May 14 2020 - May 01 2020

Prophet Jeremiah (VI Century B.C.).

Monk Paphnutii of Borovsk (+ 1478).

PriestMartyr Makarii, Metropolitan of Kiev (+ 1497). Monk Gerasim of Boldinsk (+ 1554). MonkMartyr Bata the Persian (IV). Nobleborn Empress Tamara of Gruzia (+ 1213). MonkMartyrs Euthymios (+ 1814), Ignatios (+ 1814) and Akakios (+ 1816) of Athos.

Icons of the Mother of God: “Unexpected Joy” (“Nechayanaya Radost'"), Tsarevokokshaisk or Mironositsk (“Myrh-Bearing”) (1647), Andronikovsk.

The Holy Prophet Jeremiah, one of the four great Old Testament prophets, was son of the priest Helkiah from the city of Anathoth near Jerusalem, and he lived 600 years before the Birth of Christ, under the Israelite king Josiah and four of his successors. He was called to prophetic service in his 15th year of life, when the Lord revealed to him, that even before his birth the Lord had assigned him to be a prophet. Jeremiah refused, pointing to his own youthfulness and lack of skill at speaking, but the Lord promised to be always with him and to watch over him. He touched the mouth of the chosen one and said: “Lo I do put Mine words into thy mouth, I do entrust unto thee from this day the fate of nations and kingdoms. By thine prophetic word wilt they fall and rise up” (Jer. 1: 9-10). And from that time Jeremiah prophesied for twenty-three years, denouncing the Jews for abandoning the True God and worshipping idols, predicting for them woes and devastating wars. He stood by the gates of the city, and at the entrance to the Temple, everywhere where the people gathered, and he exhorted them with imprecations and often with tears. But the people answered him with mockery and abuse, and they even tried to kill him.

Depicting the slavery to the king of Babylon impending for the Jews, Jeremiah at the command of God put on his own neck at first a wooden, and then an iron yoke, and thus he went about among the people. Enraged at the dire predictions of the prophet, the Jewish elders threw the Prophet Jeremiah into an imprisoning pit, filled with horrid slimy creatures, where he all but died. Through the intercession of the God-fearing royal-official Habdemelek, the prophet was pulled out of the pit but he did not cease with the prophecies, and for this he was carted off to prison. Under the Jewish king Zedekiah his prophesy was fulfilled: Nebuchadnezzar came, made slaughter of the nation, carried off a remnant into captivity, and Jerusalem was pillaged and destroyed. Nebuchadnezzar released the prophet from prison and permitted him to live where he wanted. The prophet remained at the ruins of Jerusalem and bewailed the misfortune of his fatherland. According to tradition, the Prophet Jeremiah took the Ark of the Covenant with the Law‑Tablets and hid it in one of the caves of Mount Nabath (Nebo), such that the Jews were no more able to find it (2 Mac. 2). Afterwards a new Ark of the Covenant was fashioned, but it lacked in the glory of the first.

Among the Jews remaining in their fatherland there soon arose internecine clashes: the viceroy of Nebuchadnezzar, Hodoliah, was murdered, and the Jews, fearing the wrath of Babylon, decided to flee into Egypt. The Prophet Jeremiah disagreed with their intention, predicting that the punishment which they feared, would befall them in Egypt. But the Jews would not hearken to the prophet, and taking him by force with them, they went into Egypt and settled in the city of Tathnis. And there the prophet lived for four years and was respected by the Egyptians, since with his prayer he killed crocodiles and other nasty creatures infesting these parts. But when he began to prophesy, that the king of Babylon would invade the land of Egypt and annihilate the Jews settled in it, the Jews then murdered the Prophet Jeremiah. In that very same year the prophesy of the saint was fulfilled. There exists a tradition, that 250 years later Alexander the Great of Macedonia transported the relics of the holy Prophet Jeremiah to Alexandria.

The Prophet Jeremiah wrote his Book of “Prophesies” (“Jeremiah”), and also the Book of “Lamentations”, – about the Desolation of Jerusalem and the Exile. The times in which he lived and prophesied are spoken of in the 4th (2nd) Book of Kings (Ch. 23-25) and in the 2nd Book of Chronicles (36: 12) and in 2 Maccabbees (Ch. 2).

In the Gospel of Matthew it points out, that the betrayal of Judas was foretold by the Prophet Jeremiah: “And they took thirty pieces of silver, the price of Him on Whom the sons of Israel had set a price, and they gave them over for the potter’s field, as did say the Lord unto me” (Mt. 27: 9-10).

The Monk Paphnutii of Borovsk was born in 1394 in the village of Kudinovo, not far from Borovsk, and at Baptism he was named Parphenii. His father Ioann was the son of a baptised Tatar, a “baskak” (“tax-collector”) named Martin, and his mother was named Photinia. At 20 years of age Parphenii left his parental home and in the year 1414 accepted monastic tonsure with the name Paphnutii at the Pokrov-Protection Monastery on the Heights, under its head, Markell (i.e. Marcellus). The Monk Paphnutii asceticised for many years at the monastery. When the head of the monastery died, the brethren chose him as hegumen. Sainted Photii, Metropolitan of Kiev, ordained him to the priestly dignity (in about the year 1426). The monk spent thirty years at the Pokrov monastery, wherein he was both the head and the clergy-starets (elder). At 51 years of age he fell grievously ill, gave up being the hegumen and took on the great-schema. After a restoration to health on the day of the holy GreatMartyr George the Victory-Bearer, 23 April 1444, he withdrew from the monastery and settled with one monk on the left bank of the River Protva, at the confluence into it of the River Ister’ma. Soon brethren began to gather to him at this new place. The number of the monks grew quickly. A new stone church was built in place of the former wooden one, in honour of the Nativity of the MostHoly Mother of God. In the icon-frescoes there took part the finest iconographer of those times, – Dionysii and his assistants. The Monk Paphnutii gave example to the brethren, leading a strict life: his cell was the poorest of all, and from food he took the worst. On Mondays and Fridays he did not eat at all, and on Wednesdays he partook only of dry foods. From the overall tasks the monk chose the most difficult: he chopped and carried fire-wood, dug up and cultivated the garden, and at the same time arrived first for church services.

The Monk Paphnutii earned the deep respect and love not only of the brethren of his own monastery, but also of other monasteries. Through the Providence of God there was guided to the monastery to the monk a twenty year old youth, – Ioann Sanin. Having put him to the test, the monk tonsured him into monasticism with the name Joseph. Later on the Monk Joseph of Volotsk firmly defended the purity of the Orthodox faith and entered into struggle against the heresy of the Judaisers, condemned at a Council of 1504. The Monk Paphnutii blessed the young man in his exploits.

A week before his death the monk foretold his end. Having made a final prayer and blessing of the brethren, he expired to God on 1 May 1477. The Monk Paphnutii was a follower of the Monk Sergei, Hegumen of Radonezh.

The PriestMartyr Makarii, Metropolitan of Kiev, was earlier the archimandrite of the Vilensk Holy Trinity monastery.

In 1495, after the death of the Kiev metropolitan, Jona with the Ankle, Makarii was chosen and ordained in his place by an assembly of hierarchs: Vassian of Vladimir, Luke of Polotsk, Vassian of Turov and Jona of Lutsk. Papers of blessing were sent from Constantinople by the patriarch, Nymphontes, confirming the selection of Saint Makarii to the Kiev metropolitan cathedra-seat. On 1 May 1497 Tatars which invaded the Russian Land killed the Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus' Makarii in the village of Strigolovo, at the River Vzhischa, where the saint was making Divine-services. Together with him were killed or taken into captivity many of his flock.

The holy relics of Saint Makarii, glorified by God both undecayed and by miracles, rest now at Kiev at the Vladimir cathedral church.

The Monk Gerasim of Boldinsk, in the world Grigorii, was born in 1490 at Pereslavl'-Zalessk. In early childhood he frequented the church of God. Having learned about the holy life of the Monk Daniel of Pereyaslavl', the 13 year old Grigorii with tears besought the starets-elder to let him join him. The starets accepted the boy as a novice and in a short while gave him monastic tonsure with the name Gerasim. The newly-made monk zealously fulfilled the deeds of fasting and prayer, and soon he was known about in Moscow as a strict ascetic. He was summoned to the capital together with his teacher, where he met the tsar. Worldly fame was a burden for the ascetic and, after his 26 year stay under the guidance of the Monk Daniel, Saint Gerasim, having received the blessing of his starets for hermitage life, settled not far from the city of Dorogobuzha in the Smolensk lands, in a wild forest, inhabited by snakes and wild animals. The saint many a time was subjected to the intrusion of brigands, but meekly and patiently he bore all their outrages and he prayed for these malefactors. Through a particular vision, he then went over to Mount Boldina, where at a water-spring there stood an immense oak. The local inhabitants beat him with canes and wanted to drown him, but having taken fright, they handed him over to the Dorogobuzha administrator, who threw him into jail for vagrancy. The Monk Gerasim patiently endured the ridicule, he kept quiet and he prayed. During this while there came to the administrator an imperial emissary from Moscow. Seeing Saint Gerasim, he bowed down to him and besought his blessing, since earlier before he had seen the saint together with the Monk Daniel in the presence of the tsar. The administrator became terrified, and immediately he begged forgiveness of the saint and promised to make him an enclosure protecting him from incursions. From this time Saint Gerasim began accepting to himself those with a desire for monastic deeds, and having sought at Moscow the permission to build a monastery, in 1530 he raised up a church in the Name of the MostHoly Trinity and he built cells for the gathered brethren. Besides the Boldina monastery, the Monk Gerasim founded yet another monastery in honour of Saint John the Forerunner at the city of Vyaz’ma, and later on in the Bryansk forest at the River Zhizdra, a monastery in honour of the Vvedenie-Entry into the Temple of the MostHoly Mother of God. The disciple of the Monk Gerasim, Peter Korostelev, was made hegumen of this monastery. Under the spiritual guidance of the Monk Gerasim were formed strict ascetics: the Hegumen Antonii – afterwards Sainted-hierarch of Vologda, and Arkadii, a disciple of the monk, asceticising as an hermit and buried at the Boldina monastery.

Before his death, the Monk Gerasim summoned the hegumens and monks of the monasteries founded by him, told them about his life and gave them a final instruction. This oral narrative of the saint was included in the Vita-Life, compiled on the resolve of gathered elders by Sainted Antonii. The Monk Gerasim reposed on 1 May 1554.

The Martyr Bata, a monastic, lived during the IV Century in Persia and asceticised there in one of the monasteries. During a time of persecution against Christians, initiated by the Persian emperor, the holy martyr was killed in the city of Niziba for confessing the Christian faith.

The Holy Nobleborn Empress of Gruzia (Georgia) Tamara the Great was born in about the year 1165. She was descended from the ancient Gruzian Bagratid dynasty and with the year 1178 she was a co-regent with her father, George III. The period of the reign of Saint Tamara is known as the Golden Age of Gruzian history: the Empress Tamara was noted for her lofty piety and, continuing the initiatives of her grandfather, the holy Nobleborn Emperor Saint David III the Restorer, she promoted the wide dispersion of the faith in Christ throughout Gruzia, amidst the construction of churches and monasteries. In 1204 the governor of the Ruma sultanate, Rukn-en-Din, dispatched a demand to the Empress Tamara that Gruzia renounce Christianity and accept Islam. The Empress Tamara refused this demand, and in an historic battle near Basiani the Georgian army defeated a coalition of Moslem rulers. The wise rule of the Empress Tamara gained her the love of all her nation. The final years of her life she spent in the Bardzia Cave monastery. the nobleborn empress had a cell, joined together with the church by a window, through which she could offer up prayer to God during the time of Divine-services. She died peacefully in the year 1213, and was enumerated to the rank of the Saints. Her memory is celebrated twice: on 1 May – the Day of Repose, and a second time on the Sunday of the Myrh-Bearing Women (a moveable feastday).

The Icon of the Mother of God of Tsarevokokshaisk, or the “Mironositsk” (“Myrh-Bearing”), appeared to the peasant Andrei Ivanov on 1 May 1647 near the locale of Bol’shaya Kuznetsa, 15 versts distant from the city of Tsarevokokshaisk in the Kazan region. Working in the field, Andrei noticed an icon lying on the ground and wanted to pick it up, but the icon became invisible. The astonished peasant, looking around, noticed that the icon then stood upon a tree, supported by an unseen force. He made prayers and took the icon home, where it was glorified by miracles. Pilgrims thronged to it from all the surrounding villages. They carried the image to the city of Tsarevokokshaisk, and later to Moscow, and after the passing of a certain while, they returned back with it. At the place of its appearance was built a monastery. The title of “Myrh-Bearing” for the icon is received from this – that the Mother of God is imaged with the Myrh-Bearing Women.

The Andronikovsk Icon of the Mother of God: the account about it is located under 22 October.

The Icon of the Mother of God “Unexpected Joy” (“Nechayanaya Radost'"): the account about the wonderworking image is located under 9 December.

© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos