August 23rd (IX - 5)
Icon of the Martyr Lupus, the Martyr Kallinikou, and Irenaeus of Lyons
Leavetaking of Feast of Dormition (Uspenie) of the MostHoly Mother of God. Martyr Luppos (+ c. 306). PriestMartyr Ireneius (Ireneios), Bishop of Lyons (+ 202). Monks Eutychius (+ c. 540) and Florentius (+ 547). Sainted Kallinikos, Patriarch of Constantinople (+ 705). Saint Elizabeth.
The Martyr Luppos lived at the end of the III Century - beginning II Century, and was a faithful servant of the holy GreatMartyr Demetrios of Soluneia (Thessalonika, Comm. 26 October). Being present at the death of his master, he soaked his own clothing with his blood and took a ring from his hand. With this clothing, and likewise with the ring and the name of the GreatMartyr Demetrios, Saint Luppos worked at Soluneia many miracles. He destroyed pagan idols, for which he was subjected to persecution by the pagans, but by the power of God he was preserved unharmed. Saint Luppos voluntarily delivered himself over into the hands of the torturers and by order of the emperor Maximian Galerius he was beheaded by the sword (+ post 306).
The PriestMartyr Ireneius (Ireneios), Bishop of Lyons, was born in the year 130 in the city of Smyrna (Asia Minor). He received there the finest of educations, studying poetics, philosophy, rhetoric, and all the rest of the classical sciences, considered necessary for a young man of the world. His guide in the truths of the Christian faith was a disciple of the Apostle John the Theologian -- Sainted Polycarp of Smyrna (Comm. 23 February). Saint Polycarp baptised the youth, and afterwards ordained him presbyter and sent him off to a city in Gaul then named Lugdunum (the presentday city of Lyons in France) to the dying bishop Pothinus. A commission was soon entrusted Saint Ireneius: to deliver a letter of Christ-confessors to the holy Pope of Rome Eleutherius (177-190). During the time of his absence all the known Christians were thrown into prison. After the martyr's death of Bishop Pothinus, Saint Ireneius was chosen a year later in 178 as bishop of the city of Lugdunum. "During which time, -- Sainted Gregory of Tyre writes concerning him, -- by his preaching he transformed all Lugdunum into a Christian city!" When the persecution against Christians quieted down, the saint expounded upon the Orthodox teachings of faith in one of his fundamental works under the title: "Detection and Refutation of Pretensively Called Gnosis-Knowledge", or in short form "Five Books against Heresy" ("Adversus Haereses"). During these times there had appeared a series of religious-philosophical Gnostic teachings. The Gnostics (from the Greek word "gnosis" meaning "knowledge") taught, that God is not able to be incarnated [i.e. born in human flesh], since matter is imperfect and manifests itself as the bearer of evil. They taught also that the Son of God -- is only an outflowing ("emanation") of Divinity. Together with Him from the Divinity issues forth an hierarchical series of powers ("aeons"), the unity of which comprise the "Pleroma", i.e. "Fullness". The world is not made by God Himself, but by the aeons or the "Demiourgos" ("Demiurge"), which is beneathe the "Pleroma". [trans. note: this Gnostic terminology reflects various attempts at a synthesis of the Neo-Platonic thought of the time with Christianity. But lest the reader be confused and consider all "gnosis" to be heretically Gnostic, there is indeed an Orthodox "Gnosis" theologically deriving from Christ as the "Logos" or "Word" -- "through Whom all things were made" (Jn. 1: 3) underlying the Creation, without which all theology itself would be impossible. Also, our account neglects to point out that the "Adversus Haeresus" was a compendium of the teachings of all the known heresies of the time, publishing "for free" the esoteric salvation "secret teachings" of the Gnostics, who made a business charging money to be "initiated" into the upper level of "knowers" ("illuminati" or "electi"); in doing so he helped put them out of business].
In the refutation of the heresy of Valentinus, Saint Ireneius presents the Orthodox teaching about salvation. "The Word of God, Jesus Christ, through His inexplicable blessedness caused it to be, that we also, should be made that which He is..., -- taught Saint Ireneius, -- Jesus Christ the Son of God through exceedingly great love for His creation condescended to be born of a Virgin, through His own Self having united mankind with God". Through the Incarnation of God creation becomes co-imaged and co-bodied to the Son of God. Salvation consists in the "Filiation" ("Sonship") and "Theosis" ("Divinisation") of mankind.
In the refutation of another heretic, Marcian, who denied the Divine-origin of the Old Testament [trans. note: based on the problem of suffering and evil, i.e. Theodicy, with Marcian giving insufficient consideration to the issue of freedom], the saint presents the teaching about the Same Origin of the Old and the New Testaments: "It is one and the same the Spirit of God, Which through the prophets proclaimed, in what manner precisely would be the coming of the Lord, -- wrote the saint, -- He through the apostles preached, that the fullness of time of the filiation had arrived, and that the Kingdom of Heaven was come nigh".
The truthful veracity of Church teachings was grounded by Sainted Ireneius in the succession of the episcopacy, since the Church is more anciently primary than all the later heretics. "Anyone, that desireth to know the truth, ought to turn to the Church, since through Her alone did the apostles propound the Divine Truth. She is the door to life".
Saint Ireneius exerted also a beneficial influence in a dispute about the celebration of Pascha. In the Church of Asia Minor was preserved an old tradition to celebrate Holy Pascha on the 14th day of the month of Nisan, irregardless of what day of the week this occurred. Holy Pope Victor (190-202) forcefully demanded uniformity, and his harsh demands fomented a schism. In the name of the Christians of Gaul, Saint Ireneius wrote to the Pope, that while it be impossible to allow a schism on account of traditions, yet foremost of all it is necessary to esteem churchly peace.
During the reign of the emperor Severus (193-211), Sainted Ireneius was beheaded by the sword for his confession of faith, in the year 202.
The Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, Sainted Polycarp of Smyrna, and Sainted Ireneius of Lyons -- here are three links in an unbroken chain of the grace of succession, which connects back to the Original Pastor, our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. In extreme old age, Saint Ireneius wrote to his old friend Florinus: "I was a lad when I saw thee (Florinus) with Polycarp. I remember what then happened better than what now happens. And I can now describe for thee the place, where blessed Polycarp usually sat and conversed. I can describe his mannerisms of life, the appearance of his body and his instructions which he spoke to people. The intimate conversations which, as he said, he had with John and others who had seen the Lord, and everything that he remembered from their words, that he heard from them about the Lord... I heard this then, by the mercy of God, with fervour and did write it down, not upon paper, but upon the heart".
The Monks Eutychius and Florentius were monks pursuing asceticism in the region of Nursa in Italy during the VI Century. Saint Eutychius by his teaching converted many to God. When the hegumen of a nearby monastery died, they appealed to him to become its head. He consented, but continued to be concerned with the former place of his ascetic activity, where his companion Florentius remained. The Monk Florentius worked many miracles during his lifetime. For example, he tamed a bear, which served him, and it shepherded sheep. carried water and obeyed other commands of the elder. Jealous of the fame of Saint Florentius, four monks killed the bear. The saint predicted the wrath of God upon the murderers. And thus it happened according to his words -- the monks were stricken with illness. But seeing the wrath of God having befallen the monks, the Monk Florentius was grievously saddened and distressed at the occurrence, considering himself the murderer of those monks. Saint Eutychius did not work miracles during his lifetime, but after death his remaining clothing began to produce healings. During a time of drought they went with his clothing along the fields, and God sent rain (this was in the year 1492). The Monk Eutychius died on 23 May 540, and the Monk Florentius, on 1 June 547.
Sainted Kallinikos, Patriarch of Constantinople (693-705), was at first presbyter in the temple of the MostHoly Mother of God at Blakhernae, but in 693 with the death of Patriarch Paul (686-693), he was elevated to the Constantinople throne. During this time reigned the cruel Justinian II (685-695), who undertook the construction of a palace very near the church of the MostHoly Mother of God and decided to demolish it. The emperor ordered Patriarch Kallinikos to give his blessing for tearing it down. The patriarch answered, that he had prayers only for the building of churches, not their destruction. When the church was demolished, with tears he cried out: "Glory to Thee, O Lord, in enduring all things".
Soon the wrath of God befell Justinian. He was toppled from the throne and sent for imprisonment to Chersonessus, where they cut off his nose (from which he received the nickname "Short-nose"). Leontius (695-698) came upon the throne. After 10 years Justinian fled from his imprisonment, gathered an army and advanced on Constantinople. He promised the Patriarch and the emperor that, in entering the city, he would harm no one, and gave his oath on this before the Cross, the Gospel and the Holy Mysteries. But having entered into Constantinople, he immediately broke his oath and began to destroy the citizens and people of importance, and beheaded the emperor. He ordered the holy Patriarch Kallinikos seized, his eyes plucked out, his tongue and nose cut off, and be shut in alive into a stone wall at Rome. After 40 days the walling collapsed and Saint Kallinikos was found alive, although from weakness he hardly breathed and after 4 days he died (+ 705). The Apostles Peter and Paul appeared to the Roman Pope John VI (701-705) in a vivid dream and commanded that Saint Kallinikos be buried in the church of the Apostles at Rome.
© 1998 by translator Fr. S. Janos