August 7th (VIII - 20)
Icon of the Martyr Dometius of Persia, St. Theodosius, Venerable Nicanor, and St. Astereou
MonkMartyr Dometios the Persian and his two Disciples (+ 363). Uncovering of Relics of Sainted Mitrophan, Bishop of Voronezh (1832). Monk Pimen the Much-Sick of Pechersk, in Nearer Caves (+ 1110). Monk Pimen the Faster of Pechersk, in Farther Caves (XIII-XIV). Monk Merkurii of Pechersk, Bishop of Smolensk, in Nearer Caves (+ 1239). Martyrs: Marin and Asterias (+ 260); Mokios. Monk Horus (+ c. 390). Monastic Martyress Potamia the Wonderworker. 10,000 Thebaid Ascetics. Sainted Narcissos, Patriarch of Jerusalem (+ c. 212). Saint Sozontes from Nicomedia. MonkMartyr Asterias the Wonderworker. Monk Hyperikhios (IV). Monk Theodosios the New, the Physician (IX). Monk Nikanor the Wonderworker, on Mount Kallistratoeuia (+ 1419). Monk Dometios of Athos (XVI). Commemoration of the Deliverance of Constantinople from the Persians and Arabs (626).
The Monk Dometios lived during the IV Century, and he was by birth a Persian. In his youthful years he was converted to the faith by a Christian named Uaros. Forsaking Persia, he withdrew to the frontier-city of Niziba (in Mesopotamia), where he accepted Baptism in one of the monasteries and was tonsured into monasticism. But then fleeing the ill-will of the monastery inhabitants, the Monk Dometios moved on to the monastery of Saints Sergios and Bacchus in the city of Theodosiopolis. The monastery was under the guidance of an archimandrite named Nurbelos -- a strict ascetic, about whom it was reported, that over the course of 60 years he did not taste of cooked food, nor did he lay down for sleep, but rather took his rest standing up, supporting himself upon his staff. In this monastery the Monk Dometios was ordained to the dignity of deacon, but when the archimandrite decided to have him made a presbyter, the saint in reckoning himself unworthy hid himself away on a desolate mountain in Syria, in the region of Cyr. Reports about him constantly spread about among the surrounding inhabitants. They began to come to him for healing and for help. Many a pagan was brought to the faith in Christ by Dometios. And one time, in the locality where Saint Dometios asceticised with his disciples, the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363) arrived, journeying along on his campaign against the Persians. By order of the emperor, soldiers searched out Saint Dometios praying with his disciples in a cave, and stoned them to death (+ 363).
The Uncovering of the Relics of Sainted Mitrophan, Bishop of Voronezh (1832): The memory of the deep piety and pastoral virtues of Saint Mitrophan (as schemamonk named Makarii) was revered as sacred at Voronezh, back from the time of his death (+ 23 November 1703). His successors, the Voronezh hierarchs, considered it their sacred duty to annually make remembrance of the first-hierarch of their flock, together with his parents, the priest Vasilii and Maria. The people of Voronezh and its surroundings came to the Annunciation cathedral, where at the place of his burial panikhida memorial services were made. Contributing to the intense remembrance of Saint Mitrophan was also his deathbed last-will bidding -- to make prayers for him. For this the saint even during his lifetime had built at the cathedral a chapel in honour of the holy Archangel Michael (the heavenly patron-saint of the saint's baptismal name), and in it a special priest made early votive liturgies. Although new generations afterwards did not know the saint, they likewise reverently venerated his memory. The veracity of the sainthood of the first hierarch of the Voronezh diocese was likewise confirmed by his incorrupt relics, witnessed during the repeated transfers of them from one temple to another. And thus in the year 1718, the Voronezh metropolitan Pakhomii, in setting about the construction of a new cathedral, gave orders to demolish the old Annunciation cathedral, during which time the body of Saint Mitrophan was temporarily transferred into the church of the Unburnt Bush [as seen by Moses]. In 1735 the body of Saint Mitrophan was transferred into the new cathedral, during which time the non-decay of his relics was again witnessed. At the place of the burial of the saint, panikhidas were customarily made for him.
With the year 1820 it was noticed, that the number of those venerating Saint Mitrophan and thronging to Voronezh, had extraordinarily increased. Graced signs also increased. The Voronezh archbishop Antonii II made repeated reports to the Holy Synod about miracles, and he petitioned for a resolution on the glorification to sainthood of the saint. The Holy Synod them prescribed watching for bestowals of grace, received at the grave of Saint Mitrophan. In the year 1831, after witnessing to the incorrupt body of the saint, archbishop Antonii together with commission members of the Holy Synod -- the Yaroslavl' archbishop Evgenii and archimandrite Germogen of the Moscow Saviour-Androniev monastery, became convinced in the miraculous intercession of Saint Mitrophan before the Throne of God. The Holy Synod then issued its resolution adding Sainted Mitrophan into the ranks of the Saints. Since then the Russian Church celebrates the memory of the saint twice during the year: 23 November -- on the day of repose, and on 7 August -- on the day of glorification.
Archbishop Antonii II (1827-1846) established in the Voronezh also the following feastdays in honour of Sainted Mitrophan: 4 June, in memory of Sainted Mitrophanes, Patriarch of Tsar'grad-Constantinople, as a day of "tezoimenie" or name-in-common for Saint Mitrophan of Voronezh; 2 April -- the saint's day of ordination to bishop (in 1682); 11 December -- the day of confirmation of the relics of Saint Mitrophan (in 1831).
Saint Mitrophan left behind a spiritual last-testament. Its original is preserved in the State Historical Museum. Upon the testament is the unique handwritten authoritative undersigning by the saint: "This spiritual dictate is attested to by me... Bishop Mitrophan of Voronezh".
On the lower cover (inside) is a gloss inscription from the XVIII Century: "This is the book of testament or last-will of the Voronezh schema-monk Makarii, written in the God-saved city of Voronezh, in the house of His Grave the bishop and schema-monk Makarii, who reposed in the month of November on the 23rd day in the year 1703, and was buried on the 4th day of December".
On the day preceding the Uncovering of the Relics of Saint Mitrophan, the Voronezh archbishop Antonii set about going to church, so as to lay out the new archbishop vestments prepared for the relics. Suddenly he felt in himself such a weakness, that he was barely able to go about his cell. Troubled by this, he sat and pondered and then he heard a quiet voice: "Transgress not my legacy".
This he did not understand right away, and instead thinking about his own plans, he gathered up his strength and opened the closet wherein were the vestments, and there he caught sight of the schema-garb, brought shortly before this by some unknown monk, who had entrusted it to him and said, that it soon would be needed.
Seeing this schema-garb, the Vladyka then realised, that the words, "Transgress not my legacy", was actually the will of Saint Mitrophan, that they not place upon his relics the archbishop vestiture, but rather leave them in schema-garb, -- indicating by this and by his extreme humility the deep spiritual connection with his schema-monk patronal saint, the Monk Makarii of Unzhensk.
The Monk Pimen the Much-Sick (XI Century) attained the Kingdom of Heaven by way of grievous illness. This Russian ascetic was both born and grew up sickly. For a long while he besought his parents to send him off to the Kievo-Pechersk monastery. And when they brought their son to the famed monastery, they then began in prayer to beseech health for him. But the sufferer himself, conscious of the high value of suffering, instead besought of the Lord both the continuation of sickness, and likewise his tonsuring into monasticism. And herewith Angels in the guise of monks made over him the rite of tonsure. Several of the brethren heard the sound of singing, and coming to the Monk Pimen, they found him attired in monastic garb. In his hand he held a blazing candle, and his tonsured hair could be seen at the crypt of the Monk Theodosii (Feodosii). The Monk Pimen spent many a year in grievous illness, such that those attending to him were bothered by it and often they left him without bread and water, but he endured everything with joy. Compassionate towards the brethren, the Monk Pimen healed a certain crippled brother, having taken his word to be of service to the point of death. But after a while the brother grew lax in his service, and his former ailment overtook him. The Monk Pimen again healed him with the advice, that both the sick and those attending the sick receive equal reward. The Monk Pimen spent twenty years in grievous sufferings. But three days before his death, as also an Angel had earlier predicted, he became healthy. In church the monk took leave of all the brethren and communed the Holy Mysteries. Then, having bowed down before the grave of Abba Antonii, the Monk Pimen pointed out the place for his burial and he himself carried to it an earlier prepared coffin. He pointed out there to the buried, one after the other of the monks, and he predicted, that the brethren would find buried one in schema-garb to be without it, since this monk had led a life unworthy of it; this other monk, who had been buried without the schema, would however be attired in it after death, since he had much wished this during his life and he was worthy. After the death of the Monk Pimen, the brethren became persuaded of the perspicacity of his words. On the day of the repose of the Monk Pimen, three fiery columns appeared over the refectory, and moved atop the church. A similar event was described in the chronicles under 11 February 1110 (Vide the 5 August commemoration of Sainted Theoktist of Chernigov), wherefore also the day of demise of the Monk Pimen is surmised as occurring on 11 February 1110.
The relics of the Monk Pimen rest in the Antoniev Cave.
A second commemoration of the saint is made on 28 September, together with the Sobor-Assemblage of the Monks of the Nearer Caves.
The Monk Pimen, Faster of Pechersk, asceticised in the Farther Caves. His abstinence was such, that he tasted of food only once a day and only in the most necessary quantity. His outward fasting corresponded to an inward abstemiousness from any actions, thoughts or feelings, unpleasing to God. The Monk Pimen was hegumen of the Kievo-Pechersk monastery from 1132 to 1141. A second commemoration to the saint occurs on 28 August.
The Monk Merkurii of Pechersk, Bishop of Smolensk, asceticised at the Nearer Caves. The account about him is located under 24 November.
The Martyr Asterias lived during the reign of the pagan emperors Valerian (253?259) and his son Gallienus (260-268). Being a Roman senator, Asterias nonetheless held firmly to the Christian faith, in spite of the persecutions occurring during those times. One time, being in Palestine, he came to the city of Caesarea Philippi, where by custom a pagan feast was made with the offering of sacrifice to an idol. The demon residing in the idol made the sacrifice become invisible, and this was looked upon as a great wonder. Saint Asterias by prayer expelled the demon. The sacrifice ceased to become invisible, and the pagans ceased to make this impious solemnity. Saint Asterias also happened to be present at the sufferings of the Martyr Marin (Comm. 16 December). When the execution was over, he took off his senatorial garb, spread it upon the ground and wrapped in it the head and body of the Martyr Marin. On his own shoulders he carried the remains of the martyr to the graveyard and reverently consigned them to earth. For doing this he was himself sentenced to death and beheaded in the year 260.
The Monk Horus (IV Century) in his youthful years withdrew into the Thebaid wilderness and asceticised in complete solitude for many years, leading the life of a strict hermit. Having gotten up in years, the Monk Horus was granted to see an Angel, which announced, that the Lord had destined him for the salvation of the many people, who would seek his guidance.
After this, the monk began to accept everyone who came to him for advice and help. The Lord granted him a gift of reading the Holy Scripture, despite the fact that the saint since childhood had not been taught reading and writing. Gradually around the Monk Horus there formed a large monastery, in which the holy elder was the spiritual guide. The monk never entered the refectory for the tasting of food, nor ate of it on the day of partaking the Holy Mysteries. He often taught the brethren by means of stories about the temptations, which might beset a monk living in solitude. But he always told it such that everyone would know literally that it was in regard to wilderness-dwellers known to him. The monk concealed his own ascetic exploits. One time, back when the saint still lived with only one disciple, that one brought to his attention the approach of Holy Pascha. The Monk Horus immediately stood up at prayer, and raising his hands, he stood thus for 3 days under the open sky, in contemplation of God. He thereupon explained to his disciple, that for the monk every feastday, and especially Pascha, consists in this -- to remove oneself from everything mundane,, and to come nigh in heart and thought to God.
All the thoughts and doings of his disciples was revealed to the Monk Horus, and no one dared to lie to him. Having survived well into old age, the Monk Horus founded several monasteries, comprising altogether as many as 1,000 monastics. He died at age 90 in about the year 390.
The Monastic Martyress Potamia the Wonderworker died under the sword. But sometimes the saint is incorrectly listed as the Monk Potamius the Wonderworker.
The Monk Dometios was an Athonite elder. He pursued silence at the Philotheos monastery together with the MonkMartyr Damian the Philotheite (Comm. 23 February), who suffered under cruel tortures by the Turks in the year 1568.
© 2000 by translator Fr. S. Janos