Old Calendar Orthodox Daily Digest for 5/5/2021

Fasting Guidelines

Bright Wednesday.
Bright Week. Fast-free

Scripture Readings

Acts 2:22-36
Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know- Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the LORD always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’ Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The LORD said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ‘ Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.

John 1:35-51
Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour). One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone). The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote-Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today

“Kasperov” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos ( movable holiday on the Wednesday of the Bright Week ).
The Kasperovsk Icon of the MostHoly Mother of God during the War of 1853u20111855 defended the city of Odessa against an incursion of hostile forces. Under archbishop Innokentii (Borisov) it was directed “that this event should not be forgotten in the teaching of posterity”, and to make celebration on 1 October. The icon had already been acknowledged as wonderworking and glorified by the MostHoly Synod in 1840, after investigation of a whole series of miracles. Before this, the image had been kept by the landowner Juliania Ioannovna Kasperova, who received it inheritance as a sacred family heirloom in 1809.

Translation of the relics of St. Vsevolod (in holy baptism Gabriel), prince and wonderworker of Pskov (1138).
Translation of the relics of  St. Vsevolod  (in holy baptism Gabriel), prince and wonderworker of Pskov (1138). Holy Nobleborn Prince Vsevolod of Pskov, in Baptism Gabriel (Gavriil), a grandson of Vladimir Monomakh, was born at and spent almost all his life in Novgorod, where in the years 1088-1093 and 1095-1117 his father ruled as prince. His father was the holy prince Saint Mstislav-Theodore (Feodor) the Great (+ 15 April 1132). In the year 1117, when Greatprince Vladimir Monomakh gave Mstislav Kievan Belgorod as his “udel” (land-holding), practically making him co-ruler, young Vsevolod remained as vicar of his father in the Novgorod principality. Holy Prince Vsevolod did much good for Novgorod. Together with the Archbishop of Novgorod, Saint Nyphontii (Comm. 8 April), he raised up many a church, among which were , the cathedral of the GreatMartyr George at the Yur’ev monastery, and the church of Saint John the Forerunner at Opokakh, built in honour of the “Angel” (i.e. “patron saint”) of his first-born son John, who had died in infancy (+ 1128). In his Ustav (Law-code) the prince bestowed a grammota-deed of privileges to the cathedral of Saint Sophia and other churches. During the time of a terrible famine, to save people from perishing, he exhausted his entire treasury. Prince Vsevolod was a valiant warrior, he marched victoriously against the Yam (in 1123) and Chud peoples, but never did he brandish the sword for lucre or power. In 1132, upon the death of holy Greatprince Mstislav, Vsevolod’s uncle the Kiev prince Yaropolk Vladimirovich followed up the last-wishes of his brother and transferred Vsevolod Pereyaslavl’-South, then reckoned the eldest city after Kiev itself. But the younger sons of Monomakh , Yurii Dolgoruky and Andrei Dobry, were apprehensive lest Yaropolk make Vsevolod his successor, and so they marched out against their nephew. Not wanting internecine strife, Saint Vsevolod returned to Novgorod, but was received there with disaffection. The Novgorodians reckoned, that the prince had been “raised” by them and should not earlier have left them. “Vsevolod did go to Rus’, to Pereslavl’, , noted the Novgorod chronicler, , and did kiss the cross against the Novgorodians, saying, “Ye I would kill””. Striving to restore good relations with the Novgorodians, the prince in 1133 undertook a new victorious campaign against the Chud people, and he annexed Yur’ev to the Novgorod domain. But an harsh Winter campaign in 1135-1136 against Suzdal’ ended unsuccessfully. The stubborn minded Novgorodians would not heed their chastisement by God, and they could not forgive the prince their defeat. The veche-assembly decided to summon a prince from the hostile Monomakh line of the Ol’govichei, and Saint Vsevolod they condemned to banishment: “Thou didst suffer banishment from thine own”, , is sung in the tropar to the saint. For a month and an half they held the prince with his family under guard at the archbishop’s palace, and when prince Svyatoslav Ol’govich arrived, “he was expelled from the city”. Vsevolod went again to Kiev, and his uncle Yaropolk gave him as holding the Vyshgorod district near Kiev, , the place where in the X Century during the rule of her son Svyatoslav had lived holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Greatprincess Olga (Comm. 11 July). Saint Olga, “well preferring the cities of Kiev and Pskov”, came to the defense of her unrighteously wronged descendant: in the following year of 1137 the people of Pskov, mindful of the campaigns of the Novgorod-Pskov army under the lead of the prince, invited him to the Pskov principality, the native region of Saint Olga. This was the first Pskov prince, chosen through the will of the Pskov people itself. Among the glorious works of holy prince Saint Vsevolod-Gabriel at Pskov was the construction of the first stone church in the Name of the Life-Originating Trinity, replacing a wooden one from the times of Saint Olga. On the icons of the saint they often depict him holding a temple “of That Above , the Holy Trinity”. Saint Vsevolod ruled as prince at Pskov for only a year , on 11 February 1138 he died, at age 46. All Pskov gathered at the funeral of the beloved prince, and the church singing could barely be heard over the people’s wailing. The Novgorodians, in retrospect, sent off an archpriest from the Sophia cathedral to take his holy body back to Novgorod, but the prince had become loatheful of Novgorod, and the coffin would not move from the spot. Bitterly then did the Novgorod people bewail and repent in their misfortune, and they then besought to be given but a small bit of the holy dust “for upholding their city”. Through their prayers fell out a fingernail from the hand of the saint. The Pskov people put Saint Vsevolod into the temple of the holy GreatMartyr Demetrios. Alongside the grave they placed the military armament of the prince , shield and sword, in cruciform shape, with the Latin inscription to wit, , “I give away mine honour to no one”. On 27 November 1192, the relics of holy Prince Vsevolod were uncovered and transferred into the Trinity cathedral, in which a chapel was consecrated in his honour. On 22 April 1834, on the first day of Pascha, the holy relics were solemnly transferred into the main church-area of the cathedral. The deep spiritual bond of the city of holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Olga with holy Prince Vsevolod was never broken: he always remained a Pskov wonderworker. At the siege of Pskov by Stefan Bathory in 1581, when the fortress walls were already breached and the Poles were ready to rush into the city, from the Trinity cathedral with a church procession they brought to the place of battle the holy relics of Prince Vsevolod, and the enemy withdrew. And with the appearance of the wonderworking Pskovo-Pechersk Icon (Comm. 1 October), holy Nobleborn Prince Vsevolod-Gabriel has stood amidst the Heavenly defenders of Pskov.

Venerable Vitalis of the monastery of Abba Serid (Seridos) at Gaza (609-620).
Venerable  Vitalis  of the monastery of Abba Serid (Seridos) at Gaza (609-620). The Monk Vitalios, a monk of the monastery of Saint Serid, arrived in Alexandria when the Patriarch of Alexandria was Sainted John the Merciful (609-620, Comm. 12 November). The saint, already up in age (he was 60 years old), made bold to take upon himself an extraordinary exploit: he wrote down for himself in memory all the harlots of Alexandria and he began fervently to pray for them. The monk toiled from morning to evening and he earned each day 12 copper coins. In the evening the saint bought himself a single bean, which he ate not earlier than sunset. The remaining money he would give to one of the harlots, to whom he went at night and said: “I beseech thee, for this money preserve thyself in purity this night, and sin with no one”. Then the monk shut himself in with the harlot in her room, and while she slept, the elder spent the whole night at prayer, reading the psalms, and in the morning he quietly left. And such he did each day, visiting by turns all the harlots, and he took from them a promise, to keep secret the purpose of his visit. The people of Alexandria, not knowing the truth, became indignant over the behaviour of the monk, and they every which way reviled him, but he meekly endured all the mockery and he only asked that they not judge others. The holy prayers of the Monk Vitalios saved many a fallen woman. Some of them went off to a monastery, others got married, and yet others started respectable work. But to tell the reason of straightening out their life and lift the abuse heaped upon the Monk Vitalios they could not: they were bound by an oath, given to the saint. And when of the woman began to break her oath to stand up in defense of the saint, she fell into a demonic frenzy. After this, the Alexandria people had no doubt concerning the sinfulness of the monk. Certain of the clergy, scandalised by the behaviour of the monk, made denunciation against him to the holy Patriarch John the Merciful. But the Patriarch did not believe the informers and he said: “Cease to judge, especially monks. For know ye not, what transpired at the First Nicea Council? Certain of the bishops and the clergy brought written letters of denunciation against each other to the emperor of blessed memory Constantine the Great. He commanded that a burning candle be brought, and not even reading the writings, he burned them and said: “If I perchance with mine own eyes had seen a bishop sinning, or a priest, or a monk, then I would have veiled such with his garb, so that no one might see his sin”. Thus the wise hierarch shamed the calumniators. The Monk Vitalios continued on with his difficult exploit: appearing himself before people under the guise of a sinner and a prodigal, he led the prodigal to repentance. One time, emerging from an house of ill repute, the monk encountered a young man going there , a prodigal fellow, who with an insult struck him on the cheek and cried out, that the monk was a disgrace to the Name of Christ. The monk answered him: “Believe me, that after me, humble man that I be, thou also shalt receive such a blow on the cheek, that will have all Alexandria thronging to thine cry”. A certain while afterwards the Monk Vitalios settled into a small cell and in it at night he died. In that selfsame hour a terrifying demon appeared before the youth who had struck the saint, and the demon struck the youth on the cheek and cried out: “Here for thee is a knock from the Monk Vitalios”. The youth went into a demonic madness. In a frenzy he thrashed about on the ground, tore the clothing from himself and howled so loudly, that a multitude of people gathered. When the youth finally came to his senses after several hours, he then rushed off to the cell of the monk, calling out: “Have mercy on me, O servant of God, in that I have sinned against thee”. At the door of the cell he came fully to his senses and he told those gathered there about his former encounter with the Monk Vitalios. Then the youth knocked on the door of the cell, but he received no answer. When they broke in the door, they then saw, that the monk was dead, on his knees before an icon. In his hand was a scroll with the words: “Men of Alexandria, judge not beforehand, til cometh the Lord, the Righteous Judge”. At this moment there came up the demon-possessed woman, punished by the monk for wanting to violate the secret of his exploit. Having touched the body of the saint, she was healed and told the people about everything that had happened with her. When the women who had been saved by the Monk Vitalios learned about his death, they gathered together and told everyone about the virtues and mercy of the saint. Saint John the Merciful also rejoiced, in that he had not believed the calumniators, and that a righteous man had not been condemned. And then together with the throng of repentant women, converted by the Monk Vitalios, the holy Patriarch solemnly conveyed his remains throughout all the city and gave them reverent burial. And from that time many of the Alexandria people made themselves a promise to judge no one.

Venerable Theodore the Sykeote, bishop of Anastasiopolis (613).
The Monk Theodore Sikeotes was born in the mid VI Century in the village of Sikea, not far from the city of Anastasiupolis (Asia Minor), in a pious family. When his mother Maria conceived the saint, she had in a dream a vision, that a bright star had overshadowed her womb. A perspicacious elder, to whom she turned, then explained that this was the grace of God overshadowing the infant conceived in her. When the boy reached six years of age, his mother presented him a golden sash, since she intended that her son should become a soldier. But in a dream vision by night there appeared to her the GreatMartyr George (Comm. 23 April), and he bid her not think about military service for her son, since the boy was destined to serve God. The saint’s father, Kosma, had served as a messenger of the emperor Justinian the Great (527-565), and he died early. The boy remained in the care of his mother, with whom lived also his grandmother Epidia, his aunt Dispenia and his little sister Vlatta. In school, Saint Theodore displayed great talents for his study, chief of which was an unchildlike ability for reasoning and wisdom: he was quiet, mild, he always knew how to calm his comrades, and he did not permit fights or quarrels amongst them. At his mother’s house lived also the pious elder, Stephen. Imitating him, Saint Theodore at age 8 began during Great Lent to eat only a small morsel of bread in the evenings. In order that his mother should not force him to take supper with everyone, the boy returned home from school only towards evening-time, after he had communed the Holy Mysteries together with the elder Stephen. At the request of his mother, the teacher began to send him off to supper at the end of lessons. But Saint Theodore nonetheless skipped off to the church of the GreatMartyr George, where the patron saint of the temple appeared to him in the form of a youth and ushered him into the church. When Saint Theodore reached age 10, he fell deathly ill. They brought him to the church of Saint John the Baptist and placed him in front of the altar. The boy was healed by two drops of dew, fallen from the face of the Saviour on the dome of the temple. At this time by night the GreatMartyr George began appearing to the boy, and also leading him off to his own temple to pray until morning. His mother, fearing the night-time dangers of the forest path, spoke with her son about not going at night. One time, when the boy had already gone, she angrily went after him to the church, and she dragged him out by the hair and tied him to his bed. But that very night in a dream vision the GreatMartyr George appeared to her, and threateningly she commanded her not to hinder the lad from going to church. And both Elpidia and Dispenia had the same vision. The women then became persuaded of the special vocation of Saint Theodore and they no more hindered him from his efforts, and even his little sister Vlatta began to imitate him. At twelve years of age the saint was granted in a vivid dream to behold Christ on the Throne of the Kingdom of Glory, and Who said to him: “Asceticise, Theodore, so as to obtain perfected reward in the Heavenly Kingdom”. From that time Saint Theodore began to toil all the more fervently. Both the First Week and the Cross-Veneration Week of Great Lent he spent in complete silence. The devil thought upon how to destroy him. He appeared to the saintly lad in the form of his class-mate Gerontios, and urged him to jump off a precipice, and even showed him in what manner how to. But his protector the GreatMartyr George saved the boy. One time the boy set off for a blessing to the wilderness elder Glykerios. During this time there was a terrible drought throughout all the land, and the elder said: “Child, on bended knee let us pray to the Lord, that He send rain. And in such manner shalt we learn, whether our prayers be pleasing to the Lord”. The old man and the boy, on bended knee, began to pray , and immediately it began to rain. Then the elder said to Saint Theodore, that upon him was the grace of God, and he blessed him to become a monk, when the time should come. At fourteen years of age Saint Theodore left home and lived nearby the church of the GreatMartyr George. His mother brought him food, but Saint Theodore left everything on the stones by the church, and he ate over the course of a day only a single prosphora loaf of bread. And even at so young an age, the Monk Theodore was granted the gift of healing: through his prayer a demon-possessed youth was restored to health. The Monk Theodore then fled human glory and he withdrew into complete solitude. Under a large boulder not far from the church of the GreatMartyr George, he dug out a cave and persuaded a certain deacon to cover over the entrance with ground, leaving only a small opening for air. The deacon brought him bread and water and he told no one, where the monk had hidden himself. For two years the Monk Theodore lived in this seclusion and complete quiet. His kinsfolk bewept the saint and they thought, that he had been devoured by wild beasts. But the deacon finally revealed the secret, since he was afraid that the Monk Theodore would perish in the narrow cave, and moreover he pitied the weeping mother. They plucked the Monk Theodore out of the cave half-alive. The mother wanted to take her son home and restore him back to health, but the saint remained nearby the church of the GreatMartyr George, and after several days he was completely well. News about the exploits of the youth reached the local bishop Theodosios. And thus in the church of the GreatMartyr George he was ordained to the dignity of deacon, and later , to priest, although the monk was only 17 years of age. After a certain while the Monk Theodore set off for veneration to the holy places in Jerusalem, and there at the Khozebite Laura near Jordan, he accepted monasticism. When he returned to his native land, he again continued to live nearby the church of the GreatMartyr George. His grandmother Elpidia, his sister Vlatta and his mother on the advice of the monk withdrew to a monastery, and his aunt died in a good confession. The ascetic life of the young priestmonk attracted to him people seeking salvation. The monk tonsured into monasticism the youth Epiphanios, and later on a pious woman, healed of sickness by the saint, brought him her son Philumenos. Then came also the virtuous youth John. Brethren thus gradually gathered around the monk. The Monk Theodore continued to bear his burdensome exploits. At his request a blacksmith made for him an iron cage without a roof, and so tight that in it, it was possible only to stand. In this cage in heavy chains the monk stood from Holy Pascha until the Nativity of Christ. From the Baptism of the Lord until Holy Pascha he secluded himself in his cave, from which he emerged only for the making of Divine-services on Saturdays and Sundays. Throughout the whole of the Forty-Day Great Lent the saint ate only greens, and on Saturdays and Sundays spring-grain bread. Asceticising in such manner, he received from the Lord the power over wild animals. Bears and wolves came up to him and took food from his hand. Through the prayer of the monk, those afflicted with leprosy were healed, and from whole districts devils were cast out. In the nearby village of Magatia, when locusts threatening the crops appeared, its people turned with a request for help to the Monk Theodore. He sent them off to church. After Divine Liturgy, which he served, the villagers returned home and learned that during this while all the locusts had died. When the military-commander Maurice was returning to Constantinople by way of Galatia after a Persian war, the monk predicted to him, that he would become emperor. The prediction came true, and the emperor Maurice (582-602) fulfilled the request of the monk , he sent the monastery bread each year for the multitude of people being fed there. The small temple of the GreatMartyr George could not accommodate all those that wanted to pray in it. Then through the efforts of the saint a beautiful new church was built. During this while the Anastasiupolis bishop happened to die. The people of the city besought the Ancyra metropolitan Paul to install the Monk Theodore as their bishop. So that the saint should not resist, the messengers of the metropolitan and the Anastasiupolis people dragged him out of his cell by force and carried him off to the city. Having become bishop, Saint Theodore toiled much for the welfare of the Church. But his soul yearned for the solitary communion with God. After several years he set off to venerate at the holy places in Jerusalem. And there, concealing his identity, he settled at the Laura monastery of the Monk Sava, where he lived in solitude from the Nativity of Christ until Pascha. Then the GreatMartyr George led him to return to Anastasiupolis. Secret enemies tried to poison the saint, but the Mother of God gave him three small pieces of grain. The saint them and remained unharmed. Saint Theodore felt weighed down with the burden of being a bishop and he besought the Constantinople patriarch Kyriakos (595-606) for a release to return to his own monastery and celebrate Divine-services there. The sanctity of the monk was so evident, that during the time of his celebrating the Eucharist, the grace of the Holy Spirit, in a visage of radiant porphyry, overshadowed the Holy Gifts. One time, when the monk lifted the discus with the Divine Lamb and proclaimed “Holy Things unto the Holy”, , the Divine Lamb raised itself up into the air, and then resettled itself again upon the discus. All the Orthodox Church venerated the Monk Theodore as a saint, even while he was yet alive. In one of the cities of Galatia, a terrible event occurred: during the time of a church procession the wooden crosses being carried began of themselves to strike and chip at one another, with the result that the Constantinople Patriarch Thomas (607-610, Comm. 21 March) summoned to him the Monk Theodore, asking of him the secret of this terrible portent. Having the gift of foresight, the Monk Theodore explained, that this was a sign of coming misfortunes for the Church of God (he was thus prophetically indicating the future heresy of the Iconoclasts). In grief the holy Patriarch Thomas besought the monk to pray for him for a quick death, so that he should not see the coming woe. In the year 610 the holy Patriarch Thomas reposed, having besought blessing of the Monk Theodore. And in the year 613 the Monk Theodore Sikeotes also expired to the Lord.

Apostles Nathaniel, Luke , and Clement .
The Holy Apostle Bartholomew was born at Cana of Galilee and was one of the Twelve Apostles of Christ. After the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, it fell by lot to the holy Apostles Bartholomew and Philip (Comm. 14 November) to preach the Gospel in Syria and Asia Minor. In their preaching they dispersed through various cities, and then met up together again. Accompanying the holy Apostle Philip was his sister, the holy virgin Saint Mariam.Traversing the cities of Syria and Myzia, they underwent much hardship and tribulations, they were stoned and they were locked up in prison. In one of the villages they met up with the Apostle John the Theologian, and together they set off to Phrygia. In the city of Hieropolis by the power of their prayers they destroyed an enormous viper, which the pagans worshipped as a god. The holy Apostles Bartholomew and Philip with his sister proved their preaching with many a miraculous sign. At Hieropolis there lived a man by the name of Stakhios, who had been blind for 40 years. When he received healing, he then believed in Christ and was baptised. News of this spread throughout the city, and a multitude of the people thronged to the house where the apostles were staying. The sick and those beset by demons were released from their infirmities, and many were baptised. The city governor gave orders to arrest the preachers and throw them in prison, and to burn down the house of Stakhios. At the trial pagan priests came forth with the complaint, that the strangers were turning people away from the worship of the ancestral gods. Thinking that perhaps some sort of magic power was hidden away in the clothes of the apostles, the governor gave orders to strip them. But Saint Mariam began to seem like a fiery torch before their eyes, and none dared touch her. They sentenced the saints to crucifixion. The Apostle Philip was raised up on the cross upside down. But there then began an earthquake, and a fissure in the earth swallowed up the governor of the city, together with the pagan priests and many of the people. Others took fright and rushed to take down the apostles from the crosses. Since the Apostle Bartholomew had not been put up high, they managed to take him down quickly. The Apostle Philip however had died. Making Stakhios the bishop of Hieropolis, the Apostle Bartholomew and Blessed Mariam left the city and moved on. Preaching the Word of God, Mariam arrived in Likaoneia, where she peacefully died (Comm. 17 February). The Apostle Bartholomew set off to India, and there he translated from Hebrew the Gospel of Matthew, and he converted many pagans to Christ. He visited likewise Great Armenia (the country between the River Kura and the upper stretches of the Tigrus and Euphrates Rivers), where he worked many a miracle and healed the daughter of the emperor Polimios from the demons afflicting her. The emperor in gratitude sent gifts to the apostle, who however refused to accept them, saying that he sought only for the salvation of the souls of mankind. Then Polimios together with the empress, their healed daughter and many of those close to them accepted Baptism. And people from the ten cities of Great Armenia followed their example. But through the intrigues of the pagan priests, the Apostle Bartholomew was seized by the emperor brother Astiag in the city of Al’ban (now the city of Baku), and crucified upside down. But even from the cross he did not cease to proclaim the good news about Christ the Saviour. Finally, on orders from Astiag, they flayed the skin from the Apostle Bartholomew and cut off his head. Believers placed his remains in a pewter coffin and buried him. In about the year 508 the holy relics of the Apostle Bartholomew were transferred to Mesopotamia, to the city of Dara. When the Persians seized the city in 574, Christians took the relics of the Apostle Bartholomew with them when they fled to the shores of the Black Sea. But since the enemy overtook them there, they were compelled to leave the coffin at the sea. By the power of God the coffin miraculously arrived on the island of Lipara. In the IX Century, after the taking of the island by the Arabs, the holy relics were transferred to the Neapolitan city of Beneventum in Italy, and in the X Century part of the relics were transferred to Rome. There is mention about the holy Apostle Bartholomew in the Vita of Joseph the Melodist (+ 883, Comm. 4 April). Having received from a certain man part of the relics of the Apostle Bartholomew, the Monk Joseph conveyed them to his own monastery near Constantinople, and he built a church in the name of the Apostle Bartholomew, placing therein part of the relics. The Monk Joseph ardently desired to compile a laudation in song in honour of the saint, and he fervently besought God to grant him the ability to do so. On the feastday in memory of the Apostle Bartholomew, the Monk Joseph caught sight of him at the altar. He beckoned to Joseph and took the holy Gospel from the altar-table and pressed it to his bosom with the words: “Bless thou the Lord, and let thine song delight the world”. And from that time the Monk Joseph began to write hymns and canons and with them adorn not only the feastday of the Apostle Bartholomew, but also the feastdays of many other saints, , compiling altogether about 300 canons. Saints John Chrysostom, Cyril of Alexandria, Epiphanios of Cyprus and certain other teachers of the Church regard the Apostle Bartholomew as being one and the same person as Nathanael (Jn. 1: 45-51, 21: 2).

Martyr Leonidas of Alexandria (202).
He was the father of Origen, the great early Christian writer. For his constant faith in Christ, he was first deprived of all his property, then condemned to death. Origen wrote to his father in prison: “Father, do not worry about us, and do not flee from martyrdom on our account.”

Additional Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today

Synaxis of the Venerable Fathers of the Holy Mount Sinai ( movable holiday on the Wednesday of the Bright Week ).

New Hieromartyr Eustaphius priest (1918).

Hieromartyr Platon of Banja Luka (1941).

Martyr Demetrius (1942).

Martyr Epipodius of Lyons (177) ( Gaul ).

Martyr Nearchus (Greek).

Today’s Hymns

The Bright Resurrection of Christ, Troparion. Tone V
Christ is risen from the dead, trampling on death by death, and on those in
the tombs bestowing life.

Kontakion, Tone VIII
Though Thou didst descend into the grave, O Immortal One, yet didst Thou
destroy the power of hell, and didst rise again as Conqueror, O Christ our God,
saying to the myrrhbearing women, Rejoice! and giving peace to Thine Apostles,
and offering to the fallen resurrection.

Having slept in the flesh as a mortal, O King and Lord, Thou didst rise on
the third day. Thou didst raise up Adam from corruption and abolish death, O
Passover of incorruption, Salvation of  the world!

St. Theodore of Sykeon, Bishop of Anastasiopolis, Troparion, Tone II
Known to be sanctified from thine earliest infancy,
and shown to be full of
thou didst illumine the world with miracles,
and didst drive away a
mul­titude of the demons,
O sacred minister Theodore:
wherefore, pray thou to
the Lord in our behalf.

Hymns, Readings, Feast Day, and Fasting Information provided by Holy Trinity Orthodox Church.

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