March 18 2020 - March 05 2020
Martyr Konon of Isauria (I).
Uncovering of Relics of Holy Nobleborn Prince Theodore (Feodor) of Smolensk, and his sons David and Constantine (Konstantin) of Yaroslavsk (1463).
MonkMartyr Adrian of Poshekhonsk, Yaroslavsk (+ 1550).
Martyrs: Onysios (I); Konon the Gardener (III); Iraida; Eulogios of Palestine; Eulampios; Archelaos, Cyril, Photios and 150 Others; Monk Mark the Fast-Keeper (V). Saint Hesykhios, Presbyter of Jerusalem (+ c. 434). Monk George. Monk Hesykhios the Fast-Keeper (+ c. 790). Martyr John the Bulgarian (+ 1784).
Icon of Mother of God named “Vospitanie” (“Nurtured Up-Bringing”).
The Holy Martyr Konon of Isauria was born in Bethany, a village situated alongside the Asia Minor city of Isauria, the people of which had accepted the Christian faith from the Apostle Paul. Saint Konon from the time of his youthful years was accorded the special protection of the “Archistrategos” (“Leader of the Heavenly Hosts”) Michael, who appeared to him and assisted him in many a difficult circumstance in life.
At the insistence of his parents, Konon was betrothed to a maiden named Anna, whom he persuaded after the wedding to remain a virgin. The young spouses lived as brother and sister, devoting themselves entirely to God. Saint Konon brought also his parents to the Christian faith. His father, Saint Nestor, accepted a martyr’s end for denouncing idol-worshippers.
Having early given burial likewise to both his mother and wife, Saint Konon continued his service to God, devoting himself entirely to monastic works, fasting and prayer. In his declining years the holy ascetic was glorified with the gift of wonderworking. By virtue of his preaching and miracles many a pagan was converted to Christ.
When a persecution against Christians started in Isauria, one of the first to suffer was Saint Konon. They subjected him to fierce torments for his refusal to offer sacrifice to idols. But the people of Isauria, learning about the tortures to which the saint was being subjected, marched out with arms in hand in defense of the martyr. Frightened off by the people’s wrath, the torturers fled, and the Isaurians found the martyr wounded and bloodied at the place of torture. Saint Konon desired in all this that he be granted to accept a martyr’s end for the Lord.
Two years afterwards Saint Konon died peacefully and was buried alongside his parents and wife.
Uncovering of the Relics of Nobleborn Prince Theodore (Feodor) of Smolensk and his sons David and Constantine (Konstantin) of Yaroslavl': the account about them is located under 19 September.
The Monk Adrian of Poshekhonsk was born at Rostov the Great at the end of the XVI Century, of pious parents named Grigorii and Irina. The Monk Adrian accepted monastic tonsure at the monastery of Saint Kornilii of Komel’sk (Comm. 19 May).
Among the brethren gathered around the Monk Kornilii were no few capable builders and iconographers, such that the monastery churches were constructed and adorned by the monks themselves. In the final years of the Monk Kornilii’s life, Kazan Tatars made a plundering invasion of the locale of the monastery, and he led off all the brethren to the River Ukhtoma. But the Tatars did not touch the monastery, being frightened off by the sight of the many soldiers defending it, and they soon withdrew from the Vologda district. The Monk Kornilii returned to the monastery with the brethren and reposed there on 19 May 1537.
Three years later after the death of the Monk Kornilii, the Monk Adrian, – then in the dignity of monk-deacon, began strongly to desire to go off into a wilderness place and found a monastery in honour of the MostHoly Mother of God. The Lord helped the monk fulfill his intent. At the Korniliev monastery there arrived a certain unknown black-robed starets-elder of striking appearance. Meeting the starets in church, the Monk Adrian asked him his name, but the elder did not answer. When the Monk Adrian invited him to his own cell and besought him to share something of benefit to soul, the starets answered, that he would show the monk the wilderness, wherein he should build the church and monastery in the name of the MostHoly Mother of God. The Monk Adrian immediately went off to the monastery head – the hegumen Lavrentii, and began to seek blessing for the wilderness quietude. Having in mind the command of the Monk Kornilii, – bidding that there be released from the monastery any monks wanting to withdraw into the wilderness, hegumen Lavrentii did not hinder the Monk Adrian but instead gave him his blessing, and likewise sent off with him his assistant – the starets Leonid. Having prayed at the grave of the Monk Kornilii, the Monk Adrian and starets Leonid set off on their way, led by the mysterious black-robed monk. The Monk Adrian carried with him an icon of the Uspenie (Dormition) of the Mother of God, also written by him.
On 13 September 1540, the eve of the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross of the Lord, the Monk Adrian and starets Leonid arrived in the wild Poshekhonsk forest, situated amidst the settlements of Belta, Patrabol’sha, Shel’shedol’sk and Ukhorsk. They halted at the banks of the River Votkha. And there the starets leading them suddenly became invisible. The astonished travellers began to chant the canon and service of the feast, with tears of thanks to God. And indeed this was a portent of the future famous monastery – a place of the glorification of God – like a bell pealing throughout all the surrounding settlements. For three years the Monk Adrian and starets Leonid survived in the wilderness solitude, suffering want, overcoming temptations from the devil and the whisperings of wicked folk, and then they set about their sacred intent. Choosing a suitable moment, the ascetics set off to Moscow to Metropolitan Makarii, to seek blessing for the establishing, on the Peshekhonsk side of the River Votkha, of a monastery and temple in honour of the Uspenie (Dormition) of the Mother of God. Saint Makarii gave his blessing to the ascetics to build the monastery, and he entrusted them a church-grant grammota-document; the Monk-deacon Adrian he ordained to the priesthood and elevated to the dignity of hegumen. In this grammota-deed given to the Monk Adrian, the sainted hierarch bid “priests, deacons, monks and laypeople to hearken to and obey him in everything, as becometh for a pastor and teacher”. At Moscow the Poshekhonsk ascetics found generous benefactors who, beholding the audacious elders, gave them abundant offerings for the building of the church. Having returned to their wilderness spot on 31 May 1543, Saint Adrian laid the foundation for the church with refectory, in honour of the Uspenie of the MostHoly Mother of God. Having embellished and consecrated the new church, the Monk Adrian set about the construction of the monastery.
At the monastery was introduced the strict ustav (monastic rule) of the Monk Kornilii. Having nothing of their own, a little sufficing everyone, the monks devoted a large portion of their time to prayer, both in church and in cell, and no small time was allotted to the reading of Holy Scripture. And during the reading this was done: “not in elegant voice, nor for effect, but in an humble and mild voice: one reads, and another speaks of what is read”, and they likewise read in private. The Monk Adrian, besides his tasks as hegumen, also occupied himself with the writing of icons, and when his holy soul wished for complete silence, he withdrew for prayer into the depths of the forest into a cell with chapel built by him, a verst distance away from the monastery. Six years after the founding of the monastery, starets Leonid peacefully reposed to the Lord. And the Monk Adrian with the brethren reverently buried him. The brethren during this time had increased. The monks built three cells as dwellings and a fourth for the preparation of food and the baking of bread. Saint Adrian began to make plans for the erection of a large stone church and he gathered for this purpose a sum of money. But a year after the repose of starets Leonid, in 1550 during Great Lent on the night of 5 into 6 March, with the commemoration of the 42 Ammoreian Martyrs (Comm. 6 March), – armed robbers burst into the monastery and after a beating they murdered the Monk Adrian.
The holy relics of the MonkMartyr Adrian were uncovered on 17 December 1626, solemnly transferred into the monastery church and placed into an open crypt, – over against the right cleros-choir. At the grave of the Monk Adrian occurred many miracles.
The Holy Martyr Onysios lived in Palestine. He was beheaded with the sword for confessing faith in Christ.
The Holy Martyr Konon the Gardener was born in Nazareth of Galilee, but he lived in the city of Mandona, where he occupied himself with gardening. He was a God‑fearing man, sincere in heart, and without malice. The saint suffered for his faith in Christ under the emperor Decius (249-251). When they brought him to trial, he unwaveringly and firmly confessed his faith. The torturers drove nails into his feet and drove him afront a chariot, until the sufferer collapsed from exhaustion, with a prayer offering up his spirit to the Lord.
The Holy Martyr Eulogios was a native of Palestine. After the death of his pagan parents he gave away all his inheritance to the poor, and he himself became a wanderer and went about through Palestine, converting pagans to Christianity. During the time of a persecution he was arrested, subjected to terrible tortures and beheaded.
The Holy Martyr Eulampios lived in Palestine. He was beheaded for his faith in Christ.
The Monk Mark asceticised during the V Century in the Nitreian wilderness (Lower Egypt). From the time of his youth the fondest pursuit for him was the reading of Holy Scripture. There is an account, that he knew the whole Bible by heart. It is known also, that the Monk Mark heard the preaching of Saint John Chrysostomos. Many a discourse written by Saint Mark has come down to us. The monk was noted for his gentleness, purity of soul and abstinence, for which he was called a “fast-keeper”.
The Monk Hesykhios the Fast-Keeper was born in the sea-coast city of Adrineia in Bithynia. Raised since his youth in piety, he left his parental home and asceticised in a wilderness spot on Mount Maionis. Despite the threat of demons and wild animals and robbers living there, the holy ascetic in seeking greater solitude settled there and built himself a cell, digging himself a garden and eating from the fruit of his labours. After a certain while disciples began to throng to him. At a spring of water in a valley not far off Saint Hesykhios built a church in the name of the holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called. Even during his lifetime the monk was granted the gift of wonderworking. One time they brought a demon-possessed girl to him. Her parents, falling down at the feet of the holy ascetic, implored his holy prayers for her healing. The holy ascetic made prayer for the unfortunate one, and the devils left her. Turning to the parents of the healed girl, the Monk Hesykhios prophetically predicted, that a women’s holy monastery would arise at the place their daughter was healed. And actually the prophecy was fulfilled in the future.
An Angel appeared to Saint Hesykhios three days before his end and predicted to him his approaching demise. The monk accepted the news with joy. And before his blessed end, the saint summoned his disciples and for a long while he instructed them. At midnight the cell of the saint and the surrounding area suddenly gleamed with an Heavenly light, and the Monk Hesykhios expired to the Lord with the words: “Into Thine hand, O Lord, I commend my spirit”. At the place of his efforts, in accord with the prediction of the Monk Hesykhios, was later on built a women’s monastery. The holy relics of the Monk Hesykhios, buried at the church of the holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called, were later transferred by Theophylaktos, bishop of Amasia, to the city of Amasia (Asia Minor).
The Holy Martyrs Archelaos, Cyril, Photios and the 150 Martyrs with them (their names are unknown), were beheaded after tortures for the confession of faith in Christ. This occurred in the Egyptian city of Antinoe (Antinopolis) sometime in about the years 308-310. The fate of the martyrs was shared also by Saint Iraida (Comm. 23 September).
The Martyr John the Bulgarian was a native of Bulgaria. In his early youth through spiritual immaturity he became enmeshed in the devil’s snares, succumbing to the superstitions of the Turks and renouncing his faith in Christ. In a short while the hapless fellow realised the full gravity of his transgression, and he left his native region for Holy Mount Athos, and there in the Laura of Saint Athanasias, in full obedience to an elder, he besought forgiveness of God with bitter tears and prayers of repentance. The power of repentance in young John was so great and his desire to serve the True God so intense, that he left the Holy Mountain and went to Constantinople. There, in the church of Saint Sophia, which had been converted into a mosque, he began openly and fearlessly to confess Christianity. The saint was unmoved both by the false flattery and the fierce threats of the Hagarites. On 5 March 1784 the 19 year old preacher was beheaded.
© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos