January 29th (II - 11)
Icon of St. Akepsimas, St. Ignatius, and St. Demetrios the martyr
Transfer of Relics of PriestMartyr Ignatios the God-Bearer (+ 107). Monk Lavrentii (Lawrence), Hermit of Pechersk and Bishop of Turov, in Nearer Caves (+ 1194). Sainted-Hierarchs Gerasim (+ c. 1441), Pitirim (+ 1455), Jona (+ 1470), Bishops of Great Perm and Ustiug. Martyrs: Romanos, James, Philotheos, Hyperichios, Habib, Julian and Parigoreas (+ 297). Martyrs Siluan the Bishop, Luke the Deacon and Mokios the Reader (+ 312). Saint Barsimeas, Bishop of Edessa (II). Martyr Demetrios of Chios (+ 1802). Saint Thapheul. Sainted Ignatii, Bishop of Smolensk, Wonderworker (+ c. 1210). Monk Aphraates (+ 370).
The Transfer of the Relics of the PriestMartyr Ignatios the God-Bearer: (the account about him is located under 20 December). After the holy PriestMartyr Ignatios was thrown for devouring by wild beasts at Rome dying in the year 107 -- on orders of the emperor Trajan, Christians gathered up his bones and preserved them at Rome. Later in the year 108 they were transferred to the outskirts of Antioch. A second transfer -- into the city of Antioch itself, was done in the year 438. And after the taking of Antioch by the Persians, the relics of the PriestMartyr Ignatios were returned to Rome and placed into the church in honour of the holy PriestMartyr Pope Clement in the year 540 (but according to other histories, the year was 637). The PriestMartyr introduced antiphonal singing into Church Divine-services. He has left us seven archpastoral epistles in which he provided instruction on faith, love and good works, he urged likewise the preserving of the oneness of the faith and to beware of heretics, and he bid the obeying and honouring of bishops, "looking upon the bishop as upon Christ Himself".
"Hearken ye unto the bishop, so that God in turn might hearken unto you... let Baptism remain with you, like a shield and buckler; faith -- like an helmet; love -- like a spear; patience -- like full armour".
The Monk Lavrentii (Lawrence), Hermit of Pechersk and Bishop of Turov, in the Nearer Caves -- at first asceticised as an hermit at the monastery of the GreatMartyr Demetrios, built by Greatprince Izyaslav at Kiev near the Pechersk monastery. Later he transferred to the Pechersk monastery, and was glorified by a gift of healing. From the Pechersk monastery he was elevated in 1182 to the cathedra-seat of Turov (Turov is a city in the Minsk region) and was successor to Sainted Kirill (Cyril) of Turov. He died in 1194, and was buried in the Nearer Caves. His memory is celebrated also on 28 September and on the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent.
Sainted-Hierarchs Gerasim, Pitirim, Jona were bishops of Great Perm and Ustiug. Saint Gerasim -- was the third bishop of the Zyryan people, and a worthy successor of Saint Stefan (Stephen), Enlightener of Perm. He was elevated to the Perm cathedra-seat sometime after the year 1416, when only part of the Zyryani had been converted to Christianity. He was zealously concerned over his flock, which suffered incessant incursions from the Novgorodians and pagan Vogulians. He boldly went into the Vogul camps, urging them to cease plundering the defenseless Perm Christians. During the time of one of these journeys he died a martyr's death: he was murdered (according to tradition -- strangled with his omophor) by his Vogul servant in 1441. He was buried in the Annunciation church of the village of Ust'-Vym' not far from the city of Yarensk, at the River Vychegda (also Comm. 24 January).
The successor of Saint Gerasim was his disciple, the archimandrite Pitirim. Even during his time the Voguli had not ceased attacking the peaceful Zyryani, the settlers of the Permian land. Bishop Pitirim, just like his predecessor, stood forth for his flock. In 1447 at Moscow he personally appealed to the great-prince about rendering aid to the Zyryani. The saint often visited among his flock, which was spread out over a wide territory, instructing them in the Word of God and coming in help over their misfortunes. And to enlighten the pagan Voguli he undertook far-flung journeys, during the time of which his life was frequently in danger, and wherein he had to endure all sorts of privation. But the saint did not slacken his efforts, he enlightened and instructed people in the homes, in the churches, and in the open places.
By his preaching he converted to Christianity many of the Voguli, who lived along the tributaries of the River Pechora. By this he roused the terrible wrath of the head leader of the Voguli, named Asyk, who murdered the saint in a field during the time of his making a molieben. This occurred not far from Ust'-Vym' on 19 August 1455. Saint Pitirim compiled the vita (life) of Sainted Alexei and the canon of the uncovering of his relics.
After Saint Pitirim, Saint Jona came upon the Perm cathedra-seat. He converted to Christianity the remaining part of Great Perm, i.e. the pagan tribes living along the Rivers Vishera, Kama, Chusova and others. By his efforts the idols were eradicated and in their place was erected churches, nearby which the saint opened schools. Experienced pastors were transferred to the newly-converted at Ust'-Vym', who preached and taught at these schools.
Saint Jona reposed on 6 June 1470. His relics rest together with the relics of Saints Gerasim and Pitirim in the Annunciation temple in Ust'-Vym' (in Vologda district).
The commemoration in common of these three saints acknowledges their apostolic activity in this Eastern expanse of Russia.
The Holy Martyrs Romanos, James, Philotheos, Hyperichios, Habib, Julian and Parigoreas suffered in the year 297, during the persecution by Diocletian (284-305), in the city of Samosata (in Syria on the River Euphrates). They bravely denounced the foolish serving of idols, for which they were arrested and given over to various terrible tortures: they cut at their bodies with iron, they hung on their necks heavy iron fetters, they locked them up in prison, and finally, nailed their heads while suspended on a cross.
The Holy Martyrs Siluan the Bishop, Luke the Deacon and Mokios the Reader suffered in the city of Phoenician Emeza in 312. After tortures, imprisonment and exhaustion by hunger, they were given over for devouring by wild beasts. The holy martyrs died praying, untouched by the wild beasts. By night Christians took up the bodies of the holy martyrs and buried them with reverence.
Sainted Ignatii, Bishop of Smolensk and Wonderworker (+ c. 1210): By some accounts, Saint Ignatii was the first bishop of Smolensk. He was a friend of the Monk Avraamii (Abraham) (Comm. 21 August), whom he ordained to the priesthood. Bishop Ignatii was a kindly and pious elder, heading the trial instigated by the enemies of Saint Avraamii, at which the monk was acquitted. Saint Ignatii founded a monastery in honour of the Placing of the Robe of the Mother of God. To him likewise is ascribed the construction of the most ancient Avraamiev monastery in which he, in resigning as bishop, spent the remainder of his days. During the death of Saint Ignatii there occurred a miracle: "A great light came down from heaven upon him, wherein fear befell all". The relics of the saint rest in the Smolensk cathedral church.
The Monk Aphraates, by descent a Persian, having come to believe in Christ, disavowed his illustrious lineage and departed his pagan countrymen by going to Edessa, and then to Antioch, where by his holy life he attracted many and preached them the Word of God. He died in the year 370.
© 2000 by translator Fr. S. Janos