Orthodox River


February 04 2020 - January 22 2020

Disciple Timothy (+ 80). MonkMartyr Anastasias the Persian (+ 628). MonkMartyr Anastasii, Deacon of Pechersk, in Nearer Caves (XII). Monk Makarii of Zhabynsk, Belevsk Wonderworker (+ 1623). Martyrs: Bishops Manuel, George, Peter, Leontios; Presbyters Sionias, Gabriel, John, Leontos, Parodos and 377 others (+ c. 817). Saints Ananias and Agathon. Monk Joseph the Sanctified (+ 1511).

The Holy Disciple Timothy was from the Lycaonian city of Lystra in Asia Minor. Saint Timothy was converted to Christ in the year 52 by the holy Apostle Paul (+ c. 67, Comm. 29 June). When the Apostle Paul and Barnabas first visited the Lycaonian cities, the Apostle Paul at Lystra healed one crippled from birth; many of the inhabitants there then believed in Christ, and among them was the future youthful disciple Timothy, his mother Eunice and grandmother Loida (Lois) (Acts 14: 6-12; 2 Tim. 1: 5). The seed of faith, planted in the soul of Saint Timothy by the Apostle Paul, brought forth abundant fruit. He became a zealous student of the Apostle Paul, and later his constant companion and co-worker in the preaching of the Gospel. The Apostle Paul loved Saint Timothy and in his Epistles called him his beloved son, with gratitude remembering his devotion and fidelity. He wrote to Timothy: “Thou hast followed me in teaching, in life, in disposition, faith, magnanimity, love, and patience in afflictions and sufferings…” (2 Tim. 3: 10-11). The Apostle Paul in the year 65 ordained Saint Timothy as bishop of the Ephesus Church, which the saint administered for 15 years. And finally the holy Apostle Paul, situated in prison and knowing, that the act of martyrdom was before him, summoned his faithful student and friend, the Disciple Timothy, for a last farewell (2 Tim. 4: 9).

Saint Timothy ended his life as a martyr. At Ephesus the pagans made a feastday in honour of their idols and they carried them through the city, accompanied by impious ceremonies and songs. The holy Bishop Timothy, zealous for the glory of God, attempted to halt the procession and reason with the spiritually blind idol-worshipping people, by preaching the true faith in Christ. The pagans dashed angrily upon the holy disciple, they beat him, dragged him along the ground, and finally, they stoned him. The holy Disciple Timothy’s death by martyrdom occurred in the year 80. In the IV Century the holy relics of the Disciple Timothy were transferred to Constantinople and placed in the church of the Holy Apostles. Holy Church venerates Saint Timothy as amongst the number of the Seventy Disciples.

The MonkMartyr Anastasias the Persian was the son of a Persian sorcerer named Babo. As a pagan, he had the name Magundates and served in the armies of the Persian emperor Chosroes II, who in a victorious war against the Greeks in 614 ravaged the city of Jerusalem and carried away to Persia the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord. Great miracles occurred from the Cross of the Lord, and the Persians were astonished. The heart of young Magundates blazed up with the desire to learn in detail more about this sacred object. Asking everyone about the Holy Cross, the youth learned, that upon it the Lord Himself endured crucifixion for the salvation of mankind. He became acquainted with the truths of the Christian faith in the city of Chalcedon, where for a certain while the army of Chosroes was situated. He was baptised with the name Anastasias, and then accepted monasticism and dwelt for seven years in monastic works and efforts in one of the Jerusalem monasteries.

Reading about the acts of the holy martyrs, Saint Anastasias was inspired with the desire to imitate them. A mysterious dream in particular urged him to do this, which he had on Great Saturday, the day before the feast of the Resurrection of Christ. Having fallen asleep after his daily tasks, he beheld a radiant man, giving him a golden chalice filled with wine, with the words “take hold and drink”. Driving from the chalice given him, he sensed an inexplicable delight. Saint Anastasias then perceived that this vision was a portent of his own martyr’s end. He went secretly from the monastery to Palestinian Caesarea. There they arrested him for being a Christian and brought him to trial. The governor tried every which way to sway Saint Anastasias into a renunciation of Christ, threatening him with tortures and death and promising him honours and earthly blessings. But the saint remained unyielding. Then they subjected him to torture: they beat at him with canes, they lacerated his knees, they hung him up by the hands and tied an heavy stone to his feet, they exhausted him with confinement, and then wore him down with heavy work in the stone-quarry with other prisoners.

Finally, the governor summoned Saint Anastasias and demanded he say only the words: “I am not a Christian”, promising him freedom. The holy martyr answered: “Let me be with this. Neither before thee, nor before others wilt I renounce my Lord, neither openly nor secretly even in sleep, and no one nowhere and in no way can compel me to do this while in my right mind”. Then by order of the emperor Chosroes, they strangled the holy Martyr Anastasias (+ 628). After the death of Chosroes, the relics of the MonkMartyr Anastasias were transferred to Palestine, to the Anastasias monastery.

The MonkMartyr Anastasii, Deacon of Pechersk, pursued asceticism in the Nearer Caves. The priestmonk Athanasii the Sooty calls him brother of the Monk Tito the Presbyter (+ not before 1190; Comm. 27 February). In the manuscripts of the saints he is called a deacon. In the Service to the Sobor (Assemblage) of the Fathers of the Nearer Caves, it says about the MonkMartyr Anastasii, that he possessed such steadfastness in God, that he received everything he asked for. His memory is celebrated also on 28 September and on the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent.

The Monk Makarii of Zhabynsk, Wonderworker of Belevsk, was born in the year 1539. In his early years he was monasticised with the name Onuphrii, and in the year 1585 he founded the Zhabynsk Vvedensk (Entry of Mother of God into the Temple) monastery near the River Oka, not far from the city of Belev. In 1615 the monastery was completely destroyed by Polish soldiers under the command of Lisovski. Returning to the charred remains, the monk began to restore the monastery. He again gathered the brethren, and in place of the wooden one there was built a stone church in honour of the Vvedenie/Entry of the MostHoly Mother of God into the Jerusalem Temple (Comm. 21 November), with a bell-tower at the gates. The monk spent his life in austere monastic effort, suffering cold, heat, hunger and thirst, as the monastery accounts relate. He often withdrew into the thick of the forest, where he prayed to God in solitude. One time when he was going along the forest pathway, he heard a faint moaning. He looked around and saw reclining against a tree-trunk a napping Polishman, who in his weariness was resting. Beside him was rolled up his sabre. He had strayed from his detachment and had become lost in the forest. In a barely audible voice this enemy, who quite possibly had been one of the destroyers of the monastery, asked for a drink of water. Love and sympathy surged up within the monk. With a prayer to the Lord he struck his staff about in the ground, and there gushed forth a fresh spring of water, and he gave the dying man a drink.

When the monastery had been restored both in its outward and inward life, the Monk Onuphrii withdrew from the general monastic life, and having entrusted the guidance of the brethren to one of his disciples, he took the Schema with the name Makarii. For the place of his solitude he choose a spot along the upper tributary of the River Zhabynka – “the treasured Zhabynets”, about one verst separating the mouth of the tributary and the banks of the River Oka.

The schemamonk efforts of the Monk Makarii were concealed not only from the world, but also from his beloved brethren. He died in 1623 at age 84, at the night hour when the roosters start crowing, and he was buried on 22 January, the day in memory of the Disciple Timothy, opposite the gates of the monastery, where afterwards was built a church in his name.

In the Iconographic Originals was preserved a description of the Monk Makarii in his last years: he was grayed with a small beard, and atop the monastic ryasa he wore the schema garb. Veneration of the Monk Makarii was established at the end XVII beginning XVIII Centuries. His icons were written; by tradition, his relics rested uncovered, but already in 1721 they were beneathe a crypt. In the XVIII Century the monastery became desolate. The memory about his deeds and miracles was so totally forgotten, that when during the construction of the Nikol’sk church in 1816 the undecayed relics of the monastery founder were uncovered, they began to serve a general panikhida over them. The restoration of the memory of the Monk Makarii of Belevsk is connected with the name of hegumen Jona, – who was born on 22 January, the day of memory of the Monk Makarii, – and who began his own monastic journey at the Optina monastery located not far from the Zhabynsk monastery. In 1875 hegumen Jona became head of the Zhabynsk monastery. His request for the restoration of the memory of the Monk Makarii was strengthened by the petition of the Belevsk people, who through the centuries had preserved faith in the sanctity of the saint. On 22 January 1888, after the long interruption, there was again made solemn veneration of the Monk Makarii of Zhabynsk. In 1889, at the place of burial of the saint, was built a church in his name. Hegumen Jona, who at that time lived peacefully at the monastery and actually participated in the construction, decided that together with the construction work, the holy relics of the Monk Makarii would be uncovered. When everything was on the point of readiness, the Monk Makarii appeared to both participants in a dream and strictly warned them that they should not proceed with their projected deed, or else there would be punishment. The memory of this appearance was reverently preserved among the monks of the monastery. A Service was compiled to the saint. The memory of the Monk Makarii of Zhabynsk is venerated, besides 22 January, also on 22 September.

© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos