December 8th (XII - 21)
Icon of Monk Patapios
Monk Patapios (VII). Monk Kirill of Chelmogorsk (+ 1367). Disciples from the 70: Sosthenes, Apollos, Cephas, Tykhikos, Epaphrodites, Caesarius and Onysiphoros (I). Martyrs: 62 Clergy and 300 Laymen, suffering in Africa under Arian Heretics (+ 477). Martyress Anthysa at Rome (V). Saint Martyrius. Monk Moschian.
The Monk Patapios was born at Thebes into a pious Christian family. Reaching the age of maturity, he had but scorn for the vanities of the world and so went off into the Egyptian wilderness. He became known for his ascetic deeds after the passing of many years. When people began to come to him for advice, he instead wished to dwell in silence. He went eventually to Constantinople, where he obtained a cell at the city wall, near the Blakhernae church. But here also he quickly became known. The sick began to throng about, and he having been vouchsafed the gift of healing, began to help all the needy.
The Monk Kirill of Chelmogorsk, Enlightener of the Chudian People, was born at the city of Beloozero [White-Lake]. He took vows at the monastery of the Monk Antonii the Roman, where for 6 years he passed through various obediences. Then, after a three year wandering through the wilderness, he settled in a wild region of Kargopol'sk. And here, by a command from on high, he chose for his constant abode Mount Chelma. Many of the afflicted from among the Chud people came to check out the Monk Kirill, whose luminant ascetic life and kindly preachings moved many to an acceptance of holy Baptism. Towards the end of his life, the Monk Kirill established a monastery and church in honour of the Theophany (Bogoyavlenie) of the Lord. The monk dwelt upon Mount Chelma for 52 years and died at the advanced age of 82.
The Holy Disciples from the 70: Sosthenes, Apollos, Cephas, Tykhikos, Epaphrodites, Caesarius, Onysiphoros -- were chosen and sent by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself for preaching; they were chosen some while after the choosing of the 12 Apostles (Lk. 10: 1-24).
The Disciple Sosthenes before accepting Christianity was head of the Jewish synagogue at Corinth. During the time of a riot against the Apostle Paul, he too suffered a beating. He was converted by Paul to faith in Christ and afterwards became bishop at Colophon.
Apollos was a native of Alexandria and was a man of excellent erudition. The chief place of his service was at Corinth. He toiled there for a long time and converted many to faith in Christ. Towards the end of his life he preached on Crete and was bishop of Caesarea.
The Disciple Cephas was bishop at Colophon.
The Disciple Tykhikos, a native of Asia Minor, was a student and companion of the holy Apostle Paul. At the time of the first imprisonment of Paul, he delivered the Epistles to the Ephesians and to the Colossians. He replaced the Disciple Sosthenes on the cathedra-chair at Colophon.
The Disciple Epaphrodites -- one of the closest assistants and companions of the Apostle Paul -- was bishop of the Thracian city of Adriaca.
The Disciple Caesarius preached at and was bishop of Dirracheia -- a district in middle Greece.
All of these disciples expired peacefully to the Lord (a second commemoration is under 30 March). The Church remembers with them also the Disciple Onysiphoros (Comm. 7 September).
Martyred 62 Clergy and 300 Laymen: This occurred during the time of the emperor Zenon (474?491). The ruler of the Vandal kingdom in North Africa, Guneric, came under the influence of heretic Arian bishops and started up a fierce persecution against the Orthodox. When believers had gathered at one of the churches and secretly celebrated Divine Liturgy, barbarian soldiers burst into the church. Part of the worshippers fled, but 300 men -- those most firm in the true faith -- voluntarily gave themselves over to torture and were beheaded. Of the 62 clergy, two were burnt, and tongues were cut out from the rest. But by a miraculous Divine power they continued to preach and to oppose the Arian false-teachings.
The Holy Martyress Anthysa, wife of a Roman official, was baptised by Sainted Ambrose of Mediolanum (Milan). She recoiled from the offer of the city-governor's wife Sunilda to accept Arian baptism, and so was committed to the fire.
© 1997 by translator Fr. S. Janos.