February 23 2020 - February 10 2020
PriestMartyr Charalampios and with him the Martyrs Porphyry, Baptos and 3 Martyresses (+ 202).
Holy NobleBorn Princess Anna of Novgorod (+ 1056). Monk Prokhor of Pechersk, in Nearer Caves (+ 1107). Monk Longin of Koryazhemsk (+ 1540). Virgin Martyrs: Hennatha, Valentina and Paula (+ 308). Saints Mark and John. Saint Galina. Martyr Carpus.
Sobor / Assemblage of Novgorod Sainted-Hierarchs: Joakim (+ 1030), Luke (+ 1060), German (+ 1096), Arkadii (+ 1162), Grigorii (+ 1193), Martyrii (+ 1199), Antonii (+ 1231), Vasilii (+ 1352), Simeon (+ 1421), Gennadii (+ 1505), Pimen (+1571), Aphonii (+ 1653). Icon of Mother of God “Fiery Appearant”.
The PriestMartyr Charalampios, Bishop of Magnezia, the Martyrs Porphyry and Baptos and the Three Martyresses suffered in the year 202.
Saint Charalampios, bishop of the Thessalonian city of Magnezia (northwest region of Greece), successfully spread faith in Christ the Saviour. News about his preaching reached the governor of the district Lucian and the military-commander Lucius. The saint was arrested and brought to trial, where he firmly confessed his faith in Christ and refused to offer sacrifice to idols. Despite the decrepit age of the bishop (he was already 113 years of age), they subjected him to monstrous tortures: they lacerated his body with iron hooks, while they scourged all his skin from head to foot. During this the saint turned to his tormentors: “I bless you, brethren, ye have restored my spirit!”
Having seen the endurance of the elder and his complete lack of malice, two soldiers – Porphyry and Baptos openly confessed Christ, for which they were immediately beheaded with a sword. Being present at the sufferings of bishop Charalampios were likewise three women who began to glorify Christ and were quickly martyred.
The enraged Lucius himself seized hold of the instruments of torture and began to tear at the priest-martyr, but suddenly his hand was cut off as though by a sword. Also arriving at the place of execution the governor spat in the face of the saint, and immediately he bent backwards. Then Lucius began to beseech the saint for forgiveness, and through his prayer both torturers at once received healing. During this a multitude of witnesses came to believe in Christ. Among them also was Lucius, who fell at the feet of the holy elder, begging forgiveness.
Lucian reported about the occurrence to the emperor Septimus Severus (193-211), situated at this time at Pisidian Antioch (western part of Asia Minor). The emperor gave orders to bring Saint Charlampios to him, and this was done with a stupid ferocity: they dragged the priest-martyr, having tied a rope to his beard. The emperor then gave orders to torture the bishop more intensely, and they began to burn at him with fire. But the Power of God aided to the saint, and he remained unharmed. Besides this, miracles were done through his prayer: he raised up a dead youth, and healed a demoniac tormented by devils for 35 years, so that the people in a multitude began to believe in Christ the Saviour. Even Galina the daughter of the emperor began to believe in Christ, and twice smashed idols in a pagan temple. By order of the emperor they beat the saint with stones about the mouth, and they wanted to set afire his beard, from which the flames went forth burning the torturer. Full of wickedness, Septimus Severus and his dignitary Crispus hurled blasphemy at the Lord, mockingly summoning Him to come down to the earth, and bragging of their own power and might. In wrath the Lord quaked the earth, great fear fell upon all, both the impious ones were suspended in mid-air held by invisible bounds, and only by the prayer of the saint were they put down. The dazed emperor was shaken in his former impiety, but again quickly fell into error and gave orders to torture the saint. And finally, he sentenced him to beheading with a sword. During the time of his final prayer, the saint was vouchsafed to behold the Saviour Himself and besought Him to grant that place where his remains would repose, in peace, would be fruitful for people, bringing forgiveness of sins and salvation. The Lord promised to fulfill the request and ascended to heaven, bearing with Him the soul of the priestmartyr Charalampios – who through the mercy of God accepted a peaceful death before execution. The daughter of the emperor, blessed Galina, buried the body of the martyr with great honour.
The NobleBorn Princess Anna of Novgorod, spouse of GreatPrince Yaroslav the Wise, gave a true Christian upbringing to her children, marked by a strong faith in God, love of work, integrity and learning. Her son Mstislav became afterwards GreatPrince of Kiev, and her daughter – queen of a West-European realm. The princess herself, having left the world, went into a monastery, where she finished her days in strict obedience and prayer in the year 1056.
The Monk Prokhor of Pechersk was a native of Smolensk and took vows in the Kievo-Pechersk monastery under the hegumen John (1089-1103). He was a great ascetic of strict temperance, – in place of bread he used pigweed, from which he received the title “pigweed-eater”. No one saw him regretful about this.
During the saint’s life a famine befell Russia. Prokhor began yet more zealously to gather the pigweed and to prepare from it his “bread”. Certain people followed his example, but they were not able to eat this food because of its bitterness. Prokhor distributed his bread from pigweed to the needy, and its taste was like of fine wheat. From this they noted the peculiarity – the bread was tasty only when they gathered it with the blessing of the monk. This became known to the hegumen and the brethren, and the talk about Prokhor spread far and wide.
After a certain while there was no salt at Kiev, from which the people suffered greatly. Then the monk, having gathered ashes from all the cells, began to distribute it to the needy, and through his prayer the ashes became pure salt. At the promptings of the salt merchants, who reckoned on a profit, prince Svyatopolk confiscated from Prokhor his “stockpile”. When they transported it to the princely court, everyone became convinced, that this was – just regular ashes. But after three days, when Svyatopolk gave orders to discard it, and the monk blessed the people to take from the heap, the ashes were again changed to salt. This miracle reformed the fierce prince: he began to pray zealously, made peace with the hegumen of the Pechersk monastery and highly esteemed the monk Prokhor. When the last hour of the saint approached, the prince hastened to him leaving behind his retinue, although he had gone to war. He received his blessing and by his own hand took the body of the saint to the cave. Having returned, Svyatopolk easily gained victory over the Polvetsians, turning them to flight and capturing their supply carts. Such was the great power of the prayer of Saint Prokhor.
The monk died in the year 1107, and was buries in the Nearer Caves. His commemoration is also 28 September and on the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent.
The Monk Longin of Koryazhemsk at first pursued asceticism at the monastery of the monk Paul of Obnorsk, and then lived at the Borisoglebsk Sol’vychegodsk monastery. From there he settled with his friend Simon upwards about Vychegda towards the mouth of the Koryazhema river. Here, deep in the countryside, 10 versts from Sol’vychegod, the ascetics built cells and a chapel. When brethren gathered to him, they erected a church in the name of Saint Nicholas, and constructed a monastery (1535) in which the monk was hegumen. Near the church was located a well, dug out by the monk himself. After the death in 1540 his body was buried, in accord with his last wishes, nearby to the entrance to the church, and 16 years later was placed in the church itself. The memory of the monk Longin is done according to a special service, with a short writing of his life, compiled at a later time.
The Holy Virgin-Martyrs Hennatha, Valentina and Paula suffered in the year 308 under the emperor Maximian II Galerius (305-311). Saint Hennatha came from the city of Gaza (in the south of Palestine), Saint Valentina was a native of Palestinian Caesarea, and Saint Paula – from the surroundings of Caesarea.
Saint Hennatha was the first to be brought to trial before the governor Fermilian, bravely declaring herself a Christian. They beat her, and then they suspended her from a pillar and began to scourge her.
Saint Valentina, accused of not worshipping the gods, was led to a pagan temple for an offering of sacrifice, but she bravely hurled a stone at the sacrifice and turned her back on the burning of it with fire. They mercilessly beat her and sentenced her together with Saint Hennatha to beheading with a sword.
Last of all there was brought Saint Paula, whom they subjected to many torments. She endured them however by the help of God with great patience and courage. Before death Paula gave thanks to the Lord for strengthening her in the deed, and having bowed to the christians present, bent her neck beneathe the sword.
The Sobor / Assemblage of Novgorod Sainted-Hierarchs is celebrated, besides 10 February, also on 4 October and on the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost. On 4 October 1439 Sainted John (+ 1186, Comm. 7 September) appeared to the then presiding Sainted-hierarch Evphymii (+ 1458, Comm. 14 March) and ordered him to establish a special panikhida – in memory of those buried, at the Sophia cathedral, among the Russian princes and Novgorod archbishops and all the Orthodox Christians – on the day of memory of the priest-martyr Hierotheos, Bishop of Athens. There was then uncovered the incorrupt relics of Sainted John (the account about whom is located under 7 September). Afterwards, as a measure of the glorification of the Novgorod hierarchs, there was established on the day the Sobor /Assemblage. E. E. Golubinsky writes about these sainted-hierarchs to the effect that, the time of their glorification remaining unknown, that he determined the date of their in-common celebration to the period between the time of the Moscow Sobor / Council of 1549 to the time of the formation of the Holy Synod (E. E. Golubinsky. History of the Canonisation of Saints in the Russian Church. M(oscow), 1903, p. 157).
In the Sobor / Assemblage of Novgorod Sainted-hierarchs is included: Sainted Joakim of Korsun, first bishop of Novgorod (988-1030); Sainted Luke the Jewish, bishop (1030, 1035? - 1060, + 15 October 1060); Sainted German, bishop (1078-1096); Sainted Arkadii, bishop (1157-1162, Comm. 18 September); Sainted Grigorii, archbishop (1187-1193, + 24 May 1193); Sainted Martyrii, archbishop (1193-1199, + 24 August 1199); Sainted Antonii, archbishop (1212-1220, 1226-1228; + 8 October 1231); Sainted Vasilii the Lame, archbishop (1331-1352, + 3 July 1352); Sainted Simeon, archbishop (1416-1421, + 15 June 1421); Sainted Gennadii, archbishop (1484-1504, Comm. 4 December); Sainted Pimen, archbishop (1553-1571); Aphonii, metropolitan (1635-1648, + 6 April 1653). The relics of these saints were buried or transferred to the Novgorod Sophia Cathedral (except for Saint German, Saint Gennadii and Saint Pimen, wherefore in some sources their names are not named amongst the Sobor).
The 4 October celebration was established in connection with the memory of the holy nobleborn prince Vladimir Yaroslavich of Novgorod (+ 1052), and the 10 February Sobor of Sainted-hierarchs is celebrated in connection with the holy nobleborn princess Anna of Novgorod (+ 1056). Besides those mentioned, sainted-hierarchs that have separate commemorations are: Sainted Nikita the Hermit, bishop (+ 1108, Comm. 31 January); Sainted Nyphontii, bishop (+ 1156, Comm. 8 April); Sainted John, archbishop (+1187, Comm. 7 September); Sainted Theoktist, archbishop (+1310, Comm. 23 December); Sainted Moisei, archbishop (+ 1362, Comm. 25 January); Sainted Evphymii, archbishop (+ 1458, Comm. 11 March); Sainted Jona, archbishop (+ 1470, Comm. 5 November); Sainted Serapion, archbishop (+ 1516, Comm. 16 March).
© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos