, he gave them kerchiefs. When he advised parents to baptize their children, he helped provide various churches with baptismal fonts, and finally, when he counseled Christians to practice the Jesus Prayer he distributed prayer ropes to aid them in their concentration.

Any preacher who deals with social issues is bound to alienate some people whose interests are threatened. This happened to Father Kosmas as well. This attempt to elevate the educational level of the people and to eliminate illiteracy displeased those who preferred people ignorant. Village elders, landowners, and wealthy merchants felt their interests threatened when Father Kosmas called for just taxation, fair prices,
and equitable rents.

The atmosphere created by the unsuccessful revolution of the Greeks in the Peloponnese in 1770, inspired and led by the Orlov brothers, together with the real and imagined presence of Russian agents among the Orthodox people of the Balkans, made it easy for the Ottoman Turks to believe that Father Kosmas was himself an agent. Undoubtedly, the thousands of people who left their fields and jobs to follow Father Kosmas from place to place added to the uneasiness of the Turks and raised grave suspicions about his activities.

Father Kosmas waged a strong battle against the desecration of the Christian Sabbath. Town fairs and country bazaars were often held on Sundays, something Kosmas opposed and did everything in his power to change. He insisted that they be held on Saturdays. In this he was opposed by Jewish merchants, who naturally did not wish to engage in commerce on their own Sabbath. Allied with them were Christian merchants for whom Sunday was also more convenient. Consequently, Father Kosmas' death was fashioned by many interests: Christian, Jewish, and Turkish.

On 24 August 1779, Father Kosmas was in the city of Berat, Albania. Permission to seize him was secured from the local governor, Kurt Pasha, who was generously bribed and who heard Kosmas falsely accused of various crimes. To prevent any demonstration on the part of Father Kosmas' followers, he was apprehended in secret and many of his closest friends were imprisoned in a neighboring monastery.

Father Kosmas was taken to the neighboring village of Kalinkontasi, where he was hanged. After he died, his body was thrown into a nearby river from which it was retrieved a few days later by the priest Markos of the same village. Father Kosmas was buried in Father Markos' church with Metropolitan Ioasaph of Velegrada in attendance.

It is interesting to note that the initiative for the first church to be built in memory of Father Kosmas was taken by the Moslem ruler of Albania, Ali Pasha, who held Father Kosmas in high esteem not only because he believed Kosmas to be a holy man but also because Kosmas had earlier predicted great success for him.

In 1810 Ali Pasha became master of the city of Berat and its environs. Within four years he succeeded in raising the money required to build the first church in honor of St. Kosmas. Moreover, he personally contributed not only toward the building of the church but paid to have a silver reliquary made in which Kosmas' skull was placed and saw to it that the Saint's service (akolouthia) was composed. It was later printed in Venice by the Epirot printer Nicholas Glykys.

The people whom Father Kosmas loved and served did not wait for any official proclamation of his sainthood (this took place almost two hundred years later on 20 April 1961) to honor him as one of God's special servants. Father Kosmas became one of the most popular saints among Greek and Albanian Christians, a popularity which has increased as time has gone by.




Offline Timos

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2007, 04:50:06 PM »
PROPHECIES AND SAYINGS of St. Kosmas


You will see people flying in the sky like blackbirds and hurling fire on the earth. Those alive then will run to the graves and shout: "Come out, you who are dead, and let us who are living in."

The cause of the general war will come from Dalmatia. Austria will be dismembered first and then Turkey.

That which is desired [i.e., freedom] will come in the third generation. Your grandchildren will see it.

France will liberate Greece, [while] Italy (will liberate) Epiros.

The villages of the plain will suffer destruction, while people at the foot of (Mount) Kissavo will go to sleep slaves and will awaken free.

The time will come when your enemies will take away from you even the ashes from your fires, but don't give up your faith as others will do.

The red hats [ie., the French] will come here [Kephallenia], and then the English for fifty-four years, and then this place will become Roman [i.e., Greek Orthodox].

The time will come when people will speak from one far place to another, for example, from Constantinople to Russia, as though they were in adjoining rooms.

A time will come when the harmony that exists now between clergy and laymen will not be.

Clergymen will become worse and more impious than everyone.

People will become impoverished because they will have no love for trees.

You will see in the plain a carriage without horses which will run faster than a rabbit.

The rich will become poor and the poor will die.

The time will come when the Romans [i.e., the Greek Orthodox] will fight among themselves. I recommend harmony and love.

A foreign army will come. It will believe in Christ, but it will not speak the (Greek) language.

After the general war, the wolf will live with the lamb.

People will become poor because they will become lazy.

They will ask for your rifles. Retain two. Give one and keep the other. A single rifle will save a hundred souls.

Out of schools will come things which your mind can't imagine.

http://www.stmaryofegypt.org/kosmas/prophecies.html


Offline ialmisry

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2007, 11:14:32 AM »
Not to be insulting or dismissive, but this being an Orthodox Christian discussion forum, I'm not sure that would be such a good idea to post stories of men and women whom we Orthodox don't glorify as saints.  Not my call to make, however (AFAIK).

You might start a parrallel thread on the Orthodox-Catholic forum.

You might want to put ones like Josaphat Kuntsevych on the private forum.
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if you spit on it, it will be put out;
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Offline Athanasios

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2007, 11:54:05 AM »
Hello,

You might start a parrallel thread on the Orthodox-Catholic forum.

You might want to put ones like Josaphat Kuntsevych on the private forum.

I was just going to ask that very question. Well, you know what they say about great minds ... ;)
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Offline Simayan

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2007, 08:15:34 PM »
The Holy and Right-Believing Emperor Justinian I and Empress Theodora

Commemorated on:

November 14th


Justinian

Justinian's full name was Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Justinianus. He is said to be of Slavic descent, probably born in a small village called Tauresium in Illyricum, near Scupi (present day Skopje, Macedonia), on May 11, 483, to Vigilantia. His mother Vigilantia was the sister of the highly esteemed General Justin, who rose from the ranks of the army to become emperor. His uncle adopted him and ensured the boy's education. Justinian was superbly well educated in jurisprudence, theology and Roman history. His military career featured rapid advancement, and a great future opened up for him when, in 518, Justin became emperor. Justinian was appointed consul in 521, and later as commander of the army of the east. He was functioning as virtual regent long before Justin made him associate emperor on April 1, 527.

Four months later, Justinian became the sole sovereign upon Justin I's death. His administration had world-wide impact, constituting a distinct epoch in the history of the Byzantine Empire and the Orthodox Church. He was a man of unusual capacity for work (sometimes called the "emperor who never sleeps") and possessed a temperate, affable, and lively character, but he was also unscrupulous and crafty when it served him. He was the last emperor to attempt to restore the Roman Empire to the territories it enjoyed under Theodosius I.

He surrounded himself with men and women of extraordinary talent, "new men" culled not from the aristocratic ranks, but appointed based on merit. In 523 he married Theodora, who was by profession a courtesan (or actress or circus performer, according which source one believes) about 20 years his junior. According to the historian Procopius, notorious for his slanderous dislike of the royal couple, Justinian is said to have met her at a show where she and a trained goose performed Leda and the Swan, a play that managed to mock Greek mythology and Christian morality at the same time. Justinian would have, in earlier times, been unable to marry her because of her class, but his uncle Emperor Justin I had passed a law allowing intermarriage between social classes. Theodora would become very influential in the politics of the empire, and later emperors would follow Justinian's precedent and marry outside of the aristocratic class. The marriage was a source of scandal, but Theodora would prove to be very intelligent, "street smart," a good judge of character, and Justinian's greatest supporter.

Justinian achieved lasting influence for his judicial reforms, notably the summation of all Roman law, something that had never been done before. Justinian commissioned quaestor Tribonian to the task, and he issued the first draft of the Corpus Juris Civilis on April 7, 529, in three parts: Digesta (or Digest or Pandectae), Institutiones (or Institutes), and the Codex. The Corpus forms the basis of Latin jurisprudence (including ecclesiastical canon law: "ecclesia vivit lege romana," "the Church lives under Roman law"). It ensured the survival of Roman law, which would pass to the West in the 12th century and later to Eastern Europe, including Russia. It remains influential to this day.

Justinian also took a very firm stance in his support of Orthodoxy; he fought different heresies throughout his rule. At the beginning of his reign, he promulgated by law belief in the Holy Trinity and the Incarnation, and subsequently declared that he would deprive all disturbers of orthodoxy due process of law. He made the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed the sole symbol of the Church and accorded legal force to the canons of the four Ecumenical Councils. At the command of the sovereign, the Fifth Ecumenical Council was convened in the year 553, censuring the teachings of Origen and affirming the definitions of the Fourth Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon. He also attempted to secure religious unity within the Empire through his (unsuccessful) dialogues with the non-Chalcedonians. He appointed Theodora, a convert from Monophysitism, as his special envoy to deal with those who rejected Chalcedon. Besides Monophysitism, other ecclesiastical tensions had begun to emerge between the East and the West; the "Three Chapters" controversy brought all of these to a head.

The Emperor was instrumental in the building of numerous churches. He gave orders to build 90 churches for the newly-converted and generously supported church construction within the Empire. The finest structures of the time are considered to be the monastery at Sinai, and the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. Under St. Justinian many churches were built dedicated to the Theotokos. Since he had received a broad education, St. Justinian assiduously concerned himself with the education of clergy and monks, ordering them to be instructed in rhetoric, philosophy, and theology. He neglected no opportunity for securing the rights of the Church and clergy, for protecting and extending monasticism: his law codes contain many enactments regarding donations, foundations, and the administration of ecclesiastical property; election and rights of bishops, priests, and abbots; monastic life, residential obligations of the clergy, conduct of divine service, and episcopal jurisdiction.

Justinian's standardization of the Divine Liturgy included introducing the Cherubic Hymn, and two oft-used troparia of the Church, Only Begotten Son and O Gladsome Light are traditionally accredited to him.

In his personal life, St. Justinian was strictly pious, and he fasted often. During Great Lent he would not eat bread nor drink wine, but lived on only water and vegetables. He is also remembered for promoting the idea of "symphony" between church and state.


Theodora

There are two histories concerning the early life of Theodora. The best known account is the Secret History allegedly written by Procopius. Its authorship is questioned by most scholars because it was discovered in the Vatican three centuries after the empress's death and the style of the writing bears no resemblance to Procopius's other works. According to this account, Theodora was born into the lowest class of Byzantine society, the daughter of a bearkeeper for the circus. Critics of this work dismiss it as pornographic and western propaganda.

The second source was written by Bishop Eusebius, a contemporary of Theodora. Eusebius states that she was the daughter of a Roman senator who died during Theodora's early childhood. After her father's death, Theodora and her mother lived in Egypt, where her mother died soon after. According to Eusebius, Theodora spent the remaining part of her young life in an Egyptian monastery, which accounted for her sympathetic views of Monophysitism.

It is believed by some scholars that sometime before meeting Justinian she became an adherent of the Monophysite Christianity, which claims Christ was of one nature, and remained their partisan throughout her life. Others instead argue that her association with Monophysitism is largely because of Justinian's putting her in charge of courting the Monophysites' reunion with the Chalcedonian party in the Church, and so while remaining Chalcedonian herself, she was pastorally favorable toward the non-Chalcedonians.

In 523 Theodora married Justinian, the magister militum praesentalis in Constantinople. On his ascension to the Roman Imperial throne in 527 as Justinian I, he made her joint ruler of the empire, and appears to have regarded her as a full partner in their rulership. This proved to be a wise decision. A strong-willed woman, she showed a notable talent for governance. In the Nika riots of 532, her advice and leadership for a strong (and militant) response caused the riot to be quelled and probably saved the empire. She also helped to mitigate the breach in Christianity that loomed large over her time; she probably had a large part in Justinian's efforts to reconcile the Monophysites to orthodoxy.

Many regard Theodora's achievements for women not as those of a modern feminist who encouraged abortion or adultery but rather as those of a truly egalitarian ruler who strove to give women the same legal rights as men. Theodora freed prostitutes from their pimps, established homes for them, and passed laws prohibiting forced prostitution. She also advocated granting women more rights in divorce cases, allowing women to own and inherit property, enacting the death penalty for rape, and allowing noblemen to marry women from lower classes. These changes raised women's status far above that current in the Western portion of the Empire.

Theodora died of cancer (probably breast cancer) before the age of 50, some 20 years before Justinian died. Her body was buried in the Church of the Holy Apostles, one of the splendid churches the emperor and empress had built in Constantinople. Both Theodora and Justinian are represented in beautiful mosaics that exist to this day in the Church of San Vitale at Ravenna in northern Italy, which was completed a year before her death.
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, nor mourning nor crying nor suffering, for the old order of things has passed away."

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2007, 10:29:51 PM »
St. John the Damascene, Hymnwriter and Defender of the Faith
Commemorated on December 4 (my patron saint)

--From the Lives of Saints by by Saint Nikolai (Velimirovich) Bishop of Zhica

John was first the chief minister to Caliph Abdul-Malik and later a monk in the Monastery of St. Sava the Sanctified. Because of his ardent defense of the veneration of icons during the reign of the iconoclastic Emperor Leo the Isaurian, John was maligned by the emperor to the Caliph, who cut off his right hand. John fell down in prayer before the icon of the Most-holy Theotokos, and his hand was rejoined and miraculously healed. Seeing this miracle the Caliph repented, but John no longer desired to remain with him as a nobleman. Instead, he withdrew to a monastery, where, from the beginning, he was a model to the monks in humility, obedience and all the prescribed rules of monastic asceticism. John composed the Funeral Hymns and compiled the Octoechos (The Book of Eight Tones), the Irmologion, the Menologion and the Paschal Canon, and he wrote many theological works of inspiration and profundity. A great monk, hymnographer, theologian and soldier for the truth of Christ, Damascene is numbered among the great Fathers of the Church. He entered peacefully into rest in about the year 776 at the age of 104.

HYMN OF PRAISE
Saint John Damascene


O wondrous trumpet of the Orthodox Faith,
O glorious monk of a glorious cenobium,
John the poet, champion of the Faith,
Holy sufferer for the holy icons,
Having glorified God you are now glorified;
Immortal trumpeter of eternal life,
You left the world for the sake of the Living Christ.
Having humbled yourself, you are glorified the more.
You took upon yourself the path of asceticism;
Through tears you beheld the heavenly mysteries;
By prayer and faith you performed miracles;
You conversed with the Mother of God.
The Faith-who could better expound it?
Who could glorify God with a sweeter hymn?
O harp of eternal truth, there is none like you,
No one like you, glorious Father Damascene.
Oh, raise even now your pure mouth,
And implore the Life-giving Christ for us,
That His mercy accompany us until death,
That we with you may glorify Him.


REFLECTION


Obedience, coupled with humility, is the foundation of the spiritual life, the foundation of salvation and the foundation of the overall structure of the Church of God. The great John Damascene-great in every good thing-as a monk left a deep impression on the history of the Church by his exceptional example of obedience and humility. Testing him one day, his elder and spiritual father handed him woven baskets and ordered him to take them to Damascus and sell them there. The elder established a very high price for the baskets, thinking that John would not be able to sell them at that price but would have to return with them. John, therefore, firstly had to go on a long journey; secondly, he had to go as a poor monk to the city where he, at one time, had been the most powerful man after the Caliph; thirdly, he had to seek a ridiculously high price for the baskets; and fourthly, should he not sell the baskets, he would have made this enormous journey, there and back, for nothing. In this way, the elder wished to test the obedience, humility and patience of his famous disciple. John silently prostrated before the elder and, without a word, took the baskets and started on his journey. Arriving in Damascus, he stood in the market place and awaited a buyer. When he told the interested passers-by the price of his goods, they laughed at and mocked him as a lunatic. He stood there the whole day, and the whole day he was exposed to derision and ridicule. But God, Who sees all things, did not abandon His patient servant. A certain citizen passed by and looked at John. Even though John was clad in a poor monk's habit and his face was withered and pale from fasting, this citizen recognized in him the one-time lord and first minister of the Caliph, in whose service he had also been. John also recognized him, but they both began to deal as strangers. Even though John named the all-too-high price of the baskets, the citizen purchased and paid for them without a word, recalling the good that John Damascene had once done for him. As a victor, holy John returned to the monastery rejoicing, and brought joy to his elder.


Da quod iubes et iube quod vis.

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2007, 10:47:14 PM »
Hello,

Can we include those Saints on the Roman Calendar that the Orthodox might not have on theirs (i.e., Saint John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, etc.)?


Hello,

I was just going to ask that very question. Well, you know what they say about great minds ... ;)

So go ahead and start a new thread in Orth-Cath!
« Last Edit: December 09, 2007, 10:47:49 PM by cleveland »
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2007, 12:24:44 AM »
St. John of Otzoon:

St. John of Otzoon served as Catholicos Hovhan between 717 and 728 A.D.  Born in the province of Dashratz in the village of Otzoon, he studied with celebrated theologians.  During the Arab rule of Armenia, he endeared himself to Arab leaders and ushered in a period of tolerance and cooperation.  Through his farsightedness, statesmanship, and piety, he secured some basic and important rights for Armenian Christians, such as religious freedom, exemption from taxes for churches, and the right to worship freely.  He also stopped forced conversion of Christians to Islam. 
As a writer, he contributed to the Book of Sharagans, and wrote many epistles and essays.  Respected for his personality, for being righteous, pious, brave, and humble, in addition to being a great statesmen and writer, St. John lived his later years as a monk in a mountain monastery.

http://www.armenianchurch.net/prayer/saints/johns.html

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2007, 11:26:44 PM »
Saint Lucy - December 13

Lucy's name means "light", with the same root as "lucid" which means "clear, radiant, understandable." Unfortunately for us, Lucy's history does not match her name. Shrouded in the darkness of time, all we really know for certain is that this brave woman who lived in Syracuse lost her life in the persecution of Christians in the early fourth century. Her veneration spread to Rome so that by the sixth century the whole Church recognized her courage in defense of the faith.

Because people wanted to shed light on Lucy's bravery, legends grew up. The one that is passed down to us tells the story of a young Christian woman who had vowed her life to the service of Christ. Her mother tried to arrange a marriage for her with a pagan. Lucy apparently knew that her mother would not be convinced by a young girl's vow so she devised a plan to convince her mother that Christ was a much more powerful partner for life. Through prayers at the tomb of Saint Agatha, her mother's long illness was cured miraculously. The grateful mother was now ready to listen to Lucy's desire to give her money to the poor and commit her life to God.

Unfortunately, legend has it, the rejected bridegroom did not see the same light and he betrayed Lucy to the governor as a Christian. This governor tried to send her into prostitution but the guards who came to take her way found her stiff and heavy as a mountain. Finally she was killed. As much as the facts of Lucy's specific case are unknown, we know that many Christians suffered incredible torture and a painful death for their faith during Diocletian's reign. Lucy may not have been burned or had a sword thrust through her throat but many Christians did and we can be sure her faith withstood tests we can barely imagine.

Lucy's name is probably also connected to statues of Lucy holding a dish with two eyes on it. This refers to another legend in which Lucy's eyes were put out by Diocletian as part of his torture. The legend concludes with God restoring Lucy's eyes.

Lucy's name also played a large part in naming Lucy as a patron saint of the blind and those with eye-trouble.

Whatever the fact to the legends surrounding Lucy, the truth is that her courage to stand up and be counted a Christian in spite of torture and death is the light that should lead us on our own journeys through life.
Through the intercession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, may Jesus Christ bless you abundantly.

Pray that we may be one, as Christ and His Father are one. (John 17:20ff)

A.K.A. - JMJ_coder

Offline Entscheidungsproblem

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2007, 12:27:32 AM »
Sts. Hermagoras and Fortunatus  -  July 12

Died c. 66. According to tradition, Hermagoras was chosen by Saint Mark to tend his converts in Aquileia, Italy, of which he was consecrated first bishop by Saint Peter. With his deacon Fortunatus, Hermagorus preached in the area until arrested by Sebastius, a representative of Emperor Nero, and then was tortured and beheaded with Fortunatus. Fortunatus's connection with Hermagorus, despite the tradition, has never been proven, but he did suffer martyrdom in Aquileia.





Icon of the Episcopal Consecration of St. Hermagoras, Bishop in Aquileia. On the left is St. Peter the Apostle, performing the consecration. In the centre is St. Hermagoras. On the right is St. Mark (St. Hermagoras was the disciple of St. Mark the Evangelist).

Source
« Last Edit: December 18, 2007, 12:29:13 AM by Friul »
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Offline EofK

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2007, 12:16:22 PM »
St. Juliana of Lazarevo:

Righteous Juliana of Lazarevo and Murom presents an astonishing example of a self-denying Russian Christian woman. She was the daughter of the nobleman Justin Nediurev. From her early years she lived devoutly, kept the fasts strictly and set aside much time for prayer. Early on having become orphaned, she was given over into the care of relatives, who did not take to her and laughed at her. Juliana bore everything with patience and without complaint. Her love for people was expressed by nursing the sick and sewing clothing for the poor.

The pious and virtuous life of the maiden attracted the attention of the Lazarevo village owner, Yurii Osoryin, who soon married her. The husband's parents loved their gentle daughter-in-law and left the running of the household in her hands. Domestic concerns did not disrupt the spiritual efforts of Juliana. She always found time for prayer and she was always prepared to feed the orphaned and clothe the poor. During a harsh famine, she herself remained without food, having given away her last morsel to someone begging. When an epidemic started after the famine, Juliana devoted herself completely to the nursing of the sick.

Righteous Juliana had six sons and a daughter. After the death of two of her sons she decided to withdraw to a monastery, but her husband persuaded her to remain in the world, and to continue to raise their children. On the testimony of Juliana's son, Kallistrat Osoryin, who wrote her Life, at this time she became all the more demanding towards herself: she intensified her fasting and prayer, slept not more than two hours at night, and then laying her head upon a board.

Upon the death of her husband, Juliana distributed to the poor her portion of the inheritance. Living in extreme poverty, she was none the less vivacious, cordial, and in everything she thanked the Lord. The saint was vouchsafed a visitation by St Nicholas the Wonderworker and guidance by the Mother of God in church. When Righteous Juliana fell asleep in the Lord, she was then buried beside her husband at the church of St Lazarus. Here also her daughter, the schemanun Theodosia was buried. In 1614 the relics of Righteous Juliana were uncovered, exuding a fragrant myrrh, from which many received healing.

(Taken from OCA.org.)
« Last Edit: December 05, 2009, 03:09:16 PM by EofK »
Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. -- Douglas Adams

Offline Entscheidungsproblem

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #20 on: December 18, 2007, 12:22:55 PM »
Venerable Sava the Sanctified

Commemorated on December 5

Saint Sava the Sanctified was born in the fifth century at Cappadocia of pious Christian parents, John and Sophia. His father was a military commander. Journeying to Alexandria on military matters, his wife went with him, but they left their five-year-old son in the care of an uncle. When the boy reached eight years of age, he entered the monastery of St Flavian located nearby. The gifted child quickly learned to read and became an expert on the Holy Scriptures. In vain did his parents urge St Sava to return to the world and enter into marriage.

When he was seventeen years old he received monastic tonsure, and attained such perfection in fasting and prayer that he was given the gift of wonderworking. After spending ten years at the monastery of St Flavian, he went to Jerusalem, and from there to the monastery of St Euthymius the Great (January 20). But St Euthymius sent St Sava to Abba Theoctistus, the head of a nearby monastery with a strict cenobitic rule. St Sava lived in obedience at this monastery until the age of thirty.

After the death of the Elder Theoctistus, his successor blessed St Sava to seclude himself in a cave. On Saturdays, however, he left his hermitage and came to the monastery, where he participated in divine services and ate with the brethren. After a certain time St Sava received permission not to leave his hermitage at all, and he struggled in the cave for five years.

St Euthymius attentively directed the life of the young monk, and seeing his spiritual maturity, he began to take him to the Rouba wilderness with him. They set out on January 14, and remained there until Palm Sunday. St Euthymius called St Sava a child-elder, and encouraged him to grow in the monastic virtues.

When St Euthymius fell asleep in the Lord (+ 473), St Sava withdrew from the Lavra and moved to a cave near the monastery of St Gerasimus of Jordan (March 4). After several years, disciples began to gather around St Sava, seeking the monastic life. As the number of monks increased, a lavra sprang up. When a pillar of fire appeared before St Sava as he was walking, he found a spacious cave in the form of a church.

St Sava founded several more monasteries. Many miracles took place through the prayers of St Sava: at the Lavra a spring of water welled up, during a time of drought there was abundant rain, and there were also healings of the sick and the demoniacs. St Sava composed the first monastic Rule of church services, the so-called "Jerusalem Typikon", accepted by all the Palestine monasteries. The saint surrendered his soul to God in the year 532.

Troparion - Tone 8

By a flood of tears you made the desert fertile,
and your longing for God brought forth fruits in abundance.
By the radiance of miracles you illumined the whole universe!
Our Father Sabbas, pray to Christ God to save our souls!

Kontakion - Tone 8

From your youth you offered yourself to God as a blameless sacrifice,
having been dedicated to Him before your birth, blessed Sabbas.
You were an adornment of the righteous and a praiseworthy citizen of the desert.
Therefore, we cry to you: "Rejoice, ever glorious Father."

Source
« Last Edit: December 18, 2007, 12:23:18 PM by Friul »
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #21 on: December 18, 2007, 12:34:59 PM »
May 21: Feast of the Holy Great Sovereigns Constantine and Helen, Equal to the Apostles
Icon of Saints Constantine and Helen provided by Athanasios Clark and used with permission.

http://www.goarch.org/en/special/listen_learn_share/constantineandhelen/learn/

Life of the Saints

This great and renowned sovereign of the Christians was the son of Constantius Chlorus (the ruler of the westernmost parts of the Roman empire), and of the blessed Helen. He was born in 272, in (according to some authorities) Naissus of Dardania, a city on the Hellespont. In 306, when his father died, he was proclaimed successor to his throne. In 312, on learning that Maxentius and Maximinus had joined forces against him, he marched into Italy, where, while at the head of his troops, he saw in the sky after midday, beneath the sun, a radiant pillar in the form of a cross with the words: "By this shalt thou conquer." The following night, our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him in a dream and declared to him the power of the Cross and its significance. When he arose in the morning, he immediately ordered that a labarum be made (which is a banner or standard of victory over the enemy) in the form of a cross, and he inscribed on it the Name of Jesus Christ. On October 28 he attacked and mightily conquered Maxentius, who drowned in the Tiber River while fleeing. The following day, Constantine entered Rome in triumph and was proclaimed Emperor of the West by the Senate, while Licinius, his brother-in-law, ruled in the East. But out of malice, Licinius later persecuted the Christians. Constantine fought him once and again, and utterly destroyed him in 324, and in this manner he became monarch over the West and the East. Under him and because of him all the persecutions against the Church ceased. Christianity triumphed and idolatry was overthrown.

In 325 he gathered the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea, which he himself personally addressed. In 324, in the ancient city of Byzantium, he laid the foundations of the new capital of his realm, and solemnly inaugurated it on May 11, 330, naming it after himself, Constantinople. Since the throne of the imperial rule was transferred to Constantinople from Rome, it was named New Rome, the inhabitants of its domain were called Romans, and it was considered the continuation of the Roman Empire. Falling ill near Nicomedia, he requested to receive divine Baptism, according to Eusebius (The Life of Constantine. Book IV, 61-62), and also according to Socrates and Sozomen; and when he had been deemed worthy of the Holy Mysteries, he reposed in 337, on May 21 or 22, the day of Pentecost, having lived sixty-five years, of which he ruled for thirty-one years. His remains were transferred to Constantinople and were deposed in the Church of the Holy Apostles, which had been built by him (see Homily XXVI on Second Corinthians by Saint John Chrysostom).

As for his holy mother Helen, after her son had made the Faith of Christ triumphant throughout the Roman Empire, she undertook a journey to Jerusalem and found the Holy Cross on which our Lord was crucified (see Sept. 13 and 14). After this, Saint Helen, in her zeal to glorify Christ, erected churches in Jerusalem at the sites of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, in Bethlehem at the cave where our Saviour was born, another on the Mount of Olives whence He ascended into Heaven, and many others throughout the Holy Land, Cyprus, and elsewhere. She was proclaimed Augusta, her image was stamped upon golden coins, and two cities were named Helenopolis after her in Bithynia and in Palestine. Having been thus glorified for her piety, she departed to the Lord being about eighty years of age, according to some in the year 330, according to others, in 336.


Orthodox Christian Celebration of the Feast of Saints Constantine and Helen

The feast and commemoration of Saints Constantine and Helen is celebrated with the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom which is conducted on the morning of the feast and preceded by a Orthros service. A Great Vespers may be conducted on the evening before the day of the Feast.

Scripture readings for the Feast of Saints Constantine and Helen are: At the Vespers: I Kings 8:22-23, 27-30; Isaiah 61:10-62:5; Isaiah 60:1-16 At the Orthros (Matins): John 10:9-19. At the Divine Liturgy: Acts 26:1, 12-20; John 10:1-9.


Hymns of the Saint

Apolytikion: Plagal of the Fourth Tone
He beheld the image of Your Cross in the Heavens and, as Paul, he too did not receive the call from men. Your Apostle among Kings placed the care of the Royal City in Your hands. Through the intercessions of the Theotokos, O only Loving Lord, keep it ever in peace.

Kontakion: Third Tone
Today, Constantine with his mother Helen present the Cross, the most precious wood. It shames unbelievers. It is a weapon of faithful kings against their adversaries. A great sign has come forth for us which is awesome in battle.

Reading courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #22 on: December 18, 2007, 12:46:54 PM »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photius

St. Photios I (also spelled Photius), or St. Photios the Great (Greek: Φώτιος, Phōtios) (c. 820 – February 6, 893) was Patriarch of Constantinople from 858 to 867 and from 877 to 886. Photios is widely regarded as the most powerful and influential Patriarch of Constantinople since John Chrysostom. He is recognized as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church and some of the Eastern Catholic Churches of Byzantine tradition. His feast is celebrated on 6 February.

Life

Little is known of his origin or family, but Photios was a relative of the Patriarchs Tarasios and John VII Grammatikos. Byzantine writers report that Emperor Leo VI once angrily called St. Photios "Khazar-faced", but whether this was a generic insult or a reference to his ethnicity is unclear.[1]

As soon as he had completed his own education, St. Photios began to teach grammar, rhetoric, divinity and philosophy. The way to public life was probably opened for him by (according to one account) the marriage of his brother Sergios to Irene, a sister of the Empress Theodora, who upon the death of her husband Theophilos in 842, had assumed the regency of the empire. St. Photios became a captain of the guard and subsequently chief imperial secretary (prōtasēkrētis). At an uncertain date, Photios participated in an embassy to the Arabs.

The dissension between the patriarch Ignatios and the Caesar Bardas, the uncle of the youthful Emperor Michael III, concerning Bardas' relationship with his daughter-in-law, brought promotion to St. Photios. Ignatios was arrested and imprisoned in 858, and upon refusing to resign his office was deposed, while Photios was inducted into the priesthood within six days, and was installed as patriarch in his place.

Ignatios continued to refuse abdication, and his supporters appealed to Pope Nicholas I when St. Photios began to alter his predecessor's policies. When in 863 Nicholas anathematized and deposed St. Photios, the latter replied with a counter-excommunication. The situation was additionally complicated by the question of papal authority over the entire Church and by disputed jurisdiction over newly-converted Bulgaria.

This state of affairs changed with the murder of St. Photios' patron Bardas in 866 and of the emperor Michael in 867, by his colleague Basil the Macedonian, who now usurped the throne. St. Photios was deposed as patriarch, not so much because he was a protegé of Bardas and Michael, but because Basil I was seeking an alliance with the Pope and the western emperor. St. Photios was removed from his office and banished about the end of September 867, and Ignatios was reinstated on November 23. During his second patriarchate, Ignatios followed a policy not very different from that of St. Photios. This perhaps helped improve relations between the two, and in c. 876 St. Photios was suddenly recalled to Constantinople and entrusted with the education of the emperor's children. On the death of Ignatios in October 877, Photios, after the requisite show of reluctance, was restored to the patriarchal throne.

Photios now obtained the formal recognition of the Christian world in a council convened at Constantinople in November 879. The legates of Pope John VIII attended, prepared to acknowledge Photios as legitimate patriarch, a concession for which the pope was much censured by Latin opinion. The patriarch stood firm on the main points contested between the Eastern and Western Churches, the demanded apology to the Pope, the ecclesiastical jurisdiction over Bulgaria, and the introduction of the filioque clause into the creed. Eventually Photios refused to apologize or accept the filioque, and the papal legates made do with his return of Bulgaria to Rome. This concession, however, was purely nominal, as Bulgaria's return to the Byzantine rite in 870 had already secured for it an autocephalous church. Without the consent of Boris I of Bulgaria, the papacy was unable to enforce its claims.

During the altercations between Basil I and his heir Leo VI, Photios took the side of the emperor. Consequently, when Basil died in 886 and Leo became senior emperor, St. Photios was dismissed and banished, although he had been Leo's tutor. St. Photios was sent into exile to the monastery of Bordi in Armenia. From this time Photios disappears from history. No letters of this period of his life are extant. The precise date of his death is not known, but it is said to have occurred on February 6, 893.

For the Eastern Orthodox, St. Photios was long the standard-bearer of their church in its disagreements with the pope of Rome; to Catholics, he was a proud and ambitious schismatic: the relevant work of scholars over the past generation has somewhat modified partisan judgements. All agree on the virtue of his personal life and his remarkable talents, even genius, and the wide range of his intellectual aptitudes. Pope Nicholas himself referred to his "great virtues and universal knowledge." It may be noted, however, that some anti-papal writings attributed to St. Photios were apparently composed by other writers about the time of the East-West Schism of 1054 and attributed to Photios as the champion of the independence of the Eastern Church.

The Eastern Orthodox Church venerates Photios as a saint; he is also included in the liturgical calendar of Eastern Catholic Churches of Byzantine Rite, though not in the calendars of other Eastern Catholic Churches. His feast day is February 6.

Writings

The most important of the works of Photios is his renowned Bibliotheca or Myriobiblon, a collection of extracts and abridgments of 280 volumes of classical authors (usually cited as Codices), the originals of which are now to a great extent lost. The work is specially rich in extracts from historical writers.

To St. Photios we are indebted for almost all we possess of Ctesias, Memnon, Conon, the lost books of Diodorus Siculus, and the lost writings of Arrian. Theology and ecclesiastical history are also very fully represented, but poetry and ancient philosophy are almost entirely ignored. It seems that he did not think it necessary to deal with those authors with whom every well-educated man would naturally be familiar. The literary criticisms, generally distinguished by keen and independent judgment, and the excerpts vary considerably in length. The numerous biographical notes are probably taken from the work of Hesychius of Miletus.

The Lexicon, published later than the Bibliotheca, was probably in the main the work of some of his pupils. It was intended as a book of reference to facilitate the reading of old classical and sacred authors, whose language and vocabulary were out of date. The only manuscript of the Lexicon is the Codex Galeanus, which passed into the library of Trinity College, Cambridge.

His most important theological work is the Amphilochia, a collection of some 300 questions and answers on difficult points in Scripture, addressed to Amphilochius, archbishop of Cyzicus. Other similar works are his treatise in four books against the Manichaeans and Paulicians, and his controversy with the Latins on the Procession of the Holy Spirit. St. Photios also addressed a long letter of theological advice to the newly-converted Boris I of Bulgaria.

The chief contemporary authority for the life of Photios is his bitter enemy, Niketas David Paphlagon, the biographer of his rival Ignatios.

Notes

   1. "Photius may have felt a direct and personal interest in Khazaria, for possibly he was himself of Khazar extraction. So, it seems, we might best explain the epithet "Khazar-face", applied to him once in anger by the Emperor Michael III." Dunlop 194 (citing Symeon Magister, ex. Bonn, 673.)
« Last Edit: December 18, 2007, 12:47:39 PM by cleveland »
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Offline Veniamin

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2007, 12:53:13 PM »
St. Mark the Archbishop of Ephesus

Commemorated on January 19

Saint Mark Eugenikos, Archbishop of Ephesus, was a stalwart defender of Orthodoxy at the Council of Florence. He would not agree to a union with Rome which was based on theological compromise and political expediency (the Byzantine Emperor was seeking military assistance from the West against the Moslems who were drawing ever closer to Constantinople). St Mark countered the arguments of his opponents, drawing from the well of pure theology, and the teachings of the holy Fathers. When the members of his own delegation tried to pressure him into accepting the Union he replied, "There can be no compromise in matters of the Orthodox Faith."

Although the members of the Orthodox delegation signed the Tomos of Union, St Mark was the only one who refused to do so. When he returned from Florence, St Mark urged the inhabitants of Constantinople to repudiate the dishonorable document of union. He died in 1457 at the age of fifty-two, admired and honored by all.



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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #24 on: December 18, 2007, 01:36:49 PM »
Saints Rufus and Zosimus - December 18

Rufus and Zosimus were citizens of Antioch (or perhaps Philippi) who were brought to Rome with St. Ignatius of Antioch during the reign of Emperor Trajan. They were condemned to death for their Christianity and thrown to wild beasts in the arena two days before the martyrdom of Ignatius. Feast Day December 18.
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #25 on: December 18, 2007, 01:51:32 PM »
Sebastian the Martyr & his Companions

Reading:
This Saint, who was from the city of Milan, was a member of the Senate as well as a zealot for the Faith of Christ, and had converted many to the knowledge of God. When Diocletian and Maximian began a Persecution against the Christians, Saint Sebastian was arrested and pierced with sharp arrows, and the bones of his body were shattered with clubs; and being cut into pieces, he gave up his spirit to God in the year 288. Together with him there were others also who died while enduring various tortures. Their names are Marcellinus and Mark the brethren, Tranquillinus their father, Nicostratus and his spouse Zoe, Tiburtius, Claudius, Castulus, and Castor.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Thy Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for Thee received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since they possessed Thy strength, they cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Since thou wast great in zeal for godly religion, thou didst assemble an alliance of Martyrs, and in their midst, thou shonest like a flashing star. With the arrows that did pierce thy much-suffering body, thou didst slay the enemy, O Great Martyr Sebastian; and thou thyself didst fly as from a bow into the Heavens, where Christ hath received thy soul.

http://www.goarch.org/en/chapel/saints.asp?contentid=343
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #26 on: December 18, 2007, 03:06:09 PM »
St Elias the Cave-Dweller



Commemorated on September 11

St Elias was born to a wealthy family of nobles in Reggio in Calabria in the year 864. One day a monk approached him in church and upbraided him for his rich clothes and frivolous life. The young man changed at once and at the age of eighteen ran away to Taormina to escape marriage. From here he travelled to Rome to venerate the tombs of the Apostles, but seeing the dissoluteness in the city and its clergy, he returned to Reggio.

Here he found a spiritual father, Arsenius, who tonsured him as a monk. Elias worked very hard and spent his nights in hymns, prayers and genuflexions. He said: 'He who works with his hands and prays in his heart becomes doubly rich, for he serves Christ both as Mary and as Martha'. The two holy fathers always avoided disputes with others and when God revealed to them the forthcoming Saracen/Arab invasion, they both left for Greece. Here, near Patras, they lived for eight years, expelling demons and working wonders.

When the Saracen danger was over, they returned to their monastery of St Eustratius in Calabria and joined with two other ascetics in forming a monastery in a cave. Arsenius became the Abbot but, foreknowing his death, reposed in 904, having chosen Elias the new Abbot. Later, St Arsenius' tomb was opened by the Saracens, who found his relics not only incorrupt but also indestructible.

Advised in a dream to take on new disciples, Elias soon found himself at the head of a large brotherhood. The cave of these troglodytes was now too small for them, but they discovered a much larger cave which they made into a monastery with a church dedicated to the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. Soon the nearby caves also filled with monks, who followed the example of the life of their Abbot, who taught them how to defeat the demons. Once he worked the miracle of changing water into wine in order to serve the liturgy. Another time he scolded a bear who was destroying the monks' crops: the bear walked away chastened. He gave wise advice to his monks, teaching them obedience by example and protecting them though his prayers. He also did much to improve the customs of the local people and delivered the possessed of demons. Many poor and the sick were drawn to his monastery.

When the Arabs attacked, as they often did, St Elias would either flee into the mountains, hardly eating or drinking, or else would go into the town, upbraiding the inhabitants for their loose morals which had incurred such disasters. In old age, the saint received the gift of tears, but spent the nights before feast-days singing to God in joy. Having predicted his death a year in advance, he went on pilgrimage to the tomb of St Elias of Sicily. He returned, tonsured many novices and then withdrew to his own cave. Here he suffered great pain in silence for twenty-five days, before entering into the heavenly kingdom on 11 September 960, aged 96. He was buried in his cave in the presence of the local Bishop and a great throng of the faithful.

St Elias lived constantly under the threat of the Saracen Muslim attacks. Feasted on 11 September, he should therefore be an intercessor and protector in our own sad times. Let us recall that like other Calabrian saints, he clearly understood and openly proclaimed that the Muslim attacks and invasions of his day were allowed to happen by God on account of the loose morals of the so-called Christians of the age.

As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future.
-- Sir Julian Sorell Huxley FRS

Offline Salpy

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #27 on: December 18, 2007, 09:53:09 PM »
St. Vrtanes, one of the sons of St. Gregory the Illuminator of Armenia:


St. Vrtanés

The elder son of St. Gregory the Illuminator chose to lead a secular life and got married while still in Caesarea. At a later time he was ordained a priest, either in Caesarea or Armenia. He and his wife’s desire to have children, and their prayers to God towards this end, were answered only in an advanced age. They were blessed with twins, Krikoris and Husig, who were reared in the Armenian court and given a solid education. He presumably lost his wife during the pontificate of his brother Arisdagés, and after the latter’s death Vrtanés himself was raised to the episcopal throne of Greater Armenia. Vrtanés probably received episcopal ordination from his brother’s hand, since there is no reference in the historians to any ceremony of ordination, either in Caesarea or elsewhere.

St. Vrtanés’ activities as chief bishop of Greater Armenia were closely linked with those of the Christian kings of Armenia: first Drtad, and later his son Khosrov Godag (330-337) and grandson Diran (337-344). Vrtanés stood by the side of the kings during various Persian invasions into Armenia as well as during internal rebellions. As an active pastor he continued the work of his father and brother.

Despite the declaration of Christianity as the national religion of Armenia and the royal support that the church thereby received, certain people of high position were not pleased with the new religion. Their displeasure led to serious repercussions. King Drtad, who had been responsible for the kingdom’s conversion, died at a ripe old age—but not of natural causes. Certain Armenian princes in the service of the court hastened his demise by giving him a poisoned cup to drink. From another version of the story about King Drtad’s death, we learn that the anti-Christian princes collaborated with the King of Kings of Iran, and were instigated by the latter to put him to death. While on a hunt, they shot Drtad with an arrow, and as the wounded king was recuperating from his wound, they gave him a poisoned cup to drink.

Vrtanés himself almost fell victim to a scheme of a different nature. At the annual commemoration in Ashdishad of St. John the Baptist and Bishop Athenogenes, as instituted by St. Gregory, the chief bishop was celebrating the Divine Liturgy, when two thousand mountaineers from Sasun converged on the place, with the intent of assassinating Vrtanés. The assassins were unconverted idol worshippers, instigated by certain magnates and particularly by the queen of Armenia, whom Vrtanés had formerly rebuked for committing adultery. We are told that the hand of God made the conspirators motionless until Vrtanés released them. Overwhelmed by what had happened, the mountaineers heeded the admonitions of the bishop, and after completing the period of penance set by him they were baptized. Subsequently the bishop withdrew to his paternal estate in Til, near Erzinjan.

St. Vrtanés is said to have ordained a special day of commemoration for the Armenian forces under General Vaché Mamigonian, who perished in a battle against the Persians in 338. He consoled the king, his magnates and soldiers for the devastating effect of the war. According to this ordinance, the commemoration was to be repeated annually. He also instituted a special canon for all those who should die for Christian Armenia, that they be commemorated “before God’s holy altar at that point in the liturgy when the names of the saints are enumerated, and after them.” This commemoration was later replaced with that of St. Vartan Mamigonian and his 1,036 companions, which has been celebrated every year up to the present day.

St. Vrtanés’ name is closely connected with a contemporary non-Armenian churchman of renown, namely St. Macarius, bishop of Jerusalem (313-334). Macarius was one of the fathers of the Council of Nicaea (325), responsible (with a few others) for drafting the Nicene Creed, which we recite in church during the Divine Liturgy. It was during his tenure of office that the Church of the Holy Sepulcher was built in Jerusalem. St. Vrtanés had the distinction of receiving a letter from Macarius. The letter, originally written in Greek, is preserved only in Armenian and bears the title: “To the Christ-loving and pious Chief Bishop Vrtanés and all the bishops and priests of Armenia.” According to this docu ment, Vrtanés had sent certain priests to Jerusalem with specific ques tions about church traditions. In his answer, Macarius dwells on various traditions and practices that must be observed in the rite of baptism.

St. Vrtanés died in the third year of King Diran—that is, in a.d. 340. He was buried near his father in Tortan, and his grave was shown inside the village church.

http://www.armenianchurch.net/church/gregory-sons3.html
« Last Edit: December 18, 2007, 09:55:09 PM by Salpy »

Offline Salpy

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #28 on: December 18, 2007, 10:57:00 PM »
St. Krikoris, son of St. Vrtanes and grandson of St. Gregory the Illuminator of Armenia:


The missionary work initiated by St. Gregory in the regions of northern Armenia, Georgia and Caucasian Albania was not neglected by his successors. To this end, St. Vrtanés’ son Krikoris was raised to the episcopal rank and appointed bishop of Georgia and Albania at a relatively young age.

The young bishop extended his missionary activities over a vast expanse of territory reaching the shores of the Caspian Sea. He established churches and evangelized among the peoples and tribes under his care. Among the different northern semi-barbaric nomadic tribes to whom he preached the gospel were the Mazkuts, who were ruled by a line of Arshaguni kings related to the royal dynasty of Armenia. At first, the Mazkuts accepted St. Krikoris’ instructions favorably and were inclined to convert to Christianity.

But when they learned that Christian teachings forbade some practices of their nomadic way of life—such as looting, pillaging, killing, coveting others possession—they became disgusted and greatly angered. They saw in St. Krikoris’ teachings a plot on the part of the Armenian king to stop their plundering raids into Armenia. St. Krikoris was tied to the tail of a wild horse and driven over a plain. The bishop died as a result. His body was claimed by his followers and taken to Amaras, which is located in present-day Karabagh. He was buried in the church built by St. Gregory. At the end of the fifth century, a crypt was built to house his grave. That structure is now located under the main altar of the church of the Monastery of Amaras and is a place of pilgrimage.

The martyrdom of St. Krikoris took place shortly before the Mazkut invasion of Armenia and the seizure of its capital city, Vagharshabad. That event took place in a.d. 335. St. Krikoris’ relics were discovered in the latter part of the fifth century and were buried in a newly built crypt, which is still extant, as stated above.


http://www.armenianchurch.net/church/gregory-sons4.html
« Last Edit: December 18, 2007, 10:58:44 PM by Salpy »

Offline Salpy

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #29 on: December 18, 2007, 11:54:23 PM »
Yet another son of St. Vrtanes and grandson of St. Gregory the Illuminator:

St. Husig

St. Husig, the second son of St. Vrtanés, followed his father’s example by embracing secular life. Nourished by King Diran, he was forced into marrying the king’s daughter, much against his will. He and his wife had twin sons, Bab and Athenogenes. His inclination towards a celibate life, however, alienated his wife and invited on him the hostility of the royal court. Their pressure was terminated by his wife’s death, after which St. Husig devoted himself to raising his children. In a dream, the Lord appeared to him and told him that from his children there “will be born other children, and they will be illuminators of knowledge and fonts of spiritual wisdom for the realm of Armenia.”

After his father’s demise, St. Husig was in line for the succession of the episcopal throne of Greater Armenia. King Diran immediately dispatched a delegation of thirteen high-ranking princes and dignitaries to accompany St. Husig to Caesarea. There, St. Husig was elevated to the episcopal rank. On his return to Armenia he was met by the king and taken to the city of Ardashad, where he was officially enthroned. Like his father and grandfather, he became a wonderful pastor of his flock.

St. Husig’s woes began when he, as the upholder of the moral precepts of the church, began to castigate the king and his magnates for their unchristian behavior: they had engaged in immoral acts and had shed innocent blood for political ends. St. Husig excommunicated them, forbidding their entry into the church. Predictably, this invited on him the royal court’s animosity. On one occasion—a day of annual celebration when St. Husig, on a pastoral visit to the western province of Great Dzopk, was present at the palatine church in the royal fortress of Pnapegh—King Diran arrived with his retinue and tried to enter the church. Learning about their arrival, St. Husig stepped out and cried aloud: “You are unworthy! Why have you come? Do not go inside!” Angered by this, the king's attendants dragged him inside the sanctuary and beat him with rods, shattering his bones. The servants of the church of Pnapegh carried the battered bishop, who was still alive, to his ancestral estate in Tortan. Unable to recover from his injuries, St. Husig died there and was buried near the graves of his father and grandfather. His tomb was shown inside the church of Tortan. The martyrdom of St. Husig is dated to a.d. 344.

http://www.armenianchurch.net/church/gregory-sons5.html

Offline ytterbiumanalyst

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #30 on: December 18, 2007, 11:58:42 PM »
One of the great Western saints of the Orthodox Church and one for whose work I am most thankful:

St. Patrick the Bishop of Armagh and Enlightener of Ireland

Commemorated on March 17

Saint Patrick, the Enlightener of Ireland was born around 385, the son of Calpurnius, a Roman decurion (an official responsible for collecting taxes). He lived in the village of Bannavem Taberniae, which may have been located at the mouth of the Severn River in Wales. The district was raided by pirates when Patrick was sixteen, and he was one of those taken captive. He was brought to Ireland and sold as a slave, and was put to work as a herder of swine on a mountain identified with Slemish in Co. Antrim. During his period of slavery, Patrick acquired a proficiency in the Irish language which was very useful to him in his later mission.

He prayed during his solitude on the mountain, and lived this way for six years. He had two visions. The first told him he would return to his home. The second told him his ship was ready. Setting off on foot, Patrick walked two hundred miles to the coast. There he succeeded in boarding a ship, and returned to his parents in Britain.

Some time later, he went to Gaul and studied for the priesthood at Auxerre under St Germanus (July 31). Eventually, he was consecrated as a bishop, and was entrusted with the mission to Ireland, succeeding St Palladius (July 7). St Palladius did not achieve much success in Ireland. After about a year he went to Scotland, where he died in 432.

Patrick had a dream in which an angel came to him bearing many letters. Selecting one inscribed "The Voice of the Irish," he heard the Irish entreating him to come back to them.

Although St Patrick achieved remarkable results in spreading the Gospel, he was not the first or only missionary in Ireland. He arrived around 432 (though this date is disputed), about a year after St Palladius began his mission to Ireland. There were also other missionaries who were active on the southeast coast, but it was St Patrick who had the greatest influence and success in preaching the Gospel of Christ. Therefore, he is known as "The Enlightener of Ireland."

His autobiographical Confession tells of the many trials and disappointments he endured. Patrick had once confided to a friend that he was troubled by a certain sin he had committed before he was fifteen years old. The friend assured him of God's mercy, and even supported Patrick's nomination as bishop. Later, he turned against him and revealed what Patrick had told him in an attempt to prevent his consecration. Many years later, Patrick still grieved for his dear friend who had publicly shamed him.

St Patrick founded many churches and monasteries across Ireland, but the conversion of the Irish people was no easy task. There was much hostility, and he was assaulted several times. He faced danger, and insults, and he was reproached for being a foreigner and a former slave. There was also a very real possibility that the pagans would try to kill him. Despite many obstacles, he remained faithful to his calling, and he baptized many people into Christ.

The saint's Epistle to Coroticus is also an authentic work. In it he denounces the attack of Coroticus' men on one of his congregations. The Breastplate (Lorica) is also attributed to St Patrick. In his writings, we can see St Patrick's awareness that he had been called by God, as well as his determination and modesty in undertaking his missionary work. He refers to himself as "a sinner," "the most ignorant and of least account," and as someone who was "despised by many." He ascribes his success to God, rather than to his own talents: "I owe it to God's grace that through me so many people should be born again to Him."

By the time he established his episcopal See in Armargh in 444, St Patrick had other bishops to assist him, many native priests and deacons, and he encouraged the growth of monasticism.

St Patrick is often depicted holding a shamrock, or with snakes fleeing from him. He used the shamrock to illustrate the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Its three leaves growing out of a single stem helped him to explain the concept of one God in three Persons. Many people now regard the story of St Patrick driving all the snakes out of Ireland as having no historical basis.

St Patrick died on March 17, 461 (some say 492). There are various accounts of his last days, but they are mostly legendary. Muirchu says that no one knows the place where St Patrick is buried. St Columba of Iona (June 9) says that the Holy Spirit revealed to him that Patrick was buried at Saul, the site of his first church. A granite slab was placed at his traditional grave site in Downpatrick in 1899.

"It is remarkable that what we call the world...in what professes to be true...will allow in one man no blemishes, and in another no virtue."--Charles Dickens

Offline ytterbiumanalyst

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #31 on: December 19, 2007, 12:01:47 AM »
Another saint, commemorated today (Dec. 18, NC), a martyr whose story is quite compelling:

Martyr Sebastian at Rome

Commemorated on December 18

The Holy Martyr Sebastian was born in the city of Narbonum in Gaul (modern France), and he received his education at Mediolanum (now Milan). Under the co-reigning emperors Diocletian and Maximian (284-305) he occupied the position of head of the imperial guards. St Sebastian was respected for his authority, and was loved by the soldiers and those at court. He was a brave man filled with wisdom, his word was honest, his judgment just, insightful in advice, faithful in his service and in everything entrusted to him. He was a secret Christian, not out of fear, but so that he could provide help to the brethren in a time of persecution.

The noble Christian brothers Marcellinus and Mark had been locked up in prison, and at first they firmly confessed the true Faith. But under the influence of the tearful entreaties of their pagan parents (Tranquillinus and Marcia), and also their own wives and children, they began to waver in their intent to suffer for Christ. St Sebastian went to the imperial treasurer, at whose house Marcellinus and Mark were held in confinement, and addressed the brothers who were on the verge of yielding to the entreaties of their family.

"O valiant warriors of Christ! Do not cast away your everlasting crowns of victory because of the tears of your relatives. Do not remove your feet from the necks of your enemies who lie prostrate before you, lest they regain their strength and attack you more fiercely than before. Raise your banner high over every earthly attachment. If those whom you see weeping knew that there is another life where there is neither sickness nor death, where there is unceasing gladness and everything is beautiful, then assuredly they would wish to enter it with you. Anyone who fears to exchange this brief earthly life for the unending joys of the heavenly Kingdom is foolish indeed. For he who rejects eternity wastes the brief time of his existence, and will be delivered to everlasting torment in Hades."

Then St Sebastian said that if necessary, he would be willing to endure torment and death in order to show them how to give their lives for Christ.

So St Sebastian persuaded the brothers to go through with their act of martyrdom, and his speech stirred everyone present. They saw how his face shone like that of an angel, and they saw how seven angels clothed him in a radiant garment, and heard a fair Youth say, "You shall be with Me always."

Zoe, the wife of the jailer Nicostratus, had lost her ability to speak six years previously, and she fell down at the feet of St Sebastian, by her gestures imploring him to heal her. The saint made the Sign of the Cross over the woman, and she immediately began to speak and she glorified the Lord Jesus Christ. She said that she had seen an angel holding an open book in which everything St Sebastian said was written. Then all who saw the miracle also came to believe in the Savior of the world. Nicostratus removed the chains from Marcellinus and Mark and offered to hide them, but the brothers refused.

Mark said, "Let them tear the flesh from our bodies with cruel torments. They can kill the body, but they cannot conquer the soul which contends for the Faith." Nicostratus and his wife asked for Baptism, and St Sebastian advised Nicostratus to serve Christ rather than the Eparch. He also told him to assemble the prisoners so that those who believed in Christ could be baptized. Nicostratus then requested his clerk Claudius to send all the prisoners to his house. Sebastian spoke to them of Christ, and became convinced that they were all inclined to be baptized. He summoned the priest Polycarp, who prepared them for the Mystery, instructing them to fast in preparation for Baptism that evening.

Then Claudius informed Nicostratus that the Roman eparch Arestius Chromatus wanted to know why the prisoners were gathered at his house. Nicostratus told Claudius about the healing of his wife, and Claudius brought his own sick sons, Symphorian and Felix to St Sebastian. In the evening the priest Polycarp baptized Tranquillinus with his relatives and friends, and Nicostratus and all his family, Claudius and his sons, and also sixteen condemned prisoners. The newly-baptized numbered 64 in all.

Appearing before the eparch Chromatus, Nicostratus told him how St Sebastian had converted them to Christianity and healed many from sickness. The words of Nicostratus persuaded the eparch. He summoned St Sebastian and the presbyter Polycarp, and was enlightened by them, and became a believer in Christ. Nicostratus and Chromatus, his son Tiburtius and all his household accepted holy Baptism. The number of the newly-enlightened increased to 1400. Upon becoming a Christian, Chromatus resigned his office of eparch.

During this time the Bishop of Rome was St Gaius (August 11). He blessed Chromatus to go to his estates in southern Italy with the priest Polycarp. Christians unable to endure martyrdom also went with them. Father Polycarp went to strengthen the newly-converted in the Faith.

Tiburtius, the son of Chromatus, desired to accept martyrdom and he remained in Rome with St Sebastian. Of those remaining, St Gaius ordained Tranquillinus as a presbyter, and his sons Marcellinus and Mark were ordained deacons. Nicostratus, his wife Zoe and brother Castorius, and Claudius, his son Symphorian and brother Victorinus also remained in Rome. They gathered for divine services at the court of the emperor together with a secret Christian named Castulus, but soon the time came for them to suffer for the Faith.

The pagans arrested St Zoe first, praying at the grave of the Apostle Peter. At the trial she bravely confessed her faith in Christ. She died, hung by her hair over the foul smoke from a great fire of dung. Her body then was thrown into the River Tiber. Appearing in a vision to St Sebastian, she told him about her death.

The priest Tranquillinus was the next to suffer: pagans pelted him with stones at the grave of the holy Apostle Peter, and his body was also thrown into the Tiber.

Sts Nicostratus, Castorius, Claudius, Victorinus ,and Symphorian were seized at the riverbank, when they were searching for the bodies of the martyrs. They were led to the eparch, and the saints refused his command to offer sacrifice to idols. They tied stones to the necks of the martyrs and then drowned them in the sea.

The false Christian Torquatus betrayed St Tiburtius. When the saint refused to sacrifice to the idols, the judge ordered Tiburtius to walk barefoot on red-hot coals, but the Lord preserved him. Tiburtius walked through the burning coals without feeling the heat. The torturers then beheaded St Tiburtius, and his body was buried by unknown Christians.

Torquatus also betrayed the holy Deacons Marcellinus and Mark, and St Castulus (March 26). After torture, they threw Castulus into a pit and buried him alive, but Marcellinus and Mark had their feet nailed to the same tree stump. They stood all night in prayer, and in the morning they were stabbed with spears.

St Sebastian was the last one to be tortured. The emperor Diocletian personally interrogated him, and seeing the determination of the holy martyr, he ordered him taken out of the city, tied to a tree and shot with arrows. Irene, the wife of St Castulus, went at night in order to bury St Sebastian, but found him alive and took him to her home.

St Sebastian soon recovered from his wounds. Christians urged him to leave Rome, but he refused. Coming near a pagan temple, the saint saw the emperors approaching and he publicly denounced them for their impiety. Diocletian ordered the holy martyr to be taken to the Circus Maximus to be executed. They clubbed St Sebastian to death, and cast his body into the sewer. The holy martyr appeared to a pious woman named Lucina in a vision, and told her to take his body and bury it in the catacombs. This she did with the help of her slaves. Today his basilica stands on the site of his tomb.
"It is remarkable that what we call the world...in what professes to be true...will allow in one man no blemishes, and in another no virtue."--Charles Dickens

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #32 on: December 19, 2007, 12:07:13 AM »
Martyr and Archdeacon Laurence of Rome
(My family's patron Saint)



Commemorated on August 10

The Martyrs Archdeacon Laurence, Pope Sixtus, Deacons Felicissimus and Agapitus, the Soldier Romanus were citizens of Rome, and suffered in the year 258 under the emperor Valerian (253-259). Holy Pope Sixtus, born at Athens, received a fine education, preached in Spain and was made bishop in Rome following the martyr's death of Holy Pope Stephen (253-257, commemorated on August 2). These were times when a pope occupying the Roman throne, was known to choose death for the faith. In a short while St Sixtus also was arrested and put in prison together with his deacons Felicissimus and Agapitus.

When the holy archdeacon Laurence visited Pope Sixtus, whom they held in prison, he cried out with tears: "Whither art thou gone, father? Why hast thou forsaken thine archdeacon, with whom always thou hast offered the Bloodless Sacrifice? Take thy son with thee, that I may be thy companion in having blood shed for Christ!" St Sixtus answered him: "I have not forsaken thee, my son. I am old and go to an easy death, but yet greater sufferings await thee. Know, that after three days upon our death thou shalt follow after me. And now go, take the church treasury and distribute it to the poor and needy Christians." St Laurence zealously did the bidding of the holy hierarch.

Having heard, that Pope Sixtus had been taken to trial with the deacons, St Laurence went there so as to witness their deed, and he said to the holy bishop: "Father, I have already fulfilled thy command, and distributed by hand thine treasury; forsake me not!" Hearing something about treasure, soldiers put him under guard, and the other martyrs were beheaded (+6 August 258). The emperor locked up St Laurence in prison and ordered the chief jailer Hyppolitus to keep watch over him. In prison St Laurence with prayer healed the sick gathered together with him and he baptized many.

Astonished by this, Hyppolitus himself believed and accepted Baptism from St Laurence together with all his household. Soon the archdeacon Laurence was again brought to the emperor and commanded to produce the hidden treasure. St Laurence answered: "Give me a period of three days, and I shalt show thee this treasure". During this time the saint gathered up a crowd of the poor and the sick, who ate only because of the charity of the Church, and bringing them he explained: "Here are the vessels in which is contained the treasure. And everyone, who puts their treasure in these vessels, will receive them in abundance in the Heavenly Kingdom".

After this they gave St Laurence over to fierce tortures, urging him to worship idols. The martyr was scourged (with a fine iron flail with sharp needles), they burned his wounds with fire, and struck at him with metal switches. At the time of the martyr's suffering, the soldier Romanus suddenly cried out: "St Laurence, I behold a bright youth, who standeth about thee healing thy wounds. Beseech thy Lord Christ not to forsake me!" After this they stretched St Laurence on a rack and returned him to prison to Hyppolitus. Romanus brought there a waterpot with water and besought the martyr to baptize him. And immediately after the Baptism of the soldier, he was beheaded (+9 August). When they took St Laurence to his final torture, St Hyppolitus wanted to declare himself a Christian and die together with him, but the confessor said: "Conceal for now thy confession in thy heart.

After some length of time I shall summon thee, and thou shalt hear and come unto me. Weep not for me, but rather rejoice, for I go to receive a glorious crown of martyrdom." They placed him in an iron cage, under which they set an intense fire, and the flames of the fire flicked towards the body of the martyr. St Laurence, glancing at the governor, said: "Here now, you burn only but one side of my body, turn over the other and do my whole body". Dying, he uttered: "I thank Thee, Lord Jesus Christ, that Thou hast accounted me worthy to enter into Thy gates" -- and with these words he gave up the spirit.

St Hyppolitus took the body of the martyr by night, he wrapped it in a shroud with ointments and gave it over to the priest Justin. Over the relics of the martyr in the home of the widow Kyriake they made an all-night vigil and Divine Liturgy. All the Christians present partook of the Holy Mysteries and with honor they buried the body of the holy martyr Archdeacon Laurence in a cave on 10 August 258. St Hyppolitus and other Christians suffered three days after the death of St Laurence (13 August), as he had foretold them of this.


Troparion - Tone 4

Victorious martyr of Christ our God,
by the sign of the Cross you gave sight to the blind;
you distributed the riches of the Church to the poor;
you were tried by fire and no evil was found in you.
As you endured the burning,
may your prayers extinguish the flames of our many sins,
blessed Archdeacon Lawrence!

Kontakion - Tone 2

Your heart burned with divine fire
as the flames of the passions died within you.
God-bearing martyr Lawrence, the pillar of those who struggle,
you cried out in the midst of your contest:
"Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ."

As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future.
-- Sir Julian Sorell Huxley FRS

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #33 on: December 19, 2007, 12:10:42 AM »
St. Maria Skobtsova


The holy and glorious venerable-martyr Maria Skobtsova (also Saint Mary of Paris or Mother Maria) was a nun and martyr in Paris in the early twentieth century. She encouraged hospitality and love of one's neighbor, often in the most uncompromising of terms. She considered this to be the foundation of the Christian gospel, and she embodied it in her life. She is often compared to Dorothy Day, an American Roman Catholic who founded the Catholic Worker movement. Saint Mary died a martyr in Ravensbrück prison. She was glorified by the Church of Constantinople on January 16, 2004, along with her companions, Priest Dmitri Klepinin, her son George (Yuri) Skobtsov, and Elie Fondaminsky.
Contents

Life
Born to a well to do, upper-class family in 1891 in Latvia, she was given the name Elizaveta Pilenko. Her father died when she was a teenager, and she embraced atheism. In 1906 her mother took the family to St. Petersburg, where she became involved in radical intellectual circles. In 1910 she married a Bolshevik by the name of Dimitri Kuzmin-Karaviev. During this period of her life she was actively involved in literary circles and wrote much poetry. Her first book, Scythian Shards, was a collection of poetry from this period. By 1913 her marriage to Dimitri had ended.

Through a look at the humanity of Jesus – "He also died. The sweated blood. They struck his face" – she began to be drawn back into Christianity. She moved – now with her daughter, Gaiana – to the south of Russia where her religious devotion increased.

In 1918, after the Bolshevik Revolution, she was elected deputy mayor of the town of Anapa in Southern Russia. When the White Army took control of Anapa, the mayor fled and she became mayor of the town. The White Army put her on trial for being a Bolshevik. However, the judge was a former teacher of hers, Daniel Skobtsov, and she was acquitted. Soon the two fell in love and were married.

Soon, the political tide was turning again. In order to avoid danger, Elizaveta, Daniel, Gaiana, and Elizaveta's mother Sophia fled the country. Elizaveta was pregnant with her second child. They traveled first to Georgia (where her son Yuri was born) and then to Yugoslavia (where her daughter Anastasia was born). Finally they arrived in Paris in 1923. Soon Elizaveta was dedicating herself to theological studies and social work.

In 1926, Anastasia died of influenza – a heartbreaking event for the family. Gaiana was sent away to Belgium to boarding school. Soon, Daniel and Elizaveta's marriage was falling apart. Yuri ended up living with Daniel, and Elizaveta moved into central Paris to work more directly with those who were most in need.

Her bishop encouraged her to take vows as a nun, something she did only with the assurance that she would not have to live in a monastery, secluded from the world. In 1932, with Daniel Skobtov's permission, an ecclesiastical divorce was granted and she took monastic vows. In religion she took the name Maria. Her confessor was Father Sergius Bulgakov. Later, Father Dmitri Klepinin would be sent to be the chaplain of the house.

Mother Maria made a rented house in Paris her "convent." It was a place with an open door for refugees, the needy and the lonely. It also soon became a center for intellectual and theological discussion. In Mother Maria these two elements - service to the poor and theology – went hand-in-hand.

Death
When the Nazis took Paris in World War II, Jews soon approached the house asking for baptismal certificates, which Father Dimitri would provide them. Many Jews came to stay with them. They provided shelter and helped many escape. Eventually the house was closed down. Mother Maria, Father Dimitri, Yuri, and Sophia were all taken by the Gestapo. Father Dimitri and Yuri both died at the prison camp in Dora.

Mother Maria was sent to the camp in Ravensbruck, Germany. On Holy Saturday, 1945, Mother Maria was taken to the gas chamber and entered eternal life. It is suggested that she took the place of another who had been selected for that death.

Glorification

Mother Maria was glorified by act of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on January 16, 2004. The glorification of Mother Maria, together with Fr. Dimitri, Yuri, and Ilya Fondaminsky took place at the Cathedral of Saint Alexander Nevsky in Paris on May 1 and 2, 2004. Their feast day is July 20.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Maria_Skobtsova
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Offline Salpy

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #34 on: December 19, 2007, 12:11:54 AM »
I just have to include St. Gregory the Illuminator's other son, St. Aristakes.  He succeeded St. Gregory as Catholicos and attended the First Ecumenical Council.


While still a layman in Caesarea (Kayseri), St. Gregory and his wife Mariam were blessed with two sons, Vrtanés and Arisdagés. When St. Gregory and Mariam parted, Arisdagés was still very young and in need of motherly care. Mariam took him with her to the convent she joined. Influenced by his early upbringing in the convent, Arisdagés entered the service of God at an early age and became a hermit in the mountains. He became renowned for his austere way of life, attracting young disciples who sought his company for pious instruction. He was particularly versed in Greek letters and philosophy.

Years passed, and when King Drtad (by now a Christian convert) learned that St. Gregory had sired two sons in his younger days, he sent certain nobles to Caesarea to bring the sons to Armenia. (St. Gregory himself had withdrawn to the wilderness to lead a solitary life.) At the time, St. Arisdagés was living in a hermitage; he initially refused to leave his austere way of life and go to the court of the king. Ultimately, he yielded to the plea of Christians not to refuse the pastoral work that lay before him.

Upon the arrival of Sts. Arisdagés and Vrtanés, King Drtad took them with him to look for St. Gregory. Finding the saint in the wilderness, he begged St. Gregory to ordain his son Arisdagés a bishop and take him as his assistant. After his ordination, St. Arisdagés diligently pursued his pastoral work, preaching and wiping out the vestiges of pagan customs and traditions.

St. Arisdagés represented the Armenian Church at the Holy Council of Nicaea, which met in a.d. 325 at the order of the Roman Emperor Constantine. His name appears on the list alongside those of the 318 bishops who participated in that council. He returned to Armenia, bringing with him the canons of the renowned council. These canons are still venerated in the Armenian Church and form the foundation of discipline and order in our tradition.

After St. Gregory’s complete withdrawal from pastoral life and his demise, St. Arisdagés succeeded him as the chief bishop of Greater Armenia. As a pastor he surpassed the accomplishments of his father, as attested by the historian of the conversion of Armenia.

St. Arisdagés himself died as a martyr, and that is one of the reasons why he is considered a saint of the Armenian Church. The circumstances of his assassination are not very clear. All we know is that, at some point in his career as chief bishop of Armenia, he had reprimanded a high dignitary named Archilaeus, who had been appointed governor of the province of Dzopk in western Armenia. We are not told what Archilaeus had done to deserve St. Arisdagés’ reprimand, but he kept a grudge. When the bishop was on a pastoral visit in those parts, Archilaeus met him on the road and slew him. In order to avoid arrest and prosecution for his crime, he fled to the Taurus Mountains in Cilicia. St. Arisdagés’ disciples took his body to the village of Til near Erzinjan and buried him there. His grave was later shown within the confines of the Chukhdag Hayrabedats Vank (“The Monastery of the Twin Patriarchs”), which was still extant until 1915.

St. Arisdagés is said to have presided as the chief bishop of Armenia for seven years. The date of his martyrdom is calculated to have taken place at about a.d. 328.

http://www.armenianchurch.net/church/gregory-sons2.html

Offline Entscheidungsproblem

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #35 on: December 19, 2007, 12:23:19 AM »
St. Martin the Confessor, Pope of Rome



Commemorated on April 14

Saint Martin the Confessor, Pope of Rome, was a native of the Tuscany region of Italy. He received a fine education and entered into the clergy of the Roman Church. After the death of Pope Theodore I (642-649), Martin was chosen to succeed him.

At this time the peace of the Church was disturbed by the Monothelite heresy (the false doctrine that in Christ there is only one will. He has a divine, and a human will). The endless disputes of the Monothelites with the Orthodox took place in all levels of the population. Even the emperor Constans (641-668) and Patriarch Paul of Constantinople (641-654) were adherents of the Monothelite heresy. The emperor Constans II published the heretical "Pattern of Faith" (Typos), obligatory for all the population. In it all further disputes were forbidden.

The heretical "Pattern of Faith" was received at Rome in the year 649. St Martin, a firm supporter of Orthodoxy, convened the Lateran Council at Rome to condemn the Monothelite heresy. At the same time St Martin sent a letter to Patriarch Paul, persuading him to return to the Orthodox confession of faith. The enraged emperor ordered the military commander Olympius to bring St Martin to trial. But Olympius feared the clergy and the people of Rome who had descended upon the Council, and he sent a soldier to murder the holy hierarch. When the assassin approached St Martin, he was blinded. The terrified Olympius fled to Sicily and was soon killed in battle.

In 654 the emperor sent another military commander, Theodore, to Rome. He accused St Martin of being in secret correspondence with the enemies of the Empire, the Saracens, and of blaspheming the Most Holy Theotokos, and of uncanonically assuming the papal throne.

Despite the proofs offered by the Roman clergy and laity of St Martin's innocence, the military commander Theodore with a detachment of soldiers seized St Martin by night and took him to Naxos, one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea. St Martin spent an entire year on this almost unpopulated island, suffering deprivation and abuse from the guards. Then they sent the exhausted confessor to Constantinople for trial.

They carried the sick man on a stretcher, but the judges callously ordered him to stand up and answer their questions. The soldiers propped up the saint, who was weakened by illness. False witnesses came forward slandering the saint and accusing him of treasonous relations with the Saracens. The biased judges did not even bother to hear the saint's defense. In sorrow he said, "The Lord knows what a great kindness you would show me if you would deliver me quickly over to death."

After such a trial they brought the saint out in tattered clothes to a jeering crowd. They shouted, "Anathema to Pope Martin!" But those who knew the holy Pope was suffering unjustly, withdrew in tears. Finally the sentence was announced: St Martin was to be deposed from his rank and executed. They bound the half-naked saint with chains and dragged him to prison, where they locked him up with thieves. These were more merciful to the saint than the heretics.

In the midst of all this the emperor went to the dying Patriarch Paul and told him of the trial of St Martin. He turned away from the emperor and said, "Woe is me! This is another reason for my judgment." He asked that St Martin's torments be stopped. The emperor again sent a notary and other persons to the saint in prison to interrogate him. The saint answered, "Even if they cripple me, I will not have relations with the Church of Constantinople while it remains in its evil doctrines." The torturers were astonished at the confessor's boldness, and they commuted his death sentence to exile at Cherson in the Crimea.

There the saint died, exhausted by sickness, hunger and deprivations on September 16, 655. He was buried outside the city in the Blachernae church of the Most Holy Theotokos, and later the relics of the holy confessor Martin were transferred to Rome.

The Monothelite heresy was condemned at the Sixth Ecumenical Council in 680.


Troparion - Tone 3

You strengthened the Church with true doctrine,
wise hierarch Martin.
You declared the two natures of Christ,
putting heresy to shame.
Entreat the Lord to grant us His great mercy.

Kontakion - Tone 8

High Priest and teacher of the mysteries,
you poured forth streams of doctrine.
You expounded the true doctrine of the two natures and wills of Christ.
Intercede for those who cry: "Rejoice, blessed Father Martin."

Source
As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future.
-- Sir Julian Sorell Huxley FRS

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #36 on: December 19, 2007, 12:25:47 AM »
Of course, this thread would not be complete for me personally without this info on my patron saint, the martyr Peter the Aleut.



Commemorated on September 24 (and, as Fr. Chris pointed out on another thread, December 12)

Saint Peter the Aleut is mentioned in the Life of St Herman of Alaska (December 13). Simeon Yanovsky (who ended his life as the schemamonk Sergius in the St Tikhon of Kaluga Monastery), has left the following account:

"On another occasion I was relating to him how the Spanish in California had imprisoned fourteen Aleuts, and how the Jesuits (actually Franciscans) were forcing all of them to accept the Catholic Faith. But the Aleuts would not agree under any circumstances, saying, 'We are Christians.' The Jesuits argued, 'That's not true, you are heretics and schismatics. If you do not agree to accept our faith then we will torture all of you to death.' Then the Aleuts were placed in prisons two to a cell. That evening, the Jesuits came to the prison with lanterns and lighted candles. Again they tried to persuade two Aleuts in the cell to accept the Catholic Faith. 'We are Christians,' the Aleuts replied, 'and we will not change our Faith.' Then the Jesuits began to torture them, at first the one while his companion was a witness. They cut off one of the joints of his feet, and then the other joint. Then they cut the first joint on the fingers of his hands, and then the other joint. Then they cut off his feet, and his hands. The blood flowed, but the martyr endured all and firmly repeated one thing: "I am a Christian.' He died in such suffering, due to a loss of blood. The Jesuit also promised to torture his comrade to death the next day.

But that night an order was received from Monterey stating that the imprisoned Aleuts were to be released immediately, and sent there under escort. Therefore, in the morning all were sent to Monterey with the exception of the dead Aleut. This was related to me by a witness, the same Aleut who had escaped torture, and who was the friend of the martyred Aleut. I reported this incident to the authorities in St Petersburg. When I finished my story, Father Herman asked, 'What was the name of the martyred Aleut?' I answered, 'Peter. I do not remember his family name.' The Elder stood reverently before an icon, made the Sign of the Cross and said, "Holy New Martyr Peter, pray to God for usl"

We know very little about St Peter, except that he was from Kodiak, and was arrested and put to death by the Spaniards in California because he refused to convert to Catholicism. The circumstances of his martyrdom recall the torture of St James the Persian (November 27).

Both in his sufferings and in his steadfast confession of the Faith, St Peter is the equal of the martyrs of old, and also of the New Martyrs who have shone forth in more recent times. Now he rejoices with them in the heavenly Kingdom, glorifying God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, throughout all ages.

http://www.oca.org/FS.NA-Saint.asp?SID=4&Saint=Peter


Troparion - Tone 4

Today Alaska rejoices and America celebrates
for the New World has been sanctified by martyrdom.
Kodiak echoes with songs of thanksgiving,
Iliámna and Kenái observe the Festival of Faith.
The apostle and martyr Juvenaly is glorified
and Peter the Aleut is exalted by his voluntary sacrifice.
In their devotion and love for the Lord
they willingly endured persecution and death for the Truth.
Now in the Kingdom of Heaven they intercede for our souls.


Kontakion - Tone 4

Today Valaam joins Alaska in celebrating this joyous feast,
as her spiritual son Juvenaly embraces the New Martyr Peter with love.
Together they suffered for the Lord in America
and united the Old World with the New by their voluntary sacrifice.
Now forever they stand before the King of Glory and intercede for our souls.

http://www.oca.org/FSTropars.asp?SID=13&ID=102713
« Last Edit: December 19, 2007, 12:26:21 AM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #37 on: December 19, 2007, 12:50:50 AM »
St. Philothei

Philothei was born in 1550 Athens into a very affluent family. Her family was loving and caring as well as patient, and she was married to a young man and widowed before she was even sixteen. After returning to live with her parents, she took on an active position in the family as well as the church and city. She was only content when she was helping others, and this peace of mind drew her closer to God and the Church. Her family’s wealth assisted in her charitable work, and before she had reached adulthood she had earned the love and respect of the community.

After her family had passed away, Philothei became the sole owner of extensive wealth, but desiring to become a nun, she assigned control of her belongings to the care of others in order to move to an Orthodox convent. In the meantime her money continued helping the poor and also funded the building of several churches and nunneries in and around Athens. At her own convent, Philothei transferred the nuns’ interests from passive to active. She taught them to supplement their worship and devotions with crafts that could benefit the Church community. Her work set the example for the handiwork that has been the trademark of nunneries for years.

During this time in history, Turkish Moslems were holding Greece hostage, challenging Christianity. However, they became frustrated because their attempts at conversion were unsuccessful. They had hoped the mere pressure of their presence would lead to the gradual replacement of Christianity by their own Moslem faith. Eventually the Turks endeavored to discredit the many faithful Christian leaders in Athens, but this was also unsuccessful. Philothei and other spiritual leaders only gained stronger resolve and greater devotion to God.

Philothei began to give refuge to women who had escaped from Turkish harems and fled to her convent. Some became nuns, others were kept hidden in the convent until a safe house could be found for them. A woman ahead of her time, St. Philothei had established the first women's refuge in the 16th Century.

When it became apparent that Islam could not reach the hearts of the Christian Athenians, the Turks deliberately chose Philothei as a target, not only because of her open defiance but because they considered her sex to be a weakness and hoped she would succumb to surrender more easily. However, she remained a faithful and strong guide for the Athenians. Enraged, the Turks began a brutal course of terrorism.

During a service in Saint Andrew church, one of the beautiful chapels erected by her magnanimity, Philothei and some of her friends were attacked. The women were brutally beaten with clubs and stones, then dragged into the street to be murdered in front of the devastated townspeople. Philothei was carried out alive from this barbaric scene, but yielded to her wounds and gave up the spirit on February 19th, 1589.

Several miracles have been attributed to the Holy Martyr Philothei, mostly at the Cathedral in Athens and the Saint Andrew Church, still standing today and where her relics are enshrined. The many churches and nunneries she funded are still evident, and many organizations of women are named to honor this Athenian Saint.

Troparion to Saint Philothei

(Tone 5)

The Faithful of Athens and all the world

honors Philothei the martyred nun

and rejoices in her holy relics.

For she has exchanged this passing life

for the life that knows no end

through her struggle and martyrdom;

and she begs the Savior to have mercy on us all.

St. Philothei’s feast is celebrated on February 19th. Translated, her name means "friend of God."
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Offline Entscheidungsproblem

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #38 on: December 19, 2007, 01:07:57 AM »
Martyr Agatha of Palermo in Sicily



Commemorated on February 5

The Holy Virgin Martyr Agatha was the fifteen-year-old daughter of rich and respected Christian parents from the city of Palermo (formerly Panormos) in Sicily. During the persecution under the emperor Decius (249-251), the city prefect of Catania, Quintianus, having heard about Agatha's wealth and beauty, sent his soldiers after her to bring her to trial as a Christian.

At Catania they housed the saint with a certain rich woman, who had five daughters. They all attempted to tempt St Agatha with fine clothes, amusements and entertainment, urging her to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods, but the saint disdained all these things. The more they tried to move her, the more resolute she became. She prayed that she might soon face martyrdom.

During her interrogation under Quintianus, the holy martyr was swayed neither by the flattery, nor by the threats, and she was subjected to cruel torments. They also tried to remove her breasts with metal tongs, and when this failed, they used knives.

The holy Apostle Peter appeared to her in prison and healed her wounds. St Agatha was led to torture again, and Quintianus was astonished to see her completely healed, with no trace of cutting. Then the torture began once more.

At this moment an earthquake took place in the city, and many buildings were destroyed. Among those killed were two of Quintianus's advisors. The terrified inhabitants rushed to Quintianus, demanding an end to Agatha's tortures. Fearing a revolt by the people, Quintianus sent St Agatha back to prison. There the martyr, offering thanks to God, peacefully surrendered her soul to the Lord.


Troparion - Tone 4

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

Kontakion - Tone 4

May the Church be robed today in a garment of glorious porphyry,
dyed by the pure blood of the martyr Agatha,
and let us cry out: "Rejoice, pride of Catania!"


Source
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-- Sir Julian Sorell Huxley FRS

Offline Entscheidungsproblem

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #39 on: December 19, 2007, 01:37:46 AM »
St Ambrose, Bishop of Milan



Commemorated on December 7

Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, was born in the year 340 into the family of the Roman prefect of Gaul (now France). Even in the saint's childhood there appeared presentiments of his great future. Once, bees covered the face of the sleeping infant. They flew in and out of his mouth, leaving honey on his tongue. Soon they flew away so high that they could no longer be seen. Ambrose's father said that the child would become something great when he reached manhood.

After the death of the father of the family, Ambrose journeyed to Rome, where the future saint and his brother Satyrius received an excellent education. About the year 370, upon completion of his course of study, Ambrose was appointed to the position of governor (consular prefect) of the districts of Liguria and Aemilia, though he continued to live at Mediolanum (now Milan).

In the year 374 Auxentius, the Arian Bishop of Mediolanum, died. This led to complications between the Orthodox and the Arians, since each side wanted to have its own bishop. Ambrose, as the chief city official, went to the church to resolve the dispute.

While he was speaking to the crowd, suddenly a child cried out,"Ambrose for bishop!" The people took up this chant. Ambrose, who at this time was still a catechumen, considered himself unworthy, and tried to refuse. He disparaged himself, and even tried to flee from Mediolanum. The matter went ultimately before the emperor Valentinian the Elder (364-375), whose orders Ambrose dared not disobey. He accepted holy Baptism from an Orthodox priest and, passing through all the ranks of the Church clergy in just seven days, on December 7, 374 he was consecrated Bishop of Mediolanum. He dispersed all his possessions, money and property for the adornment of churches, the upkeep of orphans and the poor, and he devoted himself to a strict ascetic life.

Ambrose combined strict temperance, intense vigilance and work within the fulfilling of his duties as archpastor. St Ambrose, defending the unity of the Church, energetically opposed the spread of heresy. Thus, in the year 379 he traveled off to establish an Orthodox bishop at Sirmium, and in 385-386 he refused to hand over the basilica of Mediolanum to the Arians.

The preaching of St Ambrose in defense of Orthodoxy was deeply influential. Another noted Father of the Western Church, St Augustine (June 15), bore witness to this, having accepted holy Baptism in the year 387 by the grace of the preaching of the bishop of Mediolanum.

St Ambrose also actively participated in civil matters. Thus, the emperor Gracian (375-383), having received from him the "Exposition of the Orthodox Faith" (De Fide), removed, by decree of the saint, the altar of Victory from the halls of the Senate at Rome, on which oaths were wont to be taken. Displaying a pastoral boldness, St Ambrose placed a severe penance on the emperor Theodosius I (379-395) for the massacre of innocent inhabitants of Thessalonica. For him there was no difference between emperor and commoner. Though he released Theodosius from the penance, the saint would not permit the emperor to commune at the altar, but compelled him to do public penance.

The fame of Bishop Ambrose and his actions attracted to him many followers from other lands. From faraway Persia learned men came to him to ask him questions and absorb his wisdom. Fritigelda (Frigitil), queen of the military Germanic tribe of the Markomanni, which often had attacked Mediolanum, asked the saint to instruct her in the Christian Faith. The saint in his letter to her persuasively stated the dogmas of the Church. And having become a believer, the queen converted her own husband to Christianity and persuaded him to conclude a treaty of peace with the Roman Empire.

The saint combined strictness with an uncommon kindliness. Granted a gift of wonderworking, he healed many from sickness. One time at Florence, while staying at the house of Decentus, he resurrected a dead boy.

The repose of St Ambrose, who departed to the Lord on the night of Holy Pascha, was accompanied by many miracles. He even appeared in a vision to the children being baptized that night. The saint was buried in the Ambrosian basilica in Mediolanum, beneath the altar, between the Martyrs Protasius and Gervasius (October 14).

A zealous preacher and valiant defender of the Christian Faith, St Ambrose received particular renown as a Church writer. In dogmatic compositions he set forth the Orthodox teaching about the Holy Trinity, the Sacraments, and Repentance: "Five Books on the Faith" (De Fide); "Explication of the Symbol of the Faith" (Explanatio Symboli); "On the Incarnation" (De Incarnationis); "Three Books on the Holy Spirit" (De Spiritu Sancto); "On the Sacraments" (De Sacramento); "Two Books on Repentance" (De Paenitentia). In writings about Christian morality, he explained the excellence of Christian moral teaching compared to pagan moral teaching.

A well-known work of St Ambrose, "On the Duties of the Clergy" (De Officiis Ministrorum) evidences his deep awareness of pastoral duty. He stresses that those who serve in the Church should have not only the proper knowledge of Church services, but also the proper knowledge of moral precepts.

St Ambrose was also a reformer of Church singing. He introduced antiphonal singing (along the Eastern or Syrian form) into the Western Church, which became known as "Ambrosian Chant." He also composed twelve hymns which were used during his lifetime. The hymn, "Thee, O God, we praise" (Te Deum), attributed to St Ambrose, entered into the divine services of the Orthodox Church (Molieben).


Troparion - Tone 4

In truth you were revealed to your flock as a rule of faith,
an image of humility and a teacher of abstinence;
your humility exalted you;
your poverty enriched you.
Hierarch Father Ambrose,
entreat Christ our God
that our souls may be saved.

Kontakion - Tone 3

You shone forth with divine doctrine eclipsing the deception of Arius,
shepherd and initiate of the mysteries, Ambrose.
you worked miracles through the power of the Spirit,
healing various passions;
righteous father, entreat Christ our God to grant us His great mercy.


Source
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-- Sir Julian Sorell Huxley FRS

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #40 on: December 19, 2007, 02:31:51 AM »
Sts. Raphael, Nicholas and Irene of Lesvos.

For many years a monk had been seen walking on the hill at Karyes in Lesbos,Mytillini in Greece.Many Christians and Turks had seen him.The hill was also called Kaloyeros after the monk, who was seen holding a censor and would disappear in a splendour of light.

In 1917 the Turk who owned an estate with olive trees on the hill at Karyes,Hasan Bei,commisioned the police officer of Thermi, Efstratios Sitara to solve this mystery.The short investigation was soon abandoned as the belief was held that these visions were of a supernatural nature.

There was a small chapel there in the name of Panayia. Residents of Thermi held a service there every Easter Tuesday without hindrance from the Turkish owner of the property.
Many saw the monk.Shepherds grazing their flocks heard singing and bells from the chapel.
Tradition said the monk was killed by the Turks but when this had happened,no one knew.There had also been a female monastery there, but had been destroyed by barbarians.There was a strong belief that the place had Divine Grace and was Holy.

After the destruction and problems suffered by the Greeks in Asia Minor,the Turkish olive tree property was given to a Mr Marangos and his family.They sought permission to build a church.

On 3rd July 1959, excavations began for the foundations of the church.A grave was found containing a human skeleton and giving off a sweet fragrance.The head of the skeleton was resting on a round stone, much like a pillow.The head was about 30cms away from the body. The lower jaw was missing. The excavators also found a ceramic tile from the Byzantine era with a Cross engraved on it.

After the discovery of the grave,amazing phenomena started to occur.The bones were put in a sack by a Mr Doukas Tsolakis. He was in charge of the excavations.He could not lift the sack up due to the excessive weight.Noises were heard from the bones.They were also producing a fragrant incense. One of the workers, a Mr Leonidas Sideras kicked the sack and his leg went numb. Tsolakis hand remained motionless.He could not lift the sack.The priest was asked to do a Trisagion-a prayer for the departed. The night before he was due to conduct the service, he was wondering what name he should use.During the night Saint Raphael appeared to the Priest. He told him who he was, and that he was born on the island of Ithaka.

Since then St Raphael has appeared many times to different people.He suffered martyrdom on 9th April 1463.

St Raphael was born Georgios Laskaridis. His father was called Dionysios and his mother Maria. They were a devout family.St Raphael served in the army. He then became a monk and clergyman taking the name of Raphael.

He served as parish priest in the parish of St Demetrios of Loumbardiaris in Athens.He then became Archimandrite and Bishop at the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

It was when he travelled to France that he met St Nicholas at Morlaix.Nicholas was from a wealthy family .He was a young student from Thessalonika studying at a French university.Nicholas was moved by the teaching of st Raphael and they became firm friends.

They lived in the monastery for nine years. In 1462 Mohammed the conqueror captured Lesvos after a seventeen day siege. It fell on 17th September 1462.The Turks did not disturb the Monastery immediately.After 6 months,in April 1463, during Holy Week, a movement occured in Thermi,causing some agitation. The Christians went up to Karyes to hide.The teacher Theodoros and the Commumity Chief Vasillios together with his family went up to the Monastery.St Raphael conducted the Divine Liturgy for the last time on Holy Thursday.On Good Friday the Turks came to the Monastery seized
Abbot Raphael, Deacon Nicholas,the family of the Community Chief and the Teacher Theodoros.Everyone else had fled to the mountains.The Turks started torturing them to find out the hideout of the others.

Irene, the twelve year old daughter of the Community Chief had her hand cut off in front of her parents, who were tied to a tree.She was then put in a big earthen pot and burned to death.Her father, mother, and the teacher Theodoros were all murdered.St Raphael was horribly tortured in front of Saint Nicholas.St Nicholas died of heart failure, on seeing his mentor murdered.

The Monastery was then torched and the Turks fled.The next night some devout christians buried the Holy Martyrs secretly.

When St Raphael started to appear to people he revealed everything-where the bones of the Martyrs were buried, the pot where little Irene was burned, the grave of the Teacher Theodoros, and the graves of Irene and her father.
At The site of the Ancient Church, icons were found,Holy water, Sheets from handwritten Gospels and a round icon of Jesus.St Raphael also revealed the spot where his jaw was.

The grave of Igoumene Mother Superior Olympia who suffered Martyrdom in 1235 when pirates destroyed Panaghias Old Monastery, and killed the nuns was also found.Three large nails were found in her skull.More nails were found on her body.

In 1963 at the place of the Holy Martyrdom a Convent for Ladies was established.

http://www.churchsaints.btinternet.co.uk/straphael/straphael.htm
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #41 on: December 19, 2007, 03:32:25 AM »
St. Herman of Alaska


Commemorated on August 9 & December 13

Venerable Herman of Alaska, Wonderworker of All America. A spiritual mission was organized in 1793, made up of monks of the Valaam Monastery. They were sent to preach the Word of God to the native inhabitants of northwestern America, who only ten years before had come under the sovereignty of Russia. St Herman was among the members of this Mission.

St Herman came from a family of merchants of Serpukhov, a city of the Moscow Diocese. His name before he was tonsured, and his family name are not known. (The monastic name is given when a monk takes his vows). He had a great zeal for piety from youth, and at sixteen he entered monastic life. (This was in 1772, if we assume that Herman was born in 1756, although sometimes 1760 is given as the date of his birth.) First he entered the Trinity-Sergius Hermitage which was located near the Gulf of Finland on the Peterhof Road, about 15 versts (about 10 miles) from St Petersburg.

MIRACULOUS HEALING OF HERMAN At the St Sergius Hermitage there occurred the following incident to Father Herman. On the right side of his throat under his chin there appeared an abcess. The swelling grew rapidly, disfiguring his face. It became difficult for him to swallow, and the odor was unbearable. In this critical condition Father Herman awaited death. He did not appeal to a physician of this world, but locking his cell he fell before an lcon of the Queen of Heaven. With fervent tears he prayed, asking of Her that he might be healed. He prayed the whole night. Then he took a wet towel and with it wiped the face of the Most Holy Mother, and with this towel he covered the swelling. He continued to pray with tears until he fell asleep from sheer exhaustion on the floor. In a dream he saw the Virgin Mary healing him.

When Herman awoke in the morning, he found to his great surprise that he was fully healed. The swelling had disappeared, even though the abscess had not broken through, leaving behind but a small mark as though a reminder of the miracle. Physicians to whom this healing was described did not believe it, arguing that it was necessary for the abscess to have either broken through of its own accord or to have been cut open. But the words of the physicians were the words of human experience, for where the grace of God operates there the order of nature is overcome. Such occurrences humble human reason under the strong hand of God's Mercy.

HERMAN'S LIFE AT VALAAM For five or six years Father Herman continued to live in the St Sergius Hermitage, and then he transferred to the Valaam Monastery, which was widely scattered on the large islands in the waters of the great Lake Ladoga. He came to love the Valaam haven with all his soul, as he came to love its unforgettable Superior, the pious Elder Nazarius, and all the brethren. He wrote to Father Nazarius later from America, "Your fatherly goodness to me, humble one, will be erased out of my heart neither by the terrible, unpassable Siberian lands, nor by the dark forests. Nor will it be wiped out by the swift flow of the great rivers; nor will the awful ocean quench these feelings. In my mind I imagine my beloved Valaam, looking to it beyond the great ocean." He praised the Elder Nazarius in his letters as,"the most reverend, and my beloved father." (Batushka) and the brethren of Valaam he called, "my beloved and dearest." The place where he lived in America, deserted Spruce Island, he called "Now Valaam." And as we can see, he always remained in spiritual contact with his spiritual homeland', for as late as 1823, that is after thirty years of his life within the borders of America, he wrote letters to the successor of Father Nazarius, the lgumen Innocent.

Father Barlaam, later lgumen of Valaam, and a contemporary of Father Herman, who accepted his tonsure from Father Nazarius, wrote thus of the life of Father Herman.

"Father Herman went through the various obediences here, and being ‘well disposed toward every thing’ was in the course of events sent to Serdobol to oversee there the work of quarrying marble. The Brothers loved Father Herman, and awaited impatiently his return to the cloisters from Serdobol. Recognizing the zeal of the young hermit the wise elder, Father Nazarius, released him to take abode in the wilderness. This wilderness was in the deep forest about a mile from the cloister: to this day this place has retained the name 'Herman's.' On holy days, Father Herman returned to the monastery from the wilderness. Then it was that at Little Vespers he would stand in the choir and sing in his pleasant tenor the responses with the brethren from the Canon, 'O Sweetest Jesus, save us sinners. Most Holy Theotokos, Save us,' and tears would fall like hail from his eyes."

THE FIRST MISSION TO AMERICA In the second half of the 18th century the borders of Holy Russia expanded to the north. In those years Russian merchants discovered the Aleutian Islands which formed in the Pacific Ocean a chain from the eastern shares of Kamchatka to the western shares of North America. With the opening of these islands there was revealed the sacred necessity to illumine with the light of the Gospel the native inhabitants. With the blessing of the Holy Synod, Metropolitan Gabriel gave to the Elder Nazarius the task of selecting capable persons from the brethern of Valaam for this holy endeavor. Ten men were selected, and among them was Father Herman. The chosen men left Valaam for the place of their great appointment in 1793. (The members of this historical mission were: Archimandrite Joseph (Bolotoff), the Hieromonks, Juvenal, Macarius, Athanasius, Stephan and Nectarius, Hierodeacons, Nectarius and Stephen, and the monks Joasaph, and Herman.)

As a result of the holy zeal of the preachers the light of the evangelic sermon quickly poured out among the sons of Russia, and several thousand pagans accepted Christianity. A school for the education of newly-baptized children was organized, and a church was built at the place where the missionaries lived. But by the inscrutable providence of God the general progress of the mission was unsatisfactory. After five years of very productive labor, Archimandrite Joasaph, who had just been elevated to the rank of bishop, was drowned with his party. (This occurred on the Pacific Ocean been Kamchatka and the Aleutian Islands. The ship, Phoenix, one of the first sea-going ships built in Alaska, sailed from Okhotsk carrying the first Bishop for the American Mission and his party. The Phoenix was caught in one of the many storms which periodically sweep the northern Pacific, and the ship and all hands perished together with Bishop Joasaph and his party.) Before this the zealous Hieromonk Juvenal was granted the martyr's crown. The others died one after another until in the end only Father Herman remained. The Lord permitted him to labor longer than any of his brethren in the apostolic task of enlightening the Aleutians.

THE NEW VALAAM - SPRUCE ISLAND In America Father Herman chose as his place of habitation Spruce Island, which he called New Valaam. This island is separted by a strait about a mile and a quarter wide from Kodiak Island on which had been built a wooden monastery for the residence of the members of the mission, and a wooden church dedicated to the Resurrection of the Savior. (New Valaam was named for Valaam on Lake Ladoga, the monastery from which Father Herman came to America. It is interesting to note that Valaam is also located on an island, although, this island is in a fresh water lake, whereas, Spruce Island is on the Pacific Ocean, although near other islands and the Alaskan mainland.)

Spruce Island is not large, and is almost completely covered by a forest. Almost through its middle a small brook flows to the sea. Herman selected this picturesque island for the location of his hermitage. He dug a cave out of the ground with his own hands, and in it he lived his first full summer. For winter there was built for him a cell near the cave, in which he lived until his death. The cave was converted by him into a place for his burial. A wooden chapel, and a wooden house to be used as a schoolhouse and a guest house were built not too distant from his cell. A garden was laid out in front of his cell. For more than forty years Father Herman lived here.

FATHER HERMAN'S WAY OF LIFE Father Herman himself spaded the garden, planted potatoes and cabbage and various vegetables in it. For winter, he preserved mushrooms, salting or drying them. The salt was obtained by him from ocean water. It is said that a wicker basket in which the Elder carried seaweed from the shore, was so large that it was difficult for one person to carry. The seaweed was used for fertilizing the soil. But to the astonishment of all, Father Herman carried a basket filled with seaweed for a long distance without any help at all. By chance his disciple, Gerasim, saw him one winter night carrying a large log which normally would be carried by four men; and he was bare footed. Thus worked the Elder, and everything that he acquired as a result of his immeasurable labors was used for the feeding and clothing of orphans and also for books for his students.

His clothes were the same for winter as for summer. He did not wear a shirt; instead he wore a smock of deer skin, which he did not take off for several years at a time, nor did he change it, so that the fur in it was completely worn away, and the leather became glossy. Then there were his boots or shoes, cassock (podrasnik), an ancient and faded out cassock (riasa) full of patchwork, and his headdress (klobuk). He went everywhere in these clothes, and at all times; in the rain, in snowstorms, and during the coldest freezing weather. In this, Father Herman followed the example of many Eastern Ascetic Fathers and Monks who showed the greatest concern for the welfare and needs of others. Yet, they themselves wore the oldest possible clothes to show their great humility before God, and their contempt for worldly things.

A small bench covered with a time-worn deerskin served as Father Herman's bed. He used two bricks for a pillow; these were hidden from visitors by a skin or a shirt. There was no blanket. Instead, he covered himself with a wooden board which lay on the stove. This board Father Herman, himself called his blanket, and he willed that it be used to cover his remains; it was as long as he was tall. "During my stay in the cell of Father Herman," writes the creole Constantine Larionov, "I, a sinner, sat on his 'blanket'-and I consider this the acme of my fortune!" ('creole' is the name by which the Russians referred to the children of mixed marriages of native Indians of Alaska, Eskimo and Aleuts with Russians.)

On the occasions when Father Herman was the guest of administrators of the American Company and in the course of their soul-saving talks he sat up with them until midnight. He never spent the night with them, but regardless of the weather he always returned to his hermitage. If for some extraordinary reason it was necessary for him to spend the night away from his cell, then in the morning the bed which had been prepared for him would be found untouched; the Elder not having slept at all. The same was true in his hermitage where having spent the night in talks, he never rested.

The Elder ate very little. As a guest, he scarcely tasted the food, and remained without dinner. In his call his dinner consisted of a very small portion of a small fish or some vegetables.

His body, emaciated as a result of his labors, his vigils, and fasting, was crushed by chains which weighed about sixteen pounds. These chains are kept to this day in the chapel.

Telling of these deeds of Father Herman, his disciple, the Aleut lgnaty Aligyaga, added, "Yes, Apa led a very hard life, and no one can imitate his life!" (Apa, Aleutian word means Elder or grandfather, and it is a name indicative of the great affection in which he was held).

Our writing of the incidents in the life of the Elder deal, so to speak, with the external aspects of his labor. "His most important works," says the Bishop Peter, "were his exercises in spiritual endeavor in his isolated cell where no one saw him, but outside the cell they heard him singing and celebrating services to God according to the monastic rule." This witness of the Bishop is supported by the following answers of Father Herman, himself, "How do you manage to live alone in the forest, Father Herman? Don't you ever become lonesome?" He answered, "No I am not there alone! God is here, as God is everywhere. The Holy Angels are there. With whom is it better to talk, with people, or with Angels? Most certainly with Angels."

FATHER HERMAN AND THE NATIVES The way in which Father Herman looked upon the natives of America, how he understood his own relations with them, and how he was concerned for their needs he expressed himself in one of his letters to the former administrator of the colony, Simeon Yanovsky.

He wrote, "Our Creator granted to our beloved homeland this land which like a newly-born babe does not yet have the strength for knowledge or understanding. It requires not only protection, because of its infantile weakness and impotence, but also his sustenance. Even for this it does not yet have the ability to make an appeal on its own behalf. And since the welfare of this nation by the Providence of God, it is not known for how long, is dependent on and has been entrusted into the hands of the Russian government which has now been given into your own power, therefore I, the most humble servant of these people, and their nurse (nyanka) stand before you in their behalf, write this petition with tears of blood. Be our Father and our Protector. Certainly we do not know how to be eloquent, so with an inarticulate infant's tonque we say: Wipe away the tears of the defenseless orphans, cool the hearts melting away in the fire of sorrow. Help us to know what consolation means."

The Elder acted the way he felt. He always interceded before the governors in behalf of those who had transgressed. He defended those who had been offended. He helped those who were in need with whatever means he had available. The Aleuts, men, women and children, often visited him. Some asked for advice, others complained of oppression, others sought out defense, and still others desired help. Each one received the greatest possible satisfaction from the Elder. He discussed their mutual difficulties, and he tried to settle these peacefully. He was especially concerned about reestablishing understanding in families. If he did not succeed in reconciling a husband and wife, the Elder prevailed upon them to separate temporarily. The need for such a procedure he explained thus, "it is better to let them live apart, or believe me, it can be terrible if they are not separated. There have been incidents when a husband killed his wife, or when a wife destroyed her husband."

Father Herman especially loved children. He made large quantities of biscuits for them, and he baked cookies (krendelki) for them; and the children were fond of the Elder. Father Herman's love for the Aleuts reached the point of self-denial.

AN EPIDEMIC STRIKES A ship from the United States brought to Sitka Island, and from there to Kodiak Island, a contagious disease, a fatal illness. It began with a fever, a heavy cold, and difficult respiration, and it ended with chills; in three days the victim died. On the island there was neither a doctor nor medicine. The illness spread rapidly through the village, and then throughout the nearby areas. The disease affected all, even infants. The fatalities were so great that for three days there was no one to dig graves, and the bodies remained unburied. An eyewitness said, "I cannot imagine anything more tragic and horrible than the sight which struck me when I visited an Aleutian 'Kazhim'. This was a large building, or barracks, with dividing sections, in which the Aleuts lived with their families; it contained about 100 people. Here some had died, their cold bodies lay near the living; others were dying; there were groans and weeping which tore at one's soul."

"I saw mothers over whose bodies cold in death crawled a hungry child, crying and searching in vain for its food...My heart was bursting with compassion! It seemed that if anyone could paint with a worthy brush the full horror of this tragic scene, that he would have successfully aroused fear of death in the most embittered heart." Father Herman, during this terrible sickness which lasted a whole month, gradually dying out towards the end, visited the sick, never tiring. He admonished them in their fear, prayed, brought them to penance, or prepared them for death. He never spared himself.

FATHER HERMAN AS A SPIRITUAL TEACHER The Elder was concerned in particular for the moral growth of the Aleuts. With this end in mind a school was built for children-the orphans of the Aleuts. He himself taught them the Law of God and church music. For this same purpose he gathered the Aleuts on Sunday and Holy Days for prayer in the chapel near his cell. Here his disciple read the Hours and the various prayers while the Elder himself read the Epistle and Gospel. He also preached to them. His students sang, and they sang very well. The Aleuts loved to hear his sermons, gathering around him in large numbers. The Elder's talks were captivating, and his listeners were moved by their wonderous power. He himself writes of one example of the beneficial results of his words.

"Glory to the holy destinies of the Merciful God! He has shown me now through his unfathomable Providence a new occurence which I, who have lived here for twenty years had never seen before on Kodiak. Recently after Easter, a young girl about twenty years of age who knows Russian well, came to me. Having heard of the Incarnation of the Son of God and of Eternal Life, she became so inflamed with love for Jesus Christ that she does not wish to leave me. She pleaded eloquently with me. Contrary to my personal inclination and love for solitude, and despite all the hindrances and difficulties which I put forward before accepting her, she has now been living near the school for a month and is not lonesome."

"I, looking on this with great wonder, remembered the 'words of the Savior: that which is hidden from the wise and learned is revealed to babes." (Matt. 11:25)

This woman lived at the school until the death of the Elder. She watched for the good conduct of the children who studied in his school. Father Herman willed that after his death she was to continue to live on Spruce Island. Her name was Sophia Vlasova.

Yanovsky writes about the character and the eloquence of the talks of the Elder thus:

"When I met Father Herman I was thirty years old. I must say that I was educated in the naval corps school; that I knew many sciences having read extensively. But to my regret, the Science of sciences, that is the Law of God, I barely remembered the externals - and these only theoretically, not applying them to life. I was a Christian in name only, but in my soul and in reality, I was a freethinker. Furthermore, I did not admit the divinity and holiness of our religion, for I had read through many atheistic works. Father Herman recognized this immediately and he desired to reconvert me. To my great surprise he spoke so convincingly, wisely - and he argued with such conviction- that it seemed to me that no learning or worldly wisdom could stand one's ground before his words. We conversed with him daily until midnight, and even later, of God's love, of eternity, of the salvation of souls, and of Christian living. From his lips flowed a ceaseless stream of sweet words! By these continual talks and by the prayers of the holy Elder the Lord returned me completely to the way of Truth, and I became a real Christian. I am indebted for all this to Father Herman he is my true benefactor."

"Several years ago," continues Yanovsky, "Father Herman converted a certain naval captain G. to Orthodoxy from the Lutheran Faith. This captain was well educated. Besides many sciences, he was well versed in languages. He knew Russian, English, German, French, Italian and also some Spanish. But for all this he could not resist the convictions and proofs of Father Herman. He changed his faith and was united to the Orthodox Church through Chrismation. When he was leaving America, the Elder said to him while they were parting, "Be on guard, if the Lord should take your wife from you then do not marry a German woman under any circumstance. If you do marry a German woman, undoubtedly she will damage your Orthodoxy." The Captain gave his word, but he failed to keep it. The warning of the Elder was prophetic. Indeed, after several years the Captain's wife did die, and he married a German woman. There is no doubt that his faith weakened or that he left it; for he died suddenly without penance."

Further on Yanovsky writes, "Once the Elder was invited aboard a frigate which came from St Petersburg. The Captain of the frigate was a highly educated man, who had been sent to America by order of the Emperor to make an inspection of all the colonies. There were more than twenty-five officers with the Captain, and they also were educated men. In the company of this group sat a monk of a hermitage, small in stature and wearing very old clothes. All these educated conversationalists were placed in such a position by his wise talks that they did not know how to answer him. The Captain himself used to say, 'We were lost for an answer before him.'

"Father Herman gave them all one general question: 'Gentlemen, What do you love above all, and what will each of you wish for your happiness?' Various answers were offered ... Some desired wealth, others glory, some a beautiful wife, and still others a beautiful ship he would captain; and so forth in the same vein. 'It is not true,' Father Herman said to them concerning this, 'that all your various wishes can bring us to one conclusion - that each of you desires that which in his own understanding he considers the best, and which is most worthy of his love?' They all answered, 'Yes, that is so!' He then continued, 'Would you not say, Is not that which is best, above all, and surpassing all, and that which by preference is most worthy of love, the Very Lord, our Jesus Christ, who created us, adorned us with such ideals, gave life to all, sustains everything, nurtures and loves all, who is Himself Love and most beautiful of all men? Should we not then love God above every thing, desire Him more than anything, and search Him out?' "

All said, "Why, yes! That's self-evident!" Then the Elder asked, "But do you love God?" They all answered, "Certainly, we love God. How can we not love God?" "And I a sinner have been trying for more than forty years to love God, I cannot say that I love Him completely," Father Herman protested to them. He then began to demonstrate to them the way in which we should love God. "if we love someone," he said, "we always remember them; we try to please them. Day and night our heart is concerned with the subject. Is that the way you gentlemen love God? Do you turn to Him often? Do you always remember Him? Do you always pray to Him and fulfill His holy commandments?" They had to admit that they had not! "For our own good, and for our own fortune," concluded the Elder, "let us at least promise ourselves that from this very minute we will try to love God more than anything and to fulfill His Holy Will!" Without any doubt this conversation was imprinted in the hearts of the listeners for the rest of their lives.

"in general, Father Herman liked to talk of eternity, of salvation of the future life, of our destinies under God. He often talked on the lives of the Saints, on the Prologue, but he never spoke about anything frivolous. It was so pleasant to hear him that those who conversed with him, the Aleuts and their wives, were so captivated by his talks that often they did not leave him until dawn, and then they left him with reluctance;" thus witnesses the creole, Constantine Larionov.

A DESCRIPTION OF FATHER HERMAN Yanovsky writes a detailed description of Father Herman. "I have a vivid memory," he said, "Of all the features of the Elder's face reflecting goodness; his pleasant smile, his meek and attractive mien, his humble and quiet behavior, and his gracious word. He was short of stature. His face was pale and covered with wrinkles. His eyes were greyish-blue, full of sparkle, and on his head there were a few gray hairs. His voice was not powerful, but it was very pleasant." Yanovsky relates two incidents from his conversations with the Elder. "Once," he writes, "I read to Father Herman the ode, 'God,' by Derzhavin. The Elder was surprised, and entranced. He asked me to read it again. I read it once more, "Is it possible that a simple, educated man wrote this?" he asked. "Yes, a learned poet," I answered. "This has been written under God's inspiration," said the Elder.

THE MARTYRDOM OF PETER "On another occasion I was relating to him how the Spanish in California had imprisoned fourteen Aleuts, and how the Jesuits were forcing all of them to accept the Catholic Faith. But this Aleut would not agree under any circumstances, saying, 'We are Christians.' The Jesuits protested, 'That's not true; you are heretics and schismatics. If you do not agree to accept our faith then we will torture all of you.' Then the Aleuts were placed in cells until evening; two to a cell. At night the Jesuits came to the prison with lanterns and lighted candles. They began to persuade the Aleuts in the cell once again to accept the Catholic Faith. 'We are Christians,' was the answer of the Aleuts, 'and we will not change our Faith.' Then the Jesuits began to torture them, at first the one while his companion was the witness. They cut the toes off his feet, first one joint and then the other joint. And then they cut the first joint on the fingers of the hands, and then the other joint. Afterwards they cut off his feet, and his hands; the blood flowed. The martyr endured all and steadfastly insisted on one thing: "I am a Christian.' In such suffering, he bled to death. The Jesuit promised to torture to death his comrades also on the next day.

But that night an order was received from Monterey stating that the imprisoned Aleuts were to be released immediately, and sent there under escort. Therefore, in the morning all were dispatched to Monterey with the exception of the martyred Aleut. This was related to me by a witness, the same Aleut who was the comrade of the tortured Aleut. Afterwards he escaped from imprisonment, and I reported this incident to the supreme authorities in St Petersburg. When I finished my story, Father Herman asked, 'And how did they call the martyred Aleut?' I answered, 'Peter; I do not remember his family name.' The Elder stood up before an icon reverently, made the sign of the Cross and pronounced, "Holy newly-martyred Peter, pray to God for usl"

THE SPIRIT OF FATHER HERMAN’S TEACHING In order to express the spirit of Father Herman's teaching, we present here a quotation from a letter that was written by his own hand.

"The empty years of these desires separate us from our heavenly homeland, and our Love for these desires and our habits clothe us, as it were, in an odious dress; it is called by the Apostle 'the external (earthy) man.' (I Cor. 15:47). We who are wanderers in the journey of this life call to God for aid. We must divest ourselves of this repulsiveness, and put on new desires, and a new love for the coming age. Thus, through this we will know either an attraction or a repulsion for the heavenly homeland. It is possible to do this quickly, but we must follow the example of the sick, who wishing for desired health, do not stop searching for means of curing themselves. But I am not speaking clearly."

Not desiring anything for himself in life; long ago when he first came to America having refused, because of his humility, the dignity of hiero-monk and archimandrite; and deciding to remain forever a common monk, Father Herman, without the least fear before the, powerful, strove with all sincerity for God. With gentle love, and disregarding the person, he criticized many for intemperate living, for unworthy behalvor, and for oppressing the Aleuts. Evil armed itself against him and gave him all sorts of trouble and sorrow. But God protected the Elder. The Administrator of the Colony, Yanovsky, not having yet seen Father Herman, after receiving one of those complaints, had already written to St Petersburg of the necessity of his removal. He explained that it seemed that he was arousing the Aleuts against the administration. But this accusation turned out to be unjust, and in the end Yanovsky was numbered among the admirers of Father Herman.

Once an inspector came to Spruce Island with the Administrator of the Colony N. and with company employees to search through Father Herman's call.

This party expected to find property of great value in Father Herman's call. But when they found nothing of value, an employee (of the American Company), Ponomarkhov, began to tear up the floor with an axe, undoubtedly with the consent of his seniors. Then Father Herman said to him, "My friend, you have lifted the axe in vain; this weapon shall deprive you of your life." Some time later people were needed at Fort Nicholas, and for that reason several Russian employees were sent there from Kodiak; among them was Ponomarkhov; there the natives of Kenai cut off his head while he slept.

THE TEMPTATIONS OF FATHER HERMAN Many great sorrows were borne by Father Herman from evil spirits. He himself revealed this to his disciple, Gerasim. Once when he entered Father Herman's cell without the usual prayer he received no answer from Father Herman to any of his questions. The next day Gerasim asked him the reason for his silence. On that occasion Father Herman said to him, "When I came to this island and settled in this hermitage the evil spirits approached me ostensibly to be helpful. They came in the form of a man, and in the form of animals. I suffered much from them; from various afflictions and temptations. And that is why I do not speak now to anyone who enters into my presence without prayer." (It is customary among devout laymen, as well as clergy, to say out loud a prayer, and upon hearing a response ending with Amen, to enter and go to the icon in the room to reverence it, and to say a prayer before greeting the host).

SUPERNATURAL GIFTS FROM GOD Herman dedicated himself fully for the Lord's service; he strove with zeal solely for the glorification of His Most Holy Name. Far from his homeland in the midst of a variety of afflictions and privations Father Herman spent several decades performing the noblest deeds of self-sacrifice. He was privileged to receive many supernatural gifts from God.

In the midst of Spruce Island down the hill flows a little stream into the sea. The mouth of this stream was always swept by surf. In the spring when the brook fish appeared the Elder raked away some of the sand at its mouth so that the fish could enter, and at their first appearance they rushed up the stream'. His disciple, lgnaty, said, "it was so that if 'Apa' would tell me, I would go and get fish in the streaml" Father Herman fed the birds with dried fish, and they would gather in great numbers around his call. Underneath his cell there lived an ermine. This little animal can not be approached when it has had its young, but the Elder fed it from his own hand. "Was not this a miracle that we had seen?" said his disciple, lgnaty. They also saw Father Herman feeding bears. But when Father Herman died the birds and animals left; even the garden would not give any sort of crops even though someone had willingly taken care of it, lgnaty insisted.

On Spruce Island there once occurred a flood. The inhabitants came to the Elder in great fear. Father Herman then took an icon of the Mother of God from the home where his students lived, and placed it on a "laida" ( a sandy bank) and began to pray. After his prayer he turned to those present and said, "Have no fear, the water will not go any higher than the place where this holy icon stands." The words of the Elder were fullfilled. After this he promised the same aid from this holy icon in the future through the intercessions of the Most Immaculate Queen. He entrusted the icon to his disciple, Sophia; in case of future floods the icon was to be placed on the "laida."

At the request of the Elder, Baron F. P. Wrangel wrote a letter to a Metropolitan - his name is not known - which was dictated by Father Herman. When the letter was completed and read, the Elder congratulated the Baron upon his attaining the rank of admiral. The Baron was taken aback. This was news to him. It was confirmed, but only after an elapse of some time and just before he departed for St. Petersburg.

Father Herman said to the administrator Kashevarov from whom he accepted his son from the font (during the Sacrament of Baptism), "I am sorry for you my dear 'kum.' It's a shame, the change will be unpleasant for you!" In two years during a change of administration Kashevarov was sent to Sitka in chains.

Once the forest on Spruce Island caught fire. The Elder with his disciple, Ignaty, in a thicket of the forest made a belt about a yard wide in which they turned over the moss. They extended it to the foot of the hill. The Elder said, "Rest assured, the fire will not pass this line." On the next day according to the testimony of lgnaty there was no hope for salvation (from the fire) and the fire, pushed by a strong wind, reached the place where the moss had been turned over by the Elder. The fire ran over the moss and halted, leaving untouched the thick forest which was beyond the line.

The Elder often said that there would be a bishop for America; this at a time when no one even thought of it, and there was no hope that there would be a bishop for America;this was related by the Bishop Peter and his prophecy was fulfilled in time.

"After my death," said Father Herman, "there will be an epidemic and many people shall die during it and the Russians shall unite the Aleuts." And so it happened; it seems that about a half a year after his passing there was a smallpox epidemic; the death rate in America during the epidemic was tremendous. In some villages only a few inhabitants remained alive. This led the administration of the colony to unite the Aleuts; the twelve settlements were consolidated into seven.

"Although a long time shall elapse after my death, I will not be forgotten," said Father Herman to his disciples. "My place of habitation will not remain empty. A monk like myself who will be escaping from the glory of men, will come and he will live on Spruce Island, and Spruce Island will not be without people."

(This prophecy has now been fulfilled in its entirety. Just such a monk as Father Herman described lived on Spruce Island for many years; his name was Archimandrite Gerasim, who died on October 13, 1969. This monk took on himself the responsibility of taking care of the Chapel under which at first was buried the Elder Herman. Metropolitan Leonty soon after his elevation to the primacy of the Russian Orthodox Church in America made a pilgrimage to Spruce Island, and the grave of Herman.)

HERMAN'S PROPHECIES FOR THE FUTURE The creole Constantine, when he was not more than twelve years old, was asked by Father Herman, "My beloved one, what do you think; this chapel which they are now building, will it ever stand empty?" The youngster answered, "I do not know, 'Apa." "And indeed," said Constantine, "I did not understand his question at that time, even though that whole conversation with the Elder remains vivid in my memory." The Elder remained silent for a short time, and then said, "My child remember, in time in this place there will be a monastery."

Father Herman said to his disciple the Aleut lgnaty Aiigyaga, "Thirty years shall pass after my death, and all those living on Spruce Island will have died, but you alone will remain alive. You will be old and poor when I will be remembered." And indeed after the death of Father Herman thirty years passed when they were reminded of him, and they began to gather information and facts about him; on the basis of which was written his life. "It is amazing," exclaims lgnaty, "how a man like us could know all this so long before it happened! However, no, he was no ordinary man! He knew our thoughts, and involuntarily he led us to the point where we revealed them to him, and we received counsel from him!"

"When I die," said the Elder to his disciples, "you will bury me alongside Father Joasaph. You will bury me by yourself, for you will not wait for the priest! Do not wash my body. Lay it on a board, clasp my hands over my chest, wrap me in my 'mantia' (the monk's outer cloak), and with its wings cover my face and place the 'kiobuk' on my head. (The 'klobuk' is the monastic head-dress.) If anyone wishes to bid farewell to me, let them kiss the Cross. Do not show my face to anyone . . ."

THE DEATH OF FATHER HERMAN The time of the Elder's passing had come. One day he ordered his disciple, Gerasim, to light a candle before the icons, and to read the Acts of the Holy Apostles. After some time his face glowed brightly and he said in a loud voice, "Glory to Thee, O Lord!" He then ordered the reading to be halted, and he announced that the Lord had willed that his life would now be spared for another week. A week later again by his orders the candies were lit, and the Acts of the Holy Apostles were read. Quietly the Elder bowed his head on the chest of Gerasim; the cell was filled with a pleasant smelling odor; and his face glowed, and Father Herman was no more! Thus in blessedness he died, he passed away in the sleep of a righteous man in the 81st year of his life of great labor, the 25th day of December, 1837. (According to the Julian Calendar, the 13th of December 1837, although there are some records which state he died on the 28th of November, and was buried on the 26th of December).

Those sent with the sad news to the harbor returned to announce that the administrator of the colony Kashevarov had forbidden the burial of the Elder until his own arrival. He also ordered that a finer coffin be made for Father Herman, and that he would come as soon as possible and would bring a priest with him. But then a great wind came up, a rain fell, and a terrible storm broke. The distance from the Harbor to Spruce Island is not great - about a two hour journey - but no one would agree to go to sea in such weather. Thus it continued for a full month and although the body lay in state for a full month in the warm house of his students, his face did not undergo any change at all, and not the slightest odor emanated from his body. Finally through the efforts of Kuzma Uchilischev, a coffin was obtained. No one arrived from the Harbor, and the inhabitants of Spruce Island alone buried in the ground the remains of the Elder. Thus the words which Herman uttered before his death were fulfilled. After this the wind quieted down, and the surface of the sea became as smooth as a mirror.

One evening from the village Katani (on Afognak) was seen above Spruce Island an unusual pillar of light which reached up to heaven. Astonished by the miraculous appearance, experienced elders and the creole Gerasim Vologdin and his wife, Anna, said, "it seems that Father Herman has left us," and they began to pray. After a time, they were informed that the Elder had indeed passed away that very night. This same pillar was seen in various places by others. The night of his death in another of the settlements on Afognak was seen a vision; it seemed as though a man was rising from Spruce Island into the clouds.

The disciples buried their father, and placed above his grave a wooden memorial marker. The priest on Kodiak, Peter Kashevarov, says, "I saw it myself, and I can say that today it seems as though it had never been touched by time; as though it had been cut this day."

Having witnessed the life of Father Herman glorified by his zealous labors, having seen his miracles, and the ful- fillment of his predictions, finally having observed his blessed falling-asleep, "in general all the local inhabitants" witnesses Bishop Peter, "have the highest esteem for him, as though he was a holy ascetic, anti are fully convinced thdt he has found favor in the presence of God."

In 1842, five years after the passing away of the Elder, Innocent, Archbishop of Kamchatka and the Aleutians, was near Kodiak on a sailing vessel which was in great distress. He looked to Spruce Island, and said to himself, "if you, Father Herman, have found favor in God's presence then may the wind change!" It seems as though not more than fifteen minutes had passed, said the Bishop, when the wind became favorable, and he successfully reached the shore. In thanksgiving for his salvation, Archbishop Innocent himself conducted a Memorial Service over the grave of the Blessed Elder Herman.

In 1970, the Orthodox Church in America glorified the monk Herman as the Venerable Herman of Alaska, Wonderworker of All America.

http://www.oca.org/FS.NA-Saint.asp?SID=4&Saint=Herman
« Last Edit: December 19, 2007, 03:34:00 AM by PeterTheAleut »
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #42 on: December 19, 2007, 03:53:15 AM »
St Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers



Commemorated on January 13

The Holy Hierarch Hilary was born of pagan parents in Gaul, and was trained in philosophy and rhetoric. At a time when paganism was still strong in Gaul, St Hilary understood the falsehood of polytheism, and became a Christian, and a great defender of his new Faith. About the year 350 AD, he was ordained Bishop of Poitiers, when Aries and Milan were in the hands of the Arians and the Arian Constantius was sole Emperor. Like his contemporary St Athanasius, St Hilary's Episcopate was one long struggle against the Arians. As Bishop of Poitiers, St Hilary foresaw the future greatness of Martin, and attached him to himself. In 355 AD, when required to agree to the condemnation of St Athanasius passed by the Synod of Milan, Hilary wrote an epistle to Constantius convicting the wrongs done by the Arians and requesting, among other things, the restoration of the Orthodox Bishops, including Athanasius. For this, Hilary was banished to Asia Minor, where he wrote his greatest work, On the Trinity. St Hilary returned to his See in 360 AD, where St Martin sought him out again. It was at this time that St Hilary blessed Martin to found a monastery near Poitiers, where Martin remained until being consecrated Bishop of Tours in 371 AD. In his last years, St Hilary strove for the deposition of Auxentius, the Arian Bishop of Milan, but by affecting an Orthodox confession Auxentius retained his See. St Hilary reposed in peace about the year 368 AD. Auxentius died in 374 AD and was succeeded by St Ambrose, who continued St Hilary's battle against Arianism.


Dismissal Hymn of St Hilary

Guide of Orthodoxy, teacher of piety and holiness, luminary of the world, God-inspired adornment of Hierarchs, O wise Hilary, by thy teachings thou hast enlightened all, O harp of the Spirit. Intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.


Kontakion of St Hilary
As first fruits of our nature

Enduring exile for the Faith delivered to the Church of Christ, you withstood the deceit of the Arians, O holy Hierarch Hilary. By your prayers and your teachings, O defender of Orthodoxy and right belief, convert the Western lands and entreat Christ for us, who honour you.

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As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future.
-- Sir Julian Sorell Huxley FRS

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #43 on: December 19, 2007, 03:59:29 AM »
St Martin the Merciful, Bishop of Tours



Commemorated on November 11

Saint Martin the Merciful, Bishop of Tours, was born at Sabaria in Pannonia (modern Hungary) in 316. Since his father was a Roman officer, he also was obliged to serve in the army. Martin did so unwillingly, for he considered himself a soldier of Christ, though he was still a catechumen.

At the gates of Amiens, he saw a beggar shivering in the severe winter cold, so he cut his cloak in two and gave half to the beggar. That night, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to the saint wearing Martin's cloak. He heard the Savior say to the angels surrounding Him, "Martin is only a catechumen, but he has clothed Me with this garment." The saint was baptized soon after this, and reluctantly remained in the army.

Two years later, the barbarians invaded Gaul and Martin asked permission to resign his commission for religious reasons. The commander charged him with cowardice. St Martin demonstrated his courage by offering to stand unarmed in the front line of battle, trusting in the power of the Cross to protect him. The next day, the barbarians surrendered without a fight, and Martin was allowed to leave the army.

He traveled to various places during the next few years, spending some time as a hermit on an island off Italy. He became friendly with St Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers (January 14), who made Matrin an exorcist. After several years of the ascetic life, St Martin was chosen to be Bishop of Tours in 371. As bishop, St Martin did not give up his monastic life, and the place where he settled outside Tours became a monastery. In fact, he is regarded as the founder of monasticism in France. He conversed with angels, and had visions of Sts Peter and Paul (June 29) and of other saints. He is called the Merciful because of his generosity and care for the poor, and he received the grace to work miracles.

After a life of devoted service to Christ and His Church, the saint fell ill at Candes, a village in his diocese, where he died on November 8, 397. He was buried three days later (his present Feast) at Tours. During the Middle Ages, many Western churches were dedicated to St Martin, including St Martin's in Canterbury, and St Martin-in-the-Fields in London.

In 1008, a cathedral was built at Tours over the relics of St Martin. This cathedral was destroyed in 1793 during the French Revolution, together with the relics of St Martin and St Gregory of Tours (November 17). A new cathedral was built on the site many years later. Some fragments of the relics of St Martin were recovered and placed in the cathedral, but nothing remains of St Gregory's relics.

St Martin's name appears on many Greek and Russian calendars. His commemoration on October 12 in the Russian calendar appears to be an error, since ancient sources give the November date.


Troparion - Tone 4

In signs and in miracles you were renowned throughout Gaul.
By grace and adoption you are a light for the world, O Martin,
blessed of God.
Almsdeeds and compassion filled your life with their splendors,
Teaching and wise counsel were your riches and treasures,
Which you dispense freely to those who honor you.


Kontakion - Tone 8

As a devoted man of God, you proclaimed His mysteries,
And as a seer of the Trinity, you shed your blessings on the Occident.
By your prayers and entreaties, O adornment of Tours and glory of all the Church,
Preserve us, O Saint Martin, and save all who praise your memory.

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As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future.
-- Sir Julian Sorell Huxley FRS

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #44 on: December 19, 2007, 04:06:28 AM »
Venerable Genevieve of Paris



Commemorated on January 3

Saint Genevieve was born of wealthy parents in Gaul (modern France) in the village of Nanterre, near Paris, around 422. Her father's name was Severus, and her mother was called Gerontia. According to the custom of the time, she often tended her father's flocks on Mt. Valerien.

When she was about seven years old, St Germanus of Auxerre (July 31) noticed her as he was passing through Nanterre. The bishop kissed her on the head and told her parents that she would become great in the sight of God, and would lead many to salvation. After Genevieve told him that she wished to dedicate herself to Christ, he gave her a brass medal with the image of the Cross upon it. She promised to wear it around her neck, and to avoid wearing any other ornaments around her neck or on her fingers.

When it was reported that Attila the Hun was approaching Paris, Genevieve and the other nuns prayed and fasted, entreating God to spare the city. Suddenly, the barbarians turned away from Paris and went off in another direction.

Years later, when she was fifteen, Genevieve was taken to Paris to enter the monastic life. Through fasting, vigil and prayer, she progressed in monasticism, and received from God the gifts of clairvoyance and of working miracles. Gradually, the people of Paris and the surrounding area regarded Genevieve as a holy vessel (2 Tim. 2:21).

St Genevieve considered the Saturday night Vigil service to be very important, since it symbolizes how our whole life should be. "We must keep vigil in prayer and fasting so that the Lord will find us ready when He comes," she said. She was on her way to church with her nuns one stormy Saturday night when the wind blew out her lantern. The nuns could not find their way without a light, since it was dark and stormy, and the road was rough and muddy. St Genevieve made the Sign of the Cross over the lantern, and the candle within was lit with a bright flame. In this manner they were able to make their way to the church for the service.

There is a tradition that the church which St Genevieve suggested that King Clovis build in honor of Sts Peter and Paul became her own resting place when she fell asleep in the Lord around 512 at the age of eighty-nine. Her holy relics were later transferred to the church of St Etienne du Mont in Paris. Most of her relics, and those of other saints, were destroyed during the French Revolution.

In the Middle Ages, St Genevieve was regarded as the patron saint of wine makers.

As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future.
-- Sir Julian Sorell Huxley FRS

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #45 on: December 19, 2007, 09:56:36 AM »
Commemorated on November 24

The Holy Great Martyr Catherine was the daughter of Constus, the governor of Alexandrian Egypt during the reign of the emperor Maximian (305-313). Living in the capital, the center of Hellenistic knowledge, and possessed of a rare beauty and intellect, Catherine received an excellent education, studying the works of the greatest philosophers and teachers of antiquity. Young men from the most worthy families of the empire sought the hand of the beautiful Catherine, but she was not interested in any of them. She told her parents that she would enter into marriage only with someone who surpassed her in nobility, wealth, comeliness and wisdom.

Catherine's mother, a secret Christian, sent her to her own spiritual Father, a saintly Elder living in a cave outside the city, for advice. After listening to Catherine, the Elder said that he knew of a Youth who surpassed her in everything. "His countenance is more radiant than the shining of the sun, and all of creation is governed by His wisdom. His riches are given to all the nations of the world, yet they never diminish. His compassion is unequaled."

This description of the Heavenly Bridegroom produced in the soul of the holy maiden an ardent desire to see Him. "If you do as I tell you," said the monk, "you will gaze upon the countenance of this illustrious man." In parting, the Elder handed Catherine an icon of the Theotokos with the divine Child Jesus on Her arm and told her to pray with faith to the Queen of Heaven, the Mother of the Heavenly Bridegroom, and She would hear Catherine and grant her heart's desire.

Catherine prayed all night and was permitted to see the Most Holy Virgin, Who said Her Divine Son, "Behold Thy handmaiden Catherine, how fair and virtuous she is." But the Child turned His face away from her saying, "No, she is ugly and unbelieving. She is a foolish pauper, and I cannot bear to look at her until she forsakes her impiety."

Catherine returned again to the Elder deeply saddened, and told him what she had seen in the dream. He lovingly received her, instructed her in the faith of Christ, admonished her to preserve her purity and integrity and to pray unceasingly. She then received the Mystery of holy Baptism from him. Again St Catherine had a vision of the Most Holy Theotokos with Her Child. Now the Lord looked tenderly at her and gave her a beautiful ring, a wondrous token of her betrothal to the Heavenly Bridegroom (This ring is still on her hand).

At that time the emperor Maximian was in Alexandria for a pagan festival. Therefore, the celebration was especially splendid and crowded. The cries of the sacrificial animals, the smoke and the smell of the sacrifices, the endless blazing of fires, and the bustling crowds at the arenas defiled the city of Alexandria. Human victims also were brought, the confessors of Christ, those who would not deny Him under torture. They were condemned to death in the fire. The saint's love for the Christian martyrs and her fervent desire to ease their sufferings compelled Catherine to speak to the pagan priest and to the emperor Maximian.

Introducing herself, the saint confessed her faith in the One True God and with wisdom exposed the errors of the pagans. The beauty of the maiden captivated the emperor. In order to convince her and to show the superiority of pagan wisdom, the emperor ordered fifty of the most learned philosophers and rhetoricians of the Empire to dispute with her, but the saint got the better of the wise men, so that they came to believe in Christ themselves. St Catherine made the Sign of the Cross over the martyrs, and they bravely accepted death for Christ and were burned alive by order of the emperor.

Maximian, no longer hoping to convince the saint, tried to entice her with the promise of riches and fame. Receiving an angry refusal, the emperor gave orders to subject the saint to terrible tortures and then throw her in prison. The Empress Augusta, who had heard much about the saint, wanted to see her. She prevailed upon the military commander Porphyrius to accompany her to the prison with a detachment of soldiers. The empress was impressed by the strong spirit of St Catherine, whose face was radiant with divine grace. The holy martyr explained the Christian teaching to them, and they were converted to Christ.

On the following day they again brought the martyr to the judgment court where, under the threat of being broken on the wheel, they urged that she renounce the Christian Faith and offer sacrifice to the gods. The saint steadfastly confessed Christ and she herself approached the wheels; but an angel smashed the instruments of execution, which shattered into pieces with many pagans standing nearby.

Having beheld this wonder, the Empress Augusta and the imperial courtier Porphyrius with 200 soldiers confessed their faith in Christ in front of everyone, and they were beheaded. Maximian again tried to entice the holy martyr, proposing marriage to her, and again he was refused. St Catherine firmly confessed her fidelity to the heavenly Bridegroom Christ, and with a prayer to Him she herself lay her head on the block beneath the executioner's sword.

The relics of St Catherine were taken by the angels to Mount Sinai. In the sixth century,, the venerable head and left hand of the holy martyr were found through a revelation and transferred with honor to a newly-constructed church of the Sinai monastery, built by the holy Emperor Justinian (November 14).

St Catherine is called upon for relief and assistance during a difficult childbirth. Pilgrims to her monastery on Mt Sinai are given souvenir rings as a remembrance of their visit.

Taken from OCA.org.
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Offline EofK

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #46 on: December 19, 2007, 09:59:02 AM »
St. Mary of Egypt

Commemorated on April 1

St Zosimas (April 4) was a monk at a certain Palestinian monastery on the outskirts of Caesarea. Having dwelt at the monastery since his childhood, he lived there in asceticism until he reached the age of fifty-three. Then he was disturbed by the thought that he had attained perfection, and needed no one to instruct him. "Is there a monk anywhere who can show me some form of asceticism that I have not attained? Is there anyone who has surpassed me in spiritual sobriety and deeds?"

Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, "Zosimas, you have struggled valiantly, as far as this is in the power of man. However, there is no one who is righteous (Rom 3:10). So that you may know how many other ways lead to salvation, leave your native land, like Abraham from the house of his father (Gen 12:1), and go to the monastery by the Jordan."

Abba Zosimas immediately left the monastery, and following the angel, he went to the Jordan monastery and settled in it.

Here he met Elders who were adept in contemplation, and also in their struggles. Never did anyone utter an idle word. Instead, they sang constantly, and prayed all night long. Abba Zosimas began to imitate the spiritual activity of the holy monks.

Thus much time passed, and the holy Forty Day Fast approached. There was a certain custom at the monastery, which was why God had led St Zosimas there. On the First Sunday of Great Lent the igumen served the Divine Liturgy, everyone received the All-Pure Body and Blood of Christ. Afterwards, they went to the trapeza for a small repast, and then assembled once more in church.

The monks prayed and made prostrations, asking forgiveness one of another. Then they made a prostration before the igumen and asked his blessing for the struggle that lay before them. During the Psalm "The Lord is my Light and my Savior, whom shall I fear? The Lord is defender of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?" (Ps 26/27:1), they opened the monastery gate and went off into the wilderness.

Each took with him as much food as he needed, and went into the desert. When their food ran out, they ate roots and desert plants. The monks crossed the Jordan and scattered in various directions, so that no one might see how another fasted or how they spent their time.

The monks returned to the monastery on Palm Sunday, each having his own conscience as a witness of his ascetic struggles. It was a rule of the monastery that no one asked how anyone else had toiled in the desert.

Abba Zosimas, according to the custom of the monastery, went deep into the desert hoping to find someone living there who could benefit him.

He walked into the wilderness for twenty days and then, when he sang the Psalms of the Sixth Hour and made the usual prayers. Suddenly, to the right of the hill where he stood, he saw a human form. He was afraid, thinking that it might be a demonic apparition. Then he guarded himself with the Sign of the Cross, which removed his fear. He turned to the right and saw a form walking southward. The body was black from the blazing sunlight, and the faded short hair was white like a sheep's fleece. Abba Zosimas rejoiced, since he had not seen any living thing for many days.

The desert-dweller saw Zosimas approaching, and attempted to flee from him. Abba Zosimas, forgetting his age and fatigue, quickened his pace. When he was close enough to be heard, he called out, "Why do you flee from me, a sinful old man? Wait for me, for the love of God."

The stranger said to him, "Forgive me, Abba Zosimas, but I cannot turn and show my face to you. I am a woman, and as you see, I am naked. If you would grant the request of a sinful woman, throw me your cloak so I might cover my body, and then I can ask for your blessing."

Then Abba Zosimas was terrified, realizing that she could not have called him by name unless she possessed spiritual insight.

Covered by the cloak, the ascetic turned to Zosimas: "Why do you want to speak with me, a sinful woman? What did you wish to learn from me, you who have not shrunk from such great labors?"

Abba Zosimas fell to the ground and asked for her blessing. She also bowed down before him, and for a long time they remained on the ground each asking the other to bless. Finally, the woman ascetic said: "Abba Zosimas, you must bless and pray, since you are honored with the grace of the priesthood. For many years you have stood before the holy altar, offering the Holy Gifts to the Lord."

These words frightened St Zosimas even more. With tears he said to her, "O Mother! It is clear that you live with God and are dead to this world. You have called me by name and recognized me as a priest, though you have never seen me before. The grace granted you is apparent, therefore bless me, for the Lord's sake."

Yielding finally to his entreaties, she said, "Blessed is God, Who cares for the salvation of men." Abba Zosimas replied, "Amen." Then they rose to their feet. The woman ascetic again said to the Elder, "Why have you come, Father, to me who am a sinner, bereft of every virtue? Apparently, the grace of the Holy Spirit has brought you to do me a service. But tell me first, Abba, how do the Christians live, how is the Church guided?"

Abba Zosimas answered her, "By your holy prayers God has granted the Church and us all a lasting peace. But fulfill my unworthy request, Mother, and pray for the whole world and for me a sinner, that my wanderings in the desert may not be useless."

The holy ascetic replied, "You, Abba Zosimas, as a priest, ought to pray for me and for all, for you are called to do this. However, since we must be obedient, I will do as you ask.

The saint turned toward the East, and raising her eyes to heaven and stretching out her hands, she began to pray in a whisper. She prayed so softly that Abba Zosimas could not hear her words. After a long time, the Elder looked up and saw her standing in the air more than a foot above the ground. Seeing this, Zosimas threw himself down on the ground, weeping and repeating, "Lord, have mercy!"

Then he was tempted by a thought. He wondered if she might not be a spirit, and if her prayer could be insincere. At that moment she turned around, lifted him from the ground and said, "Why do your thoughts confuse you, Abba Zosimas? I am not an apparition. I am a sinful and unworthy woman, though I am guarded by holy Baptism."

Then she made the Sign of the Cross and said, "May God protect us from the Evil One and his schemes, for fierce is his struggle against us." Seeing and hearing this, the Elder fell at her feet with tears saying, "I beseech you by Christ our God, do not conceal from me who you are and how you came into this desert. Tell me everything, so that the wondrous works of God may be revealed."

She replied, "It distresses me, Father, to speak to you about my shameless life. When you hear my story, you might flee from me, as if from a poisonous snake. But I shall tell you everything, Father, concealing nothing. However, I exhort you, cease not to pray for me a sinner, that I may find mercy on the Day of Judgment.

"I was born in Egypt and when I was twelve years old, I left my parents and went to Alexandria. There I lost my chastity and gave myself to unrestrained and insatiable sensuality. For more than seventeen years I lived like that and I did it all for free. Do not think that I refused the money because I was rich. I lived in poverty and worked at spinning flax. To me, life consisted in the satisfaction of my fleshly lust.

"One summer I saw a crowd of people from Libya and Egypt heading toward the sea. They were on their way to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. I also wanted to sail with them. Since I had no food or money, I offered my body in payment for my passage. And so I embarked on the ship.

"Now, Father, believe me, I am very amazed, that the sea tolerated my wantonness and fornication, that the earth did not open up its mouth and take me down alive into hell, because I had ensnared so many souls. I think that God was seeking my repentance. He did not desire the death of a sinner, but awaited my conversion.

"So I arrived in Jerusalem and spent all the days before the Feast living the same sort of life, and maybe even worse.

"When the holy Feast of the Exaltation of the Venerable Cross of the Lord arrived, I went about as before, looking for young men. At daybreak I saw that everyone was heading to the church, so I went along with the rest. When the hour of the Holy Elevation drew nigh, I was trying to enter into the church with all the people. With great effort I came almost to the doors, and attempted to squeeze inside. Although I stepped up to the threshold, it was as though some force held me back, preventing me from entering. I was brushed aside by the crowd, and found myself standing alone on the porch. I thought that perhaps this happened because of my womanly weakness. I worked my way into the crowd, and again I attempted to elbow people aside. However hard I tried, I could not enter. Just as my feet touched the church threshold, I was stopped. Others entered the church without difficulty, while I alone was not allowed in. This happened three or four times. Finally my strength was exhausted. I went off and stood in a corner of the church portico.

"Then I realized that it was my sins that prevented me from seeing the Life-Creating Wood. The grace of the Lord then touched my heart. I wept and lamented, and I began to beat my breast. Sighing from the depths of my heart, I saw above me an icon of the Most Holy Theotokos. Turning to Her, I prayed: "O Lady Virgin, who gave birth in the flesh to God the Word! I know that I am unworthy to look upon your icon. I rightly inspire hatred and disgust before your purity, but I know also that God became Man in order to call sinners to repentance. Help me, O All-Pure One. Let me enter the church. Allow me to behold the Wood upon which the Lord was crucified in the flesh, shedding His Blood for the redemption of sinners, and also for me. Be my witness before Your Son that I will never defile my body again with the impurity of fornication. As soon as I have seen the Cross of your Son, I will renounce the world, and go wherever you lead me."

"After I had spoken, I felt confidence in the compassion of the Mother of God, and left the spot where I had been praying. I joined those entering the church, and no one pushed me back or prevented me from entering. I went on in fear and trembling, and entered the holy place.

"Thus I also saw the Mysteries of God, and how God accepts the penitant. I fell to the holy ground and kissed it. Then I hastened again to stand before the icon of the Mother of God, where I had given my vow. Bending my knees before the Virgin Theotokos, I prayed:

"'O Lady, you have not rejected my prayer as unworthy. Glory be to God, Who accepts the repentance of sinners. It is time for me to fulfill my vow, which you witnessed. Therefore, O Lady, guide me on the path of repentance.'"

"Then I heard a voice from on high: 'If you cross the Jordan, you will find glorious rest.'

"I immediately believed that this voice was meant for me, and I cried out to the Mother of God: 'O Lady, do not forsake me!'

"Then I left the church portico and started on my journey. A certain man gave me three coins as I was leaving the church. With them I bought three loaves of bread, and asked the bread merchant the way to the Jordan.

"It was nine o'clock when I saw the Cross. At sunset I reached the church of St John the Baptist on the banks of the Jordan. After praying in the church, I went down to the Jordan and washed my face and hands in its water. Then in this same temple of St John the Forerunner I received the Life-Creating Mysteries of Christ. Then I ate half of one of my loaves of bread, drank water from the holy Jordan, and slept there that night on the ground. In the morning I found a small boat and crossed the river to the opposite shore. Again I prayed that the Mother of God would lead me where She wished. Then I found myself in this desert."

Abba Zosimas asked her, "How many years have passed since you began to live in the desert?"

"'I think," she replied, "it is forty-seven years since I came from the Holy City."

Abba Zosimas again asked, "What food do you find here, Mother?"

And she said, "I had with me two and a half loaves of bread when I crossed the Jordan. Soon they dried out and hardened Eating a little at a time, I finished them after a few years."

Again Abba Zosimas asked, "Is it possible you have survived for so many years without sickness, and without suffering in any way from such a complete change?"

"Believe me, Abba Zosimas," the woman said, "I spent seventeen years in this wilderness (after she had spent seventeen years in immorality), fighting wild beasts: mad desires and passions. When I began to eat bread, I thought of the meat and fish which I had in abundance in Egypt. I also missed the wine that I loved so much when I was in the world, while here I did not even have water. I suffered from thirst and hunger. I also had a mad desire for lewd songs. I seemed to hear them, disturbing my heart and my hearing. Weeping and striking myself on the breast, I remembered the vow I had made. At last I beheld a radiant Light shining on me from everywhere. After a violent tempest, a lasting calm ensued.

"Abba, how shall I tell you of the thoughts that urged me on to fornication? A fire seemed to burn within me, awakening in me the desire for embraces. Then I would throw myself to the ground and water it with my tears. I seemed to see the Most Holy Virgin before me, and She seemed to threaten me for not keeping my vow. I lay face downward day and night upon the ground, and would not get up until that blessed Light encircled me, dispelling the evil thoughts that troubled me.

"Thus I lived in this wilderness for the first seventeen years. Darkness after darkness, misery after misery stood about me, a sinner. But from that time until now the Mother of God helps me in everything."

Abba Zosimas again inquired, "How is it that you require neither food, nor clothing?"

She answered, "After finishing my bread, I lived on herbs and the things one finds in the desert. The clothes I had when I crossed over the Jordan became torn and fell apart. I suffered both from the summer heat, when the blazing heat fell upon me, and from the winter cold, when I shivered from the frost. Many times I fell down upon the earth, as though dead. I struggled with various afflictions and temptations. But from that time until the present day, the power of God has guarded my sinful soul and humble body. I was fed and clothed by the all-powerful word of God, since man does not live by bread alone, but by every word proceeding from the mouth of God (Dt 8:3, Mt.4:4, Luke 4:4), and those who have put off the old man (Col 3:9) have no refuge, hiding themselves in the clefts of the rocks (Job 24:8, Heb 11:38). When I remember from what evil and from what sins the Lord delivered me, I have imperishible food for salvation."

When Abba Zosimas heard that the holy ascetic quoted the Holy Scripture from memory, from the Books of Moses and Job and from the Psalms of David, he then asked the woman, "Mother, have you read the Psalms and other books?"

She smiled at hearing this question, and answered, "Believe me, I have seen no human face but yours from the time that I crossed over the Jordan. I never learned from books. I have never heard anyone read or sing from them. Perhaps the Word of God, which is alive and acting, teaches man knowledge by itself (Col 3:16, 1 Thess 2:13). This is the end of my story. As I asked when I began, I beg you for the sake of the Incarnate Word of God, holy Abba, pray for me, a sinner.

"Furthermore, I beg you, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, tell no one what you have heard from me, until God takes me from this earth. Next year, during Great Lent, do not cross the Jordan, as is the custom of your monastery."

Again Abba Zosimas was amazed, that the practice of his monastery was known to the holy woman ascetic, although he had not said anything to her about this.

"Remain at the monastery," the woman continued. "Even if you try to leave the monastery, you will not be able to do so. On Great and Holy Thursday, the day of the Lord's Last Supper, place the Life-Creating Body and Blood of Christ our God in a holy vessel, and bring it to me. Await me on this side of the Jordan, at the edge of the desert, so that I may receive the Holy Mysteries. And say to Abba John, the igumen of your community, 'Look to yourself and your brothers (1 Tim 4:16), for there is much that needs correction. Do not say this to him now, but when the Lord shall indicate."

Asking for his prayers, the woman turned and vanished into the depths of the desert.

For a whole year Elder Zosimas remained silent, not daring to reveal to anyone what he had seen, and he prayed that the Lord would grant him to see the holy ascetic once more.

When the first week of Great Lent came again, St Zosimas was obliged to remain at the monastery because of sickness. Then he remembered the woman's prophetic words that he would not be able to leave the monastery. After several days went by, St Zosimas was healed of his infirmity, but he remained at the monastery until Holy Week.

On Holy Thursday, Abba Zosimas did what he had been ordered to do. He placed some of the Body and Blood of Christ into a chalice, and some food in a small basket. Then he left the monastery and went to the Jordan and waited for the ascetic. The saint seemed tardy, and Abba Zosimas prayed that God would permit him to see the holy woman.

Finally, he saw her standing on the far side of the river. Rejoicing, St Zosimas got up and glorified God. Then he wondered how she could cross the Jordan without a boat. She made the Sign of the Cross over the water, then she walked on the water and crossed the Jordan. Abba Zosimas saw her in the moonlight, walking toward him. When the Elder wanted to make prostration before her, she forbade him, crying out, "What are you doing, Abba? You are a priest and you carry the Holy Mysteries of God."

Reaching the shore, she said to Abba Zosimas, "Bless me, Father." He answered her with trembling, astonished at what he had seen. "Truly God did not lie when he promised that those who purify themselves will be like Him. Glory to You, O Christ our God, for showing me through your holy servant, how far I am from perfection."

The woman asked him to recite both the Creed and the "Our Father." When the prayers were finished, she partook of the Holy Mysteries of Christ. Then she raised her hands to the heavens and said, "Lord, now let Your servant depart in peace, for my eyes have seen Your salvation."

The saint turned to the Elder and said, "Please, Abba, fulfill another request. Go now to your monastery, and in a year's time come to the place where we first time spoke."

He said, "If only it were possible for me to follow you and always see your holy face!"

She replied, "For the Lord's sake, pray for me and remember my wrechedness."

Again she made the Sign of the Cross over the Jordan, and walked over the water as before, and disappeared into the desert. Zosimas returned to the monastery with joy and terror, reproaching himself because he had not asked the saint's name. He hoped to do so the following year.

A year passed, and Abba Zosimas went into the desert. He reached the place where he first saw the holy woman ascetic. She lay dead, with arms folded on her bosom, and her face was turned to the east. Abba Zosimas washed her feet with his tears and kissed them, not daring to touch anything else. For a long while he wept over her and sang the customary Psalms, and said the funeral prayers. He began to wonder whether the saint would want him to bury her or not. Hardly had he thought this, when he saw something written on the ground near her head: "Abba Zosimas, bury on this spot the body of humble Mary. Return to dust what is dust. Pray to the Lord for me. I reposed on the first day of April, on the very night of the saving Passion of Christ, after partaking of the Mystical Supper."

Reading this note, Abba Zosimas was glad to learn her name. He then realized that St Mary, after receiving the Holy Mysteries from his hand, was transported instantaneously to the place where she died, though it had taken him twenty days to travel that distance.

Glorifying God, Abba Zosimas said to himself, "It is time to do what she asks. But how can I dig a grave, with nothing in my hands?" Then he saw a small piece of wood left by some traveler. He picked it up and began to dig. The ground was hard and dry, and he could not dig it. Looking up, Abba Zosimas saw an enormous lion standing by the saint's body and licking her feet. Fear gripped the Elder, but he guarded himself with the Sign of the Cross, believing that he would remain unharmed through the prayers of the holy woman ascetic. Then the lion came close to the Elder, showing its friendliness with every movement. Abba Zosimas commanded the lion to dig the grave, in order to bury St Mary's body. At his words, the lion dug a hole deep enough to bury the body. Then each went his own way. The lion went into the desert, and Abba Zosimas returned to the monastery, blessing and praising Christ our God.

Arriving at the monastery, Abba Zosimas related to the monks and the igumen, what he had seen and heard from St Mary. All were astonished, hearing about the miracles of God. They always remembered St Mary with faith and love on the day of her repose.

Abba John, the igumen of the monastery, heeded the words of St Mary, and with the help of God corrected the things that were wrong at the monastery. Abba Zosimas lived a God-pleasing life at the monastery, reaching nearly a hundred years of age. There he finished his temporal life, and passed into life eternal.

The monks passed on the life of St Mary of Egypt by word of mouth without writing it down.

"I however," says St Sophronius of Jerusalem (March 11), "wrote down the Life of St Mary of Egypt as I heard it from the holy Fathers. I have recorded everything, putting the truth above all else."

"May God, Who works great miracles and bestows gifts on all who turn to Him in faith, reward those who hear or read this account, and those who copy it. May he grant them a blessed portion together with St Mary of Egypt and with all the saints who have pleased God by their pious thoughts and works. Let us give glory to God, the Eternal King, that we may find mercy on the Day of Judgment through our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom is due all glory, honor, majesty and worship together with the Unoriginate Father, and the Most Holy and Life-Creating Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen."

Taken from OCA.org.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2007, 10:02:21 AM by EofK »
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Offline Órëlaurëa

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #47 on: December 19, 2007, 05:40:55 PM »
Greatmartyr Anastasia the "Deliverer from Potions"

Commemorated on December 22

The Great Martyr Anastasia the Deliverer from Potions, a Roman by birth, suffered for Christ at the time of Diocletian's persecution of Christians. Her father was a pagan, but her mother was secretly a Christian. St Anastasia's teacher in her youth was an educated and pious Christian named Chrysogonus. After the death of her mother, her father gave St Anastasia in marriage to a pagan named Publius, but feigning illness, she preserved her virginity.

Clothing herself in the garb of a beggar, and accompanied by only one servant, she visited the prisons. She fed, doctored and often ransomed captives who were suffering for their faith in Christ. When her servant told Publius about everything, he subjected his wife to a beating and locked her up at home. St Anastasia then began to correspond secretly with Chrysogonus, who told the saint to be patient, to cleave to the Cross of Christ, and to accept the Lord's will. He also foretold the impending death of Publius in the sea. After a certain while Publius did indeed drown, as he was setting out with a delegation to Persia. After the death of her husband, St Anastasia began to distribute her property to the poor and suffering.

Diocletian was informed that the Christians who filled the prisons of Rome stoically endured tortures. He gave orders to kill them all in a single night, and for Chrysogonus to be sent to him at Aquileia. St Anastasia followed her teacher at a distance.

The emperor interrogated Chrysogonus personally, but could not make him renounce his faith. Therefore, he commanded that he be beheaded and thrown into the sea. The body and severed head of the holy martyr were carried to shore by the waves. There by divine Providence, the relics were found by a presbyter named Zoilus who placed them in a coffer, and concealed them at his home.

St Chrysogonus appeared to Zoilus and informed him that martyrdom was at hand for Agape, Chione and Irene (April 16), three sisters who lived nearby. He told him to send St Anastasia to them to encourage them. St Chrysogonus foretold that Zoilus would also die on the same day. Nine days later, the words of St Chrysogonus were fulfilled. Zoilus fell asleep in the Lord, and St Anastasia visited the three maidens before their tortures. When these three martyrs gave up their souls to the Lord, she buried them.

Having carried out her teacher's request, the saint went from city to city ministering to Christian prisoners. Proficient in the medical arts of the time, she zealously cared for captives far and wide, healing their wounds and relieving their suffering. Because of her labors, St Anastasia received the name Deliverer from Potions (Pharmakolytria), since by her intercessions she has healed many from the effects of potions, poisons, and other harmful substances.

She made the acquaintance of the pious young widow Theodota, finding in her a faithful helper. Theodota was taken for questioning when it was learned that she was a Christian. Meanwhile, St Anastasia was arrested in Illyricum. This occurred just after all the Christian captives there had been murdered in a single night by order of Diocletian. St Anastasia had come to one of the prisons, and finding no one there, she began to weep loudly. The jailers realized that she was a Christian and took her to the prefect of the district, who tried to persuade her to deny Christ by threatening her with torture. After his unsuccessful attempts to persuade St Anastasia to offer sacrifice to idols, he handed her over to the pagan priest Ulpian in Rome.

The cunning pagan offered St Anastasia the choice between luxury and riches, or grievous sufferings. He set before her gold, precious stones and fine clothing, and also fearsome instruments of torture. The crafty man was put to shame by the bride of Christ. St Anastasia refused the riches and chose the tools of torture.

But the Lord prolonged the earthly life of the saint, and Ulpian gave her three days to reconsider. Charmed by Anastasia's beauty, the pagan priest decided to defile her purity. However, when he tried to touch her he suddenly became blind. His head began to ache so severely that he screamed like a madman. He asked to be taken to a pagan temple to appeal to the idols for help, but on the way he fell down and died.

St Anastasia was set free and she and Theodota again devoted themselves to the care of imprisoned Christians. Before long, St Theodota and her three sons accepted a martyrdom. Her eldest son, Evodus, stood bravely before the judge and endured beatings without protest. After lengthy torture, they were all thrown into a red-hot oven.

St Anastasia was caught again and condemned to death by starvation. She remained in prison without food for sixty days. St Theodota appeared to the martyr every night and gave her courage. Seeing that hunger caused St Anastasia no harm whatsoever, the judge sentenced her to drowning together with other prisoners. Among them was Eutychianus, who was condemned for his Christian faith.

The prisoners were put into a boat which went out into the open sea. The soldiers bored holes in the boat and got into a galley. St Theodota appeared to the captives and steered the ship to shore. When they reached dry land, 120 men believed in Christ and were baptized by Sts Anastasia and Eutychianus. All were captured and received a martyr's crown. St Anastasia was stretched between four pillars and burned alive. A certain pious woman named Apollinaria buried her body, which was unharmed by the fire, in the garden outside her house.

In the fifth century the relics of St Anastasia were transferred to Constantinople, where a church was built and dedicated to her. Later the head and a hand of the Great Martyr were transferred to the monastery of St Anastasia [Deliverer from Potions], near Mount Athos.



Troparion - Tone 4

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

Troparion - Tone 5

As a martyr you emulated the deeds of the martyrs,
To whom you ministered,
And, striving valiantly, you overcame the enemy.
You are an abundant and overflowing source of grace
For all who come to you, O godly-minded Anastasia!

Kontakion - Tone 2

Those in temptations and afflictions hasten to your temple
And are restored by the grace that dwells in you,
For you ever pour forth healings for all the world,
O great Martyr Anastasia!
 
More information can be found here: http://www.holytrinityorthodox.com/calendar/los/December/22-01.htm
Domine Iesu Christe, Fili Dei, miserere mei, peccatricis.

órë: noun \"heart"\ (inner mind),   laurëa: adjective \"golden, like gold"\ http://www.uib.no/People/hnohf/quenya.htm

Offline Entscheidungsproblem

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #48 on: December 19, 2007, 05:50:47 PM »
St Sylvester, Pope of Rome



Commemorated on January 2

Saint Sylvester, Bishop of Rome (314-335) was born at Rome of Christian parents named Rufinus and Justa. His father soon died, and the saint remained in the care of his mother. Sylvester's teacher, the presbyter Quirinus, gave him a fine education and raised him as a true Christian.

When he was an adult, Sylvester fulfilled the Lord's command to love one's neighbor. He often received strangers and travelers, serving them like a slave in his own home. During a persecution against Christians, Sylvester did not hesitate to take in the holy confessor Bishop Timothy of Antioch, who dwelt with him for more than a year, and who converted many to Christ by his preaching.

Bishop Timothy was arrested and executed on orders of the Prefect Tarquinius. Sylvester secretly took the body of the saint and buried it. This came to the attention of Tarquinius, and the saint was arrested and brought to trial. Tarquinius demanded that he renounce Christ, threatening him with torture and death. St Sylvester was however not intimidated, and he remained steadfast in his confession of faith, and was then thrown into prison. When Tarquinius suddenly died after the trial, the saint was set free and fearlessly he evangelized the pagans, converting many to Christianity.

At thirty years of age St Sylvester was ordained as a deacon, and then presbyter, by Bishop Marcellinus (296-304). After the death of Bishop Militiades (or Melchiades, 311-314), St Sylvester was chosen Bishop of Rome. He encouraged his flock to live in a righteous manner, and he insisted that priests strictly fulfill their duty, and not be involved with secular businesses.

St Sylvester became renowned as an expert on Holy Scripture and as a staunch defender of the Christian Faith. During the reign of the emperor St Constantine the Great, when the period of persecution had ended for the Church, the Jews arranged a public debate to determine which faith was true. St Constantine and his mother, the holy Empress Helen, were present together with a large crowd.

St Sylvester spoke for the Christians, and the Jews had one hundred and twenty learned rabbis led by Zambres, a magician and sorcerer. Quoting the sacred books of the Old Testament, St Sylvester convincingly demonstrated that all the prophets foretold the birth of Jesus Christ from the all-pure Virgin, and also His voluntary suffering and death for the redemption of the fallen race of mankind, and His glorious Resurrection.

The saint was declared the victor in the debate. Then Zambres tried to resort to sorcery, but the saint obstructed the evil by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Zambres and the other Jews came to believe in Jesus Christ, and they asked to be baptized.

St Sylvester guided the Roman Church for more than twenty years, earning the esteem of his flock. He died peacefully in old age in the year 335.


Troparion - Tone 4

You appeared to your flock as a rule of faith,
An image of humility and a teacher of abstinence.
Because of your lowliness Heaven was opened to you;
Because of your poverty, riches were granted to you.
O holy Pope Sylvester, pray to Christ our God to save our souls!


Kontakion - Tone 2

The Trinity delights in you, O holy bishop Sylvester!
You are divine thunder, a spiritual trumpet
A planter of the Faith,
and destroyer of heresies.
As you ever stand with the angels, entreat Christ without ceasing for us all!


Source
« Last Edit: December 19, 2007, 05:51:50 PM by Friul »
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #49 on: December 19, 2007, 11:05:33 PM »
Saint Ammon - December 20

One of the Theban Martyrs who were converted by Egyptian Christians. Ammon, along with Ingenes, Ptolemy, Theophilus, and Zeno, were guards during the persecution of Christians in the reign of Emperor Decius. During the torture and trial of these prisoners, Ammon and his fellow guards were converted to Christ. They cheered the faithfulness of the Christians under torture and urged them to endure in their courage. As a result, Ammon and the others became prisoners. They were beheaded displaying the same Christian constancy.
Through the intercession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, may Jesus Christ bless you abundantly.

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #50 on: December 20, 2007, 10:31:58 PM »
St. Hripsime and her companions

St. Gayane and her companions

According to tradition, the Hripsimian sisterhood was home to 37 virgins who lived as hermits in a Roman monastery around 300 A.D.  The Roman emperor saw a painting of St. Hripsime and fell desperately in love with her, vowing to make her his wife.

Not wanting to break her vows by being forced to marry the emperor, St. Hripsime and the other sisters followed their leader, St. Gayane, out of Rome.  They ended up in Armenia.  The Roman emperor asked Armenia's King Drtad to hunt for them and return the woman he wanted to marry.

Armenian soldiers found the women, but instead of sending St. Hripsime back to Rome, King Drtad fell for her beauty and decided she should be his wife.  She quickly declined and so the King pressured St. Gayane to convince St. Hripsime to marry him.

Instead of pushing St. Hripsime toward marriage, St. Gayane told her to stand firm in her faith and vow of chastity.  So, King Drtad had St. Gayiane tortured.  Still, she refused to encourage St. Hripsime to marry.

Because she continued to decline marriage, the King's forces cruelly tortured and eventually killed St. Hripsime, as well as the other sisters.  The Armenian forces cut out their tongues, pinned them to the ground, burned their bodies, tore them open with stones, and pierced their eyes.

The martyrdom of these women took place in the last year of St. Gregory the Illuminator's imprisonment in the deep pit.  When St. Gregory was released, he immediately picked up their relics, buried them, and built a church at the site.

  http://www.armenianchurch.net/prayer/saints/hripsime-gayane.html

It was the martyrdom of these holy women which resulted in the conversion of Armenia to Christianity.  After they were killed, King Drtad went insane.  His sister knew that St. Gregory the Illuminator, whom Drtad had previously persecuted and thrown into a pit, was still alive.  She had St. Gregory taken out of the pit and asked him to heal the king.  St. Gregory prayed for King Drtad and Drtad was healed from his insanity.  After that, the king repented of his many sins, converted to Christianity and declared Armenia to be a Christian nation.

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #51 on: December 20, 2007, 10:40:32 PM »
St. Ignatius of Antioch

Commemorated on December 20

The Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-Bearer, was a disciple of the holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, as was also St Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna (February 23). St Ignatius was the second bishop of Antioch, and successor to Bishop Euodius, Apostle of the Seventy (September 7).

Tradition suggests that when St Ignatius was a little boy, the Savior hugged him and said: "Unless you turn and become as little children, you shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven" (Mt. 18:3). The saint was called "God-Bearer" (Theophoros), because he bore God in his heart and prayed unceasingly to Him. He also had this name because he was held in the arms of Christ, the incarnate Son of God.

St Ignatius was a disciple of the Apostle John the Theologian, together with St Polycarp of Smyrna. As Bishop of Antioch, St Ignatius was zealous and spared no effort to build up the church of Christ. To him is attributed the practice of antiphonal singing (by two choirs) during church services. He had seen a vision of the angels in heaven alternately singing praises to God, and divided his church choir to follow this example. In the time of persecution he was a source of strength to the souls of his flock, and was eager to suffer for Christ.

In the year 106 the emperor Trajan (98-117), after his victory over the Scythians, ordered everyone to give thanks to the pagan gods, and to put to death any Christians who refused to worship the idols. In the year 107, Trajan happened to pass through Antioch. Here they told him that Bishop Ignatius openly confessed Christ, and taught people to scorn riches, to lead a virtuous life, and preserve their virginity. St Ignatius came voluntarily before the emperor, so as to avert persecution of the Christians in Antioch. St Ignatius rejected the persistent requests of the emperor Trajan to sacrifice to the idols. The emperor then decided to send him to Rome to be thrown to the wild beasts. St Ignatius joyfully accepted the sentence imposed upon him. His readiness for martyrdom was attested to by eyewitnesses, who accompanied St Ignatius from Antioch to Rome.

On the way to Rome, the ship sailed from Seleucia stopped at Smyrna, where St Ignatius met with his friend Bishop Polycarp. Clergy and believers from other cities and towns thronged to see St Ignatius. He exhorted everyone not to fear death and not to grieve for him. In his Epistle to the Roman Christians, he asked them to assist him with their prayers, and to pray that God would strengthen him in his impending martyrdom for Christ: "I seek Him Who died for us; I desire Him Who rose for our salvation... In me, desire has been nailed to the cross, and no flame of material longing is left. Only the living water speaks within me, saying, 'Hasten to the Father.'"

From Smyrna, St Ignatius went to Troas. Here he heard the happy news of the end of the persecution against Christians in Antioch. From Troas, St Ignatius sailed to Neapolis (in Macedonia) and then to Philippi.

On the way to Rome St Ignatius visited several churches, teaching and guiding the Christians there. He also wrote seven epistles: to the churches of Ephesus, Magnesia, Tralles, Rome, Philadelphia, and Smyrna. He also addressed a letter to St Polycarp, who mentions a collection of the letters of St Ignatius in his letter to the Philippians (Ch. 13). St Irenaeus of Lyons quotes from St Ignatius's letter to the Romans (AGAINST HERESIES 5:28:4). All these letters have survived to the present day.

The Roman Christians met St Ignatius with great joy and profound sorrow. Some of them hoped to prevent his execution, but St Ignatius implored them not to do this. Kneeling down, he prayed together with the believers for the Church, for love between the brethren, and for an end to the persecution against Christians.

On December 20, the day of a pagan festival, they led St Ignatius into the arena, and he turned to the people: "Men of Rome, you know that I am sentenced to death, not because of any crime, but because of my love for God, by Whose love I am embraced. I long to be with Him, and offer myself to him as a pure loaf, made of fine wheat ground fine by the teeth of wild beasts."

After this the lions were released and tore him to pieces, leaving only his heart and a few bones. Tradition says that on his way to execution, St Ignatius unceasingly repeated the name of Jesus Christ. When they asked him why he was doing this, St Ignatius answered that this Name was written in his heart, and that he confessed with his lips Him Whom he always carried within. When the saint was devoured by the lions, his heart was not touched. When they cut open the heart, the pagans saw an inscription in gold letters: "Jesus Christ." After his execution St Ignatius appeared to many of the faithful in their sleep to comfort them, and some saw him at prayer for the city of Rome.

Hearing of the saint's great courage, Trajan thought well of him and stopped the persecution against the Christians. The relics of St Ignatius were transferred to Antioch (January 29), and on February 1, 637 were returned to Rome and placed in the church of San Clemente.

from oca.org
"It is remarkable that what we call the world...in what professes to be true...will allow in one man no blemishes, and in another no virtue."--Charles Dickens

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #52 on: December 20, 2007, 11:38:33 PM »
Saint Anastasius XII - December 21

Patriarch of Antioch, the successor of Anastasius, although some scholars believe that there was only one such prelate. This Anastasius was murdered in an uprising of Syrian Jews who had been forced to convert to Christianity.
Through the intercession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, may Jesus Christ bless you abundantly.

Pray that we may be one, as Christ and His Father are one. (John 17:20ff)

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #53 on: December 21, 2007, 12:13:43 AM »
St. Moses the Ethiopian

His roots and his early years
It is not exactly known from what region St. Moses originally came, or to which tribe he belonged. It was said that he was from a Berber tribe, and the little that is known about his early years and his youth deserves little admiration.

The life of repentance
In spite of Moses' badness and his wicked before all the people, the merciful God found in Moses' heart the readiness for a life with Him. From the time he heard about the saintly Fathers of the wilderness of Scetis, Moses was attracted by the purity of their lives and their wonderful endearment towards others. He looked at the sun, the only god he knew, saying, "O Sun, let me know if you are God. And You, the God that I do not know, acquaint me with You." Then Moses heard from someone that the Monks of the Valley of Hebib (the wilderness of Scetis) knew God. So he immediately girded himself with his sword and went to the wilderness.
 
 Repentance
In the wilderness, he met with St. Isidorus and asked him to guide him to his salvation. St. Isidorus adopted him, taught him, and exhorted him greatly with words of God; he spoke to him about judgment and salvation. The living Word of God worked in his heart, completed its effectiveness within his soul, and his tears were like a flood. His soul was invaded with fiery repentance, his sleep was perturbed. He hated his wicked life and resolved to free himself from it, so he went to St. Isidorus once again.

The Confession of his sins and his baptism
He knelt before the Priest of Scetis and confessed his faults and the crimes of his past life, in a loud voice, and with great humility that compelled compassion in the midst of abundant tears. St. Isidorus took him to the dwelling of St. Macarius the Great, who started to teach him and guide him gently and with lenience. He then granted him the blessing of the Holy Sacrament of Baptism. He confessed all his sins and his previous ugliness publicly in the church. During his confession, St. Macarius the Great saw a board with writings in black, and as Moses confessed an old sin, the Angel of God erased it, and when he finished his confession, the board was white.

His Monastic life
When Moses heard the words of St. Isidorus, he dwelled with the brethren, the Monks, and it was said that at the beginning, they were frightened because in his previous life, he was "the terror of the region." However, they soon found in him a model of humility, spiritual struggle and order. In view of the numerous visitors who came to him, St. Isidorus suggested that he withdraws from that place to solitary cell, in poverty. St. Moses obeyed immediately and went to his cell; he lived patiently in solitude, in spiritual struggle until it greatly developed within him, leading him to fasting, prayer, meditation and repentance. The devil could not endure the Saint's behavior and started to fight him with all his might. 
 
The training in fasting and prayer:
As St. Moses was constant in fasting, prayer and mediation, the devil of sin brought to his memory the evil old habits, adorning them for him, after his soul had been enlightened and he returned to the knowledge of God. As these evil thoughts became stronger, he went to St. Isidorus and told him about the fight of the flesh that was rising up against him. He comforted him saying, "Do not grieve while you still are at the beginning of the trials. The winds of tribulation will be coming for a long time, you soul will be anxious, but do not fear and do not be disturbed. If you persevere in fasting, in watching and in disdaining the falsehoods of this age, you will triumph over the lusts of the flesh." Moses benefited from the words of St. Isidorus. He returned to his solitary cell to practice many ways to deaden the body; he ate some bread only once in the whole day, and he persevered in prayer and in manual labor.

The service to others and the escape from leisure:
It was difficult to bring water to the cells, for it necessitated walking a long distance. Moses the Strong took this opportunity to train himself in deeds of love. He went out at night, passed by the Elders' cells, took their jars and filled them with water. When the devil saw these deeds, he could not endure them, so he left him until some days later he came to the well to fill the jars, and he beat him savagely, breaking his bones, until he fell to the ground as a dead person. Some of the brethren then came, carried him and took him to the church. The Divine Liturgy was celebrated for three days until his soul came back to him.

Contrition before God and the need for not depending upon our piety and our strength:
Father Moses increased in piety and in the struggle with himself to a great extent; but in spite of these desperate measures, the vigilance and the defeat of the self, he could not avoid imagining the lustful ghosts that were intensified as his struggle increased. His additional abstentions were probably without the permission of his spiritual mentor, for when he went to him to complain about his situation, he said to him, "My son, stop fighting the devils for the human being's strength has its limits. However, if God does not have mercy upon you and He alone gives victory over them, you will never overpower them. Go now and submit yourself to God with repentance before Him. Persevere in humility, He will have mercy upon you." Moses answered, "I trust in God in whom I have placed all my hope that I be constantly armed against the devils, and never stop fighting them until they depart from me." When St. Isidorus saw this faith in him, he said, "And I also believe in my Lord Jesus Christ, and in the name of Jesus Christ, from this moment the devils will stop fighting you." He added, "Go to the Holy church and partake of the Holy Sacraments." St. Moses continued to do as the Elder had said with perseverance, and God gave him a great blessing, humility and serenity. The power of thought came upon him, and from that moment Moses lived in peace and grew in wisdom.


 His Martyrdom

On one of the occasions, as the brethren were sitting near the Saint, he said to them, "The Berbers will come today to the wilderness of Scetis; rise and escape." They said to him, "Father, do you not want to escape?" He answered, "I have been waiting for this day during all these years, so that the words of our Savior may be fulfilled as He said, "For all they that take the sword shall perish by the sword" (Matthew 26:52)." So they said, "We also will not escape so that we may die with you." He answered them, "This is not my concern, but it is your choice. May every human being be concerned with himself about the matters that dwell within him."

They were seven brethren; and after a while he said to them, "The Berbers are coming near the door." The Berbers entered and killed them. However, one of them, who was afraid, escaped amidst the mats and he saw seven crowns coming down from heaven to crown the seven who were killed. (The manuscript 257, in the Coptic Museum, relates that the brother, who escaped and hid, saw the Angel of the Lord and the crowns in his hand, and he immediately hurried out before the Berbers and obtained the crown of life from the hand of the Angel.)

http://www.stantonymonastery.org/saintmoses/index.asp




Offline Entscheidungsproblem

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #54 on: December 21, 2007, 12:34:14 AM »
Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus in Syria



Commemorated on October 7

The Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus in Syria were appointed to high positions in the army by the emperor Maximian (284-305), who did not know that they were Christians. Envious people informed Maximian that his two trusted counsellors did not honor the pagan gods. This was considered to be a crime against the state.

The emperor, wanting to convince himself of the truth of the accusation, ordered Sergius and Bacchus to offer sacrifice to the idols, but they replied that they honored the One God and worshiped only Him.

Maximian commanded that the martyrs be stripped of the insignia of military rank (their belts, gold pendants, and rings), and then dressed them in feminine clothing. They were led through the city with an iron chains around their necks, and the people mocked them. Then he summoned Sergius and Bacchus to him again and in a friendly manner advised them not to be swayed by Christian fables, but to return to the Roman gods. The saints refuted the emperor's words, and demonstrated the folly of worshiping the pagan gods.

The emperor commanded that they be sent to the governor of the eastern part of Syria, Antiochus, a fierce hater of Christians. Antiochus had received his position with the help of Sergius and Bacchus. "My fathers and benefactors!" he said. "Have pity on yourselves, and also on me. I do not want to condemn my benefactors to cruel tortures." The holy martyrs replied, "For us life is Christ, and to die is gain." The enraged Antiochus ordered Bacchus to be mercilessly beaten, and the holy martyr surrendered his soul to the Lord. They shod Sergius with iron sandals with nails in their soles and sent him to another city, where he was beheaded with the sword.


Troparion - Tone 4

Your holy martyrs Sergius and Bacchus, O Lord,
through their sufferings have received incorruptible crowns from You, our God.
For having Your strength, they laid low their adversaries,
and shattered the powerless boldness of demons.
Through their intercessions, save our souls!


Kontakion - Tone 2

Podoben: "Seeking the highest..."
Having courageously confronted the enemy,
you brought an end to his guiles, and received from on high the crown of victory.
Illustrious martyrs, Sergius and Bacchus,
with one heart you cry aloud:
"How good and pleasant it is to dwell with God."


Source
As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future.
-- Sir Julian Sorell Huxley FRS

Offline FrChris

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #55 on: December 21, 2007, 01:13:57 PM »
Juliana of Nicomedia & her 630 Companion Martyrs

Saint Juliana, who was from Nicomedia, lived during the years of Maximian and was the daughter of wealthy parents. They were pagans, but she was secretly a Christian. Without consulting her, her parents betrothed her to an idolater named Eleusius, who was a member of the Senate. She, not wishing to marry him, told him that unless he became eparch, she would nor marry him. When he had obtained this position, she told him that unless he renounced the religion of the idols and became a Christian, she would have nothing to do with him.

Eleusius then told Juliana's father of this. He attempted to turn her from the Faith of Christ, but when he saw that she could not change her constancy, he gave her up to the Eparch, Eleusius her betrothed, to be tried according to the law. When he could not persuade her to do his will, he subjected her to the most inhuman tortures and after imprisoning her, cast her into a furnace. But by the grace of God, the furnace was marvellousy quenched. Seeing this, some five hundred men and one hundred and fifty women believed in Christ and were beheaded for His sake. After further torments, she was beheaded, in the year 299.

Kontakion in the First Tone
A comely virgin wast thou, O wise Juliana; and as thy soul was wounded with love for thy Maker thy body was also pierced through with comely martyric wounds, which adorned thee as the bride of Christ and His Martyr; now as thou dost dwell in the bridechambers of Heaven, thou prayest for all of us.

Saints Julianna and her holy companions, pray for us!

http://www.goarch.org/en/chapel/saints.asp?contentid=347
« Last Edit: December 21, 2007, 01:14:36 PM by FrChris »
"As the sparrow flees from a hawk, so the man seeking humility flees from an argument". St John Climacus

Offline Athanasios

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #56 on: December 21, 2007, 11:03:12 PM »
Saint Zeno - December 22

Zeno (d. 303) + Martyred soldier at Nicomedia (modern Turkey). He was seized and condemned to death for laughing while Emperor Diocletian (r. 284-305) offered a sacrifice to the Roman god Ceres. Zeno had his jaws shaffered and was then beheaded.
Through the intercession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, may Jesus Christ bless you abundantly.

Pray that we may be one, as Christ and His Father are one. (John 17:20ff)

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #57 on: December 21, 2007, 11:05:11 PM »
Saint Chaeromon - December 22

Bishop of Nilopolis, in Egypt. When the persecution was instituted by Emperor Trajanus Decius, Chaeromon was quite elderly. He and several companions fled into the Arabian desert and were never seen again. The bishop and his companions are listed as martyrs.
Through the intercession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, may Jesus Christ bless you abundantly.

Pray that we may be one, as Christ and His Father are one. (John 17:20ff)

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #58 on: December 22, 2007, 09:56:07 PM »
The Uncondemning Monk. (March 30th)

The name of this monk is unkown to us, yet we know the day he entered Paradise, and the circumstances of his departure.
The Prologue of Ohrid records:
"This monk died joyfully because he had never in his life condemned anyone. He was lazy, careless, disinclined to prayer, but throughout his entire life he had never judged anyone. And when he lay dying, he was full of joy. The brethren asked him how he could die so joyfully with all his sins, and he replied: 'I have just seen the angels, and they showed me a page with all my many sins. I said to them: "The Lord said: 'Judge not, that ye be not judged.' I have never judged anyone and I hope in the mercy of God, that He will not judge me." And the angels tore up the sheet of paper.' Hearing this, the monks wondered at it and learned from it."
If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.

Offline Athanasios

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #59 on: December 23, 2007, 11:42:11 PM »
Saints Emiliana and Tarsilla - December 24

St. Gregory the Great had three aunts, sisters to his father, Gordian the regionarius, who led an ascetic religious life in their father's house. Their names were Tarsilla, who was the eldest, Emiliana and Gordiana. Tarsilla and Emiliana were more united by the fervor of their hearts and the bond of charity than by blood. They lived in their father's house on the Clivus Scauri as in a monastery and, encouraging one another to virtue by discourse and example, made great progress in spiritual life. Gordiana joined them, but she was often impatient of silence and retirement and, being called to another way of living, married her guardian. Tarsilla and Emiliana persevered in the path they had chosen, enjoying divine peace and love until they were called to receive the recompense of their fidelity. St. Gregory tells us that Tarsilla was visited one night with a vision of her great-grandfather, Pope St. Felix II (III), who showed a place prepared for her in heaven, saying, "Come; I will receive you into this habitation of light". She fell sick soon after, and as her friends were crowding round her bed, she cried out, "Away! Away! My Saviour Jesus is coming!" After these words she breathed out her soul into the hands of God on the vigil of Christmas. The skin of her knees and elbows was found to be hardened, "like the hide of a camel", by her continual prayer. A few days later she appeared to Emiliana, and called her to celebrate the Epiphany in heaven. Emiliana in fact, died on January 5. Both are named, on the respective days of their death, in the Roman Martyrology. Their feast day is December 24th.
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Offline Athanasios

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #60 on: December 24, 2007, 12:13:25 AM »
Saint Stephen - December 26

One of the first deacons and the first Christian martyr; feast on 26 December. In the Acts of the Apostles the name of St. Stephen occurs for the first time on the occasion of the appointment of the first deacons (Acts 6:5). Dissatisfaction concerning the distribution of alms from the community's fund having arisen in the Church, seven men were selected and specially ordained by the Apostles to take care of the temporal relief of the poorer members. Of these seven, Stephen, is the first mentioned and the best known.

Stephen's life previous to this appointment remains for us almost entirely in the dark. His name is Greek and suggests he was a Hellenist, i.e., one of those Jews who had been born in some foreign land and whose native tongue was Greek; however, according to a fifth century tradition, the name Stephanos was only a Greek equivalent for the Aramaic Kelil (Syr. kelila, crown), which may be the protomartyr's original name and was inscribed on a slab found in his tomb. It seems that Stephen was not a proselyte, for the fact that Nicolas is the only one of the seven designated as such makes it almost certain that the others were Jews by birth. That Stephen was a pupil of Gamaliel is sometimes inferred from his able defence before the Sanhedrin; but this has not been proved. Neither do we know when and in what circumstances he became a Christian; it is doubtful whether the statement of St. Epiphanius (Haer., xx, 4) numbering Stephen among the seventy disciples is deserving of any credence. His ministry as deacon appears to have been mostly among the Hellenist converts with whom the Apostles were at first less familiar; and the fact that the opposition he met with sprang up in the synagogues of the "Libertines" (probably the children of Jews taken captive to Rome by Pompey in 63 B. C. and freed hence the name Libertini), and "of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of them that were of Cilicia and Asia" shows that he usually preached among the Hellenist Jews. That he was pre eminently fitted for that work, his abilities and character, which the author of the Acts dwells upon so fervently, are the best indication. The Church had, by selecting him for a deacon, publicly acknowledged him as a man "of good reputation, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom" (Acts 6:3). He was "a man full of faith, and of the Holy Ghost" (vi, 5 ), "full of grace and fortitude" (vi, 8 ); his uncommon oratorical powers and unimpeachable logic no one was able to resist, so much so that to his arguments replete with the Divine energy of the Scriptural authorities God added the weight of "great wonders and signs" (vi, 8 ). Great as was the efficacy of "the wisdom and the spirit that spoke" (vi, 10 ), still it could not bend the minds of the unwilling; to these the forceful preacher was fatally soon to become an enemy.

The conflict broke out when the cavillers of the synagogues "of the Libertines, and of the Cyreneans, and of the Alexandrians, and of them that were of Cilicia and Asia", who had challenged Stephen to a dispute, came out completely discomfited (vi, 9 10); wounded pride so inflamed their hatred that they suborned false witnesses to testify that "they had heard him speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God" (vi, 11).

No charge could be more apt to rouse the mob; the anger of the ancients and the scribes had been already kindled from the first reports of the preaching of the Apostles. Stephen was arrested, not without some violence it seems (the Greek word synerpasan implies so much), and dragged before the Sanhedrin, where he was accused of saying that "Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place [the temple], and shall change the traditions which Moses delivered unto us" (vi, 12 14). No doubt Stephen had by his language given some grounds for the accusation; his accusers apparently twisted into the offensive utterance attributed to him a declaration that "the most High dwelleth not in houses made by hands" (vii, 48), some mention of Jesus foretelling the destruction of the Temple and some inveighing against the burthensome traditions fencing about the Law, or rather the asseveration so often repeated by the Apostles that "there is no salvation in any other" (cf. iv, 12) the Law not excluded but Jesus. However this may be, the accusation left him unperturbed and "all that sat in the council...saw his face as if it had been the face of an angel" (vi, 15).

Stephen's answer (Acts 7) was a long recital of the mercies of God towards Israel during its long history and of the ungratefulness by which, throughout, Israel repaid these mercies. This discourse contained many things unpleasant to Jewish ears; but the concluding indictment for having betrayed and murdered the Just One whose coming the Prophets had foretold, provoked the rage of an audience made up not of judges, but of foes. When Stephen "looking up steadfastly to heaven, saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God", and said: "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God" (vii, 55), they ran violently upon him (vii, 56) and cast him out of the city to stone him to death. Stephen's stoning does not appear in the narrative of the Acts as a deed of mob violence; it must have been looked upon by those who took part in it as the carrying out of the law. According to law (Leviticus 24:14), or at least its usual interpretation, Stephen had been taken out of the city; custom required that the person to be stoned be placed on an elevation from whence with his hands bound he was to be thrown down. It was most likely while these preparations were going on that, "falling on his knees, he cried with a loud voice, saying: "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge" (vii, 59). Meanwhile the witnesses, whose hands must be first on the person condemned by their testimony (Deuteronomy 17:7), were laying down their garments at the feet of Saul, that they might be more ready for the task devolved upon them (vii, 57). The praying martyr was thrown down; and while the witnesses were thrusting upon him "a stone as much as two men could carry", he was heard to utter this supreme prayer: "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit" (vii, 58). Little did all the people present, casting stones upon him, realize that the blood they shed was the first seed of a harvest that was to cover the world.

The bodies of men stoned to death were to be buried in a place appointed by the Sanhedrin. Whether in this instance the Sanhedrin insisted on its right cannot be affirmed; at any rate, "devout men" -- whether Christians or Jews, we are not told -- "took order for Stephen's funeral, and made great mourning over him" (vii, 2). For centuries the location of St. Stephen's tomb was lost sight of, until (415) a certain priest named Lucian learned by revelation that the sacred body was in Caphar Gamala, some distance to the north of Jerusalem. The relics were then exhumed and carried first to the church of Mount Sion, then, in 460, to the basilica erected by Eudocia outside the Damascus Gate, on the spot where, according to tradition, the stoning had taken place (the opinion that the scene of St. Stephen's martyrdom was east of Jerusalem, near the Gate called since St. Stephen's Gate, is unheard of until the twelfth century). The site of the Eudocian basilica was identified some twenty years ago, and a new edifice has been erected on the old foundations by the Dominican Fathers.

The only first hand source of information on the life and death of St. Stephen is the Acts of the Apostles (6:1-8:2).
Through the intercession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, may Jesus Christ bless you abundantly.

Pray that we may be one, as Christ and His Father are one. (John 17:20ff)

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Offline Timos

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #61 on: December 25, 2007, 03:03:53 PM »
St. Gaspar and Balthasar of the Magi

Commemorated on December 25

The names of the three Wise Men (Magi) do not appear in the Gospels. The tradition that there were three visitors from the east is very ancient, but their names are only mentioned in the Middle Ages. The tradition that one of them was a Negro dates from the fifteenth century.

Bones reputed to be the relics of the three kings have been in the cathedral at Cologne, Germany since 1164.



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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #62 on: December 25, 2007, 03:06:23 PM »
Commemorated on December 23



The Ten Holy Martyrs of Crete: Theodulus, Saturninus, Euporus, Gelasius, Eunician, Zoticus, Pompius, Agathopus, Basilides and Evaristus suffered for Christ during the third century under the emperor Decius (249-251). The governor of Crete, also named Decius, fiercely persecuted the Church, and arrested anyone who believed in Christ. Once, ten Christians were brought before him from various cities of Crete, who at the trial steadfastly confessed their faith in Christ and refused to worship idols.



For thirty days they were subjected to cruel tortures, and with the help of God they all persevered, glorifying God. Before their death they prayed that the Lord would enlighten their torturers with the light of the true Faith. Since pain did not influence them, the saints were beheaded.



St Paul of Constantinople (November 6) visited Crete about a hundred years later. He took the relics of the holy martyrs to Constantinople to serve as a protection for the city, and a source of blessings for the faithful.

Troparion - Tone 3

Let us show forth our great praise of CreteThat brought forth these precious Christians: the pearls of Christ!And these blessed ten, the offspring of martyrs,Who though few in number, overcame all the deceits of powerful demons.Therefore these martyrs of Christ have been crowned with victory!

Kontakion - Tone 3

The noble struggle of the martyrsShines forth as the morning star,Shedding brilliant light for usOn the One who was born in the caveTo whom the Virgin gave birth without human seed.

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #63 on: December 25, 2007, 11:54:57 PM »
St. Matrona the Sightless of Moscow

“Blessed Matrona was born in 1881 into a poor family in the village of Sebino-Epifaniskaya (now Kimovski) in the Tula region, a few kilometers from the site of the famous battle of Kulikovo. Blind from birth, her eyes lacking pupils, she bore this infirmity with humility and patience, and God, in his turn, made her an elect vessel of grace. At the moment of her baptism, the priest saw a light cloud above the child, which shed forth a sweet fragrance as a sign of divine favor. From the age of six or seven, she exhibited an extraordinary gift of insight, discerning sicknesses of soul and body in the many people who visited her, revealing to them their secret sins and their problems, and healing them through prayer and wise counsel. At about the age of fourteen, she made a pilgrimage to the great holy places in Russia in company with a devout benefactress. When they arrived at Kronstadt to receive the blessing of St. John, while they were lost in the crowd, St. John suddenly cried out: “Matrona, come here!” and he added “She will be my heir, and will become the eighth pillar of Russia”. At that moment, no one understood the meaning of this prophecy.

“When she reached the age of seventeen, she was seized with paralysis and was unable to walk from then on. Knowing that this was God’s will, she never bemoaned her state but thanked the Lord. For the rest of her days — over fifty years — she lived in a room filled with icons, sitting cross legged on her bed. With a radiant face and a quiet voice, she received all who came to seek divine consolation through her presence. She foretold the great misfortunes that were to sweep down upon the country after the Bolshevik revolution, placing her gift of insight at the service of the people of God. One day when some visitors commiserated with her about her disablement, she replied: “A day came on which God opened my eyes, and I saw the light of the sun, the stars and all that exists in the world: the rivers, the forests, the sea and the whole of creation.”

“In 1925 she left her village to settle in Moscow and, after her mother’s death in 1945, she moved frequently, welcomed secretly into the houses of the faithful. This was because the Communists, fearing her influence among the people, wanted to arrest her. But, every time, she had advance knowledge of this, and when the police arrived they learned that she had moved an hour or two earlier. One day, when a policeman arrived to arrest her, she advised him to return home as quickly as possible, promising him that she would not escape. When the man arrived home, he discovered that his wife was on fire, and was just in time to take her to the hospital.

“Saint Matrona led the ascetic life on her bed of pain. She fasted constantly, slept little, her head resting on her chest, and her forehead was dented by the innumerable signs of the Cross that she made. Not only the Muscovites but also people from afar, of all ages and conditions, thronged around her to ask her advice and her prayers. In this way she truly became the support of the afflicted people, especially during the Second World War. To those who came to ask her for news of their relatives on the Front, she reassured some and counselled others to hold memorial services. She spoke to some directly, and to others in parables, having in view their spiritual edification and recommending them to keep the Church’s laws, to marry in church and to go to Confession and Communion. When the sick and possessed were brought to her, she placed her hands on their heads, saying several prayers or drove the demon out with authority, always insisting that she was doing nothing of herself but that God was healing by her mediation. When asked why the Church was undergoing such great persecution, she replied that it was because of the sins of the Christians and their lack of faith. “All the peoples who have turned away from God have disappeared from off the face of the earth,” she affirmed. “Difficult times are our lot, but we Christians must choose the Cross. Christ has placed us on His sleigh, and he will take us where He will.”

“Having foretold the day of her death, she gave instructions for her obsequies. Before falling asleep in peace on 2 May/19 April 1952, she cried out: “Come close, all of you, and tell me of your troubles as though I were alive! I’ll see you, I’ll hear you, and I’ll come to your aid.” Miracles were multiplied at her tomb and, ever since her translation to the women’s monastery of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God (13 March 1998), the faithful who, in their thousands, queue to venerate Moscow’s new protectress, turn to her icon and bring her their various problems as though the Sant were alive in front of them.

~ From Volume Four of the Synaxarion, compiled by the Hieromonk Makarios of Simonos Petra, Mount Athos
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Offline Athanasios

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #64 on: December 27, 2007, 02:55:13 PM »
Saint John the Evangelist - December 27

Saint John the Divine as the son of Zebedee, and his mother's name was Salome [Matthew 4:21, 27:56; Mark 15:40, 16:1]. They lived on the shores of the sea of Galilee. The brother of Saint John, probably considerably older, was Saint James. The mention of the "hired men" [Mark 1:20], and of Saint John's "home" [John 19:27], implies that the condition of Salome and her children was not one of great poverty.

SS. John and James followed the Baptist when he preached repentance in the wilderness of Jordan. There can be little doubt that the two disciples, whom Saint John does not name (John 1:35), who looked on Jesus "as he walked," when the Baptist exclaimed with prophetic perception, "Behold the Lamb of God!" were Andrew and John. They followed and asked the Lord where he dwelt. He bade them come and see, and they stayed with him all day. Of the subject of conversation that took place in this interview no record has come to us, but it was probably the starting-point of the entire devotion of heart and soul which lasted through the life of the Beloved Apostle.

John apparently followed his new Master to Galilee, and was with him at the marriage feast of Cana, journeyed with him to Capernaum, and thenceforth never left him, save when sent on the missionary expedition with another, invested with the power of healing. He, James, and Peter, came within the innermost circle of their Lord's friends, and these three were suffered to remain with Christ when all the rest of the apostles were kept at a distance [Mark 5:37, Matthew 17:1, 26:37]. Peter, James, and John were with Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. The mother of James and John, knowing our Lord's love for the brethren, made special request for them, that they might sit, one on his right hand, the other on his left, in his kingdom [Matthew 20:21]. There must have been much impetuosity in the character of the brothers, for they obtained the nickname of Boanerges, Sons of Thunder [Mark 3:17, see also Luke 9:54]. It is not necessary to dwell on the familiar history of the Last Supper and the Passion. To John was committed by our Lord the highest of privileges, the care of his mother [John 19:27]. John [the "disciple whom Jesus loved"] and Peter were the first to receive the news from the Magdalene of the Resurrection [John 20:2], and they hastened at once to the sepulchre, and there when Peter was restrained by awe, John impetuously "reached the tomb first."

In the interval between the Resurrection and the Ascension, John and Peter were together on the Sea of Galilee [John 21:1], having returned to their old calling, and old familiar haunts.

When Christ appeared on the shore in the dusk of morning, John was the first to recognize him. The last words of the Gospel reveal the attachment which existed between the two apostles. It was not enough for Peter to know his own fate, he must learn also something of the future that awaited his friend. The Acts show us them still united, entering together as worshippers into the Temple [Acts 3:1], and protesting together against the threats of the Sanhedrin [Acts 4:13]. They were fellow-workers together in the first step of Church expansion. The apostle whose wrath had been kindled at the unbelief of the Samaritans, was the first to receive these Samaritans as brethren [Luke 9:54, Acts 8:14].

He probably remained at Jerusalem until the death of the Virgin, though tradition of no great antiquity or weight asserts that he took her to Ephesus. When he went to Ephesus is uncertain. He was at Jerusalem fifteen years after Saint Paul's first visit there [Acts 15:6]. There is no trace of his presence there when Saint Paul was at Jerusalem for the last time.

Tradition, more or less trustworthy, completes the history. Irenaeus says that Saint John did not settle at Ephesus until after the death SS. Peter and Paul, and this is probable. He certainly as not there when Saint Timothy was appointed bishop of that place. Saint Jerome says that he supervised and governed all the Churches of Asia. He probably took up his abode finally in Ephesus in 97. In the persecution of Domitian he was taken to Rome, and was placed in a cauldron of boiling oil, outside the Latin gate, without the boiling fluid doing him any injury. [Eusebius makes no mention of this. The legend of the boiling oil occurs in Tertullian and in Saint Jerome]. He was sent to labor at the mines in Patmos. At the accession of Nerva he was set free, and returned to Ephesus, and there it is thought that he wrote his gospel. Of his zeal and love combined we have examples in Eusebius, who tells, on the authority of Irenaeus, that Saint John once fled out of a bath on hearing that Cerinthus was in it, lest, as he asserted, the roof should fall in, and crush the heretic. On the other hand, he showed the love that was in him. He commended a young man in whom he was interested to a bishop, and bade him keep his trust well. Some years after he learned that the young man had become a robber. Saint John, though very old, pursued him among the mountain fastnesses, and by his tenderness recovered him.

In his old age, when unable to do more, he was carried into the assembly of the Church at Ephesus, and his sole exhortation was, "Little children, love one another."

The date of his death cannot be fixed with anything like precision, but it is certain that he lived to a very advanced age. He is represented holding a chalice from which issues a dragon, as he is supposed to have been given poison, which was, however, innocuous. Also his symbol is an eagle.

From The Lives of the Saints by the Rev. S. Baring-Gould, M.A., published in 1914 in Edinburgh.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2007, 07:37:54 PM by Athanasios »
Through the intercession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, may Jesus Christ bless you abundantly.

Pray that we may be one, as Christ and His Father are one. (John 17:20ff)

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Offline FrChris

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #65 on: December 27, 2007, 08:49:13 PM »
Theodore the Confessor

Saint Theophanes, the brother of Saint Theodore the Branded, was a Palestinian by race. Both were monks at the Monastery of Saint Sabbas. They were called "the Branded" because Theophilus, the last of the Iconoclast emperors, had twelve iambic verses branded by hot irons on their foreheads and then sent them into exile, where Theodore died in the year 838. After the death of Theophilus in 842, Theophanes was elected Bishop of Nicaea. Both brothers composed many canons and hymns, thereby adorning the services of the Church.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

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

Kontakion in the Third Tone

Thou didst piously revere the sacred icon of Christ God, for Whose sake thou didst endure all persecutions and hardships; so didst thou become a pillar of Orthodoxy, having triumphed over every manner of error. Hence, O Theodore, we honour and magnify thee as a great champion of faith.


http://www.goarch.org/en/chapel/saints.asp?contentid=356
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #66 on: December 28, 2007, 10:46:31 PM »
Saint Aileran - December 29

Monk, biographer, and scholar-also called Sapiens the Wise. Aileran was one of the most distinguished professors at the school of Clonard in Ireland. St. Finian welcomed Aileran to Clonard. In 650, Aileran became rector of Clonard, and was recognized as a classical scholar and a master of Latin and Greek. He wrote The Fourth Life of St. Patrick, a Latin-Irish Litany and The Lives of St. Brigid and St. Fechin of Fore. His last work was a treatise on the genealogy of Christ according to St. Matthew. A fragment of another of Aileran's works has survived: A Short Moral Explanation of the Sacred Names. Scholarly institutions across Europe read this work aloud annually. Aileran died from the Yellow Plague. His death on December 29, 664 is chronicled in the Annals of Ulster.
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #67 on: December 28, 2007, 11:28:56 PM »
St. Sarkis ("Sergius" in English) is very popular in the Armenian Church:

   
 St. Sarkis the Warrior and His Son, St. Mardiros


The feast day honoring St. Sarkis is movable.  It occurs between January 11th and February 15th.  Each year it follows the five-day Fast of Catechumens.

St. Sarkis was a Greek from the area of Cappadocia on the Anatolian plain.  He was a proud, brave Christian and served as a Roman army officer during the reign of Emperor Constantine (roughly 337 A.D.).  St. Sarkis' valor, strength, and bravery earned him the rank of general.

Sarkis used his position of power for spiritual growth, going from town to town purging the land of pagan idols, teaching the Gospel, and building churches where pagan temples once stood.  Sarkis had a good model in the piety of the Emperor Constantine.

When Constantine died, Christianity throughout the region came under attack from the new Roman leader, Julian the Apostate.  Under his leadership, pagans set about destroying churches and persecuting Christians. 

Seeing this, Sarkis prayed.  Jesus appeared to him and said, "It is time for you to leave your country and your clan, as did Abraham the Patriarch, and go to a country which I will show you.  There you will receive the crown of righteousness prepared for you."

Sarkis left behind his noble title and power and headed with his son, Mardiros, to Armenia, where they were welcomed by King Diran, grandson of King Drtad. 

While Sarkis and Mardiros were in Armenia, the Emperor Julian, attempting to take over the known world, continued to move eastward toward Antioch in Syria.  Whenever the Roman army came upon Christians, they were instantly killed.  Many people fled the invading armies.  King Diran urged Sarkis to escape and seek refuge among the Persians.

When Sarkis and his son arrived in Persia, King Shapur, hearing of his bravery, appointed him a commander of the Persian military.  As he continued to be victorious in battle, Sarkis also continued to give the credit to God. 

When Julian's troops started raiding lands near King Shapur's kingdom, Sarkis was sent to defend the territory.  Outnumbered by the Greek and Roman forces, Sarkis' troops were frightened.  He told them that if they believed in the Creator of heaven and earth, their hearts would never be shaken.  Many of his soldiers were baptized by the priests traveling with the army, and they succeeded in fending off a Roman attack.

Some of Sarkis' soldiers, who had not been baptized, went to King Shapur and told him that Sarkis was rebelling against the Persian ruler by preaching belief in Jesus.  The king called Sarkis back to the palace, where he, his son, and the newly-baptized soldiers were expected to attend a feast honoring the pagan gods.

At the temple, the king asked Sarkis to offer a sacrifice to the pagan gods.  Sarkis refused, saying he would only worship the one, true God.  The king began to criticize Sarkis and his faith.  But Sarkis could not tolerate such talk, so he spat in the king's face and knocked down the temple idols.  The king and his followers were enraged by Sarkis' actions, so they killed his son, Mardiros, before his eyes.

The king then ordered Sarkis imprisoned.  In prison Sarkis was strengthened by his relationship with the Lord.  King Shapur heard of this and ordered Sarkis' execution.

At his execution, Sarkis began to pray.  An angel descended from heaven and told him, "Be strong.  Do not fear the killers of your body; for the gate of the Kingdom of Heaven is open for you."  Upon seeing the angel and understanding the power of everlasting life, many of the pagans who had gathered for the execution became Christians.

Sarkis made one last passionate plea for people to accept Jesus Christ, and then was killed. 

His loyal Christian soldiers retrieved St. Sarkis' body and wrapped it in clean linen with the intention of burying his body honorably.  When King Shapur heard of this reverence, he ordered the soldiers killed as well.  Eventually, Christians found St. Sarkis' body and it was sent to Assyria, where it remained until the fifth century, when St. Mesrob Mashdots received his remains and moved them to Armenia.

http://www.armenianchurch.net/prayer/saints/sarkis.html

« Last Edit: December 28, 2007, 11:30:17 PM by Salpy »

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #68 on: December 29, 2007, 02:22:50 AM »
St. Nicholas Planas of Athens

LIFE OF ST. NICHOLAS PLANAS (1851-1932)
"The Simple Shepherd Of The Simple Sheep"

It is necessary in the materialistic age in which we live, to become acquainted with holy personalities which our long-suffering Lord sends us, so that we can be assured that He has not abandoned us. One such personality is "Papa" (Father) Nicholas Planas, who lived in the beginning of our century.

HIS BIRTH.
He was born in Naxos in 1851. His parents, captain John and Augustina, were quite well off but were also good people, with the simple and pure soul which distinguishes island people. They had their own estate, with a little chapel in the middle of it by the name of Saint Nicholas. Very frequently little Nicholas Planas would hide in the chapel wearing a bed sheet, and he would chant whatever he knew, as he was still a small child. At other times he would gather his friends, and they would "celebrate" the Divine Liturgy.

He learned his first letters from his grandfather, Father George Melissourgos. Near him, Nicholas learned to read the psalter. He observed his grandfather's every movement in the Holy Altar and followed him in all the liturgies he did in the innumerable country chapels.

One winter night--as Papa Nicholas himself related about his childhood life--they were sitting near the fireplace and he told his father, "Father, at this moment our boat, the Evangelistria, is sinking outside Constantinople."

Trembling, his father said to his wife, "Woman, what is the child saying?"

And truly, at that moment their boat was sinking. Immediately, to dismiss the idea of holy foreknowledge which he had, he said, "All small children have foreknowledge." (And because he didn't have any teeth he spoke like a little child).

His father died young. He had been pained in soul, not only for the loss of their boat, but even more so for the young lads who were lost along with it. Thus he left Nicholas an orphan at forteen years of age. His mother took him and they went--together with his sister--to Athens. At that time Athens began at the Acropolis and reached up to Panaghia Vlassarou Church. They settled somewhere between St. John of Plaka and St. Panteleimon of Ilissou because there were quite a few Naxiotes builders and workers there. Their days were difficult. His mother worked washing other homes so that they could survive. She took her children together with her no matter where she was working, because she was afraid of Athens. She trembled at the idea that they might take the evil path.

HIS ORDINATION.
When he reached seventeen years of age, his mother married him off to a good gril from Kythira, Eleni Provelegiou. They had one child. Afterwards he was ordained a deacon in the Church of the Transfiguration, Plaka, on July 28, 1879. Five years later, on March 2, 1884, he was ordained a priest in the church of the Holy Prophet Elisha. In the meantime, however, his wife reposed. And so, carrying the burden of being a widower, he entrusted himself and his son John to God's mercy. He had no estate because had split it with his sister and had put his own portion as collateral on a loan, so that a compatriot of his could be saved from debt.

He was compassionate, and had no care for worldly things or estates. Night and day he was absorbed in divine worship, and with his small parish of St. Panteleimon in Neo Kosmo which was comprised of thirteen families. The people loved him. His simplicity, his island piety, his kindness, his chastity, his lack of love for money, drew everyone to divine worship. Everyone wanted him to bless their homes, their stores. And he ran everywhere joyously. From aristocratic homes down to the poorest homes, he never kept a drachma on him. The poor always waited outside the church for him to distribute whatever he had in his pocket.

However, a certain priest without a parish of his own, in cooperation with the council members of St. Panteleimon, kicked him out of his parish and sent him to the Church of Saint John, ("the Hunter" as they called it then) in Vouliagimeni. The new parish was very poor and was comprised of eight families. His payment as a priest was one piece of meat from the fattened lamb of Meatfare Sunday or Christmas. This did not brother him, however, because fasting was most important in his life. So long as he had a church in which to liturgize, he was happy.

His having been kicked out of St. Panteleimon, however, bothered him a lot. One night, as he was leaving St. John to go home, he was crying on the road. The place was deserted at that hour. Suddenly he saw on his path a young lad said to him, "Why are you crying, Father?"....

"I'm crying, my child, because they kicked me out of St. Panteleimon's."
"Don't be said, Father. I am always with you."
"Who are you, my child?"
"I am Panteleimon, who lives in Neo Kosmo."

And immediately he vanished from in front of him.

Every year, on the feast of St. Panteleimon, he would go to the Saint's church in Neo Kosmo and do a vigil. One year, as he himself related, he was sick and had a fever. His relative did not allow him to go for his customary vigil. But because of the love which Father Nicholas had for the Saint, he went anyway. "That night," he himself said,

    "after the Liti, exhausted, I leaned on the edge of the Holy Table. In the delirium of the fever I saw the Saint in front of me, young and vigorous, holding a small glass full of medicine, and he told me, 'Drink it, my Father, to become well.' I took it from the hand and drank it and became completely well. The fever left me. For a whole week out through the Royal Gate and said, 'My children, I was very sick tonight, and at this moment Saint Panteliemon gave me medicine and I drank and became well.' Everyone believed it and knelt down, glorifying the Saint."

HIS LITURGIES.
For fifty consecutive years he liturgized daily from 8.a.m. til 2.p.m., in snows, in revolutions. Not even with the invasion of the Anglo-French in 1917 did he interrupt his series of Liturgies. In the narrow streets of the Acropolis at 2:00 in the afternoon in July, he would liturgize in small chapels, as the sweat settled on the sacred vestments of this true laborer in Christ's vineyard.

HIS FASTS.
He ate every night. He fasted from oil every lenten period. As a confessor he was not strict about fasting, though when it concerned himself, he was very strict. One day someone gave him a little chocolate and told him it was fastworthy. He took it in his hand, looked at it closely and said, "Just to sure, take it back!"

HIS "BILLS AND CONTRACTS".
He commemorated names for whole hours. First, departed patriarchs, metropolitans, priests, deacons and the .... Naxiotes, and the Athenians. The names they gave him, he commemorated for many months. Every now and then his spiritual children, to give him some rest, would take the old papers and secretly rip them up, because he took them with him to all the churches. He would place them in two large handkerchiefs and tie them up like a type of package, and place them on his hip. When he would arrive home and take them off his hip--because he had two packages, one with names and the other with holy relics--they would ask him.

"What are these packages?"
And he would respond, "My bills and my contracts."
"Aren't you tired, Father? When will you rest?"
He would cross his hands and humbly respond, "I shall chant to my God as long as I live."

When he would go into church, a stir would occur from the reception people would give him. Some would kiss his hands, others his cassock, others his little head since he was short. Most of the time he liturgized in the church of the Prophet. On feast days he would he would go to his own parish. In the church of St. John there was a caretaker who disliked the elder. One day she swore at him with hand gestures, and at night she saw Saint John saying to her, "What did my servant do to you that you would swear at him like that?" And he gave her a slap on the cheek. In the morning her cheek was black and blue. The next day when Father Nicholas went to church the caretaker went in front of him, fell at his feet, asked his forgiveness, and simultaneously asked him to step on her hands. The meek and clam one went off to one side. She shouted, "Step on them, Father!" And again he responded, "But why should I step on them?" This lasted quite a while until he forgave her for what she had done, even though he had not noticed it.

HIS PATIENCE AND FORBEARANCE.
His patience and forbearance were unlimited. He had a helper, Michael, who always accompanied him and chanted if no one else was there. Even though he loved the elder a lot, at the same time he tormented him. On freezing days of winter when he was forced to be near Father Nicholas while he commemorated for unending hours, Michael would shout "Come o-o-on, Father-er-er-er! You are looking to take the dead out of hades and bury us with the cold..." Another time, he did not allow him to do a supplication service to the Panaghia at the end of the Liturgy. Father Nicholas was pout-faced all day and would say to himself, "Imagine Michael not allowing me to do a supplication service!..." And he would repeat again, "Imagine, he wouldn't allow me." When sometimes they argued in church, the elder would hide in the altar so as not to take part. And once he was advising one of his spiritual children on how to restrain her anger, and would say, "Do you think, my child, that I don't know how to speak out? I know but I think of the result."

HIS SANCTITY.
The children who were in church would see him shining with heavenly light, doing unexplainable gestures, or remaining for a long time attentive, as if something were happening to him. These were the moments when he was communicating with the saints and being drenched with the light of Paradise. Many times they would see him not standing on the ground. A little eight year old child once came out white from the altar and told his mother "Mo-o-om, Father Nicholas is this high off the ground" and he showed her with his hand a half cubit above the ground. "Don't be afraid, my child, all priests are elevated off the ground that way when they liturgize," his mother responded, doing her cross to settle him down.

The children would see him being elevated to the sky and not stepping upon the ground, because he scorned all earthly and material things. His mind was high up, on Him Who He worshipped, and he would not turn his eyes to look at what the people call material goods.

HIS LACK OF LOVING MONEY.
Once some for whom he had read a supplication service gave him a respectable sum of money in a sealed envelope. He gave it away immediately, still sealed, to a poor woman. The man who gave it to him got upset and said, "Why, that blessed one, wouldn't he even look at what I gave him?"

He told a spiritual daughter of his that he had cut a payment to eleven families of widows and orphans, and futhermore, he said, the young widows especially have need, because poverty urges them to corruption.

A lot of money would pass through his hands, but he would keep nothing. He would immediately give it away to charity. Many times he remained without even a penny for himself. Once he took a horse and carriage to take him somewhere, without noticing that he did not have any money. The carriage driver said to him, "Aren't you the parish priest of St. John's, Father Nicholas?"
"Yes, my child, I am."
"Well, I don't want money, just your blessing!"

Another time some people where discussing politics at a certain house. "So, what do you say, Father?" they asked him. Once he recovered from the depth of his thought, he wanted to say something. "Who is governing now?"! Imagine how little knowledge he had of secular matters.

THE APPEARANCE OF ANGELS.
Once he set out on his own to go to chapel in Peristeri, but he lost his way. He advanced, distressed and praying, without knowing where he was going, until he saw a young lad in front of him, saying to him, "Did you lose your way, Father? I will guide you." The young lad went in front and Father Nicholas went behind, and they reached the door of the church. Here he, himself, relates what happened: "As soon as we reached outside the door, I turned to give him thanks, and immediately he shone brilliantly, and I lost him."

When he liturgized, he wanted everything to contribute to the majesty of the Divine Liturgy. He chanted with such contrition that he would hear the angels chanting with him. Once, he asked a spiritual daughter of his whether she also heard the angels. "No, my Father, I don't hear them." Immediately he repented and said to himself, "I shouldn't have said it, I shouldn't have said it..."

For the duration of the half century in which he liturgized without a break, he never lacked prosphoro (holy bread used for the Holy Divine Liturgy). Always some woman would bring it the night before or some nearby bakery would provide it for him. One day the Matins (Orthros) had proceeded quite a way and no prophoro could be seen anywhere. He sent helpers to go to the women he knew always had prosphoro; he looked in the cupboards of the sanctuary --nothing. He was distressed to the point that he started to cry. After such a continuance of liturgies for a cessation to occur now! Whereupon they saw him coming out of the Holy Royal Doors holding a prosphoro (the Sea only, not the whole loaf), which was still very warm and which he had found on the altar table. Moved with joy, he said, "My children, what a sign God did for me!" All miracles he called signs. He did not delve too deeply into these phenomena; he considered them natural, out of his great faith. And he did not comment very much about them, so as not to put on himself.

One night, the eve of the feast of the Holy Hieromartyr Phocas was dawning. One of his spiritual children saw a majestic priest behind Father Nicholas, who was observing how they were chanting the Holy Divine Liturgy. When she metnioned this to the elder, he said to her, bringing his finger to his lips, "Shhh! It is the Hieromartyr Phocas."

A CORRECTION OF VAINGLORY.
Father Nicholas knew how to censure, to correct, to enlighten souls, without rhetorical sermons, but merely with his life, his presence. A rich woman got sick, and her cousin suggested that they bring Father Nicholas to read a prayer for health. The daughter of the sick woman liked external propriety. So she said, "Let's bring a more respectable looking priest from the bigger churches, and not him, who will be dusty from church," etc. That night she saw Father Nicholas in her sleep, with all gold vestments, saying to her, "Do I please you, my child?" Startled, she awoke and stove to call father to read a prayer for health. When he came, the daughter of the sick woman ran piously, and she knelt down to kiss his hand, he said to her, "Did I please you as you saw me, my child?" Awe and astonishment rushed all through her body. Never did she expect such a rebuke for her vanity.

Yet one other incident reveals the unsurpassed faith and piety which he had in the performance of his sacred duties. He went one day to commune a leper, but the illness had destroyed his lips so much that he could not take the Holy Body of the Lord, and it fell a little to the side of his mouth. Without hesitation, Father knelt and took the Divine Pearl which had fallen, and consumed It!

In the various churches where he celebrated he was the consolation and refuge of people. He was the "sacred little elder" who comforted every human pain. His reputation had extended to the various eparchies also, and people hastened form everywhere to hear him liturgize, to kiss his hand, for him to bless them... He reached 84 years of age and had never been slandered once, nor did anyone say anything against him. Everyone knew him and respected his holy personality. When he passed by they greeted him, taking off their hats.

On March 2, 1932, however, his holy life reached its end. He liturgized for the last time on the Sunday of the Prodigal Son. As soon as he consumed the Holy Cup, he suffered a light fainting and was transported home, where his son John, and his daughter-in-law, Marigoula, offered their last services to their holy father. Like a little bird he gave up his holy soul to Him Whom he had worshipped his whole life long. News of the grievous event spread to all of Athens. People ran to venerate the relic of the venerable elder. Everyone wanted to kiss his hand for the last time. The Archbishop of Athens, Chrysostom Papadoupoulos, suggested that the burial take place at night so that everyone could embrace him. Thus it happened.

His body was buried in the courtyard of the church of Saint John. His bones were placed in a silver reliquary in the new majestic church of St. John. His whole life was proof of the divine power and wisdom which God the Creator grants to those who love Him and keep His commandments.

For this reason the noted writers, Alexandros Papadiamantis and Alexandros Moraitidis, attached themselves to the disciples of the uneducated but wise priest (they would always chant near Father Nicholas). For this reason great spiritual names such as the Abbot of the Sacred Monastery of Longovarda, Paros, the Archimandrite Zervakos, praised him.

The Church of Greece, with an introduction from His Emience the Metropolitan of Patras, Nikodemos, who personally had met Saint Nicholas was granted to get his blessing, asked the Ecumenical Patriarchate to recognize Father Nicholas Planas' holiness. With a special Synodical Deed, the Patriarchate numbered him in the listing of saints of the Orthodox Church, and appointed that his memory be celebrated on March 2nd.

    DISMISSAL HYMN.
    PLAGAL OF FIRST TONE
    Let us praise our protector, the godly Nicholas;
    as one endowed with blest virtue,
    he shone forth as true priest of the most high god, and was His fervent worshipper.
    For, by his holy life on earth,
    he hath left us most sublime,
    divine and unfailing teachings of long-suffering, meekness, patience, unfeigned humility
    and true God-like love.

    KONTAKION. THIRD TONE.
    Humble of spirit and pure of heart, illustrious in life and dispassionate of a truth, wast thou,
    O wise one. Thou didst illumine all by the virtues
    and dost grant grace unto them that draw nigh unto thee;
    and by thine intercessions, thou dost heal them that call upon thee, O Father Nicholas.

    MEGALYNARION
    As a simple shepherd of Christ God's lambs,
    thou didst tend thy flock well on the pasture of piety,
    nourishing their spirits with ceaseless supplications and leading them to Christ,
    O wise Father Nicholas.

http://www.serfes.org/lives/stnicholas.htm
« Last Edit: December 29, 2007, 02:23:37 AM by ozgeorge »
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #69 on: December 29, 2007, 05:19:57 PM »
Saint Anysia - December 30

Martyr of Greece. She was a wealthy woman of Salonika, in Thessaly, who used her personal funds to aid the poor. A soldier accosted her in the street and tried to drag her to a pagan sacrifice. Anysia resisted and was killed when the soldier attacked her with his sword.


Saint Anysius - December 30

Bishop successor of St. Ascolus in the see of Salonika, in Greece. A friend of St. Ambrose, Anysius was appointed bishop in 383. Pope Damasus also named him vicar apostolic of Illyricum. A loyal defender of St. John Chrysostom, Anysius was one of the sixteen Macedonian bishops to appeal to Pope Innocent in 404 on St. John's behalf.
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #70 on: December 29, 2007, 05:20:37 PM »
Saint Sabinus - December 30

Martyr with St. Exuperantius, Marcellus, Venustian, and companions. They were put to death at Spoleto, Italy, during the persecutions of the Church under Emperor Diocletian. Sabinus was a bishop (he is claimed by several cities, including Assisi, Spoleto, and Faenza); Exuperantius and Marcellus were his deacons; and Venustian and others were converts. The martyrs were brought before the local governor, and Sabinus converted many and cured a blind child.
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #71 on: December 29, 2007, 05:21:54 PM »
Saint Liberius - December 30

Bishop of Ravenna, Italy. He is revered as the founder of that Italian see.
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #72 on: December 30, 2007, 06:02:43 PM »
Pope Saint Sylvester I - December 31

Saint Sylvester was born in Rome. When he reached the age to dispose of his fortune, he took pleasure in giving hospitality to Christians passing through the city. He would take them with him, wash their feet, serve them at table, and in sum give them in the name of Christ, all the care that the most sincere charity inspired. One day Timothy of Antioch, an illustrious confessor of the Faith, arrived in Rome. No one dared receive him, but Sylvester considered it an honor. For a year Timothy, preaching Jesus Christ with unflagging zeal, received at Sylvester’s dwelling the most generous hospitality. When this heroic man had won the palm of martyrdom, Sylvester took up his precious remains and buried them during the night. But he himself was soon denounced to the prefect and accused of having hidden the martyr’s treasures. He replied, “Timothy left to me only the heritage of his faith and courage.” The governor threatened him with death and had him imprisoned, but Sylvester said to him, “Senseless one, this very night it is you who will render an account to God.” And the persecutor that evening swallowed a fish bone, and died in fact that night.

Fear of heavenly chastisements softened the guardians, and the brave young man was set at liberty. Sylvester’s courageous acts became known to Saint Melchiad, Pope, who elevated him to the diaconate. He was a young priest when persecution of the Christians grew worse under the tyrant Diocletian. Idols were erected at the street corners, in the market-places, and over the public fountains, so that it was scarcely possible for a Christian to go abroad without being put to the test of offering sacrifice, with the alternative of apostasy or death. During this fiery trial, Sylvester strengthened the confessors and martyrs, and God preserved his life from many dangers. It was indeed he who was destined to succeed the Pope who had recognized his virtues.

His long pontificate of twenty-one years, famous for several reasons, is remembered in particular for the Council of Nicea, the Baptism of Constantine, and the triumph of the Church. Some authors would place Constantine’s Baptism later, but there are numerous and serious testimonies which fix the emperor’s reception into the Church under the reign of Saint Sylvester, and the Roman Breviary confirms that opinion. Constantine, while still pagan and little concerned for the Christians, whose doctrine was entirely unknown to him, was attacked by a kind of leprosy which soon covered his entire body. One night Saint Peter and Saint Paul, shining with light, appeared to him and commanded him to call for Pope Sylvester, who would cure him by giving him Baptism. In effect, the Pope instructed the royal neophyte and baptized him. Thus began the social reign of Jesus Christ: Constantine’s conversion, culminating in the Edict of Milan in 313, had as its happy consequence that of the known world.
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #73 on: December 30, 2007, 06:03:48 PM »
Saint Melania - December 31

St. Melania whose feast day is December 31. Melania was born to wealthy Christians, Publicola, a Roman senator, and Albina. At fourteen, she was given in marriage to Valerius Pinianus. When two of her children died soon after childbirth, her husband agreed to lead a life of continency and religious dedication.

Inheriting her father's vast wealth, Melania endowed monasteries in Egypt, Syria, and Palestine and aided churches and monasteries in Europe. To escape the barbarian invasions, she fled with her mother and husband to Tagaste in Numidia in the year 410.

In 417, all three made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and settled at Jerusalem, where Melania became a friend of St. Jerome. After the death of her mother in 431 and her husband in 432, Melania attracted disciples to her solitary way of life and built a convent, for which she was Abbess until her death on December 31, 439.

The life of St. Melania reminds us of the fleeting character of earthly wealth. We should strive to emulate her use of wealth as well as talents to further the cause of Christ.
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #74 on: December 30, 2007, 06:04:31 PM »
Saint Zoticus - December 31

Zoticus (d.c. 350) + Priest and patron of the poor. Originally from Rome, he journeyed to Constantinople (modern Istanbul, Turkey) when it became the capital city of the Empire under Constantine the Great (r. 324-337). There he founded a hospital for the poor and defended orthodox Christianity before the pro-Arian emperor Constantius II (r. 641-668). Feast day: December 31.
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #75 on: December 31, 2007, 03:47:39 PM »
St. Aidan, Commemorated on August 31

Saint Aidan, a steadfast defender of Celtic practices against the imposition of Roman usage, was born in Ireland (then called Scotland) in the seventh century. As a monk of the monastery founded by St Columba (June 9) on the island of Iona, he was known for his strict asceticism.

When the holy King Oswald of Northumbria (August 5) wanted to convert his people to Christianity, he turned to the Celtic monks of Iona, rather than the Roman clergy at Canterbury. The first bishop sent to lead the mission proved unsuitable, for he alienated many people by his harshness, and he blamed the hostile disposition of the English for his failure. St Aidan said that the bishop was to blame, and not the English. Instead of being too severe with an ignorant people, he should have fed them with milk rather than solid food (I Cor. 3:2). The bishop was recalled, and an ideal candidate was found to replace him.

St Aidan was consecrated bishop and sent to Northumbria to take charge of the mission. King Oswald gave him the island of Lindisfarne near the royal residence of Bamburg for his episcopal See. St Aidan also founded the famous monastery on Lindisfarne in 635.

St Bede (May 27), in his ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH PEOPLE praises Aidan for his humility and piety, recommending him as a model for other bishops and priests to follow. He was not attached to the things of this world, nor did he seek earthly treasures. Whenever he received gifts from the king or from rich men, he distributed them to the poor. On Wednesdays and Fridays he would fast from all food until the Ninth Hour (about 3 P.M.), except during the paschal season.

From Lindisfarne, St Aidan traveled all over Northumbria, visiting his flock and establishing missions. St Oswald, who knew Gaelic from the time he and his family were exiled to Iona, acted as an interpreter for Bishop Aidan, who did not speak English. Thus, the king played an active role in the conversion of his people.

One year, after attending the services of Pascha, King Oswald sat down to a meal with Bishop Aidan. Just as the bishop was about to bless the food, a servant came in and informed the king that a great number of needy folk were outside begging for alms. The king ordered that his own food be served to the poor on silver platters, and that the silver serving dishes be broken up and distributed to them.There is a charming illustration of this incident in the thirteenth century Berthold Missal in New York's Pierpont Morgan Library (Morgan MS 710, fol. 101v). Aidan, deeply moved by St Oswald's charity, took him by the right hand and said, "May this hand never perish." According to Tradition, St Oswald's hand remained incorrupt for centuries after his death. St Bede says that the hand was kept in the church of St Peter at Bamburgh, where it was venerated by all. The present location of the hand, if it still survives, is not known.

St Oswald was killed in battle against the superior forces of King Penda on August 5, 642 at a place called Maserfield. He was only thirty-eight years old. St Aidan was deeply grieved by the king's death, but his successor St Oswin (August 20) was also very dear to him.

King Oswin once gave St Aidan a horse and a cart for his journeys (the bishop usually traveled on foot). Soon after this, Bishop Aidan met a beggar and gave him the horse and cart. The king heard of this and was disturbed by it. He asked St Aidan why he had given the royal gift away when there were ordinary horses in the stables which were more suitable for a beggar. Aidan rebuked him, asking if the king regarded the foal of a mare more highly than the Son of God. At first, he did not understand. Then he fell at the bishop's feet, weeping tears of repentance. Asking for forgiveness, Oswin promised never again to judge St Aidan's charitable deeds.

St Aidan raised the king to his feet, declaring that he had never seen a king who was so humble. He prophesied that Oswin would soon depart from this life, since the people did not deserve such a ruler. His prophecy was soon fulfilled, for St Oswin was murdered at Gilling on August 20, 651. St Aidan departed to the Lord on August 31, less than two weeks later. He died at Bamburgh, by the west wall of the church. The beam on which he was leaning to support himself still survives, even though the church was twice destroyed by fire. The beam may still be seen in the ceiling of the present church, above the baptismal font.

On the day St Aidan died, St Cuthbert (March 20) was a young man tending his master's sheep. Looking up, Cuthbert saw a vision of angels bearing someone's soul to heaven in a sphere of fire. Later, he learned that Bishop Aidan had died at the very hour that he had seen the vision.

At first, the holy bishop Aidan was buried at Lindisfarne on the right side of the altar in the church of St Peter. In 664 the Synod of Whitby declared that all the churches of Britain must follow Roman practices, and that Celtic customs were to be suppressed. St Colman (February 18), the third Bishop of Lindisfarne, was unable to accept this decision. Therefore, he decided to retire to Iona, taking the bones of St Aidan with him. Celtic customs survived on Iona until the eighth century.

From OCA.org.

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Offline Entscheidungsproblem

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #76 on: January 04, 2008, 11:37:46 PM »
10 Holy Martyrs of Crete



Commemorated on December 23

The Ten Holy Martyrs of Crete: Theodulus, Saturninus, Euporus, Gelasius, Eunician, Zoticus, Pompius, Agathopus, Basilides and Evaristus suffered for Christ during the third century under the emperor Decius (249-251). The governor of Crete, also named Decius, fiercely persecuted the Church, and arrested anyone who believed in Christ. Once, ten Christians were brought before him from various cities of Crete, who at the trial steadfastly confessed their faith in Christ and refused to worship idols.

For thirty days they were subjected to cruel tortures, and with the help of God they all persevered, glorifying God. Before their death they prayed that the Lord would enlighten their torturers with the light of the true Faith. Since pain did not influence them, the saints were beheaded.

St Paul of Constantinople (November 6) visited Crete about a hundred years later. He took the relics of the holy martyrs to Constantinople to serve as a protection for the city, and a source of blessings for the faithful.


Troparion - Tone 3

Let us show forth our great praise of Crete
That brought forth these precious Christians: the pearls of Christ!
And these blessed ten, the offspring of martyrs,
Who though few in number, overcame all the deceits of powerful demons.
Therefore these martyrs of Christ have been crowned with victory!


Kontakion - Tone 3

The noble struggle of the martyrs
Shines forth as the morning star,
Shedding brilliant light for us
On the One who was born in the cave
To whom the Virgin gave birth without human seed.

Source
« Last Edit: January 04, 2008, 11:39:08 PM by Friul »
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Offline Athanasios

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #77 on: January 07, 2008, 01:32:16 PM »
Saint Basil the Great - January 2

Bishop of Caesarea, and one of the most distinguished Doctors of the Church. Born probably 329; died 1 January, 379. He ranks after Athanasius as a defender of the Oriental Church against the heresies of the fourth century. With his friend Gregory of Nazianzus and his brother Gregory of Nyssa, he makes up the trio known as "The Three Cappadocians", far outclassing the other two in practical genius and actual achievement.

St. Basil the Elder, father of St. Basil the Great, was the son of a Christian of good birth and his wife, Macrina (Acta SS., January, II), both of whom suffered for the faith during the persecution of Maximinus Galerius (305-314), spending several years of hardship in the wild mountains of Pontus. St. Basil the Elder was noted for his virtue (Acta SS, May, VII) and also won considerable reputation as a teacher in Caesarea. He was not a priest (Cf. Cave, Hist. Lit., I, 239). He married Emmelia, the daughter of a martyr and became the father of ten children. Three of these, Macrina, Basil, and Gregory are honoured as saints; and of the sons, Peter, Gregory, and Basil attained the dignity of the episcopate.

Under the care of his father and his grandmother, the elder Macrina, who preserved the traditions of their countryman, St. Gregory Thaumaturgus (c. 213-275) Basil was formed in habits of piety and study. He was still young when his father died and the family moved to the estate of the elder Macrina at Annesi in Pontus, on the banks of the Iris. As a boy, he was sent to school at Caesarea, then "a metropolis of letters", and conceived a fervent admiration for the local bishop, Dianius. Later, he went to Constantinople, at that time "distinguished for its teachers of philosophy and rhetoric", and thence to Athens. Here he became the inseparable companion of Gregory of Nazianzus, who, in his famous panegyric on Basil (Or. xliii), gives a most interesting description of their academic experiences. According to him, Basil was already distinguished for brilliancy of mind and seriousness of character and associated only with the most earnest students. He was able, grave, industrious, and well advanced in rhetoric, grammar, philosophy, astronomy, geometry, and medicine. (As to his not knowing Latin, see Fialon, Etude historique et littéraire sur St. Basile, Paris, 1869). We know the names of two of Basil's teachers at Athens — Prohaeresius, possibly a Christian, and Himerius, a pagan. It has been affirmed, though probably incorrectly, that Basil spent some time under Libanius. He tells us himself that he endeavoured without success to attach himself as a pupil to Eustathius (Ep., I). At the end of his sojourn at Athens, Basil being laden, says St. Gregory of Nazianzus "with all the learning attainable by the nature of man", was well equipped to be a teacher. Caesarea took possession of him gladly "as a founder and second patron" (Or. xliii), and as he tells us (ccx), he refused the splendid offers of the citizens of Neo-Caesarea, who wished him to undertake the education of the youth of their city.

To the successful student and distinguished professor, "there now remained", says Gregory (Or. xliii), "no other need than that of spiritual perfection". Gregory of Nyssa, in his life of Macrina, gives us to understand that Basil's brilliant success both as a university student and a professor had left traces of worldliness and self-sufficiency on the soul of the young man. Fortunately, Basil came again in contact with Dianius, Bishop of Caesarea, the object of his boyish affection, and Dianius seems to have baptized him, and ordained him Reader soon after his return to Caesarea. It was at the same time also that he fell under the influence of that very remarkable woman, his sister Macrina, who had meanwhile founded a religious community on the family estate at Annesi. Basil himself tells us how, like a man roused from deep sleep, he turned his eyes to the marvellous truth of the Gospel, wept many tears over his miserable life, and prayed for guidance from God: "Then I read the Gospel, and saw there that a great means of reaching perfection was the selling of one's goods, the sharing of them with the poor, the giving up of all care for this life, and the refusal to allow the soul to be turned by any sympathy towards things of earth" (Ep. ccxxiii). To learn the ways of perfection, Basil now visited the monasteries of Egypt, Palestine, Coele-Syria, and Mesopotamia. He returned, filled with admiration for the austerity and piety of the monks, and founded a monastery in his native Pontus, on the banks of the Iris, nearly opposite Annesi. (Cf. Ramsay, Hist. Geog. of Asia Minor, London, 1890, p. 326). Eustathius of Sebaste had already introduced the eremitical life into Asia Minor; Basil added the cenobitic or community form, and the new feature was imitated by many companies of men and women. (Cf. Sozomen, Hist. Eccl., VI, xxvii; Epiphanius, Haer., lxxv, 1; Basil, Ep. ccxxiii; Tillemont, Mém., IX, Art. XXI, and note XXVI.) Basil became known as the father of Oriental monasticism, the forerunner of St. Benedict. How well he deserved the title, how seriously and in what spirit he undertook the systematizing of the religious life, may be seen by the study of his Rule. He seems to have read Origen's writings very systematically about this time, for in union with Gregory of Nazianzus, he published a selection of them called the "Philocalia".

Basil was drawn from his retreat into the area of theological controversy in 360 when he accompanied two delegates from Seleucia to the emperor at Constantinople, and supported his namesake of Ancyra. There is some dispute as to his courage and his perfect orthodoxy on this occasion (cf. Philostorgius, Hist. Eccl., IV, xii; answered by Gregory of Nyssa, In Eunom., I, and Maran, Proleg., vii; Tillemont, Mém., note XVIII). A little later, however, both qualities seem to have been sufficiently in evidence, as Basil forsook Dianius for having signed the heretical creed of Rimini. To this time (c. 361) may be referred the "Moralia"; and a little later came two books against Eunomius (363) and some correspondence with Athanasius. It is possible, also, that Basil wrote his monastic rules in the briefer forms while in Pontus, and enlarged them later at Caesarea. There is an account of an invitation from Julian for Basil to present himself a court and of Basil's refusal, coupled with an admonition that angered the emperor and endangered Basil's safety. Both incident and correspondence however are questioned by some critics.

Basil still retained considerable influence in Caesarea, and it is regarded as fairly probable that he had a hand in the election of the successor of Dianius who died in 362, after having been reconciled to Basil. In any case the new bishop, Eusebius, was practically placed in his office by the elder Gregory of Nazianzus. Eusebius having persuaded the reluctant Basil to be ordained priest, gave him a prominent place in the administration of the diocese (363). In ability for the management of affairs Basil so far eclipsed the bishop that ill-feeling rose between the two. "All the more eminent and wiser portion of the church was roused against the bishop" (Greg. Naz., Or. xliii; Ep. x), and to avoid trouble Basil again withdrew into the solitude of Pontus. A little later (365) when the attempt of Valens to impose Arianism on the clergy and the people necessitated the presence of a strong personality, Basil was restored to his former position, being reconciled to the bishop by St. Gregory of Nazianzus. There seems to have been no further disagreement between Eusebius and Basil and the latter soon became the real head of the diocese. "The one", says Gregory of Nazianzus (Or. xliii), "led the people the other led their leader". During the five years spent in this most important office, Basil gave evidence of being a man of very unusual powers. He laid down the law to the leading citizens and the imperial governors, settled disputes with wisdom and finality, assisted the spiritually needy, looked after "the support of the poor, the entertainment of strangers, the care of maidens, legislation written and unwritten for the monastic life, arrangements of prayers, (liturgy?), adornment of the sanctuary" (op. cit.). In time of famine, he was the saviour of the poor.

In 370 Basil succeeded to the See of Caesarea, being consecrated according to tradition on 14 June. Caesarea was then a powerful and wealthy city (Soz., Hist. Eccl., V, v). Its bishop was Metropolitan of Cappadocia and Exarch of Pontus which embraced more than half of Asia Minor and comprised eleven provinces. The see of Caesarea ranked with Ephesus immediately after the patriarchal sees in the councils, and the bishop was the superior of fifty chorepiscopi (Baert). Basil's actual influence, says Jackson (Prolegomena, XXXII) covered the whole stretch of country "from the Balkans to the Mediterranean and from the Aegean to the Euphrates". The need of a man like Basil in such a see asCaesarea was most pressing, and he must have known this well. Some think that he set about procuring his own election; others (e.g. Maran, Baronius, Ceillier) say that he made no attempt on his own behalf. In any event, he became Bishop of Caesarea largely by the influence of the elder Gregory of Nazianzus. His election, says the younger Gregory (loc. cit.), was followed by disaffection on the part of several suffragan bishops "on whose side were found the greatest scoundrels in the city". During his previous administration of the diocese Basil had so clearly defined his ideas of discipline and orthodoxy, that no one could doubt the direction and the vigour of his policy. St. Athanasius was greatly pleased at Basil's election (Ad Pallad., 953; Ad Joann. et Ant., 951); but the Arianizing Emperor Valens, displayed considerably annoyance and the defeated minority of bishops became consistently hostile to the new metropolitan. By years of tactful conduct, however, "blending his correction with consideration and his gentleness with firmness" (Greg. Naz., Or. xliii), he finally overcame most of his opponents.

Basil's letters tell the story of his tremendous and varied activity; how he worked for the exclusion of unfit candidates from the sacred ministry and the deliverance of the bishops from the temptation of simony; how he required exact discipline and the faithful observance of the canons from both laymen and clerics; how he rebuked the sinful, followed up the offending, and held out hope of pardon to the penitent. (Cf. Epp. xliv, xlv, and xlvi, the beautiful letter to a fallen virgin, as well as Epp. liii, liv, lv, clxxxviii, cxcix, ccxvii, and Ep. clxix, on the strange incident of Glycerius, whose story is well filled out by Ramsay, The Church in the Roman Empire, New York, 1893, p. 443 sqq.) If on the one hand he strenuously defended clerical rights and immunities (Ep. civ), on the other he trained his clergy so strictly that they grew famous as the type of all that a priest should be (Epp. cii, ciii). Basil did not confine his activity to diocesan affairs, but threw himself vigorously into the troublesome theological disputes then rending the unity of Christendom. He drew up a summary of the orthodox faith; he attacked by word of mouth the heretics near at hand and wrote tellingly against those afar. His correspondence shows that he paid visits, sent messages, gave interviews, instructed, reproved, rebuked, threatened, reproached, undertook the protection of nations, cities, individuals great and small. There was very little chance of opposing him successfully, for he was a cool, persistent, fearless fighter in defence both of doctrine and of principles. His bold stand against Valens parallels the meeting of Ambrose with Theodosius. The emperor was dumbfounded at the archbishop's calm indifference to his presence and his wishes. The incident, as narrated by Gregory of Nazianzus, not only tells much concerning Basil's character but throws a clear light on the type of Christian bishop with which the emperors had to deal and goes far to explain why Arianism, with little court behind it, could make so little impression on the ultimate history of Catholicism.

While assisting Eusebius in the care of his diocese, Basil had shown a marked interest in the poor and afflicted; that interest now displayed itself in the erection of a magnificent institution, the Ptochoptopheion, or Basileiad, a house for the care of friendless strangers, the medical treatment of the sick poor, and the industrial training of the unskilled. Built in the suburbs, it attained such importance as to become practically the centre of a new city with the name of he kaine polis or "Newtown". It was the motherhouse of like institutions erected in other dioceses and stood as a constant reminder to the rich of their privilege of spending wealth in a truly Christian way. It may be mentioned here that the social obligations of the wealthy were so plainly and forcibly preached by St. Basil that modern sociologists have ventured to claim him as one of their own, though with no more foundation than would exist in the case of any other consistent teacher of the principles of Catholic ethics. The truth is that St. Basil was a practical lover of Christian poverty, and even in his exalted position preserved that simplicity in food and clothing and that austerity of life for which he had been remarked at his first renunciation of the world.

In the midst of his labours, Basil underwent suffering of many kinds. Athanasius died in 373 and the elder Gregory in 374, both of them leaving gaps never to be filled. In 373 began the painful estrangement from Gregory of Nazianzus. Anthimus, Bishop of Tyana, became an open enemy, Apollinaris "a cause of sorrow to the churches" (Ep. cclxiii), Eustathius of Sebaste a traitor to the Faith and a personal foe as well. Eusebius of Samosata was banished, Gregory of Nyssa condemned and deposed. When Emperor Valentinian died and the Arians recovered their influence, all Basil's efforts must have seemed in vain. His health was breaking, the Goths were at the door of the empire, Antioch was in schism, Rome doubted his sincerity, the bishops refused to be brought together as he wished. "The notes of the church were obscured in his part of Christendom, and he had to fare on as best he might,--admiring, courting, yet coldly treated by the Latin world, desiring the friendship of Rome, yet wounded by her reserve,--suspected of heresy by Damasus, and accused by Jerome of pride" (Newman, The Church of the Fathers). Had he lived a little longer and attended the Council of Constantinople (381), he would have seen the death of its first president, his friend Meletius, and the forced resignation of its second, Gregory of Nazianzus. Basil died 1 January, 379. His death was regarded as a public bereavement; Jews, pagans, and foreigners vied with his own flock in doing him honour. The earlier Latin martyrologies (Hieronymian and Bede) make no mention of a feast of St. Basil. The first mention is by Usuard and Ado who place it on 14 June, the supposed date of Basil's consecration to the episcopate. In the Greek "Menaea" he is commemorated on 1 January, the day of his death. In 1081, John, Patriarch of Constantinople, in consequence of a vision, established a feast in common honour of St. Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus, and John Chrysostom, to be celebrated on 30 January. The Bollandists give an account of the origin of this feast; they also record as worthy of note that no relics of St. Basil are mentioned before the twelfth century, at which time parts of his body, together with some other very extraordinary relics were reputed to have been brought to Bruges by a returning Crusader. Baronius (c. 1599) gave to the Naples Oratory a relic of St. Basil sent from Constantinople to the pope. The Bollandists and Baronius print descriptions of Basil's personal appearance and the former reproduce two icons, the older copied from a codex presented to Basil, Emperor of the East (877-886).

By common consent, Basil ranks among the greatest figures in church history and the rather extravagant panegyric by Gregory of Nazianzus has been all but equalled by a host of other eulogists. Physically delicate and occupying his exalted position but a few years, Basil did magnificent and enduring work in an age of more violent world convulsions than Christianity has since experienced. (Cf. Newman, The Church of the Fathers). By personal virtue he attained distinction in an age of saints; and his purity, his monastic fervour, his stern simplicity, his friendship for the poor became traditional in the history of Christian asceticism. In fact, the impress of his genius was stamped indelibly on the Oriental conception of religious life. In his hands the great metropolitan see of Caesarea took shape as the sort of model of the Christian diocese; there was hardly any detail of episcopal activity in which he failed to mark out guiding lines and to give splendid example. Not the least of his glories is the fact that toward the officials of the State he maintained that fearless dignity and independence which later history has shown to be an indispensable condition of healthy life in the Catholic episcopate.

Some difficulty has arisen out of the correspondence of St. Basil with the Roman See. That he was in communion with the Western bishops and that he wrote repeatedly to Rome asking that steps be taken to assist the Eastern Church in her struggle with schismatics and heretics is undoubted; but the disappointing result of his appeals drew from him certain words which require explanation. Evidently he was deeply chagrined that Pope Damasus on the one hand hesitated to condemn Marcellus and the Eustathians, and on the other preferred Paulinus to Meletius in whose right to the See of Antioch St. Basil most firmly believed. At the best it must be admitted that St. Basil criticized the pope freely in a private letter to Eusebius of Samosata (Ep. ccxxxix) and that he was indignant as well as hurt at the failure of his attempt to obtain help from the West. Later on, however, he must have recognized that in some respects he had been hasty; in any event, his strong emphasis of the influence which the Roman See could exercise over the Eastern bishops, and his abstaining from a charge of anything like usurpation are great facts that stand out obviously in the story of the disagreement. With regard to the question of his association with the Semi-Arians, Philostorgius speaks of him as championing the Semi-Arian cause, and Newman says he seems unavoidably to have Arianized the first thirty years of his life. The explanation of this, as well as of the disagreement with the Holy See, must be sought in a careful study of the times, with due reference to the unsettled and changeable condition of theological distinctions, the lack of anything like a final pronouncement by the Church's defining power, the "lingering imperfections of the Saints" (Newman), the substantial orthodoxy of many of the so-called Semi-Arians, and above all the great plan which Basil was steadily pursuing of effecting unity in a disturbed and divided Christendom.
Through the intercession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, may Jesus Christ bless you abundantly.

Pray that we may be one, as Christ and His Father are one. (John 17:20ff)

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Offline Athanasios

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #78 on: January 07, 2008, 01:32:38 PM »
Saint Gregory of Nazianzus - January 2

Doctor of the Church, born at Arianzus, in Asia Minor, c. 325; died at the same place, 389. He was son -- one of three children -- of Gregory, Bishop of Nazianzus (329-374), in the south-west of Cappadocia, and of Nonna, a daughter of Christian parents. The saint's father was originally a member of the heretical sect of the Hypsistarii, or Hypsistiani, and was converted to Catholicity by the influence of his pious wife. His two sons, who seem to have been born between the dates of their father's priestly ordination and episcopal consecration, were sent to a famous school at Caesarea, capital of Cappadocia, and educated by Carterius, probably the same one who was afterwards tutor of St. John Chrysostom. Here commenced the friendship between Basil and Gregory which intimately affected both their lives, as well as the development of the theology of their age. From Caesarea in Cappadocia Gregory proceeded to Caesarea in Palestine, where he studied rhetoric under Thespesius; and thence to Alexandria, of which Athanasius was then bishop, through at the time in exile. Setting out by sea from Alexandria to Athens, Gregory was all but lost in a great storm, and some of his biographers infer -- though the fact is not certain -- that when in danger of death he and his companions received the rite of baptism. He had certainly not been baptized in infancy, though dedicated to God by his pious mother; but there is some authority for believing that he received the sacrament, not on his voyage to Athens, but on his return to Nazianzus some years later. At Athens Gregory and Basil, who had parted at Caesarea, met again, renewed their youthful friendship, and studied rhetoric together under the famous teachers Himerius and Proaeresius. Among their fellow students was Julian, afterwards known as the Apostate, whose real character Gregory asserts that he had even then discerned and thoroughly distrusted him. The saint's studies at Athens (which Basil left before his friend) extended over some ten years; and when he departed in 356 for his native province, visitingConstantinople on his way home, he was about thirty years of age.

Arrived at Nazianzus, where his parents were now advanced in age, Gregory, who had by this time firmly resolved to devote his life and talents to God, anxiously considered the plan of his future career. To a young man of his high attainments a distinguished secular career was open, either that of a lawyer or of a professor of rhetoric; but his yearnings were for the monastic or ascetic life, though this did not seem compatible either with the Scripture studies in which he was deeply interested, or with his filial duties at home. As was natural, he consulted his beloved friend Basil in his perplexity as to his future; and he has left us in his own writings an extremely interesting narrative of their intercourse at this time, and of their common resolve (based on somewhat different motives, according to the decided differences in their characters) to quit the world for the service of God alone. Basil retired to Pontus to lead the life of a hermit; but finding that Gregory could not join him there, came and settled first at Tiberina (near Gregory's own home), then at Neocæsarea, in Pontus, where he lived in holy seclusion for some years, and gathered round him a brotherhood of cenobites, among whom his friend Gregory was for a time included. After a sojourn here for two or three years, during which Gregory edited, with Basil some of the exegetical works of Origen, and also helped his friend in the compilation of his famous rules, Gregory returned to Nazianzus, leaving with regret the peaceful hermitage where he and Basil (as he recalled in their subsequent correspondence) had spent such a pleasant time in the labour both of hands and of heads. On his return home Gregory was instrumental in bringing back to orthodoxy his father who, perhaps partly in ignorance, had subscribed the heretical creed of Rimini; and the aged bishop, desiring his son's presence and support, overruled his scrupulous shrinking from the priesthood, and forced him to accept ordination (probably at Christmas, 361). Wounded and grieved at the pressure put upon him, Gregory fled back to his solitude, and to the company of St. Basil; but after some weeks' reflection returned to Nazianzus, where he preached his first sermon on Easter Sunday, and afterward wrote the remarkable apologetic oration, which is really a treatise on the priestly office, the foundation of Chrysostom's "De Sacerdotio", of Gregory the Great's "Cura Pastoris", and of countless subsequent writings on the same subject.

During the next few years Gregory's life at Nazianzus was saddened by the deaths of his brother Caesarius and his sister Gorgonia, at whose funerals he preached two of his most eloquent orations, which are still extant. About this time Basil was made bishop of Caesarea and Metropolitan of Cappadocia, and soon afterwards the Emperor Valens, who was jealous of Basil's influence, divided Cappadocia into two provinces. Basil continued to claim ecclesiastical jurisdiction, as before, over the whole province, but this was disputed by Anthimus, Bishop of Tyana, the chief city of New Cappadocia. To strengthen his position Basil founded a new see at Sasima, resolved to have Gregory as its first bishop, and accordingly had him consecrated, though greatly against his will. Gregory, however, was set against Sasima from the first; he thought himself utterly unsuited to the place, and the place to him; and it was not long before he abandoned his diocese and returned to Nazianzus as coadjutor to his father. This episode in Gregory's life was unhappily the cause of an estrangement between Basil and himself which was never altogether removed; and there is no extant record of any correspondence between them subsequent to Gregory's leaving Sasima. Meanwhile he occupied himself sedulously with his duties as coadjutor to his aged father, who died early in 374, his wife Nonna soon following him to the grave. Gregory, who was now left without family ties, devoted to the poor the large fortune which he had inherited, keeping for himself only a small piece of land at Arianzus. He continued to administer the diocese for about two years, refusing, however, to become the bishop, and continually urging the appointment of a successor to his father. At the end of 375 he withdrew to a monastery at Seleuci, living there in solitude for some three years, and preparing (though he knew it not) for what was to be the crowning work of his life. About the end of this period Basil died. Gregory's own state of health prevented his being present either at the deathbed or funeral; but he wrote a letter of condolence to Basil's brother, Gregory of Nyssa, and composed twelve beautiful memorial poems or epitaphs to his departed friend.

Three weeks after Basil's death, Theodosius was advanced by the Emperor Gratian to the dignity of Emperor of the East. Constantinople, the seat of his empire, had been for the space of about thirty years (since the death of the saintly and martyred Bishop Paul) practically given over too Arianism, with an Arian prelate, Demophilus, enthroned at St. Sophia's. The remnant of persecuted Catholics, without either church or pastor, applied to Gregory to come and place himself at their head and organize their scattered forces; and many bishops supported the demand. After much hesitation he gave his consent, proceeded to Constantinople early in the year 379, and began his mission in a private house which he describes as "the new Shiloh where the Ark was fixed", and as "an Anastasia, the scene of the resurrection of the faith". Not only the faithful Catholics, but many heretics gathered in the humble chapel of the Anastasia, attracted by Gregory's sanctity, learning and eloquence; and it was in this chapel that he delivered the five wonderful discourses on the faith of Nicaea -- unfolding the doctrine of the Trinity while safeguarding the Unity of the Godhead -- which gained for him, alone of all Christian teachers except the Apostle St. John, the special title of Theologus or the Divine. He also delivered at this time the eloquent panegyrics on St. Cyprian, St. Athanasius, and the Machabees, which are among his finest oratorical works. Meanwhile he found himself exposed to persecution of every kind from without, and was actually attacked in his own chapel, whilst baptizing his Easter neophytes, by a hostile mob of Arians from St. Sophia's, among them being Arian monks and infuriated women. He was saddened, too, by dissensions among his own little flock, some of whom openly charged him with holding Tritheistic errors. St. Jerome became about this time his pupil and disciple, and tells us in glowing language how much he owed to his erudite and eloquent teacher. Gregory was consoled by the approval of Peter, Patriarch of Constantinople (Duchesne's opinion, that the patriarch was from the first jealous or suspicious of the Cappadocian bishop's influence in Constantinople, does not seem sufficiently supported by evidence), and Peter appears to have been desirous to see him appointed to the bishopric of the capital of the East. Gregory, however, unfortunately allowed himself to be imposed upon by a plausible adventurer called Hero, or Maximus, who came toConstantinople from Alexandria in the guise (long hair, white robe, and staff) of a Cynic, and professed to be a convert to Christianity, and an ardent admirer of Gregory's sermons. Gregory entertained him hospitably, gave him his complete confidence, and pronounced a public panegyric on him in his presence. Maximus's intrigues to obtain the bishopric for himself found support in various quarters, including Alexandria, which the patriarch Peter, for what reason precisely it is not known, had turned against Gregory; and certain Egyptian bishops deputed by Peter, suddenly, and at night, consecrated and enthroned Maximus as Catholic Bishop of Constantinople, while Gregory was confined to bed by illness. Gregory's friends, however, rallied round him, and Maximus had to fly fromConstantinople. The Emperor Theodosius, to whom he had recourse, refused to recognize any bishop other than Gregory, and Maximus retired in disgrace to Alexandria.

Theodosius received Christian baptism early in 380, at Thessalonica, and immediately addressed an edict to his subjects at Constantinople, commanding them to adhere to the faith taught by St. Peter, and professed by the Roman pontiff, which alone deserved to be called Catholic. In November, the emperor entered the city and called on Demophilus, the Arian bishop, to subscribe to the Nicene creed: but he refused to do so, and was banished from Constantinople. Theodosius determined that Gregory should be bishop of the new Catholic see, and himself accompanied him to St. Sophia's, where he was enthroned in presence of an immense crowd, who manifested their feelings by hand-clappings and other signs of joy. Constantinople was now restored to Catholic unity; the emperor, by a new edict, gave back all the churches to Catholic use; Arians and other heretics were forbidden to hold public assemblies; and the name of Catholic was restricted to adherents of the orthodox and Catholic faith.

Gregory had hardly settled down to the work of administration of the Diocese of Constantinople, when Theodosius carried out his long-cherished purpose of summoning thither a general council of the Eastern Church. One hundred and fifty bishops met in council, in May, 381, the object of the assembly being, as Socrates plainly states, to confirm the faith of Nicaea, and to appoint a bishop for Constantinople (see CONSTANTINOPLE, THE FIRST COUNCIL OF). Among the bishops present were thirty-six holding semi-Arian or Macedonian opinions; and neither the arguments of the orthodox prelates nor the eloquence of Gregory, who preached at Pentecost, in St. Sophia's, on the subject of the Holy Spirit, availed to persuade them to sign the orthodox creed. As to the appointment of the bishopric, the confirmation of Gregory to the see could only be a matter of form. The orthodox bishops were all in favor, and the objection (urged by the Egyptian and Macedonian prelates who joined the council later) that his translation from one see to another was in opposition to a canon of the Nicene council was obviously unfounded. The fact was well known that Gregory had never, after his forced consecration at the instance of Basil, entered into possession of the See of Sasima, and that he had later exercised his episcopal functions at Nazianzus, not as bishop of that diocese, but merely as coadjutor of his father. Gregory succeeded Meletius as president of the council, which found itself at once called on to deal with the difficult question of appointing a successor to the deceased bishop. There had been an understanding between the two orthodox parties at Antioch, of which Meletius and Paulinus had been respectively bishops that the survivor of either should succeed as sole bishop. Paulinus, however, was a prelate of Western origin and creation, and the Eastern bishops assembled at Constantinople declined to recognize him. In vain did Gregory urge, for the sake of peace, the retention of Paulinus in the see for the remainder of his life, already fare advanced; the Fathers of the council refused to listen to his advice, and resolved thatMeletius should be succeeded by an Oriental priest. "It was in the East that Christ was born", was one of the arguments they put forward; and Gregory's retort, "Yes, and it was in the East that he was put to death", did not shake their decision. Flavian, a priest of Antioch, was elected to the vacant see; and Gregory, who relates that the only result of his appeal was "a cry like that of a flock of jackdaws" while the younger members of the council "attacked him like a swarm of wasps", quitted the council, and left also his official residence, close to thechurch of the Holy Apostles.

Gregory had now come to the conclusion that not only the opposition and disappointment which he had met with in the council, but also his continued state of ill-health, justified, and indeed necessitated, his resignation of the See of Constantinople, which he had held for only a few months. He appeared again before the council, intimated that he was ready to be another Jonas to pacify the troubled waves, and that all he desired was rest from his labours, and leisure to prepare for death. The Fathers made no protest against this announcement, which some among them doubtless heard with secret satisfaction; and Gregory at once sought and obtained from the emperor permission to resign his see. In June, 381, he preached a farewell sermon before the council and in presence of an overflowing congregation. The peroration of this discourse is of singular and touching beauty, and unsurpassed even among his many eloquent orations. Very soon after its delivery he leftConstantinople (Nectarius, a native of Cilicia, being chosen to succeed him in the bishopric), and retired to his old home at Nazianzus. His two extant letters addressed to Nectarius at his time are noteworthy as affording evidence, by their spirit and tone, that he was actuated by no other feelings than those of interested goodwill towards the diocese of which he was resigning the care, and towards his successor in the episcopal charge. On his return to Nazianzus, Gregory found the Church there in a miserable condition, being overrun with the erroneous teaching of Apollinaris the Younger, who had seceded from the Catholic communion a few years previously, and died shortly after Gregory himself. Gregory's anxiety was now to find a learned and zealous bishop who would be able to stem the flood of heresy which was threatening to overwhelm the Christian Church in that place. All his efforts were at first unsuccessful, and he consented at length with much reluctance to take over the administration of the diocese himself. He combated for a time, with his usual eloquence and as much energy as remained to him, the false teaching of the adversaries of the Church; but he felt himself too broken in health to continue the active work of the episcopate, and wrote to the Archbishop of Tyana urgently appealing to him to provide for the appointment of another bishop. His request was granted, and his cousin Eulalius, a priest of holy life to whom he was much attached, was duly appointed to the See of Nazianzus. This was toward the end of the year 383, and Gregory, happy in seeing the care of the diocese entrusted to a man after his own heart, immediately withdrew to Arianzus, the scene of his birth and his childhood, where he spent the remaining years of his life in retirement, and in the literary labours, which were so much more congenial to his character than the harassing work of ecclesiastical administration in those stormy and troubled times.

Looking back on Gregory's career, it is difficult not to feel that from the day when he was compelled to accept priestly orders, until that which saw him return from Constantinople to Nazianzus to end his life in retirement and obscurity, he seemed constantly to be placed, through no initiative of his own, in positions apparently unsuited to his disposition and temperament, and not really calculated to call for the exercise of the most remarkable and attractive qualities of his mind and heart. Affectionate and tender by nature, of highly sensitive temperament, simple and humble, lively and cheerful by disposition, yet liable to despondency and irritability, constitutionally timid, and somewhat deficient, as it seemed, both in decision of character and in self-control, he was very human, very lovable, very gifted -- yet not, one might be inclined to think, naturally adapted to play the remarkable part which he did during the period preceding and following the opening of the Council of Constantinople. He entered on his difficult and arduous work in that city within a few months of the death of Basil, the beloved friend of his youth; and Newman, in his appreciation of Gregory's character and career, suggests the striking thought that it was his friend's lofty and heroic spirit which had entered into him, and inspired him to take the active and important part which fell to his lot in the work of re-establishing the orthodox and Catholic faith in the eastern capital of the empire. It did, in truth, seem to be rather with the firmness and intrepidity, the high resolve and unflinching perseverance, characteristic of Basil, than in his own proper character, that of a gentle, fastidious, retiring, timorous, peace-loving saint and scholar, that he sounded the war-trumpet during those anxious and turbulent months, in the very stronghold and headquarters of militant heresy, utterly regardless to the actual and pressing danger to his safety, and even his life which never ceased to menace him. "May we together receive", he said at the conclusion of the wonderful discourse which he pronounced on his departed friend, on his return to Asia from Constantinople, "the reward of the warfare which we have waged, which we have endured." It is impossible to doubt, reading the intimate details which he has himself given us of his long friendship with, and deep admiration of, Basil, that thespirit of his early and well-loved friend had to a great extent moulded and informed his own sensitive and impressionable personality and that it was this, under God, which nerved and inspired him, after a life of what seemed, externally, one almost of failure, to co-operate in the mighty task of overthrowing the monstrous heresy which had so long devastated the greater part of Christendom, and bringing about at length the pacification of the Eastern Church.

During the six years of life which remained to him after his final retirement to his birth-place, Gregory composed, in all probability, the greater part of the copious poetical works which have come down to us. These include a valuable autobiographical poem of nearly 2000 lines, which forms, of course, one of the most important sources of information for the facts of his life; about a hundred other shorter poems relating to his past career; and a large number of epitaphs, epigrams, and epistles to well-known people of the day. Many of his later personal poems refer to the continuous illness and severe sufferings, both physical and spiritual, which assailed him during his last years, and doubtless assisted to perfect him in those saintly qualities which had never been wanting to him, rudely shaken though he had been by the trails and buffetings of his life. In the tiny plot of ground at Arianzus, all (as has already been said) that remained to him of his rich inheritance, he wrote and meditated, as he tells, by a fountain near which there was a shady walk, his favourite resort. Here, too, he received occasional visits from intimate friends, as well as sometimes from strangers attracted to his retreat by his reputation for sanctity and learning; and here he peacefully breathed his last. The exact date of his death is unknown, but from a passage in Jerome (De Script. Eccl.) it may be assigned, with tolerable certainty, to the year 389 or 390.

Some account must now be given of Gregory's voluminous writings, and of his reputation as an orator and a theologian, on which, more than on anything else, rests his fame as one of the greatest lights of the Eastern Church. His works naturally fall under three heads, namely his poems, his epistles, and his orations. Much, though by no means all, of what he wrote has been preserved, and has been frequently published, the editio princeps of the poems being the Aldine (1504), while the first edition of his collected works appeared in Paris in 1609-11. The Bodleian catalogue contains more than thirty folio pages enumerating various editions of Gregory's works, of which the best and most complete are the Benedictine edition (two folio volumes, begun in 1778, finished in 1840), and the edition of Migne (four volumes XXXV - XXXVIII, in P.G., Paris, 1857 - 1862).
Through the intercession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, may Jesus Christ bless you abundantly.

Pray that we may be one, as Christ and His Father are one. (John 17:20ff)

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #79 on: January 07, 2008, 01:39:56 PM »
Saint Aquilinus - January 4

Martyr with Saints Geminus, Eugene, Marcian, Quintus, Theodotus, and Tryphon. These martyrs were executed by the Arian Hunneric, the king of the Vandals. St. Bede wrote of their heroic deaths.

Through the intercession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, may Jesus Christ bless you abundantly.

Pray that we may be one, as Christ and His Father are one. (John 17:20ff)

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #80 on: January 07, 2008, 01:40:26 PM »
Saint Rigobert - January 4

Benedictine archbishop, also known as Robert of Reims. After serving for a time as abbot of Orbais, he was appointed archbishop of Reims, France. As a result of a dispute with Charles Martel, the powerful Frankish mayor of the palace, he was banished and the see was bestowed upon the prelate Muon. When the matter was resolved and Rigobert returned to Reims, he chose not to pursue his rightful claim to the see and instead became a hermit. Rigobert was long venerated as a model of patience and was credited with many miracles.
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #81 on: January 07, 2008, 01:40:54 PM »
Saint Mavilus - January 4

Martyr of Adrumetum, in North Africa, during the reign of Emperor Caracalla. He was put to death by being hurled to wild beasts.
Through the intercession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, may Jesus Christ bless you abundantly.

Pray that we may be one, as Christ and His Father are one. (John 17:20ff)

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #82 on: January 07, 2008, 01:47:30 PM »
Martyrs Theopemptos and Theonas
(commemorated January 5)

When the persecution of Diocletian broke out in 290, Saint Theopemptus, a bishop, was taken for his confession of Christ, and convicted Diocletian to his face for his error and ungodliness. remaining unhurt after cruel, tortures, he was given poison to drink, which had been prepared by a sorcerer named Theonas. Protected by divine grace from this also, he drew Theonas to Christ, and after other torments, was beheaded. Saint Theonas was cast into a pit and buried alive.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
As a righteous priest of the ineffable mysteries and a godly minister of grace, in the contest of martyrdom thou didst initiate the glorious Theonas into the God-inspired Faith, O Theopemptus. And together with him, thou didst cry out in the stadium: Christ is the strength of the Martyrs.

http://www.goarch.org/en/chapel/saints.asp?contentid=372
"As the sparrow flees from a hawk, so the man seeking humility flees from an argument". St John Climacus

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #83 on: January 07, 2008, 01:58:22 PM »
Saint Syncletica - January 5

She was born at Alexandria in Egypt, of wealthy Macedonian parents. From her infancy she had imbibed the lore of virtue, and in her tender years she consecrated her virginity to God. Her great fortune and beauty induced many young noblemen to become her suitors for marriage, but she had already bestowed her heart on her heavenly spouse. Flight was her refuge against exterior assaults, and, regarding herself as her own most dangerous enemy, she began early to subdue her flesh by austere fasts and other mortifications. She never seemed to suffer more than when obliged to eat oftener than she desired. Her parents, at their death, left her heiress to their opulent estate; for the two brothers she had died before them; and her sister being blind, was committed entirely to her guardianship. Syncletica, having soon distributed her fortune among the poor, retired with her sister into a lonesome monument, on a relation's estate; where, having sent for a priest, she cut off her hair in his presence, as a sign whereby she renounced the world, and renewed the consecration of herself to God. Mortification and prayer were from that time her principal employment; but her close solitude, by concealing her pious exercises from the eyes of the world, has deprived us in a great measure of the knowledge of them.     The fame of her virtue being spread abroad, many women resorted to her abode to confer with her upon spiritual matters. Her humility made her unwilling to take upon herself the task of instructing, but charity, on the other side, opened her mouth. Her pious discourses were inflamed with so much zeal, and accompanied with such an unfeigned humility, and with so many tears, that it cannot be expressed what deep impressions they made on her hearers. "Oh" said the saint, "how happy should we be, did we but take as much pains to gain heaven and please God, as worldlings do to heap up riches and perishable goods! By land they venture among thieves and robbers; at sea they expose themselves to the fury of winds and storms; they suffer shipwrecks, and all perils; they attempt all, try all, hazard all but we, in serving so great a master, for so immense a good, are afraid of every contradiction." At other times, admonishing them of the dangers of this life, she was accusoned to say, "We must be continually upon our guard, for we are engaged in a perpetual war; unless we take care, the enemy will surprise us, when we are least aware of him. A ship sometimes passes safe through hurricanes and tempests, yet, if the pilot, even in a calm, has not a great care of it, a single wave, raised by a sudden gust, may sink her. It does not signify whether the enemy clambers in by the window, or whether all at once he shakes the foundation, if at last he destroys the house. In this life we sail, as it were, in an unknown sea. We meet with rocks, shelves, and sands; sometimes we are becalmed, and at other times we find ourselves tossed and buffeted by a storm. Thus we are never secure, never out of danger; and, if we fall asleep, are sure to perish. We have a most intelligent and experienced pilot at the helm of our vessel even Jesus Christ himself, who will conduct us safe into the haven of salvation if, by our supineness, we cause not our own perdition." She frequently inculcated the virtue of humility, in the following words: "A treasure is secure so long as it remains concealed; but when once disclosed, and laid open to every bold invader, it is presently rifled; so virtue is safe so long as secret, but, if rashly exposed, it but too often evaporates into smoke. By humility, and contempt of the world, the soul, like an eagle, soars on high, above all transitory things, and tramples on the backs of lions and dragons. By these, and the like discourses, did this devout virgin excite others to charity, humility, vigilance, and every other virtue.     The devil, enraged to behold so much good, which all his machinations were not capable to prevent, obtained permission of God, for her trial, to afflict this his faithful servant, like another Job: but even this served only to render her virtue the more illustrious. In the eightieth year of her age she was seized with an inward burning fever, which wasted her insensibly by its intense heat; at the same time an imposthume was formed in her lungs; and a violent and most tormenting scurvy, attended with a corroding hideous stinking ulcer, ate away her jaws and mouth, and deprived her of her speech. She bore all with incredible patience and resignation to God's holy will; and with such a desire of an addition to her sufferings, that she greatly dreaded the physicians would alleviate her pains. It was with difficulty that she permitted them to pare away or embalm the parts already dead. During the three last months of her life, she found no repose. Though the cancer had robbed her of her speech, her wonderful patience served to preach to others more movingly than words could have done. Three days before her death she foresaw, that on the third day she should be released from the prison of her body; and on it, surrounded by a heavenly light, and ravished by consolatory visions, she surrendered her pure soul into the hands of her Creator, in the eighty-fourth year of her age. The Greeks keep her festival on the 4th, the Roman Martyrology mentions her on the 5th of January.
Through the intercession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, may Jesus Christ bless you abundantly.

Pray that we may be one, as Christ and His Father are one. (John 17:20ff)

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #84 on: January 07, 2008, 02:11:28 PM »
Righteous Syncletiki of Alexandria
(commemorated Jan 5)

Saint Syncletike was from Alexandria in Egypt. She lived eighty-three years in virginity and asceticism, and became the leader and teacher of many nuns. What Saint Anthony the Great was to men, she became to women: a model of mortification of the flesh, of patience in afflictions, and of wise instruction; for this, she is known a "Amma," a title corresponding to "Abba." Towards the end of her long life, she was stricken with an exceedingly painful disease, which she endured with faith and magnanimity. She reposed in the middle of the fourth century. It is said of Saint Syncletike that she was the virgin who hid Saint Athanasius from the Arians for more than a year in the environs of Alexandria, and it is to Saint Athanasius that her life is ascribed (PG 18:1488-1557).

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
In thee the image was preserved with exactness, O Mother; for taking up thy cross, thou didst follow Christ, and by thy deeds thou didst teach us to overlook the flesh, for it passeth away, but to attend to the soul since it is immortal. Wherefore, O righteous Syncletiki, thy spirit rejoiceth with the Angels.
Kontakion in the Third Tone
O divine Syncletike, our righteous God-bearing Mother, thou didst shine forth as a lamp bright with unquenchable virtues, laying bare the dark devices of the deceiver; and thy light guided a multitude of wise virgins to the heav'nly bridal chambers; together with them, pray that we all may be saved.

http://www.goarch.org/en/chapel/saints.asp?contentid=373
"As the sparrow flees from a hawk, so the man seeking humility flees from an argument". St John Climacus

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #85 on: January 07, 2008, 02:17:43 PM »
St. Oswald

Commemorated on August 5

Saint Oswald was born around 605, the second of the seven sons of the Anglo-Saxon king Aethelfrith, who was the first ruler to unite the provinces of Bernicia and Deira into the kingdom of Northumbria.

King Edwin of Deira refused to accept the Bernician control of both provinces, so he attempted a coup while Aethelfrith was away in the north. Edwin was defeated and driven into exile. When Aethelfrith was killed later, Edwin became King of Northumbria.

Oswald's mother Acha (Edwin's sister) fled to Ireland (then called Scotland) with her children. It is believed that during his seventeen years of exile, St Oswald received Christian baptism at Iona and also learned the Gaelic language.

Edwin was killed in 633 while fighting King Penda of Mercia and King Caedwalla of Cwynedd (North Wales). Eanfrith, Oswald's older brother, returned to paganism and was killed in battle against Caedwalla. Now Oswald had to lead the struggle against the Britons.

In 634 Oswald assembled an army and prepared to meet the forces of Penda and Caedwalla at Heavenfield (Hefenfelth) near the Roman Wall seven miles north of Hexham. On the eve of the battle, St Oswald set up a great wooden cross on the field. With his own hands, the king steadied the cross while his men filled in the hole which had been dug to receive it. Although only a few of his men were Christians, Oswald ordered the army to kneel and pray to the true and living God to grant them victory.

"Let us now kneel down and pray to the omnipotent and only true God, that He will mercifully defend us from our proud enemy," he told them, "for He knows that we fight in a just war in defense of our lives and our country."

A modern replica of this cross now stands on the site, near the church of St Oswald.

The night before the battle, King Oswald had a vision of St Columba of Iona (June 9), who stretched his cloak over the sleeping soldiers and promised that the Saxon army would defeat Caedwalla the next day. Following the battle, Oswald established his supremacy in Northumbria and his right to the title of Bretwalda (High King of England). He was godfather to King Cynegils of Wessex at his baptism, and married his daughter of in 635. By 637, Oswald's authority was recognized by almost everyone.

For the next five years Britain was blessed with a rare period of stability. While governing his earthly realm, St Oswald also labored to attain a heavenly crown and to bring his people into the Kingdom of God. Turning to the Celtic monks of Iona, rather than the Roman clergy at Canterbury, Oswald invited missionaries to proclaim the Gospel to his subjects. The first bishop sent to lead the mission proved unsuitable, for he alienated many people by his harshness. The bishop was recalled, and an ideal candidate was found to replace him.

St Aidan (August 31) was consecrated bishop and sent to Northumbria to take charge of the mission. King Oswald gave him the island of Lindisfarne near the royal residence of Bamburg for his episcopal see. St Aidan also founded the famous monastery on Lindisfarne.

Since Bishop Aidan was not yet fluent in the Anglo-Saxon tongue, St Oswald would accompany him on his missionary journeys. The king translated the bishop's words and explained the Word of God to his subjects, playing an active role in the evangelization of his kingdom. People flocked to receive baptism, drawn partly by Aidan's preaching, and partly by King Oswald's example of godliness and virtue.

St Oswald was a devout and sincere Christian who was often seen sitting with his hands resting palms upwards on his knees in a gesture of prayer. He granted land and money for the establishment of monasteries, and he was famous for his generosity to the poor.

One year, after attending the services of Pascha, King Oswald sat down to a meal with Bishop Aidan. Just as the bishop was about to bless the food, a servant came in and informed the king that a great number of needy folk were outside begging for alms. The king ordered that his own food be served to the poor on silver platters, and that the silver serving dishes be broken up and distributed to them.There is a charming illustration of this incident in the thirteenth century Berthold Missal in New York's Pierpont Morgan Library (Morgan MS 710, fol. 101v). Aidan, deeply moved by St Oswald's charity, took him by the right hand and said, "May this hand never perish." According to tradition, St Oswald's hand remained incorrupt for centuries after his death. St Bede (May 27) says that the hand was kept in the church of St Peter at Bamburgh, where it was venerated by all. The present location of the hand, if it still survives, is not known.

St Oswald was killed in battle against the superior forces of King Penda on August 5, 642 at a place called Maserfield. He was only thirty-eight years old. Before his death, St Oswald prayed for the souls of his soldiers.This has become almost proverbial: "'O God, be merciful to their souls,' said Oswald when he fell."

Some identify the battle site with Oswestry (Oswald's tree, or cross) in Shropshire, but this seems an unlikely place for a battle between Mercians and Northumbrians. Others believe that Lichfield is the probable site. Lichfield means "field of the body," and was founded by Oswald's brother Oswy. The city was an archbishopric for seventeen years under Offa, who had a particular veneration for St Oswald.

Following the Battle of Maserfield, St Oswald's body was dismembered, and his head and arms were displayed on poles. Many miraculous healings took place at the site of the battle. This is not surprising, for during his lifetime St Oswald always helped the sick and the needy. Pilgrims took earth from the place where St Oswald fell, and many sick people were healed by mixing some of the dust with water and drinking it.

A year after his death, St Oswald's arms were brought to Bamburgh by Oswy, and his head was brought to Lindisfarne. There the grief-stricken Bishop Aidan interred it in the monastery church.

According to William of Malmesbury (twelfth century), St Oswald is the first English saint whose relics worked miracles. Portions of his relics were distributed to several churches in England in in Europe. Today St Oswald's head is in Durham Cathedral in St Cuthbert's coffin, but the rest of his relics seem to have been lost.

In December of 1069 a clergyman named Earnan had a vision of Sts Cuthbert (March 20) and Oswald. He described the king as being clad in a scarlet cloak, tall in stature, with a thin beard and boyish face. This is recorded by the historian Simeon of Durham.

In the Middle Ages, devotion to St Oswald spread from Britain to Spain, Italy, and Germany. Unfortunately, the fame of this most Christian king is somewhat obscured today, and his popularity diminished after the Norman Conquest in 1066. Before that, the Danish invaders destroyed many Anglo-Saxon political and legal institutions, as well as written records and oral traditions which had been preserved in the monasteries.

Though King Alfred the Great and even William the Conquerer were anxious to link themselves with St Oswald, the kings who reigned after the Conquest were less inclined to associate themselves to St Oswald's reputation as king. For three centuries the Norman kings of England spoke French, which became the language of the court, and they showed little interest in English history.

There were significant changes to the monastic culture after the Conquest as well. A number of monks were brought over from France, and they began to populate the English monasteries. By this time the English Church had become more solidly allied with Rome, and the old Celtic traditions began to disappear.

St Oswald deserves to be better known, but he has not been completely forgotten. There are over sixty churches dedicated to him in England, and his name is also associated with several place names and holy wells.

St Oswald is also commemorated on June 20 (the Transfer of his Relics).

From OCA.org
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #86 on: January 15, 2008, 10:17:44 AM »
Saint Athelm - January 8

Archbishop of Canterbury and uncle of St. Dunstan. A Benedictine, Atheim served as a monk at Glastonbury, England, becoming abbot of the famous monastery. In 909, Athelm was named the first bishop of Wells. He became the archbishop of Canterbury in 914.
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #87 on: January 15, 2008, 10:18:53 AM »
Saint Foellan - January 9

Irishman who went with his mother, St. Kentigem, to Scotland, where he became a monk. His other relative was St. Comgan. Foellan died at Strathfillan after missionary activity.
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #88 on: January 15, 2008, 10:19:25 AM »
Saint Julian and Companions - January 9

Martyr with Anastasius, Anthony, Basilissa, Celsus, Marcionilla, and companions. Julian and Basilissa were married and used their home as a Christian hospital for the poor. Anthony was a priest, and Anastasius was a new convert. Marcionilla was the mother of young Celsus.They were martyred at Antioch.
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #89 on: January 15, 2008, 10:23:28 AM »
Saint Marcian - January 10

Confessor and hymnist of Constantinople. He was a member of a Roman family of Constantinople, related to Emperor Theodosius II. Ordained in 455, he was so ascetical that he was wrongly accused of Novatianism. Marcian was the treasurer of Hagia Sophia, was appointed Oikonomos - second only to the patriarch and restored several churches. He is also believed to have composed hymns and was a famous miracle worker.
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #90 on: January 15, 2008, 10:24:12 AM »
Saint Nicanor - January 10

Early martyr and one of the seven deacons of Jerusalem. A resident of Jerusalem, he was chosen by the Apostles to minister to the needs of those requiring assistance in the Holy City. According to tradition, he went to Cyprus where he was put to death during the reign of Emperor Vespasian, although this is now believed unlikely.
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #91 on: January 15, 2008, 10:24:51 AM »
Saint Peter Urseolus - January 10

Benedictine hermit. Also called Peter Orseolo, he was a member of one of the most noble houses of Venice and, at the age of twenty, became an admiral in the Venetian Navy. After a series of successful campaigns against the Dalmatian pirates, he was elected Doge of Venice in 967, supposedly securing his elevation by poisoning his predecessor Peter Candiani IV, as was charged by St. Peter Damian. For two years Peter ruled with consummate skill, assisting Venice to weather a series of political crises. Then, without any warning and without informing his family, he disappeared from Venice and secretly entered the Benedictine abbey of Cuxa, in the Spanish Pyrenees. There he devoted himself to a life of severe austerity and asceticism, working as a humble sacrist until St. Romuald suggested that he become a hermit. He lived alone until his death.
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #92 on: January 15, 2008, 10:29:43 AM »
Saint Alexander - January 11

Bishop and martyr, dying for the faith during the persecutions conducted in the reign of Emperor Decius. Alexander was born in Fermo, Italy, and became the bishop of the region. He died in Fermo.
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #93 on: January 15, 2008, 10:30:30 AM »
Saint Theodosius - January 11

With Lucius, Mark, and Peter, members of the group of fifty soldier martyrs who were put to death at Rome during the reign of Claudius II Gothicus (r. 268-270).
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #94 on: January 15, 2008, 10:31:25 AM »
Saint Theodosius the Cenobiarch - January 11

Abbot and founder. Born at Garissus, Cappadocia (modern Turkey), in 423, he undertook a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and after meeting with the famed St. Simeon Stylites, he entered a monastery. Later, he was named the head of a church between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, but departed to live as a hermit near the Dead Sea. As he attracted a large number of followers, Theodosius established a monastery which was divided among the various nationalities of the monks (Greek, Armenian, etc.), each with their own church. Appointed by the patriarch of Jerusalem to the post of visitor to all the cenobitical communities of Palestine, he used his influence as cenobiarch to oppose the spread of the heretical doctrines of Eutychianism, displaying such zeal in his preaching that Emperor Anastasius I (r. 491-518), who was sympathetic to the Eutychians, exiled him. Recalled by Emperor Justin soon after Anastasius' death, Theodosius spent his last years in poor health.
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #95 on: January 15, 2008, 10:32:21 AM »
Pope Saint Hyginus - January 11

Reigned about 138-142; succeeded Pope Telesphorus, who, according to Eusebius (Hist. eccl., IV, xv), died during the first year of the reign of the Emperor Antonius Pius -- in 138 or 139, therefore. But the chronology of these bishops of Rome cannot be determined with any degree of exactitude by the help of the authorities at our disposal today. According to the "Liber Pontificalis", Hyginus was a Greek by birth. The further statement that he was previously a philosopher is probably founded on the similarity of his name with that of two Latin authors. Irenaeus says (Adv. haereses, III, iii) that the Gnostic Valentine came to Rome in Hyginus's time, remaining there until Anicetus became pontiff. Cerdo, another Gnostic and predecessor of Marcion, also lived at Rome in the reign of Hyginus; by confessing his errors and recanting he succeeded in obtaining readmission into the bosom of the Church, but eventually he fell back into the heresies and was expelled from the Church. How many of these events took place during the time of Hyginus is not known. The "Liber Pontificalis" also relates that this pope organized the hierachy and established the order of ecclesiastical precedence (Hic clerum composuit et distribuit gradus). This general observation recurs also in the biography of Pope Hormisdas; it has no historical value, and according to Duchesne, the writer probably referred to the lower orders of the clergy. Eusebius (Hist. eccl. IV, xvi) claims that Hyginus's pontificate lasted four years. The ancient authorities contain no information as to his having died a martyr. At his death he was buried on the Vatican Hill, near the tomb of St. Peter. His feast is celebrated on 11 January.
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #96 on: January 18, 2008, 10:13:58 PM »
Myrrh-Bearer and Equal to the Apostles Mary Magdalene

Commemorated on July 22

The Holy Myrrh-Bearer Equal of the Apostles Mary Magdalene. On the banks of Lake Genesareth (Galilee), between the cities of Capharnum and Tiberias, was the small city of Magdala, the remains of which have survived to our day. Now only the small village of Mejhdel stands on the site.

A woman whose name has entered forever into the Gospel account was born and grew up in Magdala. The Gospel tells us nothing of Mary's younger years, but Tradition informs us that Mary of Magdala was young and pretty, and led a sinful life. It says in the Gospels that the Lord expelled seven devils from Mary (Luke. 8:2). From the moment of her healing Mary led a new life, and became a true disciple of the Savior.

The Gospel relates that Mary followed after the Lord, when He went with the Apostles through the cities and villages of Judea and Galilee preaching about the Kingdom of God. Together with the pious women Joanna, wife of Choza (steward of Herod), Susanna and others, she served Him from her own possessions (Luke 8:1-3) and undoubtedly shared with the Apostles the evangelic tasks in common with the other women. The Evangelist Luke, evidently, has her in view together with the other women, stating that at the moment of the Procession of Christ onto Golgotha, when after the Scourging He took on Himself the heavy Cross, collapsing under its weight, the women followed after Him weeping and wailing, but He consoled them. The Gospel relates that Mary Magdalene was present on Golgotha at the moment of the Lord's Crucifixion. While all the disciples of the Savior ran away, she remained fearlessly at the Cross together with the Mother of God and the Apostle John.

The Evangelists also list among those standing at the Cross the mother of the Apostle James, and Salome, and other women followers of the Lord from Galilee, but all mention Mary Magdalene first. St John, in addition to the Mother of God, names only her and Mary Cleopas. This indicates how much she stood out from all the women who gathered around the Lord.

She was faithful to Him not only in the days of His Glory, but also at the moment of His extreme humiliation and insult. As the Evangelist Matthew relates, she was present at the Burial of the Lord. Before her eyes Joseph and Nicodemus went out to the tomb with His lifeless Body. She watched as they covered over the entrance to the cave with a large stone, entombing the Source of Life.

Faithful to the Law in which she was raised, Mary together with the other women spent following day at rest, because it was the great day of the Sabbath, coinciding with the Feast of Passover. But all the rest of the peaceful day the women gathered spices to go to the Grave of the Lord at dawn on Sunday and anoint His Body according to the custom of the Jews.

It is necessary to mention that, having agreed to go on the first day of the week to the Tomb early in the morning, the holy women had no possibility of meeting with one another on Saturday. They went separately on Friday evening to their own homes. They went out only at dawn the following day to go to the Sepulchre, not all together, but each from her own house.

The Evangelist Matthew writes that the women came to the grave at dawn, or as the Evangelist Mark expresses, extremely early before the rising of the sun. The Evangelist John, elaborating upon these, says that Mary came to the grave so early that it was still dark. Obviously, she waited impatiently for the end of night, but it was not yet daybreak. She ran to the place where the Lord's Body lay.

Mary went to the tomb alone. Seeing the stone pushed away from the cave, she ran away in fear to tell the close Apostles of Christ, Peter and John. Hearing the strange message that the Lord was gone from the tomb, both Apostles ran to the tomb and, seeing the shroud and winding cloths, they were amazed. The Apostles went and said nothing to anyone, but Mary stood about the entrance to the tomb and wept. Here in this dark tomb so recently lay her lifeless Lord.

Wanting proof that the tomb really was empty, she went down to it and saw a strange sight. She saw two angels in white garments, one sitting at the head, the other at the foot, where the Body of Jesus had been placed. They asked her, "Woman, why weepest thou?" She answered them with the words which she had said to the Apostles, "They have taken my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." At that moment, she turned around and saw the Risen Jesus standing near the grave, but she did not recognize Him.

He asked Mary, "Woman, why weepest thou? Whom dost thou seek?" She answered thinking that she was seeing the gardener, "Sir, if thou hast taken him, tell where thou hast put Him, and I will take Him away."

Then she recognized the Lord's voice. This was the voice she heard in those days and years, when she followed the Lord through all the cities and places where He preached. He spoke her name, and she gave a joyful shout, "Rabbi" (Teacher).

Respect and love, fondness and deep veneration, a feeling of thankfulness and recognition at His Splendor as great Teacher, all came together in this single outcry. She was able to say nothing more and she threw herself down at the feet of her Teacher to wash them with tears of joy. But the Lord said to her: "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and tell them: "I ascend to My Father, and your Father; to My God and to your God."

She came to herself and again ran to the Apostles, to do the will of Him sending her to preach. Again she ran into the house, where the Apostles still remained in dismay, and proclaimed to them the joyous message, "I have seen the Lord!" This was the first preaching in the world about the Resurrection.

The Apostles proclaimed the Glad Tidings to the world, but she proclaimed it to the Apostles themselves.

Holy Scripture does not tell us about the life of Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection of Christ, but it is impossible to doubt, that if in the terrifying minutes of Christ's Crucifixion she was the foot of His Cross with His All-Pure Mother and St John, she must have stayed with them during the happier time after the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ. Thus in the Acts of the Apostles St Luke writes that all the Apostles with one mind stayed in prayer and supplication, with certain women and Mary the Mother of Jesus and His brethren.

Holy Tradition testifies that when the Apostles departed from Jerusalem to preach to all the ends of the earth, then Mary Magdalene also went with them. A daring woman, whose heart was full of reminiscence of the Resurrection, she went beyond her native borders and went to preach in pagan Rome. Everywhere she proclaimed to people about Christ and His teaching. When many did not believe that Christ is risen, she repeated to them what she had said to the Apostles on the radiant morning of the Resurrection: "I have seen the Lord!" With this message she went all over Italy.

Tradition relates that in Italy Mary Magdalene visited Emperor Tiberias (14-37 A.D.) and proclaimed to him Christ's Resurrection. According to Tradition, she took him a red egg as a symbol of the Resurrection, a symbol of new life with the words: "Christ is Risen!" Then she told the emperor that in his Province of Judea the unjustly condemned Jesus the Galilean, a holy man, a miracleworker, powerful before God and all mankind, had been executed at the instigation of the Jewish High Priests, and the sentence confirmed by the procurator appointed by Tiberias, Pontius Pilate.

Mary repeated the words of the Apostles, that we are redeemed from the vanity of life is not with perishable silver or gold, but rather by the precious Blood of Christ.

Thanks to Mary Magdalene the custom to give each other paschal eggs on the day of the Radiant Resurrection of Christ spread among Christians over all the world. On one ancient Greek manuscript, written on parchment, kept in the monastery library of St Athanasius near Thessalonica, is a prayer read on the day of Holy Pascha for the blessing of eggs and cheese. In it is indicated that the igumen in passing out the blessed eggs says to the brethren: "Thus have we received from the holy Fathers, who preserved this custom from the very time of the holy Apostles, therefore the holy Equal of the Apostles Mary Magdalene first showed believers the example of this joyful offering."

Mary Magdalene continued her preaching in Italy and in the city of Rome itself. Evidently, the Apostle Paul has her in mind in his Epistle to the Romans (16: 6), where together with other ascetics of evangelic preaching he mentions Mary (Mariam), who as he expresses "has bestowed much labor on us." Evidently, she extensively served the Church in its means of subsistence and its difficulties, being exposed to dangers, and sharing with the Apostles the labors of preaching.

According to Church Tradition, she remained in Rome until the arrival of the Apostle Paul, and for two more years following his departure from Rome after the first court judgment upon him. From Rome, St Mary Magdalene, already bent with age, moved to Ephesus where the holy Apostle John unceasingly labored. There the saint finished her earthly life and was buried.

Her holy relics were transferred in the ninth century to Constantinople, and placed in the monastery Church of St Lazarus. In the era of the Crusader campaigns they were transferred to Italy and placed at Rome under the altar of the Lateran Cathedral. Part of the relics of Mary Magdalene are said to be in Provage, France near Marseilles, where over them at the foot of a steep mountain a splendid church is built in her honor.

The Orthodox Church honors the holy memory of St Mary Magdalene, the woman called by the Lord Himself from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God.

Formerly immersed in sin and having received healing, she sincerely and irrevocably began a new life and never wavered from that path. Mary loved the Lord Who called her to a new life. She was faithful to Him not only when He was surrounded by enthusiastic crowds and winning recognition as a miracle-worker, but also when all the disciples deserted Him in fear and He, humiliated and crucified, hung in torment upon the Cross. This is why the Lord, knowing her faithfulness, appeared to her first, and esteemed her worthy to be first to proclaim His Resurrection.

from oca.org
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #97 on: January 18, 2008, 10:15:18 PM »
St. Nicholas, Archbishop of Japan

Commemorated on February 3

Saint Nicholas, Enlightener of Japan Ivan Dimitrievich Kasatkin was born on August 1, 1836 in the village of Berezovsk, Belsk district, Smolensk diocese, where his father served as deacon. At the age of five he lost his mother. He completed the Belsk religious school, and afterwards the Smolensk Theological Seminary. In 1857 Ivan Kasatkin entered the Saint Peterburg Theological Academy. On June 24, 1860, in the academy temple of the Twelve Apostles, Bishop Nectarius tonsured him with the name Nicholas.

On June 29, the Feast of the foremost Apostles Peter and Paul, the monk Nicholas was ordained deacon. The next day, on the altar feast of the academy church, he was ordained to the holy priesthood. Later, at his request, Father Nicholas was assigned to Japan as head of the consular church in the city of Hakodate.

At first, the preaching of the Gospel in Japan seemed completely impossible. In Father Nicholas's own words: "the Japanese of the time looked upon foreigners as beasts, and on Christianity as a villainous sect, to which only villains and sorcerers could belong." He spent eight years in studying the country, the language, manners and customs of the people among whom he would preach.

In 1868, the flock of Father Nicholas numbered about twenty Japanese. At the end of 1869 Hieromonk Nicholas reported in person to the Synod in Peterburg about his work. A decision was made, on January 14, 1870, to form a special Russian Spiritual Mission for preaching the Word of God among the pagan Japanese. Father Nicholas was elevated to the rank of archimandrite and appointed as head of this Mission.

Returning to Japan after two years in Russia, he transferred some of the responsibility for the Hakodate flock to Hieromonk Anatolius, and began his missionary work in Tokyo. In 1871 there was a persecution of Christians in Hakodate. Many were arrested (among them, the first Japanese Orthodox priest Paul Sawabe). Only in 1873 did the persecution abate somewhat, and the free preaching of Christianity became possible.

In this year Archimandrite Nicholas began the construction of a stone building in Tokyo which housed a church, a school for fifty men, and later a religious school, which became a seminary in 1878.

In 1874, Bishop Paul of Kamchatka arrived in Tokyo to ordain as priests several Japanese candidates recommended by Archimandrite Nicholas. At the Tokyo Mission, there were four schools: for catechists, for women, for church servers, and a seminary. At Hakodate there were two separate schools for boys and girls.

In the second half of 1877, the Mission began regular publication of the journal "Church Herald." By the year 1878 there already 4115 Christians in Japan, and there were a number of Christian communities. Church services and classes in Japanese, the publication of religious and moral books permitted the Mission to attain such results in a short time. Archimandrite Nicholas petitioned the Holy Synod in December of 1878 to provide a bishop for Japan.

Archimandrite Nicholas was consecrated bishop on March 30, 1880 in the Trinity Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky Lavra. Returning to Japan, he resumed his apostolic work with increased fervor. He completed construction on the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Tokyo, he translated the service books, and compiled a special Orthodox theological dictionary in the Japanese language.

Great hardship befell the saint and his flock at the time of the Russo-Japanese War. For his ascetic labor during these difficult years, he was elevated to the rank of Archbishop.

In 1911, half a century had passed since the young hieromonk Nicholas had first set foot on Japanese soil. At that time there were 33,017 Christians in 266 communities of the Japanese Orthodox Church, including 1 Archbishop, 1 bishop, 35 priests, 6 deacons, 14 singing instructors, and 116 catechiSts

On February 3, 1912, Archbishop Nicholas departed peacefully to the Lord at the age of seventy-six. The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church glorified him on April 10, 1970, since the saint had long been honored in Japan as a righteous man, and a prayerful intercessor before the Lord.

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #98 on: January 18, 2008, 10:19:15 PM »
Ss. Cyril and Methodius

Commemorated on May 11

Saints Cyril and Methodius, Equals of the Apostles, and Enlighteners of the Slavs came from an illustrious and pious family living in the Greek city of Thessalonica. St Methodius was the oldest of seven brothers, St Constantine [Cyril was his monastic name] was the youngest. At first St Methodius was in the military and was governor in one of the Slavic principalities dependent on the Byzantine Empire, probably Bulgaria, which made it possible for him to learn the Slavic language. After living there for about ten years, St Methodius later received monastic tonsure at one of the monasteries on Mount Olympus (Asia Minor).

St Constantine distinguished himself by his great aptitude, and he studied with the emperor Michael under the finest teachers in Constantinople, including St Photius, the future Patriarch of Constantinople (February 6).

St Constantine studied all the sciences of his time, and also knew several languages. He also studied the works of St Gregory the Theologian. Because of his keen mind and penetrating intellect, St Constantine was called "Philosopher" (wise). Upon the completion of his education, St Constantine was ordained to the holy priesthood and was appointed curator of the patriarchal library at the church of Hagia Sophia. He soon left the capital and went secretly to a monastery.

Discovered there, he returned to Constantinople, where he was appointed as instructor in philosophy. The young Constantine's wisdom and faith were so great that he won a debate with Ananias, the leader of the heretical iconclasts . After this victory Constantine was sent by the emperor to discuss the Holy Trinity with the Saracens, and again he gained the victory. When he returned, St Constantine went to his brother St Methodius on Olympus, spending his time in unceasing prayer and reading the works of the holy Fathers.

The emperor soon summoned both of the holy brothers from the monastery and sent them to preach the Gospel to the Khazars. Along the way they stayed in the city of Korsun, making preparations for their missionary activity. There the holy brothers miraculously discovered the relics of the hieromartyr Clement, Pope of Rome (November 25).

There in Korsun St Constantine found a Gospel and Psalter written in Russian letters [i.e. Slavonic], and a man speaking the Slavic tongue, and he learned from this man how to read and speak this language. After this, the holy brothers went to the Khazars, where they won a debate with Jews and Moslems by preaching the Gospel. On the way home, the brothers again visited Korsun and, taking up the relics of St Clement, they returned to Constantinople. St Constantine remained in the capital, but St Methodius was made igumen of the small Polychronion monastery near Mount Olympus, where he lived a life of asceticism as before.

Soon messengers came to the emperor from the Moravian prince Rostislav, who was under pressure from German bishops, with a request to send teachers to Moravia who would be able to preach in the Slavic tongue. The emperor summoned St Constantine and said to him, "You must go there, but it would be better if no one knows about this."

St Constantine prepared for the new task with fasting and prayer. With the help of his brother St Methodius and the disciples Gorazd, Clement, Sava, Naum and Angelyar, he devised a Slavonic alphabet and translated the books which were necessary for the celebration of the divine services: the Gospel, Epistles, Psalter, and collected services, into the Slavic tongue. This occurred in the year 863.

After completing the translation, the holy brothers went to Moravia, where they were received with great honor, and they began to teach the services in the Slavic language. This aroused the malice of the German bishops, who celebrated divine services in the Moravian churches in Latin. They rose up against the holy brothers, convinced that divine services must be done in one of three languages: Hebrew, Greek or Latin.

St Constantine said, "You only recognize three languages in which God may be glorified. But David sang, 'Praise the Lord, all nations, praise the Lord all peoples (Ps 116/117:1).' And the Gospel of St Matthew (28:18) says, 'Go and teach all nations....'" The German bishops were humiliated, but they became bitter and complained to Rome.

The holy brothers were summoned to Rome for a decision on this matter. Taking with them the relics of St Clement, Sts Constantine and Methodius set off to Rome. Knowing that the holy brothers were bringing these relics with them, Pope Adrian met them along the way with his clergy. The holy brothers were greeted with honor, the Pope gave permission to have divine services in the Slavonic language, and he ordered the books translated by the brothers to be placed in the Latin churches, and to serve the Liturgy in the Slavonic language.

At Rome St Constantine fell ill, and the Lord revealed to him his approaching death. He was tonsured into the monastic schema with the name of Cyril. On February 14, 869, fifty days after receiving the schema, St Cyril died at the age of forty-two.

St Cyril commanded his brother St Methodius to continue with their task of enlightening the Slavic peoples with the light of the true Faith. St Methodius entreated the Pope to send the body of his brother for burial in their native land, but the Pope ordered the relics of St Cyril to be placed in the church of St Clement, where miracles began to occur from them.

After the death of St Cyril, the Pope sent St Methodius to Pannonia, after consecrating him as Archbishop of Moravia and Pannonia, on the ancient throne of St Andronicus (July 30). In Pannonia St Methodius and his disciples continued to distribute services books written in the Slavonic language. This again aroused the wrath of the German bishops. They arrested and tried St Methodius, who was sent in chains to Swabia, where he endured many sufferings for two and a half years.

After being set free by order of Pope John VIII of Rome, and restored to his archdiocese, St Methodius continued to preach the Gospel among the Slavs. He baptized the Czech prince Borivoi and his wife Ludmilla (September 16), and also one of the Polish princes. The German bishops began to persecute the saint for a third time, because he did not accept the erroneous teaching about the procession of the Holy Spirit from both the Father and the Son. St Methodius was summoned to Rome, but he justified himself before the Pope, and preserved the Orthodox teaching in its purity, and was sent again to the capital of Moravia, Velehrad.

Here in the remaining years of his life St Methodius, assisted by two of his former pupils, translated the entire Old Testament into Slavonic, except for the Book of Maccabbees, and even the Nomocanon (Rule of the holy Fathers) and Paterikon (book of the holy Fathers).

Sensing the nearness of death, St Methodius designated one of his students, Gorazd, as a worthy successor to himself. The holy bishop predicted the day of his death and died on April 6, 885 when he was about sixty years old. The saint's burial service was chanted in three languages, Slavonic, Greek, and Latin. He was buried in the cathedral church of Velehrad.

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Offline ytterbiumanalyst

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #99 on: January 18, 2008, 10:21:04 PM »
St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and Enlightener of All North America

Commemorated on April 7

St Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and Apostle to America was born as Vasily Ivanovich Belavin on January 19, 1865 into the family of Ioann Belavin, a rural priest of the Toropetz district of the Pskov diocese. His childhood and adolescence were spent in the village in direct contact with peasants and their labor. From his early years he displayed a particular religious disposition, love for the Church as well as rare meekness and humility.

When Vasily was still a boy, his father had a revelation about each of his children. One night, when he and his three sons slept in the hayloft, he suddenly woke up and roused them. He had seen his dead mother in a dream, who foretold to him his imminent death, and the fate of his three sons. She said that one would be unfortunate throughout his entire life, another would die young, while the third, Vasily, would be a great man. The prophecy of the dead woman proved to be entirely accurate in regard to all three brothers.

From 1878 to 1883, Vasily studied at the Pskov Theological Seminary. The modest seminarian was tender and affectionate by nature. He was fair-haired and tall of stature. His fellow students liked and respected him for his piety, brilliant progress in studies, and constant readiness to help comrades, who often turned to him for explanations of lessons, especially for help in drawing up and correcting numerous compositions. Vasily was called "bishop" and "patriarch" by his classmates.

In 1888, at the age of 23, Vasily Belavin graduated from the St Petersburg Theological Academy as a layman, and returned to the Pskov Seminary as an instructor of Moral and Dogmatic Theology. The whole seminary and the town of Pskov became very fond of him. He led an austere and chaste life, and in 1891, when he turned 26, he took monastic vows. Nearly the whole town gathered for the ceremony. He embarked on this new way of life consciously and deliberately, desiring to dedicate himself entirely to the service of the Church. The meek and humble young man was given the name Tikhon in honor of St Tikhon of Zadonsk.

He was transferred from the Pskov Seminary to the Kholm Theological Seminary in 1892, and was raised to the rank of archimandrite. Archimandrite Tikhon was consecrated Bishop of Lublin on October 19, 1897, and returned to Kholm for a year as Vicar Bishop of the Kholm Diocese. Bishop Tikhon zealously devoted his energy to the establishment of the new vicariate. His attractive moral make-up won the general affection, of not only the Russian population, but also of the Lithuanians and Poles. On September 14, 1898, Bishop Tikhon was made Bishop of the Aleutians and Alaska. As head of the Orthodox Church in America, Bishop Tikhon was a zealous laborer in the Lord's vineyard.

He did much to promote the spread of Orthodoxy, and to improve his vast diocese. He reorganized the diocesan structure, and changed its name from "Diocese of the Aleutians and Alaska" to "Diocese of the Aleutians and North America" in 1900. Both clergy and laity loved their archpastor, and held him in such esteem that the Americans made Archbishop Tikhon an honorary citizen of the United States.

On May 22, 1901, he blessed the cornerstone for St Nicholas Cathedral in New York, and was also involved in establishing other churches. On November 9, 1902, he consecrated the church of St Nicholas in Brooklyn for the Syrian Orthodox immigrants. Two weeks later, he consecrated St Nicholas Cathedral in NY.

In 1905, the American Mission was made an Archdiocese, and St Tikhon was elevated to the rank of Archbishop. He had two vicar bishops: Bishop Innocent (Pustynsky) in Alaska, and St Raphael (Hawaweeny) in Brooklyn to assist him in administering his large, ethnically diverse diocese. In June of 1905, St Tikhon gave his blessing for the establishment of St Tikhon's Monastery.

In 1907, he returned to Russia, and was appointed to Yaroslavl, where he quickly won the affection of his flock. They came to love him as a friendly, communicative, and wise archpastor. He spoke simply to his subordinates, never resorting to a peremptory or overbearing tone. When he had to reprimand someone, he did so in a good-natured, sometimes joking manner, which encouraged the person to correct his mistakes.

When St Tikhon was transferred to Lithuania on December 22, 1913, the people of Yaroslavl voted him an honorary citizen of their town. After his transfer to Vilna, he did much in terms of material support for various charitable institutions. There too, his generous soul and love of people clearly manifested themselves. World War I broke out when His Eminence was in Vilna. He spared no effort to help the poor residents of the Vilna region who were left without a roof over their heads or means of subsistence as a result of the war with the Germans, and who flocked to their archpastor in droves.

After the February Revolution and formation of a new Synod, St Tikhon became one of its members. On June 21, 1917, the Moscow Diocesan Congress of clergy and laity elected him as their ruling bishop. He was a zealous and educated archpastor, widely known even outside his country.

On August 15, 1917, a local council was opened in Moscow, and Archbishop Tikhon was raised to the dignity of Metropolitan, and then elected as chairman of the council. The council had as its aim to restore the life of Russian Orthodox Church on strictly canonical principles, and its primary concern was the restoration of the Patriarchate. All council members would select three candidates, and then a lot would reveal the will of God. The council members chose three candidates: Archbishop Anthony of Kharkov, the wisest, Archbishop Arseny of Novgorod, the strictest, and Metropolitan Tikhon of Moscow, the kindest of the Russian hierarchs.

On November 5, following the Divine Liturgy and a Molieben in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, a monk removed one of the three ballots from the ballot box, which stood before the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God. Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev announced Metropolitan Tikhon as the newly elected Patriarch. St Tikhon did not change after becoming the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church. In accepting the will of the council, Patriarch Tikhon referred to the scroll that the Prophet Ezekiel had to eat, on which was written, "Lamentations, mourning, and woe." He foresaw that his ministry would be filled with affliction and tears, but through all his suffering, he remained the same accessible, unassuming, and kindly person.

All who met St Tikhon were surprised by his accessibility, simplicity and modesty. His gentle disposition did not prevent him from showing firmness in Church matters, however, particularly when he had to defend the Church from her enemies. He bore a very heavy cross. He had to administer and direct the Church amidst wholesale church disorganization, without auxiliary administrative bodies, in conditions of internal schisms and upheavals by various adherents of the Living Church, renovationists, and autocephalists.

The situation was complicated by external circumstances: the change of the political system, by the accession to power of the godless regime, by hunger, and civil war. This was a time when Church property was being confiscated, when clergy were subjected to court trials and persecutions, and Christ's Church endured repression. News of this came to the Patriarch from all ends of Russia. His exceptionally high moral and religious authority helped him to unite the scattered and enfeebled flock. At a crucial time for the church, his unblemished name was a bright beacon pointing the way to the truth of Orthodoxy. In his messages, he called on people to fulfill the commandments of Christ, and to attain spiritual rebirth through repentance. His irreproachable life was an example to all.

In order to save thousands of lives and to improve the general position of the church, the Patriarch took measures to prevent clergy from making purely political statements. On September 25, 1919, when the civil war was at its height, he issued a message to the clergy urging them to stay away from political struggle.

The summer of 1921 brought a severe famine to the Volga region. In August, Patriarch Tikhon issued a message to the Russian people and to the people of the world, calling them to help famine victims. He gave his blessing for voluntary donations of church valuables, which were not directly used in liturgical services. However, on February 23, 1922, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee published a decree making all valuables subject to confiscation.

According to the 73rd Apostolic Canon, such actions were regarded as sacrilege, and the Patriarch could not approve such total confiscation, especially since many doubted that the valuables would be used to combat famine. This forcible confiscation aroused popular indignation everywhere. Nearly two thousand trials were staged all over Russia, and more than ten thousand believers were shot. The Patriarch's message was viewed as sabotage, for which he was imprisoned from April 1922 until June 1923.

His Holiness, Patriarch Tikhon did much on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church during the crucial time of the so-called Renovationist schism. He showed himself to be a faithful servant and custodian of the undistorted precepts of the true Orthodox Church. He was the living embodiment of Orthodoxy, which was unconsciously recognized even by enemies of the church, who called its members "Tikhonites."

When Renovationist priests and hierarchs repented and returned to the church, they were met with tenderness and love by St Tikhon. This, however, did not represent any deviation from his strictly Orthodox policy. "I ask you to believe me that I will not come to agreement or make concessions which could lead to the loss of the purity and strength of Orthodoxy," the Patriarch said in 1924.

Being a good pastor, who devoted himself entirely to the church's cause, he called upon the clergy to do the same: "Devote all your energy to preaching the word of God and the truth of Christ, especially today, when unbelief and atheism are audaciously attacking the Church of Christ. May the God of peace and love be with all of you!"

It was extremely painful and hard for the Patriarch's loving, responsive heart to endure all the Church's misfortunes. Upheavals in and outside the church, the Renovationist schism, his primatial labors, his concern for the organization and tranquility of Church life, sleepless nights and heavy thoughts, his confinement that lasted more than a year, the spiteful and wicked baiting of his enemies, and the unrelenting criticism sometimes even from the Orthodox, combined to undermine his strength and health.

In 1924, Patriarch Tikhon began to feel unwell. He checked into a hospital, but would leave it on Sundays and Feast Days in order to conduct services. On Sunday, April 5, 1925, he served his last Liturgy, and died two days later. On March 25/April 7, 1925 the Patriarch received Metropolitan Peter and had a long talk with him. In the evening, the Patriarch slept a little, then he woke up and asked what time it was. When he was told it was 11:45 P.M., he made the Sign of the Cross twice and said, "Glory to Thee, O Lord, glory to Thee." He did not have time to cross himself a third time.

Almost a million people came to say farewell to the Patriarch. The large cathedral of the Donskoy Monastery in Moscow could not contain the crowd, which overflowed the monastery property into the square and adjacent streets. St Tikhon, the eleventh Patriarch of Moscow, was primate of the Russian Church for seven and a half years.

On September 26/October 9, 1989, the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church glorified Patriarch Tikhon and numbered him among the saints. For nearly seventy years, St Tikhon's relics were believed lost, but in February 1992, they were discovered in a concealed place in the Donskoy Monastery.

It would be difficult to imagine the Russian Orthodox Church without Patriarch Tikhon during those years. He did so much for the Church and for the strengthening of the Faith itself during those difficult years of trial. Perhaps the saint's own words can best sum up his life: "May God teach every one of us to strive for His truth, and for the good of the Holy Church, rather than something for our own sake."

from oca.org
"It is remarkable that what we call the world...in what professes to be true...will allow in one man no blemishes, and in another no virtue."--Charles Dickens

Offline ytterbiumanalyst

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #100 on: January 18, 2008, 10:22:23 PM »
St. Andrew of Crete

Commemorated on July 4

Saint Andrew, Archbishop of Crete, was born in the city of Damascus into a pious Christian family. Up until seven years of age the boy was mute and did not talk. However, after communing the Holy Mysteries of Christ he found the gift of speech and began to speak. And from that time the lad began earnestly to study Holy Scripture and the discipline of theology.

At fourteen years of age he went off to Jerusalem and there he accepted monastic tonsure at the monastery of St Sava the Sanctified. St Andrew led a strict and chaste life, he was meek and abstinent, such that all were amazed at his virtue and reasoning of mind. As a man of talent and known for his virtuous life, over the passage of time he came to be numbered among the Jerusalem clergy and was appointed a secretary for the Patriarchate -- a writing clerk. In the year 680 the locum tenens of the Jerusalem Patriarchate, Theodore, included archdeacon Andrew among the representatives of the Holy City sent to the Sixth Ecumenical Council, and here the saint contended against heretical teachings, relying upon his profound knowledge of Orthodox doctrine. Shortly after the Council he was summoned back to Constantinople from Jerusalem and he was appointed archdeacon at the church of Hagia Sophia, the Wisdom of God. During the reign of the emperor Justinian II (685-695) St Andrew was ordained bishop of the city of Gortineia on the island of Crete. In his new position he shone forth as a true luminary of the Church, a great hierarch -- a theologian, teacher and hymnographer.

St Andrew wrote many liturgical hymns. He was the originator of a new liturgical form -- the canon. Of the canons composed by him the best known is the Great Penitential Canon, including within its 9 odes the 250 troparia recited during the Great Lent. In the First Week of Lent at the service of Compline it is read in portions (thus called "methymony" [trans. note: from the useage in the service of Compline of the "God is with us", in Slavonic the "S'nami Bog", or in Greek "Meth' Humon ho Theos", from which derives "methymony"], and again on Thursday of the Fifth Week at the All-night Vigil during Matins.

St Andrew of Crete gained renown with his many praises of the All-Pure Virgin Mary. To him are likewise ascribed: the Canon for the feast of the Nativity of Christ, three odes for the Compline of Palm Sunday and also in the first four days of Holy Passion Week, as well as verses for the feast of the Meeting of the Lord, and many another church-song. His hynographic tradition was continued by the churchly great melodists of following ages: Saints John of Damascus, Cosma of Maium, Joseph the Melodist, Theophan the Written-upon. There have also been preserved edifying Sermons of St Andrew for certain of the Church feasts.

Church historians are not of the same opinion as to the date of death of the saint. One suggests the year 712, while others -- the year 726. He died on the island of Mytilene, while returning to Crete from Constantinople, where he had been on churchly business. His relics were transferred to Constantinople. In the year 1350 the pious Russian pilgrim Stephen Novgorodets saw the relics at the Constantinople monastery named for St Andrew of Crete.

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« Last Edit: January 18, 2008, 10:22:57 PM by ytterbiumanalyst »
"It is remarkable that what we call the world...in what professes to be true...will allow in one man no blemishes, and in another no virtue."--Charles Dickens

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #101 on: January 18, 2008, 10:25:59 PM »
St. John Climacus

Commemorated on March 18

The Fourth Sunday of Lent is dedicated to St John of the Ladder (Climacus), the author of the work, The Ladder of Divine Ascent. The abbot of St Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai (6th century) stands as a witness to the violent effort needed for entrance into God's Kingdom (Mt.10: 12). The spiritual struggle of the Christian life is a real one, "not against flesh and blood, but against ... the rulers of the present darkness ... the hosts of wickedness in heavenly places ..." (Eph 6:12). Saint John encourages the faithful in their efforts for, according to the Lord, only "he who endures to the end will be saved" (Mt.24:13).

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #102 on: January 18, 2008, 10:28:34 PM »
St. Simeon the New Theologian

Commemorated on March 12

Saint Simeon the New Theologian was born in the year 949 in the city of Galatea (Paphlagonia), and he was educated at Constantinople. His father prepared him for a career at court, and for a certain while the youth occupied a high position at the imperial court. When he was fourteen, he met the renowned Elder Simeon the Pious at the Studion Monastery, who would be a major influence in his spiritual development. He remained in the world for several years preparing himself for the monastic life under the Elder's guidance, and finally entered the monastery at the age of twenty-seven.

St Simeon the Pious recommended to the young man the writings of St Mark the Ascetic (March 5) and other spiritual writers. He read these books attentively and tried to put into practice what he read. Three points made by St Mark in his work "On the Spiritual Law" (see Vol. I of the English PHILOKALIA) particularly impressed him. First, you should listen to your conscience and do what it tells you if you wish your soul to be healed (PHILOKALIA, p. 115). Second, only by fulfilling the commandments can one obtain the activity of the Holy Spirit. Thirdly, one who prays only with the body and without spiritual knowledge is like the blind man who cried out, "Son of David, have mercy upon me (Luke 18:38) (PHILOKALIA, p. 111). When the blind man received his sight, however, he called Christ the Son of God (John 9:38).

St Simeon was wounded with a love for spiritual beauty, and tried to acquire it. In addition to the Rule given him by his Elder, his conscience told him to add a few more Psalms and prostrations, and to repeat constantly, "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me." Naturally, he heeded his conscience.

Durint the day, he cared for the needs of people living in the palace of Patricius. At night, his prayers grew longer and he remained praying until midnight. Once, as he was praying in this way, a most brilliant divine radiance descended upon him and filled the room. He saw nothing but light all around him, and he was not even aware of the ground beneath his feet.

It seemed to him that he himself became light. Then his mind rose upward to the heavens, and he saw a second light brighter than the light which surrounded him. Then, on the edge of this second light, he seemed to see St Simeon the Pious, who had given him St Mark the Ascetic to read.

Seven years after this vision, St Simeon entered the monastery. There he increased his fasting and vigilance, and learned to renounce his own will.

The Enemy of our salvation stirred up the brethren of the monastery against St Simeon, who was indifferent to the praises or reproaches of others. Because of the increased discontent in the monastery, St Simeon was sent to the Monastery of St Mamas in Constantinople.

There he was tonsured into the monastic schema, and increased his spiritual struggles. He attained to a high spiritual level, and increased his knowledge of spiritual things through reading the Holy Scriptures and the writings of the Fathers, as well as in conversation with holy Elders.

Around the year 980, St Simeon was made igumen of the monastery of St Mamas and continued in this office for twenty-five years. He repaired and restored the monastery, which had suffered from neglect, and also brought order to the life of the monks.

The strict monastic discipline, for which St Simeon strove, led to great dissatisfaction among the brethren. Once, after Liturgy, some of the monks attacked him and nearly killed him. When the Patriarch of Constantinople expelled them from the monastery and wanted to hand them over to the civil authorities, St Simeon asked that they be treated with leniency and be permitted to live in the world.

About the year 1005, St Simeon resigned his position as igumen in favor of Arsenius, while he himself settled near the monastery in peace. There he composed his theological works, portions of which appear in the PHILOKALIA.

The chief theme of his works is the hidden activity of spiritual perfection, and the struggle against the passions and sinful thoughts. He wrote instructions for monks: "Theological and Practical Chapters," "A Treatise on the Three Methods of Prayer," (in Vol. IV of the English PHILOKALIA) and "A Treatise on Faith." Moreover, St Simeon was an outstanding church poet. He also wrote "Hymns of Divine Love," about seventy poems filled with profound prayerful meditations.

The sublime teachings of St Simeon about the mysteries of mental prayer and spiritual struggle have earned him the title "the New Theologian." These teachings were not the invention of St Simeon, but they had merely been forgotten over time.

Some of these teachings seemed unacceptable and strange to his contemporaries. This led to conflict with Constantinople's church authorities, and St Simeon was banished from the city. He withdrew across the Bosphorus and settled in the ancient monastery of St Makrina.

The saint peacefully fell asleep in the Lord in the year 1021. During his life he received the gift of working miracles. Numerous miracles also took place after his death; one of them was the miraculous discovery of his icon.

His Life was written by his cell-attendant and disciple, St Nicetas Stethatos.

Since March 12 falls during Great Lent, St Simeon's Feast is transfered to October 12.

fromoca.org
"It is remarkable that what we call the world...in what professes to be true...will allow in one man no blemishes, and in another no virtue."--Charles Dickens

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #103 on: January 18, 2008, 10:30:03 PM »
St. Moses the Black

Commemorated on August 28

Saint Moses Murin the Black lived during the fourth century in Egypt. He was an Ethiopian, and he was black of skin and therefore called "Murin" (meaning "like an Ethiopian"). In his youth he was the slave of an important man, but after he committed a murder, his master banished him, and he joined a band of robbers.

Because of his bad character and great physical strength they chose him as their leader. Moses and his band of brigands did many evil deeds, both murders and robberies. People were afraid at the mere mention of his name.

Moses the brigand spent several years leading a sinful life, but through the great mercy of God he repented, left his band of robbers and went to one of the desert monasteries. Here he wept for a long time, begging to be admitted as one of the brethren. The monks were not convinced of the sincerity of his repentance, but the former robber would not be driven away nor silenced. He continued to ask that they accept him.

St Moses was completely obedient to the igumen and the brethren, and he poured forth many tears of sorrow for his sinful life. After a certain while St Moses withdrew to a solitary cell, where he spent the time in prayer and the strictest fasting in a very austere lifestyle.

Once, four of the robbers of his former band descended upon the cell of St Moses. He had lost none of his great physical strength, so he tied them all up. Throwing them over his shoulder, he brought them to the monastery, where he asked the Elders what to do with them. The Elders ordered that they be set free. The robbers, learning that they had chanced upon their former ringleader, and that he had dealt kindly with them, followed his example: they repented and became monks. Later, when the rest of the band of robbers heard about the repentance of St Moses, then they also gave up their thievery and became fervent monks.

St Moses was not quickly freed from the passions. He went often to the igumen, Abba Isidore, seeking advice on how to be delivered from the passions of profligacy. Being experienced in the spiritual struggle, the Elder taught him never to eat too much food, to remain partly hungry while observing the strictest moderation. But the passions did not cease to trouble St Moses in his dreams.

Then Abba Isidore taught him the all-night vigil. The monk stood the whole night at prayer, so he would not fall asleep. From his prolonged struggles St Moses fell into despondency, and when there arose thoughts about leaving his solitary cell, Abba Isidore instead strengthened the resolve of his disciple.

In a vision he showed him many demons in the west, prepared for battle, and in the east a still greater quantity of holy angels, also ready for fighting. Abba Isidore explained to St Moses that the power of the angels would prevail over the power of the demons, and in the long struggle with the passions it was necessary for him to become completely cleansed of his former sins.

St Moses undertook a new effort. Making the rounds by night of the wilderness cells, he carried water from the well to each brother. He did this especially for the Elders, who lived far from the well and who were not easily able to carry their own water. Once, kneeling over the well, St Moses felt a powerful blow upon his back and he fell down at the well like one dead, laying there in that position until dawn. Thus did the devils take revenge upon the monk for his victory over them. In the morning the brethren carried him to his cell, and he lay there a whole year crippled. Having recovered, the monk with firm resolve confessed to the igumen, that he would continue to live in asceticism. But the Lord Himself put limits to this struggle of many years: Abba Isidore blessed his disciple and said to him that the passions had already gone from him. The Elder commanded him to receive the Holy Mysteries, and to go to his own cell in peace. From that time, St Moses received from the Lord power over demons.

Accounts about his exploits spread among the monks and even beyond the bounds of the wilderness. The governor of the land wanted to see the saint. When he heard of this, St Moses decided to hide from any visitors, and he departed his own cell. Along the way he met servants of the governor, who asked him how to get to the cell of the desert-dweller Moses. The monk answered them: "Go no farther to see this false and unworthy monk." The servants returned to the monastery where the governor was waiting, and they told him the words of the Elder they had chanced to meet. The brethren, hearing a description of the Elder's appearance, told them that they had encountered St Moses himself.

After many years of monastic exploits, St Moses was ordained deacon. The bishop clothed him in white vestments and said, "Now Abba Moses is entirely white!" The saint replied, "Only outwardly, for God knows that I am still dark within."

Through humility, the saint believed himself unworthy of the office of deacon. Once, the bishop decided to test him and he bade the clergy to drive him out of the altar, reviling him as an unworthy Ethiopian. In all humility, the monk accepted the abuse. Having put him to the test, the bishop then ordained St Moses to be presbyter. St Moses labored for fifteen years in this rank, and gathered around himself 75 disciples.

When the saint reached age 75, he warned his monks that soon brigands would descend upon the skete and murder all that were there. The saint blessed his monks to leave, in order to avoid violent death. His disciples began to beseech the monk to leave with them, but he replied: "For many years already I have awaited the time when therethe words which my Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, should be fulfilled: "All who take up the sword, shall perish by the sword" (Mt. 26: 52). After this, seven of the brethren remained with the monk, and one of them hid nearby during the attack of the robbers. The robbers killed St Moses and the six monks who remained with him. Their death occurred in about the year 400.

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« Last Edit: January 18, 2008, 10:31:15 PM by ytterbiumanalyst »
"It is remarkable that what we call the world...in what professes to be true...will allow in one man no blemishes, and in another no virtue."--Charles Dickens

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #104 on: January 18, 2008, 10:33:03 PM »
Martyr Christopher

Commemorated on May 9

The Holy Martyr Christopher lived during the third century and suffered about the year 250, during the reign of the emperor Decius (249-251). There are various accounts of his life and miracles, and he is widely venerated throughout the world. St Christopher is especially venerated in Italy, where people pray to him in times of contagious diseases.

There are various suggestions about his descent. Some historians believe that he was descended from the Canaanites, while others say from the "Cynoscephalai" [literally "dog-heads"] of Thessaly. Perhaps this is why certain unlearned painters foolishly portray St Christopher with a dog's head.

St Christopher was a man of great stature and unusual strength. According to tradition, St Christopher was very handsome, but wishing to avoid temptation for himself and others, he asked the Lord to give him an unattractive face, which was done. Before Baptism he was named Reprebus [Reprobate] because his disfigured appearance. Even before Baptism, Reprebus confessed his faith in Christ and denounced those who persecuted Christians. Consequently, a certain Bacchus gave him a beating, which he endured with humility.

Because of his renowned strength, 200 soldiers were assigned to bring him before the emperor Decius. Reprebus submitted without resistance. Several miracles occurred along the way; a dry stick blossomed in the saint's hand, loaves of bread were multiplied through his prayers, and the travellers had no lack thereof. This is similar to the multiplication of loaves in the wilderness by the Savior. The soldiers surrounding Reprebus were astonished at these miracles. They came to believe in Christ and they were baptized along with Reprebus by St Babylus of Antioch (September 4).

Christopher once made a vow to serve the greatest king in the world, so he first offered to serve the local king. Seeing that the king feared the devil, Christopher thought he would leave the king to serve Satan. Learning that the devil feared Christ, Christopher went in search of Him. St Babylas of Antioch told him that he could best serve Christ by doing well the task for which he was best suited. Therefore, he became a ferryman, carrying people across a river on his shoulders. One stormy night, Christopher carried a Child Who insisted on being taken across at that very moment. With every step Christopher took, the Child seemed to become heavier. Halfway across the stream, Christopher felt that his strength would give out, and that he and the Child would be drowned in the river. As they reached the other side, the Child told him that he had just carried all the sins of the world on his shoulders. Then He ordered Christopher to plant his walking stick in the ground. As he did so, the stick grew into a giant tree. Then he recognized Christ, the King Whom he had vowed to serve.

St Christopher was brought before the emperor, who tried to make him renounce Christ, not by force but by cunning. He summoned two profligate women, Callinike and Aquilina, and commanded them to persuade Christopher to deny Christ, and to offer sacrifice to idols. Instead, the women were converted to Christ by St Christopher. When they returned to the emperor, they declared themselves to be Christians.Therefore, they were subjected to fierce beatings, and so they received the crown of martyrdom.

Decius also sentenced to execution the soldiers who had been sent after St Christopher, but who now believed in Christ. The emperor ordered that the martyr be thrown into a red-hot metal box. St Christopher, however, did not experience any suffering and he remained unharmed. After many fierce torments they finally beheaded the martyr with a sword. This occurred in the year 250 in Lycia. By his miracles the holy Martyr Christopher converted as many as 50 thousand pagans to Christ, as St Ambrose of Milan testifies. The relics of St Christopher were later transferred to Toledo (Spain), and still later to the abbey of St Denis in France.

In Greece, many churches place the icon of St Christopher at the entrance so that people can see it as they enter and leave the building. There is a rhyming couplet in Greek which says, "When you see Christopher, you can walk in safety." This reflects the belief that whoever gazes upon the icon of St Christopher will not meet with sudden or accidental death that day.

The name Christopher means "Christ-bearer." This can refer to the saint carrying the Savior across the river, and it may also refer to St Christopher bearing Christ within himself (Galatians 2:20).

from oca.org
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Offline EofK

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #105 on: January 23, 2008, 03:55:03 PM »
Commemorated on August 4

The Seven Youths of Ephesus: Maximilian, Iamblicus, Martinian, John, Dionysius, Exacustodianus (Constantine) and Antoninus, lived in the third century. St Maximilian was the son of the Ephesus city administrator, and the other six youths were sons of illustrious citizens of Ephesus. The youths were friends from childhood, and all were in military service together.

When the emperor Decius (249-251) arrived in Ephesus, he commanded all the citizens to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. Torture and death awaited anyone who disobeyed. The seven youths were denounced by informants, and were summoned to reply to the charges. Appearing before the emperor, the young men confessed their faith in Christ.

Their military belts and insignia were quickly taken from them. Decius permitted them to go free, however, hoping that they would change their minds while he was off on a military campaign. The youths fled from the city and hid in a cave on Mount Ochlon, where they passed their time in prayer, preparing for martyrdom.

The youngest of them, St Iamblicus, dressed as a beggar and went into the city to buy bread. On one of his excursions into the city, he heard that the emperor had returned and was looking for them. St Maximilian urged his companions to come out of the cave and present themselves for trial.

Learning where the young men were hidden, the emperor ordered that the entrance of the cave be sealed with stones so that the saints would perish from hunger and thirst. Two of the dignitaries at the blocked entrance to the cave were secret Christians. Desiring to preserve the memory of the saints, they placed in the cave a sealed container containing two metal plaques. On them were inscribed the names of the seven youths and the details of their suffering and death.

The Lord placed the youths into a miraculous sleep lasting almost two centuries. In the meantime, the persecutions against Christians had ceased. During the reign of the holy emperor Theodosius the Younger (408-450) there were heretics who denied that there would be a general resurrection of the dead at the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Some of them said, "How can there be a resurrection of the dead when there will be neither soul nor body, since they are disintegrated?" Others affirmed, "The souls alone will have a restoration, since it would be impossible for bodies to arise and live after a thousand years, when even their dust would not remain." Therefore, the Lord revealed the mystery of the Resurrection of the Dead and of the future life through His seven saints.

The owner of the land on which Mount Ochlon was situated, discovered the stone construction, and his workers opened up the entrance to the cave. The Lord had kept the youths alive, and they awoke from their sleep, unaware that almost two hundred years had passed. Their bodies and clothing were completely undecayed.

Preparing to accept torture, the youths once again asked St Iamblicus to buy bread for them in the city. Going toward the city, the youth was astonished to see a cross on the gates. Hearing the name of Jesus Christ freely spoken, he began to doubt that he was approaching his own city.

When he paid for the bread, Iamblicus gave the merchant coins with the image of the emperor Decius on it. He was detained, as someone who might be concealing a horde of old money. They took St Iamblicus to the city administrator, who also happened to be the Bishop of Ephesus. Hearing the bewildering answers of the young man, the bishop perceived that God was revealing some sort of mystery through him, and went with other people to the cave.

At the entrance to the cave the bishop found the sealed container and opened it. He read upon the metal plaques the names of the seven youths and the details of the sealing of the cave on the orders of the emperor Decius. Going into the cave and seeing the saints alive, everyone rejoiced and perceived that the Lord, by waking them from their long sleep, was demonstrating to the Church the mystery of the Resurrection of the Dead.

Soon the emperor himself arrived in Ephesus and spoke with the young men in the cave. Then the holy youths, in sight of everyone, lay their heads upon the ground and fell asleep again, this time until the General Resurrection.

The emperor wanted to place each of the youths into a jeweled coffin, but they appeared to him in a dream and said that their bodies were to be left upon the ground in the cave. In the twelfth century the Russian pilgrim Igumen Daniel saw the holy relics of the seven youths in the cave.

There is a second commemoration of the seven youths on October 22. According to one tradition, which entered into the Russian PROLOGUE (of Saints' Lives), the youths fell asleep for the second time on this day. The Greek MENAION of 1870 says that they first fell asleep on August 4, and woke up on October 22.

There is a prayer of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus in the GREAT BOOK OF NEEDS (Trebnik) for those who are ill and cannot sleep. The Seven Sleepers are also mentioned in the service for the Church New Year, September 1.

From oca.org
Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. -- Douglas Adams

Offline Steve Dennehy

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #106 on: January 24, 2008, 08:11:05 PM »
Saint Simeon the New Theologian (949-1022) is one of the greatest mystical theologians of the Holy Orthodox Church, one of only 3 saints given the title "Theologian"; the others being Saint John the Beloved Apostle and St. Gregory Nanzianen.  He was a Greek and an abbot of a monastery in Constantinople.  His great work is "Hymns of Divine Love".   These are not hymns or even poems; they are prayers, very long prayers, that give a deep insight into this very holy man's spirituality and his relationship with Father-Jesus-Spirit, the Divine Trinity.  I strongly urge anyone  who is seeking a deeper union with God to read this and anything else by him. There is a very good English translation of "Hymns of Divine Love" by Father George Maloney S.J., a Russian-Byzantine Rite Catholic priest, a Jesuit.  This is the only English translation I know of.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2008, 08:16:33 PM by Steve Dennehy »

Offline Veniamin

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #107 on: January 24, 2008, 08:20:17 PM »
Saint Barbara, Patroness of the Field Artillery


   Saint Barbara was the extremely beautiful daughter of a wealthy heathen named Dioscorus, who lived near Nicomedia in Asia Minor. Because of her singular beauty and fearful that she be demanded in marriage and taken away from him, he jealously shut her up in a tower to protect her from the outside world.
   Shortly before embarking on a journey, he commissioned a sumptuous bathhouse to be built for her, approving the design before he departed. Barbara had heard of the teachings of Christ, and while her father was gone spent much time in contemplation. From the windows of her tower she looked out upon the surrounding countryside and marveled at the growing things; the trees, the animals and the people. She decided that all these must be part of a master plan, and that the idols of wood and stone worshipped by her parents must be condemned as false. Gradually she came to accept the Christian faith.

   As her belief became firm, she directed that the builders redesign the bathhouse her father had planned, adding another window so that the three windows might symbolize the Holy Trinity.

   When her father returned, he was enraged at the changes and infuriated when Barbara acknowledged that she was a Christian. He dragged her before the perfect of the province, who decreed that she be tortured and put to death by beheading. Dioscorus himself carried out the death sentence. On his way home he was struck by lightening and his body consumed.

   Saint Barbara lived and died about the year 300 A.D. She was venerated as early as the seventh century. The legend of the lightning bolt which struck down her persecutor caused her to be regarded as the patron saint in time of danger from thunderstorms, fires and sudden death.

   When gunpowder made its appearance in the Western world, Saint Barbara was invoked for aid against accidents resulting from explosions--since some of the earlier artillery pieces often blew up instead of firing their projectile, Saint Barbara became the patroness of the artillerymen.

From Ft. Sill Public Affairs Office
« Last Edit: January 24, 2008, 08:21:11 PM by Veniamin »
Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl. ~Frederick the Great

Offline Alpo

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #108 on: November 24, 2008, 12:42:03 PM »
St. Olaf of Norway

Martyr and King of Norway (1015-30), b. 995; d. 29 July, 1030. He was a son of King Harald Grenske of Norway. According to Snorre, he was baptized in 998 in Noddrway, but more probably about 1010 in Rouen, France, by Archbishop Robert. In his early youth he went as a viking to England, where he partook in many battles and became earnestly interested in Christianity. After many difficulties he was elected King of Norway, and made it his object to extirpate heathenism and make the Christian religion the basis of his kingdom. He is the great Norwegian legislator for the Church, and like his ancestor (Olaf Trygvesson), made frequent severe attacks on the old faith and customs, demolishing the temples and building Christian churches in their place. He brought many bishops and priests from England, as King Saint Cnut later did to Denmark. Some few are known by name (Grimkel, Sigfrid, Rudolf, Bernhard). He seems on the whole to have taken the Anglo-Saxon conditions as a model for the ecclesiastical organization of his kingdom. But at last the exasperation against him got so strong that the mighty clans rose in rebellion against him and applied to KingCnut of Denmark and England for help. This was willingly given, whereupon Olaf was expelled and Cnut elected King of Norway. It must be remembered that the resentment against Olaf was due not alone to his Christianity, but also in a high degree to his unflinching struggle against the old constitution of shires and for the unity of Norway. He is thus regarded by the Norwegians of our days as the great champion of national independence, and Catholic and Protestant alike may find in Saint Olaf their great idea.

After two years' exile he returned to Norway with an army and met his rebellious subjects at Stiklestad, where the celebrated battle took place 29 July, 1030. Neither King Cnut nor the Danes took part at that battle. King Olaf fought with great courage, but was mortally wounded and fell on the battlefield, praying "God help me". Many miraculous occurrences are related in connection with his death and his disinterment a year later, after belief in his sanctity had spread widely. His friends, Bishop Grimkel and Earl Einar Tambeskjelver, laid the corpse in a coffin and set it on the high-altar in the church of St. Clement in Nidaros (now Trondhjem). Olaf has since been held as a saint, not only by the people of Norway, but also by Rome. His cult spread widely in the Middle Ages, not only in Norway, but also in Denmark and Sweden; even in London, there is on Hart Street a St. Olave's Church, long dedicated to the canonized King of Norway. In 1856 a fine St. Olave's Church was erected in Christiania, the capital of Norway, where a large relic of St. Olaf (a donation from the Danish Royal Museum) is preserved and venerated. The arms of Norway are a lion with the battle-axe of St. Olaf in the forepaws.

From Catholic Encyclopedia

He used to be quite a popular saint in pre-reformation Finland. It's shame that he's not commemorated in the calendar of the Finnish Orthodox Church despite that he used to be so popular and he's enlightener of neighboring country. St. Olaf, ora pro nobis!
I just need to find out how to say it in Slavonic!

Offline Irish Hermit

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Saint Finnian of Clonard 12 / 25 December
« Reply #109 on: December 24, 2008, 05:32:23 PM »
Celtic and Old English Saints          12 December

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
* St. Finnian of Clonard
* St. Columba of Tyrdaglas
* St. Cormac
* St. Edburga of Thanet
* St. Colman of Glendalough
* St. Corentin
* St. Agatha of Wimborne
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=


_______________________________________________
Fasting on 25 December:

[from Fr. Michael of Tasmania:] The Advent Fast is for forty days, through
to the eve of the Holy Nativity, during which period fish may be eaten.  The
exception to this is the Feast of Saint Finnian, Skellig Michael Monastery
and Orthodox Monasticism in the West (25th of December) on which day the
fast is entirely relaxed.

See ROCOR Western Rite fast rules
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Occidentalis/message/10251
______________________________________________



St. Finnian of Clonard, Bishop
(Finian, Finden, Vennianus, Vinnianus)
--------------------------------------------------------
Born in Leinster, Ireland, c. 470; died at Clonard (Cluain-Irard) Abbey
in Meath, Ireland, December 12, c. 552 (but the date ranges from
549-564).

Saint Finnian was an Irish monk who followed in the path of Saint
Patrick, whose disciples, including Saint Fortchern (f.d. February 17),
instructed him in the essentials of Christian virtue, and himself
initiated a strict form of Irish monasticism. Along with Saint Enda of
Aran (f.d. March 21), he is regarded as the founder of Irish
monasticism. He had close relations with the British Church.

He is said to have been born into a noble family at Myshall, County
Carlow, Ireland. He probably also received his education in that
district, where he also made his first three foundations at Rossacurra,
Drumfea, and Kilmaglush. Thereafter, he spent several years in Wales,
where he was trained in monasticism by Saints Cadoc of Llancarfan (f.d.
September 25), David of Menevia (f.d. March 1), and Gildas (f.d. January
29). He lived on bread, herbs, and water, and on the bare ground with a
stone for his pillow. About 520, Finnian returned to Ireland, armed with
the sanctity and sacred learning to reinvigorate the faith of his
countrymen.

To further God's work, he founded churches and several monasteries,
including Aghowle (County Wicklow) and Mugna Sulcain. His most notable
foundation was Clonard on the Boyne in Meath, which was the greatest
school of the period, renowned for several centuries for its biblical
studies (Finnian was a great Biblical scholar). During his abbacy, he is
said to have gathered 3,000 disciples at Clonard. As each left the
monastery to preach, he took with him a Book of the Gospels, a crozier,
and a reliquary around which he would built a church or monastery.

The rule of Clonard is believed to be based on the Rule of Lerins.
Finnian corresponded with Saint Gildas on matters of monastic
discipline, who had deplored the intrusion of wealth and power into the
episcopal office in Britain. Perhaps this was an influence in
development of a monastic rather than episcopal government within the
Irish Church.

He is often called the "Teacher of the Saints of Ireland."
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)

He died at Clonard of the yellow plague, which swept the country.
According to his biographer: "As Paul died in Rome for the sake of the
Christian people lest they should all perish in hell, so Finnian died at
Clonard for the sake of the people of the Gael, that they might not all
perish of the yellow pest." His relics were enshrined at Clonard until
they were destroyed in 887.

His monastery at Clonard survived the Viking raids, Norman aggressions,
and native strife, but not the Reformation, at which time it was
suppressed. At one point Clonard was converted into a house of
Augustinian canons, from whom there survives an office of Saint Finnian
with some elements taken from an otherwise unknown source. The
Protestant church of Clonard now houses an 11th-century, grey marble
baptismal font with figures from the Scriptures sculpted on its eight
panels as well as a stone head from the former abbey. All other traces
of Finnian's tomb, church, and abbey have been eradicated.

The contemporary collection of regulations for penitents, ascribed to
Vinnianus, was probably not the work of this Finnian but perhaps by
Finnian of Moville (f.d. September 10; d. c. 579). This oldest surviving
penitentiary is based on Welsh and Irish sources, as well as on those of
Saints Jerome (f.d. September 30) and John Cassian (f.d. July 23), and
influenced a similar work by Saint Columbanus (f.d. November 23). The
feast of Saint Finnian is observed throughout Ireland (Attwater,
Attwater 2, Benedictines, Coulson, D'Arcy, Delaney, Encyclopaedia,
Farmer, Healy, Husenbeth, Montague, Ryan).

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.


Sources:
========

Attwater, D. (1983). The Penguin Dictionary of Saints,
2nd edition, revised and updated by Catherine Rachel John.
New York: Penguin Books.

Benedictine Monks of St. Augustine Abbey, Ramsgate.
(1947). The Book of Saints. NY: Macmillan.

Coulson, J. (ed.). (1960). The Saints: A Concise Biographical
Dictionary. New York: Hawthorn Books.

D'Arcy, M. R. (1974). The Saints of Ireland. Saint Paul, Minnesota:
Irish American Cultural Institute. [This is probably the most
useful book to choose to own on the Irish saints. The author
provides a great deal of historical context in which to place the
lives of the saints.]

Delaney, J. J. (1983). Pocket Dictionary of Saints.
New York: Doubleday Image.

Encyclopaedia of Catholic Saints, October. (1966).
Philadelphia: Chilton Books.

Farmer, D. H. (1997). The Oxford Dictionary of Saints.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Healy, J. (1902). Ireland's Ancient Schools and Scholars.
Dublin: Sealy, Bryers and Walker.

Husenbeth, Rev. F. C., DD, VG (ed.). (1928). Butler's
Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints.
London: Virtue & Co.

Montague, H. P. (1981). The Saints and Martyrs of Ireland.
Guildford: Billing & Sons.

Ryan, J. (1931). Irish Monasticism. Dublin: Talbot Press.

For All the Saints:
http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/ss-index.htm

An Alphabetical Index of the Saints of the West
http://www.orthodoxengland.btinternet.co.uk/saintsa.htm

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


Offline Robert W

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #110 on: January 09, 2009, 09:03:59 AM »
Saints Sergius and Herman of Valaam


Saint Sergius of Valaam founded Valaam Monastery together with Saint Herman of Valaam.

In tradition it is told that the founder, the Greek Sergius arrived from Byzantium to the north of Lake Ladoga. Initially he stayed at the island of Riekkala, close to the town of Sortavala, from where he moved to the island of Valaam. The island was an old pagan location and home to a site for sacrifice where many wise elders and local wizards lived.

Sergius settled to live in caves and a cave named Vaga became the Saint’s main habitation at the island of Valaam. From there he, without weapons and in the midst of violent pagans, preached the gospel and baptized the inhabitants of the island. Slowly a monastery grew on the premises and later it was to there the Karelian born Herman came and continued (not necessarily at the same time as Sergius) the work of Sergius. Herman is said to have been from the area close to Sortavala.

In some information it is said that the monastery was initially named Holy Trinity Monastery as opposed to the later name, Transfiguration Monastery.  According to tradition the monastery was said to have been founded in the year 992, however, it’s a disputed date. The founding could have be in the 1100s or even as late as in the 1300s according to tradition. So any set date for the founding is not available. All dates are more or less a guess which the researchers are still arguing about.

According to tradition the relics of the Saints where moved to safety from Valaam to Novgorod in 1163 where they remained until 1180. At that point they were transferred in a festive procession back to Valaam and that date September 24/11 is still celebrated in the Orthodox Church of Finland as the day for return of the relics. The Announciation of the Theotokos chapel was later built out of stone on the location where the relics where received back to the island.

The Orthodox Church of Finland honors both of the founders of the monastery Saints Sergius and Herman of Valaam as Enlighteners of Karelia as well as Saints. Their day of memory is celebrated yearly on June 28. The day of memory of All Enlighteners of Karelia is celebrated on the Saturday between the last day of October and November 6th.


Source: http://www.ortodoksi.net/tietopankki/henkilot/pyhat/karjalan_valistajat/sergius_and_herman_of_valaam.htm
Icon from Wikipedia

Offline Robert W

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #111 on: January 09, 2009, 10:39:33 AM »
Saint Anna of Novgorod


Ingegerd Olofsdotter was born in the year 1000 and grew up in Sigtuna, Sweden. She was the daughter of the Swedish king Olof Skötkonung, one of the earliest Christian kings in Scandinavia.

She was destined for political marriage but her father would not let her marry before envoys came from the Grand Prince of Kiev, Yaroslav the Wise, asking for her hand. It is safe to assume that her father had some connection to Rus otherwise he would not have given away his daughter. During the viking era contacts with Slavic lands and beyond was not uncommon, northmen even served in the Varangian Guard, the bodyguards of the emperor of Constantinople (known as Miklagård to the vikings). Another likely connection is as some sources say that the mother of Ingegerd, Estrid, was the daughter of a Slavic high nobleman.

She married Yuroslav and by doing so, before she was 20 years old, became the Grandduchess of Novgorod and took the name Irina.

She is perhaps best known as the mother of Grand Prince Vladimir, the Enlightener of Rus and Equal-to-the-Apostles, and of Vsevolod of Pereyaslavl, himself the father of Vladimir Monomakh and progenitor of the Princes of Moscow. Her daughters were Queen Anne of France, Queen Maria of Hungary, and Queen Elizabeth of Norway.

She gave shelter to the outcast sons of British King Edmund, Edwin and Edward, as well as the son of St Olaf of Norway, Prince Magnus, who later returned to Norway. She also founded the convent of St. Irene the Great-Martyr.

When she was widowed she became a monastic, taking the name Anna. She reposed in 1050 and is remembered as a saint of the Church and the first ever Swedish saint.


Sources: http://historiska-personer.nu/min-s/peff25ed9.html (in Swedish)
             http://www.antiochian.org/node/17499
             http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varangians (nothing about st Anna, just historical details)

Icon: http://www.allmercifulsavior.com original probably located in  an Orthodox Church in Eskilstuna, Sweden (under the Serbian Patriarchate).
« Last Edit: January 09, 2009, 10:49:38 AM by Robert W »

Offline mike

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #112 on: February 07, 2009, 11:49:10 AM »
St. Martyr Youngling Gabriel

Commemorated on 20th of April (date of reposing) and 22nd of September (anniversary of cession his relics from Grodno (Belarus) to Białystok (Poland) in 1992)

He was born in 22nd of March 1684 in a village called Zwierki (now northeastern Poland) in pious farmer family of Gowdel's. He used to be religious and calm child, he didn't take part in childlike plays. On 20th of April 1960 his parents found his body and realised he was dead. Landlord of the village Szutko had kidnapped him, took to Białystok (10 km far) and had tortured him. The boy died because of blood lost. His body was brought back to the village in secret and left in the forest nearby. It was guarded by dogs so that it wasn't depleted by the birds.

He was buried on the village graveyard. After 30 years his tomb was opened by accident and people realised that his body was intact. It was transferred to the Church. The epidemic, which was attacking people in the surroundings, marvellously stopped. In 1746 it survived the fire in the Church (only one hand was burned but it healed marvellously later). 9 years later it was moved to Slutzk (Belarus) so that it wouldn't be taken up by Greek Catholics.

He was canonised by Church of Russia in 1820. His relics changed their place several times (Białystok, Supraśl, Minsk and Grodno). In 1992 they came back to Białystok. Thousands of faithful took part in the ceremonies. Now they are in St. Nicholas Cathedral in Białystok but they will be moved to the Zwierki where Monastery is being built.

He is regarded as most important Saint who originates from area of Poland. He's a patron Saint of Polish Orthodox Youth Organisation. Annually in May (Julian is used) footage pilgrimage to Zwierki is hold.

source: http://cerkiew.pl/index.php?id=swieci&tx_orthcal[sw_id]=272&cHash=5a1142cdd3
« Last Edit: February 07, 2009, 12:08:02 PM by mike »
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #113 on: February 07, 2009, 12:12:25 PM »
Over a year too late - I forgot to give St. Photios' full title in my post about him:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13801.msg196120.html#msg196120

St. Photios the Great, Patriarch of Constantinople, Confessor and Equal-to-the-Apostles.
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #114 on: February 07, 2009, 01:45:36 PM »
St. Venerable-martyr Gregory Peradze

Commemorated on 6th of December

He was born on 13 of September 1899 in Tbilisi (Georgia). His father was also a priest. He graduated the Theological Seminary in Tbilisi and wished to continue his education on university but he was recruited to the Soviet Army.

In 1921 he was ordered by Synaxis of Church of Georgia to study theology in Berlin (Germany). He was mostly interested in Georgian monasticism. In 1927, being still a layman, he set up Georgian parish in Paris (France). In 1931 he took monk's vows and was ordained to the priesthood. In 1933 he was asked by Polish Metropolitan Dionizy to teach patristics on Warsaw University's Orthodox Theological Section.

On 5th of May 1942 he was arrested by the Nazis. Propably because of aiding the Jews and cooperation with Polish conspiracy. In November he (beaten) was transferred  to the Extermination Camp in Auschwitz. 18 days later he died. According to the witnesses he changed to be killed instead of another prisoner (some say that it was Jewish father of many children). He was standing barefoot on the snow. He was set on by dogs, squirted with gasoline and burned alive.

After his reposing he was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite by Church of Constantinople. He was canonised by the Church of Georgia in 1995.

source: http://cerkiew.pl/index.php?id=swieci&tx_orthcal[sw_id]=526&cHash=51e3e7aa3d
« Last Edit: February 07, 2009, 01:54:27 PM by mike »
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #115 on: February 07, 2009, 02:30:31 PM »
St. Venerable Princess Euphrosyne of Polotsk, the Enlightener of Belarus

Commemorated on 23rd of May

She was born in 1104 in Polotsk (northern Belarus) in ducal family. She was grand-grand-grand-daugther of St. Equeal-to-the-Apostles Prince Volodymyr (oddly from his pagan marriage before his baptism). She was taught by monks. She spoke Old Ruthenian, Greek and Latin fluently. Her lay-name was Pradslava. In the age of 12 she went to the monastery.

She was translating to Old Ruthenian works of St. John Goldenmouth, Byzantine philosophers, Plato and Aristotle. She also wrote the Chronicle of Polotsk, which was lost in XVth century. She also wrote about a dozen of religious hymns. She became the Abbes of Polotsk's female monastery. She set up two schools for girls, ordered to build many Churches.

In 1161 she ordered the goldsmith Lazarus Bokhsha to made golden cross-reliquary. It contained part of Holy Cross and many other relics. It was full of jewels and gems. It was lost during the World Was II but in 1997 a copy was made.

She wished to visit Jerusalem and being an elderly person she set off. She visited Constantinople en route, where she was welcomed with honors by the Patriarch. Being in Jerusalem she got ill and died after a few weeks on 23rd of May 1173.

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #116 on: February 08, 2009, 03:44:01 PM »
St. Hieromartyr Basil Martysz

Commemorated on 21st of April and on first Sunday of June (Synaxis of Saints of Kholm and Podlachia)

He was born in a village of Teratysz near Kholm (Pol. Chełm, eastern Poland) in the 1870s. His father used to be a judge but later he became a priest. Young Basil studied in Kholm's Theological Seminary. At the beginning of XXth century he was ordained and sent for mission to Alaska. He served on Kodiak and Afognak isles. Later he also served as a priest in Pennsylvania and in Canada for 12 years.

In 1912 he came back to Poland. He served in a city of Sosnowiec (Silesia). After outbreak of WWI he spent some time with his family in St. Andronic's Monastery in Moscow. To ensure his family for a living he worked as a manual labourer on railway station.

He came back to Sosnowiec but shortly after that he became Polish Army Military Chaplain. He was serving the soldiers for 20 years and finally became the Chief Polish Orthodox Chaplain. He also contributed Polish Metropolitans George and Dionisius in achieving the autocephaly.

After his retirement he moved with his wife and daughters to Teratyn. He spent there WWII. On Great Friday 1945 his house was attacked by Polish nationalists.  He was tortured and later killed. His family also suffered but survived.

In 2003 he was canonised by Church of Poland with other Saints of Synaxis of Saints of Kholm and Podlachia. His relics was exhumed and transferred to St. John Climacus Church in Warsaw.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2010, 04:43:30 PM by Michał Kalina »
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #117 on: March 01, 2009, 02:08:58 AM »
Saint David of Wales  -  1 March

Read his life ::  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celt-saints/message/3344



His reliquary in Saint David's cathedral, Wales


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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #118 on: March 01, 2009, 08:36:01 AM »
I would be grateful if someone posted life of St. Meropia/Miropia/Mhyrropia. She's commemorated on 25th of November and she's a patron-Saint of my mother Unfortunately we don't know completely anything about her.
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #119 on: March 01, 2009, 08:49:46 AM »
I would be grateful if someone posted life of St. Meropia/Miropia/Mhyrropia. She's commemorated on 25th of November and she's a patron-Saint of my mother Unfortunately we don't know completely anything about her.

I've been looking for St. Meropia (with the alternate spellings) - unfortunately, I can't find her in my Great Synaxaristes, on the Goarch website, or in Greek texts for Nov 25; I can't even find her on Google!  There must be an alternate spelling...
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #120 on: March 01, 2009, 09:00:18 AM »
Ooops, sorry. The feast of her is on 2nd of December, I mistook it with my mum's birthday.
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #121 on: March 01, 2009, 11:57:58 AM »
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
Quote
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.
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #122 on: March 01, 2009, 12:07:32 PM »
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 :)
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #123 on: March 01, 2009, 02:03:18 PM »
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 from: 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.
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #124 on: March 13, 2009, 06:46:09 AM »
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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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #125 on: March 14, 2009, 08:04:02 AM »
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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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #126 on: March 16, 2009, 06:55:13 AM »

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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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #127 on: March 23, 2009, 07:22:28 AM »

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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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #128 on: March 29, 2009, 07:35:57 PM »

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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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #129 on: May 17, 2009, 06:38:37 PM »
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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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #130 on: May 29, 2009, 06:40:34 AM »
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

« Last Edit: May 29, 2009, 06:41:31 AM by mike »
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #131 on: May 29, 2009, 07:04:16 AM »
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
« Last Edit: May 29, 2009, 07:18:19 AM by mike »
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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #132 on: May 29, 2009, 04:51:06 PM »
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
« Last Edit: May 29, 2009, 04:55:26 PM by mike »
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Offline mike

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #133 on: May 29, 2009, 05:21:18 PM »
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).

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Re: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread
« Reply #134 on: June 06, 2009, 02:04:58 PM »
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
« Last Edit: June 06, 2009, 02:24:22 PM by mike »
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