October 17 2020 - October 04 2020

Uncovering of the Relics of Sainted Gurii, Archbishop of Kazan (+ 1563), and Sainted Varsonophii, Bishop of Tver (+ 1576). Holy Nobleborn Prince Vladimir Yaroslavich of Novgorod, Wonderworker (+ 1052). Monks Elladii and Onysim of Pechersk, in the Nearer Caves (XII-XIII). Monks Ammon and Pyor, Hermits of Pechersk, in Farther Caves (XIII). PriestMartyr Hierotheos, Bishop of Athens (I). Saint Damara (I). Martyrs Gaius, Faustus, Eusebius and Cherimon (III). PriestMartyr Peter of Capitolia (III-IV). Martyress Domnina and her daughters Virinea (Veronica) and Proscudia (Prosdocia) (+ 305-306). Monk Ammon (+ c. 350) and Monk Paul the Simple (IV). Martyr Daviktos (Adauktos) and his daughter Kallistheria (IV). Saint Stephen (Stefan) Schilyanovich (+ 1515). Monks Jona and Nektarii of Kazan. Sainted Eudemon, Katholikos-Patriarch of Gruzia (Georgia) (+ 1642). Sobor (Assemblage) of Novgorod Sainted Hierarchs.

The Uncovering of Relics of Sainted Gurii, Archbishop of Kazan (+ 1563), and Sainted Varsonophii, Bishop of Tver (+ 1576), occurred at Kazan in the year 1595. During the construction of a new stone church in honour of the Transfiguration of the Lord at the Saviour-Transfiguration monastery, which had been founded by Sainted Varsonophii, were dug up graves with the bodies of the sainted-hierarchs in the location of the altar-wall of the former wooden church. The unusual aspect of incorrupt graves filled Sainted Ermogen (Comm. 17 February) with a pious daring to open up the graves before a large crowd of the people. Saint Ermogen himself thus describes this event: “We beheld a marvel we had not hoped for. The coffin of the saint was full of fragrant myrh, like pure water, and the relics of Saint Gurii were above the myrh, like as a sponge beareth itself. God did endow his venerable and much-toiling body with incorruption, as now is seen by all. Decay touched only very little of the upper lip, his other limbs were whole, and nothing was disappeared. We touched his burial robe and it held up very firm. Then we opened up the coffin of the Monk Varsonophii and we looked: the relics of Saint Varsonophii were esteemed of God with much non-decay. Decay had touched the feet of the monk, though however the bones were not very destroyed, but rather held up quite firm and there was no other weakness in the condition of the effects, as likewise Saint Gurii. The burial robe, as also with the Monk Gurii, strong like new”. Many sick were healed, having been anointed with the holy myrh flowing from the relics of Saint Gurii.

In the Iconographic Originals under 4 October is said: “Gurii is in likeness grey and bearded, like Basil of Caesarea, in mitre, in omophor, in the hands a Gospel, and robe of a sainted-hierarch. Varsonophii is in likeness greyed and of beard, like Gurii, parted at the end, in mitre, robe of sainted-hierarch, omophor and Gospel”.

(The account about Sainted Gurii is located under 5 December; about Sainted Varsonophii – 11 April). In correspondence from a report of the archbishop of Cheboksarsk and Chuvash Benjamin (Novitsky, + 14 October 1976), His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus' Pimen gave blessing to make, on the first Sunday, after this day, the sobor-collective memory of all the Kazan sainted-hierarchs.

The PriestMartyr Hierotheos, Bishop of Athens, was a member of the Athenian Areopagia and was converted to Christ by the Apostle Paul together with Saint Dionysios the Areopagite (Comm. 3 October). The saint was consecrated by the Apostle Paul to the dignity of bishop. By tradition, Bishop Hierotheos was present together with Bishop Dionysios at the funeral of the MostHoly Mother of God. Saint Hierotheos died a martyr’s death in the Ist Century.

Holy Nobleborn Prince Vladimir Yaroslavich, Novgorod Wonderworker, was the eldest son of GreatPrince Yaroslav the Wise, and was born in the year 1020. At age 14 his father made him administrator of Novgorod. The voevoda (military-commander) Vyshata and the holy Bishop Luke Zhidyata (Comm. 10 February) assisted in guiding the prince. When he matured, the prince became a brave defender of the land and a pious Christian. Saint Vladimir built at Novgorod the Sophia cathedral, which was started in the year 1045 and consecrated on 14 September 1052 by Bishop Luke. The holy prince was not only concerned about the strengthening of the princedom (by his decree was built at Novgorod a stone fortress), but he also zealously instructed himself in the law of the Lord. It thus is known, that in 1047 the prophetic books with explanations were copied out for him.

The holy prince died at age 32 on 4 October 1052 – 20 days after the consecration of the Sophia temple, and his relics were placed in the church built by him. In the Novgorod Synodikon is mentioned his spouse, princess Alexandra. Commemoration of holy prince Vladimir was established in the year 1439 by Sainted Evphymii, Archbishop of Novgorod (Comm. 11 March).

The Monk Ammon, Hermit of Pechersk (XIII Century), was given the title Work-Lover. The saint went to Athos and to Jerusalem. Upon his return he became famed for his exploits, and he was an image of holy life for the brethren. He was buried in the Farther Caves. His memory is also 28 August and on the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent.

The Monk Ammon of Egypt was raised in Christian piety. Having entered into marriage at the demand of his parents, Ammon by agreement with his spouse preserved virginity and he began to live with her as brother with sister. The spiritual spouses pursued asceticism in fasting, prayer and conjoint effort for 20 years. Having matured in piety, the spouses then separately continued their ascetic deeds. The wife of Ammon remained home and founded at it a women’s monastery. Ammon went out into the Nitreian wilderness, where he dwelt for 22 years and attained to high spiritual accomplishments, the gifts of wonderworking and perspicacity.

The Monk Ammon often came for blessing to the Monk Anthony the Great (Comm. 17 January). At the hour of death of the Monk Ammon, Saint Anthony beheld how Angels with joy lifted up to heaven the soul of the righteous one. The Monk Ammon died in the mid-IV Century.

The Monk Paul the Simple lived in the IV Century. He was called Simple for his simplicity of heart and gentleness. The monk had been married, but having learned about the infidelity of his spouse, he left her and set off into the wilderness to the Monk Anthony the Great (Comm. 17 January). Paul was already 60 years old, and Saint Anthony at first did not accept Paul, since he was unfit for harshness of the hermit’s life. Paul stood at the cell of the ascetic for three days, saying that he would sooner die than go from there. Then the Monk Anthony settled Paul in with him, and long tested his endurance and humility by hard work, severe fasting, with nightly vigils, constant singing of psalms and with poklon-bowings to the ground. Finally the Monk Anthony decided to settle Paul into a separate cell.

For many years of ascetic exploits the Lord granted the Monk Paul both perspicacity, and the power to cast out demons. When they brought a possessed youth to the Monk Anthony, he guided the sick one to the Monk Paul with the words: “Those great in faith can cast out only small demons, but the humble like Paul the Simple, have power over the princes among demons”.

The Monks Jona and Nektarii of Kazan – in the world were Ioann (John) and Nestor Zastol’sky. When Sainted Gurii (+1563, Comm. 5 December) was sent to the newly established Kazan diocese, the boyar Ioann Zastol’sky journeyed with him. Under the spiritual guidance of Sainted Gurii, Ioann led a virtuous and pious life. He shunned sin, loved truth, and was strictly honest. Ioann raised his son Nestor in the fear of God. The gentle youth from childhood was an ascetic: he wore an hair-shirt, and kept the fasts. He loved to pray in church. With the consent of his father, Nestor took monastic vows with the name Nektarii. He died at a youthful age. Nestor’s father, Ioann, was tonsured into monasticism with the name Jona. Before death he gave final instructions to bury him alongside Sainted Gurii, near whose grave was buried Nektarii.

At the uncovering of the relics of Saints Gurii and Varsonophii in 1595 were uncovered also the undecayed bodies and clothing of the Monks Jona and Nektarii. They were left beneathe a crypt in a chapel of the Kazan Saviour-Transfiguration monastery (the chapel was built by Jona over the grave of Saint Gurii). The saints are mentioned in the service to Sainted Gurii: “Two monks having well asceticised to God, Jona and Nektarii, one born of the other, didst faithfully serve thee in the world and upon thy death keeping sincere faith with thee didst raise up over thine grave a chapel of stone. Herein alongside thee be buried these saints, honoured with much incorruption from God above. Pray thou with them, Sainted Gurii, unto Christ God, to grant us peace and great mercy”.

Saint Stephen (Stefan) Schilyanovich was born into a pious Christian family in the Serbian city of Zhupa (south side of Zakholm’ya). During this time Serbia was often subjected to incursions by the Turks, who devastated the land. Saint Stephen defended his native-land, doing military service in the army of the Serbian ruler. When famine began in the country, the kindly Saint Stephen distributed his own bread to the hungry. The patriotic activity of the saintly soldier was indissolubly bound up with his truly Christian life. He “ever aceticised in virtues, to wit: charity, purity, prayer, the Orthodox faith and unhypocritical love towards neighbour”. The saint expired to the Lord on 4 October 1515. After a certain while the Turks saw over his grave a light. Thinking, that here was hidden treasure, they broke open the grave and found the incorrupt body of Saint Stephen. Serbian monks ransomed the relics from the Turkish pasha and transferred them to the Shishatovets monastery on Mount Phrushtsk.

As a glorious righteous defender of his native-land, the Serbian Church prays thus to him: “Glory in the struggles, warrior Stefan Schilyanovich, great healer of those having recourse to thee in faith”.

© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos