October 15 2020 - October 02 2020

PriestMartyr Cyprian, Martyress Justina and Martyr Theoktist (+ 304). Blessed Andrew, Fool-for-Christ (+ c. 936). Repose of Holy Nobleborn Princess Anna of Kashinsk (+ 1338). Monk Kassian the Greek of Uglich (+ 1504). Blessed Kiprian of Suzdal' (+ 1622). Martyrs David and Constantine, Princes of Aragvet (Gruzia) (+ 740). Martyr Theodore Gaures (+ 1080). Martyr George of Athos (+ 1794). Kazan Martyrs: John (Ioann), Stephen (Stefan), Peter, Boris, James (Iakov), Theodore (Feodor), Sil’van, Theodore (Feodor), Basil (Vasilii), Theodore (Feodor), Dimitrii, Michael (Mikhail), John (Ioann) and Basil (Vasilii).

The PriestMartyr Cyprian, the Holy Martyress Justina and the Martyr Theoktist perished at Nicomedia in the year 304.

Saint Cyprian was a pagan, a native of Antioch. While still in early childhood he was given over by his misguided parents for service to the pagan gods. From seven years of age until thirty, Cyprian studied at the most outstanding centres of paganism – on Mount Olympus, in the cities of Argos and Tauropolis, in the Egyptian city of Memphis and at Babylon. Having attained to eminent wisdom in pagan philosophy and the sorcerer’s craft, on Olympus he was consecrated into the pagan priesthood. Having discovered great power by the summoning of unclean spirits, he beheld the very prince of darkness, and conversed with him and received from him an host of demons in attendance.

Having returned to Antioch, Cyprian became revered by the pagans as an eminent pagan priest, amazing people by his ability to conduct spells, to summon pestilence and plagues, and to seance the dead. The mighty pagan priest brought many an human soul to ruin, teaching them magic-spells and service to demons.

But in this city there lived a Christian – the Virgin Justina. Having turned her own father and mother away from pagan error and led them to the true faith in Christ, she dedicated herself to the Heavenly Bridegroom and spent her time in fasting and prayer, remaining a virgin. When the youth Aglaides proposed marriage to her, the saint responded with a refusal. Agalides turned to Cyprian and sought his help for a magic-spell to charm Justina into marriage. But no matter what Cyprian tried, he could accomplish but nothing, since the saint by her prayers and fasting wrecked all the wiles of the devil. By his conjured spells Cyrian set loose demons upon the holy virgin, trying to rouse in her the fleshly passions, but she dispelled them by the power of the Sign of the Cross and by fervent prayer to the Lord. Even one of the demonic princes and Cyprian himself, by the power of sorcery having assumed various guises, were not able to sway Saint Justina, guarded round about by her firm faith in Christ. All the spells dissipated, and the demons fled at the mere look or even name of the saint. Cyprian in a rage sent down pestilence and plague upon the family of Justina and upon all the city, but this was beaten back by her prayer. Cyprian’s soul, corrupted by its domination over people and by its incantations, showed up in all the depth of its downfall, and the abyss of nothingness of that which he served. “If thou dost take fright at even the mere shadow of the Cross and the Name of Christ indeed maketh thee to tremble, – said Cyprian to Satan, – then what wilt thou do, when Christ Himself is come before thee?” The devil thereupon flung himself upon the pagan priest who was in the process of repudiating him, and began to beat and strangle him. Saint Cyrian then first tested for himself the power of the Sign of the Cross and the Name of Christ, in guarding himself from the fury of the enemy. Afterwards, with deep repentance he went to the local Bishop Anthymos and consigned all his books to the flames. And the very next day, having gone into the church, he did not want to emerge from it, though he did not yet accept Holy Baptism.

By his effort to follow a righteous manner of life, Saint Cyprian discerned the great power of fervent faith in Christ, and redeemed his more than thirty year service to Satan: seven days after Baptism he was ordained reader, on the twelfth day – sub-deacon, on the thirtieth – deacon, and after a year he was ordained priest. And in a short while Saint Cyprian was elevated to the dignity of bishop. The PriestMartyr Cyprian converted to Christ so many pagans, that in his diocese there was no one left to offer sacrifice to idols, and their pagan-temples fell into disuse. Saint Justina withdrew to a monastery and there was chosen hegumeness. During the time of the persecution against Christians under the emperor Diocletian, Bishop Cyprian and Hegumeness Justina were arrested and brought to Nicomedia, where after fierce tortures they were beheaded with the sword. The Soldier Theoktist, looking upon the guiltless sufferings of the saints, declared himself a Christian and was executed together with them. Knowing about the miraculous conversion to Christ of the holy PriestMartyr Cyprian, a former servant of the prince of darkness and by faith shattering his grip, Christians often resort to the prayerful intercession of the saint in their struggle with unclean spirits.

Blessed Andrew, Fool-for-Christ, was a Slav and he lived in the X Century at Constantinople. From his early years he loved God’s Church and the Holy Scriptures. One time during a dream-vision the saint beheld two armies. In the one were men in radiant garb, in the other – black and fiercesome devils. An Angel of God, which held in hand wondrous crowns, said to Andrew, that these crowns – were not adornments from the earthly world, but rather a celestial treasure, with which the Lord rewards His warriors, victorious over the dark hordes. “Proceed with this good deed, – said the Angel to Andrew, – be a fool for My sake and much wilt thou receive in the day of My Kingdom”. The saint perceived, that it was the Lord Himself summoning him to this deed. And from that time Andrew began to go about the streets in rags, as though his mind had become muddled. For many years the saint endured mockery and insults. With indifference he underwent beatings, hunger and thirst, cold and heat, begging alms and giving them away to others of the poor. For his great forebearance and humility the saint received from the Lord the gift of prophecy and perspicacity, saving many from perils of soul, and he unmasked many an impiety.

During a time of prayer at the Blakhernae church, Saint Andrew was vouchsafed to behold the MostHoly Mother of God, veiling those praying with Her omophor (the account of this is under 1 October). Blessed Andrew died in the year 936.

The Holy Nobleborn Princess Anna of Kashinsk, a daughter of the Rostov prince Dimitrii Borisovich, in 1294 became the wife of the holy Greatprince Michael Yaroslavich of Tver. (He was murdered by the Mongol-Tatars of the Horde in 1318, and Comm. 22 November). After the tormented death of her husband, Anna withdrew into the Tversk Sophia monastery and accepted tonsure with the name Evphrosynia. Later, she transferred to the Kashin Uspenie-Dormition monastery, and became a schema-monastic with the name Anna. On 2 October 1368 she expired peacefully to the Lord.

The sons of Saint Anna continued in the confessor’s deed of their father: Dimitrii Mikhailovich (“Grozye Ochi” “Dread Eyes”) was murdered at the Horde on 15 September 1325; and later, Aleksandr Mikhailovich, Prince of Tver, was murdered together with his son Theodore (Feodor) on 29 October 1339.

Miracles at the grave of Saint Anna began in 1611, during the time of the siege of Kashin by Lithuanian forces. The saint appeared to Gerasim, the church-warden of the Uspensk cathedral, and said, that she would implore the Saviour and the MostHoly Mother of God for the deliverance of the city from the foreigners.

At the Sobor (Council) of 1649 it was decided to uncover her relics for general veneration and to enumerate the holy Princess Anna to the ranks of the Saints. But in 1677 Patriarch Joakim raised the question to the Moscow Sobor whether her veneration should be discontinued in connection with the problem of the Old-Ritualist Schism, which made use of the name of Anna of Kashinsk for its own purposes. In 1909, on 12 June, there occurred her second glorification and the universally observed feastday established.

The Monk Kassian the Greek, Wonderworker of Uglich, in the world Konstantin, was descended in lineage from the princes Mangupides. He arrived in Moscow as part of the legation to Greatprince Ivan III, together with the daughter of the Byzantine emperor, Sophia Paleologa. Having decided to devote his life to the service of God, the saint declined the offer to remain at the court of the Greatprince, and he resettled to the Rostov bishop Joasaph. When the bishop withdrew for quietude to the Pherapontov monastery, Konstantin followed him. At the monastery he led a strict ascetic life.

He accepted monasticism after a miraculous vision by night of the Monk Martinian, urging him to take monastic tonsure. After a certain while Saint Kassian left the monastery going not far off from the city of Uglich, near the confluence of the Volga and Uchma Rivers, where he founded a monastery in honour of the Uspenie (Dormition) of the Mother of God.

Reports of the monk spread widely, and “many people began to come to receive blessing and to see the wilderness habitation and converse with him”. Saint Kassian accepted everyone with love, guiding them on the way to salvation “with quiet words”.

The monk died in extreme old age on 2 October 1504. In the Uglich Chronicles was recorded many a miracles, happening through the prayers of the saint, and in particular, the defense by him of his monastery from Polish soldiers in the years 1609-1611.

The memory of the Monk Kassian of Uglich is celebrated also on 21 May, the day of his name-in-common (“tezoimenstvo”, with the holy Emperor Constantine the Great).

The Holy Martyrs David and Constantine, Princes of Aragvet, were from childhood raised in the Orthodox faith. They were not only worthy rulers and brave military leaders, but also pious Christians. The holy brothers defended Gruzia (Georgia) from Mohammedan invaders. But the sides were militarily unequal. The Arab military-commander Murvan-Abdula-Kasim, having taken the brothers captive, tried with crafty promises to persuade them into an acceptance of Musselmanism. But they firmly confessed Christ. Then Murvan-Kru (“kru” – “hard of hearing”) with the help of sorcerers sought their renunciation from Christ. But the holy brothers David and Constantine overcame all the artifice of the pagan pseudo-wisdom by means of their prayer. Seeing the steadfastness of the holy confessors, the Mahometan gave orders to inflict fierce tortures upon them, and then to drown them in the River Rioni (in the year 740). The river carried of their bodies, illumined by three pillars of light. Christians took the bodies of the holy martyrs from out of the river and buried them in a cave on Mount Tskal–Tsiteli, at the city of Kutaisi.

In the XII Century, during the time of an hunt by the emperor Bagrat the Great (1072-1117), the undecayed relics of the holy brothers were uncovered in the cave, radiant with light. The emperor built in their honour a church of the Martyrs (Motsameti) and founded the Motsameti monastery. The relics of the holy brothers were glorified by numerous healings.

© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos