Orthodox River


September 07 2020 - August 25 2020

Apostle Bartholomew (Transfer of Relics, VI). Disciple from the 70, Titus, Bishop of Crete (I). Sainted Barsis (+ 378) and Eulogios, Bishops of Edessa, and Protogenos, Bishop of Caria (IV). Sainted Minos, Patriarch of Tsargrad (536-552). Sainted John the Cappadocian, Patriarch of Constantinople (VI). Sainted Epiphanios, Patriarch of Constantinople (+ 535). Saint Syncletia.

The Transfer of the Relics of the Apostle Bartholomew Was at the end of the VI Century. His apostolic activity and martyr’s end are remembered by the Church on 11 June. The Apostle Bartholomew suffered for Christ in Armenian Albano (now Baku) in the year 71, where also his holy relics were situated. From the relics of the holy apostles occurred numerous miracles, and many of the unbelieving were converted to Christ. Under the emperor Anastasios (491-518) the relics of the Apostle Bartholomew were transferred into the newly constructed city of Anastasiopolis (or Dareia) and remained there until the end of the VI Century.

When the city of Anastasiopolis was captured by the Persian emperor Khozroes, Christians took up the chest with the relics of the Apostle Bartholomew and fled with it to the shores of the Black Sea. Having overtaken them, pagan-priests threw the chest with the relics of the Apostle Bartholomew into the sea. Together with it, 4 other chests were thrown into the sea containing the relics of the holy Martyrs Papian, Lucian, Gregory and Akakios. By the power of God the chests did not sink into the depths of the sea, but rather accomplished a miraculous floating upon the waves and reached Italy. The chest with the relics of the Apostle Bartholomew came to land at the island of Lipari, and the remaining chests continued their journey and came to land at various places in Italy. The chest with the relics of the Martyr Papian halted at Sicily, the Martyr Lucian – at Messina, the Martyr Gregory – at Calabria, and the Martyr Akakios – at Asculusa. The arrival of the relics of the holy Apostle Bartholomew was revealed to the bishop of the island of Lipari ‑- Agathon, who went with clergy to the shores of the sea, took up the chest from the waters and solemnly transferred it to church. From the relics of the Apostle Bartholomew there flowed out myrh, giving healing for various illness. The holy relics remained in the church of the island of Lipari until the middle of the IX Century, when the island was captured by pagans. Christian merchants took up the holy relics of the Apostle Bartholomew and transferred them to the city of Beneventum, where they were received with great veneration and placed in the main church of the city.

The Disciple from the 70 Titus was a native of the island of Crete, the son of an illustrious pagan. In his youthful years he studied attentively at Hellenistic philosophy and the ancient poets. Preoccupied by the sciences, Titus led a virtuous life, not devoting himself to the vices and passions characteristic of the majority of pagans. He preserved his virginity, as the Priest-martyr Ignatios the God-bearer (comm. 20 December) testified about him. For such a manner of life the Lord did not leave him without His help. At age twenty in a dream Saint Titus heard a voice, suggesting to him to abandon the Hellenistic wisdom, not providing salvation for his soul, but rather to seek out that which would save him. After this dream Saint Titus waited still another year, since it was not actually like a command, but it guided him to familiarise himself with the teachings of the prophets of God. The first that he happened to read was the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. Having opened it to the 47th Chapter, he was struck by the words, speaking as it were about his own spiritual condition.

When news reached Crete about the appearance in Palestine of a Great Prophet, and about the great miracles worked by Him, the governor of the island of Crete, an uncle of Titus by birth, sent him there. This Prophet was the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, incarnated of the MostHoly Virgin Mary and having come into the world for the redemption of the race of mankind from its oppression of the original sin. At Jerusalem Saint Titus beheld the Lord; he heard His preaching and believed in Him. He was a witness of the suffering on the Cross and death of the Saviour, His glorious Resurrection and Ascent to Heaven. On the day of Pentecost the future disciple heard, standing in the crowd, how the 12 Apostles, – after the descent upon them of the Holy Spirit, spoke in various languages among which was the Cretan language (Acts 2: 11). Saint Titus accepted Baptism from the Apostle Paul and became his closest disciple. He accompanied the Apostle Paul on his missionary journeys, time and again he fulfilled entrusted tasks, was involved in the establishing of new churches, and was with him in Jerusalem. Saint Titus was numbered among the 70 Disciples and was ordained by the Apostle Paul as bishop of Crete. Around the year 65, not long before the second imprisonment, the Apostle Paul dispatched a pastoral epistle to his selected one (Tit. 1-3). When the Apostle Paul was taken like a criminal to Rome to stand trial before Caesar, Saint Titus for a time left his flock in Crete and went to Rome to be of service to his spiritual father. After the death by martyrdom of the Apostle Paul, the Disciple Titus returned to the chief city of Crete – Gortyn.

The Disciple Titus peacefully guided his flock and toiled at enlightening the pagans with the light of faith in Christ. He was granted by the Lord the gift of wonderworking. During a time of one of the pagan feasts in honour of the goddess Diana, Titus preached to a gathered crowd of pagans. When he saw, that they would not listen to him, he prayed to the Lord, so that the Lord Himself would show to the mistaken people the non-entity of idols. By the prayer of the Disciple Titus, the idol of Diana fell down and shattered before the eyes of all. Another time the Disciple Titus prayed, that the Lord would not permit the completion of a temple under construction raised up to Zeus, and it collapsed. By such miracles the Disciple Titus brought many to faith in Christ. Having enlightened with the light of faith the surrounding regions, the Disciple Titus died peacefully in the extreme old age of 97. At death his face shone like the sun.

Sainted Barsis and Eulogios, Bishops of Edessa, and Protogenos the Confessor, Bishop of Caria, suffered from the Arians in the second half of the IV Century. The emperor Valentius (364-378), wishing to propagate the Arian heresy, undertook a fierce persecution against the Orthodox. In the city of Edessa he banished from the bishop’s throne Saint Barsis, a champion for Orthodoxy, sending him for confinement to the island of Arad. The Orthodox population there received the exiled saint with great honour. They banished him farther, to the Egyptian city of Oxyrinth, but there also was repeated the warm welcome. Then Saint Barsis was banished to the very frontier of the imperial realm, to the faraway city of Thenon where, exhausted by his exiles, he died (+ 378). At Edessa the emperor Valentius raised up upon the bishop’s cathedra an Arian false-bishop by the name of Lupus, which means wolf, and who both by name and by deed showed himself to be like a wolf, in scattering the flock of the sheep of Christ. The Orthodox population of Edessa, both clergy and laypeople, ceased to attend their church, which had been seized by the Arians. They gathered together outside the city and celebrated the Divine-services in an open area.

Having learned of this, the emperor ordered the eparch Modestus to kill all the Orthodox, appearing for Divine-services outside the city. The eparch pitied the city and he informed the Orthodox, that they should not go to Divine-services. But the believers did contrary: fervent with the desire to receive a martyr’s crown for Christ, they all as one went to the place where they usually gathered for prayer. Eparch Modestus, obeying his orders, embarked their with his armed soldiers. Along the way he saw a woman, who hastened to Divine-services with her small child, so as not to deprive him of the martyr’s crown. Shaken, eparch Modestus turned around back with his soldiers. Appearing before the emperor Valentius, he urged him to cancel the decree about killing all the Orthodox and to extend it only upon the clergy. They led to the emperor persons of spiritual rank, and in the lead the eldest presbyter Eulogios. The emperor urged them to go into church-communion with the pseudo-bishop Lupus, but none of them agreed. After this in chains they sent 80 men of clergy rank for confinement in Thrace. Orthodox met them along the way with great reverence as being confessors, and furnished them all the necessities. Having learned of this, the emperor gave orders to divide up the martyrs in pairs, and to spread them out to remote places.

The holy presbyters Eulogios and Protogenos were sent to the Thivean city of Antinea. There by their preaching they converted many idol-worshippers to Christ and baptised them. When the emperor Valentius perished and upon the throne entered the holy nobleborn emperor Theodosius (379-395), the Orthodox confessors remaining alive after the persecution were returned from exile. The holy presbyters Eulogios and Protogenos returned to Edessa. On the place of the dead and banished bishop of Edessa, Saint Barsis, presbyter Eulogios was elevated to bishop, and the holy presbyter Protogenos was made bishop in the Mesopotamian city of Caria. Both saints guided their flocks until their death, which occurred at the end of the IV Century.

Sainted Minos, Patriarch of Constantinople (536-552), was at first a presbyter at Constantinople and supervisor there for the homeless-shelter home of the holy Monk Sampson the Hospitable-to-Strangers during the reign of Saint Justinian I (527-565). After the removal of the heretic Anthymos (535-536), the holy presbyter Minos was elevated upon the Constantinople patriarchal throne as one worthy to be bishop for his profound virtue and firm confession of Orthodoxy. His ordination was done by the Pope of Rome Agapitus (535-536) who then at the time was in Constantinople. During the time of the patriarchate of Saint Minos there occurred a miracle in Constantinople, widely known to all the city.

A certain Hebrew lad went with other children to church and he communed the Holy Mysteries of Christ. At home he told his father about this. In a terrible rage he seized the child and threw him into a red-hot oven (this Hebrew was a glass-blower). He said nothing to his wife. The mother for three days in tears searched for her son, – loudly did she call for him, and finally on the third day he emerged to her from the red-hot oven. With difficulty she pulled out the child, who was unharmed. The boy told, that a MostRadiant Lady had there come to him, and She cooled down the fire and brought water and food. This incident became known to Saint Minos and the emperor Justinian I. The boy and his mother received baptism, but the father of the child became obdurate and did not wish to repent, in spite of the great miracle to which he was a witness. Then the emperor handed over for trial as a child-killer and sentenced him to death by execution. The holy Patriarch Minos ruled the Constantinople Church for 16 years. During the time of his patriarchate at Constantinople, the famous temple in honour of Saint Sophia the Wisdom of God was consecrated. The saint died peacefully in the year 552.

Sainted John the Cappadocian, Patriarch of Constantinople, occupied the patriarchal throne from 518-520. The holy Patriarch Photios (857-867) termed him “an habitation of virtues”.

Sainted Epiphanios, Patriarch of Constantinople, occupied the cathedra from 520 to 535. He died peacefully in the year 535.

© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos