November 20 2020 - November 07 2020

33 Martyrs at Meletina: Hieron, Hesykhios, Nikander, Athanasias, Mamant, Barakhios, Kallinikos, Theagenes, Nikon, Longinos, Theodore, Ualerios, Xanthos, Theodoulos, Kallimakhos, Eugene, Theodokhos, Ostrykhias, Epiphanios, Maximian, Ducitios, Claudian, Theophilos, Gigantios, Dorotheos, Theodotos, Castrikhios, Anyketos, Themelios, Eutykhios, Hilarion, Diodotos and Amonites (III). Martyr Athenodoros. Saint Gregory.

Monk Zosima of Vorbozomsk. Uncovering of Relics of Monk Kirill (Cyril) of Novoezersk and Novgorod (1649). Martyr Theodotos the Tavern-keeper (+ 303). Martyrs Melasippos and Kasynia and their son Antoninos (+ 363). Martyrs Auktos, Taurion and Thessalonkia. Monk Lazaros of Galiseia (+ 1053).

Icon of the Mother of God “Leaping with Joy” (“Vzygranie”) (1795).

The Holy Martyr Hieron was born in the city of Tiana in great Cappadocia. Raised by a pious mother, he was a kindly and good Christian.

The co-ruling emperors Diocletian and Maximian (284-305) sent to Cappadocia a large military detachment headed by Lyzias to eradicate the wide-spread Christianity there, and also, to conscript into the imperial army healthy and strong soldiers. Amidst the many others, Lyzias gave orders also to draft into military service Hieron, who was distinguished by his great physical strength and dexterity. But Hieron refused to serve emperors who would persecute Christians. When they attempted to grab hold of him by force and bring him to Lyzias, he took hold a beam of wood, and sent scattering the soldiers who had been sent to bring him. He then hid himself away in a cave, together with eighteen others of like mind. Lyzias would not risk losing his soldiers assaulting the cave even by storming it. Upon the advice of Kyriakos, one of the friends of Hieron, Lyzias lifted the siege of the cave and withdrew his detachment. Then Kyriakos, having reassured Hieron, persuaded him not to offer resistance to the authorities; and he together with the other new conscripts amidst accompanying soldiers were dispatched to the nearby city of Meletina. Soon Hieron had a vision in his sleep, in which was foretold him his imminent martyr’s end. Lyzias proposed to the soldiers gathered at Meletina that they offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. Hieron and behind him another 32 soldiers refused to do this, and openly they confessed their faith in Christ. Then the persecutor gave orders to beat the martyrs, and to cut off the hand of Hieron. After cruel tortures they threw the barely alive martyrs into prison, and in the morning they beheaded them.

A certain rich and illustrious Christian by the name of Chrysanthos ransomed the head of Hieron from Lyzias. And when the persecutions finally ceased, he built a church on the place where they executed the holy martyrs, and he placed the venerable head therein. The bodies of all the executed saints were secretly buried by Christians. During the reign of the emperor Justinian later on, amidst the construction of a church in the name of Saint Irene, the venerable relics were uncovered undecayed.

The Uncovering of the Relics of the Monk Kirill (Cyril) of Beloezersk – the account about him is located under 4 February.

The Holy Martyrs Melasippos and Kasynia and their son Antoninos suffered during the reign of the emperor Julian the Apostate in the city of Ancyra in Phrygia in the year 363. The holy Martyrs Melasippos and Kasynia, lacerated by iron hooks and exhausted, died under torture. Their son the lad Antoninos, whom the persecutor forced to watch the torturing of his parents, spat in the face of the God-apostate emperor. For this he was subjected to cruel tortures, in which he remained unharmed, and then he was beheaded. And forty other youths, witnessing that the Lord had preserved His confessor Antoninos unharmed by tortures, believed in Christ, and they openly confessed their faith and accepted death by martyrdom.

Saint Thessalonikia was the daughter of a pagan priest. When the impious father learned that his daughter was become a Christian, he ruthlessly beat her and threw her out of the house, bereft of any means of providing for herself. Saints Auktos and Taurion attempted to intercede for the girl and to reason with the embittered father. The pagan priest denounced them both to the authorities, and they were arrested. Having confessed their faith in Christ afront the torturers and having undergone cruel tortures, the saints were then beheaded. Soon after their martyr’s death, Saint Thessalonikia also died. Her body was reverently buried in the city of Amphypolis in Macedonia, together with the holy Martyrs Auktos and Taurion.

The Monk Lazaros of Galiseia was born in Lydia, in the city of Magnesium. As a youth educated and loving God, Lazaros became a monk at the monastery of Saint Sava, the founder of great ascetic piety in Palestine. The monk spent ten years within the walls of the monastery, winning the love and respect of the brethren for his intense monastic effort.

Ordained presbyter by the Jerusalem Patriarch, the Monk Lazaros returned to his native country and settled not far from Ephesus, on desolate Mount Galiseia. Here he was granted a wondrous vision: a fiery pillar, rising up to the heavens, was encircled by Angels, singing: “Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered”. On the place where this vision appeared to the saint, he built a church in honour of the Resurrection of Christ and took upon himself the feat of pillar-dwelling. Monks soon began to flock to the great ascetic, thirsting for wise spiritual nourishment by the Divinely-inspired word and blessed example of the saint. Thus arose a monastery.

Having received a revelation about his impeding end, the monk related this to the brethren, but through the tearful prayers of all, the Lord prolonged the earthly life of Saint Lazaros for another 15 years.

The Monk Lazaros died at 72 years of age, in the year 1053. The brethren buried the body of the saint at the pillar, upon which he had pursued asceticism. The saint was glorified by many miracles after his death.

© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos