July 26th (VIII - 8)
Icon of Great Martyr Panteleimon
PriestMartyrs Hermolaus, Hermippos, Hermokrates, Clergy of Nicomedia (+ c. 305). Monk Moisei (Moses) the Ugrian (Hungarian) of Pechersk, in the Nearer Caves (+ c. 1043). Martyrs: Oreozila (I); Jerusalema; Appionos. MonasticMartyress Paraskeva (+ c. 138-161). Monks: Ignatios Stironites; Theodore, Metropolitan of Trapezund; Gerontios of Athos.
The PriestMartyrs Hermolaus, Hermippos and Hermocrates, Clergy of Nicomedia, were among the small number of those remaining alive after the burning of 20,000 Christians of the Nicomedia Church in the year 303 (Comm. 28 December), -- done upon the orders of the emperor Maximian (284-305). They hid themselves in remote places and did not cease to teach pagans the Christian faith. Often there passed by the house, in which Saint Hermolaus had concealed himself, the young pagan named Pantoleon (Holy GreatMartyr Panteleimon, Comm. 27 July). One time Saint Hermolaus chanced upon the youth and asked him to stop by for him at the house. In their conversation Saint Hermolaus began to explain to his guest the falseness, impiety and vanity of worshipping the pagan gods. From that day on Pantoleon began daily to visit Saint Hermolaus and received of him holy Baptism. When the trial of the holy GreatMartyr Panteleimon was being held, Saints Hermolaus, Hermippos and Hermokrates, were also arrested. The Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Saint Hermolaus on an evening and revealed to him, that on the following day he would suffer for Him and receive a martyr's crown. Saints Hermippos and Hermokrates were arrested and brought to trial after Saint Hermolaus. All three were given the chance to abjure from Christ and offer sacrifice to idols. But they resolutely refused, confessed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and were prepared gladly to die for Him. The pagans began to threaten the holy priests with torture and death. Suddenly a strong earthquake occurred, and the idols and pagan temple collapsed and shattered. A report was made about this to the emperor. The enraged Maximian gave the holy martyrs over to torture and pronounced upon them a sentence of death. Bravely enduring all the torments, the holy PriestMartyrs Hermolaus, Hermippos and Hermokrates were beheaded in about the year 305.
The Monk Moisei (Moses) the Ugrian (Hungarian) of Pechersk, by descent a Magyar, was a brother of the Monk Ephrem of Novotorzh (+ 1053, Comm. 28 January), and of Saint George. Together with them he entered into the service of the holy Nobleborn Prince Boris (+ 1015, Comm. 24 July). After the murder in 1015 of Saint Boris at the River Al'ta, -- Saint George also perishing with him, Saint Moisei fled and hid himself away at Kiev with Predslava, sister of prince Yaroslav. In 1018, when the Polish king Boleslav seized Kiev, Saint Moisei and his companions wound up in Poland as captives.
Built tall and handsome, Saint Moisei attracted to himself the attention of a certain rich Polish widow, who burned with a passionate desire for him and wanted to make him her husband, after ransom from captivity. Saint Moisei resolutely refused to exchange captivity for slavery to a wife. But, despite his refusal, the Polish woman bought the captive.
She tried every which way to seduce the youth, but he preferred hunger pains to banquets of food. Then the Polish woman began to convey Saint Moisei through her lands, thinking to captivate him by power and riches. Saint Moisei told her, that he would not trade spiritual riches for the perishable things of this world, and that he would become a monk.
Passing through the area, an Athonite priest-monk gave Saint Moisei monastic vows. The Polish woman gave orders to stretch Saint Moisei on the ground and to beat him with canes, such that the ground became soaked with blood. She sought permission of Boleslav to do with the captive all that she pleased. The shameless woman once gave orders to put Saint Moisei on a bed with her, she kissed and embraced him, but she accomplished nothing by this. Saint Moisei said: "From the fear of God I loathe thee as impure". Hearing this, the Polish woman gave orders to give the saint each day an hundred lashes, and then to emasculate him. Boleslav soon undertook a persecution against all the monks in the land. But a sudden death overtook him. A revolt arose in Poland, in which the widow also was killed. Having recovered from his wounds, the Monk Moisei arrived at the Pechersk monastery, bearing on himself martyr's wounds and a crown of confessor as a victor and courageous warrior of Christ. The Lord provided him strength over the sufferings. A certain monastic brother, oppressed by impure passion, went to the Monk Moisei and besought his help, saying: "I give promise to keep to the death everything that thou dost direct me". The Monk Moisei said: "Never in life speak a word with a woman". The brother promised to obey the advice of the monk. Saint Moisei had in his hand a staff, without which he was not able to walk because of the wounds which he had received. With this staff the Monk Moisei struck at the chest of the brother who had approached him, and immediately that one was delivered from temptation. The Monk Moisei pursued asceticism at Pechersk for 10 years; he died in about the year 1043 and was buried in the Nearer Caves. With a touch to the holy relics and fervent prayer to him, the Pechersk monks were wont to be healed of fleshly temptations.
The MonasticMartyress Paraskeva was the only daughter of Christian parents and from the time of her early years she dedicated herself to God. Living in her parental home, she spent much of her time at prayer and the study of the Holy Scriptures. After the death of her parents Saint Paraskeva distributed all of her inheritance to the poor, took on monasticism, and emulating the holy Apostles she began to preach to the pagans about Christ, converting many to Christianity.
A denunciation about her activity was made to the emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161), and Saint Paraskeva was brought to trial. She fearlessly confessed herself a Christian. Neither enticements of honours and material blessings, nor threats of torture and death shook the firmness of the saint nor turned her from Christ. She was given over to beastly tortures. On her head they put a red-hot helmet and threw her in a cauldron with boiling tar. But by the power of God the holy martyress remained unharmed. When the emperor peered into the cauldron, Saint Paraskeva threw him in the face a droplet of the red-hot tar, and he was burned. The emperor began to ask her for healing, and the holy martyress healed him. After this the emperor sent Saint Paraskeva free.
Traveling from one place to another preaching the Gospel, Saint Paraskeva arrived in a city, where the governor was named Asclepius. Here again they tried the saint and sentenced her to death. They took her to an immense serpent living in a cave, so that it would devour her. But Saint Paraskeva made the sign of the Cross over the snake and it died. Asclepius and the citizens in seeing this miracle and believed in Christ and set free the saint. She continued her preaching. In a city, where the governor was a certain Tarasius, Saint Paraskeva received a martyr's death. After fierce tortures they beheaded her.
The Monk Gerontios founded a skete monastery in honour of Saint Anna on Mount Athos.
© 1998 by translator Fr. S. Janos