January 31 2020 - January 18 2020

Sainted Athanasias (+ 373) and Cyril (+ 444), Archbishops of Alexandria.

Monk Athanasii (Afanasii) of Syadem and Vologda (+ c. 1550). Righteous Afanasii (Athanasii) of Navoltsk (XVI-XVII). Monk Marcian of Syr (+ c. 388). Martyress Xenia. Sainted Maxim (Maksim) the New, Despoton of Serbia (+ 1516). Monks Ilarion, Emilian, Demetrius. Martyress Theodosia. Sainted Ephrem, Bishop of Melasia (V).

Sainted Athanasias and Cyril, Archbishops of Alexandria, have a conjoined feast established to them in acknowledgement of the profound gratitude of Holy Church for their incessant lengthy labour in affirmation of the dogmas of the Orthodox faith and their zealous defense of such against heretical teachings.

The account about Saint Athanasias is located under 2 May, and about Saint Cyril – under 9 June.

The Monk Athanasii (Afanasii) of Syadem and Vologda was a disciple of the Monk Alexander of Svir (+ 1533, Comm. 30 August). After the death of his mentor, he established in the forests of Karelia the Dormition (Uspenie) hermitage, not far from the city of Olonets, amidst the islands of Syadem and Roschinsk. The slander and pettiness of the local inhabitants compelled the Monk Athanasii to move back to the Svir monastery, where they chose him as hegumen. Later returning to the Uspenie hermitage, the monk died in about the year 1550 in extreme old age and was buried on one of the promontories of Roschinsk island. Afterwards there was built over his grave a church in the name of Saints Athanasias and Cyril of Alexandria, into which in 1720 were placed the unperished relics of the saint.

Righteous Athanasii (Afanasii) of Navolotsk went at the end of the XVI Century from the Kargopol' region to the Olonets land, where he founded a monastery 78 versts from what later emerged as the city of Petrozavodsk. The saint died near the Verkholedsk suburb not far from Shenkursk.

The Monk Marcian of Syr' asceticised in the wilderness near the city of Syr'. Having built himself a small hut, he settled in it, passing the time at prayer, singing psalms and reading the Divine books. His food was very skimpy. Reports about his holy life attracted to him many zealous ascetics, and the Monk Marcian established a monastery for them.

The blessing of God rested upon the saint, and he possessed the gift of wonderworking. One time a serpent crawled into his cell towards him, and the monk made the sign of the cross and the serpent perished, having been burnt up by flames. At night, when the ascetic read, an Heavenly light shined for him. The monk also worked many other miracles on behalf of the brethren. He died in peace about the year 388.

Sainted Maxim (Maksim) the New, despoton of Serbia, was the son of king Stefan of Serbia (Comm. 10 December), and was Metropolitan of Ugro-Valakhia. He died on 18 January 1516.

© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos