October 21 2020 - October 08 2020

Nun Pelagia (+ 457).

Monk Tryphon, Archimandrite of Vyatsk (+ 1612). Monk Dosiphei of Verkhneostrovsk and Pskov (+ 1482). Saint Pelagia the Virgin (+ 303). Nun Taisia (IV). Martyr Nikodemos (IV). Saint Petronia (Petronilla) (I). Monks Isidor and Dorotheois of Palestine (VI-VII).

The Nun Pelagia was converted to Christianity by Sainted Nonnos, Bishop of Edessa (Comm. on Saturday of Cheesefare Week). Before her acceptance of saving Baptism, Pelagia was head of a dance troupe in Palestinian Antioch, living life in frivolity and profligacy. But one time Pelagia, elegantly dressed, was making her way past a church, at the doors of which Saint Nonnos was preaching a sermon. Believers turned their faces away from the sinner, but the bishop long glanced after her. Struck by the outer beauty of Pelagia and having foreseen the spiritual greatness in her, the saint in his cell prayed long to the Lord for the sinner, grieving that the poverty attiring his soul could not compare with the splendid garb and beauty of the profligate.

On the following day, when Saint Nonnos was teaching in the church about the Dread Last Judgement and its consequences, Pelagia came. The teaching made such an impression upon her, that betaken with the fear of God and bursting out in tears of repentance, she besought the saint for Baptism. Seeing the sincere and full repentance of Pelagia, Bishop Nonnos baptised her.

By night the devil appeared to Pelagia, urging her to return to her former life. In answer to this the saint made prayer, signed herself with the Sign of the Cross, and the devil vanished. Having gathered up her valuables, Saint Pelagia took them to Bishop Nonnos. The bishop gave orders to distribute it amidst the poor with the words: “Let be wisely dispersed what is miraculously gathered”. After this Saint Pelagia in hair-shirt journeyed to Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives. There, until her end (457), she asceticised in seclusion under the masculine-name Pelagios, and attained to great spiritual gifts.

The Monk Tryphon, Archimandrite of Vyatsk, came of pious parents, living in Arkhangelsk diocese. His parents intended to marry Tryphon off, but he had from his youthful years a desire for the monastic life, and he secretly left his home for the city of Ustiug, where he took up residence with a parish priest who dwelt in strict fasting and prayer. And then he lived in the town of Orletsa nearby the church, enduring hunger and cold, and from there he moved on to the Pyshkorsk monastery at the River Kama. Here the Monk Tryphon was received into monastic life and received tonsure under the hegumen Varlaam. The 22 year old monk did not pass up a single church service, and he did heavy obedience in the bakery. When he fell grievously ill, Saint Nicholas appeared to him and healed him, encouraging him in ascetic effort.

In search of solitude, the monk went to the Mulyanka River and settled at the place where now is situated the city Perm. Here he converted to Christianity the pagan Ostyaks and Voguli. Then the Monk Tryphon withdrew to the River Chusova and founded there a monastery in honour of the Uspenie-Dormition of the MostHoly Mother of God. In 1580 he arrived in the city of Khynov in Vyatsk diocese, and likewise he founded there an Uspensk monastery and was made archimandrite. Being a strict ascetic, he wore an hairshirt on his body and also heavy chains. The soul of the elder thirsted for the enlightenment of the lost with the light of faith in Christ. He devoted all his energy to this holy effort.

Before his death, the Monk Tryphon wrote a last testament to the brethren, in which he says: “Fathers and brethren, thou flock gathered about Christ! Heed me, a sinner. Though I be coarse and worse than any, God and His All-Pure Mother have permitted me, a sinner, to manage His household. I beseech ye, for God and His All-Pure Mother, have spiritual love amongst yourselves. Without this no virtue is complete before God. The lips of Christ bespoke the disciples: “Love one another” (Jn. 13: 34). And in the words of the Apostle Paul: “Bear each other’s burdens” (Gal. 6: 2). Condemn ye not one another before God, whether in the temple or in the cell, either alone or in common with the brethren. Do fearfully your cell prayers. And by no means neglect church singing; although there be other matters, hasten to church to God for spiritual song. First give to God what is God’s, and then fulfill the other matters”. The Monk Tryphon expired to the Lord in old age in 1612. He was buried in the Vyatsk monastery founded by him.

The Monk Dosiphei of Verkhneostrovsk and Pskov – was a disciple of the Monk Evphrosyn of Spasoeleazarovsk and Pskov (Comm. 15 May). In 1470 he founded the Petropavlovsk Verkhneostrov monastery at Lake Pskova, where he was hegumen.

The Nun Taisia, raised by her mother in a spirit far removed from Christian piety, led a depraved and dissolute life. She was famed for her beauty, alluring many on the path to sin.

The account about the prodigal Taisia spread throughout all Egypt and reached even the elder, Paphnutios, a strict ascetic who had converted to salvation many of the lost. Dressing himself into worldly attire, Paphnutios went to Taisia and asked her to name for him a place, where not only people but even God Himself would not see them. Taisia answered that this was impossible, since God is omnipresent everywhere, and He sees and knows all. Having seen in her soul the spark of the fear of God, the elder went further. He pointed out all the grievousness and loathesomeness of her sins, and he told her about the answering she would have to give before God for the souls of people corrupted and destroyed by her.

The words of Saint Paphnutios so affected the sinner, that she, having gathered up all her riches acquired in shameful a manner, then set them afire in the city square and withdrew with the elder to a monastery, where for three years she dwelt in seclusion. Having turned herself towards the East, Taisia incessantly uttered the short prayer: “My Creator, have mercy on me!”. “From that minute, when I entered into the cell, all my sins constantly were before my eyes, and I burst out in tears in remembering them”, – said the Nun Taisia to the elder before her death. “It is for this, thine tears, and not for the austerity of thine seclusion that the Merciful Lord hath granted thee mercy”, – said Saint Paphnutios in answer to her.

© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos