May 27 2020 - May 14 2020
Martyr Isidor (+ 251).
Blessed Isidor Tverdislov (“Constant of Word”), Fool-for-Christ, Rostov Wonderworker (+ 1474). Monk Nikita, Hermit of Pechersk, Bishop of Novgorod (+ 1109).
Martyrs: Maximos (+ 250); Mark of Crete (+ 1643); John the Bulgarian (+ 1802); Alexander and Barbaros. Monk Serapion the Syndonite (V). Sainted-Hierarchs: Leontios, Patriarch of Jerusalem; James and Makarios, Bishops. Saints Isidor and Tykhon.
Icons of the Mother of God: Yaroslavl-Pechersk (1823), Cyprus (1771), Terebensk (1564).
The Holy Martyr Isidor lived during the III Century on the Island of Chios, and was a native of Alexandria. During the first year of rule of the emperor Decius (249-251) there was issued an edict to make a census of all those capable to serve in the armies of the Roman empire. Saint Isidor, tall and strong of body, was drafted into the regiment of the military-commander Numerius. Saint Isidor was a Christian, he led a life of temperance and abstinence, he was chaste and he shunned all the pagan customs. Another imperial edict then commanded, that all the soldiers were to worship the Roman pagan gods and to offer them sacrifice. Not to obey the edict carried the penalty of torture and death. The centurion reported to the military-commander Numerius, that Isidor was a Christian. At the interrogation before Numerius Saint Isidor without flinching confessed his faith in Christ the Saviour and refused to offer sacrifice to idols. Numerius urged the saint not to expose himself to tortures and to obey the will of the emperor, but Saint Isidor answered, that he would obey only the will of the eternal God, Christ the Saviour, and never would he renounce Him. The saint was handed over to torture. During the time of torments he praised Christ God and denounced the pagan idols. The military-commander gave orders to cut out the tongue of the saint, but even after this the saint continued distinctly to give glory to Christ. Numerius in fright fell to the ground and himself lost the gift of speech. Getting up with the help of soldiers, by means of gestures he demanded a small board and on it wrote an order – to cut off the head of Saint Isidor. Saint Isidor welcomed his death sentence with joy and said: “I glorify Thee, O my Master, that by Thy mercy Thou hast accepted me in Thine Heavenly Habitation!” The death of the martyr occurred in the year 251. After execution his body was cast out without burial, but another saint, the secret Christian Ammonios, took up his body and committed it to earth. Later on Ammonios himself accepted a martyr’s death in the city of Kyzikos (Comm. 4 September).
At the beginning of the XII Century the Russian pilgrim Daniel saw the relics of the holy Martyr Isidor on the Island of Chios. His relics were later transferred to Constantinople and placed in the church of Saint Irene.
Saint Isidor Tverdislov (“Constant of Word”), Fool-for-Christ, Rostov Wonderworker: He was born in Germany of rich parents and “from his youth” he had “a life unsullied and an understanding compassionate”. Having left his parental home “desiring the Kingdom of God”, Saint Isidor distributed his riches to the poor, and with the staff of a wanderer he went off about many lands and cities (it is unknown where he accepted the Holy Orthodox faith – since he was raised in Catholicism). Finally, he arrived in Russia and he chose the place of his dwelling, Rostov. Here Saint Isidor, “in filth and snow and rain and cold” and “enduring every outrage”, settled in a rickety wooden hut that he himself had made. He chose “a miserable and foolish manner of life as in the Epistle (1 Cor. 4: 10-13)” for the sake of Christ. Saint Isidor spent all his time at unceasing prayer, not giving himself over to “endless drowsing” and “rest”. “He stood at all-night vigil and praise” to render his body “everlastingly to God”. By day the blessed one made his rounds of the city, doing his deed as fool. “Like unto Job of old in patience”, Blessed Isidor in the expression of Holy Church while still alive was “like an earthly angel and an heavenly man”. “Having a soul compassionate, and pure of thought, and vigilant heart and faith unassailed, and true love without pretense”, he was glorified during his life to work miracles. Saint Isidor reposed in the year 1474. They learned about his death only in that passing by his hut they perceived an especial fragrance. At the place of his burial in the city of Rostov was built the church of the Ascension of the Lord, in which through the present his relics rest in a crypt as a source of miracles. Blessed Isidor is termed “Tverdislov” (“Constant of Word”) since that he spoke constantly. [trans. note: the title “Tverdislov” seems unique to Saint Isidor; this supplemental account of him is from the 1900 Bulgakov NaStol’naya Kniga.]
The Monk Nikita, Hermit of Kievo-Pechersk, Bishop of Novgorod (+ 1109): The memory of Sainted Nikita was earliest celebrated on 14 May by Novgorod, where his relics are situated. The memory of the saint is also celebrated on 31 January, the Day of His Repose, and on 30 April, the Day of the Uncovering of Relics (1558).
The account about him is located under 31 January.
The Holy Martyr Maximos suffered under the emperor Decius (249-251). Maximos was a layman and plied the trade of merchant. He was a pious Christian and he led many pagans to faith in Christ the Saviour, and persuaded them to accept Baptism. One time, when the pagans had gathered for offering to their gods an human sacrifice, Saint Maximos plucked up his courage, and unable to bear the sight of such a spectacle, he rushed at them, loudly denouncing their impiety and error, calling the idols soulless creations of mankind. The frenzied pagans stoned the martyr to death.
The Monk Serapion lived during the V Century in Egypt. He was called the Syndonite-wearer since he wore only a coarse linen garb, called a “syndon”. From the time of his youth the monk lived, like the birds of the sky, not having a shelter, and for several days at a time he did not eat, not having the means to buy bread. He gave away his syndon-garb to a beggar, shivering from the cold, and he himself remained half-naked. A certain Greek philosopher, wanting to test the non-covetousness of the monk, one time gave the monk a gold coin and kept an eye on him. The saint went to the bread market, bought with it one loaf of bread, gave the merchant the gold coin and left, having no regard for the exchange value of the money. Saint Serapion by a special path led many on the way of salvation. One time he gave himself over into slavery to a Greek actor, whom he saw fit to convert to Christ. The actor, imitating the example of the holy life of the saint, believed and was baptised together with all his family. He besought Saint Serapion to remain with him not as a servant, but as a guide and friend, but the monk withdrew, not taking any of the money offered him. Having set off to Rome, Saint Serapion got on a ship, but paid nothing to the ship-owners. At first they began to reproach him for this, but noticing that the elder had gone five days already without eating, they began to feed him for the sake of God and in this they fulfilled the command of the Lord. At Rome the monk continued to wander about, going from house to house, having nothing, gathering together only but spiritual wealth for himself and for his neighbour.
Saint Leontios, Patriarch of Jerusalem, by the account of Saint Gregory Palamas, was Patriarch during the years 1223-1261. His life was similarly described by Theodore, a monk of Constantinople. This Vita was translated in abridged form from the Greek into the Russian language. It was translated a second time more fully by the Monk Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain, who indicates the death of the Patriarch was instead actually in the year 1175.
The Holy Martyr Mark of Crete was beheaded by the Turks in the year 1643 for confessing faith in Christ.
The Holy Martyr John the Bulgarian was martyred by the Turks as a Christian in the year 1802.
The Yaroslavsk (Pechersk) Icon of the Mother of God: In the city of Yaroslavl' the townswoman Aleksandra Dobychkina suffered terribly for 17 years from emotional and bodily illness. In 1823 she had a vision in her sleep: of a church with an icon of the Mother of God. She decided to seek out the Yaroslavl' visionary temple and icon. This church turned out to be the temple in honour of the Procession of the Venerable Wood of the Cross of the Lord (Comm. 1 August), situated under the bell-tower of the archbishop’s residence. Entering the church, the afflicted Aleksandra beheld on the wall the depiction of the Kievo-Pechersk Mother of God. Suddenly she had a powerful attack of fever, after which at first there was an onset of relief, and later a full healing from the grievous illness. And from that time began miraculous healings through prayers to the MostHoly Mother of God.
© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos