June 04 2020 - May 22 2020

Martyr Basiliskos (+ c. 308).

Memory of Second OEcumenical Council (381). Martyr John-Vladimir, Prince of Serbia (+ 1015). PriestMartyr Zacharias (1802). Righteous Jakov (James) of Borovich (+ c. 1540).

MonkMartyr Paul of Peleponessus (+ 1818). PriestMartyrs Donatus the Bishop, Macarius the Presbyter and Theodore the Deacon. Martyrs: Theodore and Thaddeus; Marcellus; Codrus; Sophius the Physician. Righteous Melkhisedek, Emperor of Salima. Monks: Daniel, Pillar-Dweller of Resslavsk; Paisias the Wilderness-Ascetic.

The Holy Martyr Basiliskos was a nephew of the holy Martyr Theodore of Tyre (Comm. 17 February), and he suffered together with his brothers Eutropios and Kleonikos during the time of persecution against Christians under the emperor Maximian Galerius (305-311). The holy Martyrs Kleonikos and Eutropios were crucified on crosses (Comm. 3 March), but the Martyr Basiliskos was dispatched to Comana where he was detained in prison. The governor Agrippa, having arrived in the city of Amasia, started up there also the persecution against Christians. And Saint Basiliskos in prison readied himself for the impending martyr’s deed. The Lord appeared to him in a dream, promising the martyr His help, and foretold him his martyr’s end at Comana. Saint Basiliskos asked the prison guards to release him to his native village to take farewell of his kinsfolk. They sent him off, since they respected him for his holy life and working of miracles. Arriving home, Saint Basiliskos gathered together with his kinsfolk, and was seen by them one last time, and he urged them to stand firmly in the faith.

When Agrippa learned, that Saint Basiliskos had set off to his kinsfolk, he went into a rage. He viciously chastised the prison guards, and he sent a detachment of soldiers after the martyr, headed by a cruel magistrianum (adjutant of the governor). Meeting up with Saint Basiliskos who at this time was actually heading on his way back, the magistrianum slapped heavy chains on him, and shod on his feet metal sandals with nails driven into the soles, and set off to Comana.

Having come to a certain village, over the hot noon-day the travellers stayed at the house of a woman named Troana. The soldiers went into the house to relax and refresh with food, and the holy Martyr Basiliskos they tied to a dry tree. Standing in the heavy chains beneathe the scorching sun, the saint prayed to God. Suddenly was heard the Voice from above: “Fear not, for I am with thee”. The earth shook, and from the fissure issued forth a spring of water. The magistrianum, together with the soldiers and Troana, frightened by the earthquake, rushed out of the house. And shaken by the miracle which had taken place, they set free the martyr. Sick people from the village came up to the holy martyr and received healing through his prayer.

When the martyr finally stood before Agrippa, he was commanded to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. The martyr replied: “I offer up to God a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving every hour”. They led him into a pagan-temple, where in a instant upon Saint Basiliskos there came down from Heaven a flash of fire, which burned the temple, and reduced the idols standing in it to dust. Then in a blind rage Agrippa gave orders to behead Saint Basiliskos, and throw his body into the river. The death of the martyr occurred in the year 308. Christians quickly gathered the remains of the holy martyr and by night they secretly buried them in a ploughed-up field. After a certain while upon this spot was built a church in the name of the holy Martyr Basiliskos, into which they transferred his relics. Through the prayers of the holy martyr healings began to occur. The holy martyr appeared in a dream to Sainted John Chrysostomos (Comm. 13 November) before his death at Comana and said to him: “Tomorrow we shalt be together”. Saint Eusignios (Comm. 5 August) was an eye-witness to his sufferings and told the world about the exploit of the holy Martyr Basiliskos.

The Second OEcumenical Council was convened in the year 381 and consolidated the victory of Orthodoxy, attained in the year 325 at the First OEcumenical Council.

During the difficult years which passed after the acceptance of the Nicean Symbol of Faith, the Arian heresy developed new off-shoots. Under the guise of struggle against the Sabellian heresy, which taught about a blending together of the Hypostatic Persons of the Father and the Son [as mere aspects or modalities within the Trinity], Macedonias began to employ the word “homoi-ousios” (“podobosuschen” or “of like essence” [in contrast to the Orthodox teaching of “homo-ousios”, “one selfsame essence”]) regarding the essence of the Son to that of the Father. This formula still presented a danger in that Macedonias set himself forth as a struggler against the Arians, who employed the term “like to the Father”. Besides this, the Macedonians – being semi-Arians, wavering in dependence on conditions and advantages of the moment now towards Orthodoxy, now towards Arianism, – wound up blaspheming also the Holy Spirit by suggesting that He did not have “oneness of essence” with the Father and the Son. A second heretic – Aetius, introduced the concept “anomoion” (“different in essence” or “inosuschen”) and he said, that the Father has a completely different essence from that of the Son. His student Eunomios taught about an hierarchical subordination of the Son to the Father, and of the Holy Spirit to the Son. Everyone who came to him he re-christened into the “death of Christ”, denying the Baptism in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, which is commanded us by the Saviour Himself.

A third heresy arose from the teachings of Valentius and Ursacius at the Arimonian (Rimini) Council. They attempted to deceive the Orthodox bishops, proclaiming, that the Son of God is from God and is in likeness to God the Father, and is not a created being as the Arians taught. But under the pretention that the word “essence” is not found within the Holy Scripture, the heretics proposed not to use the term “one in essence” in the relation of the Son to the Father. Besides these three fundamental heresies, there were also many other false-teachings. The heretic Apollinarios said: ““The flesh of the Saviour, taken from the bosom of the Father in Heaven, did not have an human soul or reasoning; the Word of God filled in for the absented soul; Divinity remained dead over the course of three days”.

For dealing with these crafters of heresy, the holy Emperor Theodosius the Great (379-395) convened at Constantinople an OEcumenical Council, at which 150 bishops were present. Upon investigation by the holy fathers there was proposed affirmation of a Confession of Faith from a Roman Council, which holy Pope Damasus had sent to the bishop of Antioch, Paulinos. Having read aloud the scroll, the holy fathers, in disavowing the false-teaching of Macedonias, unanimously affirmed the Apostolic teaching that the Holy Spirit is not a subordinated being, but is rather – the Life-Creating Lord, Who proceedeth from the Father, and together with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified. For the confuting of other heresies: of Eunomians, Arians and Semi-Arians, – the holy fathers attested in affirmation the Nicean Symbol-Creed of the Orthodox Faith.

In the Symbol (Creed), accepted by the First OEcumenical Council, the Divine dignity of the Holy Spirit was not addressed, since at that earlier time [year 325] heresies against the Holy Spirit had not become problematic. Wherefore the holy fathers of the Second OEcumenical Council thereupon appended the Nicean Symbol-Creed with its 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th sections, – i.e. they definitively formulated and affirmed the Nicean-Constantinople Symbol of Faith, confessed in the Creed even now by all the Orthodox Church.

The Second Oecumenical Council besides this established also the norms of ecclesiastical courts {Canon VI], and it decided the acceptance into communion through the Sacrament of Chrismation those repentant heretics who were properly baptised in the Name of the Holy Trinity, but those baptised with a single immersion are to be received as pagans.

Sainted Gregory the Theologian [Nazianzus] (Comm. 25 and 30 January) at the Second OEcumenical Council gave in his talk the following exposition of the Orthodox Faith: “The Originative-Principle Without-Beginning [alt. “Uncaused Cause”] and that Subsistent with the Originative-Principle – is One God. But the “Without-Beginning” or “UnBegottenness” is not the essence of the Without-Beginning Originative-Principle. Because every essence is defined not by that – which it is not, but rather by that – which it is: it is the affirmation and not the negation of the existing. And the Originative-Principle, that what it gave origin to is not separate from the Without-Beginning, since for it to be an origin does not constitute the essence, just as also beforehand the first to be Without-Beginning; wherefore this only but relates to the essence, and is not the essence itself. And the Subsistent with the Without-Beginning and with the Originative-Principle is not something other than what They are. The Name of the Without-Beginning – is the Father, the Originative-Principle – the Son, the Subsistent with the Originative-Principle – is the Holy Spirit; and the essence is Tri-une – God. In unity is – the Father, from Whom and to Whom They proceed, not confusedly mixed together, but co-dwelling with Him, nor divided amidst Itself either by time, nor by will nor power”.

The Holy Martyr John-Vladimir, a Serbian prince, was born in the X Century. From his childhood he was raised in piety, and at maturity he wisely governed his holdings Illyria and Dalmatia, preserving in purity the holy faith. The noble prince was married to Kosara, a daughter of the Bulgarian tsar Samuel. Summoned under pretense of talks with the Bulgarian tsar John-Vladislav, he was treacherously murdered by him on 22 May 1015, at the entrance to a church. The pious spouse of the holy prince, Kosara, withdrew into a women’s monastery that she built, and where also she died, to the very end of her life not quitting the church. The relics of the holy prince are situated near Elbosan.

Righteous Jakov (James) of Borovich: The account about him is located under 23 October.

© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos