July 16 2020 - July 03 2020

Martyr Jacinthus (Hyacinth) (+ 108).

Sainted-Hierarchs: Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia (Transfer of Relics, 1652); Vasilii, Bishop of Ryazan (+ 1295); Vasilii, Archbishop of Novgorod (+ 1352).

Monks: Anatolii of Pechersk, in Nearer Caves (XIII); John and Longin of Yarengsk (+ 1544-1545); Nikodim of Kozheezersk (+ 1640). Nobleborn Princes Vasilii and Konstantin of Yaroslavsk (XIII).

Blessed: John, Fool-for-Christ, of Moscow (+ 1589); Thomas, Irodion, Michael and Vasilii of Sol’vychegodsk (XVII).

Sainted Anatolios, Patriarch of Constantinople (+ 458).

Martyrs: Diomedes, Eulamios, Asclepiodotos and Martyress Golinducha (II); Mokios and Mark (IV); Erasmas; Gerasimos (+ 1812).

Monks: Alexander, First-Head of the “Unceasing Vigilance” Monastery (+ c. 430); George the Hermit (X) (Gruzia).

The Holy Martyr Jacinthus (Hyacinth), a native of Caesarea Cappadocia, grew up in a Christian family. The Roman emperor Trajan made him his “cubicularius” (bed-chamberlain).

Once during the time of a pagan festival the emperor Trajan was feasting in a pagan-temple together with his companions, eating of the idol-offered food, but the youth Jacinthus, having remained at the palace, shut himself up in a small room and prayed fervently to the Lord Jesus Christ. One of the servants overheard the words of prayer. He made a denunciation to the emperor, that Jacinthus, entrusted with an imperial position, did not honour the Roman gods but was secretly praying to Christ.

They immediately arrested Saint Jacinthus and led him to Trajan. The emperor demanded that he eat of the idol-offered meat, but the saint bravely refused and declared himself a Christian. By order of Trajan, they locked up the holy martyr in prison after fierce tortures, and they exhausted him with hunger and thirst, so as to force him to eat of idolatrous food. On the 38th day, one of the guards, bringing the idol-offering meat, saw Angels alongside the martyr, dressing him in bright attire and placing on his head a crown.

The torturers decided to continue with the trial over the saint, but they found him in prison already dead. The twelve year old Jacinthus died in the year 108 in the city of Rome. They afterwards transferred the relics of the saint to Caesarea.

The Transfer of the Relics of Sainted Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow and Wonderworker of All Russia: After the martyr’s death of Sainted Philip (+ 23 December 1570; the account about him is under 9 January), his body was buried at the Otrocha monastery, in Tver. The monks of the Solovetsk monastery, where formerly he was hegumen, in 1591 requested permission for the transfer of his relics to their monastery. The much-suffered and undecayed body was placed in a grave, prepared by Saint Philip for himself while still alive, beneathe the portico of a temple of the Monks Zosima and Savvatii of Solovetsk, nearby the grave of the starets-elder Jona (Shamin), his beloved guide in monastic deeds.

On 29 April 1649 a grammota by Patriarch Joseph was sent to the hegumen of the Solovetsk monastery, Ilia, concerning the solemn uncovering of the relics of the Sainted Wonderworker Philip. On 31 May the relics were transferred into a new reliquary and placed in the Preobrazhenie-Transfiguration cathedral.

In 1652 Nikon, then still the metropolitan of Novgorod, proposed that there be transferred to Moscow the relics of the three Martyr Sainted-hierarchs: Metropolitan Philip, and Patriarchs Job and Ermogen. With the blessing of Patriarch Joseph, Metropolitan Nikon set off in 1652 to Solovetsk for the relics of Saint Philip and solemnly conveyed them to Moscow. Into the hand of the saint was put a document (grammota) of repentance by tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich, in which he besought the forgiveness of sins of his great-grandfather Ivan the Terrible, “transgressing” his own power afront the power of the Church. On 3 July the holy relics were met in Moscow: “a pastor, innocent and cast out, was returned to his own throne”. In the Uspensky Sobor-cathedral “in his own centre-place he stood for 10 days” and all day from morning til night there were bells, just like on Pascha Sunday. Afterwards the holy relics were placed in the Uspensky Sobor at the south door of the altar.

At the place where the relics of Saint Philip were met in Moscow by clergy and people, a cross was set up, which gave its name to the Krestov-Cross Tollgate in Moscow (at the Rizhsk rail-station).

Sainted Vasilii, Bishop of Ryazan and Murom: His memory is celebrated by the Church on 10 June and 3 July (the day of his death in 1295). On 10 June 1609 the holy relics of Bishop Vasilii at Ryazan were uncovered and transferred to the Uspenie-Dormition cathedral church.

Sainted Vasilii I, Wonderworker of Ryazan, is mentioned in the Lavrentian Chronicles, and in the ancient list of Ryazan hierarchs, he is mentioned as the fourth. (The later Vasilii II, + 1360, was ordained to the dignity of bishop in 1356 by Sainted Alexei, Metropolitan of Moscow, + 1378). An older tradition connects with Saint Vasilii the transfer to Ryazan of the wonderworking image of the Murom Icon of the Mother of God (account under 12 April). Saint Vasilii was at first bishop of Murom. But by the slander of the spirit of evil the citizens rose up against him, unjustly accusing him of transgressions unbecoming an archpastor. Then the saint, after prolonged prayer, left for the River Oka, and spreading out on the water his bishop’s mantle he stood upon it, holding in his hands the image of the MostHoly Mother of God of Murom. A strong wind carried him against the current and after several hours he reached Ryazan, where he was received with reverence by the Ryazan prince and people.

Still during his lifetime Saint Vasilii was regarded a righteous and pious man. Long before his relics were uncovered at the beginning of the XVII Century, the Ryazan people cherished his memory and called him “their constant intercessor, helper in sorrows and travail”. To him most often they turned in setting out on journeys: on dry land – against problems, on the water – against drowning.

In about the year 1540 the monk Erazm Ermolaev wrote – “An Account about Vasilii, Bishop of Ryazan and Murom”.

Blessed John, Fool-for-Christ, Moscow Wonderworker, was born in the Vologda outskirts. In his youth he toiled at a saltworks, where he was a “water-carrier”. With his heavy work the saint combined strict fasting and prayer. Later he moved on to Rostov, where he began his exploit of holy fool. He wore chains with heavy iron crosses and on his head was an heavy iron cap, for which they called him “Ioann – Big-Cap”. In Moscow he went barefoot and almost naked in even the most severe frost, and he foretold the great misfortunes for Russia, the Time of Troubles and the incursion of the Polish, saying, that “in Moscow will be many seen and unseen devils”.

He fearlessly spoke the truth to everyone, regardless of the position they might occupy. Even to the tsar himself, Boris Godunov, he often said the words: “A clever mind, thou inquirest God’s doing. God long waiteth, painfully indeed it breaketh”. Before death Saint John indicated for himself a grave at the Pokrov church on Rva, afterwards called the cathedral of Basil/Vasilii the Great. Having readied himself for the grave, he removed the chains and thrice showered himself with water. Before his death (+ 1589) the blessed one displayed the gift of healing. He was venerated at Moscow as a great wonderworker and seer. On 12 June 1672 his relics were uncovered, resting beneathe a crypt in one of the chapels of the cathedral of Basil the Great. The service and vita-life were preserved in manuscripts of the XVII Century.

The Monk Nikodim of Kozheezersk, in the world Nikita, was born in the village of Ivan’kovo near Rostov into a peasant family. While still in his youth, working with his father in the fields, he heard the words: “Nikodim! Nikodim!” announcing his future monasticism.

After the death of his parents he learned the blacksmith craft in Yaroslavl' and then arrived in Moscow. One time, going past Kulishka, Nikita stopped at the hut of the holy fool Ilia, who upon seeing him cried out: “the Khuz’yugsk ascetic hath arrived”. These words made a strong impression upon Nikita, and he perceived them as a summoning to the monastic life. Having given away everything he owned, he went to the archimandrite of the Chudov monastery, Paphnutii, asking to be accepted into the number of the brethren.

In this monastery he accepted tonsure with the name Nikodim. For eleven years the monk was an example to the brethren in humility, obedience, non-covetousness and brotherly love. In 1602 the hegumen of the monastery, Paphnutii, was made metropolitan of Sarsk, and he took Nikodim with him. But the saint was seeking for a solitary and ascetic life. A year afterwards, with the blessing of the Vladyka, he set out to the north and at first entered the common-life Kozheezersk monastery, in which he spent a year and an half.

His desire for quietude led him to the Rivulet Khuz’yuga, 5 versts distant from the Kozheezersk monastery. There in a forest thicket he set up for himself a small cell and dwelt in it without emerging for 35 years, in imitation of Paul the Thebian. In total quiet, far off from the world, the saint made his strict rule of prayer for the world. He shared with the brethren of the monastery the fruits of his labour, so also the fish, which he loved to catch on fishing-tackle. Wild deer walked without worry and fed around his hermitage. The Monk Nikodim passed the night at prayer and only occasionally permitted himself to doze off now and then whilst sitting up. By his austere efforts he attained to high spiritual abilities, – he acquired the gift of tears and of uninterrupted prayer. God rewarded him with a graced perspicacity and the power of healing the sick.

One time two radiant men appeared to Saint Nikodim: Sainted Alexei, Metropolitan of Moscow, and the Monk Dionysii, Archimandrite of the Holy Trinity Sergiev Lavra, – in angelic garb. They announced to the monk about the time of his going to the Lord, which occurred in 40 days, on 3 July 1640. The relics of the Monk Nikodim rest beneathe a crypt in the Bogoyavlenie-Theophany church of the Kozheezersk monastery. The life of the saint was recorded by his student, the priestmonk Iakov.

The Holy Martyrs Mokios and Mark were arrested as Christians and brought to trial by the governor Maximian. They refused to offer sacrifice to idols, for which they suffered death by beheading by the sword (IV Century).

The Monk Alexander, First-Head of the “Unceasing Vigilance” Monastery, was born in Asia and received his education at Constantinople. He spent some time in military service but, sensing a call to other service, he left the world and accepted monastic tonsure in one of the Syrian wilderness monasteries near Antioch, under the guidance of hegumen Elias. He spent four years in strict obedience and monastic effort, after which he received from the hegumen blessing to dwell in the wilderness. Going into the wilderness, the monk took with him nothing from the monastery, except the Gospel. The monk then asceticised in the wilderness for seven years. Afterwards, the Lord summoned him to preach to pagans. The saint converted to Christ the local city-ruler named Rabul, who afterwards was granted the dignity of bishop and for 30 years occupying the bishop’s cathedra-chair at the city of Edessa. Together with Rabul all the local inhabitants accepted Baptism, and before receiving the sacrament they burned their idols in the city-square. Having confirmed the newly-converted in the faith, the Monk Alexander again went into the wilderness, where by chance he came upon a cave of robbers. Fearless of the death that might threaten him, he preached the Gospel to them and urged them to repent. And actually, all the robbers sincerely did repent, the accepted holy Baptism, and their cave they transformed into a monastery, where they dwelt in prayer and penitence. The Monk Alexander appointed an hegumen for them, gave them a monastic rule, and he himself resettled still farther in the wilderness. For several years he lived in complete solitude. But even there lovers of solitude began to throng to the monk. A monastery emerged, numbering 400 monks. Desiring at this monastery to establish uninterrupted praise to the Lord, the monk prayed for three years, that the Creator would reveal to him His will, and having then received the revelation, he initiated at the monastery the following order: all the monks were divided into 24 watches of prayer. Changing shifts each hour, day and night they sang in two choirs the Psalms of David, interrupting this only for the times of making Divine-services. The monastery received the name “Unceasing Vigilance”, since ascetics throughout the cycle of both day and night sang praise to God.

The Monk Alexander guided the monastery on the Euphrates for twelve years. Afterwards, having left as its hegumen one of his disciples, the experienced elder Trophymos, he set out with some chosen brethren through the cities bordering on Persia, preaching the Gospel among the pagans. After this missionary journeying, the Monk Alexander lived with his monks for a certain while at Antioch. There he built for the city-dwellers a church, and an home for the sick and homeless, from the means which charitable Antiochians abundantly put at his disposal. However, through the intrigues of the jealous, the Monk Alexander was compelled to move away to Constantinople. Here he founded a new monastery, in which likewise he initiated a monastic rule of “unceasing vigilance”. The Monk Alexander and his monks suffered at Constantinople under the Nestorian heretics, enduring beatings and imprisonment. After this, when the storm of heretic unrest abated, the Monk Alexander spent the last days of his life at the Constantinople monastery founded by him. He died in extreme old age in about the year 430, after 50 years of incessant monastic effort. His commemoration is also 23 February, which see.

Sainted Anatolios, Patriarch of Constantinople, was born at Alexandria in the 2nd half of the IV Century – during a time, when many representatives of illustrious Byzantine families awakened ardently in the faith and in the armament of Greek philosophic wisdom they strove to serve the Church of Christ. Having received a philosophic education, Saint Anatolios accepted the priestly dignity as deacon under Sainted Cyril of Alexandria (account is under 18 January). Together with Saint Cyril, Anatolios was present at the Third OEcumenical Council at Ephesus in the year 431 (Comm. 9 September), at which the holy fathers condemned the false-teaching of Nestorius.

Saint Anatolios remained a deacon at Alexandria and after the death of Saint Cyril (+ 444), when the cathedra-seat of the archbishop of Constantinople was occupied by Dioskoros, who supported another heresy being spread by Eutykhios, affirming that the Divine nature in Christ had fully swallowed up and absorbed His human nature, leaving nothing of it behind. This false teaching undermined the very basis of the Church’s teaching about the salvation and redemption of humankind [trans. note: since “what is not assumed upon is not saved”, if Christ be by nature Divine only and not human by nature, then Christ-God will have died and risen in vain for the salvation of humankind in its human nature, and even the Incarnation of Christ would be rendered heretically docetic]. In the year 449 Dioskoros with his adherents convened at Ephesus an heretical “Robbers Council”, having received also the support of the emperor. The advocate of Orthodoxy, Saint Flavian, the Patriarch of Constantinople, was deposed and deprived of dignity.

Chosen then to the Constantinople cathedra-seat, Saint Anatolios zealously set about the restoration of the purity of Orthodoxy. Saint Anatolios already in the year 450 at the Local Council in Constantinople ventured a condemnation of the heresy of Eutykhios and Dioskoros. Having died in exile, the Patriarch-confessor Flavian was enumerated into the ranks of the Saints and his relics transferred to the capital.

In the following year, 451, with the active participation of Patriarch Anatolios, the Fourth OEcumenical Council was convened at Chalcedon. The fathers of the Chalcedon Council affirmed the dogma about the worship of the Lord Jesus Christ, “perfect in Divinity and perfect in humanity, true God and true man, made known in two natures – without mingling, without change, indivisibly, inseparably” (Greek: “asugkhutos, atreptos, adiairetos, akhoristos”; Slavonic: “neslitno, neizmenno, nerazdel’no, nerazluchno”).

But heresies still long vexed the ecclesial world. In incessant struggle with false‑teachings and ardent for truth, Patriarch Anatolios died in the year 458.

From the canon-rule actions taken, there was elaborated for the sainted-hierarch the 28th Canon of the Fourth OEcumenical Council about the equal-honour of the Constantinople patriarchal throne to that of the throne of Old Rome, and likewise a statement of this Canon to Saint Leo, Pope of Rome (440-461). Within the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople, in accord with the 28th Canon, was put the Churches of Asia Minor, Greece and the Black Sea region, and likewise all new Churches, that might arise among the nations of these regions. And by this also the Russian Church was deliberately included into the ecclesial enumeration of the Orthodox Churches.

Saint Anatolios likewise made a large contribution to the literary treasury of the Orthodox Church. By his prayerful inspiration and theological profundity there are in Divine-services stikhi-verses for Sundays, for certain feastdays of the Lord (the Nativity and the Theophany of Christ), and martyr-days (to Saint Panteleimon the Healer, to Saint George the Victory-Bearer, to Saint Demetrios of Thessalonika). In the Divine-service books they are designated simply as “Anatoliev” verses.

Sainted Vasilii, Archbishop of Novgorod, by surname Kalika (meaning “destitute wanderer or psalmodist”), was a priest at Novgorod and for his virtuous life was chosen to the Novgorod cathedra-seat. Saint Vasilii was ordained archbishop of Novgorod by the holy Metropolitan Theognist (+ 1353, Comm. 14 March) in Vladimir Volynsk in 1331. He headed the Novgorod cathedra during a terrible time of princely quarrels and inner factions within the city itself. Repeatedly he met with the Moscow Great-prince Ivan Kalita, inclining him towards peace with Novgorod. In 1344, when at Novgorod there gathered simultaneously two council-committees, hostile to each other, for throwing out the posadnik-mayor, the saint made peace between both sides. After two ruinous conflagrations occurred at Novgorod, Saint Vasilii displayed archpastoral concern for the devastated city: from cathedral funds he helped restore burnt-out buildings, he constructed a new bridge across the Vol’khov, and put monks at the churches. At the Borisoglebsk temple in Novgorod was preserved an icon of the holy nobleborn Princes Boris and Gleb, written by him. The self-sacrificing activity of Saint Vasilii was commented upon by a contemporary – the chronicler, thus: “Grant him, O Lord, to live many years upon this world and afterwards put him at Thine right side, – so much hath he toiled for Thy Church”.

The love of the saint for the flock is quite clearly shown, when at the request of the Pskov people he fearlessly went to their city during an epidemic of pestilential plague. Saint Vasilii made Divine-services in three churches, then went about the city in church procession, encouraging and comforting the fallen spirits of the inhabitants, but on the return journey to Novgorod he himself sickened and died on 3 July 1352, having like a good pastor given his soul for the sheep (Jn. 10: 11).

From his preserved works there is known his “Missive about Earthly Paradise”, written in 1347 and directed to the Tver bishop Theodore the Good. With the name of holy Archbishop Vasilii is connected the account about the white klobuk (head-piece), presented to the Vladyka as a gift from the Patriarch of Constantinople. By tradition, this klobuk was entrusted by the holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine (+ 337, Comm. 21 May) to Saint Sylvester, Pope of Rome (+ 335, account about him is under 2 January). The white klobuk of Saint Vasilii was for the Russian Church a symbol of pre-eminent transfer of the spiritual centre of Orthodoxy from Old Rome, – through New Rome, Tsar’grad (Constantinople), – to the Third Rome, Moscow.

The Repose of Nobleborn Princes Vasilii and Konstantin Vsevolodovich of Yaroslavsk: In their youth they lost their father, Vsevolod, who fell in battle with the Tatars (Mongols). Saint Vasilii, the elder brother, succeeded to the throne. A multitude of concerns, tasks and sorrows beset him as prince. The city and the villages were devastated from the invasion of the Tatars, many households remained without shelter and food, and he had to concern himself about everything and about everyone. Besides this, it was necessary to gain the good-will of the Tatar khan, and the holy prince more than once made journey for this reason to the Horde. He suffered also a family misfortune – the loss of his only son. All his tribulations the holy prince suffered without complaint, and he ruled the princedom, like a true Christian: he did not enter into disputes with other princes, he concerned himself over the misfortunate among his subjects, and he built churches. But soon his life, filled with many sorrows, exhausted the strength of the prince, and he took sick and died in the year 1249. After him holy Prince Konstantin succeeded to the throne. He strove to imitate his brother, but to his great dismay, everywhere he saw pillage and murdering done by the Tatars. In 1257 the Tatars fell upon Yaroslavl' itself. The prince came out to fight the enemy, but here in this battle he gave up his life for his country. In the year 1501 the relics of the holy princes were uncovered undecayed and now rest in the Yaroslavsk cathedral.

© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos