October 01 2020 - September 18 2020

Monk Eumenios, Bishop of Gortineia (VII). Martyress Ariadna (II). Women Martyrs Sophia and Irene (III). Martyr Castor. Martyrs Bidjen, Shalva and Elizbar, Princes of Xana (+ 1660, Gruzia). Sainted Arkadii, Bishop of Novgorod (+ 1162). Monk Evphrosynii of Suzdal' (Glorified 1698).

Icons of the Mother of God: the Molchensk (1405), named the “Healer” (“Tselitel’nitsa”) (XVIII), and the Starorussk (its return to Stara Russa in 1888).

The Monk Eumenios from the time of his youth was noted for his virtuous life. He strove to serve the One God and therefore he shunned worldly temptations. Concerned about salvation of soul, he distributed all his substance to the poor. By the blessing of God the Monk Eumenios was chosen and elevated to the dignity of bishop of the Gortineia Church on the Island of Crete. The saint like a compassionate father comforted his flock in their sorrows, and cared for the orphaned and indigent. He prayers were so strong before God, that once during the time of drought he called forth abundant rain upon the earth. Saint Eumenios wisely and zealously defended the Orthodox faith against the then arising Monophysite heresy. For his opposition to the heresy the saint was banished to the Thebaid, where he died in the VII Century. His body was then transferred and buried in Gortineia.

The Holy Martyress Ariadna was a servant of Tertillos, a city-father of Promyssia (Phrygia) during the reign of the emperor Adrian (117-161). One time, when on the occasion of the birth of a son the master made a sacrificial offering to the pagan gods, the Christian Ariadna refused to participate in the impious solemnity. For this they subjected her to beatings, and suspending her, they lacerated her body with sharp iron hooks. Then they threw the martyress into prison and for a long while they exhausted her with hunger, demanding worship to the gods. When they released the saint from prison, she left the city, but Tertillos sent pursuers after her. Seeing that they were chasing her, she ran, calling out to God that He defend her from her enemies. Suddenly through her prayers there opened in the mountain a fissure, and Saint Ariadna hid in it. This miracles brought the pursuers into confusion and fear, and they in their depravity of mind began to strike one another with spears.

The Martyrs Bidjen (Cholokashvili), Shalva and Elizbar of Xana – were Gruzian princes who liberated Kakhetia (Eastern Gruzia/Georgia) from the Persians. At the demand of shah Abbas II all three were handed over to him, with the connivance of the Gruzian emperor Vakhtang V (1658-1675), who had accepted Islam and became known under the name Shah-Navaza.

When they brought the holy captives before the shah, then at the typical interrogation they answered, that they were Christians. No one was able to force the conviction of the martyrs to change, standing firm as they did in their confession of faith in Christ. Shah Abbas, trying every which way, including promises, threats and tortures, sent Bidjen, Elizbar and Shalva to the former ruler of Kakhetia, the sultan of Aldaran, who lived then at Ispagana. The sultan, seeing their steadfastness, gave orders that after fierce tortures the heads of Elizbar and Shalva be cut off, and that this be done before the eyes of Bidjen. Bidjen he ordered as a sign of shame to be dressed in prostitute’s attire and led through the city on a donkey. When even after this Bidjen wavered not in the faith, they subjected him to new lacerations and torments: his body was broken at the joints, and finally, his venerable head was cut off.

This event happened on 18 September 1660 (by other accounts, the martyrs suffered under shah Sefi, son of Abbas II, in the year 1664). The bodies of the holy martyrs were thrown out in burial pits outside the city. By night a light shone over them, streaming down from the heavens. Seeing this, local Armenians removed and secreted the holy relics in their church. After a certain while the relics were transferred to Kartalin and with reverence buried in the Ikhort monastery near the city of Hora.

The “Tselitel’nitsa” (“Healer”) Icon of the Mother of God, situated in Moscow, appeared as a copy of an image from the Tsilkan church in Kartalin, written during the time of the holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Nina (IV Century). The icon depicts the Mother of God, standing at the bed of a sick clergyman.

The Starorussk Icon of the Mother of God – the account is located under 4 May.

© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos