OrthodoxChristianity.net
October 26, 2014, 03:49:04 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: « 1 2 3 4 »  All   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Lives of the Saints - an Information Only Thread  (Read 86303 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
EofK
Mrs. Y
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA Diocese of the Midwest
Posts: 3,976


lolcat addict


« 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.
Logged

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
EofK
Mrs. Y
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA Diocese of the Midwest
Posts: 3,976


lolcat addict


« 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 » Logged

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
Órëlaurëa
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA Diocese of the midwest
Posts: 520



« 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
Logged

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
Entscheidungsproblem
Formerly Friul & Nebelpfade
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Machine God
Posts: 4,495



WWW
« 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 » Logged

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
Athanasios
Latin Rite Catholic faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Latin Church Diocese of Youngstown
Posts: 1,800


The Divine Mercy


« 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.
Logged

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
Salpy
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Armenian Church
Posts: 12,735


Pray for the Christians of Iraq and Syria.


« 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.
Logged

ytterbiumanalyst
Professor Emeritus, CSA
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA Diocese of the Midwest
Posts: 8,790



« 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
Logged

"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
Athanasios
Latin Rite Catholic faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Latin Church Diocese of Youngstown
Posts: 1,800


The Divine Mercy


« 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.
Logged

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
Salpy
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Armenian Church
Posts: 12,735


Pray for the Christians of Iraq and Syria.


« 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



Logged

Entscheidungsproblem
Formerly Friul & Nebelpfade
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Machine God
Posts: 4,495



WWW
« 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
Logged

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
FrChris
The Rodney Dangerfield of OC.net
Site Supporter
Taxiarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Posts: 7,252


Holy Father Patrick, thank you for your help!


« 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 » Logged

"As the sparrow flees from a hawk, so the man seeking humility flees from an argument". St John Climacus
Athanasios
Latin Rite Catholic faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Latin Church Diocese of Youngstown
Posts: 1,800


The Divine Mercy


« 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.
Logged

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
Athanasios
Latin Rite Catholic faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Latin Church Diocese of Youngstown
Posts: 1,800


The Divine Mercy


« 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.
Logged

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
ozgeorge
I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ.
Posts: 16,382


My plans for retirement.


WWW
« 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."
Logged

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
Athanasios
Latin Rite Catholic faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Latin Church Diocese of Youngstown
Posts: 1,800


The Divine Mercy


« 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.
Logged

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
Athanasios
Latin Rite Catholic faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Latin Church Diocese of Youngstown
Posts: 1,800


The Divine Mercy


« 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).
Logged

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
Timos
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Posts: 856



« 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.


Logged
Timos
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Posts: 856



« 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.
Logged
ozgeorge
I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ.
Posts: 16,382


My plans for retirement.


WWW
« 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
Logged

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
Athanasios
Latin Rite Catholic faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Latin Church Diocese of Youngstown
Posts: 1,800


The Divine Mercy


« 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 » Logged

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
FrChris
The Rodney Dangerfield of OC.net
Site Supporter
Taxiarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Posts: 7,252


Holy Father Patrick, thank you for your help!


« 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
Logged

"As the sparrow flees from a hawk, so the man seeking humility flees from an argument". St John Climacus
Athanasios
Latin Rite Catholic faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Latin Church Diocese of Youngstown
Posts: 1,800


The Divine Mercy


« 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.
Logged

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
Salpy
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Armenian Church
Posts: 12,735


Pray for the Christians of Iraq and Syria.


« 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 » Logged

ozgeorge
I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ.
Posts: 16,382


My plans for retirement.


WWW
« 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 » Logged

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
Athanasios
Latin Rite Catholic faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Latin Church Diocese of Youngstown
Posts: 1,800


The Divine Mercy


« 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.
Logged

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
Athanasios
Latin Rite Catholic faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Latin Church Diocese of Youngstown
Posts: 1,800


The Divine Mercy


« 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.
Logged

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
Athanasios
Latin Rite Catholic faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Latin Church Diocese of Youngstown
Posts: 1,800


The Divine Mercy


« 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.
Logged

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
Athanasios
Latin Rite Catholic faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Latin Church Diocese of Youngstown
Posts: 1,800


The Divine Mercy


« 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.
Logged

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
Athanasios
Latin Rite Catholic faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Latin Church Diocese of Youngstown
Posts: 1,800


The Divine Mercy


« 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.
Logged

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
Athanasios
Latin Rite Catholic faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Latin Church Diocese of Youngstown
Posts: 1,800


The Divine Mercy


« 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.
Logged

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
EofK
Mrs. Y
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA Diocese of the Midwest
Posts: 3,976


lolcat addict


« 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.

Logged

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
Entscheidungsproblem
Formerly Friul & Nebelpfade
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Machine God
Posts: 4,495



WWW
« 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 » Logged

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
Athanasios
Latin Rite Catholic faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Latin Church Diocese of Youngstown
Posts: 1,800


The Divine Mercy


« 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.
Logged

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
Athanasios
Latin Rite Catholic faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Latin Church Diocese of Youngstown
Posts: 1,800


The Divine Mercy


« 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).
Logged

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
Athanasios
Latin Rite Catholic faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Latin Church Diocese of Youngstown
Posts: 1,800


The Divine Mercy


« 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.

Logged

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
Athanasios
Latin Rite Catholic faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Latin Church Diocese of Youngstown
Posts: 1,800


The Divine Mercy


« 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.
Logged

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
Athanasios
Latin Rite Catholic faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Latin Church Diocese of Youngstown
Posts: 1,800


The Divine Mercy


« 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.
Logged

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
FrChris
The Rodney Dangerfield of OC.net
Site Supporter
Taxiarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Posts: 7,252


Holy Father Patrick, thank you for your help!


« 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
Logged

"As the sparrow flees from a hawk, so the man seeking humility flees from an argument". St John Climacus
Athanasios
Latin Rite Catholic faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Latin Church Diocese of Youngstown
Posts: 1,800


The Divine Mercy


« 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.
Logged

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
FrChris
The Rodney Dangerfield of OC.net
Site Supporter
Taxiarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Posts: 7,252


Holy Father Patrick, thank you for your help!


« 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
Logged

"As the sparrow flees from a hawk, so the man seeking humility flees from an argument". St John Climacus
EofK
Mrs. Y
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA Diocese of the Midwest
Posts: 3,976


lolcat addict


« 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
Logged

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
Athanasios
Latin Rite Catholic faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Latin Church Diocese of Youngstown
Posts: 1,800


The Divine Mercy


« 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.
Logged

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
Athanasios
Latin Rite Catholic faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Latin Church Diocese of Youngstown
Posts: 1,800


The Divine Mercy


« 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.
Logged

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
Athanasios
Latin Rite Catholic faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Latin Church Diocese of Youngstown
Posts: 1,800


The Divine Mercy


« 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.
Logged

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
Athanasios
Latin Rite Catholic faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Latin Church Diocese of Youngstown
Posts: 1,800


The Divine Mercy


« 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.
Logged

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
Tags: saints 
Pages: « 1 2 3 4 »  All   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.311 seconds with 71 queries.