February 7th (II - 20)
Icon of St. Parthenius of Lampsacus and Venerable Luke of Hellas
Monk Parthenias, Bishop of Lampsaka (IV). Monk Luke of Hellas (+ c. 946). 1003 Nikomedian Martyrs (+ 303). 6 Phrygian Martyrs. Monk Aprionos, Bishop of Cyprus. Monk Peter of Monombateia.
Sainted Parthenias, Bishop of Lampsaka, was a native of the city of Melitopolis (Asia Minor), where his father Christopher served as deacon. The youth was not learned at grammar, but he well assimilated the Holy Scripture by being present in church for Divine-services. He possessed a good heart, and the money he earned working as a fisherman he distributed to the poor. Filled with the grace of God, Saint Parthenias from age 18 in the Name of Christ healed the sick, cast out demons and worked other miracles. Learning about the virtuous life of the youth, the Melitopolis bishop Philip gave him an education and ordained him presbyter. In the year 325 during the reign of Constantine the Great, the Kysikhos archbishop Achilles made him bishop of the city of Lampsaka (Asia Minor). In the city were many pagans, and the saint fervently began to spread the faith in Christ, affirming it by the will of God through many miracles and healings of the sick. The people began to forsake their pagan manners of belief, and the saint then went to the emperor Constantine the Great with a petition to tear down the idolous pagan-temple and build in its place a Christian church. The emperor received the saint with honour, gave him the edict for the destruction of the pagan-temple, and furnished him means for the building of a church. Returning to Lampsaka, Saint Parthenias gave orders to tear down the idolous pagan-temple and to erect amidst the city a beautiful church of God.
Having found in one of the torn-down temples a large stone suitable to be made the holy altar-table in the church, the saint gave orders to set to work about it and move it for the construction of the church. Through the malice of the devil, which became enraged at the removal of the stone from the pagan-temple, the cart overturned and killed the driver Eutykhion. Saint Parthenias restored him to life by his prayer and shamed the devil, who wanted to frustrate the work of God.
The kindly saint was so great, that he refused healing to no one of the multitude coming to him or who chanced to meet him by the wayside, whether suffering bodily illnesses or afflicted with unclean spirits. People even stopped going to physicians, since Saint Parthenias healed all the sick for free, in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. With the great power of the Name of Christ the saint banished an host of demons from people, from their homes, and from the waters of the sea. When the saint cast out a devil from a certain man, who had been afflicted by it since childhood, the unclean spirit began to implore the saint to give him another place of habitation. The saint promised to indicate such a place and, having opened his mouth, said to the demon: "Come and dwell in me". The demon, as though stung by fire, cried out: "How canst I go into the house of God?", and vanished off into places desolate and untrodden. An unclean spirit, cast out from the house where the imperial porphyry-dye was prepared, cried out for everyone to hear, that a Divine fire was pursuing him with the fire of Gehenna.
Thus, have shown people the great power of faith in Christ, the saint converted a multitude of idol-worshippers to the true God.
Saint Parthenias died peacefully and was solemnly buried alongside the cathedral church of Lampsaka, in a chapel built by him.
The Monk Luke of Hellas was a native of the Greek village of Kastoria. The son of poor farmers, the saint from childhood had toiled much, working in the fields and shepherding the sheep. He was very obedient to his parents and very temperate in eating. He often gave the poor his own food and clothing, for which he suffered reproach from his parents. Once he gave to the poor almost all the seed which was needed for planting in the fields, but the Lord rewarded him for his charity: the harvest gathered was greater than formerly.
While still a youth he prayed both often and fervently. His mother more than once saw him during the time of prayer standing, not on the ground but in the air.
After the death of his father, he went off secretly from his mother to Athens, where he entered a monastery. But through the prayers of his mother, who was very anxiously concerned about him, the Lord in miraculous manner returned him to his parental home. He spent a whole four months there and having comforted his mother, with her blessing he went off to a solitary place on Mount Joannikes. Here there was a church in the name of the holy Unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian, at which he pursued asceticism in constant prayer and fasting. He accepted monastic tonsure there from elders on pilgrimage. After this Saint Luke redoubled his ascetic efforts, for which the Lord granted him the gift of foresight.
After a seven year sojourn on Mount Joannikes, the monk resettled at Corinth because of an invasion of Bulgarian armies. Hearing about the exploits of a certain pillar-dweller at Patras, he journeyed off to him and for 10 years he served the ascetic with humility and obedience. Afterwards, the saint returned again to his native land and again began to pursue asceticism on Mount Joannikes.
The throngs of people flocking there disturbed his quietude, and with the blessing of his elder Theophylaktos, the Monk Luke set off with his disciple to a still more remote place at Kalabios, and from there after three years because of an invasion of Arabs he settled on the desolate and arid island of Ampilos. A later place of his ascetic efforts was Stirea (Soterieia). Here brethren gathered to the monk, and there emerged a small monastery, the church of which was dedicated to the GreatMartyress Barbara. Dwelling in the monastery, the monk worked many miracles, healing sicknesses both of soul and of body. Foreseeing his end, the saint confined himself in a cell and for three months prepared himself for his departure. To the question of where to bury him, the monk answered: "Throw my body for the devouring by beasts". When the brethren besought him to change his final instructions, he commanded them to bury his body on the spot where he lay. With the words: "Into Thine hands, O Lord, I give up my spirit!" -- the Monk Luke reposed in the Lord on 7 February 946. Afterwards on the place of his burial was erected a church, and from his holy relics flowed myrh and many healings occurred.
The Holy Martyrs, Suffering at Nikomedia, were servants of the four dignitaries Bassos, Eusebios, Eutykhios and Basilides, who together with their wives suffered for Christ (Comm. 5 January) in the year 303 during the reign of the emperor Diocletian (284-305).
After the death by martyrdom of their masters, the servants decided to follow their example and they too confessed themselves Christians before Diocletian. Unswayed neither by persuasion nor promises nor rewards, they all -- 1003 men, with women and small children, were cut down by soldiers surrounding them in a tight circle, such that none of them remained alive.
© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos