April 24 2020 - April 11 2020

PriestMartyr Antipas, Bishop of Asian Pergamum (+ c. 68). Martyrs Processus, Martinian (+ c. 67) and Tykhon. Monks: Pharmuphias (IV); John, a Disciple of Sainted Gregory Dekapolites (IX).

Sainted Varsonophii, Bishop of Tver (+ 1576).

Monks: Jakov (James) of Zheleznoborovsk (+ 1442) and his Co-Ascetic Jakov of Bryleevsk (XV); Evphymii (+ not later than 1465) and Khariton (+ 1509) of Syanzhemsk.

Saint Kurduva.

The PriestMartyr Antipas – a disciple of the holy Apostle John the Theologian (Comm. 26 September), was bishop of the Church of Pergamum during the reign of the emperor Nero (54-68).

During these times by order of the emperor, everyone who would not offer sacrifice to the idols lived under threat of either exile or execution. And then too on the island of Patmos (in the Aegean Sea) was imprisoned the holy Apostle John the Theologian – he to whom the Lord revealed the future judgements of the world and of Holy Church.

– “And to the Angel of the Pergamum Church write: thus sayeth He having the sword sharp of both edges: I do know thine deeds, and that thou dost live there, where doth be the throne of Satan, and that thou dost cleave unto My Name nor didst renounce My faith even in those days, in which My slain faithful witness Antipas was amongst ye, where Satan dwelleth” (Rev. 2: 12-13).

By his personal example, firm faith and constant preaching about Christ, Saint Antipas began to sway the people of Pergamum from offering sacrifice to idols. The pagan priests reproached the bishop for turning the people away from their ancestral gods, and they demanded that he stop preaching about Christ and instead offer sacrifice to the idols.

Saint Antipas calmly answered, that he was not about to serve the demon-gods, which flee before him who was but a mortal man; rather, it is the Lord Almighty that he worships and would continue to worship – the Creator of all, together with His Only‑Begotten and One-in-Essence Son and Holy Spirit. The pagan priests retorted, that their gods existed from of old, whereas Christ was not from of old and was crucified under Pontius Pilate as a criminal. The saint answered, that the pagan gods were the work of human hands and that everything said about them was filled with iniquities and vices. He steadfastly confessed his faith in the Son of God, incarnated of the MostHoly Virgin.

The enraged pagan priests dragged the PriestMartyr Antipas to the temple of Artemis and threw him into a red-hot copper bullock, wherein usually they cast the sacrifices to the idols. In the red-hot furnace the priest-martyr prayed loudly to God, imploring to accept his soul and to fortify Christians in the faith. He expired to the Lord peacefully, as though asleep (+ c. 68).

Christians by night took the body of the PriestMartyr Antipas, untouched by the fire, and with reverence they buried him at Pergamum. The tomb of the priest-martyr became a font of miracles and of healings from manifold sicknesses. Particular recourse to the PriestMartyr Antipas is made during times of tooth-ache.

The Monk Jakov of Zheleznoborovsk, a son of the boyar-noble Anosov (or Amosov) line, which had their lands at Kostroma Galich, was born in the second half of the XIV Century. As a youth he went to the Monk Sergei of Radonezh, accepted from him monastic tonsure and for several years he lived at the Trinity monastery. In 1392 the Monk Jakov settled in a dense forest near iron mines, at a place which was called the Iron Pines, at the banks of the rivulet Tebza. His sanctity of life was known of already in his own time. In 1415 the wife of GreatPrince Vasilii Dmitrievich (1389-1425), Sophia Vitovtovna (in monasticism Synkletikia, + 1453) fell seriously ill before childbirth. The greatprince dispatched a message to the Monk Jakov beseeching that the monk pray for his wife, and asking whether she would live. The monk bid him pray to the holy Martyr Longinus and foretold the happy birth of a son, Vasilii. (In 1450, this son, GreatPrince Vasilii Vasilevich (1425-1462), after his victory over prince Dimitrii Shemyaka, visited the monastery of the Monk Jakov and prayed there with gratitude).

The grateful prince Vasilii Dmitrievich generously rewarded the Monk Jakov and gave him the means to build at the place of his efforts a monastery with a church in the name of the holy Prophet John the ForeRunner. In 1429 the Khazan Tatars laid waste the surroundings of Galich. The Monk Jakov with his disciples hid deep in the forest. Returning, they found the monastery in ruins. Everything had to be rebuilt anew. The monk built a church in the name of Saint Nicholas, and he dug out ponds with the brethren. On the example of the Trinity-Sergiev monastery a strict common-life rule was introduced. Many of the hungry and destitute people, devastated by the Tatars, were fed at the monastery.

After many years of efforts in common, the monks besought the Monk Jakov to be their hegumen. He humbly submitted to their request and journeyed to Moscow, where he was bestown the priestly dignity.

The monk died a venerable elder on 11 April 1442 and was buried at the John the ForeRunner church of the monastery founded by him.

The Monk Jakov of Bryleevsk was a disciple of the Monk Jakov of Zheleznoborovsk (Comm. 11 April) and was a “trudnik” at his monastery (the word “trudnik” has two meanings: “truzhenik”-“toiler” and “posluzhnik”-“obedient”). He later founded the Bryleevsk wilderness-monastery in honour of the Entry into the Temple of the MostHoly Mother of God at a distance of 5 versts from the Zheleznoborovsk ForeRunner monastery, off in the direction of the city of Bua. The Monk Jakov died during the XV Century and was buried in the Entry into the Temple church. His memory is marked likewise on the Day of the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles (i.e. Pentecost).

The Monk Evphymii and his disciple the Monk Khariton asceticised at the River Syanzhema during the close of the XV to the beginning XVI Centuries. The Monk Evphymii came to the Spasokamensk monastery from the Volokolamsk outskirts. For a long time he continued as a novice-obedient at the monastery, but later he settled on the eastern shore of Lake Kuben near the mouth of the River Kushta. Amidst the impenetrable swamps and dense woods there, the saint built himself a small cell, wherein he asceticised in total solitude. After a certain while there came to him the Monk Alexander of Kushtsk (+ 1439, Comm. 9 June), who also had set out from the Spasokamensk monastery and at first settled at the River Syanzhema. The Monk Alexander besought the Monk Evphymii to switch cells with him, since he was seeking a place of complete quiet.

Transferring himself over to the River Syanzhema, the Monk Evphymii did not refuse the local people his spiritual counsel and guidance. And there too the Monk Khariton came to him.

The Monk Evphymii built a church in honour of the Ascension of Christ and made next it a monastery. At Rostov, under Sainted Archbishop Dionysii (1418-1425), he received the permission to build, and evidently, he also received there the priestly dignity and was made hegumen of the monastery started by him.

Both monks were an example to the brethren in prayer, and in the works of construction and supervision. They made do with such food and clothing, as even the brethren reckoned worthless. In temple the Monk Evphymii stood in fear and trembling, and the brethren often saw upon his face tears of tenderness. Working at hand-crafts, the monk always sang psalms. The Monk Evphymii died in about the year 1465, though the actual day of his death is unknown.

His successor as hegumen was his beloved disciple – the Monk Khariton. For more than 40 years he continued the work at the monastery, and he died in old age on 11 April 1509. Both monks were buried at the Ascension church. The memory of the Monk Evphymii is celebrated also on 20 January, and that of the Monk Khariton on 28 September, on the days of their saints-names in common.

The Holy Martyrs Processus and Martinian were pagans and they served as guards at the Mamertine prison in Rome.

In this prison were held state criminals, among which Christians also were included. Watching over the Christian prisoners and hearing also their preaching, Processus and Martinian gradually came to the knowledge of the true faith in the Saviour. When the holy Apostle Peter was locked up at the Mamertine prison, Processus and Martinian came steadfastly to believe in Christ; they accepted holy Baptism from the apostle and released him from prison. The prison head Paulinus learned about this, and he demanded Saints Processus and Martinian to renounce Christ. But they fearlessly confessed their Christian faith and they spat at the golden statue of Jupiter. Paulinus thereupon gave orders to slap them on the face, and then seeing the resolute stance of the holy martyrs, he subjected them to torture: they whipped the martyrs with iron rods, scorched them with fire, and finally, threw them in prison.

A certain illustrious and pious woman, by the name of Lucina (Lucy), visited them in prison and gave them help and encouragement. The torturer Paulinus soon suffered the chastisement of God: he fell blind and died three days later. The son of Paulinus made recourse to the city head with a demand to immediately put the martyrs to death. Saints Processus and Martinian were beheaded by the sword (+ c. 67).

Pious Lucina buried the bodies of the martyrs.

The Monk Pharmuphios lived during the IV Century at that wilderness monastery, where within a well asceticised the Monk John (Comm. 29 March), to whom the Monk Parphumios gave food.

The Monk John was a student of the Monk Gregory Dekapolites. The account about him is located under 18 April.

Sainted Varsonophii of Tver was born in the year 1495. In 1567 he was ordained bishop of Tver. He died at the Transfiguration monastery founded by him in the city of Kazan in the year 1576.

© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos