Thursday, July 31, 2014

"Main Posts" after Saint or Feast of the Day

Please be sure to scroll down past the Saint or Feast of the day.

After the Saint or Feast of the day I post my "Main Posts". These may be anything including original articles, book reviews, adding new blogs to my web page and just about anything new I may wish the reader to read.

Please note I do not always have "Main Posts" posted.

I tend to leave "Main Posts" up for several days.

Sophocles

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Uncovering of the relics of the Venerable Herman of Solovki



The Uncovering of the Relics of Saint Herman of Solovki took place in the year 1484. St Herman lived as a hermit at the River Vyg, by a chapel. It was here in the year 1429 that St Sabbatius of Valaam monastery came upon him while seeking a solitary place for his ascetic deeds. Herman told Sabbatius about Solovki Island, and both monks, crossed the sea and settled on Solovki. They built themselves a cell beneath the Sekir Heights, where they lived for six years. Upon the repose of Sabbatius (September 27, 1435), St Herman continued his ascetic efforts on the island together with another wilderness-dweller, St Zosimus (April 17). Herman lived on the island for more than 50 years.

Being unlettered, but made wise by Divine Providence and wanting to preserve the memory of St Sabbatius to edify many others, he summoned clergy to write down his memories of Sts Sabbatius and Zosimus, and about the events which occurred during their lifetime. St Herman loved to listen to edifying readings, and in his final instruction to his disciples he bid them gather books at the monastery. For the domestic and other needs of the monastery the monk made dangerous sailings and prolonged journeys to the mainland into his old age. On one of these excursions to Novgorod in 1479 he died at the Antoniev monastery. They brought his body to the Solovki monastery, but because of some ruffians they had to bury him at a chapel in the village of Khavronin on the River Svira. In 1484, when it was decided to move the grave to the place where he had labored, his relics were found incorrupt.

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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Venerable Constantine and Cosmas the Abbots of Kosinsk, Pskov



Sts Constantine and Cosmas were monastic followers of St Barlaam of Khutyn (November 6) and his successor, St Anthony of Dymsk (January 17). About the year 1220, they left the Khutyn monastery and settled upon a wilderness peninsula, situated 3 versts from the city of Staraya Rus, between the Rivers Polista and Smezhnya. In time they founded a monastery there in the name of St Nicholas, headed by St Constantine until his death (ca. 1240).

St Cosmas continued with the exploits of his mentor. He was buried in the same grave with St Constantine. Their bodies rest beneath the vestibule of the Nikolaev church, built in 1820 over the tomb of the saints.

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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Appearance of the Smolensk “Directress” Icon of the Mother of God brought from Constantinople

Commemorated on July 28

The Smolensk “Hodigitria” Icon of the Theotokos, or “She who leads the way,” was, according to Church Tradition, painted by the holy Evangelist Luke during the earthly life of the Most Holy Theotokos. The holy hierarch Demetrius of Rostov suggests that this icon was painted at the request of Theophilus, the prefect of Antioch. From Antioch the holy image was transferred to Jerusalem. From there the empress Eudokia, the spouse of Arcadius, gave it at Constantinople to Pulcheria, the sister of the emperor, who put the holy icon in the Blachernae church.

In 1046, the Byzantine emperor Constantine IX Monomachos (1042-1054), gave his daughter Anna in marriage to Prince Vsevolod Yaroslavich, the son of Yaroslav the Wise. He blessed her on her way with this icon. After the death of Prince Vsevolod the icon went to his son Vladimir Monomachos, who transferred it at the beginning of the twelfth century into the Smolensk cathedral church in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos. From that time, the icon was known as the Smolensk Hodigitria.

In the year 1238, at the bespeaking of the icon, the self-sacrificing Orthodox warrior Mercurius went by night into the camp of Batu and killed many of the enemy, in whose number was their most powerful warrior. Having accepted a martyr’s death in battle, he was included by the Church in the ranks of the Saints (November 24).

In the fourteenth century, Smolensk came into the possession of the Lithuanian princes. The daughter of prince Vitovt, Sophia, was given in marriage to the Moscow Great Prince Basil Dimitrievich (1398-1425). In 1398, she brought the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God with her to Moscow. They set the holy image in the Annunciation cathedral of the Kremlin, on the right side of the Royal Doors.

In 1456, at the request of the inhabitants of Smolensk with Bishop Misael at the head, the icon was solemnly returned to Smolensk in a church procession, and at Moscow there remained two copies. One was put in the Annunciation cathedral, and the other, “a measure for measure,” was put in the Novodevichi monastery, founded in memory of the return of Smolensk to Russia. The monastery was built on Devichi Pole (Virgin’s Field), where “with many tears” the Muscovites handed over the holy icon to Smolensk. In 1602 an exact copy was painted from the wonderworking icon (in 1666 together with the ancient icon they brought a new copy to Moscow for restoration), which they placed in the tower of the Smolensk fortress wall over the Dneprovsk Gates, under a specially constructed cover. Afterwards, in 1727, a wooden church was built there, and in 1802, a stone church.

