Skip to Navigation

sitemaster's blog

St. Sebastiana the Martyr and Disciple of St. Paul the Apostle at Heraclea

clip_image002

Commemorated on September 16

The Holy Martyr Sebastiana was a follower of the Apostle Paul. During a persecution against Christians under the Emperor Dometian (81-96), she was placed on trial before Governor Georgios in the city of Marcianopolis.

St. Sebastiana firmly confessed her faith in Christ, and for this she was subjected to cruel tortures. At first, she was beaten, then thrown into a red-hot oven from which she emerged unharmed. She was sent to the city of Heraklea, where sentence was pronounced on her a second time.

Governor Pompian gave orders to tie the saint to a tree and lacerate her body with roof-tiles, but she remained unbroken in her faith. The governor then gave her over to be eaten by wild beasts. There too the Lord preserved the holy martyr, and the beasts refused to touch her. Finally, by order of the governor, St. Sebastiana was beheaded. Her body was thrown into the sea, but was taken by angels to the island of Rhodes (in Thrace, in the Sea of Marmara).

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)

St. Melitina of Marcianopolis

clip_image002

Commemorated on September 16

The Holy Martyr Melitina lived in the city of Marcianopolis in Thrace during the rule of Emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161). She was a fervent Christian, and the Lord blessed her with the gift of wonderworking. By the power of her prayers, she shattered the idols of Apollo and Herakles.

Her fiery preaching converted many pagans to Christ. Antiochus, the governor of Marcianopolis, ordered that she be tortured, since she could not be persuaded to deny Christ. She was handed over to the governor’s women who tried to change her by flattery and kindness. Not only was St. Melitina not deceived or softened, but she converted the governor’s women to Christianity. When the governor learned of this, he had St. Melitina brought to trial and sentenced her to be beheaded.

After her death, a Christian named Acacius reverently took the martyr’s body with the intention of burying her in Macedonia. However, during the voyage, Acacius became sick and died. The ship stopped at the island of Limnos, where the body of St. Melitina was buried. Acacius was laid to rest beside her grave.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)

St. Ludmilla, the Grandmother of St. Wenceslaus

clip_image002

Commemorated on September 16

The Holy Martyr Ludmilla was married to Czech Prince Borivoy, and both were baptized by St. Methodius, Archbishop of Moravia and Enlightener of the Slavs.

As Christians, they showed concern for the enlightening of their subjects. With the light of the true Faith, they built churches and invited priests to celebrate the divine services. Prince Borivoy died at the age of 36. As a widow, St. Ludmilla led an austere, pious life and continued to work for the Church during the reign of her son, Bratislav.

Prince Bratislav married the Princess Dragomira with whom he had a son, Vyacheslav. After the death of Prince Bratislav, eighteen-year-old Vyacheslav came to the throne. Taking advantage of the inexperience and youth of her son, Dragomira began to introduce pagan manners and customs in the country.

St. Ludmilla opposed this, and Dragomira came to hate her mother-in-law. When St. Ludmilla moved to the city of Techin, Dragomira secretly sent two boyars to murder her. While St. Ludmilla was praying, the two assassins entered the house and carried out Dragomira’s orders.

The relics of the holy Martyr Ludmilla were buried in Techin in the city wall. Numerous healings occurred at her grave. Later, Prince Vyacheslav transferred the body of St. Ludmilla to the city of Prague and placed it in the church of St. George.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)

St. Euphemia the All-Praised

clip_image002

Commemorated on September 16

The Holy Great Martyr Euphemia the All-Praised was the daughter of Senator Philophronos and Theodosia, both of whom were Christians. She suffered for Christ in 304 in the city of Chalcedon, on the banks of the Bosphorus opposite Constantinople.

Chalcedon Governor Priscus circulated an order to all the inhabitants of Chalcedon and its surroundings to appear at a pagan festival to worship and offer sacrifice to an idol of Ares, threatening grave torments for anyone who failed to appear. During this festival, forty-nine Christians hid in a house where they secretly attended services praising the One True God.

The young maiden, Euphemia, was also among those praying there. Soon the hiding place of the Christians was discovered, and they were brought before Priscus to answer for themselves. For nineteen days, the martyrs were subjected to various tortures and torments, but none of them wavered in their faith nor consented to offer sacrifice to the idol. Governor Priscus, beside himself with rage and not knowing any other way of forcing the Christians to abandon their faith, sent them for trial to the Emperor Diocletian. Priscus kept the youngest, Euphemia, hoping that she would renounce her faith if she were all alone.

