July 19 2020 - July 06 2020

Monk Sisoi the Great (+ 429).

Monk Sisoi, SchemaMonk of Pechersk Lavra, in the Farther Caves (XIII). Opening of Relics of the Righteous Maiden Juliania, Princess of Ol’shansk (XVI).

Martyrs: Marinus, Martha, Audifax, Avvakum (Habbakuk), Cyrenus, Valentine the Presbyter, Asterius and many others at Rome (+ 269); Isaurios the Deacon, Innocent, Felix, Hermias, Basil, Peregrinus, Ruphus and Ruphinus (III); Quintus of Phrygia (+ c. 283); the Virgin Lucy and with her the Martyrs Rexus, Anthony, Lucian, Isidor, Dion, Diodorus, Cutonias, Aron, Capicus and Satyrus (+ 301); Archippus, Philimon, Onysimus, Apollonias, Alexandrion and Epimachus; Anatolius, Serenus, Apamus, Victor, Neasus, Apollonias, Pampian.

The Monk Sisoi the Great (+ 429) was an hermit-monk, pursuing asceticism in the Egyptian wilderness in a cave sanctified by the prayerful labours of his predecessor – the Monk Anthony the Great (Comm. 17 January). For his sixty years of wilderness deeds the Monk Sisoi attained to sublime spiritual purity and he was vouchsafed a gift of wonderworking, such that by his prayer he even once returned a dead lad back to life.

Extremely strict with himself, the Monk Sisoi was very merciful and compassionate to those nearby and he received everyone with love. Those, who visited him, the monk first of all always taught humility. To the question of one of the monks as to how might he attain to a constant mindfulness of God, the monk remarked: “That is still not of much consequence, my son, but more important is this – to account oneself below everyone else, because such disparagement assists in the acquisition of humility”. Asked by the monks, whether one year is sufficient for repentance in having fallen into sin against a brother, – the Monk Sisoi said: “I believe in the mercy of God the Lover-of-Mankind, and if a man repent with all his soul, then God wilt accept his repentance in the course of three days”.

When the Monk Sisoi lay upon his death-bed, the disciples surrounding the elder saw that his face did shine. They asked the dying man what he saw. Abba Sisoi answered, that he looked upon the prophets and apostles. The disciples asked, with whom did the monk converse? He said that Angels had come for his soul, and he had entreated them to give him a short bit of time yet for repentance. “Thou, father, hast not need for repentance,” – replied the students. But the Monk Sisoi, with his great humility, answered: “I do not know for sure whether I have even begun to make my repentance”. After these words the face of the holy abba shone so, that the brethren were not able to look upon him. The monk had time to tell them that he saw the Lord Himself, and his holy soul expired to the Heavenly Kingdom.

The Monastic Sisoi, SchemaMonk of Pechersk (XIII), is commemorated in the general service of the Monastic Fathers of Kievo-Pechersk reposing in the Farther Caves. He is mentioned together with the Monk Gregory the Faster: “Sisoi the wondrous and Gregory, a name courageous, having by fasting both restrained their passions, humble ye the fierce lust of our flesh: for unto you is given to have grace to help us in our passions” (5th ode of the Canon).

Opening of the Relics of Righteous Maiden Juliania, Princess of Ol’shansk: Saint Juliania lived during the first quarter of the XVI Century. Her father, prince Yurii Dubrovitsky-Ol’shansky, was one of the benefactors of the Kievo-Pechersk Lavra. The righteous maiden died at 16 years of age. Her body, buried at the Kievo-Pechersk Lavra near the Great church, was found undecayed during the time of the archimandrite Elisei Pletenets (1599-1624). The holy relics were burned in a fire at the Great church in the year 1718, but the remains were put in a reliquary and placed in the Nearer Caves. Archimandrite Peter Moghila (afterwards metropolitan of Kiev), to whom the saint appeared in a dream reproaching him for lack of attention to her grave, ordered a new reliquary to be made. On the reliquary then was made the inscription: “By the will of the Creator of heaven and earth doth dwell for all years Juliania, patroness and great intercessor to Heaven. Here are the bones – healing against all passions… Thou adornest paradise, Juliania, like a beautiful flower…”

The Holy Martyrs – Marinus, Martha, Audifax, Avvakum (Habbakuk), Cyrenus, Valentine the Presbyter, Asterius and many others with them at Rome:

