September 19 2020 - September 06 2020
Remembrance of the Miracle of the Archistrategos (Heavenly Hosts Leader) Michael, at Khona. Martyrs Eudoxios, Zinon and Makarios (+ c. 311-312). Monk Archippos (IV). Martyr Romilus and together with him many others (+ 107-115). PriestMartyr Cyril, Bishop of Gortineia (III-IV). Monk David (VI). Martyrs Faustus the Presbyter, Habib the Deacon and with them the 11 Martyrs: Kalodotia, Makarios, Andrew, Kyriakos, Dionysios, Andrew, Andropelagios, Thekla, Kyriakos, Theoktistos, Sarapabonos (Sarapambonos) (+ c. 250).
Icons of the Mother of God: Kievo-Bratsk (1654) and Arabia (Arapeteian).
The Remembrance of the Miracle, worked by the Holy Archistrategos (Heavenly Hosts Leader) Michael, at Khona (IV): In Phrygia, not far from the city of Hieropolis, in a place called Kherotopos, there was a church named for the Archangel Michael, and outside the church flowed a health-curative spring. This church was built through the zeal of a certain inhabitant of the city of Laodiceia in gratitude to God and to the holy Archistrategos Michael, who had appeared in a dream vision to this man – the father of a mute girl, and who then had not yet been illumined by holy Baptism, and revealed to him, that his daughter would receive the gift of speech in drinking from the water of the spring. During her drinking the girl actually did receive healing and began to speak. After this miracle, the father with his daughter and all their family were baptised, and in fervent gratitude the father built the church in honour of the holy Archistrategos Michael. And for healing began to come to the water-spring not only Christians, but also pagans. In so doing, many of the pagans turned from their idols and were converted to the faith in Christ.
At this church of the holy Archistrategos Michael a certain pious man by the name of Archippos served over the span of 60 years as church-attendant. By his preaching and by the example of his saintly life he brought many a pagan to faith in Christ. With the general malice of that time towards Christians, and even moreso against Archippos, who had never forsaken the church and gave example of a real servant of Christ, the pagans gave thought to destroying the church and at the same time kill Archippos. Towards this end they made a confluence of two mountainous rushing streams and directed its combined flow against the church. Saint Archippos prayed fervently to the Archistrategos Michael to ward off the danger. Through his prayer the Archangel Michael appeared at the temple, and with a blow of his staff opened into the mountain a wide fissure and commanded to flow into it the rushing torrents of water. The temple thus remained unharmed. In beholding such an awesome miracles, the pagans fled in terror, and Archippos together with Christians gathered in church glorified God and gave thanks to the holy Archangel Michael for the help. The place where the miracle happened received the name “Khona”, which means “opening” or “fissure”.
The Martyrs Eudoxios, Zinon, Makarios and their Companions received a martyr’s death for Christ under the emperor Maximian Galerius, the successor to the emperor Diocletian.
Saint Eudoxios held the high position of a military-commander in the imperial armies. He was a Christian, as were also his friend Zinon and his house steward Makarios. After the issuance by the emperor Diocletian of an edict about putting Christians to death, such as who refused to offer sacrifice to idols, many – including people of illustrious position and rank, fled to various lands with their families to avoid torture and death. And at this time also Saint Eudoxios resigned his high position, and with his wife Saint Basilissa and all their family abandoned their property and went into hiding in the region of Armenian Meletina.
The governor of Meletina dispatched soldiers to search for Eudoxios. When they came across Eudoxios himself, attired in white garb, and not recognising him, the soldiers began to question whether a certain military-commander Eudoxios had come into these parts. Not revealing who he actually was, the saint invited the soldiers into his home, fed them and gave them lodging for the night. Saint Eudoxios considered his encounter with the soldiers as a sign from the Lord about his impending end by martyrdom. In the morning he disclosed to his guests, that he was the one whom they were seeking. In gratitude for the hospitality the soldiers offered to conceal from the authorities that they had managed to find Saint Eudoxios. But the saint would not consent to this. Setting his house in order, he said to his wife not to bewail, but on the contrary to celebrate the day of his martyr’s death. Donning his military attire, he went off with the soldiers to the governor. Saint Basilissa and his friends – Saints Zinon and Makarios – followed after Saint Eudoxios. The governor tried to persuade Saint Eudoxios to offer sacrifice to the idols and by this safeguard his life, exalted rank and substance. Saint Eudoxios firmly refused, denouncing the folly of anyone who would worship soulless idols. His soldier’s sash – the emblem of his power of authority – he himself removed and threw in the face of the governor. Soldiers present at this, secret Christians, did likewise, and they numbered more than a thousand men. The embarrassed governor enquired of the emperor as to what he should do, and he received the orders: try the ringleaders and set free the rest. After prolonged tortures they led forth Saint Eudoxios to execution. Following after her husband, Saint Basilissa wept, and his friend Saint Zinon also bewept the martyr. Saint Eudoxios thereupon again urged his wife not to bewail him, but rather to rejoice that he be deigned the crown of martyrdom, and he asked that she bury his body in a place called Amimos. To his weeping friend Saint Zinon Saint Eudoxios predicted, that they would simultaneously enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Emboldened by these words, Zinon loudly declared himself a Christian, for which he was immediately sentenced to death. Later, Saint Basilissa without hindrance took up the body of her husband and buried it there where he had requested. After this they arrested the saint and led her before the governor; wanting to share the fate of her husband, she fearlessly denounced both the governor and his false gods – the idols. The governor however saw into her intent and would not torture her, but instead sent her away. In leaving, the saint said to him, that God would see her intent to suffer for her faith and would accept this intent as accomplished deed. Seven days later Saint Eudoxios appeared to his wife in a vision and bid convey to his friend and house-steward Makarios, that both he and Saint Zinon awaited the arrival of Makarios. Makarios immediately went to the governor and declared himself a Christian, for which he was sentenced to death and beheaded. Many a Christian likewise accepted a martyr’s death during this time (+ 311-312).
The Monk Archippos, son of pious Christians from the city of Hieropolis, at age 10 went to pray in the church of the holy Archistrategos Michael and he remained at this temple thereafter to render service as church-caretaker. He led a strict and ascetic manner of life, constantly at fasting and prayer; many a pagan that came to the holy water-spring he persuaded to accept holy Baptism, to forsake pagan impiety, and to turn to the One True God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Tenacious pagans headed by idolous priests repeatedly tried to kill Saint Archippos, but the Lord each time delivered him out of their hands. Finally, the pagans concocted a plan to destroy the church and at the same time kill also Archippos, – by flooding the spot where stood both the church and the curative spring. Seeing the preparations for this wicked deed, Saint Archippos firmly resolved not to abandon the holy place, and he prayed God and the Archangel Michael to preserve the church and the spring. The Lord hearkened to his prayer, and the saint witnessed to the Great Miracle of the Archistrategos Michael at Khona (IV) (q.v. vide supra). Miraculously delivered from death, Saint Archippos dwelt constantly at the church into venerable old age, and he died peacefully at 70 years from birth. Christians buried the saint at Khona, at the place of his deeds.
The Martyr Romilus lived during the reign of the emperor Trajan and was a confidant to the emperor by virtue of his office – military-commander. During a time of sojourn of the emperor in the East with the aim of suppressing the uprisings of various peoples against the Romans, – whether the Iberians, the Sarmatians, the Arabs –in the year 107 and again a second time in 115 the emperor, in conducting a review of the military strength of his army, found in his troops upwards to 11,000 Christians. Trajan immediately sent off in disgrace these Christians into exile in Armenia. Saint Romilus, in view of this, reproached the emperor with his impiety and the sheer folly to diminish the army’s numeric strength during a time of war. And Saint Romilus moreover openly acknowledged that he himself was a Christian. The enraged Trajan had the holy martyr subjected to a merciless beating, after which the holy martyr Romilus was beheaded.
The Christian soldiers sent off to exile in Armenia were killed by various forms of execution.
The PriestMartyr Cyril, Bishop of Gortineia, lived during the time of the emperor Diocletian and his co-emperor Maximian. As a Christian he was brought to trial before the governor Agrippina and after interrogation he was thrown into prison. By night he heard a voice, which commanded the saint to go to Rome. In the morning the doors of the prison were open, and the idols – overthrown and destroyed. On the road to Rome Saint Cyril had a vision: the Monk Philoxenos appeared and foretold for him 2 crowns – one of hierarch and the other of martyr. At Rome Saint Cyril rendered great help to the Church by his preaching. When a persecution against Christians started up, Saint Cyril set off to Jerusalem to encourage the spirits of Christians living there. Along the way he had a vision and received a command not to neglect Crete. Having arrived there, Saint Cyril was chosen bishop of the city of Gortineia. He was then 60 years of age. Still on the Gortineia cathedra-seat at age 95, Saint Cyril at the start of a new persecution against Christians was brought to trial and sentenced to death and beheaded with the sword in the vicinity of Raxos at the beginning of the IV Century.
The Martyrs Faustus the Presbyter, Habib the Deacon and 11 other Martyrs accepted a martyr’s death for Christ at Alexandria under the emperor Decius (249-251). During the time of persecution, they all of them steadfastly confessed themselves Christians afront the governor Valerius and were beheaded by the sword, in about the year 250. Their bodies were buried by Christians in Alexandria.
The Monk David before his entry into a monastery was the leader of a band of bandits in Egypt, in the Hermopolis wilderness. He had committed many a murder and other wicked deeds. Getting old, he thought over his life and took fright at his past misdeeds. Leaving his band of bandits, he went to the monastery and besought the hegumen to accept him amongst the brethren for repentance. The hegumen refused, explaining to David, that their monastic life was very severe and would be beyond his ability. David persisted and, finally, he revealed to the hegumen, that he was the notorious robber David. He said, that if they did not open the doors of the monastery to him for repentance, he would then return to his former manner of life, come back and plunder the monastery and kill the monks. The hegumen thereupon allowed him into the monastery, and to the surprise of all, David became an excellent monk. By his severe efforts David surpassed all the monks. After a certain length of time the Lord sent the Archangel Gabriel to David with the announcement, that the Lord had forgiven him. But the Monk David in his great humility could not believe, that for so great a sinner as he, the Lord would so quickly grant forgiveness. The Archangel then said to him, that for his little-faith David would become speechless. David implored, that he should be left the ability to say his prayers, monastic rule and share in church services. This was granted him, and the rest of the time he remained speechless. Towards the end of his life the Monk David received from God the gift of wonderworking: he healed many of the sick and cast out evil spirits. Having lived in such manner for many years, he reposed to the Lord (VI).
The Kievo-Bratsk Icon of the Mother of God was situated at first in the Borisoglebsk church in the city of Vyshgorod (Kiev), where it miraculously appeared in the year 1654. In 1662, during the time of war of Russia with Poland (1659-1667), the city was dealt heavy losses by the Crimean Tatars fighting on the side of the Polish. The temple of the holy Passion-Bearers Boris and Gleb was destroyed and defiled. But the Providence of God preserved the holy wonderworking icon of the Mother of God, which was taken out of the church beforehand in time and set off along the Dniepr, and the relics of the saints they hid beneathe a crypt. The river carried the icon to the Podola river-bank at Kiev, where it was joyfully taken up by the Orthodox and with due reverence transferred to the Bratsk monastery. In the records of church property of the Kievo-Bratsk monastery, made in the year 1807, was given its description. There existed a “Song about the wonderworking Kievo-Bratsk Icon of the Mother of God”, compiled soon after the year 1692.Celebration of the Kievo-Bratsk Icon of the Mother of God is made thrice within the year: 6 September, 10 May and 2 June. All these days are dedicated to the miraculous appearance of the holy icon in 1654. The original of the icon has not been preserved. The icon copy was written from it “measure for measure”, and is at present located in the Kiev monastery of the Pokrov (Protection) of the Mother of God.
© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos