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Prolog z Ochrydy

ywoty witych, Hymny, Rozmylania


i Homilie na kady dzie roku
w. Mikoaj Velimirovi

November
November 1st (Old Style)

Saints Cosmas and Damian


Cosmas and Damian were unmercenaries and miracle-workers. They were brothers both in the flesh
and in the spirit, born somewhere in Asia Minor of a pagan father and a Christian mother. After their
father's death, their mother Theodotia devoted all her time and effort to educating her sons and
raising them as true Christians. God helped her, and her sons matured as sweet fruit and luminaries
of the world. They were learned in the art of medicine and ministered to the sick without payment,
not so much with medicine as by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. They were called
``unmercenary physicians,'' that is, unpaid physicians, for they healed freely and thus fulfilled the
commandment of Christ: Freely ye have received, freely give (Matthew 10:8). So careful were they
in healing men free of charge that Cosmas became very angry with his brother Damian because he
accepted three eggs from a woman, Palladia, and ordered that he not be buried alongside his brother
Damian after his death. In fact, St. Damian did not accept these three eggs as a reward for healing
the ailing Palladia, but rather because she adjured him in the name of the Most-holy Trinity to
accept these three eggs. Nevertheless, after their death in the town of Fereman, they were buried
together according to a revelation from God. The holy brothers were great miracle-workers both
during their life and after their death. A snake crawled through the mouth and into the stomach of a
certain farm laborer during his sleep, and the unfortunate man would have died in the greatest pain
had he not, in the last moment, invoked the help of Saints Cosmas and Damian. Thus, the Lord
glorified forever the miracle-working of those who glorified Him on earth by their faith, purity and
mercy.
The Holy Martyr Hermenegild the Heir
Hermenegild was the son of the Gothic King Leovigild who adhered to the Arian heresy. However,
Hermenegild did not turn away from Orthodoxy in spite of all the flatteries and threats of his cruel
heretical father. His father cast him into prison and, early on Pascha, sent a heretical bishop to
administer Communion to him. But the God-pleaser refused to receive Communion at the hands of
a heretic, and the heretical bishop informed the king about this. The king became angry and ordered
the executioner to behead Hermenegild in the year 586. Leovigild later repented that he had killed
his son; he renounced his heresy and returned to Orthodoxy.
The Venerable Martyr James with his disciples James and Dionysius

James was born in the Diocese of Castoria of parents named Martin and Parasceva. Working as a
shepherd James became wealthy, and by this incurred the envy of his brother, who maligned him to
the Turks as having found some treasure in the ground. James fled to Constantinople where he again
became very wealthy. Once, James was the guest of a Turkish Bey. The Turks ate meat and James
fasted. Then the Bey said: ``Great is your Christian Faith!'' And he related how his wife had been
mentally ill and how he, after all the physicians and cures had failed, took her to the patriarch for
prayers to be read over her. As soon as the patriarch opened the book to read, a heavenly light shone
forth in the church. After the completion of the prayer, his wife was made whole. Hearing how the
Turk extolled the Christian Faith, James distributed all his goods and went to the Holy Mountain,
where he was tonsured a monk in the Monastery of Iveron. He lived a life of asceticism on the Holy
Mountain and suffered for the Faith at the hands of the Turks in Jedrene on November 1, 1520. His
miracle-working relics and those of his disciples, James and Dionysius, repose in the Monastery of
St. Anastasia in Galakistou near Thessalonica.
Reflection
St. Hilarion of Meglin fought a great battle against the Bogomils. At one time, the leaders of the
Bogomils met with Hilarion and began to debate with him about faith. The Bogomils taught that
God created the spiritual world and that the devil created the material world. To this, Hilarion
replied to them that in Holy Scripture it is written: For God is the King of all the earth (Psalm 47:7)
and also: The earth is the Lord's and all its fullness (Psalm 24:1). The Bogomils claimed that the
Old Testament is of the devil. To them, the saint replied: ``If the Old Testament indeed proceeded
from the devil would Christ have said, Search the Scriptures and they are they which testify of
Me (John 5:39), and would He have acknowledged as the greatest commandments those about love
toward God and one's neighbor which, at one time, were given through Moses?'' The Bogomils also
claimed that the body of Christ was brought from heaven. To this, St. Hilarion replied to them that
had it been so, then the body of Christ would have felt neither hunger nor thirst, nor weariness nor
suffering, nor would it have been susceptible to death. The Bogomils then expressed their
disapproval of the sign of the Cross which Orthodox Christians use. The saint replied to them:
``And what will you do when the sign of the Son of Man, His Cross, appears in the heavens, and
when all nations of the earth who do not believe in the Cross will weep?'' And he also said to them:
``How is it that you say that all evil is from evil material, and meanwhile you do not reverence that
Wood by which the whole material world was sanctified?''
Contemplation
Contemplate

the

wondrous

power

of

the

apostles'

words

(Acts

16):

1. How Paul and Silas spoke to the assembled women alongside the water at Philippi;

2. How the Lord opened the heart of the woman Lydia, and she and her household were baptized.
Homily
On the call to all Christians to become saints.
To the saints which are at Ephesus (Ephesians 1:1).
The Apostle calls the Christians in Ephesus saints. He does not call one or two of them saints, nor
one group of them, but all of them. Is this not a wondrous miracle of God for people, not in the
wilderness but in a city-and an idolatrous and corrupt city-to become saints? That married men who
sire children, who trade and work, become saints! Indeed, such were the first Christians. Their
dedication, fidelity and zeal in the Faith as well as their holiness and purity of life, completely
justified their being called saints. If in latter times saints have become the exception, in those earlier
times the unholy were the exception. Saints were the rule. Therefore, we must not wonder that the
Apostle calls all baptized souls in Ephesus ``saints'' and that he has an even loftier name for all
Christians, i.e., ``sons,'' the sons of God (Galatians 4:6). Christ the Lord Himself gave us the right to
call ourselves such when He taught us to address God as Our Father (Matthew 6:9).
O my brethren, do we not say to God every day: ``Holy God?'' Do we not call the angels holy? Do
we not call the Mother of God holy? And the prophets, apostles, martyrs and the righteous? Do we
not call heaven holy and the Kingdom of Heaven holy? Who then is able to enter into the holy
Kingdom but the saints? Therefore, if we have hope for salvation, we also have hope for holiness.
O Holy God, Who dwellest in the holy place and resteth among the saints and callest the holy to
Thyself and showest mercy to them, help us also that we may become holy-in words, in thoughts
and in deeds-to Thy glory and our salvation.

November 2nd (Old Style)

The Holy Martyrs Acyndinus, Pegasius, Anempodistus, Aphthonius, Elpidephorus and others with
them
They were all Christians from Persia and suffered during the reign of King Sapor in the year 355.
The first three were servants at the court of this same king but secretly served Christ their Lord.
When they were accused and brought to trial before the king, he asked them where they came from.
To this they replied: ``Our fatherland and our life is the Most-holy Trinity, one in Essence and
undivided, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, One God.'' The king subjected them to cruel
tortures but they endured all heroically, with psalmody and prayer on their lips. During the time of

their torture and imprisonment angels of God appeared to them many times, and one time the Lord
Christ Himself appeared to them as a man ``with a face radiant as the sun.'' When one of the
torturers, Aphthonius, beheld a miracle, when boiling lead did no harm to the martyrs, he believed
in Christ and cried out: ``Great is the Christian God!'' For this, he was immediately beheaded, and
many others saw and believed. Then the king ordered that Acyndinus, Pegasius and Anempodistus
be sewn into animal skins and cast into the sea. But St. Aphthonius appeared from the other world
with three shining angels, and led the holy martyrs to dry land and set them free. Elpidephorus was
one of the king's nobles. When he revealed that he was a Christian and denounced the king for his
slaughter of innocent Christians, the king condemned him to death and Elpidephorus was beheaded
along with seven thousand other Christians. Then those first three martyrs (Acyndinus, Pegasius
and Anempodistus) were finally thrown into a burning furnace along with twenty-eight soldiers and
the king's mother, since they also believed in Christ-and thus, in the flames, they gave up their
righteous souls into the hands of the Lord.
The Venerable Marcian of Cyrus
Marcian was from the town of Cyrus in Syria. He was distinguished by his noble ancestry as well as
by his physical beauty. He left all for the sake of Christ and withdrew into the wilderness of Halkis
to live as a hermit. He was a contemporary of Patriarch Flavian of Antioch and the Emperors
Constantius and Valens. A heavenly light shone in his cell at night by which he read the Holy
Scriptures, and he never had need of any other light. He was a great miracle-worker both during his
life and after death. Before his death, he ordered his disciple Eusebius to conceal his body and bury
it secretly because of his many admirers. He entered into rest in the Lord in 387.
The Hieromartyr Victorinus, Bishop of Patav
Many maintain that he was a Slovene by ancestry. Blessed Jerome points him out as a learned and
devout man. He knew Greek better than Latin. He wrote the interpretations of several books of the
New and Old Testaments. He suffered for the Christian Faith in about the year 303.
Reflection
How will one who transgresses love toward his parents raise himself toward love for his enemies?
Love for one's parents-this is the main and fundamental school of love. Without this school, one can
go no further. The Serbian King Dragutin rose up against his father with an army in order to sit on
his father's throne. But it so happened that he later broke his leg, and this awakened in him pangs of
conscience which did not leave him in peace until his death. Dragutin withdrew from the throne and
relinquished his authority to his younger brother Milutin, and began to widely distribute alms, build
churches, and perform other good works. In addition to this, he lived a strict life of asceticism in

secret. He girded himself with a belt of reeds around his naked body, dressed in coarse sackcloth,
and prayed to God at night in a secretly dug grave. This penitent king did all this only that God
would forgive him the sin of lack of love toward his parents, and God forgave him. Many holy
martyrs joyfully received their executioners who were seeking them, and treated them hospitably in
their homes while they themselves prepared for death. To entertain one's mortal enemies-is this not
an expression of great love toward one's enemies? When King Sapor harshly tortured Acyndinus,
Pegasius and others with them, he suddenly went mad, became dumb and unable to speak, and
began to claw his face with great fury. Seeing his tormentor in such despair, St. Acyndinus wept and
prayed to God for the king and said, ``In the name of Jesus Christ the Lord, speak!'' and the king's
tongue was loosed and he began to speak. Here is an example of true love for one's enemies!
Contemplation
Contemplate

the

wondrous

power

of

the

apostles'

words

(Acts

16):

1. How a certain slave girl with an unclean spirit of divination cried out after Paul and Silas;
2. How Paul turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out
of

her;

3. How the unclean spirit at that same hour came out of the slave girl.
Homily
On the will of God that all Christians should be holy.
According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy
and without blame before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4).
Only the Church teaches and demonstrates that first there was a plan for the world and then the
world was created. That plan was in the wisdom and will and power of God. And we Christians, as
the Church of God, are in this plan. According to this plan, God chose us before the foundation of
the world for holiness and righteousness and love. God chose us beforehand and adopted us through
Him-through Whom? Through the Lord Jesus Christ. For all that we are to God, we are to Him
through Jesus Christ. Apart from Jesus Christ man has no other bond, no other relationship, no other
kinship with God, and therefore our choosing and adoption was through our Lord Jesus Christ. He
chose us, His Holy Church, according to the good pleasure of His will (Ephesians 1:5), as He had
once chosen Israel from among all the nations on earth. Let no one say that this choosing of God
destroys man's free will, so that neither does a Christian have merit because he is a Christian, nor is
a pagan condemned because he is a pagan. No, this is a totally erroneous interpretation. For at one
time God also chose Israel and some in Israel perished while some were saved. He also chose His
Holy Church, calling all nations and peoples to it. But the salvation of those among the chosen does
not depend on God's choice alone, but also on man's will and effort.

O eternal God, our Creator, Who chose us for salvation before Thou hadst even created us, have
mercy on us and save us.

November 3rd (Old Style)

The Hieromartyr Acepsimas, Bishop of Naeson, and others with him


The eighty-year-old Acepsimas, filled with every Christian virtue, was sitting one day in his home
with guests. Just then a child, filled with the Spirit of God, ran up to the aged bishop, kissed him on
the head and said: ``Blessed is this head, for it will receive suffering for Christ.'' This prophecy was
soon fulfilled. King Sapor raised a bitter persecution of Christians throughout Persia, and St.
Acepsimas was apprehended. He was brought before a prince who was also a pagan priest. As the
bishop was arrested and bound, a member of his household asked him what should be done with his
home if he were martyred. The saint replied: ``It is no longer my home. I am going to a home on
high and will not return.'' After prolonged interrogation he was thrown into prison. The following
day Joseph, a seventy-year-old presbyter, and Aithalas, a deacon, were also imprisoned. After three
years of imprisonment and many tortures, Acepsimas was beheaded. Joseph and Aithalas were
buried up to their waists in the ground, and the soulless pagans forced Christians to stone them.
That night, by God's providence, Joseph's body disappeared, and a myrtle tree grew over Aithalas's
body that healed every kind of disease and pain of men. This tree stood for five years before the
wicked and envious pagans cut it down. These soldiers of Christ suffered in Persia in the fourth
century, during the time of the pagan King Sapor.
The Holy Great-martyr George
On this day we commemorate the translation of the relics of St. George, from Nicomedia, where he
suffered at the time of Emperor Diocletian, to the city of Lydda in Palestine. The suffering of this
wonderful saint is described on April 23. Anticipating his martyrdom, St. George begged his servant
to take his relics to Palestine, where his mother had been born, and where he had distributed his
large estate to the poor. The servant did so. During the reign of Emperor Constantine, pious
Christians built a beautiful church to St. George in Lydda and, upon the consecration of that church,
the relics of the saint were interred there. Innumerable miracles have occurred from these miracleworking relics of St. George, the great-martyr of Christ.
The Venerable Elias the Egyptian
Elias labored in asceticism near Antinoe, the principle city of the Thebaid. For seventy years, he

lived among the arid and inaccessible rocks of the desert. He ate only bread and dates and, in his
youth, fasted for weeks at a time. He healed all manner of pains and ailments of the people. He
eventually became very shaky in his old age, and entered into the joy of his Lord at the age of 110.
Elias said: ``Guard your mind from evil thoughts concerning your neighbors, knowing that the
demons put them there, aiming to blind you to your own sins and prevent you from directing
yourself toward God.''
Reflection
Among the countless miracles of St. George, this one is recorded: On the island of Mytilene there
was a church dedicated to St. George the Great-martyr and Trophy-bearer. All the inhabitants of the
island would come to this church on the annual feast of their patron saint. Knowing of this, the
Saracens of Crete once attacked this island on its feast day, pillaged the island, and enslaved its
inhabitants, taking many of them back to Crete. Among the enslaved was a handsome young man,
whom the pirates gave to their prince. The prince made him his servant. The young man's parents
were overwhelmed with great sorrow for their son. After a year had passed and St. George's day
came again, the grieving parents, following the ancient custom, prepared a table and entertained
many guests. Remembering her son, the poor mother went to the icon of the saint, fell to the ground
and began to pray that he somehow deliver her son from slavery. The mother then returned to her
guests at the table. The host raised a glass and drank a toast to the honor of St. George. Just then
their son appeared among them, holding a decanter of wine in his hand. In amazement and fear,
they asked him how he had managed to come to them. He replied that as he was about to serve his
master wine in Crete, a knight on horseback appeared before him, pulled him up onto the horse and
carried him instantly to his parents' home. All were amazed, and glorified God and His wonderful
saint, George the Commander and Victory-bearer.
Contemplation
Contemplate

the

wondrous

deliverance

of

Paul

and Silas

from prison (Acts

16):

1. How these holy apostles were cast into the inner prison and their feet were placed in stocks;
2.

How

they

were

at

prayer,

praising

God

at

midnight;

3. How the earth quaked, the chains fell off those who were bound, and the doors of the prison were
opened.
Homily
On Christ as the Head of all the saints.
That He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which
are on earth (Ephesians 1:10).

Sin causes panic and confusion. A man drowning in sin and vice is like a chicken with its head cut
off which, dying, thrashes about convulsively and rushes to and fro. Before Christ's Incarnation, the
whole pagan world was a confused, headless body, dying in convulsions. Christ joined the severed
head with the benighted trunk and brought the body of the human race back to life. He is the Head
of the heavenly host, and He has always been. And, as the Creating Word of God, He was from the
beginning the Head of everything created in the visible world, especially the human race. But sin,
like a sword, separated the sinful trunk of Adam from his Head. However, the Lord reconciled
heaven and earth in His Incarnation, bringing heaven to earth, and raising earth to heaven, and
establishing all of it under His mind, under His headship. Through Christ we are reconciled with the
Holy Trinity and the angels of God, with one another, and with the created nature around us. The
lost Head has been found and all has been harmoniously arranged beneath it. The Apostle says: We
have the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16). As the head is to the physical man, so the mind is to
the spiritual inner man. Therefore, if we are Christ's, we must think and judge in all things
according to our Head, Jesus Christ, and Him alone. Thinking and judging by Him, we will perceive
ourselves as organs of one body that includes other men and the angels: one body, whose Head is
Christ. Hence, our love for God is enkindled, and our faith strengthened, and our hope enlightened.
Only a sleeping body feels no link with its head. Let us awaken, my brethren, let us awaken while
we have time.
O Lord Jesus Christ, our All-wise Head, unite us with Thyself.

November 4th (Old Style)

The Venerable Ioannicius the Great


The great spiritual light Ioannicius was born in the village of Marycata in the province of Bithynia,
of his father Myritricius and his mother Anastasia. As a youth, he was a shepherd. While tending his
sheep, he would often retreat into solitude and remain in prayer the whole day, encircling his flock
with the sign of the Cross so that the flock would not stray and scatter. Later, he was taken into the
army and displayed marvelous courage, particularly in the wars with the Bulgarians. Following his
military service, Ioannicius withdrew to Mount Olympus in Asia Minor, where he was tonsured a
monk and dedicated himself completely to asceticism until his repose in great old age. He lived in
asceticism for over fifty years in various places, and received from God a truly abundant gift of
wonderworking. He healed all sicknesses and pains, drove out demons, and tamed wild beasts. He
especially had power over snakes, could cross over water as on dry land, could be invisible to men

when he so desired, and could foretell future events. He was distinguished by overwhelming
humility and meekness. His outward appearance was that of a giant-massive and powerful. He took
an active part in the destiny of God's Church. During the iconoclast controversy, he was deceived at
first, but later tore himself away from the iconoclast viewpoint and became an ardent champion of
the veneration of icons. He had a great friendship with Patriarch Methodius of Constantinople.
Ioannicius lived for ninety-four years and entered peacefully into rest in the Lord in the year 846.
He was a great miracle-worker both during his life and after his death.
The Hieromartyrs Nicander, Bishop of Myra, and Hermas the Presbyter
Nicander and Hermas were both ordained by Apostle Titus. They were both distinguished by their
great zeal for the Faith and their great labors in winning pagans for Christ the Lord. Because of this,
they were accused before a certain judge, Libanus, who subjected them to bitter tortures. They were
stoned and dragged over stones; they were imprisoned, suffered hunger and endured many other
tortures that no mortal man could endure without God's special help. The Lord appeared to them in
various ways, and when they were thrown into a fiery furnace, the Lord sent His angel to cool the
flames for them. Finally, they were buried alive by their cruel torturers. But in vain do men kill
those whom the Lord gives life, and in vain do men dishonor those whom the Lord glorifies.
Reflection
Mercy is the fruit of faith. Where there is true faith, there also is true mercy. St. Ioannicius was
walking past a monastery one day. Among the many nuns, there were a mother and daughter. Evil
spirits continually assaulted the young daughter with bodily temptations, and inflamed the passion
of lust in her to such a degree that she wanted to leave the convent to marry. In vain did her mother
counsel her to stay. Her daughter would not even hear of it. When the mother saw St. Ioannicius,
she begged him to counsel her daughter to remain in the monastery and not expose her soul to
perdition in the world. Ioannicius summoned the maiden and said: ``Daughter, place your hand on
my shoulder!'' She did so. Then the compassionate saint prayed to God with a fervent heart that He
deliver her from temptation, and that her bodily lust be transferred to him. Thus, it happened. The
maiden was completely calmed and remained in the monastery, and the saint of God went on his
way. But as he went, the passion of lust was inflamed in him, and his blood began to boil as though
on fire. He desired to die rather than to give the passion its way and, seeing a large poisonous snake,
ran to it so as to be bitten and to die. But the snake would not bite him. He provoked it to make it
bite him, but as soon as he touched it the snake died. At that moment the flame of lust disappeared
from Ioannicius.
Contemplation

Contemplate
1.

How

the
the

Lord's
Lord

coming
came

to

to

Paul

Paul

in
at

vision

Corinth,

in

at
a

night

(Acts

nighttime

18):
vision;

2. How He told him to fear not and to preach, for He said: I have much people in this city;
3. How Paul obeyed and remained there for a year and a half.
Homily
On the heirs of the Kingdom through Christ the Lord.
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance (Ephesians 1:11).
All is from the Lord Jesus Christ, all is through the Lord Jesus Christ, and all is of the Lord Jesus
Christ. Without Him, we have no proper ties or normal relationships with God, with men or with
other created beings. He is our head and our mind, and through Him we have obtained an
inheritance. What do we inherit? The Kingdom of God. Why are Christians often called heirs in the
New Testament? Inheritance is always associated with someone's passing from this earth. One must
die for his heir to inherit. Christians even become heirs while still in this life, for the old man in
them dies and the new man comes in his place as heir. The one who outlives the other is the one
who inherits. When the body dies, the soul outlives it; the soul therefore inherits all that a man has
gathered while in the body, be it good works for salvation or evil works for condemnation. Through
the Lord Jesus Christ the inheritance that the Lord Himself rejoiced in is opened to us: the Immortal
Kingdom of God. We inherit that Kingdom when we leave the earthly kingdom-when we die to this
earth, we will inherit heaven; when we break off the alliance with Satan, we will become fellow
heirs in Christ. O my brethren, just think what a rich inheritance awaits us! But let us not sell it
cheaply, as Esau sold his birthright!
O Lord Jesus Christ, our God and our Savior, have mercy on us to the end, and save us.

November 5th (Old Style)

The Venerable Martyrs Galaction and Episteme


Both Galaction and Episteme were born in the city of Edessa, in Phoenicia. Galaction's mother was
barren until she was baptized. After her baptism, she converted her husband (Cleitophon) to the true
Faith, baptized her son Galaction, and raised him in the Christian Faith. When Galaction was old
enough to marry, his good mother, Leucippa, entered into rest, and his father betrothed him to a
pagan-born maiden named Episteme. By no means did Galaction want to enter into marriage, and
convinced Episteme to be baptized, then to be tonsured a nun at the same time that he became a

monk. Both of them withdrew to Mount Publion-Galaction to a monastery and Episteme to a


convent. They proved to be shining lights in their monasteries. They were first in labor, first in
prayer, first in humility and obedience, and first in love. They neither left their monasteries nor did
they see one another until just before their death. A fierce persecution began and both of them were
brought before the tribunal. When the pagans mercilessly whipped Galaction, Episteme wept. Then
they whipped her. After that, they cut off their hands, their feet and then their heads. Their friend
Eutolius took their bodies and honorably buried them. Eutolius had been a slave of Episteme's
parents, and then a monk with Galaction. He also wrote the life of these wonderful martyrs of Christ
who suffered and received their wreaths in heaven in the year 253.
The Holy Apostles Patrobas, Hermes, Linus, Gaius and Philologus
They were of the Seventy. Patrobas was Bishop of Neapolis, Hermes of Philipopolis (Romans
16:14), Linus of Rome (II Timothy 4:21), Gaius of Ephesus (Roman 16:23), and Philologus of
Synope (Romans 16:15). All of them fulfilled the Law of Christ with love and took up their abode
in the Kingdom of Christ.
Saint Jonah, Archbishop of Novgorod
Jonah was born in Novgorod and was orphaned early. A certain God-fearing widow took him and
educated him. Seeing him as a child, Michael, the fool-for-Christ of Klops said to him
prophetically: ``Ivanushka, study diligently, for you will become archbishop in Novgorod the
Great.'' And indeed, following the death of Archbishop Euthymius, Jonah was chosen and
consecrated in his place. Jonah was devout and merciful to a rare degree for a mortal man. He built
churches and monasteries and cared for his flock as a true good shepherd. He was offered the throne
of Moscow as Metropolitan but declined, excusing himself because of his age. He entered into rest
peacefully on November 5, 1570, and settled in the joyful heavenly habitations. One hundred years
following his death there was a great fire in Novgorod. The relics of this saint did not burn in the
furious flames, but on the contrary, from then on manifested healing power and emitted a wonderful
fragrance.
Reflection
Physical love, in comparison to spiritual love, is less than a shadow is to solid substance.
Brotherhood and sisterhood of the blood and body is nothing compared to the brotherhood and
sisterhood of the spirit. Galaction's father betrothed him to the maiden Episteme. Galaction baptized
Episteme and, after that, both received the monastic tonsure. Their physical love was replaced by
spiritual love, a love as strong as death. So great was Galaction's spiritual love for Episteme that he
never desired to see her with his physical eyes. Neither physical contact nor closeness are necessary

for spiritual love. So great was Episteme's spiritual love for Galaction that when she heard that he
had been taken for torture she ran after him, begging him not to reject her, but to receive her as a
fellow sufferer, as he was her spiritual father and brother. When the merciless torturers flogged holy
Galaction's naked body, holy Episteme wept. However, when the torturers cut off their hands and
feet for Christ, both rejoiced and glorified God. So great was the power of their love for our Lord
Jesus Christ, and so great was the spiritual love with which they loved each other. Truly, physical
love is like a colorful butterfly that quickly passes, but spiritual love is enduring.
Contemplation
Contemplate the wondrous action of the Holy Spirit upon the baptized (Acts 19):
1. How Paul, coming to Ephesus, saw men baptized with the baptism of John to repentance;
2. How he placed his hands on them and the Holy Spirit descended upon them;
3. How they were filled with power, and spoke in tongues and prophesied.
Homily
On the elevation of man through the Risen Christ.
Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named,
not only in this world, but also in that which is to come and hath put all things under His feet
(Ephesians 1:21-22).
Behold, the heights to which God exalts the being of man! Here, Christ's Divine Nature is not the
subject, but rather His human nature. This is not about the eternal Word of God, but rather about the
man Jesus, whom God raised from the dead and exalted-not only above this whole visible and
mortal world, but also above the invisible and immortal, far above all the orders of angels and the
heavenly powers; far above all the known and unknown wondrous hierarchies of heaven; far above
every created being, known and unknown; and far above every name in the material and the
spiritual worlds. My brethren, do you see how our All-glorious Creator fulfilled the promise He
gave to Adam when he banished him from Paradise, and repeated more clearly to Abraham, and
repeated still more clearly through the prophets and David? Do you see how the Lord of Sabaoth
began to glorify the human race by glorifying the man Jesus, the Son of God, in Whom was
incarnate the divinity of God? As the first in glory, God first glorified Him, and then, in order, all
those who are numbered with Him, and who by the grace of the Holy Spirit are named and written
in the Book of Life for eternal glory. It is not without cause that the Church sings to the Mother of
God: ``More honorable than the Cherubim and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim.''
Where the Risen Lord is exalted, His Most-holy Mother is also exalted, as are also His holy
apostles, in accordance with His words to His heavenly Father: Father, I will that they also, whom
thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am (John 17:24).

Such is the boundless consequence of God's descent to earth. Such are the ineffable fruits of His
sufferings.
O Lord Jesus Christ our Savior, equal only to Thy Father and the Holy Spirit; help us to extricate
ourselves from the depth of putrid sin and sensual foolishness before the end.

November 6th (Old Style)

Saint Paul the Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinople


When Blessed Patriarch Alexander lay on his deathbed, the sorrowing faithful asked him who he
would have follow him as the chief shepherd of the spiritual flock of Christ. He said: ``If you desire
a shepherd who will teach you and who will shine with virtues, choose Paul; but if you only want a
suitable man, externally adorned, choose Macedonius.'' The people chose Paul. Unfortunately, this
was not accepted by the Arian heretics, nor was it accepted by Emperor Constantius, who was then
in Antioch. Paul was soon deposed, and fled to Rome with St. Athanasius the Great. In Rome, Pope
Julian and Emperor Constans received them warmly and upheld them in their Orthodox Faith.
Emperor Constans and Pope Julian saw to it that Paul was returned to his throne, but when Emperor
Constans died the Arians raised their heads again, and Patriarch Paul was banished to Cucusus in
Armenia. Once, as Paul was celebrating the Divine Liturgy in exile, he was attacked by the Arians
and strangled with his omophorion, in the year 351. In 381, during the reign of Emperor
Theodosius, Paul's relics were transferred to Constantinople, and in the year 1236 they were
translated to Venice, where they still repose. His beloved priests and notaries, Marcian and
Martyrius (October 25), suffered soon after their patriarch.
The Venerable Barlaam of Khutyn, the Miracle-worker
Barlaam was born and raised as a Christian in Novgorod the Great. After the death of his parents, he
was tonsured a monk and devoted himself to a life of strict asceticism. He founded a monastery on
the bank of the Volkhov River, at a place where a heavenly light appeared to him. Barlaam was a
great miracle-worker both during his life and after his death: he saw into the secrets of men's hearts,
expelled unclean spirits and healed all sicknesses. After his repose, a servant of Prince Vasili
Vasilievich became gravely ill and begged to be taken to the saint's grave. He further instructed
them that, if he should die on the way, they should carry his dead body to the saint. And thus it
happened-he died on the way and they carried him dead to the monastery, where he returned to life,
stood up and prostrated before the grave of the saint. In the year 1471, Tsar Ivan the Terrible
ordered that the saint's grave be dug up. As soon as they began to dig, a flame sprang from the grave

and flared up along the walls of the church. The Tsar was so frightened that he ran out of the church
and, in his haste, forgot his staff, which is still preserved beside the grave of the saint. The
commemoration of this miracle is celebrated on the Friday after the Sunday of All Saints.
Commemoration of the falling of ash from the sky
This took place in Constantinople in the year 47 2 during the reign of Emperor Leo the Great and
Patriarch Gennadius. (See ``Reflection'' below.)
Reflection
If God can bring forth water from a rock as a comfort to men, He is also able to send down fire
from the heavens as a punishment. The fate of Sodom and Gomorrah is a classic example of God's
punishment upon incorrigible sinners. That God can repeat this punishment was demonstrated over
Constantinople in the year 472, during the time of Emperor Leo the Great and Patriarch Gennadius.
At noon on November 6 of that year, the sky became overcast with thick, dark clouds, causing
darkness on the land. These clouds turned red as fire, then became dark, and alternated their
appearance continuously. This phenomenon over Constantinople lasted for a full forty days. The
frightened people turned to repentance and prayer. With the emperor and patriarch, they walked in
procession through the streets from church to church and prayed to God with tears and lamentation.
On the final day hot black ash fell like rain from evening until midnight, then stopped. The
following day dawned clear and bright, but the sooty ash lay on the ground to a depth of nine
inches. With great effort, the people cleaned their houses and streets of this sooty ash, but the crops
in the field were utterly destroyed. All who had understanding, understood that this was God's
punishment, and that it was God's gentle punishment because the people hastened to repent before
Him. Had it not been for this profound repentance for their great and accumulated sins, who knows
what would have happened to Constantinople in those days? But the timely repentance of sinners,
and the prayers of the Most-holy Theotokos, as well as the prayers of the countless saints and
martyrs of Constantinople, greatly lessened the punishment.
Contemplation
Contemplate the wondrous power of healing that proceeded from the Apostle Paul (Acts 19):
1. How the people took his aprons and handkerchiefs and placed them on the sick;
2.

How

all

the

sick

were

healed,

and

evil

spirits

fled

from

them;

3. How the words of the Savior came true, that he who believes in Him will perform greater
miracles than He.
Homily
On the Head of the Church and the Body of Christ.

And gave Him to be the head over all things to the Church, which is His body (Ephesians 1:22-23).
Headless humanity is given a head in the Lord Jesus, risen from the dead. The body separated from
the head is grafted to its head, part by part, member by member. Not all men are the body-only
those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. All are called, but only those who respond are received
under the Head. The ones who respond comprise the Body that is called the Church, whose Head is
the Lord. But, as the risen and glorified man, Jesus is exalted within the Holy Trinity, above all and
everything on earth and in heaven, so also will His Church, His Body, be exalted to its Head, above
all and everything. The whole Church, together with its Head, will stand at the right hand of the
Holy Trinity-for where the head is, there also is the body. The redeemed and repentant sinners, the
erstwhile adversaries of God-wandering astray like the Prodigal Son and headless as a dead body,
but now adopted through Christ and for Christ, and clothed in the beauty of divine life and
splendor-will be exalted to such heights, greatness and glory. For it is a great thing, brethren: the
Incarnation of the Son of God on earth, His suffering on the Cross and His death for our sake. His
visit to earth brought about a great change in the destiny of men, and in the meaning of all things.
He changed all things and made all things new. Therefore, brethren, let us not live and conduct
ourselves as the old man, but rather as the new man; let us not live according to sin, but according
to righteousness; let us not act according to the flesh, but according to the spirit. May we be made
worthy of those heights, of the greatness and glory to which we are called by our Head.
O Lord Jesus, the Holy Head of the Holy Church, make us worthy to be members forever of Thy
Most-pure Body.

November 7th (Old Style)

The Holy Martyr Hieron and his companions


Hieron was born in Tyana in Cappadocia of a good and devout mother, Stratonika, who was blind.
Hieron was a very zealous Christian and served his blind mother with great filial love. For two
reasons he did not wish to join the army, and he resisted and drove off those who had been sent to
take him. Hieron was loath to leave his helpless mother, and it was grievous for him even to
consider that, as a soldier, he would be compelled to offer sacrifices to idols. Finally, Hieron was
arrested along with other Christians, and they were all taken before the eparch of the town of
Melitene. While they were still on the road, a man clad in a brilliant white garment appeared to
Hieron one night and said: ``Behold, Hieron, I proclaim salvation to you: you shall not wage war
for an earthly king, but for the Heavenly King you will complete your struggle, and you shall soon

come to Him to receive honor and glory.'' At this, Hieron's heart was filled with inexpressible joy. In
Melitene they were all thrown into prison and Hieron, with great zeal, strengthened all the prisoners
in the Faith, urging that not even one of them fall away, but that all willingly offer their bodies to
torture and death for Christ. All but one confessed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The exception
was Hieron's kinsman Victor, who fell away from the Faith. The tormentors cut one of Hieron's
hands off, then flogged and tortured him in various ways until they beheaded him and the others.
Going to the place of execution, these thirty-three martyrs chanted the Psalm: Blessed are the
undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord (Psalms 118:1). Here we will name the
honorable martyrs whose names are written with his in the Book of Life: Hesychius, Nicander,
Athanasius, Mamas, Barachius, Callinicus, Theogenes, Nikon, Longinus, Theodore, Valerius,
Xanthius, Theodulus, Callimachus, Eugenius, Theodochus, Ostrichius, Epiphanius, Maximian,
Ducitius, Claudian, Theophilus, Gigantius, Dorotheus, Theodotus, Castrichius, Anicletus,
Themilius, Eutychius, Hilarion, Diodotus and Amonitus. A man named Chrysanthus purchased
Hieron's severed head and honorably buried it, later building a church over it in the saint's name.
The martyr's severed hand was brought to his blind mother. St. Hieron, with his companions,
suffered in the year 298 and entered the glory of Christ.
The Holy Martyr Thessalonica with Auctus and Taurion
This maiden was the daughter of a pagan priest, Cleon, a rich and arrogant man. Because of her
faith in Christ, her father drove her from the house and city. Two honorable citizens, Auctus and
Taurion, reproached Cleon for his inhuman treatment of his daughter, and he in turn denounced
them as Christians. They were bitterly tortured and beheaded for Christ. Thessalonica was then
tortured and slain as well. They suffered in the Macedonian city of Amphipolis near present day
Kavala. Thus, these martyrs were made worthy of the Immortal Kingdom by their honorable
suffering.
The Venerable Lazarus of Galesius
A pillar of light appeared above the house where he was born. Lazarus left his village of Magnesia
and went to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage to the holy places. There, he was tonsured a monk in the
Monastery of St. Sava the Sanctified. After ten years, he settled on Mount Galesius and lived a life
of asceticism on a pillar as a stylite. Lazarus was a miracle-worker both during his life and after
death. Emperor Constantine Monomachus had great respect for him. Attaining old age, St. Lazarus
entered into eternity toward the end of the eleventh century.
Reflection
There are decisive moments in life upon which a man's eternal life or eternal death depend. We do

not know when this decisive moment will come for us-perhaps today-and because of this we must
be unceasingly vigilant. Victor, a kinsman of St. Hieron, was arrested with him. On the day before
their torture, Victor, in terror of the impending tortures, went to the prison warden and begged him
to take his name off the list of the condemned and release him, promising to give him his land. The
warden removed his name and released him. However, upon returning home, Victor died of natural
causes in the same moment that St. Hieron and his companions died in torments for Christ. Thus
Victor vainly missed the decisive moment: he lost his land, his friends and both his earthly and
heavenly life. In that same decisive moment, Hieron gained all. No one vied for Victor's body, while
many vied for Hieron's body. When Christians sought the head of Hieron from the eparch, he asked
as much gold for it as it weighed. Chrysanthus, a wealthy and devout man, paid that much gold for
the martyr's honorable head. Anthony and Matronian hid one of St. Hieron's severed hands and
brought it to Hieron's mother, the blind Stratonika. She took her son's hand and wept bitterly: ``O
my beloved son, I gave birth to you whole, and now I have only one part of you!''
Contemplation
Contemplate the malignant power of an evil spirit over those who serve him (Acts 19):
1. How seven Jews tried to imitate Paul in driving out spirits from possessed people, attempting this
for

their

own

gain;

2. How the evil spirit answered them, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?
3. How the man with the evil spirit leaped on them and overwhelmed them.
Homily
On the dark paths of mankind before and apart from Christ.
in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the
power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2).
This is all one and the same path-the path to destruction. According to the course of this world
means inclination toward sinfulness; according to the prince of the power of the air means
according to the will of those chiefs of the demons who inhabit the air; in the spirit that now
worketh in the children of disobedience means that in the same way that the opponents and
adversaries of God now live, all men lived before the advent of Christ, including those to whom the
Apostle writes the epistle. What is this power of the air, brethren? This is the order of evil spirits
who exist in constant movement in the air. They make the air lethal and they impede the souls of the
departed as they make their way to heaven. They deceive the spirit of man to work every evil; they
tempt it with every sin. Yet, they do not command the spirit to sin, for they lack the power to do
that; they can only tempt and corrupt. They acted more strongly and directly on the pagans than on
the Israelites. They fell upon the pagans as a swarm of flies on a carcass, but the Israelites they

watched from a distance, corrupting and tempting them more subtlely. They stood at a distance from
Israel because of the name of God, which was preserved and spoken among the Israelites. The Lord
Jesus Christ scattered them all and plucked out their poisonous stings, so that they remained only as
empty phantoms, as miserable, inconstant shadows that vanish instantly at the mention of the name
of Christ or at the tracing of the sign of Christ's Cross.
O Lord Jesus, our Commander and Deliverer, help us to live in Thy freedom.

November 8th (Old Style)

The Holy Archangel Michael and all the Bodiless Powers of heaven
The angels of God were celebrated by men from earliest times but this celebration was often turned
into the divinization of angels (II Kings 23:5). The heretics wove all sorts of fables concerning the
angels. Some of them looked upon angels as gods; others, although they did not consider them
gods, called them the creators of the whole visible world. The local Council of Laodicea (four or
five years before the First Ecumenical Council) rejected the worship of angels as gods and
established the proper veneration of angels in its Thirty-fifth Canon. In the fourth century, during
the time of Sylvester, Pope of Rome, and Alexander, Patriarch of Alexandria, the present Feast of
Archangel Michael and all the other heavenly powers was instituted for celebration in the month of
November. Why precisely in November? Because November is the ninth month after March, and
March is considered to be the month in which the world was created. Also, as the ninth month after
March, November was chosen for the nine orders of angels who were created first. St. Dionysius
the Areopagite, a disciple of the Apostle Paul (who was taken up into the third heaven), described
these nine orders of angels in his book, On the Celestial Hierarchies, as follows: six-winged
Seraphim, many-eyed Cherubim, God-bearing Thrones, Dominions, Powers, Virtues, Principalities,
Archangels, and Angels. The leader of all the angelic hosts is the Archangel Michael. When Satan,
Lucifer, fell away from God and drew a part of the angels with him to destruction, then Michael
stood up and cried out before the faithful angels: ``Let us attend! Let us stand aright! Let us stand
with fear!'' and all of the faithful angelic heavenly hosts cried out: ``Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord God of
Sabaoth! Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory!'' Concerning the Archangel Michael, see Joshua
5:13-15 and Jude 1:9. Among the angels there reign perfect oneness of mind, oneness of soul, and
love. The lower orders also show complete obedience to the higher orders, and all of them together
to the holy will of God. Every nation has its guardian angel, as does every Christian. We must
always remember that whatever we do, in open or in secret, we do in the presence of our guardian

angel. On the day of the Dread Judgment, the multitude of the hosts of the holy angels of heaven
will gather around the throne of Christ, and the deeds, words, and thoughts of every man will be
revealed before all. May God have mercy on us and save us by the prayers of the Archangel
Michael and all the bodiless heavenly powers. Amen.
Reflection
Holy Scripture clearly and irrefutably witnesses that angels ceaselessly communicate with this
world. The Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church teaches us the names of the
seven leaders of the angelic powers: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Salathiel, Jegudiel, and
Barachiel

(an

eighth,

Jeremiel,

is

sometimes

included).

``Michael'' in the Hebrew language means ``Who is like unto God?'' or ``Who is equal to God?'' St.
Michael has been depicted from earliest Christian times as a commander, who holds in his right
hand a spear with which he attacks Lucifer, Satan, and in his left hand a green palm branch. At the
top of the spear there is a linen ribbon with a red cross. The Archangel Michael is especially
considered to be the Guardian of the Orthodox Faith and a fighter against heresies.
``Gabriel'' means ``Man of God'' or ``Might of God.'' He is the herald of the mysteries of God,
especially the Incarnation of God and all other mysteries related to it. He is depicted as follows: In
his right hand, he holds a lantern with a lighted taper inside, and in his left hand, a mirror of green
jasper.

The

mirror

signifies

the

wisdom

of

God

as

hidden

mystery.

``Raphael'' means ``God's healing'' or ``God the Healer.'' (Tobit 3:17, 12:15). Raphael is depicted
leading Tobit (who is carrying a fish caught in the Tigris) with his right hand, and holding a
physician's

alabaster

jar

in

his

left

hand.

``Uriel'' means ``Fire of God,'' or ``Light of God'' (III Esdras 3:1, 5:20). He is depicted holding a
sword

against

the

Persians

in

his

right

hand,

and

fiery

flame

in

his

left.

``Salathiel'' means ``Intercessor of God'' (III Esdras 5:16). He is depicted with his face and eyes
lowered,

holding

his

hands

on

his

bosom

in

prayer.

``Jegudiel'' means ``Glorifier of God.'' He is depicted bearing a golden wreath in his right hand and
a

triple-thonged

whip

in

his

left

hand.

``Barachiel'' means ``Blessing of God.'' He is depicted holding a white rose in his hand against his
breast.
``Jeremiel'' means ``God's exaltation.'' He is venerated as an inspirer and awakener of exalted
thoughts that raise a man toward God (III Ezra 4:36).
Contemplation
Contemplate
1.

How

the

Apostle

Paul

Paul's

preached

miraculous
in

resurrecting
house

of
at

Eutychus
Troas

(Acts
by

20):
night;

2. How the young man Eutychus drifted into a deep sleep, and fell from a third-story window to his
death;
3. How Paul came down, embraced him and restored him to life.
Homily
On how Christ brings to life men who are dead in sin.
Even when we were dead in sins, (God) hath quickened us together with Christ (Ephesians 2:5).
God first brought Christ to life: He first raised Him as a man from the grave. And Christ is our
Head. Thus, in order to resurrect the whole generation of the faithful, it was necessary to resurrect
the Head first. When the Head resurrected, then the resurrection of the whole body, with all its
members, was assured. Therefore, the Apostle Paul speaks of our resurrection and glorification as a
completed thing. So it is that God resurrected us also with Christ: And hath raised us up together,
and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6). God resurrected ustogether with Christ as man-who once were dead in sins, slain by our sins. He not only makes us
worthy of resurrection with the Lord Jesus Christ, but He also puts us on the same level with the
resurrected Christ in the heights of heaven, above the whole realm of incorporeal spirits. Brethren,
God did not come to earth for the sake of some petty, inconsequential thing, but for something
completely unique, something greater than great. When an earthly king visits a place in his country,
the benefit of his visit is felt long after. The Lord, the King, visited mankind on the earth and the
benefit of that visit will be felt to the end of time. That visit means life instead of death for us, glory
instead of shame, closeness to God instead of estrangement, and blessing instead of a curse. In other
words, that visit means our resurrection from the dead, and our eternal reign in the heavens with
Christ.
O Lord, thanks be to Thee; O Lord, glory be to Thee.

November 9th (Old Style)

The Holy Martyrs Onesiphorus and Porphyrius


These two wonderful men were martyred for the name of Christ during the reign of Emperor
Diocletian. They were severely beaten, then burned on an iron grid, then tied to horses' tails and
dragged over rocks and thorns. They were thus torn to pieces and gave up their holy souls to God.
Their relics are buried in Pentapolis.
The Venerable John the Dwarf (Kolobos)

John is numbered among the greatest of the Egyptian ascetics. ``Kolobos'' means ``dwarf,'' for he
was of little stature. He came to Scetis with his brother Daniel and, with the greatest zeal, devoted
himself to such asceticism that Daniel had to urge him to moderation. John was a disciple of St.
Pambo, and was later the teacher of St. Arsenius the Great. His fellow disciple under St. Pambo was
St. Paisius the Great. Once, when he and Paisius were discussing what kind of asceticism to
undertake, an angel of God appeared to them and commanded John to stay where he was and
instruct others, and Paisius to enter the wilderness and live as a hermit. In order to test John's
obedience, St. Pambo ordered him to water a dry stick planted in the ground until it turned green.
Without hesitation or doubt, John watered this stick daily for three whole years until by the power
of God, it grew green sprouts and brought forth fruit. Pambo then gathered the fruit from this tree,
brought it to church and distributed it among the brethren saying: ``Draw near and taste of the fruit
of obedience!'' John the Dwarf had many disciples. Some of his wise sayings have been preserved.
He entered into rest peacefully and took up his habitation in the joy of his Lord.
The Venerable Matrona of Constantinople
Matrona was from Perga in Pamphylia. Matrona's marriage to Dometian, a nobleman of
Constantinople, soon became unbearable to her. Disguised in men's clothing, she fled and adopted
the name Babylas, then entered the Monastery of St. Bassian in Constantinople. Because her
husband searched for her constantly, she was forced to move repeatedly. Altogether, she moved to
Emesa, Sinai, Jerusalem and Beirut, and finally returned to Constantinople. Matrona was tonsured a
nun at age twenty-five, and lived the ascetic life for seventy-five years. In all she lived a hundred
years, and died peacefully in the year 492 as abbess of a monastery in Constantinople, taking up her
abode in the joy of her Lord.
The Venerable Euthymius of Dochiariou and his disciple Neophytus
Euthymius and Neophytus were Serbs by birth and kinsmen of high-ranking aristocrats in
Byzantium. Euthymius was a companion of St. Athanasius and the steward of his Lavra, after which
he founded the Monastery of Dochiariou. He entered peacefully into rest in the year 990. His
nephew Neophytus succeeded him as abbot of Dochiariou, increased the brotherhood and built a
large church. He entered into rest at the beginning of the eleventh century.
Saint Simeon Metaphrastes (the Translator)
Simeon was a gifted Constantinopolitan. He had both a secular and spiritual education. He attained
the rank of imperial logothete (chancellor) and was first among the nobles at the imperial court, yet
he lived a pure and blameless life as a true ascetic. He distinguished himself by great military
bravery and statesmanly wisdom. For these qualities, Emperor Leo the Wise greatly respected him

and sent him to Crete to negotiate a peace with the Arabs who then occupied the island.
Successfully completing his mission, he returned to Constantinople and soon thereafter withdrew
from the world and worldly affairs. He wrote many lives of saints, compiling 122 new biographies
and correcting 539 biographies. He entered into rest in about the year 960, and a fragrant and
healing myrrh flowed from his relics.
The Venerable Theoctista of Paros
Theoctista was born on the island of Lesbos and was tonsured a nun at the age of seventeen. The
savage Saracens attacked the island and enslaved all who fell into their hands, including Theoctista
and her sister. When the Saracens brought the slaves to the marketplace on the island of Paros,
Theoctista escaped from the crowd and hid in an abandoned church in the middle of the island,
where she lived a life of asceticism for thirty-five years. She entered into rest in the year 881.
Reflection
After a long separation from his companion Paisius, John the Dwarf visited him. Each asked the
other what virtue he had attained in the time they were apart. Paisius said: ``The sun has never seen
me eat.'' John the Dwarf said: ``And it has never seen me angry.'' Instructing the brethren in Scetis,
John used this story of a repentant human soul: ``In one town there lived a beautiful woman, a
harlot who had many lovers. A certain prince told her that he would take her as his wife if she
promised that she would live honorably and faithfully in marriage. She promised this and the prince
took her to his court and married her. However, her former lovers decided to turn her back to her
former ways, and reclaim her for themselves. They dared not face the prince, so they went around
the back of the palace and began to whistle. The woman heard the whistling, recognized it, and
quickly stopped her ears. She hid in an inner chamber of the palace and locked the door behind her.
Thus, she was delivered from new temptations.'' St. John explained this story in the following
manner: ``The harlot is the soul; her lovers are the passions; the prince is Christ; the inner chamber
is the heavenly habitation; and the lovers who whistle and entice are the demons. If the soul would
constantly turn from its passions and flee to God, then the passions and the demons would be
frightened and flee from it.''
Contemplation
Contemplate the appearance to Paul of an angel in a tempest at night (Acts 27):
1. How an angel of God appeared to Paul by night and told him to fear not, for he would be saved,
and

all

those

with

2. How Paul related this to the men on the boat, greatly encouraging them.
Homily

him;

On saving grace
By grace ye are saved (Ephesians 2:5,8).
Who can comprehend and acknowledge that we are saved by grace-that we are saved by God's
grace, and not by our merits and works? Who can comprehend and acknowledge that? Only he who
has comprehended and seen the bottomless pit of death and corruption in which man is engulfed by
sin, and has also comprehended and seen the height of honor and glory to which man is raised in the
Heavenly Kingdom, in the realm of immortality, in the house of the Living God-only such a one can
comprehend and acknowledge that we are saved by grace. A child was traveling by night. He
stumbled and fell into hole after hole and pit after pit, until he finally fell into a very deep pit from
which he could in no way escape by his own power. When the child gave himself over to the hands
of fate and thought his end was near, there was suddenly someone standing over the pit, lowering a
rope to him and telling him to grab the rope and hold firmly to it. This was the king's son, who then
took the child home, bathed him, clothed him and brought him to his court and set him beside
himself. Was this child saved by his own deed? By no means. All he did was to grab the end of the
rope, and hold on. By what, then, was the child saved? By the mercy of the king's son. In God's
relationship with men, this mercy is called grace. By grace ye are saved. The Apostle Paul repeats
these words twice in a short span, that the faithful might recognize and remember them.
Brethren, let us comprehend and remember that we are saved through grace by the Lord Jesus
Christ. We were in the jaws of death, but have been given life in the courts of our God.
O Lord Jesus Christ our Savior, by Thee are we saved.

November 10th (Old Style)

The Holy Apostles Olympas, Erastus, Quartus, Herodion, Sosipater and Tertius
They were all among the Seventy. The latter three are also commemorated elsewhere: Herodion on
April 8, Sosipater on April 28, and Tertius on October 30. Saints Olympas and Herodion were
followers of the Apostle Peter and when Peter suffered, they also suffered. By the command of
Nero, they were beheaded. Erastus had been the steward of the church in Jerusalem, and later
became Bishop of Paneas in Palestine. Quartus was Bishop of Beirut. He suffered greatly, but
converted many to the Christian Faith. Sosipater was a bishop in Iconium and Tertius was the
second bishop in that city. They waged spiritual warfare and, as victors, received heavenly wreaths
of glory.

The Holy Martyr Orestes


Orestes was from the town of Tyana in Cappadocia. He was a Christian from birth and a physician
by profession. He was harshly tortured by a certain wicked eparch Maximus during the reign of
Diocletian. When the eparch at first advised him to deny Christ and worship idols, Orestes replied:
``If you knew the power of the Crucified One, you would reject idolatrous falsehoods and worship
the true God.'' For this, he was savagely beaten, scraped, pulled apart on the rack, burned with a redhot iron, and cast into prison to die of starvation. The young Orestes spent seven days without bread
or water. On the eighth day, he was again brought before the eparch who threatened him with
frightening tortures. Orestes answered: ``I am prepared to endure every pain, having the sign of my
Lord Jesus Christ inscribed on my heart.'' The governor condemned him, and the torturers
hammered twenty iron nails into his feet and tied him to a horse, dragging him over thorns and
rocks until the martyr of God breathed his last. On the place where they discarded Orestes's body, a
man bright as the sun appeared, gathered Orestes's relics, and carried them to a hill near the town of
Tyana, honorably burying them there. This wonderful saint appeared to St. Dimitri of Rostov after
his repose, and showed him all the wounds on his body.
Saint Nonnus, Bishop of Heliopolis
Nonnus was renowned as a great ascetic in the Tabennisiot monastery in Egypt. Because of this, he
was chosen Bishop of the diocese of Edessa in 448. Later, he was translated to the diocese of
Heliopolis, and there converted 30,000 Arabs to the Christian Faith. After the death of Bishop Ibo,
St. Nonnus returned to Edessa, where he remained until his repose in 471. Through his prayers, the
infamous sinner Pelagia (who was later glorified for her holiness of life), was converted to the
Christian Faith (see October 8).
Reflection
The all-wondrous ways of God's providence were shown in an exceptional and wondrous event in
the Monastery of Dochiariou, in the time of the Blessed Neophytus, nephew of St. Euthymius.
When, after Euthymius's repose, Neophytus began to build a new, larger church to St. Nicholas the
Wonderworker, his resources ran out and he prayed to God for help, and God helped him in a
miraculous manner. A peninsula called Longos or Sika lay near the Monastery of Dochiariou. On
this peninsula, Neophytus had a small metochion, close to which was a stone statue of a man,
bearing the following inscription: ``He who strikes me on the head will find much gold.'' Many had
struck the statue on the head, but had found nothing. It happened that Neophytus sent Basil, a
novice of the monastery, on an errand. One day this Basil stood by the statue and wondered at the
mysterious inscription. Just then the sun came out and cast the statue's shadow toward the west.

Basil struck the head of the shadow with a stone, dug there, and found a kettle full of gold coins. He
immediately ran to tell Abbot Neophytus. The abbot ordered three honorable monks to go with
Basil in the monastery's boat and bring back the gold. These monks set off, loaded the gold into the
boat and began the return trip. While they were on the sea, the devil tempted them to take the gold
for themselves. Then those three honorable monks, deluded by the devil, bound Basil with a rope,
tied a rock around his neck and threw him into the sea. As Basil fell to the bottom of the sea, the
Archangels Michael and Gabriel suddenly appeared to him as two resplendent youths, took him and
brought him to the church at Dochiariou, placing him before the Royal Doors in the locked church.
The next day, when the monks entered the church, they found Basil lying bound before the
sanctuary. The abbot questioned him and was told of the miraculous event. Then the three other
monks arrived and, seeing Basil alive, were thunderstruck. The abbot punished them severely, took
the gold and completed the church. However, he dedicated it to the Holy Archangels Michael and
Gabriel, and not to St. Nicholas, as he had earlier planned. That is why Euthymius's old church at
Dochiariou is called the Church of St. Nicholas, and the new one is called the Church of the Holy
Archangels Michael and Gabriel.
Contemplation
Contemplate

Paul's

1.

Paul

2.

How
How

venomous

wondrous
gathered
viper

salvation
sticks

leaped

from

from

and
the

put
fire

the

snake

them
and

(Acts

28):

the

fire;

on

fastened

on

his

hand;

3. How he shook the viper off, and no harm came to him.


Homily
On the only Peace and the Peacemaker
For He is our peace, Who hath made both one (Ephesians 2:14).
Between the Israelites and the pagans there lay a wide abyss that no mortal could bridge, or fill in
and level off. The Lord Jesus Christ alone was the one who could do that, and He did it. That which
had been estranged, He brought closer and joined. By what? By His Blood. By His sacrifice, He
replaced all other sacrifices. By this, He redeemed all of nature and by Himself replaced that which
men brought and offered to God (or, to the gods) as sacrifice. One sacrifice is sufficient both for the
Israelites and for the pagans: the sacrifice of Christ. Furthermore, the blood of animals separated the
Israelites and the pagans-by the places where they were offered, by the divinity to whom they were
offered, by the kind of animal that was offered and the manner in which it was offered. Now,
Christ's Most-pure Blood has come in place of all that blood, and His Blood unites and makes
brothers of the Israelites and the pagans. They became blood brothers, even as all of us faithful are
blood-brothers-because of the Blood of Christ, by which we are redeemed from the curse, and by

which we are now fed. He destroyed the middle wall of partition (Ephesians 2:14) that divided and
separated, and He joined the hands and the hearts of the Israelites and the pagans. By what? By His
Body. That is, by the living truth, by the truth incarnate in Himself. The shadow of the Law had
replaced truth for the Israelites, and fables had replaced truth for the pagans. He removed both of
them and revealed the living truth in His Body, and the world saw and rejoiced.
O Lord Jesus Christ, our most blessed Redeemer, unite the hearts of us, Thy faithful.

November 11th (Old Style)

The Holy Great-martyr Menas


Menas was an Egyptian by birth and a soldier by profession. As a true Christian, he was not able to
witness the abominable sacrificial offerings to the idols and left the army, the town, the people and
everything else, and went to a deserted mountain, for it was easier for him to live among the wild
beasts than with pagans. One day Menas clairvoyantly discerned a pagan celebration in the town of
Cotyaeus. He descended into the town and openly declared his faith in Christ the Living God. He
denounced idolatry and paganism as falsehood and darkness. Pyrrhus, eparch of that town, asked
Menas who he was and where he was from. The saint replied: ``My fatherland is Egypt, my name is
Menas. I was an officer, but witnessing the worship of idols, I renounced your honors. I now come
before you all to proclaim my Christ as the true God, that He may proclaim me as His servant in the
Heavenly Kingdom.'' Hearing this, Pyrrhus subjected St. Menas to severe tortures. They flogged
him, scraped him with iron claws, burned him with torches, and tortured him by various other
means, and finally beheaded him with the sword. They threw his body into a fire so that Christians
would not be able to retrieve it, but Christians recovered several parts of his body from the fire
nevertheless. They reverently buried those remains, which were later transferred to Alexandria and
buried there, where a church was built over them. St. Menas suffered in about the year 304 and
went to the Kingdom of Christ. He was and remains a great miracle-worker, both on earth and in
heaven. Whoever glorifies St. Menas and invokes his help with faith, receives his help. The saint
has often appeared as a warrior on horseback, arriving to help the faithful or punish the unfaithful.
The Holy Martyrs Victor and Stephanida
Victor was a soldier of Roman birth. He was tortured for Christ during the reign of Emperor
Antoninus. At the time of his torture a young woman, Stephanida, declared that she too was a
Christian. Victor was beheaded and Stephanida was pulled apart by having her legs bound to the
tops of two palm trees.

The Holy Martyr Vincent the Deacon


Vincent was from the diocese of Saragossa in Spain. He was cruelly tortured for the Lord Jesus
Christ, then burned on an iron grid. He gave up his soul to God in the year 304. His body reposes in
Rome in the church bearing his name.
The Venerable Theodore the Studite
Theodore was the famous abbot of the Studite monastery (the Studium). He suffered greatly for the
holy icons, and was a wise organizer of the monastic life, a divinely inspired teacher of Orthodoxy
and a wonderful ascetic. He entered into rest in Constantinople, in the year 826 at the age of sixtyeight.
Saint Uro ica, Prince of Serbia
Uro ica was the son of King Dragutin. He preserved his purity and chastity in marriage. Myrrh
flowed from his grave.
Reflection
If ever there was a holy king who sat on the throne of an earthly kingdom, that was the holy King
Stefan of Dea< face="AGaramond">ni. The Greeks, who otherwise considered the Slavs
barbarians, were amazed at the beauty of St. Stefan's soul as one of the rarest wonders of the time.
When the Emperor Cantacuzene sent the abbot of the Monastery of the Pantocrator to Milutin on
some official business, King Milutin inquired about his son Stefan. ``O King, are you asking me
about the second Job?'' the abbot replied. ``Be assured that his poverty stands above your royal
greatness.'' For his part, the Byzantine emperor acted very cruelly toward the blind Stefan: he
confined him to one area of the court and forbade everyone access to him. After that, he sent him to
the Monastery of the Pantocrator, hoping that the monastery would force him into strict monastic
asceticism, and that he would become weak and perish there. But God preserved the Blessed Stefan
and he endured the ascetic labor of fasting and prayer like the best of monks. They began to speak
of his wisdom throughout all of Constantinople, and the emperor began to respect him and often
sought advice from him. For example, St. Stefan contributed to the defeat of the infamous heresy of
Barlaam, against which St. Gregory of Palamas fought. Barlaam then resided in Constantinople, and
by skillful intrigue, had won over many high-ranking clerics and civil officials to his way of
thinking. In perplexity, the emperor summoned Stefan and asked him what he should do. The wise
Stefan replied with the words of the Psalmist: Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate Thee? (Psalm
139:21), and also said: ``Dangerous men must be banished from society.'' Heeding this, Emperor
Cantacuzene drove Barlaam from the capital with dishonor.

Contemplation
Contemplate

the

wonderful

healing

power

of

the

Apostle

Paul

(Acts

28):

1. How Paul prayed and laid his hand on Publius's father and healed him of dysentery;
2. How he also healed many others in that place in the same manner.
Homily
On the Creator of the new man
for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace (Ephesians 2:15).
When He came to earth, the Lord, the Lover of Mankind, came to all men, not just to some. The
Jews awaited a messiah; He came as the Messiah. The pagans awaited a redeemer; He came as the
Redeemer. He came with equal love for both the Jews and the pagans. There was no other group on
earth-only the Jews and the pagans. The Jews were the only ones in the world who believed in one
God, whereas the pagans worshiped idols. But the Jews had obscured their faith by their
transgressions and, therefore, knew nothing. Thus, both the Jews and the pagans had become equal
in their ignorance and equal in the curse of sin with which Adam had burdened the benighted earth.
As of old Adam did not belong to the Jews exclusively, but also to the pagans, for they both
descended from him, so Christ, the new Adam, did not belong to one or the other, but to both, for
He saved both. The Lord Jesus could not side with the Jewish kingdom of empty legal formalism,
or the Hellenic kingdom (including paganism in general) of naturalistic fables and demonic
divinations and sorcery. Rather, He healed them both. He took both of these sick ones and he
created the new man. And this is the Church of God. Thus, the Lord annulled and cast out both
Judaism and Hellenism, and created His Holy Church.
O Lord Jesus, All-good and All-wise, everything Thou hast done is good and wise beyond words.

November 12th (Old Style)

St. John the Merciful, Patriarch of Alexandria


John was born on the island of Cyprus. His father was Prince Epiphanius. John was raised as a true
Christian from childhood. At the insistence of his parents, he married and had children. However,
by God's providence, his wife and children passed from this world into the next. Renowned for his
compassion and piety, John was chosen as Patriarch of Alexandria in the time of Emperor
Heraclius. He governed the Church of Alexandria for ten years as a true shepherd, safeguarding it
from pagans and heretics. He was a model of meekness, charity and love for his fellow men. He

said: ``If you desire nobility, seek it not in blood but in virtues, for this is true nobility.'' All the
saints have been distinguished by mercifulness, but St. John was completely dedicated to this
wonderful virtue. Once, while celebrating the Liturgy, the patriarch remembered the words of
Christ, Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath
aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy
brother, and then come and offer thy gift (Matthew 5:23-24), and he remembered that one of the
clergy in that church had a grievance against him. He quickly left the Holy Gifts, approached that
priest, fell before his feet and begged for forgiveness. And only when he had made peace with this
man did he return to the table of oblation. Another time, as he was on his way to the Church of
Saints Cyrus and John, it happened that he met a needy and unfortunate widow who spoke to him at
length about her misfortune. The patriarch's escorts became bored by the woman's lengthy
complaint, and urged the bishop to hurry to the church for the service, intimating that he could hear
the woman's story afterward. John said to them: ``And how will God listen to me, if I do not listen
to her?'' He would not leave until he heard the widow's complaint to the end.
When the Persians attacked Egypt, Patriarch John boarded a boat to escape from danger. Along the
way he fell ill and, when he arrived in Cyprus, he reposed at his birthplace, in the year 620. After he
entered the Immortal Kingdom of his Lord, his miracle-working relics were translated to
Constantinople, then to Budapest, and finally to Presburg.
The Holy Prophet Ahijah of Shiloh
Ahijah prophesied a thousand years before Christ. He prophesied to Jeroboam, Solomon's servant,
that he would reign over ten of the tribes of Israel (I Kings 11:29-31).
The Venerable Nilus of Sinai
Nilus was at first a prefect in the capital city, Constantinople. As a married man, he had a son and a
daughter. Seeing the sinful life of the capital, he agreed with his wife to withdraw from the world.
This they did. His wife and daughter went to a convent in Egypt. Nilus and his son Theodulus went
to Mount Sinai. Nilus lived a life of asceticism on Mount Sinai for a full sixty years. He wrote
wonderful books on the spiritual life. He entered peacefully into rest in about the year 450, in the
eightieth year of his earthly existence, and took up his habitation in the blessed heavenly life. These
holy words are his: ``Physical passions have their origin in physical desires, and against them
abstinence is necessary; but spiritual passions are born of spiritual desires, and against them, prayer
is necessary.''
The Venerable Nilus the Myrrh-gusher
Nilus was born in the Morea. As a hieromonk he went with his uncle to the Holy Mountain and

there lived a life of asceticism as a recluse in a deserted place called ``the Holy Rocks.'' When he
entered into rest, myrrh flowed from his body in such abundance that it ran down from the top of
the mountain into the sea. This miracle-working myrrh attracted ailing men from all over. A disciple
of St. Nilus was so distracted by the many visitors that he complained in prayer to St. Nilus, and the
flow of myrrh ceased at once. St. Nilus lived a life of asceticism in the fullest sense, like the saints
of old. He entered into rest in the seventeenth century.
Reflection
Their time of death and the necessity of preparation for it was revealed beforehand to many holy
men and women. This is a great gift from heaven, but as we do not expect this gift, we unworthy
ones need daily repentance to prepare for our departure. One can flee from men, but never from
God. When St. John the Merciful fled Egypt from the Persians, a gloriously radiant man with a
golden sceptre in his hand appeared to him on the boat and said: ``The King of kings is calling you
to Himself.'' John understood these words and began to prepare for his repose, which came soon.
The holy King Stefan of De< face="AGaramond">ani's beloved St. Nicholas often appeared to
him, and did so before Stefan's repose, saying: ``Stefan, prepare for your departure, for soon you
will appear before the Lord.'' Both saints were very similar in their compassion. Despite the
immeasurable wealth that St. John had at his disposal as Patriarch of Alexandria, he personally had
only one-third of a dinar at his repose, and he willed even that to the poor. When St. Stefan of De<
face="AGaramond">ani was in the Monastery of the Pantocrator in Constantinople, a generous
Serbian nobleman secretly sent him a substantial sum of money. ``I give thanks to the good
gentleman for his love,'' replied Stefan to the bearer, ``but he would give me greater joy if he would
distribute this money, intended for me, to the poor.''
Contemplation
Contemplate

the

1.

he

How

courage
sat

in

of

the

chains

Apostle
for

two

Paul
years

(Acts
in

28):
Rome;

2. How he freely preached the Gospel to the pagans and Jews, not fearing anyone;
3. How neither chains nor prison nor death could turn him away from preaching the Gospel.
Homily
On how strangers become members of the household
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of
the household of God (Ephesians 2:19).
Before the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, it seemed that only the Jews were close to God and that
the pagans were farther away from God. But as a matter of fact, the Jews and the pagans were

equally estranged from God, and from true reverence for Him. Then He came, Christ the Savior,
and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh (Ephesians 2:17) and by
that, brought both Jews and pagans by one Spirit unto the Father (Ephesians 2:18). In the new
creation, or the new man, or the Church of God, the Spirit is one; and everyone who enters the
Church of God receives this Spirit, so that no matter how much the Church increases in members,
there always remains the one Spirit of God; and no matter how many nations or tribes or races enter
the Church of God, the Spirit does not change, but remains forever and ever, one and the same
Spirit. That is why pagans are not strangers and foreigners in the Church, but are fellow-citizens
with the saints, and of the household of God, as are all other members of the Church. For the
Church is founded on holiness, and her cornerstone is the Saint above saints, and according to the
plan, all of her members should be holy. All those who lived before Christ but expected Christ and
hoped in Him, as well as those who lived after Christ, and who recognized Christ as Lord, Son of
God, Savior, Redeemer, Resurrector and Judge, are also called saints. Sin separates and alienates
from God, but through the Lord Jesus Christ, division and alienation have vanished, and all the
faithful-whether former Jews or pagans-became members of the household of God, by and through
the Lord Jesus Christ.
O my brethren, the Lord Jesus Christ gave us something greater and more precious than this life: He
gave us peace and friendship with God, and this is greater and more precious than life in alienation
from God.
O Lord Jesus Christ, Creator of Peace and Giver of Peace, sustain us to the end in peace with God.

November 13th (Old Style)

Saint John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople


John was born in Antioch in the year 354. His father, Secundus, was an imperial commander and his
mother's name was Anthusa. Studying Greek philosophy, John became disgusted with Hellenic
paganism and adopted the Christian Faith as the one and all-embracing truth. Meletius, Patriarch of
Antioch, baptized John, and his parents also subsequently received baptism. Following his parents'
repose, John was tonsured a monk and lived a strict life of asceticism. He then wrote a book, On the
Priesthood, after which the Holy Apostles John and Peter appeared to him, and prophesied that he
would have a life of great service, great grace and great suffering. When he was to be ordained a
priest, an angel of God appeared simultaneously to John and to Patriarch Flavian (Meletius's
successor). While the patriarch was ordaining John, a shining white dove was seen hovering over

John's head. Glorified for his wisdom, asceticism and power of words, John was chosen as Patriarch
of Constantinople at the behest of Emperor Arcadius. As patriarch, he governed the Church for six
years with unequalled zeal and wisdom. He sent missionaries to the pagan Celts and Scythians and
eradicated simony in the Church, deposing many bishops guilty of this vice. He extended the
charitable works of the Church and wrote a special order of the Divine Liturgy. He shamed the
heretics, denounced Empress Eudoxia, interpreted Holy Scripture with his golden mind and tongue,
and bequeathed the Church many precious books of his homilies. The people glorified him, the
envious loathed him, and the Empress, on two occasions, sent him into exile. John spent three years
in exile, and reposed as an exile on the Feast of the Elevation of the Precious and Life-giving Cross,
September 14, 407, in the town of Comana in Georgia. Before his repose, the Holy Apostles John
and Peter appeared to him again, as did the Holy Martyr Basiliscus (May 22) in whose church he
received Communion for the last time. His last words were, ``Glory be to God for all things,'' and
with that, the soul of the golden-mouthed patriarch was taken into Paradise. Chrysostom's head
reposes in the Church of the Dormition in Moscow, and his body reposes in the Vatican in Rome.
The Holy Martyrs Antoninus, Nicephorus, Germanus and Manetha
The first three were watching the pagans worshiping idols with shouts and dancing at one of their
feasts. Fearlessly, they went before the crowd and preached the One God in Trinity. Firmilian-the
eparch of Palestinian Caesarea, where this occurred-was so enraged at the action of these three
Christians that he commanded their immediate beheading. Manetha was a Christian maiden who
followed the martyrs as they were being led to the place of execution. She too was arrested, and
after cruel tortures, was burned to death. They all suffered in the year 308 and entered into the
eternal joy of the Eternal God.
The Venerable Martyr Damascene
Damascene was born in Galata in Constantinople and at first was called Diamantis. In his youth he
lived immorally, and even became a Moslem. Then bitter repentance ensued, and he went to the
Holy Mountain, where he lived a life of strict asceticism for twelve years, as a monk in the Lavra of
St. Athanasius. But, desiring martyrdom to expiate his sins, Damascene went to Constantinople and
visited the mosques, making the sign of the Cross and shouting that the Turks' faith was false and
that Jesus Christ is God and Lord. He was beheaded before the gate of the Phana r on November 13,
1681. His relics repose on Halki, in the Monastery of the Holy Trinity.
Reflection
Punishment and reward! Both of these are in the hands of God. But, as this earthly life is only a
shadow of the true life in the heavens, so punishment and reward here on earth are only a shadow of

true punishment and reward in eternity. The principle persecutors of the saint of God Chrysostom
were Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria and Empress Eudoxia. After Chrysostom's martyric death,
bitter punishment befell them both. Theophilus went mad, and Eudoxia was banished from the
imperial court by Emperor Arcadius. Eudoxia soon became ill with an incurable disease-wounds
opened up all over her body, and worms came out of her wounds. Such was the stench that she gave
off, that it was not easy for a person on the street to pass by her house. Physicians used all the most
powerful perfumes and incense if only to overcome the stench from the wicked empress, but had
little success. The empress finally died in corruption and agony. Even after death, the hand of God
lay heavy on her. The coffin containing her body shook day and night for a full thirty-four years
until Emperor Theodosius translated the relics of St. John Chrysostom to Constantinople. But what
happened to Chrysostom after his repose? Reward-such reward as only God can give. Adeltius, the
Arabian bishop who received the exiled Chrysostom into his home in Cucusus, prayed to God after
Chrysostom's repose that He reveal to him where John's soul was to be found. Adeltius then had a
vision while at prayer. It was as though he were out of himself, and was led through the heavens by
a radiant youth who showed him the hierarchs, pastors and teachers of the Church in order, calling
each of them by name-but he did not see John. Then that angel of God led him to the passage out of
Paradise, and Adeltius was downcast. When the angel asked him why he was sad, Adeltius replied
that he was sorry that he had not seen his beloved teacher, John Chrysostom. The angel replied:
``No man who is still in the flesh can see him, for he is at God's throne with the Cherubim and
Seraphim.''
Contemplation
Contemplate
1.

How,

2.

How

the
in

wondrous

the

beginning,

the

earth

creation
God
was

of
created

the

world

the

heavens

without

form

(Genesis
and

the
and

1):
earth;
void;

3. How the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Homily
On the foundation and the cornerstone
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief
corner stone (Ephesians 2:20).
Brethren, the foundation of the apostles and prophets is their life and work: the Old and the New
Testaments. Who unites the apostles and the prophets? Christ the Lord. Without Him, the prophets
would not understand the apostles, nor would the apostles understand the prophets. Therefore, He is
the fulfillment of the prophets and witness of the apostles. Thus, He is the Cornerstone that ties the
prophets and the apostles together, as a cornerstone holds the walls together. The Old and New

Testaments are united in Him, have their meaning in Him, revolve around Him, were inspired by
Him and are upheld by Him, the Lord Jesus Christ. Where would the pagans and Jews meet, and
where would they understand one another, if not in Jesus Christ the Lord? Nowhere, except in Him.
In Him and through Him they are united in one new man, in one immortal body, in One, Holy and
Catholic Church. Only through the Lord Jesus Christ are the body and the soul united in a loftier
and holier friendship. The bonds between the soul and body were at enmity until His coming in the
flesh, and that enmity led to the destruction of the soul. He reconciled and sanctified them both.
Thus, He became the Cornerstone of every immortal and God-pleasing edifice-be that edifice an
individual man or family or nation or the entire race of man-either in the present, in the past, or in
the future; of the Old Covenant or the New Covenant. He is the Chief Cornerstone in every
building, as He is the Head of the Body, God's Church.
O Lord Jesus Christ, our Cornerstone of salvation, have mercy on us and save us.

November 14th (Old Style)

The Holy Apostle Philip


Philip was born in Bethsaida beside the Sea of Galilee, as were Peter and Andrew. Instructed in
Holy Scripture from his youth, Philip immediately responded to the call of the Lord Jesus and
followed Him (John 1:43). After the descent of the Holy Spirit, Philip zealously preached the
Gospel throughout many regions in Asia and Greece. In Greece, the Jews wanted to kill him, but the
Lord saved him by His mighty miracles. Thus, a Jewish high priest that rushed at Philip to beat him
was suddenly blinded and turned completely black. Then there was a great earthquake, and the earth
opened up and swallowed Philip's wicked persecutor. Many other miracles were manifested,
especially the healing of the sick, by which many pagans believed in Christ. In the Phrygian town of
Hierapolis, St. Philip found himself in common evangelical work with his sister Mariamna, St. John
the Theologian, and the Apostle Bartholomew. In this town there was a dangerous snake that the
pagans diligently fed and worshiped as a god. God's apostle killed the snake through prayer as
though with a spear, but he also incurred the wrath of the unenlightened people. The wicked pagans
seized Philip and crucified him upside-down on a tree, and then crucified Bartholomew as well. At
that, the earth opened up and swallowed the judge and many other pagans with him. In great fear,
the people rushed to rescue the crucified apostles, but only Bartholomew was still alive; Philip had
already breathed his last. Bartholomew ordained Stachys as bishop for those whom he and Philip
had baptized. Stachys had been blind for forty years, and Bartholomew and Philip had healed and

baptized him. The relics of St. Philip were later translated to Rome. This wonderful apostle suffered
in the year 86 in the time of Emperor Dometian.
Saint Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonica
Gregory's father was an eminent official at the court of Emperor Andronicus II Palaeologus. The
gifted Gregory, completing his secular studies, did not want to enter the service of the imperial
court, but withdrew to the Holy Mountain and was tonsured a monk. He lived a life of asceticism in
the Monastery of Vatopedi and the Great Lavra. He led the struggle against the heretic Barlaam and
finally defeated him. He was consecrated as Metropolitan of Thessalonica in the year 1347. He is
glorified as an ascetic, a theologian, a hierarch and a miracle-worker. The Most-holy Theotokos, St.
John the Theologian, St. Demetrius, St. Anthony the Great, St. John Chrysostom and angels of God
appeared to him at different times. He governed the Church in Thessalonica for thirteen years, of
which he spent one year in slavery under the Saracens in Asia. He entered peacefully into rest in the
year 1360, and took up his habitation in the Kingdom of Christ. His relics repose in Thessalonica,
where a beautiful church is dedicated to him.
Saint Justinian, Emperor of Byzantium
Justinian was a Slav by birth, probably a Serb from the region of Skoplje. His Slavic name was
Upravda, meaning ``truth, justice.'' He succeeded to the throne of his uncle Justin in 527. The
greatness of this emperor is inseparably bound to his profound faith in Orthodoxy; he believed, and
lived according to his faith. During Great Lent, he neither ate bread nor drank wine but ate only
vegetables and drank water, and that, just every other day. He waged war against the barbarians of
the Danube because they castrated their captives. This reveals his elevated feeling of love for his
fellow man. Justinian was fortunate and successful both in wars and in his works. He built many
great and beautiful churches, the most beautiful of which was Hagia Sophia (the Church of the
Divine Wisdom) in Constantinople. He collected (and revised) and published the Laws of Rom e and
also personally issued many strict laws against immorality and licentiousness. He composed the
Church hymn ``Only-begotten Son and Word of God,'' which has been sung during the Divine
Liturgy since the year 536. He convened the Fifth Ecumenical Council (553). He died peacefully at
the age of eighty, and took up his abode in the Kingdom of the Heavenly King.
Reflection
St. Gregory Palamas learned much through heavenly revelations. After he had spent three years in
stillness in a cell of the Great Lavra, it was necessary for him to go out among men and benefit
them with his accumulated knowledge and experience. God revealed this necessity to him through
an extraordinary vision: One day, as though in a light sleep, Gregory saw himself holding a vessel

in his hand full to overflowing with milk. Gradually, the milk turned into wine which likewise
spilled over the rim, and drenched his hands and garments. Then a radiant youth appeared and said:
``Why would you not give others of this wonderful drink that you are wasting so carelessly, or are
you not aware that this is the gift of God's grace?'' To this Gregory replied: ``But if there is no one
in our time who feels the need for such a drink, to whom shall I give it?'' Then the youth said:
``Whether there are some or whether there are none thirsty for such a drink, you are obligated to
fulfill your debt and not neglect the gift of God.'' Gregory interpreted the milk as the common
knowledge (of the masses) of moral life and conduct, and the wine as dogmatic teaching.
The second time Gregory secluded himself in a monastery he was writing his Principles of
Orthodoxy. On the eve of the Feast of St. Anthony the Great, the monks summoned him to the allnight vigil service, but he remained at his work in the cell while all the brethren went to church. St.
Anthony suddenly appeared to him and said: ``Perfect stillness is good, but sometimes it is
necessary to be with the brethren.'' Convinced by this revelation, Gregory immediately went into
church to the joy of all the monks.
Contemplation
Contemplate

the

wondrous

1.

How

there

was

2.

How

God

said,

creation

darkness
Let

there

of

everywhere
be

light:

light
over
and

the

(Genesis

1):

formless

earth;

there

was

light;

3. How God separated the light from the darkness, and there was day and there was night.
Homily
On Paul, the prisoner
I, Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles (Ephesians 3:1).
Brethren, this apostle of Christ calls himself the ``prisoner of Christ.'' How is it that an apostle can
be a prisoner? Is not a prisoner bound? Yes, and the Apostle is bound-bound by love to the Lord
Jesus so strongly that he feels that no comparable bond exists on earth. The Apostle is bound in his
mind to the Lord Jesus so strongly that he cannot think of anything except Jesus Christ the Lord.
The Apostle is so firmly bound by his will to the Lord Jesus that, in essence, he does not have a will
of his own but has submitted his will completely to the Lord Jesus. And so, he loves that which
Christ loves, thinks that which Christ thinks, and does that which Christ wills. Is this not
imprisonment? O blessed imprisonment, which is not unto shame but glory, and is not unto
destruction but salvation! Thus, Christ is the complete Lord of the Apostle's life, both outwardly and
inwardly. For outwardly and inwardly, Christ permits him to be tempted; outwardly and inwardly,
He reveals to him the wonders of His providence; outwardly and inwardly, He guides him to perfect
good for the sake of his salvation, and for the sake of the salvation of many others.

Brethren, let us also commit ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ as did His Apostle, and then we will
be in the most secure hands and on the most secure path.
O Lord Jesus Christ, great and wonderful Lord, bind us to Thee, imprison us in Thee forever and
ever in both worlds.

November 15th (Old Style)

The Holy Martyrs Gurias, Samonas and Abibus


Gurias and Samonas were prominent citizens of Edessa. During one of the persecutions of
Christians, they hid outside the city and lived in fasting and prayer, encouraging true believers who
came to them for counsel. However, they were captured and brought before the judge, who
threatened them with death if they did not submit to the imperial decree demanding idol worship.
These holy martyrs of Christ answered him: ``If we submit to the imperial decree, we will perish,
even if you don't kill us.'' After cruel torture, they were thrown into prison, where they remained
from August 1 to November 10, enduring hunger, darkness and pain. They were then led out and
again tortured, but since they remained unwavering in the Christian Faith, they were condemned to
death and beheaded in the year 322, during the reign of the wicked Emperor Licinius. Later Abibus,
a deacon in Edessa, suffered tortures for Christ his Lord and gave his spirit to God while in the
flames. His mother took his body, miraculously intact, from the fire and buried it in a grave with the
relics of St. Gurias and St. Samonas. When the persecution ceased, Christians built a church in
honor of the three martyrs, Gurias, Samonas and Abibus, and placed their miracle-working relics in
a common reliquary. Of the numerous miracles of these wonderful saints of God, the following is
especially outstanding: A widow in Edessa had a young daughter who was to marry a Gothic soldier
serving in the Greek army. As the mother feared for her daughter's safety if she were to live far
away, the Goth swore on the grave of the holy three martyrs that he would do no evil to the maiden,
but would take her as his lawful wife, as he had already sworn that he was not already married. In
reality, he did have a wife, and when he took the young maiden to his country he kept her, not as his
wife but as a slave, until his lawful wife died. He then agreed with his kinsmen to bury his living
slave with his dead wife. The girl tearfully prayed to the three holy martyrs to save her, and they
appeared to her in the grave, and took her in an instant from the land of the Goths to Edessa, to their
church. The following day when the church was opened, they found the young maiden by the tomb
of the saints of God, and learned of her miraculous deliverance.
The Holy Martyrs Elpidius, Marcellus and Eustochius

They suffered for Christ at the time of Julian the Apostate. Elpidius was a senator. Witnessing the
torture and miracles of Elpidius, six thousand pagans came to believe in Christ the Lord.
The Feast of the Icon of the Holy Theotokos of Kupyatich
This icon first appeared to a maiden named Anna in the village of Kupyatich, in the province of
Minsk, in the year 1182. Tending her flock, Anna saw a light in the forest. When she approached
this light she beheld a medium-size cross on a tree, bearing the image of the Most-holy Theotokos.
Anna brought this cross home, then returned to her flock. However, to her great amazement, she
saw the same cross on the tree in the same place. She took it, placed it in her bosom and brought it
home. When she tried to show her father the cross, she reached into her bosom, but the cross was
not there. She related everything to her father and went out with him, saw the cross in the forest,
and took it home. The next day, the cross was not in the house. They alerted the whole village, and
all the villagers went and beheld the cross and venerated it. The people soon built a church there,
and numerous miracles were manifested by this cross bearing the image of the Theotokos. This icon
is now to be found in the Church of Holy Wisdom in Kiev.
Contemplation
Contemplate

the

wondrous

creation

of

the

world

(Genesis

1):

1. How God said: Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters
from

the

waters;

2. How He divided the waters under the firmament from the waters above the firmament;
3. How He called the firmament heaven.
Homily
On the revelation of the wisdom of God to the heavenly powers
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by
the Church the manifold wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:10).
Brethren, are the angels all-knowing? They are not; for if they were all-knowing, they would be
gods. God is one, brethren, and the angels are God's beautiful servants. The mystery of the
Incarnation was not known to the angels before it took place. And all the other mysteries connected
with the mystery of the Incarnation were also unknown to the angels until they saw them revealed
in the Church. Therefore the Church is a new revelation, even for the holy angels. The Church is a
new revelation of the wisdom and power of God and of His love for man. On the other hand, it is
also a new revelation of man's love for God, and man's struggle. Even the angels themselves did not
foresee how much God would humble Himself or how much man would be uplifted. This was
shown in the Church, and through the Church it was proclaimed to the angels. The Apostle speaks

of this to the Ephesians in the words quoted above: the principalities and powers-in other words,
not even to the chiefs of the angels was everything known beforehand. The manifold wisdom of
God is that wisdom that was not revealed earlier, and was unknown to the angels and now, in the
Church, is shown in countless forms, situations and circumstances.
O my brethren, the two greatest works of God that have been revealed up to now are the creation of
the world and the creation of the Church. In both works, brethren, man is the main object of God's
love. Let us be thankful with our every breath to the Most-gracious God.
O Gracious God, O Compassionate God, to Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

November 16th (Old Style)

The Holy Apostle Matthew the Evangelist


Matthew, son of Alphaeus, was a tax collector when the Lord saw him in Capernaum and said:
Follow Me. And he arose, and followed Him (Matthew 9:9). After that, Matthew prepared a
reception for the Lord in his home and thus provided the occasion for the Lord to express several
great truths about His coming to earth. After receiving the Holy Spirit, Matthew preached the
Gospel to the Parthians, Medes and Ethiopians. In Ethiopia he appointed his follower Plato as
bishop, and withdrew to prayerful solitude on a mountain, where the Lord appeared to him.
Matthew baptized the wife and the son of the prince of Ethiopia, at which the prince became greatly
enraged and dispatched a guard to bring Matthew to him for trial. The soldiers returned to the prince
saying that they had heard Matthew's voice, but could not see him with their eyes. The prince then
sent a second guard. When this guard approached the apostle, he shone with a heavenly light so
powerful that the soldiers could not look at him; filled with fear, they threw down their weapons
and returned. The prince then went himself. Matthew radiated such light that the prince was
instantly blinded. However, the holy apostle had a compassionate heart; he prayed to God, and the
prince was given back his sight. Unfortunately, he saw only with physical eyes and not spiritual
eyes. He arrested Matthew and subjected him to cruel tortures. Twice, a large fire was lighted on his
chest, but the power of God preserved him alive and unharmed. Then the apostle prayed to God and
gave up his spirit. The prince commanded that the martyr's body be placed in a lead coffin and
thrown into the sea. The saint appeared to Bishop Plato and told him where the coffin bearing his
body could be found. The bishop retrieved the coffin with Matthew's body from the sea. Witnessing
this new miracle, the prince was baptized and received the name Matthew. After that, the prince left
all the vanity of the world and became a presbyter and served the Church in a God-pleasing way.

When Plato died, the Apostle Matthew appeared to the presbyter Matthew and counseled him to
accept the episcopacy. He accepted the bishopric and, for many years, was a good shepherd until the
Lord called him to His Immortal Kingdom. St. Matthew the Apostle wrote his Gospel in the
Aramaic language. It was soon after translated into Greek and the Greek text has come down to us,
while the Aramaic text has been lost. It is said of this evangelist that he never ate meat, but only
vegetables and fruit.
The Venerable Sergius of Malopinega
Sergius was a Russian parish priest who lived a God-pleasing life and served for sixty-two years in
the province of Vologda. He peacefully entered into rest in the Lord on November 16, 1585, at the
age of ninety-two.
Reflection
Does the Lord's command about ceaseless prayer that men ought always to pray (Luke 18:1), apply
only to monks or to all Christians in general? If it applied only to monks, the Apostle Paul would
not have written to the Christians in Thessalonica to pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17).
The Apostle repeats the Lord's command, word for word, and issues it to all Christians without
distinction, whether monks or laymen. St. Gregory Palamas lived a life of asceticism for some time
as a young hieromonk in a monastery in Beroea. The elder Job, a well-known ascetic whom
everyone respected, lived in that monastery. It happened that, in elder Job's presence, St. Gregory
quoted the Apostle's words, asserting that ceaseless prayer is the obligation of every Christian and
not just for monks. However, elder Job replied that ceaseless prayer is the obligation of the monk
only, and not for every Christian. Gregory, as the younger of the two, yielded and withdrew in
silence. When Job returned to his cell and stood at prayer, an angel in great heavenly glory appeared
to him and said: ``O Elder, do not doubt the truthfulness of Gregory's words; he spoke correctly and
you should think likewise and pass it on to others.'' Thus, both the Apostle and the angel confirmed
the commandment that all Christians must pray to God without ceasing. Not only without ceasing in
church, but also without ceasing in every place and at all times, and especially in your heart. For if
God does not for a moment tire of giving us good things, how can we tire of thanking Him for these
good things? When He thinks of us without ceasing, why do we not think of Him without ceasing?
Contemplation
Contemplate
1.

How

2.

How

the
on

He

the

creation
third

commanded

day
the

of
God

earth

the

divided
to

bring

the
forth

3. How this was according to the Word of God, and it was good.

world
dry
grass

land
and

(Genesis
from

the

fruit-bearing

1):
water;
trees;

Homily
On Christ's dwelling in the hearts of the faithful
that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye (may be) rooted and grounded in love
(Ephesians 3:17).
With faith, Christ comes into the heart, and with Christ comes love. Thus man is rooted and
grounded in love. First then, there is faith; then with faith comes Christ's presence in the heart; then
with Christ's presence, the presence of love; and with love, all ineffable goodness. In a few words,
the Apostle delineates the whole ladder of perfection. The beginning is faith and the end is love; and
faith and love are joined in a living, undivided unity by the Living Lord Jesus Christ's presence in
the heart. By strengthening faith, we further abolish the distance between ourselves and the Lord
Jesus Christ. The stronger one's faith, the closer one is to Christ. Ultimately, one's heart is filled
with Christ and cannot be separated from Christ, just as one's lung cannot be separated from the air.
Then a man may, with tears of joy, communicate with Christ by the prayer of the heart-``Lord Jesus
Christ, have mercy on me a sinner''-and the heart is imperceptibly filled with light and ardent love.
In this way, love is united with faith and hope; and when they are united, the boundaries between
them are lost, so that man cannot even think of determining of how far faith goes, and where hope
and love begin. When the living Christ dwells in a man, then he no longer perceives faith, hope or
love in himself, nor does he name them. Instead, he sees only Christ and names only Him. This is
just like a fruit-grower in autumn who considers the ripe fruit on the tree, and speaks no more of
blossoms and leaves but of fruit, ripe fruit.
O Lord Jesus Christ, supreme height of all our endeavors and the destination of all our travels, draw
near to us and save us.

November 17th (Old Style)

Saint Gregory the Wonderworker, Bishop of Neocaesarea


This man of God and powerful wonderworker was called a second Moses. Gregory was born of
pagan, but eminent and wealthy, parents. He studied Hellenic and Egyptian philosophy and became
aware of the meagerness and insufficiency of pagan philosophy. He then turned to Christian
teachers, particularly Origen of Alexandria, with whom he studied for several years and from whom
he received baptism. Pure in body and soul, he wanted to dedicate himself solely to Christ God, for
which reason he withdrew to the wilderness, where he spent much time in rigorous asceticism. His
fame spread everywhere. Bishop Phaedimus of Amasea wanted to consecrate him Bishop of

Neocaesarea. The clairvoyant Gregory perceived Phaedimus's intention and hid from the bishop's
emissaries in the wilderness. Finally, Phaedimus consecrated him in a strange way, and Gregory had
to accept the office of bishop. The Most-holy Theotokos and St. John the Theologian appeared to
him in a vision, and St. John, at the command of the Theotokos, gave him the Symbol of Faith that
is known by Gregory's name. Who can enumerate all the miracles of this second Moses? He had
power over evil spirits, and over mountains and waters, healed every pain and infirmity, could
become invisible to his persecutors, and clairvoyantly perceived distant events and men's thoughts.
He ended his earthly life in the year 270, in great old age. When he arrived in Neocaesarea as
bishop, he found only seventeen Christians in that pagan city. When he departed this life, he left the
city Christian, with only seventeen pagans, and received the wreath of glory from his Lord in the
Heavenly Kingdom.
The Venerable Nikon of Radonezh
Nikon was a disciple of St. Sergius of Radonezh, and his successor as abbot. When barbarians
attacked Russia, Nikon prayed to God to remove this misfortune from the Russian people. Then St.
Sergius appeared to him with St. Peter and St. Alexis (the reposed Metropolitans of Moscow) and
told him not to grieve, for the assault was by God's permission and was for their good, but would
pass and peace would reign once more. Nikon renovated the Monastery of the Holy Trinity and
served as an example to many of asceticism. He entered into rest on November 17, 1426.
The Venerable Gennadius of Vatopedi
Gennadius was a monk of Vatopedi on Mount Athos, and had the obedience of being steward.
During his time as steward an empty barrel was miraculously filled with oil. This miracle is
ascribed to the Most-holy Theotokos, to whom the monastery is dedicated, and especially to her
icon, which was nearby.
Reflection
Let the following examples from the Life of St. Gregory show how God guards and saves the
righteous from assaults. While he was still at the school of philosophy in Alexandria, St. Gregory
preserved the purity of his soul and his body, as he preserved it to the end of his life. In this, he was
an exception among the dissolute youth of that time. This evoked envy and hatred among his
companions. In order to debase Gregory, they found a harlot to help them carry out an evil plan.
Once, when Gregory was standing in the square with eminent teachers and philosophers, the foul
woman approached him and loudly demanded that Gregory pay her the remainder due for impure
relations with her. Some of the people present were scandalized, while others were angry at this
shameless woman and began to chase her away; but she shouted even louder, demanding money.

The innocent Gregory blushed, as any decent man would before such coarse slander, but he
displayed neither anger nor hatred, and asked a friend to give her the amount that she sought so she
would leave. The friend heeded Gregory, and gave her the money she wanted. But at that moment
God let an evil spirit enter the woman and she fell to the ground and began writhing and convulsing,
gnashing her teeth, and foaming at the mouth. Seeing this, everyone was terrified. But St. Gregory,
innocent as a lamb, prayed to God for her, and the woman was healed and arose. Thus, instead of
humiliation,

Gregory

acquired

even

greater

glory.

Another example: When a bitter persecution of Christians took place, St. Gregory counseled
Christians to hide, and he and his deacon hid on a hill. But the imperial soldiers caught sight of
them and pursued them. When they were almost upon them, Gregory prayed to God for help, and
God rendered them invisible to their pursuers. The soldiers searched for them in vain, and finally
left without them.
Contemplation
Contemplate
1.

How

the
God

creation

created

the

greater

of

the

and

lesser

world
lights

(Genesis
on

the

1):

fourth

day;

2. How He created the sun to shine during the day, and the moon and the stars to shine at night.
Homily
On the breadth, length, depth and height
That ye may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and depth
and height (Ephesians 3:17-18).
Behold the fruits of faith and love! Behold the royal gifts that Christ the King confers when He
dwells in a man's heart: the understanding of salvific mysteries and the understanding of all that is
important to a man's life. This understanding is not personal or exceptional, and it is not individual
or novel. It is in accordance with the understanding of the saints-for who are the saints, if not those
that are rich in faith and love? They were given the understanding of the mysteries of God because
of their faith and love. Therefore, test your understanding against their understanding, and if you see
a difference, know that it is you who are not in the right. If, however, your understanding is in
accordance with theirs, you have attained the measure of their faith and love, and that means that
Christ

dwells

in

your

heart.

If that is so, then you will comprehend the breadth of God's love, by which He embraced both Jews
and pagans in the plan of salvation, and the length of God's providence by which, from time
immemorial, He prepared and developed the plan of salvation through the Law, the Prophets and
many miracles. You will also comprehend the depth of the humility of Christ, by which He
personally descended into hades to save the souls of the righteous, and the height of the glory of

Christ, which He received as a man after the completion of His saving work on earth. Breadth and
length and depth and height stand like Christ's Cross: embracing all, explaining all, inviting all,
showing mercy to all, and exalting all.
O Lord Jesus Christ, our gracious Lord, have mercy on us and save us.

November 18th (Old Style)

The Holy Martyr Plato


Plato was from the town of Ancyra in Galatia. He was a Christian by birth and upbringing. While in
his youth, he showed great perfection in every virtue. Plato did not conceal his faith in Christ the
Lord, but preached it openly, denouncing idolaters because of their worshiping lifeless objects in
place of the Living Creator. For this, he was brought to trial before Governor Agrippinus, and was
interrogated and harshly tortured by him. When the governor counseled him to avoid death and save
his life by worshiping the idols, Plato said: ``There are two deaths, the one temporal and the other
eternal; so also are there two lives, one of short duration and the other without end.'' Then
Agrippinus subjected him to even harsher tortures. Among other tortures, red-hot cannon balls were
set on the saint's naked body; then they cut strips from his skin. ``Torture me more harshly,'' the
martyr cried out to the torturers, ``so that your inhumanity and my endurance may be seen more
clearly.'' When the torturer reminded the martyr that his namesake, Plato the philosopher, was a
pagan, the martyr replied: ``I am not like Plato, nor is Plato like me except in name. I learn and
teach the wisdom of Christ, but Plato was a teacher of wisdom that is foolishness to God.'' After
that, Plato was thrown into prison, where he remained for eighteen days without food and water.
When the guards were amazed that Plato was able to live in hunger for so long, he told them: ``You
are satisfied by meat, but I, by holy prayers. Wine gladdens you, but Christ the True Vine gladdens
me.'' Plato was beheaded in about the year 266 and received his wreath of eternal glory.
The Holy Martyrs Romanus and Barulas
St. Romanus was a deacon of the church in Caesarea and zealously preached the Gospel in Antioch.
One day, there was an idolatrous feast. The Eparch of Antioch, Asclypiades, went to enter a pagan
temple to offer sacrifices, but Romanus stood in the way and said: ``You sin, O Governor, when you
go to the idols. The idols are not gods-Christ is the only true God.'' The enraged eparch subjected
Romanus to tortures and had him flogged and scraped without mercy. During this, St. Romanus saw
a child by the name of Barulas, and said to Asclypiades: ``Even this small child has more
understanding than you, old man, for he knows the true God and you do not.'' The eparch

questioned Barulas about his faith, and he confessed Christ the Lord as the One True God, contrary
to false idolatry. Asclypiades commanded that young Barulas be beheaded, and St. Romanus be
strangled in prison. Thus, both of these martyrs inherited the Kingdom of Christ in the year 303.
Reflection
But whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also (Matthew 5:39),
commanded the Lord. This is the shortest and clearest teaching on humility. The evil demons fear
nothing so much as a humble man fulfilling the Lord's commandments. There was a rich nobleman
in Alexandria who had a young daughter into whom an evil spirit had entered, and the daughter had
gone insane. Someone told the despairing father that none could heal his daughter except the monks
who lived in the wilderness and came to Alexandria from time to time to sell baskets, their
handiwork; but none of the monks would enter the rich nobleman's house if he told them why he
was inviting them. It would be better for him to purchase baskets from the monks, then ask them to
come to his house for payment. Then, when they entered the house, he could implore them to pray
to God for all the members of the household, and thus obtain God's help to cure the maiden. The
father obeyed and went to the marketplace on a certain day and met one of St. Macarius's disciples
as he was selling baskets. The man agreed to buy the baskets, and invited the monk to his home to
pay him. When the monk entered the home, the possessed daughter leaped at the monk and
vigorously struck him on one cheek with her hand. The monk silently turned the other cheek. The
evil spirit cried out in anguish and departed from the girl, and she became completely calm and
rational. When the monk returned to the wilderness, he told the elders what had happened and they
all glorified God, that He had given so much power to those who fulfill His commandments.
Contemplation
Contemplate

the

wondrous

creation

of

the

world

(Genesis

1):

1. How, on the fifth day, God created the living things that live in the waters and the fowls of the
air;
2. How God blessed them and said: Be fruitful and multiply.
Homily
On love that surpasses knowledge
to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge (Ephesians 3:19).
The love that surpasses knowledge, that exceeds our understanding, is the love of Christ. No one
can have even an inkling of the quality or the greatness of this love until Christ enters into him. Can
anyone who has never tasted honey have any idea of its taste? Only when Christ enters into the
heart of man by faith, does man know the inexpressible taste of the love of Christ-its sweet and

intoxicating fragrance and incomparable comprehensiveness. Just as a man who has Christ in his
heart touches the breadth, length, depth and height of the knowledge of divine wisdom, so this man
with Christ in his heart also touches the limitless open seas of the divine love of Christ. O my
brethren, how feeble are words when one needs to speak of the love of Christ-words are never
weaker than in this situation. Indeed, what can one say before such astounding proofs of His love?
He created us out of love, He was incarnate out of love, and out of love He accepted mockery and
death for our sake. He opened the heavens for us out of love, and He revealed to us the immortal
glory prepared for us! Even all this is only a part of the inexhaustible wealth, glory, beauty and lifecreating sustenance that is the love of Christ. Oh, if only we too would be made worthy by faith, so
that the Lord Jesus would enter our hearts, and that we would taste of His ineffable love!
O Lord Jesus Christ, our Life, our Wisdom and our Love, cleanse us and enter into us.

November 19th (Old Style)

The Holy Prophet Obadiah


Obadiah was born in the village of Betharam in the region of Shechem. He lived at the court of
King Ahab, but when the king turned away from true worship and bowed down to idols, Obadiah
did not follow the king, but continued to serve the one, true God. When the evil Queen Jezebel, in
her hatred of Elias, raised a persecution against all the prophets of God, Obadiah gathered a hundred
of them, hid them in two caves, and fed them to the end of the persecution (I Kings 18:4). A
contemporary of the great Prophet Elias, Obadiah revered him greatly and served him in all things,
as his follower and disciple. He lived nine hundred years before Christ and entered peacefully into
rest.
The Holy Martyr Barlaam
Barlaam was born in Antioch. Because of his faith in Christ the Lord, the impious judge tortured
him harshly. Finally, the judge decided to mock him by forcing him to offer sacrifice to the idols.
For this he took him to the pagan temple and set a burning coal on his palm and incense on the coal.
The judge thought that the pain would cause the martyr to shake the coal and incense off his hand
before the idols, and thus involuntarily cense them. However, the soldier of Christ heroically held
the burning coal on his palm with no thought of casting it before the idols, until his fingers were
burned through and fell off and his palm was completely burnt. St. Basil the Great said: ``He had a
right hand more powerful than fire: although the coal burned his hand, his hand still held the fire as
if it were ash.'' Chrysostom writes: ``The angels looked from the heights. The archangels beheld-the

scene was majestic, in truth transcending human nature. Behold, who would not wish to see a man
who made such an ascetic endeavor, yet did not feel that which is characteristic of men to feel; a
man who was himself both the altar of oblation and the sacrifice and the priest?'' When his hand
burned off, elder Barlaam's whole body fell to the ground dead and his soul went to the eternal rest
of our Lord the Savior. This glorious, heroic elder suffered in the year 304.
The Venerable Barlaam and Ioasaph the Heir
Barlaam and Ioasaph were Indian ascetics. Ioasaph was son and heir to King Abenner. By God's
providence, elder Barlaam visited him, taught him the Christian Faith and baptized him. After that,
the elder withdrew to a mountain to live a life of asceticism, but Ioasaph remained to struggle with
many temptations in the world, and by God's grace, to overcome them. Ioasaph finally succeeded in
bringing his father to Christ. After he was baptized, King Abenner lived four years in deep
repentance-for he had committed grave sins in persecuting Christians-and then ended his earthly
existence and went to the better life. The young Ioasaph turned over the rule of the kingdom to his
friend Barachias, and entered the wilderness to live a life of asceticism for the sake of Christ. His
one desire on earth was to see his spiritual father, elder Barlaam, once again. The merciful God
fulfilled his desire, and one day Ioasaph stood before Barlaam's cave and cried out: ``Bless me,
father!'' Elder Barlaam labored in asceticism in the wilderness for seventy years and lived one
hundred years in all. St. Ioasaph himself left his kingdom at the age of twenty-five, and went into
the wilderness where he lived for thirty-five years. They both had great love for the Lord Jesus,
brought many to the true Faith and entered into the eternal joy of their Lord.
The Holy Martyr Heliodorus
Heliodorus was from the town of Maggido in Pamphylia and suffered for the Christian Faith in the
time of Emperor Aurelian. During his harsh tortures, he heard a voice from heaven: ``Be not afraid,
I am with thee!'' Thrown into a glowing-hot brazen ox, he fervently prayed to God and God saved
him. All at once, the glowing ox cooled, and Heliodorus emerged alive. The judge cried out to him
that he had performed some magic. To this, the martyr replied: ``My magic is Christ!'' He was
beheaded and went to the Lord.
Reflection
A tale of the Elder Barlaam to Ioasaph: A man was fleeing from a terrifying unicorn. Fleeing thus,
he fell into a pit, but grabbed hold of a tree. Just when he thought that he was out of danger, he
looked down below the tree and saw two mice, one black and one white, gnawing alternately but
continuously at the roots of the tree, so as to gnaw through and bring the tree crashing down.
Looking down even further, he saw a huge, terrifying serpent which, with its jaws wide open, was

waiting to devour the man when the tree would fall down. He then saw four smaller poisonous
snakes around his feet. Looking upward, the man saw a little bit of honey on a branch, and
forgetting all the danger that surrounded him, extended his hand to reach that little bit of sweetness
in the tree. The interpretation is this: The unicorn represents death, which from Adam to now
pursues every man to kill him; the pit filled with all sorts of dangers is this world; the tree is the
path of our life; the white and black mice are days and nights, that continue one after the other to
shorten our life; the huge and horrible snake is hell; the four poisonous snakes are the four elements
from which the body of man is composed; the little bit of honey on the branch of the tree is the little
sweetness that this life offers to man. Oh, if only men would not be captivated by that
inconsequential sweetness, forgetting the terrible dangers that surround them and draw them down
to eternal ruin!
Contemplation
Contemplate

the

wondrous

creation

of

the

world

(Genesis

1):

1. How on the sixth day God created the cattle and the small creatures and the wild beasts after their
own

kind;

2. How God saw that it was good.


Homily
On glorifying God because of Christ the Lord
Unto Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen
(Ephesians 3:21).
Glory be to God! Glory be to God in the Church! Glory be to Him because of Christ Jesus! Glory
be to Him throughout all generations! Glory be to Him unto ages of ages! No one befits being
glorified as does God, nor does anyone glorify God as does the Church of God. Christ is the
revealer of God: hence, all the glory given to God must go through Christ the Lord. The Church will
endure beyond all races and generations to the end of time; the Church is the most pure body of
Christ, filled with might, wisdom and miracle-working; and hence the glory of God is proclaimed
from the Church: from the holy place to the Holy One, from purity to the Pure One. Glorification
from the Church is most pleasing to God also, because there are many souls and voices in the
Church, but they are all of one accord and of one voice. Therefore, let no one separate himself from
the common glorification of God, and let no one even think that his own glorification of God in
isolation and separation is better than the glorification of God in the unity and fullness of all the
faithful. It is not true that one member is lost in the multitude, that his voice is not heard before
God. Does not the hand do its work only when it is inseparably bound to the body? And so it is with
each member of the body, just as it is with each of the faithful. When he prays in and with the

Church (and even if he is in the desert he can pray in and with the Church), not separating himself
from the Church, he is better heard and seen by God. His soul finds a much repeated echo in the
souls of the other faithful, and so he is greatly distinguished and recognized in his prayer within the
unity of the body of the Church rather than outside of it.
O Lord Jesus, only from Thee, in Thee, and through Thee can we glorify God.

November 20th (Old Style)

The Venerable Gregory of Decapolis


Gregory was born in Isaurian Decapolis of prominent and devout parents, Sergius and Mary. After
he had completed his schooling, his parents desired that he marry, but he fled to the wilderness and
was tonsured a monk. He lived in various places: Byzantium, Rome and on Mount Olympus.
Wherever he was, he amazed men by his asceticism and miracles. At times a heavenly light
illumined him and angels of God appeared to him. He gazed upon the beauty of the angels and
listened to their sweet chanting. He lived a long and God-pleasing life and died peacefully in the
ninth century in Constantinople, his soul taking up its abode in the joy of his Lord.
Saint Proclus, Patriarch of Constantinople
Proclus was a disciple of St. John Chrysostom. In the year 426 he was consecrated Bishop of
Cyzicus, and in 435 was chosen Patriarch of Constantinople. He governed the Church of God as a
prudent hierarch. During his tenure, two significant events occurred. The first was the translation of
the relics of St. John Chrysostom from Comana to Constantinople, at the desire of both the emperor
and the patriarch. Emperor Theodosius the Younger was then reigning with his sister, Pulcheria. The
second event was the great earthquake in Constantinople and the surrounding countryside. Many of
the largest and most beautiful buildings were destroyed by this terrible earthquake. Then the
patriarch, with the emperor, many of the clergy, nobles and people, came out in a procession of
supplication. As they were praying to God, a child was miraculously lifted high in the air, until he
was out of sight. Then he returned and was lowered gently to the ground. Asked where he had been,
the child replied that he had been lifted up to heaven among the angels and that he had heard the
angels sing: ``Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us!'' Upon hearing this, all
the people in the procession began to sing it and the earthquake ceased immediately. From that time
on, this beautiful hymn was adopted by the Church. The child soon reposed, and was interred in the
Church of St. Irene. In all, St. Proclus served as a hierarch for twenty years and reposed peacefully
in the Lord in the year 446.

The Holy Martyrs Eustathius, Thespesius and Anatolius


Eustathius, Thespesius and Anatolius were blood brothers from Nicomedia. Their parents,
Philotheus and Eusebia, were pagans who received the true Faith from St. Anthimus, Bishop of
Nicomedia, as did their sons. Philotheus was ordained a presbyter. When he and his wife reposed, a
terrible persecution of Christians was perpetrated under the evil Emperor Maximian, and
Philotheus's three sons were brought to trial. Accused, interrogated and tortured in various ways,
they were finally condemned to death. Angels appeared to them many times in prison and gave
them manna to eat, filling their young hearts with strength, courage and endurance. When they were
led to the place of execution, two friends, Palladius and Acacius, approached them and spoke with
them. While they were still speaking, the holy martyrs gave up their souls to God. The soldiers then
severed their lifeless heads and took them to show to the judge. They suffered for Christ the Lord in
about the year 313, and took up their habitation in the Immortal Kingdom of Christ.
Saint Isaac, Archbishop of Armenia
Isaac was born in Constantinople when his father was an envoy of the Armenian king to the
Byzantine court. Isaac was the tenth Archbishop of Armenia, and in that calling, governed the
Church for fifty years. His episcopacy was distinguished, among other things, by the translation of
the Holy Scriptures into the Armenian language. He was told in a vision that the Armenians would
eventually fall away from the pure Faith of Orthodoxy. This eminent hierarch entered peacefully
into rest in the year 440 and reposed in the Lord.
The Three Holy Virgins
All three were Persians. At the time of King Sapor, these three virgins were persecuted as
Christians, and were finally cut to pieces with knives. Three fig trees grew out of their graves that
healed all manner of pains and illnesses.
Reflection
No mortal has interpreted the Epistles of the Apostle Paul with greater love and depth than St. John
Chrysostom. Had St. Paul himself interpreted them, he could not have interpreted them better.
Behold, history tells us that it was Paul himself who interpreted them through the mind and the pen
of Chrysostom. When St. Proclus was a novice under Chrysostom, during the time that he was
patriarch, it was his duty to announce visitors. A certain nobleman was slandered before Emperor
Arcadius and the emperor had expelled him from the court. This nobleman came to implore
Chrysostom to intercede with the emperor on his behalf. Proclus went to announce him to the
patriarch but, looking through the partly opened door, saw a man bent over the patriarch,
whispering something in his ear while the patriarch wrote. This continued until dawn. Meanwhile,

Proclus told the nobleman to come back the next evening, while he himself remained in amazement,
wondering who the man with the patriarch was, and how he managed to enter the patriarch's
chamber unannounced. The second night the same thing happened again, and Proclus was in still
greater amazement. The third night the same thing happened again, and Proclus was in the greatest
amazement. When Chrysostom asked him if the nobleman had come by, he replied that he had
already been waiting for three nights, but that he couldn't announce him because of the elderly,
balding stranger who had been whispering in the patriarch's ear for three nights. The astonished
Chrysostom said that he did not remember anyone entering to see him during the previous three
nights. He asked his novice what the stranger looked like, and Proclus pointed to the icon of the
Holy Apostle Paul, saying that the man was like him. Therefore, it was the Apostle Paul himself
who was directing the mind and pen of his greatest interpreter.
Contemplation
Contemplate

the

wondrous

1.

Holy

Trinity

How

the

took

creation
counsel

of
together

the
about

world
the

(Genesis
creation

of

1):
man;

2. How God created man in His own image.


Homily
On behavior in accordance with one's calling
that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness,
with longsuffering (Ephesians 4:1-2).
Be not proud, be not angry, be not faint-hearted; for these are unworthy of a Christian calling. This
calling is so elevated and wonderful that it is difficult for a man to safeguard himself from pride; yet
it is difficult to keep oneself above faint-heartedness when dangers and losses occur. Against these
three unhealthy states, the Apostle emphasizes three healthy states: against pride, lowliness; against
anger, meekness; against faint-heartedness, longsuffering. It must be said that these three virtueslowliness, meekness and longsuffering-do not express in full measure the loftiness of the Christian
calling. But then, nothing in this world can fully express the height of the Christian calling. The
preciousness and richness of this calling cannot be seen here on earth: it is like a closed chest that a
man carries through this world, but only opens it and avails himself of its riches in the other world.
Only someone who could raise himself to the highest heavens and see Christ the Lord in glory with
the angels and the saints could assess the loftiness of the Christian calling; for there is the victorious
assembly of all God's chosen ones from earth who were made worthy of this exceedingly high
honor.
O Lord Jesus Christ our God, Thy name is the name most dear to us.

November 21st (Old Style)

The Entry into the Temple of the Most-holy Theotokos


When the Most-holy Virgin Mary reached the age of three, her holy parents Joachim and Anna took
her from Nazareth to Jerusalem to dedicate her to the service of God according to their earlier
promise. It was a three-day journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem but, traveling to do a God-pleasing
work, this journey was not difficult for them. Many kinsmen of Joachim and Anna gathered in
Jerusalem to take part in this event, at which the invisible angels of God were also present. Leading
the procession into the Temple were virgins with lighted tapers in their hands, then the Most-holy
Virgin, led on one side by her father and on the other side by her mother. The virgin was clad in
vesture of royal magnificence and adornments as was befitting the ``King's daughter, the Bride of
God'' (Psalm 45:13-15). Following them were many kinsmen and friends, all with lighted tapers.
Fifteen steps led up to the Temple. Joachim and Anna lifted the Virgin onto the first step, then she
ran quickly to the top herself, where she was met by the High Priest Zacharias, who was to be the
father of St. John the Forerunner. Taking her by the hand, he led her not only into the Temple, but
into the ``Holy of Holies,'' the holiest of holy places, into which no one but the high priest ever
entered, and only once each year, at that. St. Theophylact of Ohrid says that Zacharias ``was outside
himself and possessed by God'' when he led the Virgin into the holiest place in the Temple, beyond
the second curtain-otherwise, his action could not be explained. Mary's parents then offered
sacrifice to God according to the Law, received the priest's blessing and returned home. The Mostholy Virgin remained in the Temple and dwelt there for nine full years. While her parents were
alive, they visited her often, especially Righteous Anna. When God called her parents from this
world, the Most-holy Virgin was left an orphan and did not wish to leave the Temple until death or
to enter into marriage. As that would have been against the Law and custom of Israel, she was given
to St. Joseph, her kinsman in Nazareth, after reaching the age of twelve. Under the acceptable role
of one betrothed, she could live in virginity and thus fulfill her desire and formally satisfy the Law,
for it was then unknown in Israel for maidens to vow virginity to the end of their lives. The Mostholy Virgin Mary was the first of such life-vowed virgins, of the thousands and thousands of virgin
men and women who would follow her in the Church of Christ.
Reflection
Submit yourself to the will of God and do not pry too closely into God's judgments, for you can lose
your mind. The judgments of God are innumerable and unfathomable. A monk in the wilderness,

imagining that he had attained perfection, prayed to God that He would reveal to him His various
judgments in the lives of men. God put the thought in his mind to go to a distant place to inquire of
a spiritual elder concerning this. However, while the monk was on his way, an angel of God in the
form of an ordinary man joined him, saying that he too wanted to go to that elder. Thus traveling
together, they came upon the house of a God-fearing man, who treated them well, giving them to
eat from a silver platter. When they had eaten, the angel took the platter and threw it into the sea.
The monk found this both amazing and unjust, but he remained silent. The second day they came
upon the house of another hospitable man who cordially received and treated them as kinsmen.
Before leaving, that man brought out his only son for the travelers to bless. The angel of God then
took the child by the throat and strangled him. The monk was greatly angered and asked the angel
who he was, and why he had committed such misdeeds. The angel meekly replied to him: ``The
first man was pleasing to God in all things and had nothing in his house that was attained by
injustice except that silver platter. By God's judgment, I threw that stolen platter away, so that the
man would be righteous before God in all things. The other man was pleasing to God and had
nothing in his house that would bring down the wrath of God except his son, who-had he maturedwould have become a great criminal and a demonic vessel. Therefore, by God's judgment, I
strangled that child in time to save his soul, for the sake of his father's goodness, and to save the
father from many miseries. Behold, such are the mysteries and the unfathomable judgments of God.
And you, elder, should return to your cell and not strive vainly by inquiring into that which is in the
authority of the One God.''
Contemplation
Contemplate

the

wondrous

1.

How

God

created

2.

How

He

breathed

creation
man
the

from
spirit

of

the
the
of

world
dust

life

(Genesis
of

into

the
his

2):
earth;
nostrils;

3. How man became a living soul.


Homily
On the faithful as one body and one spirit
There is one body and one spirit (Ephesians 4:4).
The Holy Apostle counsels the faithful to strive to be one body and one spirit. By one body is
understood ``one Faith,'' without divisions, without heresies and without self-will: the whole Church
is one body of which Christ is the Head. By one spirit is understood ``love,'' the ardent love of all
the faithful for Christ, from which proceeds mutual love. The many become as one; many men
become as one man. This is the miracle of the Christian Faith and Christian love. There is no power
in the world which can be a stronger bond among men: not the same blood, or the same language,

or the same hearth, or the same parents, or any type of common material interests. None of these is
even nearly as powerful a bond as Christian faith and love. By this powerful, irresistible bond, all
the members of the Church are bound to each other. The Church of God stands as one man, in time
and in eternity-one body and one spirit. There is nothing more contradictory to this wondrous unity
than the pride of individual men. Pride distorts faith, cools love, creates heresies, divides the
Church, and sacrifices the good of the whole for individual satisfaction. Pride, in essence, is the
absence of both faith and love. Brethren, may God save us from pride, the primal infirmity of the
human race, that we may always be one body and one spirit in our Lord Jesus Christ.
To Thee, O Lord Jesus; to Thee, the Head of the Church, be glory and praise forever. Amen.

November 22nd (Old Style)

The Holy Martyr Cecilia


Cecilia was born in Rome of wealthy and eminent parents. She had great faith in Christ the Lord
and a great zeal for the Faith. Vowing life-long virginity to God, St. Cecilia wore a coarse hair shirt
beneath the costly raiment that her parents gave her. When her parents coerced her into marriage
with Valerian, a pagan, Cecilia counseled her bridegroom on their wedding night to go to Bishop
Urban to be baptized, and then live in chastity. Accepting the Christian Faith, Valerian also
converted his brother Tiburtius. Soon after, both brothers were condemned to death for their faith.
But their faithfulness did not falter, even in the face of death. Led to the place of execution, these
wonderful brothers also succeeded in converting the captain of the guard, Maximus, to the Faith.
Then all three suffered together for Christ the Lord. St. Cecilia buried their bodies together. Cecilia
was then brought to trial, for she tirelessly won pagans over to the Christian Faith. In only one
evening, she won over four hundred souls. When the judge asked her from whence such boldness
came, she answered: ``From a pure conscience and undoubting faith.'' After cruel torture, Cecilia
was condemned to beheading. The executioner struck her three times on the neck with the sword,
but he was unable to kill her. She was only wounded, and blood flowed from her wounds, which the
faithful collected in handkerchiefs, sponges and bowls for the sake of healing. Three days after this,
the martyr and virgin of Christ gave her soul to her Lord, with Whom she eternally rejoices. St.
Cecilia suffered with the others in about the year 230. Her relics lie in Rome, in the church
dedicated to her. In the Western Church, St. Cecilia is regarded as the patroness of church singing
and music.
Saint Callistus, Patriarch of Constantinople

Callistus is called ``Xanthopoulos'' after the cell of that name on Mount Athos, where he lived for a
long time in asceticism with his companion, Ignatius. With this same Ignatius, St. Callistus wrote in
one hundred chapters of his personal experience of a life of stillness. This work occupies a very
prominent place in ascetical literature. Callistus was greatly influenced by his teacher, St. Gregory
of Sinai, and wrote his Life. Having become Patriarch of Constantinople, St. Callistus became ill
and reposed while on a journey to Serbia. Before he undertook his journey this was prophesied to
him by St. Maximus of Kapsokalyvia of the Holy Mountain.
The Holy Martyr Menignus
Menignus was born on the Hellespont. He worked as a linen-bleacher, for which he was called ``the
Fuller.'' At the time of Emperor Decius, he tore up the imperial decree declaring a persecution of
Christians. For this, he was thrown into prison, where the Lord Himself appeared to him and
encouraged him, saying: ``Be not afraid, I am with thee.'' At that moment his chains melted like
wax, the prison opened of itself, and he went out. He was arrested again and tried. They tortured
him inhumanly, severing his fingers and toes and beheading him. At night, his severed head glowed
like a lamp.
The Holy Righteous Michael the Soldier
Michael was a Bulgarian by birth. With his companions, he fought in the Greek army against the
Hagarenes and Ethiopians, where he displayed marvelous fearlessness. He killed a terrible serpent
and freed a maiden. Soon afterward, this righteous man took up his abode in eternal life. He lived
and reposed in the ninth century. He was first buried somewhere in Thrace, but Emperor Kalo-John
translated his relics to Trnovo in 1206.
Reflection
Every effort of learning is in vain without the effort of attaining purity of faith and life. The
heavenly world is revealed not to the learned but to the pure. When St. Cecilia was led to the bridal
chamber with her bridegroom Valerian on the first night, she said him: ``I want to tell you a
mystery: standing here is an angel of God, the guardian of my virginity, whom you do not see. He
stands ready to protect me, his handmaid, from assault. If you only touch me, he will kill you.''
Valerian begged Cecilia to show him the angel, so that he could see it, too. The virgin replied: ``You
are a man who knows not the true God. You cannot see the angel of God until you cleanse yourself
of the foulness of your unbelief.'' When Valerian was baptized, he saw the angel in great light and
ineffable beauty. So, too, when Valerian's brother Tiburtius changed his life from impurity to purity
in baptism, he saw holy angels and spoke with them. Maximus their fellow sufferer as well, when
the two brothers were beheaded, vowed with a great oath before the executioners and the people,

saying: ``I see angels of God shining like the sun, taking the souls of these martyrs from their
bodies like beautiful virgins from the bridal chamber, and leading them to heaven with great glory.''
But that which he saw, none of the impure unbelievers were able to see.
Contemplation
Contemplate
1.

How

the
God

wondrous

planted

creation

paradisal

garden

of
in

the
Eden

world
and

(Genesis

placed

man

2):
there;

2. How God made trees in Paradise, beautiful to look at and good for food;
3. How God brought all the animals before man and he named them.
Homily
On that which constitutes the unity of the faithful
One Lord, one Faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all (Ephesians 4:5-6).
Here is the all-important and extremely obvious reason for all Christians to keep the unity of the
Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3) and be one body and one spirit (Ephesians 4:4). For the
One Lord Jesus Christ is our Creator, Redeemer and Resurrector. There are not two true Christs,
that there should be division among us. One and the same blood was shed upon the Cross for us all,
just as one and the same mouth prayed for us all in Gethsemane. We have one Faith in the Holy
Trinity, undivided and life-creating-the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one in Essence and three in
Persons-the Unbegotten Father, the Begotten Son and the Spirit proceeding from the Father. We
have one Baptism in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This Baptism is by
threefold immersion in water, for death to sin and the devil, and for the resurrection and life in
Christ the Lord. One God and Father of all-the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten
Son of God, Who through Christ and because of Christ adopts us and gives us the right to say to
Him, Our Father.
Do you see, my brethren, how strong are the bonds that unite us? Not even the stars themselves are
bound by stronger bonds, nor the water to the earth, nor fire to the air. Do you see the overwhelming
reasons that we have for unity? Everything else that, from the left hand, would urge us to division is
inconsequential compared to these reasons, like a grain of sand compared to the high mountains.
The devil cannot destroy our unity if we do not help him. The devil can never conquer us if we do
not surrender ourselves to him.
O Lord Jesus, sweet and gracious, how firmly Thou hast bound us for eternal good! Keep us, we
pray, in this bond.

November 23rd (Old Style)

Saint Amphilochius, Bishop of Iconium


Amphilochius was a fellow countryman, companion and friend of St. Basil the Great and other
great saints of the fourth century. Amphilochius left the uproar of the world early in life and
withdrew to a cave where, as a hermit, he lived in asceticism for forty years. It then happened that
the episcopal throne in Iconium was vacated, and Amphilochius, in a wondrous manner, was chosen
and consecrated Bishop of Iconium. He was a splendid shepherd and a great defender of the purity
of the Orthodox Faith. He took part in the Second Ecumenical Council in 381. He fought zealously
against the impious Macedonius, the Arians and the Eunomians. He personally begged Theodosius
the Great to expel all the Arians from every city in the empire, but the emperor did not heed him. A
few days later, Amphilochius came before the emperor again. When the bishop was led into the
reception chamber, the emperor was sitting on his throne, and on his right sat his son Arcadius,
whom Theodosius had taken as his co-emperor. Entering the chamber, St. Amphilochius bowed to
Emperor Theodosius but paid no attention to Arcadius, the emperor's son, as if he were not there.
Greatly enraged at this, Emperor Theodosius ordered that Amphilochius be immediately expelled
from the court. The saint then said to the emperor: ``Do you see, O Emperor, how you do not
tolerate disrespect to your son? So too, God the Father does not tolerate disrespect to His Son, and
is disgusted with the corruptness of those who blaspheme Him and is angered at all those adherents
of that cursed (Arian) heresy.'' Hearing this, the emperor then understood why Amphilochius had
not given honor to his son, and was amazed at his wisdom and daring. Among many other works,
St. Amphilochius wrote several books on the Faith. He entered into rest in great old age in the year
395 and took up his habitation in eternal life.
Saint Gregory, Bishop of Agrigentum
Gregory was born of devout parents, Chariton and Theodota in Sicily near the town of Agrigentum,
where he was later bishop,. His entire life was imbued with God's wonderful miracles. In a
miraculous manner, he went to Jerusalem; in a miraculous manner, he was chosen as bishop; and in
a miraculous manner, he was saved from slander. He himself was a great miracle-worker, for he was
a great God-pleaser, a great spiritual father and an ascetic. He participated at the Fifth Ecumenical
Council in Constantinople in 553. After difficult trials he reposed peacefully near the end of the
sixth century or the beginning of the seventh.
Saint Alexander Nevsky
Alexander was the son of Prince Yaroslav. From childhood, his heart was directed to God. He

defeated the Swedes on the river Neva on July 15, 1240, for which he received the appellation
``Nevsky'' (``of the Neva''). On that occasion, Saints Boris and Gleb appeared to one of Alexander's
commanders and promised their help to the great prince, who was their kinsman. Once, among the
Golden Horde of the Tartars, he refused to bow down to idols or to pass through fire. Because of his
wisdom, physical strength and beauty, even the Tartar Khan respected him. He built many churches
and performed countless works of mercy. He entered into rest on November 14, 1263 at the age of
forty-three. On this day, November 23, the translation of his relics to the town of Vladimir is
commemorated.
Saint Mitrophan, Bishop of Voronezh
Mitrophan was a glorious Russian hierarch, ascetic and patriot. He was a friend, and later a critic, of
Peter the Great. He entered into rest on November 23, 1703. His wonderworking relics were
uncovered in the year 1832.
Reflection
God permits misfortune to befall the righteous, that He might glorify them more greatly. The
overcoming of misfortune reveals both the glory of God and the glory of the righteous. St. Gregory
of Agrigentum was, in all things, righteous and pleasing to God. But God permitted misfortune to
befall him, similar to that misfortune that once overtook St. Athanasius and St. Macarius. Two
priests, Sabinus and Crescens, for whom Gregory had done much good, could not at all tolerate
Gregory's virtuousness. For such is the nature of vice, that it cannot tolerate virtue. Consequently,
Sabinus and Crescens found a notorious prostitute and bribed her to malign Gregory by saying that
he had had immoral relations with her. So it was that when Gregory was in church, the woman crept
into his bedroom, and just as Gregory came out of church with the people, she emerged from his
room. The two priests began to revile Gregory as a libertine. However, Gregory was composed and
prepared for every suffering. They confined him in prison and then transferred him to Rome. The
pope believed the slanderers and kept Gregory in prison for two and a half years, without a trial or a
verdict. A council was then convened to try Gregory's case, but God judged before man could judge.
The woman went insane and was brought mad before the council. She was unable to answer any
questions. Gregory, the miracle-worker, prayed to God for her and she was healed, for the evil spirit
came out of her. Then, through her tears, she confessed that she had been bribed to malign the man
of God, and that immediately after she had committed the slander, the evil spirit had entered her and
held her in its power. Sabinus and Crescens, along with the other maligners-more than a hundred in
number-found their faces suddenly turned as black as coal, and they were punished with exile. St.
Gregory was returned to his diocese and was received with great exultation by his people.
Contemplation

Contemplate

the

wondrous

creation

of

the

world

(Genesis

2):

1. How God gave the first people all the plants and all the fruitful trees for food;
2. How He forbade them to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, lest they die
Homily
On grace and gifts
But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ (Ephesians
4:7).
Here is the beginning of distinctions among Christians. At first, the Apostle enumerated that which
unites us, that is, one Lord, one Faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all (Ephesians 4:5-6).
Nevertheless, here he emphasizes that which makes us unwillingly different. The measure of the
gift of Christ makes us different, the measure according to which the grace of the Holy Spirit is
given. Christ is the Head of the great body that is called the Church. He creates that body and,
individually, every member of that body; He is the Builder and He is the only One who knows the
plan of that building. He does not allow one member in this building to be disproportionally great or
small. He gives the proper measure to everything and everyone. Thus, He gives one five talents,
another two, and another, one. He measures, and the Holy Spirit pours out His grace accordingly.
No one should be angry or envious. No one should be angry, for if he has received less, he will have
less to answer for. No one should be envious, for if someone has received more, it is not his, but
God's. If he has much, much will be asked of him, as it is said in the divine parable of the talents.
O my brethren, let every one of us be conscious of the measure of our gift and our responsibility.
Let us respect our gift and the gift of our neighbor, for all gifts are from God and are God's.
O Lord Jesus, the great Giver of diverse gifts, to Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

November 24th (Old Style)

The Holy Great-martyr Catherine


Catherine was the daughter of King Constus. After the death of her father, she lived with her mother
in Alexandria. Her mother was secretly a Christian who, through her spiritual father, brought
Catherine to the Christian Faith. In a vision, St. Catherine received a ring from the Lord Jesus
Himself as a sign of her betrothal to Him. This ring remains on her finger even today. Catherine was
greatly gifted by God and was well educated in Greek philosophy, medicine, rhetoric and logic. In
addition to that, she was of unusual physical beauty. When the iniquitous Emperor Maxentius

offered sacrifices to the idols and ordered others to do the same, Catherine boldly confronted the
emperor and denounced his idolatrous errors. The emperor, seeing that she was greater than he in
wisdom and knowledge, summoned fifty of his wisest men to debate with her on matters of faith
and to put her to shame. Catherine outwitted and shamed them. In a rage, the emperor ordered all
fifty of those men burned. By St. Catherine's prayers, all fifty confessed the name of Christ and
declared themselves Christians before their execution. After Catherine had been put in prison, she
converted the emperor's commander, Porphyrius, and two hundred soldiers to the true Faith, as well
as Empress Augusta-Vasilissa herself. They all suffered for Christ. During the torture of St.
Catherine, an angel of God came to her and destroyed the wheel on which the holy virgin was being
tortured. Afterward, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself appeared to her and comforted her. After many
tortures, Catherine was beheaded at the age of eighteen, on November 24, 310. Milk, instead of
blood, flowed from her body. Her miracle-working relics repose on Mount Sinai.
The Holy Great-martyr Mercurius
When Emperor Decius once waged war against the barbarians, there was in his army the
commander of an Armenian regiment called the Martenesians. This commander was named
Mercurius. In battle, an angel of the Lord appeared to Mercurius, placed a sword in his hand, and
assured him of victory over his enemies. Indeed, Mercurius displayed wonderful courage, mowing
down the enemy like grass. Following this glorious victory Emperor Decius made him chief
commander of his army, but envious men reported Mercurius to the emperor for being a Christian, a
fact which he did not hide but openly acknowledged before the emperor. Mercurius was tortured
harshly and at length; he was cut into strips with knives and burned with fire. An angel of God
appeared to him in prison and healed him. Finally, the emperor proclaimed that General Mercurius
be beheaded in Cappadocia. When they beheaded him, his body became as white as snow and
emitted a most wonderful incense-like fragrance. His miracle-working relics healed many of the
sick. This most wonderful soldier of Christ suffered for the Faith sometime between the years 251
and 259 and took up his habitation in the Kingdom of his King and God.
The Holy Virgin Mastridia
Mastridia lived in Alexandria and led a solitary life of prayer and handiwork. A young man, burning
with bodily passion toward her, constantly harassed her. Not wanting to sin before God, and since
she could not easily be rid of this unrestrained youth, St. Mastridia once asked him what attracted
him most to her. He replied: ``Your eyes!'' Mastridia then took the needle with which she was
sewing and put out her eyes. Thus, Mastridia preserved her peace and the young man's soul. The
young man repented deeply, and became a monk.

Reflection
A tale of Elder Barlaam to Ioasaph: The citizens in a certain town had a custom of choosing as king
a stranger who did not know their laws and customs. After they had crowned him king, they clothed
him in beautiful robes, fed him abundantly and surrounded him with every luxury. However, as
soon as one year had elapsed, they deposed their king, stripped him of all his goods and his clothes,
and drove him completely naked to a distant island, where he had neither bread nor roof nor
companions, and where he would die in misery and humiliation. The citizens of this town would
then choose another king, also a stranger and also for one year; then a third, then a fourth, then a
fifth and so forth. But it once happened that they chose a very wise and cautious man. He learned
from his servants what had happened to the kings of this town after their year. Therefore, over the
course of the whole year he zealously gathered food and goods and daily sent them to that island.
When the year had run out and when he was stripped of his clothing and cast onto the island, he
found himself amidst an enormous quantity of food, silver, gold and precious stones, and continued
to live there even better than he lived as king in that town. The interpretation is this: The town
represents the world; the citizens represent the evil spirits; the kings are men, either foolish or wise.
The foolish men think only of the pleasures of this life, as if it were eternal; but in the end, death
cuts everything off and they, naked of all good works, go to hell. The wise, however, perform many
good works, and send these good works ahead of them to the other world. At their repose, the wise
kings-the good men-depart to that world where their accumulated riches await them, and where they
reign in greater eternal glory and beauty than they reigned here on earth.
Contemplation
Contemplate

the

wondrous

creation

of

the

world

(Genesis

2):

1. How God brought all animals, birds and beasts before Adam, to see how he would name them;
2. How Adam gave a name to every animal and every bird and every beast.
Homily
On Him Who descended and ascended
He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all
things (Ephesians 4:10).
In His love for man, the Lord Jesus Christ lowered Himself so low that He could go no lower; and
then raised Himself so high that, in truth, He could go no higher. He descended into the lower parts
of the earth (Ephesians 4:9): into hades itself, where He freed the forefathers, prophets and
righteous ones, and led them into the Kingdom of Heaven. Completing His work both on earth and
in hades, He ascended far above all heavens. The same One Who ascended is the very same One

Who descended without any change, except that He descended without a body, and ascended with a
body. Therefore, there are not both a Son of God and a Son of Man as heretics have said, but Christ
is both the Son of God and the Son of Man-one and the same Person-one and the same God-man,
our Savior Jesus Christ. As He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, so He is the same in the
depths and in the heights: on earth, in hades, and in the heavens. He abased Himself lower than all
men, and raised Himself above all the angelic powers, to show by example the truthfulness of His
words: And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall
be exalted (Matthew 23:12). If we are not humbled by virtues, then sin will humble us. Virtue leads
to voluntary and temporary abasement, but sin leads to irreversible and eternal abasement.
O Lord Jesus, Who fills all by Thy power, fill us with the spirit of true humility.

November 25th (Old Style)

The Hieromartyr Clement, Bishop of Rome


Clement was born in Rome of royal lineage and was a contemporary of the holy apostles. His
mother and two brothers, traveling on the sea, were carried by a storm to different places. His father
then went to find his wife and two sons and he, too, became lost. Clement, being twenty-four years
old, then set out for the east to seek his parents and brothers. In Alexandria, he made the
acquaintance of the Apostle Barnabas and, afterward, joined the Apostle Peter whom his two
brothers, Faustinus and Faustinian, were already following. By God's providence, the Apostle Peter
came upon Clement's mother as an aged beggar woman, and then found his father as well. Thus, the
whole family was united, and all returned to Rome as Christians. Clement did not separate himself
from the great apostle, who appointed him as bishop before his death. After Peter's martyrdom,
Linus was Bishop of Rome, then Cletus-both of them for a short time-and then Clement. Clement
governed the Church of God with flaming zeal, and from day to day brought a great number of
unbelievers to the Christian Faith. In addition, he ordered seven scribes to write the lives of the
Christian martyrs who were suffering at that time for their Lord. The Emperor Trajan banished him
to Cherson, where Clement found about two thousand exiled Christians. All were occupied with the
difficult job of hewing stones in a waterless land. The Christians received Clement with great joy
and he was a living source of comfort to them. By his prayer, he brought forth water from the
ground and converted so many of the unbelieving natives to Christianity that, in one year, seventyfive churches were built there. To prevent his spreading the Christian Faith even more, the
authorities condemned Clement to death, and drowned him in the sea with a stone around his neck

in the year 101. His miracle-working relics were removed from the sea only in the time of Saints
Cyril and Methodius.
The Hieromartyr Peter, Archbishop of Alexandria
Peter was a disciple and successor of St. Theonas, Archbishop of Alexandria, and was for a time a
teacher at Origen's famous school of philosophy. He ascended the archiepiscopal throne in the year
299, and died a martyr's death in 311, beside the grave of the Holy Apostle Mark. He governed the
Church in a most difficult era, when assaults were being made against the faithful by unbelievers
from without, and by heretics from within. During his time, 670 Christians suffered in Alexandria.
Often, whole families were led to the scaffold and executed. At the same time, the ungodly Arius
was confusing the faithful with his false teaching. St. Peter cut him off from the Church and
anathematized him, both in this world and in the next. The Lord Himself visited this great and
wonderful saint in prison.
The Venerable Paphnutius
Paphnutius never drank wine. Once, bandits seized him, and their leader forced him to drink a cup
of wine. Seeing Paphnutius's kind nature, the chief of the bandits repented, and abandoned his
brigandage.
Reflection
It is said of St. Peter of Alexandria that he never climbed the steps and sat on the patriarchal throne
in church, but rather stood or sat before the steps of the throne. When the faithful complained that
their hierarch did not sit in his place, he replied: ``Whenever I approach the throne, I see a heavenly
light and power upon it, and that is why I do not dare climb and sit on it.'' Beside this vision, St.
Peter had another, yet more wondrous vision. While he was in prison, the impious heretic Arius
hypocritically pretended that he had repented of his heresy, and sent word to the captive Peter that
he had renounced his heresy, with an appeal to Peter to receive him into the Church again. Arius did
this only because he thought that Peter would be martyred, and he could then acquire the patriarchal
throne and disseminate and strengthen his heresy. Before he gave any reply, Peter prayed to God in
the prison. During prayer, a mystical light illumined the prison, and the Lord Jesus appeared to him
as a twelve-year-old boy, shining brighter than the sun, so that it was not possible to look at Him
directly. The Lord was clothed in a white tunic, rent down the front from top to bottom. He clutched
the garment around Himself with His hands, as though to hide His nakedness. At this, St. Peter was
in great fear and horror. He cried out: ``Who, O Savior, has torn Thy garment?'' The Lord replied:
``The madman Arius. He tore it, for he alienated My people from Me, whom I acquired by My
Blood. Be careful not to receive him in communion with the Church, for he has cunning and

diabolical thoughts against Me and My people.'' At this, St. Peter sent word to his priests, Achilles
and Alexander, that he could not receive Arius's petition, for it was false and cunning; and the saint
pronounced a curse on Arius in both worlds. He also prophesied that Achilles, and then Alexander,
would succeed him as patriarch, and so it was.
Contemplation
Contemplate

the

wondrous

creation

of

the

world

(Genesis

2):

1. How God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam and took one of his ribs;
2. How the Lord God made the woman Eve from Adam's rib and brought her to Adam;
3. How this is the foundation and reason for the mysterious attraction and unity of husband and
wife.
Homily
On the apportionment of functions and callings
And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and
teachers (Ephesians 4:11).
As the various organs in a man's body have different functions but all work in harmony for the good
of the entire body, so the Lord instituted various organs with different functions in the Church,
which is His Body. In the first place came the apostles, to whom was given not just one honor, but
rather all honors; not one function, but rather all functions; not just one gift, but rather all the gifts
of grace. The apostles were simultaneously apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.
The apostolic calling is not given anymore. Of the Great Apostles, there were twelve, the thirteenth
being the Apostle Paul; and of the Lesser Apostles, there were seventy. The prophets are those who
received the gift of prophecy from the Holy Spirit. Here, it is not the Old Testament prophets that
are being discussed, but rather the New Testament prophets (Acts 11:27, 21:10, 13:1). The prophets
were, and still are, prophets regardless of their class and position. The evangelists were firstly those
who wrote the Gospels, and then missionaries who spread Christ's teaching among the unbelievers
and, finally, the interpreters of Holy Scripture who in their writings presented the Christian truth for
each and all. Pastors and teachers-these are actually one and the same calling, for it is difficult to
imagine a pastor who is not a teacher at the same time. The pastors are limited to a certain place and
a certain number of faithful whom they lead to salvation, and they govern the Church of God. So,
the Lord ordained all of this through His holy apostles. Blessed is he who knows his function and
gift received from the Spirit, and who serves according to his designation to the end. Just as the
Holy Spirit now apportions His gifts, so the Lord, in His time, will apportion rewards.
O Lord, Holy Spirit, true God, help us to use Thy gifts to the end of our lives in humility, for the

well-being of Christ's Church and for our eternal salvation.

November 26th (Old Style)

The Venerable Alypius the Stylite


Alypius was born in Hadrianopolis, a city in Paphlagonia. From childhood, he was dedicated to the
service of God. He served as a deacon with Bishop Theodore in the church in that city. But, desirous
of a life of solitude, prayer and meditation, Alypius withdrew to a Greek cemetery outside the city.
This was a cemetery from which people fled in terror, because of frequent demonic visions seen
there. Alypius set up a cross in the cemetery and built a church in honor of St. Euphemia, who had
appeared to him in a dream. Beside the church, he built a tall pillar, climbed on top of it, and spent
fifty-three years there in fasting and prayer. Neither the mockery of men nor the evil of the demons
was able to drive him away or cause him to waver in his intention. Alypius especially endured
countless assaults from demons. Not only did the demons try to terrorize him with apparitions, but
stoned him as well, and gave him no peace, day or night, for a long time. The courageous Alypius
protected himself from the power of the demons by the sign of the Cross and the name of Jesus.
Finally the demons were defeated and fled from him. Men began to revere him and come to him for
prayer, consolation, instruction and healing. Two monasteries were built beside his pillar, one on
one side for men and one on the other for women. His mother and sister lived in the women's
monastery. St. Alypius guided the monks and nuns from his pillar, by example and words. He shone
like the sun in the heavens for everyone, showing them the way to salvation. This God-pleaser had
so much grace that he was often illuminated in heavenly light, and a pillar of this light extended to
the heavens above him. St. Alypius was a wonderful and mighty miracle-worker in life, and also
after his repose. He lived for one hundred years and entered into rest in the year 640, during the
reign of Emperor Heraclius. His head is preserved in the Monastery of Koutloumousiou on the Holy
Mountain.
The Venerable James the Solitary
James was from Syria. He was a disciple of St. Maron (February 14) and a contemporary of St.
Simeon the Stylite. He lived a life of asceticism under the open sky and ate soaked lentils. He
performed great miracles, even raising the dead in the name of Christ. Emperor Leo asked him for
his thoughts on the Council of Chalcedon (451). He entered peacefully into rest in the year 457.
The Venerable Stylianus

Stylianus was from Paphlagonia and a fellow countryman and contemporary of St. Alypius. He had
a great love for the Lord Jesus, and because of this love gave himself up to great ascetic struggle.
He renounced everything in order to have an undivided love for his Lord. Before his repose, angels
came to take his soul, and his face shone like the sun. Stylianus was a great miracle-worker before
and after his death. He especially helps sick children and childless couples.
The Venerable Nicon, the Preacher of Repentance
Nicon was born in Armenia. Awakened by the words of the Lord, Every one that hath forsaken
father or mother shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life (Matthew 19:29),
Nicon indeed forsook all for the sake of Christ, and went to a monastery, where he was tonsured a
monk. When he was perfected in all virtues, he left the monastery and went to preach the Gospel
among the people. He ceaselessly cried out, ``Repent!'' for which he was also called the ``the
Preacher of Repentance.'' As a preacher, he visited all of Anatolia and the Peloponnese. He worked
miracles by prayer in the name of Christ and peacefully went to his beloved Lord. He reposed in
Sparta in the year 998.
Saint Innocent of Irkutsk, the Wonderworker
He reposed in the year 1731, and his miracle-working relics were uncovered in 1804.
Reflection
Many learned pagans entered the Church of Christ and were baptized precisely because the Church
preached immortal life as a proven fact and not as a speculation of human reason. St. Clement of
Rome had studied all of Greek philosophy, yet his soul remained unsatisfied and empty. As a young
man of twenty-four, he desired to know with all his soul if there were another, better life than this.
Philosophy gave him only the thoughts of various men, but no real proof. He mourned for his lost
parents and brothers and was tormented constantly by not knowing if he would be able to see them
in some other life. The All-seeing God directed his footsteps and he met a man who spoke to him of
Christians, and of their belief in life beyond the grave. This so stirred the young Clement that he
immediately moved from Rome to Judea so that there, in the cradle of the Christian Faith itself, he
might come to uncontestable knowledge regarding life beyond the grave. When he heard the
preaching of the Apostle Peter, based entirely on Christ's Resurrection from the dead, Clement
despised the conjectures of philosophy and sincerely adopted the Christian Faith. He was baptized,
and dedicated himself totally to the service of the Church of God. As it was then, so it is today-he
who has a strong faith in the resurrected Christ, and a clear knowledge of life beyond death and
judgment, easily decides to pay the price for entry into that life; that is, the fulfilling of all God's
commandments.

Contemplation
Contemplate
1.

How

the
the

wondrous
Lord

God

creation
created

of

the

man,

world

and

woman

(Genesis
from

2):
man;

2. How Adam and Eve were naked and were not ashamed, for they did not yet know sin.
Homily
On the purpose of the apportionment of gifts, ministries and callings
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ
(Ephesians 4:12).
This is why the Holy Spirit apportioned the gifts, and made some apostles, others prophets, others
evangelists, and others pastors and teachers: that the saints, the faithful Christians, become
perfected. As in a household, honor and service are apportioned, and there is honor and service
appropriate to parents, honor and service appropriate to adult sons and daughters, and honor and
service appropriate to young children and servants-yet all serve together for the benefit of one
another; so it is in God's house, the Holy Church: with every honor is a corresponding service, and
the services of each are beneficial to all. Thus the body of Christ, God's Holy Church, is gradually
and wisely built. Each of the faithful, assisted by the others, grows and develops as a member of
this body; grows and develops in holiness and purity, and in a corresponding measure and
proportion to the whole great body. The whole body, from the beginning to the end of timeespecially from the Incarnation of God the Word on earth until the Dread Judgment-is the Holy
Church of God. The body is worthy of immortality, the building is worthy of God. The eye of man
cannot see it from end to end, nor can the mind of man comprehend it. The building is of chosen
materials: living stones, eyes and hearts, without roughness or ugliness, without corruption or
change. Everything is in its place, everything is most beautiful in its entirety and in its parts. Here,
brethren, is the goal of our journey! Here is the meaning of our burning in the furnace of suffering!
Here is our life, better than all our plans and lovelier than all our desires.
O Lord Jesus, our man-loving Lord, do not cast us away as inferior material, but polish us and build
us into Thine immortal body.

November 27th (Old Style)

The Holy Martyr James the Persian


James was born of Christian parents in the Persian city of Elapa (or Vilat), brought up in the

Christian Faith and married to a Christian woman. The Persian King Yezdegeherd took a liking to
James for his talents and skillfulness, and made him a noble at his court. Flattered by the king,
James was deluded and began offering sacrifices to the idols that the king worshiped. His mother
and wife learned of this, and wrote him a letter of reproach in which they grieved over him as an
apostate and one who was spiritually dead. Yet, at the end of the letter, they begged him to repent
and return to Christ. Moved by this letter, James repented bitterly, and courageously confessed his
faith in Christ the Lord to the king. Angered, the king condemned him to death by a special torture:
his entire body was to be cut up, piece by piece, until he breathed his last. The executioners fulfilled
this command of the wicked king to the letter, and cut off James's fingers, then his toes, his legs and
arms, his shoulders, and finally his head. During every cutting, the repentant martyr gave thanks to
God. A sweet-smelling fragrance, as of a cypress, emanated from the wounds. Thus, this wonderful
man repented of his sin and presented his soul to Christ his God in the Kingdom of Heaven. James
suffered in about the year 400. His head is to be found in Rome and a part of his relics in Portugal,
where he is commemorated on May 22.
The Seventeen Venerable Martyrs of India
They were Christian monks who suffered at the hands of the Indian King Abenner. Enraged at Elder
Barlaam because he baptized his son, Ioasaph, King Abenner sent men in pursuit of him. The
pursuers did not capture Barlaam, but captured seventeen other monks and brought them to the
king. The king condemned them to death and his men plucked out their eyes, severed their tongues,
broke their arms and legs, and then beheaded them. Even so, the Christian Faith in the Kingdom of
India was strengthened all the more by the blood of these knights of Christ.
The Venerable Romanus the Wonderworker
Romanus lived a life of asceticism in the vicinity of Antioch. He never kindled a fire or lit a candle
in his cell. He reposed peacefully, and was a miracle-worker both during his life and after his death.
He intercedes for barren women when they offer prayer to him.
The Venerable Pinuphrius
Pinuphrius was a contemporary of St. John Cassian (February 29) and a great Egyptian ascetic. He
lived in the fourth century and carried out his life of asceticism in various places, always fleeing the
praise of men. He had many disciples, who strove to imitate the lofty example of their teacher.
The Venerable Nathaniel
Nathaniel was a Nitrian monk. He prayed to God both day and night, and was enlightened by the
contemplation of divine matters. He neither left his cell nor even crossed the threshold for a full
thirty-eight years. He entered into rest in the Lord in the second half of the sixth century.

Reflection
When the executioners severed the thumb of St. James's right hand, he said: ``Even a vine is pruned
in this manner, so that in time a young branch may grow.'' At the severing of his second finger, he
said: ``Receive also, O Lord, the second branch of Thy sowing.'' At the severing of his third finger,
he said: ``I bless the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.'' At the severing of his fourth finger, he
said: ``O Thou who acceptest the praise of the four beasts (symbols of the four evangelists), accept
the suffering of the fourth finger.'' At the severing of the fifth finger, he said: ``May my rejoicing be
fulfilled as that of the five wise virgins at the wedding feast.'' During the severing of the sixth
finger, he said: ``Thanks be to Thee, O Lord, Who at the sixth hour stretched out Thy most pure
arms on the Cross, that Thou hast made me worthy to offer Thee my sixth finger.'' At the severing of
the seventh finger, he said: ``Like David who praised Thee seven times daily, I praise Thee through
the seventh finger severed for Thy sake.'' At the severing of the eighth finger, he said: ``On the
eighth day Thou Thyself, O Lord, wast circumcised.'' At the severing of the ninth finger, he said:
``At the ninth hour, Thou didst commend Thy spirit into the hands of Thy Father, O my Christ, and I
offer Thee thanks during the suffering of my ninth finger.'' At the severing of the tenth finger, he
said: ``On a ten-stringed harp I sing to Thee, O God, and thank Thee that Thou hast made me
worthy to endure the severing of the ten fingers of my two hands, for the Ten Commandments
written on two tablets.'' Oh, what wonderful faith and love! Oh, the noble soul of this knight of
Christ!
Contemplation
Contemplate
1.

How

the
most

wonderful
beautiful

Paradise
was

Paradise,

of
both

God
within

(Genesis
and

2):
without;

2. How all living things in Paradise were unconditionally submissive to man and man to God;
3. How most beautiful were the first man and woman in Paradise, conscious of God's presence and
of God's authority.
Homily
On the perfect man
Till we all come in the unity of the Faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect
man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).
The unity of the Faith, brethren, and the knowledge of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ the
Savior, unites two men into one man, a thousand people into one man, and many millions of people
into one man. The unity of Faith in Christ the Lord, and the true Orthodox knowledge of Christ the
Lord, unites men more strongly than blood, more strongly than language, more strongly than all

external circumstances and material bonds. When many souls think as one and the same, will as one
and the same, and desire as one and the same, then these many souls are as one soul, one great and
mighty soul. Physical differences in this case mean little, and are hardly to be taken into
consideration. Thus, the same souls are built up into a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature
of the fulness of Christ. The parts of the perfect whole are themselves perfect. Every Christian soul
is a part of the perfect man. Christ is the Perfect Man of Whom the Church is the Mystical Body. He
fills everyone who believes in Him with Himself, according to the measure of the stature of each.
He is the fullness beyond all fullness, the living fount that flows and fills every worthy space.
Inasmuch as a man empties himself of everything that is not of Christ, Christ will enter into him and
fill him accordingly.
O my brethren, deep humility is needed in addition to strong faith, so that the Living Water may be
poured into us. Even in nature, we see that water easily irrigates the lowlands. So, the more lowly
our humiliation is before the Lord Jesus, the more willingly He pours Himself into us, irrigates us
with His life-giving Self, and fills us as His vessel with the fullness of His immortality.
O Lord Jesus, Thou fullness of life, wisdom, beauty and sweetness, help us to humble ourselves
before Thy Divine Majesty, that we may be made worthy of Thy visitation.

November 28th (Old Style)

The Venerable Martyr Stephen the New


As at one time Hannah, the mother of Samuel, prayed to God to give her a son, so did Anna, the
mother of Stephen. Praying thus in the Church of Blachernae before the icon of the Most-holy
Theotokos, a light sleep overcame her, and she saw the Most-holy Virgin as radiant as the sun, and
heard a voice from the icon: ``Woman, depart in peace. In accordance with your prayer, you have a
son in your womb.'' Anna indeed conceived and gave birth to a son, the holy Stephen. At sixteen,
Stephen received the monastic tonsure on Mount Auxentius near Constantinople, from the elder
John who also taught him divine wisdom and asceticism. When John entered into rest in the Lord,
Stephen remained on the mountain in a life of strict asceticism, taking upon himself labor upon
labor. His holiness attracted many disciples to him. When Emperor Constantine Copronymus was
persecuting icons more ferociously than his foul father, Leo the Isaurian, Stephen showed himself a
zealous defender of the veneration of holy icons. The demented emperor accepted various obscene
slanders against Stephen and personally plotted intrigues to break Stephen and get him out of the
way. Stephen was banished to the island of Proconnesus, then taken to Constantinople, chained and

cast into prison, where he was met by 342 monks, brought from all over and imprisoned for their
veneration of the icons. There, in prison, they carried out the whole church typicon as in a
monastery. Then the wicked emperor condemned Stephen to death. The saint foresaw his death
forty days in advance, and asked forgiveness of the brethren. The emperor's servants dragged him
from prison and, beating and pulling him, dragged him through the streets of Constantinople calling
upon all those loyal to the emperor to stone this ``enemy of the emperor.'' One of the heretics struck
the saint on the head with a piece of wood, and the saint gave up his soul. As St. Stephen the
Protomartyr suffered at the hands of the Jews, so this Stephen suffered at the hands of the
iconoclastic heretics. This glorious soldier of Christ suffered in the year 767 at the age of fifty-three,
and was crowned with unfading glory
The New Martyr Christos
Christos was an Albanian Christian living in Constantinople and a gardener by trade. As he was
selling his vegetables one day, he offended a Turk, who then slandered him before a judge, saying
that Christos had promised to become a Moslem and then recanted. After interrogation, he was
chained and cast into prison. In prison, someone offered him food, which Christos refused, saying:
``It is better that I appear before my Christ hungry.'' After that, he pulled out some money he had
concealed under his belt and gave it to one of his fellow prisoners, requesting that the money be
used for several Liturgies to be celebrated for his soul. He was beheaded by the Turks in the year
1748, and was glorified forever in the Kingdom of Christ God.
The Venerable Anna
Anna was a woman of noble birth who, after her husband's death, was tonsured into monasticism by
St. Stephen the New. Emperor Constantine Copronymus urged her to say that she had engaged in
illicit physical relations with St. Stephen, in order to humiliate him before the people. However, this
holy woman refused to join in the emperor's intrigue against the saint, whom she venerated as her
spiritual father. For that, she was whipped and then cast into prison, where she gave up her holy
soul to God.
The Holy and Devout Emperor Maurice
Maurice was murdered with his six sons by Emperor Phocas in the year 602 (see ``Reflection''
below).
Reflection
Reading the examples of perseverance in the Faith and generosity of the saints of God, we also
become persevering in the Faith and generous. When Copronymus's men urged St. Stephen to reject
the veneration of icons to please the iconoclastic emperor, Stephen extended his hand, clenched his

fist and said: ``If I had in myself only a fist full of blood, I would shed it for the icon of Christ.''
Emperor Maurice had six sons of which the sixth and youngest was not yet weaned. For this
youngest son, the emperor kept a special wet-nurse at court who fed it. A terrible fate came upon
Emperor Maurice: Phocas ousted him from the throne and condemned him to death together with
all of his six sons. Before Maurice's eyes, his sons were slain, one after the other. When the wetnurse had to hand over the emperor's sixth son to be slain, she genuinely felt sorrow over the fate of
the unfortunate emperor and his children, and in a moment, decided to save the life of at least one of
the emperor's sons. So, when they sought the emperor's son from her breast, she gave them her own
young son and he was beheaded. Finally, the Emperor Maurice was beheaded. The emperor's
youngest son grew up believing his wet-nurse to be his mother. However, when the wet-nurse
revealed the secret to him, he became very serious, then resolutely left the world and withdrew to
Mount Sinai, where he was tonsured a monk and dedicated himself to God. He did this to requite
that innocent young child who was put to death in his place.
Contemplation
Contemplate God's wonderful Paradise (Genesis 2):
1. How it was a kingdom of innocence, purity and righteousness;
2. How there was not a trace of sickness or death, for there was not even a thought of sin.
Homily
On how the faithful must grow
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ
(Ephesians 4:15).
Brethren, here is all that is asked of us on this earthly journey: that we hold to the truth and that we
live in love. Truth is revealed by Christ the Lord, and the example of love is given in Christ the
Lord. Neither can one come to the truth apart from Christ the Lord nor find an example of true love
apart from Him. Seeing this only true path to light and salvation in the confusion of many false
paths, the Apostle Paul reminds us beforehand: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to
and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14). Only God can reveal the
truth; only God can show true love. One man can know more than another man, but only God can
reveal the truth. Thoughts come to man like the wind, and illusions can seem to be truth to him.
Deluded by his own thoughts, one man deludes another; deceived by illusions, one man then
deceives another; but truth is in God and of God. Brethren, Christ is our whole truth and our whole
love. When we think of Christ, we think of truth; when we act according to Christ, we act correctly;
when we love Christ, we love Love itself. By Christ we live, by Christ we grow, by Christ we
become immortal and are glorified. He is our Head-not merely the titular head of a group, but the

actual head of a living body, of which we are members. Adhering to truth and love, we are made
worthy to dwell eternally in this Body of Christ.
O Lord Christ, our most wonderful truth and our endearing love, enter into us and receive us into
Thyself.
November 29th (Old Style)

The Holy Martyr Paramon and 370 others with him


In Asian Bithynia, Governor Aquilinus fiercely persecuted Christians. Once, he captured 370
Christians, brought them with him, and bound them at a place where there was an idolatrous temple
of the god Poseidon. Here, the wicked governor tried to force them to worship and offer sacrifice to
the idol. Even though the governor threatened death for anyone who did not obey his order, not a
single Christian submitted. Just then, a respected man by the name of Paramon passed along the
road beside the temple. He stopped beside the masses of shackled people and learned what was
happening. Then he cried out: ``Oh, how many innocent righteous ones does this foul governor
desire to slaughter, because they will not worship his dead and mute idols?'' Paramon then
continued on his way, and the infuriated governor sent his servants to slay him. The servants caught
up to Paramon, seized him and pierced his tongue with a thorn, then stripped him naked and stabbed
his entire body. Holy Paramon, with prayer in his heart, gave up his soul to God. After that, the 370
martyrs, great as sons of God and innocent as lambs, were beheaded and thus entered into the
Immortal Kingdom of Christ the Lord. They suffered in the year 250.
The Venerable Acacius of Sinai
In his famous book, The Ladder, St. John Climacus relates the life of this saint. The young Acacius
was a novice under an evil elder in the monastery on Sinai. The irascible elder daily reproached and
insulted Acacius and often beat, tormented and maltreated him in every possible way. However,
Acacius did not complain but endured this all patiently, with the assurance that it was beneficial for
his salvation. Whenever anyone asked him how he was doing, he replied: ``Well, as before the Lord
God!'' After nine years of obedience and torment, Acacius died. The elder buried him and then
expressed sorrow to another elder saying: ``Acacius, my disciple died.'' ``I do not believe it,'' replied
the holy elder, ``Acacius did not die.'' Then both of them went to the grave of the dead man and that
holy elder cried out: ``Brother Acacius, did you die?'' Acacius, obedient even after death replied:
``Father, I have not died, for it is impossible for an obedient one to die.'' Then, the evil elder
repented and shut himself in a cell near Acacius's grave where, in repentance and prayer, he spent
the remainder of his life.

The Holy Martyr Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth


He was an eminent pastor and teacher. He was beheaded for Christ in the year 182.
Saint Tiridates, King of Armenia
Tiridates was a contemporary of Diocletian. At first, he furiously persecuted Christians, but God's
punishment befell him and he went insane and became like a beast, as had happened to King
Nebuchadnezzar. Tiridates was miraculously healed of his insanity by St. Gregory of Armenia
(September 30). From then until his death, Tiridates spent his life in repentance and devotion. He
died peacefully in the fourth century.
The Holy Martyr Apollonius
Apollonius was a Roman senator. Accused because of his faith in Christ, he confessed it before the
entire senate, for which he was beheaded with the sword in Rome in the year 186.
Reflection
God's punishment often befalls sinners immediately after the sin, that the sinners may fear and the
righteous be encouraged. However, sometimes it falls much later, suddenly and unexpectedly, that
sinners may know that God forgets nothing. Dathan and Abiram were swallowed up by the earth
immediately after their sin, but King Balthazzar saw the hand that wrote his death sentence when he
felt most fortunate at a banquet among his friends and admirers.
A gravely ill soldier was brought to St. Stephen the New to be healed by him through prayer.
Stephen told him to venerate the icons of Christ and the Holy Theotokos. The solider did this and
was immediately restored to health, and this miracle was spoken of everywhere. Hearing of this, the
iconoclastic Emperor Constantine Copronymus summoned this soldier and questioned him. When
the soldier confessed that he received healing from the holy icons, the emperor reproached him with
fury for venerating them. The frightened soldier repudiated the veneration of icons before the
emperor and grew ashamed of his faith in them. When the soldier left the court and mounted his
horse, the horse went wild under him, threw him off and trampled him with its hooves until he gave
up his soul. Behold: a punishment immediately following sin.
King Tiridates, a persecutor of Christians, threw St. Gregory into a pit and killed thirty-seven holy
nuns, but no punishment befell him. Later, when the king and his companions went hunting for
pleasure, he and his entourage were seized by sudden madness. The reason for his madness and the
means to restore him were revealed to his pious sister in a dream. St. Gregory was taken out of the
pit, and by his prayers King Tiridates became healthy, repented and was baptized.
Punishment sometimes quickly follows sin as the day follows the night, yet sometimes slowly, as

year follows year. But it never fails to come, except where repentance takes the place of
punishment.
Contemplation
Contemplate God's wonderful Paradise (Genesis 2):
1. How God adorned Paradise with every kind of tree pleasant to the sight and good for food;
2. How God planted the Tree of Life in the midst of Paradise;
3. How God only forbade Adam to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Homily
On the Church's compact structure, similar to a body
From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth,
according to the effectual working in the measure of every part (Ephesians 4:16).
This word, brethren, is on the spiritual body, God's holy Church. From Him, that is, from Christ, the
whole body is fitly joined together and compacted. The most wise Apostle cannot find a better
comparison for the Church than the human body. What the head is to the human body, so is Christ
the Lord to the body of the Church. From the head, the nerves spread through all parts of the body,
and through the nerves, all the parts of the body perceive, feel and move; and their life lies in this
perception, feeling and movement. It can be said that the head, through the brain and the nerves, is
present in every part of the body. If the head is cut off, every part of the body becomes dead in an
instant. Christ is present in every part of the Church, in every faithful member of it. Through Him,
each of the faithful perceives the spiritual kingdom, feels love and moves aright toward God. From
Him, every member receives strength according to the effectual working in the measure, that is,
according to function and gift. The Lord gives this strength directly, by contact, by touch, by His
personal presence. Love is a wonderful bond that binds Christ to the faithful, the faithful to Christ
and the faithful to one another. Brethren, what happens to one part of the body when it is torn away
from the nerves that link it to the head? It becomes inactive, insensitive and motionless: dead. This
also happens with every member of the Church who leaves the structure of the Church, and thus
severs his tie with the Head of the Church. Brethren, may God preserve us from this calamity!
O Lord Jesus, the Source of life and love, do not allow any dark power, within us or without us, to
separate us from Thee and Thy Body, Thy Holy Church that Thou hast purchased with Thy precious
blood.
November 30th (Old Style)

The Holy Apostle Andrew the First-called


Andrew, the son of Jonah and brother of Peter, was born in Bethsaida and was a fisherman by trade.
At first he was a disciple of St. John the Baptist, but when St. John pointed to the Lord Jesus,
saying, Behold the Lamb of God! (John 1:36), Andrew left his first teacher and followed Christ.
Then, Andrew brought his brother Peter to the Lord. Following the descent of the Holy Spirit, it fell
by lot to the first apostle of Christ, St. Andrew, to preach the Gospel in Byzantium and Thrace, then
in the lands along the Danube and in Russia around the Black Sea, and finally in Epirus, Greece and
the Peloponnese, where he suffered. In Byzantium, he appointed St. Stachys as its first bishop; in
Kiev, he planted a Cross on a high place and prophesied a bright Christian future for the Russian
people; throughout Thrace, Epirus, Greece and the Peloponnese, he converted multitudes of people
to the Faith and ordained bishops and priests for them. In the city of Patras, he performed many
miracles in the name of Christ, and won many over to the Lord. Among the new faithful were the
brother and wife of the Proconsul Aegeates. Angered at this, Aegeates subjected St. Andrew to
torture and then crucified him. While the apostle of Christ was still alive on the cross, he gave
beneficial instructions to the Christians who had gathered around. The people wanted to take him
down from the cross but he refused to let them. Then the apostle prayed to God and an
extraordinary light encompassed him. This brilliant illumination lasted for half an hour, and when it
disappeared, the apostle gave up his holy soul to God. Thus, the First-called Apostle, the first of the
Twelve Great Apostles to know the Lord and follow Him, finished his earthly course. St. Andrew
suffered for his Lord in the year 62. His relics were taken to Constantinople; his head was later
taken to Rome, and one hand was taken to Moscow.
Saint Frumentius the Enlightener of Abyssinia
In the time of Emperor Constantine the Great, a learned man from Tyre by the name of Meropius
traveled to India. He took with him two young Christians, the brothers Edesius and Frumentius. On
the journey, their boat was shipwrecked in a storm off the coast of Abyssinia, and the wild
Abyssinians killed everyone on the boat except these two brothers. They lived in Abyssinia for
several years, and managed to enter into service in the imperial court of the Abyssinian king.
Frumentius began to preach the Christian Faith, initially very cautiously, and was convinced that
this land would be fruitful for such preaching. The two brothers then took ship: Edesius to Tyre, to
his parents, and Frumentius to Alexandria, to Patriarch Athanasius the Great. Frumentius explained
the situation in Abyssinia to the Patriarch, and sought pastors for those newly converted to the Faith.
St. Athanasius consecrated Frumentius to the episcopacy. St. Frumentius returned to Abyssinia
where, by his zeal and his miracles, he converted all of Abyssinia to the Christian Faith in his own
lifetime. This great shepherd of the flock of Christ, the enlightener of Abyssinia, reposed peacefully

in the year 370 and went to live in the Kingdom of his Lord.
Reflection
St. John Chrysostom says: ``All is given to the Apostles.'' That is, all gifts, all power, all the fullness
of grace which God gives to the faithful. We see this in the life of the great apostle, St. Andrew the
First-called: He was an apostle, evangelist, prophet, pastor and teacher (Ephesians 4:11). As an
evangelist, he carried the good news of the Gospel to the four corners of the earth; as a prophet, he
prophesied the baptism of the Russian people and the greatness of Kiev as a city and a Christian
center; as a pastor, he established and organized many churches; as a teacher, he tirelessly taught
people right up to and during his crucifixion, when he taught from the cross until his last breath. In
addition to this, he was a martyr, which is also according to the gift of the Holy Spirit, and is not
given to everyone. And so we see in this apostle, as in the others, the fullness of the grace of the
Spirit of God. And every great work that a follower of Christ performs must be ascribed to that
grace. St. Frumentius testifies this to us. When he returned from Alexandria to Abyssinia as a
consecrated bishop, he began to perform the greatest miracles, thus converting great masses of
people to the Faith. Then the amazed king asked him: ``So many years have you lived among us
and never have we seen you perform such miracles. How is it that you do so now?'' To this, the
Blessed Frumentius replied to the emperor: ``This is not my work, but the work of the grace of the
priesthood.'' The saint then explained to the king how he had forsaken parents and marriage and the
whole world for the sake of Christ, and how he had-by the laying on of hands by St. Athanasiusreceived the grace of the priesthood: miracle-working grace.
Contemplation
Contemplate the spiritual fall of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3):
1. How the serpent provoked greed and pride in Eve;
2. How the greedy and proud woman transgressed God's command and ate of the Tree of
Knowledge;
3. How Eve sinned, not in the midst of poverty or need, but in an abundance of all things.
Homily
On the ignorance and hardheartedness of the pagans
The gentiles walk in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated
from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart
(Ephesians 4:17-18).
What is vanity, my brethren? All that is seen outside God, cut off from God and done without the
fear of God. What is vanity of the mind, my brethren? To live and interpret life, not by God's law

but rather by one's own passing thoughts and desires. Whence, my brethren, does this evil come to
men? From hardness of heart and from inner ignorance. What does hardness of heart mean,
brethren? It means a heart empty of love for God and fear of God, and filled with lustfulness and
fear of everything for the body's sake. Brethren, what is born of hardness of heart? Ignorancecomplete ignorance of divine things, divine ways and divine laws; a heart completely dulled to
spiritual life and spiritual thought. What is the final consequence, brethren, of hardness of heart and
ignorance of divine truth? A darkened understanding and alienation from the Living God. Darkened
understanding occurs when the mind of man becomes as darkened as the body, and the light that is
in man becomes darkness. Oh, such a darkness! A darkened understanding is a darkened mind. A
darkened mind knows the meaning of nothing, or denies the meaning of everything. In such a
condition, a man is alienated from the life of God, and he withers and dies like a body part cut off
from the body. Such are the pagans, such are the godless, and such are those of little faith or false
Christians. But even dry wood, when it is watered with the life-creating water of Christ, comes to
life and bursts forth in greenery. Even the dried-up pagan world was raised up and brought to life by
Christ the Lord. How much more so would it be for repentant Christian sinners!
Let us look at ourselves, my brethren. Let us do so every day. Let us ask ourselves every day
whether we have become darkened and alienated from the life of God because of our vanity. Soon
there will be death, the end and judgment. The dry wood will be cast into the unquenchable fire.
O Lord Jesus, our Mind and our Life, help us to think with Thee, and to live with Thee.