During the reign of the emperor Claudius II (268-270), Saint Marinus together with his wife Martha and their sons Audifax and Avvakum journeyed from Persia to Rome, to pray at the graves of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul. During this time fierce persecutions and executions befell the Roman Church. Saint Marinus with his wife and sons began to aid christians locked up in the prisons, and also to request the bodies of executed martyrs. At one of these jails they met a prisoner named Cyrenus and with love they helped him, as being one that had endured many torments for faith in Christ. The persecution spread and an even larger number of christians were arrested. During this time 260 christians, among whom was the tribune Vlastus, had been sent under the court sentence to dig ground along the Salerian Way, and were executed by bowmen. Marinus and his family, having learned about this vicious murder, together with the presbyter John began by night to take up the bodies of the martyrs for burial in the catacombs. Having returned later to the prison where Saint Cyrenus was locked up, they did not find him, since he had been executed the day before and his body thrown into the Tiber River. Doing their holy duty, Saints Marinus and Martha and their sons removed the body of the holy martyr from the river and committed it to earth. The holy workers were among christians, who continued secretly to make the Divine-services under the lead of holy bishop Callistus, and were hidden by them from pursuers.

In consummation of their great charitable deeds the holy family was deemed worthy to serve the Lord by accepting martyrs deaths. The pagans beheaded the courageous Confessor Valentine (Valentinus) the Presbyter, and the imperial gardener Asterius who had been converted by him, and together with these the holy ascetics from Persia were arrested and given over to torture. By order of the emperor, in the year 269 Saints Marinus, Audifax and Avvakum were beheaded, and Saint Martha was drowned in a river.

The relics of the holy saints are located at Rome, at the Church of Saint John the Hut-Dweller, and the relics of Saint Valentine, – are in the Church of the holy Martyress Paraskeva.

The Holy Martyrs Isaurios the Deacon, Innocent, Felix, Hermias, Basil, Peregrinus, – were Athenians, suffering for Christ in the Macedonian city of Apollonia under the emperor Numerian (283-284). Beheaded with them for believing in Christ were two city-governors – Ruphus and Ruphinus.

The Holy Martyr Quintus hailed from Phrygia, a Roman province of Asia Monor, where since childhood he was brought up in Christian faith and piety. Having come to Neolida, he did many charitable acts and by prayer he healed those possessed by unclean spirits. The governor of the district Ruphus demanded the saint to offer pagan sacrifice to idols, but he fell down into a demonic fit and Saint Quintus healed him in the Name of Christ. The shaken-up and grateful Ruphus released Saint Quintus, having rewarded him.

The holy ascetic set off to Pergamum, but along the way he was seized by pagans from the city of Cimum, who began to torture him because he was a christian. But the Lord Himself intervened for the holy confessor: a strong earthquake occurred destroying the idolatrous temple. The frightened pagans stopped the torture, but left the saint in chains until the arrival of the new governor Klearchos. Klearchos gave orders to break the legs of Saint Quintus, but by the grace of God the saint was healed and after his confessor’s act he lived 10 years more in the service of neighbour, working many miracles. He died in the year 283.

The Holy Martyrs Lucy the Virgin, Rexus, Anthony, Lucian, Isidor, Dion, Diodorus, Cutonias, Aron, Capicus and Satyrus:

Saint Lucy, a native of the Italian district of Campania, from the time of her youth dedicated herself to God and lived austerely and chastely. And while still quite young, she was taken captive by Rexus, leader of one of the Germanic tribes, and carried off into a foreign land. Rexus at first tried to compel Saint Lucy to make the pagan rituals but, seeing her firmness of faith and readiness to accept torture for the Name of Christ, he was inspired with profound respect for her and even permitted her and her servants the use of a separate house, where they lived in solitude, spending the time in unceasing prayer. Setting off on military campaigns, Rexus reverently asked the prayer of Saint Lucy and he returned with victories.

After 20 years Saint Lucy, having learned that the emperor Diocletian had started up a persecution against christians, entreated Rexus to send her back to Italy. She wanted to glorify the Lord together with her fellow countrymen. Rexus, under the influence of Saint Lucy, by this time had already accepted Christianity and even yearned with a desire for the deed of martyrdom. Leaving behind his retinue and family, he set of to Rome together with Saint Lucy. By the sentence of the Roman prefect Aelius, they were beheaded with a sword. After them were beheaded the holy martyrs Anthony, Lucian, Isidor, Dion, Diodorus, Cutonias, Aron, Capicus and Satyrus (+ 301).

© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos