Orthodox River


February 05 2020 - January 23 2020

PriestMartyr Clement, Bishop of Ancyra, and the Martyr Agathangelos (+ c. 312). Monk Gennadii of Kostroma and Liubimograd (+ 1565). Transfer of Relics of Sainted Theoktist, Archbishop of Novgorod (1786). Monk Mausima the Syrian (IV). Monk Salaman the Silent (+ c. 400). Monk Eusebios (IV). Sainted Paulinus the Merciful, Bishop of Nolanum (+ 431). Saint Theodore Stephanites. Remembrance of Sixth OEcumenical Council (680-681). Two Martyrs in Parium.

The PriestMartyr Clement was born in the Galatian city of Ancyra in the year 258, from a pagan father and a Christian mother. In infancy he lost his father, and at twelve years of age also his mother, who predicted for him a martyr’s death for belief in Christ. A woman adopting him named Sophia raised him in the fear of God. During the time of a terrible famine in Galatia several pagans cast out their own children, not having the wherewithal to feed them, and Sophia gathered up also these hapless ones, she fed and clothed them, and Saint Clement assisted her in this. He taught the children and prepared them for Holy Baptism. Many of them died as martyrs for the faith in Christ.

For his virtuous life Saint Clement was made a reader, and later a deacon, and at age eighteen he received the dignity of presbyter, and at age twenty he was ordained bishop of Ancyra. Soon afterwards there flared up the persecution against Christians under Diocletian (284-305). Bishop Clement was arrested under denunciation and had also to answer for himself. The governor of Galatia, Dometian, tried to sway the saint to the worship of the pagan gods, but Saint Clement firmly confessed his faith and valiantly endured all the tortures, which the cruel official subjected him to. They suspended him on a tree, and tore at his body such that the bare bones could be seen, they struck him fiercely with clubs and stones, and they turned him about on a wheel and burned at him with a low fire. The Lord preserved His sufferer and healed his lacerated body. Then Dometian dispatched the saint to Rome to the emperor Diocletian himself, with a report that Bishop Clement had been fiercely tortured, but had proven unyielding. Diocletian, seeing the martyr completely healthy, did not believe the report and subjected him to still yet crueler tortures, and then had him locked up in prison.

Many of the pagans, seeing the bravery of the saint and the miraculous healing of his wounds, believed in Christ. People flocked to Saint Clement in prison for guidance, healing and Baptism, such that the prison was literally transformed into a church.Many of these people, when reported about, were executed by the emperor. Diocletian, struck by the amazing endurance of Saint Clement, sent him off to Nicomedia to his co-emperor Maximian.

On the ship along the way, the saint was joined by his disciple Agathangelos, who had avoided being executed with the other confessors, and who now wanted to suffer and die for Christ together with Bishop Clement.

The emperor Maximian in turn sent off Saint Clement and Agathangelos to the governor Agrippina, who subjected them to such inhuman torments, that even among the pagan on-lookers there was felt a sense of pity for the martyrs and they began to pelt the torturers with stones.

Having been set free, the saints healed an inhabitant of the city with a laying on of hands and they baptised and instructed people, thronging to them in multitudes. Arrested again on orders of Maximian, they were sent off home to the city of Ancyra, where the Ancyra prince Cyrenius had them put to torture, and then dispatched them off to the city of Amasia to the official Dometius, known for his especial cruelty.

In Amasia the martyrs were thrown into molten lime, they spent a whole day in it and remained unharmed. They flayed their skin, beat them with iron rods, they set them on red-hot beds and poured sulfur. All this failed to harm the saints, and they were sent off to Tarsis for new tortures. In the wilderness along the way Saint Clement in prayer had a revelation, that he would suffer another 28 years for the Name of Christ. And then having endured a multitude of tortures, the saints were locked up in prison.

After the death of Maximian, Saint Agathangelos was beheaded with the sword. Ancyra Christians set free Saint Clement from prison and they took him to a cave church. There, after celebrating Liturgy, the saint announced to the faithful the soon impending end of the persecution and his own approaching demise. The holy martyr soon actually was killed by soldiers from the city, who stormed the church. They beheaded the saint during the time of his offering the Bloodless Sacrifice (+ c. 312).

The Monk Gennadii of Kostroma and Liubimograd, in the world Grigorii, was born in the city of Mogilev into a rich family. He early displayed love for the church, and his frequent visits to monasteries evoked the dismay of his parents. Grigorii himself was himself however firmly resolved to devote himself to God, and having changed over into tattered clothing, he secretly left his parental home and journeyed to Moscow. Having visited the Moscow holy places, he did not however here find it suitable in spirit and so set out to the Novgorod region. The destiny of the future ascetic was decided by an encounter with the Monk Alexander Svirsky (Comm. 30 August). With his blessing, Grigorii set off to the Vologda forest to the Monk Kornilii of Komel’sk (Comm. 19 May), and was monasticised by him with the name Gennadii. Together with Saint Kornilii, Gennadii moved on to the Kostroma forest. Here, on the shores of Lake Sura, in about the year 1529, there emerged the monastery of the Transfiguration of the Lord, afterwards called “the Gennadiev monastery”. Having become hegumen, the Monk Gennadii did not slacken his monastic efforts, and together with the brethren he went out to the monastery tasks: he chopped wood, carried firewood, made candles and baked prosphora. A beloved concern of the monk was the writing of icons, with he adorned his new monastery. He wore heavy chains constantly.

For his holy life the Monk Gennadii received from the Lord the gift of perspicacity and wonderworking. Journeying on monastic affairs to Moscow, at the house of the boyar-noble Roman Yur’evich Zakhar’in, the saint predicted to his daughter Anastasia, that she would become tsaritsa. And actually, tsar Ivan the Terrible chose her for himself as spouse.

The Life of the Monk Gennadii was written by his disciple, the heguman Aleksei, between the years 1584-1587. In it was inserted the spiritual last-testament, dictated by the Monk Gennadii himself. In it he commands to observe the monastery ustav (rule) and to toil constantly, to be at peace with everyone, and to preserve the books collected at the monastery, while striving to understand their meaning. The monk appealed: “Strive towards the light, and shun the darkness”.

The Monk Gennadii died on 23 January 1565; on 19 August 1646 occurred his churchly glorification.

The Transfer of the Relics of Sainted Theoktist, Archbishop of Novgorod (1786). The account about him is located under 23 December.

The Monk Mausima the Syrian lived in Syria, near the city of Cyr or Cyrtha. For the salvation of soul he took upon himself voluntary poverty and devoted his life to the service of neighbour. The doors of his hut were always open to anyone who had need of him. In his hut there constantly stood two vessels: one with bread, and the other with oil. Anyone needing it came to him and received the food from his hand. These vessels never became empty. The monk died at the end of the IV Century.

The Monk Salaman the Silent was a native of the city of Kapersan, near the River Euphrates. Having found at the bank of the river a solitary cave, he became an hermit within it and spent there a life of silence and prayerful deeds.

And in learning of his lofty life, the bishop of Kapersan wanted to ordain him presbyter, but the man of silence did not answer him even a single word. The ascetic also in other instances of life did not cease his effort of silence, conversing only with the Lord alone. The Orthodox Church venerates him as the first saint to have taken upon himself the deed of silence, which he continued to his very end (+ c. 400).

Sainted Paulinus the Merciful, Bishop of Nolanum, was descended from an aristocratic and rich family of the city of Bordeaux (France). By virtue of his extensive education and upbringing, the twenty year old youth was selected to become a Roman senator, later he became consul and finally, governor of the region of Campagna in Italy. At twenty-five years of age he together with his spouse was converted to Christ and was baptised. After this he completely changed his manner of life: he disposed of all his property and distributed the money at hand to the needy, for which he had to endure the scorn of his friends and servants.

Not having children of their own, the pious couple adopted poor orphans and raised them in the fear of God. In his searchings for a secluded life, Saint Paulinus went off to the Spanish city of Barcelona.

News about his ascetic life spread about, and in the year 393 they besought him to accept the dignity of presbyter. Soon he left Spain and went on to the city of Nola (in Latin “Nolanum”) in Italy, where he was chosen bishop.

When Vandal barbarians invaded Italy and carried off many people to Africa in captivity, holy Bishop Paulinus then made use of church funds to ransom the captives. However, not having sufficient means to ransom the son of a certain poor widow, he himself went voluntarily into slavery in place of him. In the attire of a slave, Saint Paulinus began to serve the Vandal prince.

Soon his secret was revealed, and he not only himself received his freedom, but he obtained it for all the captives, and together with them returned home. His love for mankind and compassion for all the poor and needy comprises a distinctive feature of his character. Saint Paulinus is known both as a builder of churches and as a Christian poet. He died at 78 years of age on 22 June 431. There remains from him several hymns and writings, containing various moral discourses imbued with deep piety. His relics are situated in Rome, in the church of the holy Apostle Bartholomew.

The Sixth OEcumenical Council was convened by the emperor Constantine Pogonatos (668-685) at Constantinople in the year 681 concerning the Monothelite heresy. At it were present 171 holy fathers, who affirmed the confession of faith concerning the two wills in Jesus Christ – the Divine and the human. Continuing the work, this Council was followed by another Council in the year 691 in the imperial palaces, called the Council of Trullo. At this Council was made an examination of practical matters as to their canonical propriety, and 102 rule-canons were established.

© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos