Orthodox River


July 11 2020 - June 28 2020

Wonderworking Unmercenary Martyrs Cyrus and John (Transfer of Relics 412).

Monk Xenophont of Robeisk (+ 1262). Monks Sergei and German, Valaamo Wonderworkers (+ c. 1353). Martyr Papias (+ c. 284-305). Martyr Macedonias. Martyr Joseph and his companions. Monk Ulcian. Monk Magnus. Saint Sena of Tauromeneia. Monk Paul the Physician. Monk Sergios the Magister (IX).

Icon of the Mother of God named “Of Three Hands” (“Troeruchitsa”).

The Transfer of the Relics of the Holy Martyrs, Unmercenaries and Wonderworkers, Cyrus and John from the city of Konopa, near Alexandria (where they suffered in the year 311) to the nearby village of Manuphin, was done in the year 412. This Egyptian village prompted fear in everyone, since in a former time there was here a pagan temple and residence of evil spirits. Patriarch Theophilos (385-412) wanted to cleanse this place of demons, but he died. His wish was fulfilled by his successor upon the Alexandrian cathedra-chair, holy Patriarch Cyril (412-444). He prayed fervently in carrying out this project. An Angel of the Lord appeared in a vision to the sainted-hierarch and commanded the venerable relics of Saints Cyrus and John be transferred to Manuphin. His Holiness Patriarch Cyril did the Angel’s bidding and built at Manuphin a church in the name of the holy martyrs.

From that time this place was cleansed from the powers of the enemy, and by the prayers of the holy Martyrs Cyrus and John there began to occur many miracles, healings of the sick and infirm. An account about the holy Martyrs Cyrus and John is located under 31 January.

The Monk Xenophont of Robeisk was a student of the Monk Varlaam of Khutinsk (+ 1192, Comm. 6 November). He was the head of the Khutinsk monastery after the hegumen Isidor (+ 1243). Resigning as hegumen, the Monk Xenophont founded the Trinity Monastery on the banks of the Robeika River (not far from Novgorod). And here he reposed blessedly on 28 June 1262.

The Monks Sergei and German of Valaamo settled on the island of Valaamo in 1329. The brethren gathered by them shone forth the light of Orthodoxy in this frontier land. The Karelian people began to regard Christianity with renewed suspicion, with its authority in the XIII Century being undermined by the Swedes, who sought to spread Catholicism by means of the sword. The Monks Sergei and German died in about the year 1353. A second commemoration of them is on 11 September.

The Monk Paul the Physician, from the city of Corinth, in his youth took monastic vows at one of the monasteries. Here the saint toiled much and became an experienced ascetic.

One time Paul, through demonic malice, was slandered by a woman. She came to the monastery with a newborn infant and said, that he was born from the Monk Paul. The elder with humility and joy endured the slander, he did not deny it and he took the infant, as though it were his own son. When they began to reproach the saint for breaking his monastic vows, the Monk Paul said: “Brethren, let us ask the infant, who his father is!” The newborn, pointing his hand at the blacksmith, said: “Here is my father and not the Monk Paul”. Seeing this miracle, people bowed down to the elder, asking forgiveness. From this time the Monk Paul received from God the gift of healing the sick, whereby he received the name physician. The Monk Paul died at over age 70.

The Monk Sergios the Magister founded a monastery in honour of the MostHoly Mother of God at the Bay of Nicomedia. The monastery was named the Nikitian, since the monk came from the Paphlagonian city of Nikitia. The monk died on the island of Crete in the IX Century.

The Icon of the Mother of God, named “Of Three Hands” (“Troeruchitsa”): In the IX Century at the time of the Iconoclasts, the Monk John Damascene (+ c. 780, Comm. 4 December) was zealous in his veneration of holy icons. Because of this, he was slandered by the emperor and iconoclast Leo III the Isaurian (717-740), who informed the Damascus caliph that the Monk John was committing treasonous acts against him. The caliph gave orders to cut off the hand of the monk and take it to the marketplace. Towards evening Saint John, having asked the caliph for the cut-off hand, put it to its joint and fell to the ground before the icon of the Mother of God. The monk begged Our Lady to heal the hand, which had written in defense of Orthodoxy. After long prayer he fell asleep and saw in a dream, that the All-Pure Mother of God had turned to him promising him quick healing. Before this the Mother of God bid him toil without fail with this hand. Having awakened from sleep, the Monk John saw that his hand was unharmed. In thankfulness for this healing the Monk John placed on the icon an hand fashioned of silver, from which the icon received its name “Of Three Hands”. According to tradition, the Monk John wrote a song of thanksgiving to the Mother of God – “All of creation rejoiceth in Thee, O Full of Grace”, which appears in place of the Mother of God hymn “Mete it is in truth” in the Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great.

Saint John Damascene accepted monasticism at the Laura monastery of the Monk Sava the Sanctified and there bestowed his wonderworking icon. The Laura presented the icon “Of Three Hands” in blessing to Sainted Savva, ArchBishop of Serbia (+ 1237, Comm. 12 January). During the time of an invasion of Serbia by the Turks, Christians wanting to safeguard the icon entrusted it to the safekeeping of the Mother of God Herself. They placed it upon a donkey, which without a driver proceeded to Athos and stopped in front of the Khilendaria monastery. The monks put the icon in the cathedral church. During the time of discord over the choice of hegumen, the Mother of God deigned Herself to accept to head the monastery, and from that time Her holy icon has occupied the hegumen’s place in the temple. And from that time at the Kilendaria monastery there is chosen only a vicar, and the monks by monastic useage receive from the holy icon blessing in every obedience.

On this day is done the commemoration of 2 Crucified Lads and 3 Martyrs from Galatia.

© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos