December 12 2020 - November 29 2020

PriestMartyr Paramon and 370 Martyrs together with him (+ 250). Martyr Philumenos (+ c. 274). Monk Akakios of Sinai (VI). Monk Nektarii of Pechersk, in the Nearer Caves (XII). PriestMartyr Habib, Bishop of Nekressa (V) (Gruzia). Sainted Nicholas, Archbishop of Seluneia. PriestMartyr John. Sainted Urban, Bishop of Macedonia. PriestMartyr Dionysios, Bishop of Corinth (+ c. 182). Monk Pankosmios. Monk Pitirun. Monk Valerinus. Martyr Thedros. Monk Daniel.

The Holy Martyr Paramon and the 370 Martyrs with him suffered for their faith in Christ in the year 250 during the rule of the emperor Decius (249-251). The governor of the Eastern regions, Aquianus, had locked up in prison 370 Christians, urging them to abjure Christ and instead offer sacrifice to idols. They subjected the captives to beatings, hoping by tortures and the threat of death to persuade them to renounce Christ and worship the pagan gods. One of the local inhabitants, Paramon by name, openly denounced the cruel governor and confessed his faith in the One True God, the Lord Jesus Christ. They beheaded Saint Paramon after fierce tortures together with the other 370 martyrs.

The Holy Martyr Philumenos suffered for Christ in the year 274, during the persecution against Christians by the emperor Aurelian (270-275). Saint Philumenos was by occupation a bread merchant in Ancyra. Envious persons reported to the governor Felix, that Philumenos was confessing the Christian faith, and he thus came before a judge. Saint Philumenos did not renounce Christ. For this they hammered nails into his hands, feet and head, and they forced him to walk. The holy martyr bravely endured the torments and he died from loss of blood, giving up his soul to God.

The Monk Akakios of Sinai lived during the VI Century and was a novice at a certain monastery. The humble monk distinguished himself by his patient and unquestioning obedience to his spiritual-elder, a man of callous character. He forced the monk to toil excessively, starved him with hunger, and beat him without mercy. Despite such treatment, the Monk Akakios meekly endured the affliction and thanked God for everything. Not long surviving such harsh obedience, Saint Akakios died.

The elder after five days told about the death of his disciple to another elder, who did not believe that the young monk was dead. Then this teacher of Akakios called this other elder over to the grave of Akakios and loudly asked: “Brother Akakios, art thou dead?” From the grave was heard a voice: “No, father, not dead; whosoever beareth an obedience, is not wont to die”. The startled elder fell down with tears before the grave, asking forgiveness of his disciple.

And after this he changed himself morally, he applied himself in his cell near the grave of Saint Akakios, and in prayer and in meekness he finished out his life. The Monk John of the Ladder Climaticus (Comm. 30 March) offers this tale in his “Ladder” as an example of endurance and obedience, and the rewards for them.

The Monk Nektarii of Pechersk, a monk of the Kievo-Pechersk monastery, pursued asceticism during the XII Century. For his unquestioning obedience to the will of elder brethren and his zeal for work he was termed “the Obedient”. The monk Nektarii was buried in the Antoniev Cave. His memory is also 28 September and the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent.

The PriestMartyr Habib, Bishop of Nekressa, was one of the Thirteen holy Syrian (Cappadocian) Fathers, founders of Gruzinian (Georgian) monasticism, who had come to Gruzia in the VI Century (the account about them is located under 7 May). At the request of the Gruzian emperor Parsman VI (542-557) and the Catholikos Eulabios (552‑560), the saint accepted the dignity of bishop and cathedra-seat of Nekressa.

The Persians, during this time having seized Kakhetia (Eastern Gruzia), were everywhere disseminating their fire-worship. Bishop Habib, filled with apostolic zeal, walked with cross in hand through the cities and villages of his diocese and eradicated everywhere the crude superstitions, and also extinguishing the fires in the pagan temple of the Zoroastrians. Didoitsa and other mountaineers of Kakhetia, living on the left bank of the River Alazan, renounced fire-worship and came through repentance into the bosom of the Church of Christ. Saint Habib also converted many Persians to Christ.

The Persian satrap, living in the city of Rekha, was vexed at the successful preaching of the saint, and gave orders to arrest him and bring him before him. As the Imertino-Abkhaz Cathlolikos Arsenios the Great (+ 1390) – the author of the manuscript on the Martyrdom of Saint Habib – relates, Saint Habib on the way to Rekha received a letter and staff from his friend Saint Simeon the Pillar-Dweller of Mount Divna (Comm. 24 May); he even took leave of his companion ascetics – Saint Zenon of Ikatl and Saint Shiu of Mgvium (the account about them is located under 7 and 9 May).

Brought before the Persian satrap, Saint Habib refused to accept Zoroastrianism, and passionately he denounced him for his fire-worship. By order of the satrap, they subjected Saint Habib to scourging and terrible beatings, after which he died a martyr, pelted with stones in the settlement of Rekha, near Gora. They threw the body of Saint Habib for devouring by wild beasts, but neither the beasts, nor birds, nor decay touched the holy relics. The brethren of the Samtavi monastery buried the relics with honour in their monastery.

The relics of the saint were glorified by healings, and later during the reign of the governor Kartli Stepanoz (639-663) were transferred at the desire of the Catholikos Thabor from Samtavi to the Mtskheta Samtavi cathedral and placed beneathe the altar-table, where they repose out of sight to the present day.

© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos