July 31 2020 - July 18 2020
Martyrs Emelian (+ 363) and Iacynthos (Hyacinthe) of Amastridea (IV). GreatMartyr Athanasias (III-IV). Martyrs: Marcellus; Dasias and Maron.
MonkMartyr Kosma (+ 1630, Gruzia). Sainted-Hierarchs Stephen of Constantinople, from Amasia (925-928), and John the Confessor, Metropolitan of Chalcedon.
Monks: John the Much-Suffering, in the Nearer Caves (+ 1160), and Pamva, Hermit of Pechersk, in the Farther Caves (XIII). Monk Pambos the Hermit (IV).
Blessed Leontii of Ustiug, Fool-for-Christ (XV).
Kaluzhsk Icon of the Mother of God.
The Holy Martyr Emelian, a Slav, suffered for Christ during the reign of the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363). Julian wanted to restore in the Roman empire the cult of the pagan gods, and he circulated an edict throughout all the regions, according to which all Christians would be subject to death.
The city of Dorostolum, situated on the banks of the River Dunaj (Danube), where Saint Emelian lived, was governed by an official named Capitolinus. The imperial edict was read in the city square. The people of Dorostolum said that there were no Christians in the city.
Saint Emelian was a slave of the local city-head, and he was secretly a Christian. Emboldened by the harsh edict, Saint Emelian snuck into the pagan temple, he destroyed statues of the idols with an hammer, he overturned the altars and the candle-stands, and then emerged without notice. But soon the pagans discovered, that the pagan-temple was in ruins. An angry crowd began to beat up a certain Christian, who by chance happened by. Saint Emelian then shouted out loudly, that they should not lay hold of that innocent man, and then he said that he himself had wrecked the pagan-temple. They seized hold of him and led him for judgement to Capitolinus. By order of the official, Saint Emelian was for a long time beaten mercilessly, and then he was condemned to burning. Thrown into a bon-fire, he did not perish, but rather the flames burnt many of the pagans standing about. And when the bon-fire had gone out, Saint Emelian lay down upon the dying embers and with a prayer gave up his spirit to the Lord (+ 363). At Constantinople afterwards there was built a church in honour of the holy Martyr Emelian, wherein also they transferred his relics.
The Holy Martyr Iacynthos (Hyacinthe) (IV) was born into a pious Christian family in the city of Amastridea (now Amastra in Anatolia). An Angel which appeared gave him his name. As a three year old boy Saint Iacynthos besought of God that a dead infant might be resurrected, and the Lord hearkened to his childish prayer: the dead one arose. Both lads afterwards grew up together, and together they asceticised in virtuous life. Saint Iacynthos once noticed, how the pagans were worshipping a tree, and so he chopped it down. For this they subjected him to harsh tortures. They smashed out all his teeth, and having bound him with rope, they dragged him along the ground and threw him in prison. And it was there that the holy sufferer expired to God.
The Monk John the Much-Suffering, of Pechersk, pursued asceticism at the Kievo-Pechersk Lavra.
The ascetic related, that from the time of his youth he had suffered much, tormented by fleshly lust, and nothing could deliver him from it – neither hunger nor thirst nor heavy chains. The monk then went into the cave wherein rested the relics of the Monk Antonii, and he fervently prayed to the holy abba. After a day and a night the much-suffering John heard a voice: “John! It is necessary for thee to here seclude thyself, so that at least to weaken the vexation by silence and the unseen, and the Lord shalt help thee through the prayers of His monastic saints”. The saint settled into the cave from that time, and only after thirty years did he conquer the fleshly passions. Tense and fierce was the struggle upon the thorny way on which the monk went to victory. Sometimes the desire took hold of him to forsake his seclusion, but then he resolved on still greater an effort. The holy warrior of Christ dug out a pit and with the onset of Great Lent he climbed into it, and he covered himself up to the shoulders with ground. The whole of Lent he spent in such a position, but the burning of his former passions did not quit his much-exerted flesh. The enemy of salvation brought terror upon the ascetic, in wanting to expel him from the cave: a fearsome serpent, breathing fire and strewn with sparks, tried to swallow the saint. For several days these evil doings continued. On the night of the Resurrection of Christ the serpent seized the head of the monk in its jaws. Then Saint John cried out from the depths of his heart: “O Lord my God and my Saviour!Wherefore hast Thou forsaken me? Have mercy upon me, Thou Only Lover-of-Mankind; deliver me from my foul iniquity, so that I wither not in the snares of the malevolent one; deliver me from the mouth of mine enemy: send down a lightning-flash and drive it away”. Suddenly a bolt of lightning flashed, and the serpent vanished. A Divine light shone upon the ascetic, and a Voice was heard: “John! Here is the help for thee; henceforth be attentive, that nothing worse happen to thee and that thou suffer not in the age to come”. The saint prostrated himself and said: “Lord! Why didst Thou leave me for so long in torment?” “For the power of thine endurance, – was the answer, – I brought upon thee temptation, so that thou might be smelted pure like gold; it is to the strong and powerful servants that a master doth assign the heavy work, and to the infirm and to the weak – the easy tasks; wherefore pray thou to the one buried here (the Monk Joseph the Hungarian), he can help thee in this struggle: he even moreso than Joseph (the Handsome)”. The monk died in about the year 1160, having acquired grace against profligate passions. His holy relics rest within the Antoniev Caves.
The Monk Pamva, a Kievo-Pechersk Hermit and PriestMonk, fulfilled the exploit of confessor. Caught while on a monastic obedience, he was taken off by Tatars and for many years suffered from them for his refusal to renounce the Christian faith. The monk was afterwards miraculously transported from captivity and put within his own cell. He died in seclusion in 1241. His relics rest in the Theodosiev Caves.
The Monk Pamba (IV) asceticised in the Nitreian wilderness in Egypt. The Monk Anthony the Great (Comm. 17 January) said, that the Monk Pamba by the fear of God inspired within himself the Holy Spirit. And the Monk Pimen the Great (Comm. 27 August) said: “We beheld three things in Father Pamba: hunger every day, silence and handcrafts”. The Monk Theodore the Studite termed Saint Pamba “exalted in deed and in word”.
At the beginning of his monasticism, Saint Pamba heard the verses from the 38th [39th] Psalm of David: “preserve mine path, that I sin not by my tongue”. These words sank deep into his soul, and he attempted to follow them always. Thus, when they asked him about something, he answered only after a long pondering and a prayer, risking to say something that he afterwards might regret. Saint Pamba was a model of a lover of work for his disciples. Each day he worked until exhausted, and by the bread acquired by his own toil.
The disciples of the Monk Pamba became great ascetics: Dioskoros, afterwards Bishop of Hermopolis (this Dioskoros, bishop of Hermopolis, mustneeds be distinguished from another Dioskoros – an arch heretic and patriarch of Constantinople, who lived rather later and was condemned by the Fourth OEcumenical Council), and also Ammonios, Eusebios and Eythymios – mentioned in the life of Sainted John Chrysostom. One time the Nun Melania the Roman (Comm. 31 December) brought Saint Pamba a large amount of silver for the needs of the monastery, but he did not leave off from his work nor even glance at the money that was brought. Only after the incessant requests of Saint Melania did he permit her to give the alms to a certain monastic brother for distribution to the needs of the monastery. Saint Pamba was distinguished by his humility, but together with this he highly esteemed the vocation of monk and he taught the laypeople to be respectful of monastics, who often converse with God.
The monk died at age 70. Telling the brethren that stood about his death-bed concerning the virtues he strove for during his life, Saint Pamba said: “For I do expire to the Lord such, as that I am but begun to live a God-pleasing monastic”.
The Holy GreatMartyr Athanasias (III-IV) was a contemporary and friend of the holy Martyrs Sergios and Backhos (Comm. 7 October). Having received the official position of eparch, he was sent to Egypt by the persecutor-emperor Maximian (284-305). They soon made denunciation against him for confessing the Christian faith. The governor, in supposing that Saint Athanasias had changed his mind, sent him off to Klisma (on the Red Sea) with an order to close down the Christian churches. Having arrived at this place, Saint Athanasias solemnly celebrated the feast of the Nativity of Christ in church. Soon the governor also arrived in Klisma. Learning about what had occurred, for a long time he urged the saint to renounce Christ, but seeing the steadfastness of the saint, he ordered him beheaded.
The Monk Leontii was the founder of the Karikhov monastery, near Novgorod. He expired to the Lord on 18 July 1429.
The Kaluzhsk Icon of the Mother of God: The feast on this day was established and done at Kaluga in grateful memory of the deliverance of the city from cholera on 18 July 1892. (The account about the appearance of the icon is located under 2 September).
© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos