Orthodox River


May 11 2020 - April 28 2020

Disciples from the 70: Jason and Sosipater (I), together with the Martyrs Kerkyra the Maiden and others suffering with them: Satornius, Iakyscholus, Faustian, Jannuarius, Marsalius, Euphrasios, Mammius, Murinus, Zinon, Eusebios, Neonos and Vitalius (+ c. 63). Martyrs Dadus, Maximus and Quintilian (+ c. 286).

Sainted Kirill (Cyril), Bishop of Turov (+ c. 1183). Monk Auxivius.

The Disciple Jason hailed from Tarsus (Asia Minor). He was the first Christian in the city. The Disciple Sosipater was a native of Achaeia. They both became disciples of the Apostle Paul, who even called them his “kinsmen” (Rom. 16: 21). Saint Jason was made bishop in his native city of Tarsus, and Saint Sosipater – in Iconium. They set out to the West preaching the Gospel, and in the year 63 they reached the island of Kerkyra (Korfu) in the Ionian Sea near Greece.

There they built a church in the name of the First-Martyr Stephen and they baptised many. The governor of the island learned about this and locked them up in prison, where they saw seven thieves: Satornius, Iakyscholus, Faustian, Jannuarius, Marsalius, Euphrasius and Mammius. The disciples converted them to Christ. For their confession of Christ the seven prisoners died as martyrs in a cauldron of molten tar, wax and sulfur.

The prison guard, having beheld their act of martyrdom, declared himself a Christian. For this they cut off his left hand, then both feet and finally his head. The governor ordered the disciples Jason and Sosipater to be whipped and again locked up in prison.

When the daughter of the governor, the maiden Kerkyra, learned how the martyrs would suffer for Christ, she declared herself a Christian and gave away all her finery to the poor. The infuriated governor attempted to persuade his daughter into a renunciation of Christ, but Saint Kerkyra stood firm against both persuasions and against threats. Then the enraged father devised a terrible punishment for his daughter: he gave orders to situate her in a separate prison-cell and bring in to her the robber and murderer Murinus, so that he would defile the betrothed of Christ.

But when the robber approached the door of the prison-cell, a bear pounced upon him. Saint Kerkyra heard the noise and in the Name of Christ she drove off the beast, and then by her prayer she healed the wounds of Murinus. After this Saint Kerkyra enlightened him with the faith of Christ, and Saint Murinus declared himself a Christian and thereupon was executed.

The governor gave orders to burn down the prison, but the holy virgin remained alive. Then by order of her enraged father, she was suspended upon a tree, choked with bitter smoke and executed with arrows. After her death, the governor decided to execute all the Christians on the island of Kerkyra. The Martyrs Zinon, Eusebios, Neonos and Vitalius, having been enlightened by the Disciples Jason and Sosipater, were burnt.

The inhabitants of Kerkyra, escaping from the persecution, crossed over to an adjoining island. The governor set sail with a detachment of soldiers, but was swallowed up by the waves. The governor succeeding him gave orders to throw the Disciples Jason and Sosipater into a cauldron of boiling tar, but when he beheld them unharmed, with tears he cried out: “O God of Jason and Sosipater, have mercy on me!”

Having been set free, the disciples baptised the governor and gave him the name Sebastian. With his help the Disciples Jason and Sosipater built several churches on the island and, living there until old age, by their fervent preaching increased the flock of Christ.

The Martyrs Dadus, Maximus and Quintilian suffered under the emperor Diocletian (284-305), when there came out a decree to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods on the solemn feastdays, and to put Christians to death.

The representatives of the emperor in the city of Dorostolum, – Tarquinius and Gabinius, made a sumptuous festivity, to which came not only the inhabitants of the city, but also from the surrounding villages.

When the festivity finished, someone reported to the emperor, that three brothers ‑‑ Dadus, Maximus and Quintilian, did not obey the decree of the emperor and withdrew themselves into the Ozovia forest. Soldiers were sent after them, who caught the holy brothers at prayer and led them forth for trial.

The governors interrogated the brothers, who confessed themselves Christians. But Tarquinius offered to Saint Maximus to become a pagan-priest of the god Zeus. But that one called Zeus a foul adulterer and again confessed the True God.

Tarquinius attempted to reason with Saints Dadus and Quintilian. They said, that their brother well knew the Holy Scripture and they would follow him in everything. They dispatched the martyrs to prison, but there also they pondered only about the salvation of their souls. At midnight when the saints were asleep, the devil appeared to them, up in arms against them. But when the martyrs woke, they beheld an Angel, which said: “Fear not, for God your hope bringeth you to Himself. He is not far from you and wilt sustain you”. In the morning Tarquinius said to the brothers that the gods had declared their will to him in a dream: give them death if they would not offer sacrifice. The martyrs answered, that the Lord had commanded them to endure torments for His Holy Name.

The tortures and interrogations continued constantly from morning to evening for several days. Finally, they brought out a death sentence against the martyrs, led them out under guard to their forest and there beheaded them with a sword (+ 286).

Sainted Kirill (Cyril), Bishop of Turov, was born of rich parents in the 30’s of the XII Century in the city of Turov at the River Pripyat.

From his early years Saint Kirill eagerly read the sacred books and attained to profound understanding of them. He studied not only in Russian, but also in Greek. At the age of maturity Saint Kirill refused his inheritance and took vows in the Turov Borisoglebsk monastery. He asceticised much in fasting and prayer and drilled the monks for full obedience to the hegumen: a monk, who is not found in obedience to the hegumen would not fulfill his vow and therefore is not able to be saved.

After a certain while Saint Kirill withdrew into seclusion upon a pillar, where he intensified his asceticism still more and “to interpret much the Holy Scripture”. Many turned to him for counsel in the spiritual life.

The holiness of life and profound enlightenment of Saint Kirill brought widespread attention upon him, and they chose him for the Turov cathedra. In the year 1169 Saint Kirill took part in a Council, censuring Bishop Theodore (Feodor), who occupied the Vladimir-Suzdal’ cathedra and who sought to separate from the Kiev metropolitanate. Saint Kirill denounced the heresy of Theodore and composed many letters to holy prince Andrei Bogoliubsky (Comm. 4 July), in which he instructed him and provided him guidance into the cause of church disorders in the Rostov’ region.

Out of his love for solitude, Saint Kirill left the cathedra (by the year 1182, under which there is already mentioned the Turov bishop Lavrentii) and he devoted himself fully to the writing of spiritual compositions. He composed, indeed, a discourse on all the yearly cycle of the Lord’s feasts, but not all of them have been preserved. The works of Saint Kirill merit a place in book-collections alongside the works of the holy patristic fathers.

The most complete collection of works by Sainted Kirill (Cyril) of Turov, published by the Turov bishop Evgenii in 1880, includes: 1) Sermon on Palm Sunday, from Gospel accounts; 2) Sermon on Holy Pascha on the Radiant Day of the Resurrection of Christ, from the prophetic accounts; 3) Sermon on the new Sunday after Pascha, about the Renewal of the Resurrection, about the Artos [loaf blessed on Pascha], and about Thomas touching the Side of the Lord; 4) Sermon about the Taking-down the Body of Christ and about the Myrh-bearing Women, from the Gospel account, and praise of Joseph on the 3rd Sunday after Pascha; 5) Sermon about the Paralytic from Genesis and from the Gospel account, on the 4th Sunday after Pascha; 6) Sermon about the Blind-man and the enmity of the Jews from the Gospel account, on the 4th Sunday after Pascha; 7) Sermon about the Ascension of the Lord, on Thursday of the 6th Week after Pascha, from prophetic decrees, and about the Resuscitation of the Race of Adam from Hades; 8) Sermon on the Holy 318 Fathers, from the Holy Books, decreeing about Christ the Son of God, and Praise to the Fathers of the Holy Nicea Council (Sobor), on the Sunday before Pentecost; 9) Parable about the Blind and the Lame; 10) Parable about the Human Soul, and about the Body, and the Breaking of God’s Commandments, and about the Resurrection of the Body of Man, and about the Future Judgement, and about the Torment; 11) Narrative about the Black-Robed Order, from the Old Testament and from the New, bearing a form in common, and about the accomplishing of this matter; 12) Account to Hegumen Vasilii: a Parable about White-Robed Men, and about Monasticism, and about the Soul, and about Repentance; 13) Letter of a certain Starets (Elder) to the Blest-of-God Archimandrite Vasilii about the Schema; 14) Four Prayers on Sunday (after Matins, Hours, and 2 after Vespers); 15) Four Prayers on Monday; 16) Four Prayers on Tuesday; 17) Five Prayers on Wednesday (after Matins, Hours, and 3 after Vespers); 18) Three Prayers on Thursday (after Matins, Hours, Vespers); 19) Four Prayers on Friday (after Matins, Hours, and 2 after Vespers); 20) Six Prayers on Saturday (2 after Matins, 1 after Hours, and 3 after Vespers); 21) Molieben Canon; 22) Confession and Remembrance. Later on was discovered the “Sermon on the Enlightenment of our Lord Jesus Christ”. It is known, that the saint composed also a “Great Canon of Repentance to the Lord in alphabetic Chapters”. As a theologian Saint Kirill saw his task in this, to discern the true and hidden thought of this or that text of Holy Scripture.

Sainted Kirill died on 28 April in about the year 1183. From his contemporaries he received the title of being a Russian “Zlatoust’” (Chrysostomos). About himself the saint humbly wrote: “I am not an harvester, but I gather up sheaves of grain; I am not an artist in book matters”, – always however, conscious of the sublime hierarchical service in which the Lord established him: “If I were to speak of myself, ye would have done well not to have come into the church. But I proclaim to you the Word of God, I read to you the account of Christ… I do distribute forth the words of God, finer than gold or other stones, more sweet, than mead or honeycomb, and ye would be deprived of them, not having come to church,… but ye, having come, I do praise and bless”.

© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos