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April 21st (V - 4)

Icon of the saint of the day.

Icon of St. Ianouarios; St. Alexandra and St. Anastasios of Mt. Sinai

PriestMartyr Jannuarius the Bishop and with him the Martyrs Deacons Proculus, Sossius and Faustus, Desiderius the Reader, Eutychius and Acution (+ c. 305). Martyrs Theodore at Pergamum, his mother Philippia, Dioskoros, Sokrates and Dionysios (+ c. 138-161); Isaac, Apollos and Kodratos (+ 303). Sainted Maximilian, Patriarch of Constantinople (+ 434). Monks Alexander of Sinai; Jakov (James) of Stromynsk (+ XIV). Mozdok Icon of the Mother of God (XIII).

The PriestMartyr Jannuarius the Bishop, and with him the Holy Martyrs -- Deacons Proculus, Sossius and Faustus, Desiderius the Reader, Eutychius and Acution accepted a martyr's death for Christ about the year 305 during the time of the persecution by the emperor Diocletian (284-305).

They arrested Saint Jannuarius and led him to trial to Timothy, the governor of Campagna (central Italy). For his firm confession of Christian faith, they threw the saint into a red-hot furnace. But like the Babylonian youths, he came out from there unharmed. Then by order of Timothy they stretched him out on a bench and beat at him with iron rods so much, that they lay bare the bone.

Among the gathered crowd were the holy deacon Faustus and the reader Desiderius, who wept at the sight of the suffering of their bishop. The pagans surmised that they were Christians, and threw them together into prison with the Priestmartyr Jannuarius, in the city of Puteolum. At this prison were situated two deacons locked up earlier for confessing Christ -- Saints Sossius and Proculus, and two laymen -- Saints Eutychius and Acution.

On the following morning they led out all the martyrs into the circus to be torn to pieces by wild beasts, but the beasts would not touch them. Timothy declared, that all the miracle occurred from sorcery by the Christians, but with this however he became blinded and cried out for help. The gentle Priestmartyr Jannuarius made prayer for his healing, and Timothy recovered his sight. The blindness of soul however did not depart the torturer and he, with a still greater rage accusing the Christians of sorcery, gave orders to cut off the heads of the martyrs at the walls of the city (+ 305).

Christians from surrounding cities took up the bodies of the holy martyrs for burial, and those of each city took along one, so as to have an intercessor before God. The inhabitants of Neopolis (Naples) took for themselves the body of the Priestmartyr Jannuarius. Together with the body they gathered up from the earth his dried blood. When they set the vessel with this blood upon the relics of the holy martyr, having been put on the church of the city of Neopolis, the blood liquified and became warm, as though only just shed. Many miracles proceeded from the relics of the Priestmartyr Jannuarius. During the time of the eruption of Vesuvius, when the inhabitants of the city prayed to the Priestmartyr Jannuarius, the lava stopped, not reaching the city. A pious woman placed an icon with the image of the priestmartyr to her dead son, and he arose.

The Holy Martyrs Theodore, his mother Philippia, Dioskoros, Sokrates and Dionysios suffered during the reign of the emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161) in Pamphylian Pergium. When they were conscripting for military service robust and healthy young men, then together with the others they led the youth Theodore to the military commander Theodotos.

The military commander obliged the youth to offer sacrifice to idols. The martyr submitted neither to persuasion nor threats, and the military commander commanded to place him on a red-hot plate and to pour out liquid tar. Immediately there occurred a miracle: an earth-trembling began, and from a fissure in the ground gushed forth a torrent of water and extinguished the fire.

Having remained unharmed, the martyr Theodore gave praise to God and suggested to the military commander to try with the help of the idols to repeat such a miracle.

The military commander suggested to the pagan priest Dioskoros to lay upon the red-hot plate, calling on the help of Zeus. But Saint Dioskoros answered, that he believed in Christ and was prepared to throw the idol of Zeus into the fire. Then the military commander commanded him to get on the frying-pan. The martyr Dioskoros fell at the knees of Saint Theodore and pleaded that he pray for him. Then he got onto the frying-pan, loudly crying out to the Lord: "I give Thee thanks, Lord Jesus Christ, that Thou hast included me in the number of Thine servants. Accept Thou my soul with peace", -- and he died, having been delivered from terrible torment.

They continued to torture Saint Theodore. They tied him to wild horses, which began to run. But at the city walls the horses fell down and collapsed, and the martyr Theodore remained unharmed. Two soldiers, Sokrates and Dionysios, saw how there came down from the heavens a fiery chariot to Saint Theodore, on which was carried the dragged martyr. The soldiers with astonishment shouted out: "Great God of the Christians!" For this they seized hold of them and on the next day threw them together with the martyr Theodore into a red-hot furnace. But an Heavenly dew cooled the furnace, and the saints remained alive. In the morning the military commander commanded soldiers to go march to look upon the burnt bodies of the martyrs. The soldiers returned and with wonder reported that the three youths were unharmed, and to the martyr Theodore was come his mother, Philippia, who now encouraged the martyrs in their act.

The military commander suggested to Saint Philippia to save her son, urging her to offer sacrifice to the idols. But Saint Philippia answered, that yet while at the time of the birth of her son it was revealed to her, that her son would be crucified for Christ. Hearing this, the military commander commanded to crucify Saint Theodore on a cross, and to cut off the heads of the remaining martyrs. During the course of 3 days the martyr Theodore hung on the cross, offering up prayer to God until he expired.

The Holy Martyrs Isaac, Apollos and Kodratos were pagans and they served at the court of the emperor Diocletian (284-305). During the time of the suffering of the holy Greatmartyr George (Comm. 23 April), they were among the number of spectators. His faith, valour and miracles awakened in them the faith in Christ. The saints openly before everyone declared themselves Christians and began to reproach the emperor for his impiety and cruelty. They sentenced them to death. The martyr Kodratos was beheaded with a sword, and the martyrs Apollos and Isaac perished by starvation (+ 303).

Saint Maximian, Patriarch of Constantinople, was born in Rome from wealthy and pious parents. Upon coming into the means he arranged for tombs for burial of the dead, glorified by sanctity of life.

Saint Maximian was a plain man and he loved to live removed from worldly vanity. For his pure and virtuous life, at Constantinople Patriarch Sisinios (426-427) ordained him presbyter. Upon the deposing from the Constantinople throne of the heretic Nestorius (428-431), the monk-presbyter was elevated onto the patriarchal throne on 25 October 431, during the rule of the holy emperor Theodosius the Younger (408-450).

The holy Patriarch Maximian died peacefully on 12 April 434, on Great Thursday.

The Monk Jakov (James) of Stromynsk was a disciple of the Monk Sergei of Radonezh (Comm. 25 September). He was hegumen of the Stromynsk monastery in the Name of the Life-originating Trinity. The Monk Sergei himself founded this monastery in 1380 at the request of GreatPrince Dimitrii Donskoi (1363-1389) in memory the victory of Kulikovo Pole (Field). At this monastery there was as hegumen also the Monk Savva of Svenigorod (1381-1392, Comm. 3 December). The Monk Jakov was buried in the monastery church.

The Mozdok Icon of the Mother of God, a copy of the Iversk icon, was sent in the XIII Century by the holy empress Tamara as a gift to the newly-enlightened Christians of the Ossetian aul (village) of Mar'yam-Kadu. In 1768 this icon appeared remarkably on the banks of the Terek, not far from Mozdok. Bishop Gaii built a chapel for the icon. In 1796-1797 there was built at the place of the chapel a church in honour of the Uspenie (Dormition or Repose) of the MostHoly Mother of God, along which was soon founded a women's monastery (abolished together with the Mozdok diocese in 1799). At the end of the XIX Century the inhabitants of Mozdok built a splendid church in honour of the Mozdok-Iversk icon of the Mother of God. The Mother of God has repeatedly rendered speedy aid to the believing through Her holy icon.

© 1997 by translator Fr. S. Janos.



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