The new copy took on the power of the old image, and when the Russian armies left Smolensk on August 5, 1812, they took the icon with them for defense from the enemy forces. On the eve of the Battle of Borodino they carried this icon through the camp, to encourage and inspire the soldiers to great deeds. The ancient image of the Smolensk Hodigitria, taken to the Dormition cathedral on the day of the Battle of Borodino went in procession with the Iveron and Vladimir Icons of the Mother of God through the Belo and Kitai quarters and the Kremlin walls, and then they sent it to the sick and wounded at the Lefortovo palace. After leaving Moscow, the icon was taken to Yaroslavl.

Thus were these sister-icons preserved, and the Mother of God defended Russia through Her icons. After the victory over the enemy forces the Hodigitria Icon was returned to Smolensk together with its glorified copy.

The celebration in honor of this wonderworking icon on July 28 was established in the year 1525 in memory of the return of Smolensk to Russia.

There exist many venerated copies of the Smolensk Hodigitria, for which the celebration is set on this day. There is also a day of celebration for the Smolensk Icon (November 5), glorified in the nineteenth century when this image was returned to Smolensk on the orders of the commander-in-chief of the Russian army M. I. Kutuzov. In memory of the expulsion of the enemy from Russia, it was decided to celebrate this day annually at Smolensk.

The holy icon of the Hodigitria Mother of God is one of the chief holy objects of the Russian Church. Believers have received and do receive from it an abundant help of grace. The Mother of God through Her holy icon intercedes for and strengthens us, guiding us on the way to salvation, and we call out to Her, “Thou art the All-Blessed Hodigitria for faithful peoples, Thou art the affirmation, the Praiseworthy of Smolensk and all the Russian land. Rejoice, Hodigitria, salvation of Christians!”

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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

90 Venerable Sisters of Mantinea in Asia Minor



When St Anthusa built a women’s monastery and a church dedicated to St Anna (July 25), ninety nuns gathered around her. The nuns were known for their obedience to their abbess and for their spiritual discipline.

During the iconoclastic controversy, Emperor Constantine Copronymus persecuted monks and nuns, who defended the veneration of icons. He sent soldiers to the monasteries in order to persuade monastics to agree with his heretical views, and to punish those who would not submit to his authority. St Anthusa and her nuns were among those who were interrogated and tortured.

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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Venerable Macarius the Abbot of Zheltovod and Unzha

Commemorated on July 25

Saint Macarius of Zheltovod and Unzha was born in the year 1349 at Nizhni-Novgorod into a pious family. At twelve years of age he secretly left his parents and accepted monastic tonsure at the Nizhni-Novgorod Caves monastery under St Dionysius (June 26). With all the intensity of his youthful soul he gave himself over to the work of salvation. He stood out among the brethren for his extremely strict fasting and precise fulfillment of the monastic rule.

The parents of St Macarius only learned three years later where he had gone. His father went to him and tearfully besought his son merely that he would come forth and show himself. St Macarius spoke with his father through a wall, saying that he would see him in the future life. “Extend your hand, at least,” implored the father. The son fulfilled this small request and the father, having kissed his son’s hand, returned home.

Burdened by fame, the humble Macarius set off for the shores of the River Volga, and here he pursued asceticism near the waters of Yellow Lake. Here by firm determination and patience he overcame the abuse of the Enemy of salvation. Lovers of solitude gathered to St Macarius, and in 1435 he organized a monastery for them in the Name of the Most Holy Trinity.

Here also he began to preach Christianity to the surrounding Cheremis and Chuvash peoples, and he baptized both Mohammedans and pagans in the lake, which received its name from the saint. When the Kazan Tatars destroyed the monastery in 1439, they took St Macarius captive. Out of respect for his piety and charitable love, the Khan released the saint from captivity and freed nearly 400 Christians with him. But in return, St Macarius promised not to settle by Yellow Lake.

St Macarius reverently buried those killed at his monastery, and he went 200 versts to the Galich border. During the time of this resettlement all those on the way were fed in miraculous manner through the prayers of the saint. Having arrived at the city of Unzha, St Macarius set up a cross 15 versts from the city, and built a cell on the shores of Lake Unzha. Here he founded a new monastery. During the fifth year of his life at Lake Unzha, St Macarius took sick and reposed at age 95.

While yet alive, St Macarius was granted a gift: he healed a blind and demon-afflicted girl. After the death of the monk, many received healing from his relics. The monks built a temple over his grave, and established a cenobitic rule at the monastery.

In 1522, Tatars fell upon Unzha and wanted to destroy the silver reliquary in the Makariev monastery, but they fell blind. In a panic, they took to flight. Many of them drowned in the Unzha. In 1532, through the prayers of St Macarius, the city of Soligalich was saved from the Tatars. In gratitude, the inhabitants built a chapel in the cathedral church in honor of the saint. More than 50 people received healing from grievous infirmities through the prayers of St Macarius. This was certified by a commission sent by Patriarch Philaret in 1619.

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SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2013(with 2012's link here also and further, 2011, 2010, 2009 and even 2008!)