August 11th (VIII - 24)
Icon of the Patriarch Niphonus
Martyr ArchDeacon Euplus (+ 304). Sainted Nyphontes, Patriarch of Constantinople (+ 1460). MonkMartyrs Feodor (Theodore) and Vasilii (Basil) of Pechersk Lavra, in Nearer Caves (+ 1098). Monk Feodor, Prince of Ostrozh, of Pechersk in Farther Caves (+ c. 1483). Martyress Susanna the Virgin and together with her Caius, Pope of Rome, Gavinius the Presbyter, Claudius, Maximus, Prepedigna, Alexander and Cythius (+ 295-296). Martyrs Neophytes, Zinon, Caius, Mark, Macarius, Gaianus, Martin; Donatus. Monk Passarion (V). Saint Mary Sugkletika (i.e. of Senate Rank) (c. 578?582).
The Martyr Archdeacon Euplus suffered in the year 304 under the emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian (284-305). He served in the Sicilian city of Catania. Always carrying the Gospel with him, Saint Euplus preached constantly to the pagans about Christ. One time, while he read and explained the Gospel to the gathered crowd, they arrested him and took him to the governor of the city, Calvisianus. Saint Euplus confessed himself a Christian and denounced the impiety of idol-worship. For this they sentenced him to torture. They threw the injured saint into prison, where he dwelt at prayer for 7 days. The Lord issued forth a spring of water into the prison to the martyr for the quenching of his thirst. Brought to trial a second time, strengthened and rejoicing, he again confessed his faith in Christ and denounced the torturer for spilling the blood of innocent Christians. The judge commanded to tear off the ears and chop off the head of the saint. When they led the saint to execution, they hung the Gospel on his neck. Having implored time for prayer, the archdeacon began again to read and explain the Gospel to the people. Many of the pagans believed in Christ. The soldiers took hold of the archdeacon and beheaded him with a sword.
The MonkMartyrs Feodor (Theodore) and Vasilii (Basil) of Pechersk pursued asceticism in the XI Century in the Nearer Caves of Kiev. Saint Feodor distributed his riches to the poor, set off to the monastery and settled into the Varangian Cave, adjoining the Caves of the Monk Feodosii (Theodosii). He dwelt here many years in strict temperance. When the enemy sowed sorrow in him about the giving away of his possessions, Saint Vasilii comforted him: "I implore thee, brother Feodor, forget not the reward; if thou wish possessions, take everything that is mine". The Monk Feodor repented himself and dearly loved as a friend the Monk Vasilii, with whom he lived in the cell. One time the Monk Vasilii during the course of three months was on a monastic errand outside the monastery. The devil, having assumed his form, appeared to the Monk Feodor and indicated that there was a treasure, hidden somewhere in the cave by robbers. The monk wanted still to leave the monastery to buy possessions to live in the world. But when the Monk Vasilii returned, the demonic illusion disappeared. From that time the Monk Feodor started to be more attentive to himself. In order not to be distracted by idle thoughts during moments of inactivity, he set up for himself a millstone and by night he ground grain. Thus by long and zealous ascetic action he freed himself from the passion of avarice.
A report reached prince Mstislav Svyatopolkovich, that the Monk Feodor had found much treasure in the cave. He summoned the monk to him and commanded him to show the spot, where the valuables were hidden. Saint Feodor answered the prince, that indeed he had seen in the cave much gold and vessels, but from temptation he together with the Monk Vasilii had buried them, and God took from him the memory, where it was hidden. Not believing the saint, the prince gave orders to torture him to death. They beat Saint Feodor so much, that his hair-shirt was wet with blood, and then they hung him head-downwards, having put beneathe him a bon-fire. In a drunken condition the prince commanded to torture also Saint Vasilii, and then to kill him with an arrow. Dying, the MonkMartyr Vasilii threw the arrow at the feet of prince Mstislav and predicted that he himself would soon be mortally wounded by it. The prophecy was fulfilled: on 15 July 1099 on the wall of the Vladimir fortress prince Mstislav during the time of an internecine war with David Igorevich was suddenly struck in the chest by an arrow through an opening in the timbers, and on the following night he died. Recognising his own arrow, the prince said: "I die because of the monkmartyrs Vasilii and Feodor".
The Monk Feodor (Theodore), Prince of Ostrozh, gained fame with the construction of churches and by his defense of Orthodoxy in Volynia against the enroachment of Papism. He was descended from the lineage of holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Vladimir (Comm. 15 July), through a great-grandson Svyatopolk-Michael, prince of Turov (1080-1093) and later GreatPrince of Kiev (+ 1113). The first time the name of the Monk-prince Feodor is mentioned is under the year 1386, when the Polish king Jagiello and the Lithuanian prince Vitovt affirmed for him hereditary possession -- of the Ostrozh district and they augmented the Zaslavsk and Koretsk surroundings. In 1410 the Monk?prince Feodor participated in the defeat of the Teutonic Knights of the Catholic Order at the Battle of Gruenwald. In 1422 the holy prince, because of sympathy to the Orthodox in Bohemia, supported the Hussites in their struggle with the German emperor Sigismund. (The holy prince introduced into Russian military arts a particular tactic -- the Hussite formation, i.e. the Taborite, adopted by the Ukrainian Cossacks). In 1432, having gained a series of victories over the Polish forces, Saint Feodor compelled prince Jagiello to protect by law the freedom of Orthodoxy in Volynia. Prince Svidrigailo, having become apprehensive of the strengthening of his ally, locked the Monk Feodor into prison, but the people loving the saint rose up in rebellion, and he was freed. The Monk Feodor was reconciled with the offender and presented himself to him for help in the struggle with the Lithuanian-Polish parties. In 1438 the holy prince participated in a battle with the Tatars. In 1440 with the entering upon the Polish throne of Cazimir, -- youngest son of prince Jagiello, Saint Feodor received the rights of administration of the city of Vladimir, Dubno, Ostrog, and became possessor of extended holdings of the best regions of Podolia and Volynia. All this together with princely power and fame the Monk Feodor left behind, having entered after 1441 the Kievo-Pechersk monastery where, -- having taken on monasticism with the name Feodosii (Theodosii), he pursued asceticism for the salvation of his soul until the time of his repose to God. The year of repose of the Monk Feodor is unknown, but it is without doubt, that he died in the second half of the XV Century. In extreme old age (S. M. Solov'ev in his "History of Russia" reckons the year of his death as 1483). The monk was buried in the Farther Caves of the Monk Feodosii (the Comm. of Sobor/Assemblage of the Monastic Fathers of the Farther Caves is 28 August). The glorification, apparently, was at the end of the XVI Century, since in the year 1638 the priestmonk Athanasii Kal'nophysky testified, that "the Monk Feodor rests in the Theodosiev Cave discovered whole in body".
The Holy Martyress Susanna the Virgin was the daughter of Presbyter Gavinius and a niece of the Holy Pope of Rome Caius (283-296). She was raised in strict Christian piety and in her youthful years dedicated herself to God. The family of the saint occupied a position of kinship with the emperor Diocletian (284-305), to whom there reached reports about her virtue and beauty. Having decided to give Saint Susanna in marriage to his co?ruling emperor Maximian Hercules (284-305), the emperor sent to presbyter Gavinius his own kinsman the dignitary Claudius, and then his own brother Maximus. Both of them together with the wife of Claudius Prepedigna and her sons Alexander and Cythius -- after conversation with the pious family accepted Baptism. Having learned of this, that the entire family of the imperial kinsfolk had been converted to Christianity, Diocletian sent them into exile. Soon they burned the martyrs at Ostia, not far from Rome, and threw the ashes into the sea. They took the holy virgin Susanna to the palace, and the empress was entrusted to persuade her to submit. But the empress, secretly a Christian, supported the martyress in her intention to preserve her virginity for the sake of the Lord. She explained to the emperor about the unwillingness of the virgin to enter into marriage with a pagan. Diocletian gave permission to his co-ruler to dishonour the holy virgin, but an Angel defended her. [here apparently is a lacuna] Macedonius began to urge the martyress to offer sacrifice to the idols. "I offer myself in sacrifice to my Lord", -- she answered. Then Macedonius cut off the head of the martyress. The empress secretly buried the body of the saint; the room, where the murder occurred, was consecrated into a church by Holy Pope Caius. Soon the father of Saint Susanna -- Presbyter Gavinius -- accepted a martyr's end, as also in the year 296 did Sainted Caius.
The Monk Passarion pursued asceticism in the first half of the V Century. He founded a monastery in Jerusalem. He was "chor-episkop" (vicar-bishop) of Palestine, and conversant with the Monk Euthymios the great (Comm. 20 January).
Saint Mary Sugkletika (i.e. of Senate Rank) was healed by the Image of the Saviour Not-Made-by-Hand, having appeared during the reign of the emperor Tiberias (578-582).
Saint Nyphontes, Patriarch of Constantinople, was a native of Greece, and accepted monasticism at Epidaurion. After the death of his elder Anthony, he set off to Athos, where he occupied himself by the copying of books. The saint was later chosen Metropolitan of Soluneia (Thessalonika), and still later occupied the Patriarchal throne in Constantinople and was primate of Valakhia. Banished under accusation, the saint set off to Athos at first to the Baptopedia monastery, and then to the monastery of Saint John the Fore-Runner (Dionyisate). He concealed his dignity and held the lowest position. By a particular revelation his dignity was revealed to the brethren of the monastery. Once, when the saint was returning from the forest, where he had gone for firewood, all the brethren went out towards him on the way and solemnly greeted him as Patriarch. But even after this the saint shared various tasks with the brethren. The monk died on 11 August 1460 at 90 years of age.
© 1997 by translator Fr. S. Janos.