St. Asklepiodote of Adrianopolis

clip_image002

Commemorated on September 15

The Holy Martyr Asklepiodote suffered with Sts. Maximus and Theodotus at the beginning of the fourth century under the Emperor Maximian Galerius (305-311). Eminent citizens of the city of Marcianopolis, Maximus and Asklepiodote led a devout Christian life. By their example, they brought many to the faith in Christ and to holy Baptism.

Tiris, the Governor of Thrace, went around the city and persecuted those believing in Christ. He summoned Maximus and Asklepiodote before him and demanded they abandon the Christian Faith. When the martyrs refused, he ordered that they be beaten. A certain pious man named Theodotus began to reproach the governor for his inhumanity and cruelty. They seized him also, and hanging him on a tree, they tortured him with iron hooks. After this, they threw the three martyrs into prison. Tiris traveled throughout the land for an additional two weeks taking the holy martyrs along with him.

In the city of Adrianopolis, Tiris put them to still greater tortures, commanding that their bodies be scorched with white-hot plates. In the midst of their suffering, they heard a Voice from Heaven encouraging them to persevere. After several days of torture, Tiris ordered that the martyrs be eaten by wild beasts in the circus, but instead the she-bear released upon Sts. Maximus and Theodotus began to cuddle up to them.

St. Rhipsime of Armenia

clip_image001

Commemorated on September 30

St. Rhipsime fled to Armenia, together with her abbess and fellow nuns, to avoid entering into marriage with Emperor Diocletian (284-305), who was charmed by her beauty. Diocletian sent a letter to the Armenian Emperor Tiridates asking that he either send Rhipsime back, or wed her himself.

The servants of the emperor found the fugitives and urged Rhipsime to submit to his will. The saint declared that she and the other nuns were betrothed to the Heavenly Bridegroom, and could marry no earthly suitor. Then a Voice was heard from the heavens saying, “Be brave and fear not, for I am with you.” Emperor Tiridates gave the maiden over to cruelest torments – they plucked out her tongue, cut open her stomach, and blinded and killed her, chopping her body into pieces.

Inspired by Rhipsime’s example to endure torments for Christ, Abbess St. Gaiana and two other nuns endured similar tortures, after which they were beheaded. The other nuns were run through with swords, and their bodies thrown to be devoured by wild beasts.

The wrath of God fell on Emperor Tiridates and the soldiers who had participated in the torture of the saints. Beset by demons, they became like wild boars, ranging through the forests, rending their clothes and gnawing at their own bodies.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)

St. Gaiana of Armenia

clip_image002

Commemorated on September 30

St. Gaiana was the abbess of a women’s monastery in Asia Minor where, a young girl, Rhipsime lived a life of prayer. When Emperor Diocletian (284-305) saw a portrait of Rhipsime, he fell in love with her and wanted to marry her. She refused, saying that she was a bride of Christ. Fearing that the emperor’s agents would seize Rhipsime, the abbess and the nuns fled to Armenia. Diocletian sent word to Tiridates of Armenia asking him to capture Rhipsime and send her to him, or to marry her himself.

Armed soldiers took Rhipsime away from her place of refuge. When nothing would induce the holy virgin to marry the king, he sent for St. Gaiana, hoping she might persuade her. The abbess, however, told her that death would be preferable to life with the emperor. After many cruel torments, St. Rhipsime surrendered her pure soul to God.

Inspired by Rhipsime’s example of enduring torments for Christ, St. Gaiana and two other nuns endured similar tortures, after which they were beheaded. They were run through with swords and their bodies thrown to be devoured by wild beasts.

The wrath of God befell Emperor Tiridates, and the soldiers who had participated in the torture of the saints. Beset by demons, they became like wild boars, ranging through the forests, rending their clothes and gnawing at their own bodies.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)

St. Juliana, Blessed Virgin Princess of Olshansk

clip_image002

Commemorated on September 29

St. Juliana lived during the early sixteenth century. Her father, Prince Yurii Dubrovitsky-Olshansky, was one of the benefactors of the Kiev Caves Lavra.

The righteous maiden died at the age of sixteen. Her body, buried at the Kiev Caves Lavra near the great church, was found incorrupt in the time of Archimandrite Elisha Pletenets (1599-1624). The holy relics were burned in a fire at the great church in the year 1718, but the relics that remained were put in a reliquary and placed in the Near Caves.

Archimandrite Peter Moghila (afterwards Metropolitan of Kiev), to whom the saint appeared in a dream, reproaching him for lack of attention to her grave, ordered a new reliquary to be made. On the reliquary was the inscription: “By the will of the Creator of heaven and earth doth dwell for all years Juliana, patroness and great intercessor to Heaven. Here are the bones ... healing against all passions ... You adorn Paradise, Juliana, like a beautiful flower ...”

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)

St. Maria, the Mother of the Venerable Sergius of Radonezh

clip_image002

Commemorated on September 28 (also on January 18 & July 6)

St. Maria and her husband, Cyril, were the parents of St. Sergius of Radonezh. They belonged to the nobility, but more importantly, they were pious and faithful Christians.

When the child in her womb cried out three times in church during Liturgy, people were astonished. Although frightened at first, Maria came to see this event as a sign from God that her child would become a chosen vessel of divine grace. She and her husband agreed that if the child was a boy, they would bring him to church and dedicate him to God. This child, the second of their three sons, was born around 1314. He was named Bartholomew at his baptism.

Because of civil unrest, the family moved from Rostov to Radonezh when Bartholomew was still a boy. Later, when their son expressed a desire to enter the monastic life, Sts. Cyril and Maria asked him to wait and take care of them until they passed away, because his brothers Stephen and Peter were both married and had their own family responsibilities. The young Bartholomew obeyed his parents, and did everything he could to please them. They later decided to retire to separate monasteries, and departed to the Lord after a few years. It is believed that Sts. Cyril and Maria both reposed in 1334.

St. Epicharis of Rome

clip_image002

Commemorated on September 27

The Holy Martyr Epicharis lived in Rome during the reign of Emperor Diocletian (284-305). For her steadfast confession of Christ as Savior, she was subjected to tortures – she was suspended and attacked with iron hooks, and was then beat with rakes.

The holy martyr prayed, and an angel of God struck down the torturers. St. Epicharis received the martyr’s crown when she was beheaded.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)

St. Aquilina

clip_image002

Commemorated on September 27

St. Aquilina, the virgin martyr of Christ, was the daughter of pious parents who lived in the village of Zagliberi, Thessalonica in the diocese of St. Ardamerios.

When St. Aquilina was still a baby, her father quarreled with a Turkish neighbor and struck the Turk, killing him. The authorities seized him and brought him to the Pasha of Thessalonica to be executed for his crime. Fearing death, the unfortunate man converted to Islam in order to save his life. His wife remained a Christian, and she encouraged her daughter, Aquilina, to adhere to the Christian Faith, and not to deny Christ.

After some time had passed, the Turks pressured Aquilina’s father to convert his daughter to Islam. He said, “Do not worry about my daughter, I'll see to her. I will force her to convert to Islam in due course.”

When St. Aquilina was eighteen, the Turks again urged her father to make his daughter convert to their faith. He said to her, “The other Turks tell me that you must become a Muslim sooner or later. Do it one day sooner so that they will stop bothering me.” Aquilina replied with great courage, “I will never deny the Lord Jesus Christ, Who died on the Cross for our sake. I am prepared to endure tortures, and even death, for love of my Christ.” Seeing that she would not change her mind, her father went to the Turks and said, “I am not able to persuade my daughter to become a Muslim, so you may do as you wish with her.”

St. Euphrosyne of Suzdal

clip_image002

Commemorated on September 25

St. Euphrosyne, Princess of Suzdal, was born in the year 1212. She was given the name Theodoulia in Holy Baptism, and was the eldest daughter of the holy Martyr Michael, Great-Prince of Chernigov. Prince Michael and his wife, Theophania, did not have children, and they often visited the Kiev Caves monastery where they prayed that the Lord grant them children. Princess Euphrosyne was their first daughter, sent from God in answer to their prayers. The Most Holy Theotokos appeared to them three times and said that their prayers had been heard and that the Lord would grant them a daughter.

Theodulia was raised in deep faith and piety. The educated noble Theodore had a large influence on her upbringing. The education and uncommon beauty of the princess attracted many.

The princess was betrothed to Prince Theodore, a brother of St. Alexander Nevsky, but he died on the very day of their wedding. The princess withdrew to the Suzdal women’s monastery named in honor of the Placing of the Robe of the Mother of God, where she was tonsured with the name Euphrosyne in honor of St. Euphrosyne of Alexandria.

While still a young woman, she fulfilled the monastic rule of life with an amazing zeal, and she remarkably surpassed the other residents of the monastery in her firmness of reason, spiritual insight and extreme abstinence. The Lord Himself visited the ascetic, commanding her to be vigilant and positive in her efforts. To the very end of her life, St. Euphrosyne kept the commandments of the Savior and overcame countless temptations.

St. Euphrosyne of Alexandria

clip_image002[5]

Commemorated on September 25

St. Euphrosyne of Alexandria was born at the beginning of the fifth century in the city of Alexandria. She was the only child in her family of illustrious and rich parents. Since her mother died early, she was raised by her father, Paphnutius, a deeply believing and pious Christian. He frequented a monastery, the leader of which was his spiritual guide.

When Euphrosyne turned eighteen, her father wanted her to marry. He went to the monastery to his spiritual guide to receive his blessing for the planned wedding of his daughter. The monk spoke with Euphrosyne and gave her his blessing, but she yearned for the monastic life.

She secretly accepted tonsure from a wandering monk, left her father’s house and decided to enter a monastery in order to lead her life in solitude and prayer. However, she feared that her father would find her in a women’s monastery. Calling herself Smaragdos, she went to the very same men’s monastery which she had visited with her father since childhood.

The monks did not recognize Euphrosyne dressed in men’s garb, and so they accepted her into the monastery. In a solitary cell, St. Euphrosyne spent 38 years in works, fasting and prayer, and attained a high level of spiritual accomplishment.

AEOM Celebrates 20 Years

The Antiochian Evangelical Orthodox Mission celebrated their 20th anniversary at St. Michael Church Van Nuys on October 21. The parish had a Coffee Hour in honor of the anniversary and to raise money for the Mission Endowment Fund.

Holy Cross School of Theology holds mission week

From November 8th to November 15th, 2007, the Holy Cross School of Theology will be having its Mission Week. Special guest speakers will be conducting lectures on the history and application of missions every day during this special event. Speakers include Fr. Chris Makiej, Fr. Luke Veronis, Fr. Martin Ritsi, Nathan Hoppe, Fr. Alexander Veronis, and Fr. David Rucker. Download the schedule here.

We invite all who are able to attend this important forum that covers topics so critical to our lives in faith. Please continue to pray for missions, missionaries and all who are pursuing a deeper understanding of their faith at theological schools like Holy Cross.

For more information, visit www.hchc.edu or www.ocmc.org.

The Trail of the Tithe

By Fr. Thomas Zell

 

One of my earliest childhood memories is of piling into the back of our family car on Sunday morning and heading off to our little Baptist church in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Along with ensuring that my brother and I were properly cleaned and dressed for the occasion, my father would always drop several coins into our hands, so that we in turn could drop them into the offering plate at church. Tithing was something Dad faithfully practiced all his life, and he wanted to make sure his sons followed suit. Having lived with this tradition for so long, and loving it so much, it is hard for me now to stop and look at it objectively. But since the concept has become somewhat an object of debate today, I would like to examine both the myth and the realities behind this practice, and to follow the trail of the tithe.

Tithing in the Old Testament

In English, Greek, and Hebrew, the word “tithe” comes from a derivative of the number “ten,” and means the setting aside of a tenth of one’s income for a specific, often religious purpose. Tithing is an ancient practice—very ancient.

Metropolitan Philip's 2007 Address at St. Tikhon's Seminary Commencement

 

imageYour Beatitude Metropolitan Herman, Your Grace Bishop Tikhon, Very Reverend Father Michael Dahulich, Dean of St. Tikhon’s Seminary, Members of the Faculty and Beloved Seminarians, I am honored indeed to be standing on the same ground which was hallowed by the presence of one of the great Orthodox confessors of the twentieth century, St. Tikhon, later Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia. It is very interesting to note that St. Tikhon was a contemporary of St. Raphael of Brooklyn, who was canonized a few years ago by the Church at this very same Monastery. Throughout the years, St. Tikhon’s Monastery has played a tremendous role in Orthodox theological education in North America, which culminated in the establishment of St. Tikhon’s Pastoral School in South Canaan in 1938. We are indebted to you for the education of our Antiochian seminarians and all seminarians, especially with emphasis on pastoral theology.

I was humbled to be asked to deliver the commencement address today. The commencement day usually belongs to graduates. My remarks today, however, are directed to all seminarians. Commencement day is an occasion of great joy and great expectation. Joy, because after years of theological study and spiritual preparation, you have realized your academic goal. And expectation, because sooner or later, you will be ordained to shepherd the flock of Jesus Christ in our broken world. In his first letter, St. Peter said: “Attend the flock of God, that is your charge, not by constraint, but willingly, not for shameful gain, but eagerly, not as domineering of those in your charge, but being an example to the flock” (I Peter 5:2-3).

The Cross in Our Life

By His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph

clip_image002Many heretics of our time don’t believe in the cross, even if they may call themselves Christians. Some pop stars and actors wear the cross, but by the witness of their lives we can assume that they don’t put much value in the cross except as an empty symbol. There is nothing new under the sun and there have always been accusation against our Church. In the second century, Christians were accused of practicing incest, of being cannibals, of being ignorant and of being bad citizens. The most dangerous accusation was that the Christian teaching was unreasonable. This idea purported that the incarnation was nonsense; God would not lower Himself to become a tiny baby or to be crucified as a common thief.

At the peak of these accusations was that Christians worshipped a crucified animal. In the excavation of the old city of Rome, a stone was discovered which pictured a crucified person, who had the head of a donkey. This picture was drawn to ridicule the Christians who worshipped someone who had been crucified.

In response to all these accusations, Christians pointed to the injustices. There were no secrets among Christians. Christians were good citizens and Christianity was a reasonable belief. The death of Christ was the supreme sacrifice! The cross is not just a symbol or piece of material in our life. “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18).

Icon of the Mother of God of Lesna

clip_image002

Commemorated on September 14

The Lesna Icon of the Mother of God was discovered on the branches of a pear tree during the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross of the Lord in 1683. It was taken to a nearby Orthodox church in the village of Bukovich, not far from the town of Lesna.

When news of the miraculously appearing icon circulated throughout the surrounding area, the Catholic priests decided to use the icon for spreading Catholicism. In 1686, they took the icon away by force from the inhabitants of Bukovich and put it in the Roman Catholic church at Lesna.

In the early 1800s, Catholic monks founded a large church and monastery at Lesna where they placed the wonderworking icon. In 1863, the monks took part in the Polish revolt, and, by decree of the Russian government, the monastery was closed and converted into an Orthodox women’s monastery. Many miracles were worked by the icon.

The celebration of the Lesna Icon of the Mother of God is also commemorated on September 8 and on the Day of the Holy Trinity.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)

Nativity of Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary

clip_image002Commemorated on September 8

The Nativity of Our Most Holy Virgin Mary is celebrated by the Church as a day of universal joy. Within the context of the Old and the New Testaments, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary was born on this radiant day, having been chosen before the ages by Divine Providence to bring about the Mystery of the Incarnation of the Word of God. She is revealed as the Mother of the Savior of the World, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

She was born in the city of Galilee, Nazareth. Her parents were Joachim of the tribe of the Prophet-King David, and Anna from the tribe of the First Priest Aaron. The couple was without child, since Anna was barren. Having reached old age, Joachim and Anna had strong faith that everything was possible with God. Joachim and Anna vowed to dedicate the child which the Lord might give them to the service of God in the Temple. Childlessness was considered as a Divine punishment for sin, and Joachim and Anna had to endure abuse from their own countrymen. On one of the feast days at the Temple, the elderly Joachim brought his sacrifice to offer to God, but the High Priest would not accept it, considering him to be unworthy since he was childless.

St. Ketevan, Queen of Kakheti

clip_image002

Commemorated on September 13

The holy Queen Ketevan was the daughter of Ashotan Mukhran-Batoni, a prominent ruler from the Bagrationi royal family. The pious Ketevan was married to Prince David, heir to the throne of Kakheti. David’s father, King Alexander II (1574–1605), had two other sons, George and Constantine, but according to the law, the throne belonged to David. Constantine converted to Islam and was raised in the court of Persian Shah Abbas I.

Several years after David and Ketevan were married, King Alexander stepped down from the throne and was tonsured a monk at Alaverdi. However, after four months, the young King David suddenly died. He was survived by his wife, Ketevan, and two children – a son, Teimuraz, and a daughter, Elene – and his father ascended the throne once more.

Upon hearing of David’s death and Alexander’s return to the royal throne, Shah Abbas commanded Alexander’s youngest son, Constantine, to travel to Kakheti, murder his father and his other brother, George, and seize the throne. As instructed, Constantine beheaded his father and brother, then sent their heads to Shah Abbas. The widowed Queen Ketevan was left to bury her father-in-law and brother-in-law, but Constantine was still unsatisfied, and he proposed to take Queen Ketevan as his wife.

St. Euanthia with Her Husband and Son, at Skepsis

Commemorated on September 11

The Holy Martyr Euanthea was the wife of St. Demetrius and the mother of St. Demetrian.

St. Demetrius was a prince and prefect of the city of Skepsis in the Hellespont. When St. Cornelius the Centurion came to Skepsis to preach the Gospel, St. Demetrius and his entire family were converted by him and baptized. The pagans threw them into prison where they were starved to death.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)

Icon of Sophia, the Wisdom of God

clip_image002

Commemorated on September 8

The Icon of Sophia, the Wisdom of God, occupies an unique place in the Russian Orthodox Church. On the icon is depicted the Theotokos, and the Hypostatic Wisdom, the Son of God incarnate of Her.

Sophia ponders the Son of God, about Whom in the Proverbs of Solomon it says: “Wisdom has built a house for herself, and has set up seven pillars” (9:1). These words refer to Christ, the Son of God, Who in the Epistles of St Paul is called “Wisdom of God” (1 Cor.1:30), and the word “house” refers to the Most Holy Virgin Mary, of Whom the Son of God is incarnate.

The arrangement of the icon bears witness to the fulfillment of this prophecy. On the Kiev icon of Sophia is a church, with the Theotokos in a robe with a veil on her head, under an archway of seven pillars. The palms of Her hands are outstretched, and her feet are set upon a crescent moon. She holds the Pre-eternal Christ Child, blessing with Her right hand, and holding the Infant with Her left.

On the cornice of the entrance are inscribed the words from the Book of Proverbs: “Wisdom has built a house for herself, and has set up seven pillars.” Over the entrance are depicted God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. From the mouth of God the Father issues the words: “I am the affirmation of Her footsteps.”

St. Anna, Holy Righteous Ancestor of God

clip_image002

Commemorated on September 9

St. Anna was the daughter of Matthan the priest, who was of the tribe of Levi, whose family came from Bethlehem. St. Anna lived with her husband, Joachim, at Nazareth in Galilee. They were childless into their old age and grieved over this. They had to endure derision and scorn, since at that time childlessness was considered a disgrace. They never complained, but fervently prayed to God, humbly trusting in Him.

During a great feast, the gifts that Joachim took to the Temple as an offering to God were not accepted by the priest, who considered that a childless man was not worthy to offer sacrifice to God. This pained Joachim, and he decided to settle in solitude in a desolate place. When St. Anna learned what humiliation her husband had endured, she sorrowfully entreated God with prayer and fasting to grant her a child. In his solitude, the righteous Joachim also asked God for a child.

The prayer of the saintly couple was heard. An angel told them that a daughter would be born to them, Who would be blessed above all other women. The angel also told them that She would remain a virgin, would be dedicated to the Lord and live in the Temple, and would give birth to the Savior. Obeying the instructions of the heavenly messenger, Ss. Joachim and Anna met at the Golden Gate in Jerusalem. Then, as God promised, a daughter was born to them, and they named her Mary.

St. Menodora, St. Nymphodora, and St. Metrodora

clip_image002

Commemorated on September 10

The Holy Virgins Menodora, Nymphodora, and Metrodora (305-311) were sisters from Bithynia (Asia Minor). Distinguished for their piety, they wished to preserve their virginity and avoid worldly associations. They chose a solitary place for themselves in the wilderness and spent their lives in fasting and prayer.

Reports of the holy life of the virgins soon spread, since healings of the sick began to occur through their prayers. The Bithynia region was governed at that time by a man named Frontonus, who ordered that the sisters be arrested and brought before him. At first Frontonus tried to persuade them to renounce Christ, promising great honors and rewards. The holy sisters steadfastly confessed their faith before him, rejecting all his suggestions. They told him that they did not value the temporal things of this world, and that they were prepared to die for their Heavenly Bridegroom, for death would be their gateway to eternal life.

Flying into a rage, Frontonus took out his wrath on Menodora, the eldest sister. She was stripped of her clothes and beaten by four men, while a guard urged her to offer sacrifice to the gods. She bravely endured the torments and cried out, “Sacrifice? Can't you see that I am offering myself as a sacrifice to my God?” They renewed their torments with even greater severity, with the martyr crying out, “ Lord Jesus Christ, joy of my heart, my hope, receive my soul in peace.” With these words she gave up her soul to God, and went to her Heavenly Bridegroom.

Syndicate content