February 27 2020 - February 14 2020
Monk Auxentios (+ 470). Equal-to-the-Apostles Cyril, Teacher of the Slavic Peoples (+ 869). Monk Isaakii, Hermit of Pechersk, in Nearer Caves (+ c. 1090). Transfer of Relics of Nobleborn Prince Michael of Chernigov and his Retainer Theodore (Feodor) (1578). Monk Maron, Wilderness-Dweller of Syria (IV). Sainted Abraham, Bishop of Caria (V). PriestMartyr Philemon, Bishop of Gaza. Twelve Greek Master-Builders of the Uspenie (Dormition) Cathedral Church of the Kievo-Pechersk Lavra [cf. 10 May] (XI).
The Monk Auxentios, by origin a Syrian, served at the court of the emperor Theodosius the Younger (418-450). He was known as a virtuous, learned and wise man, and he was moreover a friend of many of the pious men of his era.
Distressed by worldly vanity, Saint Auxentios accepted the dignity of presbyter, and then received monastic tonsure. Setting off after this to Bithynia, he found a solitary place on Mount Oxus, not far from Chalcedon, and there he began the life of an hermit. (This mountain was afterwards called Auxentian). The place of the saint’s efforts was stumbled upon by shepherds, seeking after lost sheep. They spread the news about him, and people began to come to him for healing. With the Name of God, Saint Auxentios healed many of the sick and the infirm.
In the year 451 Saint Auxentios was invited to the Fourth OEcumenical Council at Chalcedon, where he became known as a denouncer of the Eutykhian and Nestorian heresies. He was greatly familiar with Holy Scripture, and Saint Auxentios easily bested those opponents who entered into dispute with him. After the finish of the Council, Saint Auxentios returned again to his solitary cell on the mountain. By means of spiritual sight he saw the end of Saint Simeon the Pillar-Dweller (459), from over a great distance.
The Monk Auxentios himself died in about the year 470, leaving behind him disciples and many monasteries constructed in the Bithynian region.
The Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Cyril, Teacher of the Slavs (named Constantine – upon his assuming of the Schema), and his older brother Methodios (Comm. 6 April), were by descent Slavs, born in Macedonia in the city of Soluneia (Thessalonika). Saint Cyril received the finest of educations, and from age 14 he was raised together with the son of the emperor. He early accepted the dignity of presbyter. Upon his return to Constantinople, he worked as a librarian of the cathedral church, and as a professor of philosophy. Saint Cyril successfully held debates with iconoclast heretics and with Mahometans. Yearning for solitude, he set off to Mount Olympos to his older brother Methodios, but his solitude lasted only a short while. Both brothers were dispatched by the emperor Michael in the year 857 on a missionary journey to preach Christianity to the Khozars. Along the way they stopped off at Cherson and discovered there the relics of the PriestMartyr Clement, Pope of Rome (Comm. 25 November). Arriving at the Khozars, the holy brothers spoke with them about the Christian faith. Persuaded by the preaching of Saint Cyril, the Khozar prince together with all his people accepted Christianity. The grateful prince wanted to reward the preachers with rich presents, but they refused this and instead asked the prince to free and send home with them all the Greek captives. Saint Cyril returned to Constantinople together with 200 such captives set free.
In the year 862 began the chief exploit of the holy brothers. At the request of prince Rostislav, the emperor sent them to Moravia for preaching Christianity in the Slavic language. Saints Cyril and Methodios by a revelation from God compiled a Slavonic alphabet and translated into the Slavonic language – the Gospel, Epistles, the Psalter and many Divine-service books. They introduced Divine-services in the Slavonic tongue. The holy brothers were then summoned to Rome at the invitation of the Roman pope. Pope Adrian received them with great honour, since they brought with them the relics of the PriestMartyr Clement, Pope of Rome. By nature sickly and of weak health, Saint Cyril from his many labours soon fell ill, and having taken the schema, he died in the year 869 at age 42. Before his death, he expressed last-wishes for his brother to continue with the Christian enlightenment of the Slavs. Saint Cyril was buried in the Roman church of Saint Clement, whose own relics also rest there, brought to Italy from Cherson by the Enlighteners of the Slavs.
The Monk Isaakii (+ 1090), in the world Chern', was prior to monasticism a rich merchant in the city of Toropets in the Pskov lands. Having distributed all his substance to the poor, he went to Kiev and took monastic vows under the Monk Antonii (Anthony). He led a very strict life in seclusion, eating only a prosphora, and then only at the end of the day. After seven years as an hermit he was subjected to a fierce temptation by the devil. Having mistaken the spirit of evil for Christ, he worshipped him, – after which he fell down terribly crippled. The Monks Antonii and Feodosii (Theodosii) took care of him and nursed him. Only in the third year did he begin to walk and to speak, and be present in church. Upon his return to health he took upon himself the exploit of holy fool, enduring beatings, nakedness and cold. Before death he again went into seclusion, where again he was subjected to an onslaught of demons, from which he was delivered by the sign of the cross and by prayer. After his healing he spent about 20 years in ascetic deeds. He died in about the year 1090. His relics are in the Caves of the Monk Antonii, and part of them were transferred to Toropets by the hegumen of the Kudin monastery in the year 1711. The Vita of the Monk Isaakii was recorded by the Monk Nestor in the chronicles (under the year 1074). The account in the Kievo-Pechersk Paterikon differs somewhat from that of Nestor. In the Great Cheti-Minei under 27 April is the “Account about the Monk Isaakii, and his deceiving by the devil”.
The Monk Maron lived during the IV Century not far from the city of Cyr in Syria. He spent almost all the time beneathe the open sky – at prayer, vigil, works and strict fasting. Soon he was glorified by a gift of healing the sick and casting out devils. Those that turned to him for edification he counselled to be temperate, to be concerned about salvation, and to guard against avarice and anger. Some disciples of the Monk Maron were – James the Hermit (Comm. 26 November), Limnios (Comm. 23 February), and Domninos (Comm. 1 March). Saint Maron founded many monasteries in the Cyr region.
Saint Abraham, Bishop of Caria, lived during the mid-IV and early V Centuries, and was born in the city of Cyr. In his youth he entered a monastery. Later he chose as the place for his ascetic deeds Mount Lebanon, where he lived as an hermit. The Monk Abraham suffered much vexation from the pagans, who wanted to expel him from their area. Besides this, the impoverished inhabitants of the nearest village constantly came to him for hand-outs, disrupting his solitude, but the monk patiently endured their visits and gave them everything, which had been offered him. The Christian inhabitants of this village built a church and they fervently besought Saint Abraham to accept the priesthood and become their pastor. The monk fulfilled their wish. Having encouraged his flock in the faith, he left them in place of himself another priest, and he again retired to a monastery. For his deep piety he was made bishop of Caria; his pastors the saint constantly taught by his God-pleasing life. From the time of his accepting of the priesthood, he never used cooked food. The emperor Theodosius the Younger wanted to meet the bishop and made him an invitation. Having arrived in Constantinople, Saint Abraham soon died. His remains were solemnly transferred to the city of Caria and there given over to burial.
© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos