Archive for the ‘Saints’ Category

December 12 / 25

On December 12 (December 25 old-style), we celebrate several significant saints, both from the distant past of the Early Church and from the more modern eras.

Sainted Spyridon of Trimyphunteia

Sainted Spyridon of Trimyphunteia

Commemorated on December 12 (December 25 new style)

Sainted Spyridon of Trimyphunteia was born towards the end of the III Century on the island of Cyprus. The accounts have preserved little about his life. But it is known, that he was a shepherd, and had a wife and children. He used all his substance for the needs of his neighbours and the homeless, for which the Lord rewarded him with a gift of wonderworking: he healed the incurably sick and cast out devils. After the death of his wife, during the reign of Constantine the Great (306-337), they ordained him bishop of the Cypriot city of Trimyphunteia. Even with the dignity of bishop the saint did not change his manner of life, combining pastoral service with deeds of charity. According to the witness of Church historians, Saint Spyridon in the year 325 participated in the sessions of the First OEcumenical Council. At the Council, the saint entered into a dispute with a Greek philosopher, who was defending the Arian heresy. The plain direct speaking of Saint Spyridon showed everyone the impotence of human wisdom afront Divine Wisdom: “Listen, philosopher, to what I tell thee: we believe, that the Almighty God from out of nothing did create by His Word and His Spirit both heaven and earth, and all the world both visible and invisible. The Word is the Son of God, Who didst come down upon the earth on account of our sins; he wast born of a Virgin, He lived amongst mankind, and suffered and died for our salvation, and then He arose, having redeemed by His sufferings the Original Sin, and He hath resurrected with Him the human race. We believe, that He is One in Essence and Equal-in-Dignity with the Father, and we believe this without any sly rationalisations, since it is impossible to grasp this mystery by human reason”. As a result of their discussion, the opponent of Christianity became the saint’s zealous defender and later accepted holy Baptism. And after his conversation with Saint Spyridon, turning towards his companions, the philosopher said: “Listen! While the disputation with me was conducted by means of argued proofs, I could set forth to certain proofs other proofs, and by the very art of debate I could refute anything, that others might propose. But when, instead of proofs from reason, there began to issue forth from the mouth of this elder some sort of especial power, and the rational proofs became powerless against it, since it is impossible that man can withstand God. If any of you should come to think as I now indeed do, let him believe in Christ and together with me follow this elder, from whose lips doth speak God Himself”. At this Council, Saint Spyridon displayed a proof in evidence of the Oneness within the Holy Trinity. He took in his hand a brick and he grasped it – for an instant fire emerged from it upwards, water flowed downwards, and there remained clay in the hands of the wonderworker. “There are these three elements, but one tile (brick),” – and Saint Spyridon then said, – “suchlike also the Holy Trinity: Three Persons, but One God”.

The saint concerned himself about his flock with great love. Through his prayer, drought was replaced by abundant life-producing rains, and otherwise incessant rains were replaced by fair weather. And likewise through his prayer the sick were healed and demons cast out. One time a woman came up to him with a dead child in her arms, imploring the intercession of the saint. He prayed, and the infant was restored to life. The mother, overcome with joy, collapsed lifeless. Through the prayer of the saint of God the mother was restored to life. Another time, hastening to save his friend, falsely-accused and sentenced to death, the saint was hindered on his way by the unanticipated flooding of a watery brook. The saint commanded the freshet: “Halt! For thus biddeth thee the Lord of all the world, that I might cross over and a man be saved, on account of whom be my haste”. The will of the saint was fulfilled, and he crossed over happily to the other shore. The judge, apprised of the miracle that had occurred, received Saint Spyridon with esteem and set free his friend.

Similar instances are known from the life of the saint. One time he went into an empty church, he gave orders to light up the lampadas and candles, and then he began the Divine-services. Intoning the “Peace be unto all”, both he and the deacon heard in reply from above the resounding of “a great multitude of voices, proclaiming: “And with thine spirit”. This choir was majestic and more sweetly melodious than any human choir. To each ectenia-petition of the litanies, the invisible choir sang “Lord, have mercy”. Attracted by the church singing wafting forth, the people situated nearby hastened towards it. And as they got closer and closer to the church, the wondrous singing all more and more filled the ears and gladdened their hearts. But when they entered into the church, they saw no one besides the bishop and several church servers, nor did they hear any moreso the church singing, by which they were greatly astonished”.

Saint Simeon Metaphrastes, the author of his Life, likened Saint Spyridon to the Patriarch Abraham in his virtue of hospitality. “This also must needs be known, how he received strangers”, – wrote that insider of the monastic circles, Sozomen, who in his “Church History” offers an amazing example from the life of the saint. One time, at the onset of the Forty-day Great Lent a stranger knocked at his door. Seeing that the traveller was very exhausted, Saint Spyridon said to his daughter: “Wash the feet of this man, that he may recline to dine”. But with it being Lent there were none of the necessary provisions, since the saint “partook of food only on set days, and on other days he went without food”. His daughter therefore answered, that in the house there was neither bread, nor even flour. Then Saint Spyridon, apologising to his guest, ordered his daughter to roast a salted ham in the food-provisions, and having seated the stranger at table, he began to dine, “urging that man to do likewise. When the latter refused, calling himself a Christian, the saint rejoined: “It be no less proper to refuse this, since the Word of God hath proclaimed: “All is pure to the pure” (Tit. 1: 15)”.

Another historical detail, reported by Sozomen, was likewise exceedingly characteristic of the saint: he had the custom to distribute one part of the gathered harvest to the destitute, and another portion to those having need while in debt. For himself personally he did not take a portion, but simply showed the entrance to his supply-room, where each could take as much as was needed, and thereafter make a return in like manner, without controls or accountings.
There is also the tale by Sokrates Scholastikos about how robbers planned to steal the sheep of Saint Spyridon: in the deep of night they broke into the sheepfold, but here by some invisible power they found themselves all tied up. With the onset of morning the saint went to his flock, and seeing the tied-up robbers, he prayed and untied them and for a long while he upbraided them to leave off from their path of iniquity and earn a livelihood by respectable work. “Then, having made them a present of a sheep and sending them off, the saint said kindly: “Be ye not vigilant in vain”.

They often likened Saint Spyridon to the Prophet Elias (Elijah or Ilias), since it was through his prayer during the times of drought that frequently threatened the island of Cyprus, that rain occurred: “Let us view the Angelic-equal Spyridon the Wonderworker. Formerly did the land suffer exceedingly from want of rain and drought: there was famine and pestilence and a great many of the people were stricken, but through the prayers of the saint there did descend rain from the heavens upon the earth: wherefore the people delivered from woe gratefully do proclaim: Hail, thou in semblance to the great prophet, in that the rain driving off famine and malady in good time is come down”.

All the Vitae (Lives) of the saint are striking in the amazing simplicity and powerful wonderworking, granted him by God. Through a word of the saint the dead were awakened, the elements of nature tamed, the idols smashed. At one point at Alexandria, a Council had been convened by the Patriarch in regard to the idols and pagan temples there, and through the prayers of the fathers of the Council all the idols fell down, except one – which was very much revered. It was revealed to the Patriarch in a vision that this idol remained to be shattered by Saint Spyridon of Trimyphunteia. Invited by the Council, the saint set sail on a ship, and at the moment the ship touched shore and the saint stepped out on land, the idol in Alexandria with all its offerings turned to dust, which then was announced to the Patriarch and all the bishops gathered round Saint Spyridon.
Saint Spyridon lived his earthly life in righteousness and sanctity, and in prayer he offered up his soul to the Lord (+ c. 348).

In the history of the Church, Sainted Spyridon is venerated together with Sainted Nicholas, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia. His relics repose on the island of Corfu, in a church named after him (except for the right hand, located in Rome). His memory is celebrated a second time on Cheesefare Saturday.

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos

(no icon is available for St. Pherapont of Monzensk)

The Monk Pherapont of Monzensk

Commemorated on December 12, May 27

The Monk Pherapont of Monzensk was a monk in the monastery of the Monk Adrian at the River Monza. The monk began his ascetic deeds in Moscow, and then transferred to the city of Kostroma at the Cross-Elevation monastery, and was tonsured there. The pious monks Adrian and Paphnutii, from the monastery of the Monk Paul of Obnorsk (Comm. 10 January), in seeking solitude and with blessing, resettled to the Monza and there founded a monastery 25 versts (one verst = 3500 feet (1.0668 kilometers)) from Galich. The Monk Pherapont transferred to this monastery, where he asceticised to the end of his life. Each day, with the blessing of the monastery head, he withdrew into a forested thicket and there he prayed. By night he read and transcribed copies of spiritually useful books. In his life he emulated Blessed Vasilii (Basil) of Moscow (Comm. 2 August), whom he called his friend, although personally he never saw him. Even during his life the Monk Pherapont was glorified with a gift of wonderworking. Before his death he predicted a year of famine (1601). The monk died in the year 1597. The monastery at the River Monza was called after him the Pherapontov.

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

PriestMartyr Alexander, Bishop of Jerusalem

The PriestMartyr Alexander, Bishop of Jerusalem

Commemorated on December 12

The PriestMartyr Alexander, Bishop of Jerusalem, was a student of the great teacher and writer of the Church, presbyter Clement of Alexandria (+ c. 217). At the beginning of the III Century he was chosen bishop of Cappadocian Flavia. Under the emperor Septimus Severus (193-211) he was locked up in prison and spent three years there. After his release from prison he set off to Jerusalem to venerate at the holy places there, and through a revelation from above, he was chosen there as co-administrator to the quite elderly Patriarch Narcissos (in the year 212). This was an unusually rare occurrence in the practice of the ancient Church. In this dignity he governed the Jerusalem Church for 38 years, toiling much at Christian enlightenment. A large library of the works of Christian writers was gathered by him at Jerusalem. He died in prison during the time of the persecution under the emperor Decius.

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

(no icon available for Holy Martyr Cynecius)

The Holy Martyr Cynecius (Razumnik)

Commemorated on December 12

The Holy Martyr Cynecius (Razumnik) (Cynecius is derived from the Greek word “synetos”, – meaning “man of reason”) was by birth a Roman, and was a reader in the Roman Church under Pope Sixtus (257-258). He was subjected to tortures and then beheading for his brave confession of faith during the time of the emperor Aurelian (270‑275).

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos

St. Herman, Wonderworker of Alaska

St. Herman, Wonderworker of Alaska (1836)

Commemorated on December 12

St Herman, for many the Patron of North America, was born near Moscow around 1756 to a pious merchant family, and entered monastic life at the age of sixteen, at the Trinity – St Sergius Lavra near St Petersburg. While there he was attacked by a cancer of the face, but the Mother of God appeared to him and healed him completely. He was tonsured a monk in 1783 with the name of Herman (a form of Germanos), and was received into Valaam Monastery on Lake Ladoga. After some time, he was allowed to withdraw to the life of a hermit in the forest, and only came to the monastery for feast days.

In 1793, in response to a request by the Russian-American Commercial Company for missionaries to Alaska, Valaam Monastery was told to select a company of its best monks to travel to America. Eight were chosen, of whom the hermit Herman was one. The company crossed all of Siberia and , almost a year later, first saw Kodiak Island in September 1794. The missionaries set about their work, and found the native Aleut people so receptive to the Gospel of Christ that in the first year about 7,000 were baptized and 1,500 marriages performed.

Despite severe hardships, the missionaries covered huge distances, on foot and in small boats, to reach the scattered fishing settlements of the Aleuts. In general they found a warm reception, but many of the pagan shamans opposed their message and sometimes stirred up the people against them. It was thus that the Priest-monk Juvenaly was killed in 1796, becoming the First Martyr of North America.

Despite such opposition, the missionaries’ major difficulty was with the Russian traders and settlers, who were in the habit of exploiting the Aleuts as they wished, and who had oppressed and disgusted the native people with their immoral behavior. When the missionaries came to the defense of the natives, they were repaid with the opposition of the Russian-American company, whose leadership put countless obstacles in the path of their work. In time, several of the company died at sea, and several more abandoned the mission in discouragement, leaving the monk Herman alone.

He settled on Spruce Island near Kodiak, and once again took up the hermit’s life, dwelling in a small cabin in the forest. He spent his days in prayer and mission work, and denied himself every fleshly comfort: he fasted often and lived on a diet of blackberries, mushrooms and vegetables (in Alaska!!). Despite these privations, he founded an orphanage and a school for the natives of the island, cared for the sick in epidemics, and built a chapel where he conducted divine services attended by many. (He was not a priest, but God made up the lack in miraculous ways: at Theophany, Angels descended to bless the waters of the bay, and the Saint would use the holy water to heal the sick). Asked if he was ever lonely or dejected in his solitude, and replied: “I am not alone; God is here as everywhere, and the Angels too. There is no better company.”

Saint Herman reposed in peace on Spruce island, at the age of eighty-one, in 1836. At the moment of his departure, his face was radiant with light, and the inhabitants nearby saw a pillar of light rising above his hermitage. His last wish was to be buried on Spruce Island. When some of his well-intended disciples attempted to take his relics back to Kodiak to be buried from the church there, a storm rose up and continued unabated until they had abandoned the plan and buried him as he desired. He was officially glorified in 1970, the first canonized American Saint.

Saint Peter was a young Aleut convert to the Orthodox faith. In 1812 the Russian-American Company set up a post in California, where Russians and Aleuts farmed and traded to supply the needs of the Alaskans; Peter was one of these. The Spanish, who at the time ruled California, suspected the Russians of territorial ambitions, and in 1815 captured about twenty Orthodox Aleuts and took them to San Francisco. Fourteen of these were put to torture in an effort to convert them to the Roman Catholic faith. All refused to compromise their faith, and Peter and a companion were singled out for especially vicious treatment: Peter’s fingers, then hands and feet, were severed, and he died from loss of blood, still firm in his confession. The Latins were preparing the same fate for the others when word came that they were to be transferred; eventually they returned to Alaska. When he heard a first-hand account of Peter’s martyrdom, Saint Herman crossed himself and said “Holy New Martyr Peter, pray to God for us!” Saint Peter the Aleut is the first recognized Saint of American birth.

St Herman appears several times on the Church’s calendar. The Synaxis of St Herman and the American Protomartyrs is celebrated today. St Herman is commemorated on November 15, the day of his repose; but (partly because pilgrimage to Alaska is so difficult in the winter) the day of his glorification, July 27 / August 9 is kept there as his primary feast day.

Following is a fragment of a conversation between St Herman and some officers of a Russian ship, recorded by his disciple Yanovsky; it includes perhaps the most familiar quotation from St Herman.

“But do you love God?” asked the Elder. And all answered: “Of course we love God. How can we not love God?” “And I, a sinner, have tried to love God for more than forty years, and I cannot say that I perfectly love Him,” answered Father Herman, and began to explain how one must love God. “If we love someone,” he said, “then we always think of that one, we strive to please that one; day and night our heart is preoccupied with that object. Is it in this way, gentlemen, that you love God? Do you often turn to Him, do you always remember Him, do you always pray to Him and fulfill His Holy commandments?” We had to admit that we did not. “For our good, for our happiness,” concluded the Elder, “at least let us give a vow to ourselves, that from this day, from this hour, from this minute, we shall strive above all else to love God and to do His Holy Will!”

Saint Herman is also commemorated on December 12.

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos


Read Full Post »

St Sava (Sabba) the Sanctified

St Sava (Sabba) the Sanctified

From: http://www.holytrinityorthodox.com/calendar/los/December/05-01.htm

The Monk Sava the Sanctified

Commemorated on December 5 (old style)

The Monk Sava the Sanctified was born in the V Century at Cappadocia of pious Christian parents, named John and Sophia. His father was a military-commander. Journeying off to Alexandria on service related matters, his wife went with him, but their five year old son they left in the care of an uncle. When the boy reached eight years of age, he entered the monastery of Saint Flavian situated nearby. The gifted child quickly learned to read and became well studied in Holy Scripture. And in vain then did his parents urge Saint Sava to return to the world and enter into marriage.

At 17 years of age he accepted monastic tonsure and so prospered in fasting and prayer, that he was bestown the gift of wonderworking. Having spent ten years at the monastery of Saint Flavian, the monk set off to Jerusalem, and from there to the monastery of the Monk Euthymios the Great (Comm. 20 January). But the Monk Euthymios sent off Saint Sava to abba Theoktistos, the head of a nearby monastery with a strict common-life monastic rule. The Monk Sava dwelt at this monastery as an obedient until age 30.

After the death of the monastic-elder Theoktistos, his successor gave blessing to the Monk Sava to seclude himself within a cave: on Saturdays however the monk left his hermitage and came to the monastery, where he participated in Divine-services and partook of food. And after a certain while they gave permission to the monk not to leave his hermitage at all, and Saint Sava asceticised within the cave over the course of 5 years.

The Monk Euthymios attentively oversaw the life of the young monk, and seeing how he had matured spiritually, he began to take him along with him to the Ruv wilderness (at the Dead Sea).They went out on 14 January and remained there until Palm Sunday. The Monk Euthymios called Saint Sava a child-elder and took care to encourage in him growth in the utmost monastic virtues.

When the Monk Euthymios expired to the Lord (+ 473), Saint Sava withdrew from the Laura-monastery and resettled in a cave near the monastery of the Monk Gerasimos of Jordan (+ 475, Comm. 4 March). After several years disciples began to gather to the Monk Sava – all searching for monastic life. There thus arose the Great Laura-monastery. Through a command from above (in a pillar of fire) the monks built a church in the cave.

The Monk Sava founded several more monasteries. Many a miracle was manifest through the prayers of the Monk Sava: amidst the Laura spouted forth a spring of water, during a time of drought it rained in abundance, and there likewise occurred healings of the sick and the demoniac. The Monk Sava composed the first monastic-rule of church services, the so-called “Jerusalem Rule”, accepted by all the Palestine monasteries. The saint reposed peacefully to God in the year 532.

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

Another interesting post about St. Sabbas (Sava) the Sanctified and the Lavra of St. Sabbas may be found HERE.

Read Full Post »

Today the Church remembers the Martyrs Sergius (Sergios) and Bacchus (Bakkos) in Syria (290-303).

The Holy Martyrs Sergios and Bakkhos were appointed to high positions in the army by the emperor Maximian (284-305), who did not know that they were Christians. Malevolent persons made a denunciation to Maximian, that his two military-commanders did not honour the pagan gods, and this was considered a crime against the state.

The emperor, wanting to convince himself of the veracity of the denunciation, ordered Sergios and Bakkhos to offer sacrifice to the idols, but they answered, that they honoured but the One God and Him only did they worship.

Maximian commanded that the martyrs be stripped of the insignia of military rank, and then having dressed them in feminine clothing to lead them through the city with an iron chain on the neck, for the mockery by the people. Then he again summoned Sergios and Bakkhos to him and in a friendly approach advised them not to be swayed by Christian fables and instead return to the Roman gods. But the saints remained steadfast. Then the emperor commanded that they be dispatched to the governor of the eastern part of Syria, Antiochus, a fierce hater of Christians. Antiochus had received his position with the help of Sergios and Bakkhos. “My fathers and benefactors! — he addressed the saints, — have pity not only upon yourself, but also on me: I want not to condemn ye to martyrdom”. The holy martyrs replied, that for them life — is Christ, and death for Him — its acquisition. In a rage Antiochus ordered Bakkhos to be mercilessly beaten, and the holy martyr expired to the Lord. They shod Sergios with iron shoes inset with nails and sent him off to another city, where he was beheaded with the sword (c. year 300).

©  2001  by translator Fr. S. Janos.

Troparion of Ss Sergius and Bacchus Tone 1

In contest you were victorious warriors of the Trinity / and an illustrious pair of martyrs, / Sergius godly champion, and Bacchus noble athlete. / In the radiancy of your glory you shelter those who cry: / Glory to Him Who has strengthened you; glory to Him Who has crowned you; // glory to Him Who through you works healings for all.

Kontakion of Ss Sergius and Bacchus Tone 3

Let us gather and crown with praises / the noble martyrs and brothers in the Faith, / Sergius the warrior of the Trinity / and Bacchus who with him in tortures persevered in praising Christ // the Prizegiver and Creator of all.

Read Full Post »

Saints Joachim and Anna

Saints Joachim and Anna

Righteous Saint Joachim, son of Barpathir, was a descendant of King David, to whom God had revealed that from the descendants of his line would be born the Saviour of the world. Righteous Saint Anna was the daughter of Matthan and through her father she was of the tribe of Levi, and through her mother — of the tribe of Judah. The spouses lived at Nazareth in Galilee. They were childless into their old age and all their life they grieved over this. They had to endure derision and scorn, since at that time childlessness was considered a disgrace. But they never grumbled and only but fervently prayed to God, humbly trusting on His will. Once during the time of a great feast, the gifts which Righteous Joachim took to Jerusalem for offering to God were not accepted by the priest Ruben, who considered that a childless man was not worthy to offer sacrifice to God. This pained the old man very much, and he, regarding himself the most sinful of people, decided not to return home, but to settle in solitude in a desolate place. His righteous spouse Anna, having learned, what sort of humiliation her husband had endured, in prayer and fasting began sorrowfully to pray to God for granting her a child. In his desolate solitude and with fasting Righteous Joachim also besought God for this. And the prayer of the saintly couple was heard: to both of them an Angel announced, that there would be born of them a Daughter, Who would bless all the race of mankind. By order of this Heavenly Messenger, Righteous Joakim and Anna met at Jerusalem, where through the promise of God was born to them the Daughter, named Mary.

Saint Joachim died a few years later after the Entry into the Temple of his Blessed Daughter, at about age 80. Saint Anna died at age 70, two years after him, spending the time in the Temple alongside her Daughter.

The Icon of Sts Joachim and Anna is from the hand of Father Luke (Dingman), and may be obtained through Orthodox Images.

Read Full Post »

St. John of Kronstadt (1)
St. John of Kronstadt
from: Orthodox Photos

The ever-memorable Russian Pastor, St John of Kronstadt, in his “Thoughts Concerning the Church” writes: “Acknowledge that all the saints are our elder brothers in the one House of the Heavenly Father, who have departed from earth to heaven, and they are always with us in God, and they constantly teach us and guide us to eternal life by means of the church services, Mysteries, rites, instructions, and church decrees, which they have composed-as for example, those concerning the fasts and feasts-, so to speak, they serve together with us, they sing, they speak, they instruct, they help us in various temptations and sorrows. And call upon them as living with you under a single roof; glorify them, thank them, converse with them as with living people; and you will believe in the Church” (St. John of Kronstadt, “What Does It Mean To Believe In The Church? Thoughts About the Church and the Orthodox Divine Services”)

(From: Fr. Michael Pomazansky, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology; St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood Press, 1994).

Read Full Post »

The Holy Prophet Daniel and the Three Holy Youths Ananias, Azarias and Misael

Commemorated on December 17/30

The Holy Prophet Daniel and the Three Holy Youths Ananias, Azarias and Misael: In the years following 600 B.C. Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonians, the Temple built by Solomon was destroyed, and many of the Israelite people were led away into the Babylonian Captivity. Among the captives were also the illustrious youths Daniel, Ananias, Azarias and Misael. The emperor of Babylon, Nebuchadnessar, gave orders to instruct them in the Chaldean wisdom, and to dress them in finery at his court. But they, in cleaving to the commandments of their faith, refused the extravagance and led a strict manner of life; they indeed sustained themselves on only vegetables and water. The Lord granted them wisdom, and to Saint Daniel – the gift of perspicacity and the interpretation of dreams.

The Holy Prophet Daniel

The Holy Prophet Daniel

The holy Prophet Daniel, having preserved sacred faith in the One God and trusting on His almighty help, in his wisdom surpassed all the Chaldean astrologers and sorcerers, and was made a confidant to the emperor Nebuchadnessar. One time Nebuchadnessar had a strange dream, which terrified him, but upon awakening he forgot the details of the vision. The Babylonian wise-men seemed powerless to learn what the emperor had dreamt. Thereupon the holy Prophet Daniel gave glory before all to the power of the True God, revealing not only the content of the dream, but also its prophetic significance. After this Daniel was elevated by the emperor to be a lord of the realm of Babylonia.

Three Holy Youths Ananias, Azarias and Misael

Three Holy Youths Ananias, Azarias and Misael

During these times the emperor Nebuchadnessar gave orders to erect in his likeness – an huge statue, to which it was decreed to accord the honours befitting a god. For their refusal to do this, the three holy lads – Ananias, Azarias and Misael – were thrust into a burning fiery furnace. The flames shot out over the furnace 49 cubits, felling the Chaldeans standing about, but the holy lads walked amidst the flames, offering up prayer and psalmody to the Lord (Dan. 3: 26-90). The Angel of the Lord in appearing made cool the flames, and the lads remained unharmed. The emperor, upon seeing this, commanded them to come out, and was converted to the True God.

Under the following emperor Balthasar, Saint Daniel interpreted a mysterious inscription (“Mene, Takel, Phares”), which had appeared on the wall of the palace during the time of a banquet (Dan. 5: 1-31), which foretold the downfall of the Babylonian realm. Under the Persian emperor Darius, Saint Daniel was slandered by his enemies, and was thrown into a den with hungry lions, but they did not touch him, and he remained unharmed. The emperor Darius then in rejoicing over Daniel gave orders throughout all his realm to worship the God of Daniel, “since that He is the Living and Ever-Existing God, and His Kingdom is unbounded, and His sovereignty is without end” (Dan. 6: 1-29).

The holy Prophet Daniel sorrowed deeply for his people, who then were undergoing righteous chastisement for a multitude of sins and offenses, for transgressing the laws of God, – resulting in the grievous Babylonian Captivity and the destruction of Jerusalem: “My God, incline Thine ear and hearken, open Thine eyes and look upon our desolation and upon the city, in which is spoken Thine Name; wherefore do we make our supplication before Thee, trusting in hope not upon our own righteousness, but upon Thy great mercy” (Dan. 9: 18). By his righteous life and prayer for the redeeming of the iniquity of his people, there was revealed to the holy prophet the destiny of the nation of Israel and the fate of all the world.

During the interpretation of the dream of the emperor Nebuchadnessar, the Prophet Daniel declared about the kingdoms replacing one another and about the great final kingdom – the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ (Dan. 2: 44). The prophetic vision about the seventy of weeks (Dan. 9: 24-27) tells the world about the signs of the First and the Second Comings of the Lord Jesus Christ and is connected with those events (Dan. 12: 1-12). Saint Daniel interceded for his people before the successor to Darius, the emperor Cyrus, who esteemed him highly, and who decreed freedom for the Israelite people. Daniel himself and his fellows Ananias, Azarias and Misael, all survived into old age, but died in captivity. According to the testimony of Sainted Cyril of Alexandria (Comm. 9 June), Saints Ananias, Azarias and Misael were beheaded on orders of the Persian emperor Chambyses.

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos

Read Full Post »

One of the many endearing stories of St. Seraphim of Sarov was a small act of devotion he engaged in during his years as a hermit. The area around his hermitage was designated by him with Biblical place-names. Thus one place was Jerusalem, another Bethlehem, etc. Thus did the great saint transform the trees and rocks and every path by taking it up into the Biblical story. His every action outside his hut was thus also an act of pilgrimage, a reminder of the mighty acts of God for our salvation.

As I am pretty much confined to home most of the time, it occurred to me as I read this that I can designate certain areas of the house as different Biblical places. Now why didn’t I think of this before?! I already have groups of Icons set up in nearly every room of the house, so those places will be easy. I certainly have enough icons that are not hung up to make more areas. So that makes the rest easy, too. I could designate areas without Icons, I suppose, but Icons make the areas more “holy” to my mind. Even one would do.

The next thing is, what “places” should I have? Only Biblical? I’d like to remember Cappadocia, the home of so many Saints and Martyrs. I’d like to remember Kiev – the site of the Baptism of Rus’. And what about Sarov? And Kodiak Island?

Home – my chair – Nazareth – St. Joseph, Theotokos, Christ, Mt. Athos
The Altar – the buffet – Jerusalem – Christ, Evangelists
The entryway – Bethlehem – Theotokos, St. Joseph
Prayer Corner – Sarov – St. Seraphim of Sarov
Bedroom – Cappadocia – St. Macrina the elder, St. Basil, St. Basil the elder, St. Emmelia, St. Macrina the Younger (the Nun), St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Peter of Sebaste, St. Gregory Thaumaturgus; also a place to remember our particular Saints: St. Theodore Tiron and St. Elizabeth, mother of the Forerunner.
Dining Room – Cana – The Wedding at Cana;
Kitchen – Bethesda – Sts Mary and Martha; also St. Euphrosynos the Cook
Laundry / Pantry – Monastery of the Caves-
Family Room / Den – Kiev – St. Vladimir
Office – Nicea – St. Nicholas, St. Alexander of Alexandria;
Library – Alexandria – St. Mary of Egypt; St. Cyril of Alexandria; St. Clement of Alexandria; St. Alexander of Alexandria;
Storage Room – Ethiopia – St. Moses the Black
Workshop – Kodiak Island – St. Herman of Alaska

I will have to ask my priest about this, but it seems to be both feasible and Orthodox. And I know the Ol’ Curmudgeon won’t have any kind of problem with it.

More about this concept later, as I work on it and see if and how it works.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: