February 28 2020 - February 15 2020

Disciple from the 70 Onysimos (+ c. 109). Monk Paphnutii, Hermit of Pechersk, in the Farther Caves (XIII). Monk Paphnutios and his Daughter Euphrosynia (V). Monk Eusebios, Hermit of Syria (V). Martyr Majorus (+ c. 304). PriestMartyr Athanasias, Bishop. Two Martyred Soldiers in Thrace. MonkMartyr Arsenios.

Vilensk (transferred to Vil’na in 1495), Dalmatian (1646), and Vensk Icons of the Mother of God.

The Disciple from the 70 Onysimos in his youth was a servant of Philemon, a Christian of distinguished lineage, living in the city of Phrygian Colossa. Guilty of an offense against his master and fearing punishment, Saint Onysimos fled to Rome, but as a runaway slave he wound up in prison there. In prison he encountered the Apostle Paul held in chains, was enlightened by him and accepted holy Baptism. In prison Saint Onysimos served the Apostle Paul like a son. The Apostle Paul was personally acquainted with Philemon, and wrote him a letter filled with love, asking him to forgive the runaway slave and to accept him like a brother; he dispatched Saint Onysimos with this letter to his master, depriving himself of help, in which he was very much in need.

Saint Philemon, having received the letter, not only forgave Onysimos, but also dispatched him to sail back to Rome to the first-rank apostle. Saint Philemon was afterwards ordained bishop of the city of Gaza (Comm. 4 January, 19 February and 22 November).

After the death of the Apostle Paul, Saint Onysimos served the apostles until their end, and he was ordained bishop by them. After the death of the holy apostles he preached the Gospel in many lands and cities: in Spain, Carpetania, Colossa, Patras. In his old age, Saint Onysimos occupied the bishop’s throne at Ephesus, in succession after the Disciple Timothy. When they took Ignatios the God-Bearer to Rome for execution, Bishop Onysimos came to meet with him with certain Christians, about which Saint Ignatios makes mention in his Epistle to the Ephesians.

During the reign of the emperor Trajan, Saint Onysimos was arrested and brought to trial before the eparch Tertillus. He held the saint for 18 days in prison, and then sent him for imprisonment to the city of Putiola. After a certain while, the eparch sent for the prisoner and, convincing himself that Saint Onysimos quite firmly confessed his faith in Christ, had him subjected to a fierce beating with stones, after which they beheaded the saint with a sword. A certain illustrious woman took the body of the martyr and placed it in a silver coffin. This was in about the year 109.

The Monk Eusebios the Hermit lived in the IV Century and asceticised on a mountain near the village of Asykha in Syria. He led a very strict life, being always under the open sky and patiently bearing the summer heat and winter cold; for clothing the monk wore skins, and nourished himself on the pods of peas and beans. Being already an infirm elder, he ate during the Great Forty-day Lent all of 15 figs. When many people began to flock to the Monk Eusebios, he went to a nearby monastery, built a small enclosure at the monastery walls and dwelt in it until his death. The Monk Eusebios lived to old age, having died at the age of ninety, sometime after the year 400.

© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos