February 13 2020 - January 31 2020

UnMercenary Martyrs Cyrus and John, and together with them the Martyress Athanasia and her Daughters: Theodotia, Theoktista and Eudoxia (+ 311).

Sainted Nikita, Hermit of Pechersk, Bishop of Novgorod (+ 1109). Martyrs Victorinus, Victor, Nicephorus, Claudius, Diodorus, Serapion and Papias (+ 251). Martyress Tryphena of Kyzikos. MonkMartyr Elias of Ardenysia (+ 1686). Sainted Athanasias, Bishop of Methoneia (IX).

The Holy UnMercenary Cyrus was a noted physician in the city of Alexandria, where he was born and grew up. He was a Christian and he doctored all the sick for free, not only offering help for bodily ills, but healing also infirmities of soul, such as were causes of bodily sickness. Preaching the Gospel teaching, the holy physician converted many pagans to Christ. During the time of the persecution by Diocletian (284-305), Saint Cyrus withdrew into the Arabian wilderness, where he took on the monastic life, and continued there also to doctor people by his prayer, having received from God the gift to heal every sickness.

In the city of Edessa at this time lived the soldier John, a pious Christian. When the persecution started, he went to Jerusalem and there, hearing about Saint Cyrus, he began to search for him, and he went first to Alexandria and then to Arabia. Having finally found Saint Cyrus, John with all his heart became attached to him and became his faithful follower. They learned that in Egypt in the city of Canopis had been arrested the Christian Athanasia and her three young daughters: Theoktista – age 15, Theodotia – age 13, and Eudoxia – age 11. Saints Cyrus and John hastened to go to them in help, worrying that fear in the face of torture might impel them to renounce Christ. They visited them in prison and gave them courage to stand what was before them. Learning of this, the governor of the city arrested Saints Cyrus and John, and convincing himself of their steadfast and fearless confession of faith in Christ, he gave them over to terrible tortures before the very eyes of Athanasia and her daughters, who in turn bravely endured all the tortures and were beheaded. After them at the same place they executed the holy UnMercenaries Cyrus and John (+ 311). Christians buried their bodies in a church of the holy Disciple and Evangelist Mark. In the V Century the relics of Saints Cyrus and John were transferred from Canopis to Manuphin. Later on their relics were transferred to Rome, and from there to Munchen (Munich) (an account further is located under 28 June).

Sainted Nikita, Bishop of Novgorod, in his youth entered the Kievo-Pechersk monastery and soon wished to become an hermit. The hegumen cautioned him that such an exploit for a young monk was premature, but he trusting in his own strength would not take heed. In the hermitage Saint Nikita fell into temptation. The devil appeared to him in the guise of an angel, and the inexperienced ascetic bowed down to him. The devil gave him advice, as it were to one having attained to perfection: “Bother not to pray, but only read and study other things, and I shall pray in place of thee”, – and he stood about the hermit, giving the appearance of seeming to pray for him. The seduced monk Nikita came to surpass everyone in knowledge of the Books of the Old Testament, but about the Gospel he would not speak, nor wanted to hear it. The Kievo-Pechersk elders went to the seduced monk, and having prayed, they drove out the devil from him. After this the Monk Nikita, remaining an hermit with the blessing of the elders, lived in strict fasting and prayer, more than anyone else practising obedience and humility. Through the prayer of the holy elders, the Merciful Lord brought him up from the depths of his fall to an high degree of spiritual perfection. Afterwards he was made bishop in Novgorod and for his holy life he was rewarded of God with a gift of wonderworking. Once during a time of drought by his prayer he brought down rain from the heavens, and another time by his prayer he stopped a conflagration in the city. Saint Nikita guided the Novgorod flock for 13 years and he died peacefully in 1109. In 1558 during the time of tsar Ioann Vasilievich, the glorification of the saint was made. His relics now rest in the church of the holy Apostle Philip in Novgorod.

The Holy Martyrs Victorinus, Victor, Nicephorus, Claudius, Diodorus, Serapion and Papias suffered at Corinth, in a persecution under the emperor Decius (249-251), in the year 251. Saints Victorinus, Victor and Nicephorus were secured into a stone mortar and died under the crushing of an huge stone pestle. Saint Claudius died after the cutting off of his hands and feet. Saint Diodorus was burnt, Saint Serapion beheaded, and Saint Papias they drowned in the sea.

The Holy Martyress Tryphena came from the city of Kyzikos. She voluntarily gave herself over to suffering for Christ. They threw her into a red-hot oven, tied her from an high tree, threw her from an height onto sharp spears, and then took her away for devouring by beasts, but the Lord preserved her unharmed. Finally, she was torn apart by a mad bull.

The MonkMartyr Elias of Ardenysia was a native of Moreia. He was noted for his prudence and goodness of heart. The people of the village loved and esteemed him and often got his advice. Through the temptation of the devil he once renounced faith in Christ, but soon he repented, and wanting to atone his sin, he withdrew to Athos, where for eight years he asceticised as a monk. Constantly torn by awareness of his sin, Saint Elias made a firm resolve to wash away his transgression by his own blood. With the blessing of his spiritual father, he set off to his native land, and in front of a throng of Turks he declared himself a Christian. They fiercely beat him and gave him a trial, which sentenced him to burning. the Lord glorified the holy martyr. He was put upon a bonfire, but the body of the martyr remained unharmed. The fire did not touch even his robe nor his hair, when his soul expired to the Lord (+ 1686). Christians buried his body in the Burkanos monastery.

© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos