June 18 2020 - June 05 2020
PriestMartyr Dorotheos, Bishop of Tyre (+ c. 362).
Nobleborn GreatPrince Igor of Chernigov and Kiev (Transfer of Relics, 1150). Blessed Constantine, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Russia (+ 1159). Nobleborn Prince Theodore (Feodor) Yaroslavich (Brother of Saint Alexander Nevsky), of Novgorod (+ 1233). Monks Vassian and Jona of Pertominsk, Solovetsk Wonderworkers (Uncovering of Relics, 1599). Martyrs Marcian, Nikander, Hyperekhias, Apollon, Leonides, Arias, Gorgias, Selinias, Ireneios, Pambonos (+ c. 305-311). Martyr Conon the Roman. Monk Anubios, Widerness-Dweller of Egypt (IV). Monk Theodore the Wonderworker (VI). Monk Abba Dorotheos, from the Monastery of Abba Serid (+ c. 620). Monk Peter of Korishsk (+ c. 1337-1351). Martyr Mark of Smyrna (+ 1801).
Igorevsk Icon of the Mother of God (1147).
The PriestMartyr Dorotheos was bishop of the Phoenician city of Tyre, during the time of the persecution against Christians under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). Heeding the words of the Gospel (Mt. 10: 23), the saint withdrew from Tyre and hid away from the persecutors. He returned to Tyre during the reign of Saint Constantine the Great (306-337, Comm. 21 May), again occupying the bishop’s throne he guided his flock for more than 50 years, and converted many of the pagans to Christianity. When the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363) began openly to persecute Christians, Saint Dorotheos was already over 100 years old. He withdrew from Tyre to the Myzean city of Udum (present day Bulgarian Varna). Delegates of the emperor arrested him there. For his refusal to offer sacrifice to idols they began cruelly to torture the holy elder, and under torture he gave up his soul to the Lord (+ c. year 362, at age 107).
To Saint Dorotheos is ascribed by some the compiling of a work, “The Synopsis”, a collection of sayings, and including lives of the holy prophets and apostles.
The Transfer of Relics of Blessed Igor, GreatPrince of Kiev: The Kievan GreatPrince Igor Ol’govich, in holy Baptism George (also Comm. 19 September), in the year 1146 suffered defeat and was taken captive by prince Izyaslav, who imprisoned him in one of the monasteries of Russian or Southern Pereyaslavl' (now Pereyaslavl'-Khmel’nitsk). Far removed from the vanities of this world, and grievously ill, he began to repent of his sins and asked permission to be tonsured a monk. On 5 January 1147 the Pereyaslavl' bishop Evphymii tonsured him into monasticism with the name Gavriil (Gabriel). Soon he recovered his health and transferred to the Kiev Theodorov monastery, where he became a schemamonk with the name Ignatii, and devoted himself entirely to monastic efforts.
But the spirit of fratricidal hatred stormed over Kiev. The Chernigov princes, cousins of Igor, plotted to entice Izyaslav of Kiev into a joint campaign – with the aim of seizing hold or even killing him. The plot was uncovered, when the prince was already on the way to Chernigov. The Kievans were in an uproar in learning of the ruse of the Chernigovichi, and they stormed into where the quite innocent Saint Igor was. And on 19 September 1147 Saint Igor was brutally murdered.
The Lord glorified the sufferer with miracles. With the blessing of the metropolitan Kliment Smolyatich, the hegumen of the Theodorov monastery Ananii made the burial of the “passion-bearer” in the church of the Kiev Simonov monastery. On 5 June 1150, when the Kiev throne had become occupied by Yuri Dolgoruky, his confederate and a brother by birth of the murdered Igor, – the Chernigov prince Svyatoslav Ol’govich, solemnly transferred the holy relics of Saint Igor to Chernigov his native region, where they were placed into a reliquary “with an attic-garret” in the Saviour cathedral church. And then also was established the feastday in memory of the saint.
Nobleborn Prince Theodore (Feodor) of Novgorod, the elder brother of Saint Alexander Nevsky, was born in the year 1218. His princely service to his native land began at a very early age; already in 1229 both brother had been left in Novgorod by their father Yaroslav Vsevolodovich as representatives of his power. But not even a year passed before the young princes had to quit Novgorod: the turbulent Novgorod people in their “veche” (“government council”) decided to invite another prince. But in the very next year, 1230, during a time of famine and epidemic, the Novgorodians again invited Yaroslav. On 30 December 1230 it became the fourth time that he sat as prince in Novgorod, but he remained in the city for only two weeks, when he seated there his sons and went off to Pereyaslavl'-Zalessk. In 1232 the fourteen year old Theodore was already summoned to serve God not only in prayer, but also by the sword: he took part in a campaign of the Russian troops against the pagan Mordovian princes.
In the year 1233 at the wish of his father he was obliged to enter into marriage with the daughter of the holy Prince Michael of Chernigov - Theodoulia. When the guests had already gathered at the wedding feast, the bridegroom suddenly died. After the unexpected death of her betrothed groom, the princess left the world and was tonsured in one of the Suzdal' monasteries, famed in her monastic efforts as the Nun Evphrosynia of Suzdal' (+ 1250, Comm. 25 September).
Saint Theodore was buried in the Yuriev monastery in Novgorod. In the year 1614 the Swedes, having pillaged the monastery, broke open the tomb of the prince and finding him whole and undecayed, they made mockery over the holy relics, setting up the body “as though alive” against the church walls. The Novgorod metropolitan Isidor transferred the relics to the Sophia cathedral, where they placed them in a chapel of the holy Prophet John, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord.
The service to Saint Theodore was compiled in the year 1787 by the metropolitan of Peterburg and Novgorod, Gavriil Petrov (+ 1801).
The Monks Vassian and Jona – were monks of the Solovetsk Transfiguration monastery and disciples of the holy Hegumen Philip, who later became Metropolitan of Moscow (+ 1570, Comm. 9 January).
The holy monks were glorified by the Lord after their death (1561).
Fishermen and sailors came to pray in the chapel, erected in 1599 over the place of their burial by the Trinity-Sergiev monastery elder Mamant. And in 1623 the priestmonk Iakov founded there a monastery, receiving the name Pertominsk.
The Holy Martyrs Marcian, Nikander, Hyperekhias, Apollon, Leonides, Arias, Gorgias, Selinias, Ireneios and Pambonos were natives of Egypt and suffered during the reign of Maximian (305-311). For their steadfast confession of faith in Christ they were subjected to a fierce scourging. They then threw the sufferers barely alive into prison, where an Angel appeared to them and healed their wounds. The holy martyrs died in prison from hunger and thirst.
The Monk Anubios, Egyptian Wilderness-Dweller, bravely endured tortures during the time of persecutions against Christians in the IV Century, but he remained alive and withdrew into the wilderness, where he dwelt into old age. He founded a small skete-monastery, in which he lived together with six monks, one of whom was his brother Pimen (Comm. of Monk Pimen the Great is 27 August). One time robbers laid waste to the skete, and the monks had to hide themselves in the ruins of a pagan temple, while having given their word not to speak with each other over the course of a week. In the morning all week long the Monk Anubios threw a stone at the face of the statue of the pagan god, and in the evening he said to it: “I have sinned”. At the end of the week the brethren asked Abba Anubios, what his actions signified, and the elder explained, that just as the statue did not get angry when he struck it, nor get flattered when he asked forgiveness of it, so also ought the brethren to live. Three days before his end the Monk Anubios was visited by the wilderness-dwellers Cyrus, Isaiah and Paul, who asked the elder that he tell them about his life for the edification of believers. The saint replied: “I do not remember, that I did anything great or glorious”. But swayed by the entreaties of his questioners, in deep humility he related to them that during the time of persecutions having confessed under torture the Name of Christ, after this he had never defiled his lips with an unrighteous word, since once having confessed Truth, he did not want to utter falsehood. His heart was ever filled with a thirst for communion with the Lord, and often he had contemplated angels and the holy saints of God, standing before the Lord; he beheld also Satan and his angels, committed to the eternal flames; shown also to him were the righteous, inheriting eternal bliss. At the passing of the third day the Monk Anubios in spiritual joy expired to the Lord. When his soul lifted up to Heaven, in the air was heard Angelic song.
The Monk Theodore the Wonderworker lived during the VI Century. In his youth he left the world, accepted monasticism and withdrew into the Jordanian wilderness. He received from God the gift of wonderworking. Thus, one time while journeying on a ship to Constantinople, the Monk Theodore besought the Lord, that water drawn from the sea be made fresh to quench the thirst of his companions. To those thanking him for this the monk said, that it was God working such a miracle, compassionate to the intense thirst of mankind, rather than by his unworthy prayer.
The Monk Abba Dorotheos was a student of the Monk John the Prophet in the Palestinian monastery of Abba Serid in the VI Century.
In his youth he had zealously studied the sciences (i.e. the secular disciplines). “When I made study in the learning of things outward, – wrote the abba, – then at first I was so very obsessed with the study, that when I went to take up a book, it was as though a wild beast had grabbed hold of it. But when I pulled myself away, then God help me, i had been so immersed that I did not know what I ate, what I drank, whether I had slept, whether I was warm or not, – I was oblivious to all this while reading. None of my friends could even drag me away for meals, or even to talk with them when I was so absorbed in reading, even though I loved socialising and I loved my comrades. When they let us have philosophy… I went off there, and where I lived, I knew not what I would have to eat, since I did not want to waste time over the arrangements for food”. So absorbed then was Abba Dorotheos in his book wisdom.
And yet it was with an even greater zeal that he devoted himself to monastic activity, when he withdrew into the wilderness. “When I arrived at the monastery, – reminisced the monk, – then said I to myself: as heated as my love for outward wisdom was, even moreso now ought it to be for virtue, and herein even to become all the more intense”.
One of the first obediences of the Monk Dorotheos was to greet and to see to pilgrims arriving at the monastery. It gave him opportunity to converse with people from various different positions in life, bearing all sorts of burdens and tribulations, and contending against manifold temptations. With the means of a certain brother the Monk Dorotheos built a sick-house, in which also he served. The holy abba himself described his obedience: “At the time I had only just gotten up from a serious illness. And here there arrived travellers in the evening, – I spent the evening with them, and also the camel drivers there, – and I prepared for their needs; and often it chanced that when I had dozed off to sleep, other needs arose needing me, – and then it approached the hour of vigil”. In order to fight against drowsiness, the Monk Dorotheos besought one of the brethren to wake him for services, and another to see that he did not doze off during the time of vigil. “And believe me, – said the holy abba, – I so esteemed them, as though literally my salvation depended upon them”.
Over the course of 10 years the Monk Dorotheos was cell-attendant for the Monk John the Prophet. Even formerly he had revealed to him all his thoughts, and this new obedience he devotedly fulfilled the will of the elder, such that it caused him no tribulation. Distressed, that he was not fulfilling the command of the Saviour over this, that it is with many sorrows one mustneeds enter the Kingdom of Heaven, Abba Dorotheos revealed this thought to the elder. But the Monk John replied: “Sorrow not, and let it not distress thee, who art in obedience to the fathers, for this is proper a delight to the carefree and calm”. The Monk Dorotheos considered it a matter of happiness for him to serve the great elder, but he was always ready to pass on this honour to others. Besides the fathers at the monastery of Abba Serid, the Monk Dorotheos visited and listened to the guidances of other great ascetics of his time, among which was also the Monk Abba Zosima.
After the death of the Monk John the Prophet, when Abba Barsanuphrios took upon himself complete silence, the Monk Dorotheos left the monastery of Abba Serid and founded another monastery, the monks of which he guided until his own death.
To the Monk Abba Dorotheos belong 21 Discourses, some several Letters, and 87 Questions with written down Replies by the Monk Barsanuphrios the Great and John the Prophet. In manuscript form are known also 30 Talks about Asceticism, and written Guidances of the Monk Abba Zosima. The works of Abba Dorotheos are imbued with a deep spiritual wisdom, distinguished by a clear and insightful style, but with a plain and comprehensible expression. The Discourses deal with the inner Christian life, gradually rising up in measure of growth to Christ. The saint resorted often to the advice of the great sainted-hierarchs: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and Gregory of Nyssa. Obedience and humility, the combining of deep love for God with love for neighbour, are virtues without which spiritual life is impossible, – and this thought pervades all the Discourses of Abba Dorotheos.
In his writings the personal aspect of Abba Dorotheos is felt everywhere, and it is this which his disciple, the Monk Dositheos (Comm. 19 February), characterises thus: “Towards the brethren asceticising with him he responded with modesty, with humility, and was gracious without arrogance or audacity; he was good-natured and direct, he would engage in a dispute, – but herein prevailed the principle of respect, of well-wishing, and that which is sweeter than honey: of oneness of soul, the mother of all virtues”.
The Disocurses of Abba Dorotheos are preliminary books to entering upon the path of spiritual action. The simple advice, how to proceed in this or that instance, together with a most subtle analysis of thoughts and stirrings of soul provide hoped-for guidance for anyone, who resolves on the path of experience to read the works of Abba Dorotheos. Monks that begin to read this book, will never part from it their whole life.
The works of Abba Dorotheos are to be found in every monastery library and are constantly reprinted. In Rus', his book of soul-beneficent instruction, together with the Replies of the Monks Barsanuphrios the Great and John the Prophet, was very extensive in the quantity of copies, right alongside “The Ladder of Divine Ascent” of the Monk John and the works of the Monk Ephrem the Syrian. And it is known that the Monk Kirill of Belozersk (+ 1427, Comm. 9 June), despite his many duties as hegumen, with his own hand transcribed the Discourses of Abba Dorotheos, as he did also the “Ladder of Divine Ascent” of the Monk John of the Ladder.
The Discourses of Abba Dorotheos pertain not only to monks: always this book should be read by anyone, aspiring to fulfill the commands of Christ.
The Monk Peter, a Slav by descent, asceticised from his youthful years at the Korishsk monastery near Prizren during the time of the holy emperor Saint Dushan (1337‑1351). The holy relics of the monk, situated at the Chernoretsk monastery, were transferred to the church of the Archangel Michael in the city of Kalashin.
The Holy Martyr Mark was a native of the city of Smyrna. For his confession of Christianity, the Turks beheaded him with a sword on the island of Chios in the year 1801.
The Igorevsk Icon of the Mother of God, in front of which was praying, during the last moments of his life, the holy Passion-Bearer GreatPrince of Kiev Igor Ol’govich (+ 19 September 1147), was situated in the chapel of Saint John the Theologian in the Uspensk-Dormition cathedral of the Kievo-Pechersk Lavra. This icon was of old Greek origin, and had an inscription that it belonged to Saint Igor.
© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos