July 9th (VII - 22)
Icon of Priest Martyr Pancratios, Bishop of Tauromeneia
PriestMartyrs: Pankratios, Bishop of Tauromeneia (I); Cyril, Bishop of Gortineia (III-IV). MonkMartyrs: Patermuphios, Koprios, and Martyr Alexander (IV). Monks Patermuphios and Koprios (IV). Sainted Theodore, Bishop of Edessa, and those with him (IX). Martyrs Andrew and Probus. Cypriot (in Village of Stromyna, Moscow District) and Koloch (1413) Icons of the Mother of God.
The PriestMartyr Pankratios, Bishop of Tauromeneia, was born at a time, when our Lord Jesus Christ yet lived upon the earth.
The parents of Pankratios were natives of Antioch. Hearing about the good-news of Jesus Christ, the father of Pankratios took his young son with him and set off to Jerusalem, in order to see for himself personally the great Teacher. The miracles astonished him, and when he heard the Divine teaching, he then believed in Christ as the Son of God. He became close with the disciples of the Lord, especially with the holy Apostle Peter. And it was during this period that young Pankratios got to know the holy Apostle Peter.
After the Ascension of the Saviour one of the Apostles came to Antioch and baptised the parents of Pankratios together with all their household. When the parents of Pankratios died, he left behind his inherited possessions and went to a Pontine mountain and began to live in a cave, passing his days in prayer and deep spiritual contemplation. The holy Apostle Peter, one time passing through these parts, made a visit to Pankratios at Pontus, and took him along to Antioch, and then to Cilicia, where the holy Apostle Paul then was. And there the holy Apostles Peter and Paul ordained Saint Pankratios as bishop of the Cilician city of Tauromeneia.
Saint Pankratios toiled zealously for the Christian enlightenment of the people. Over the course of a single month he built a church, where he celebrated Divine-services. The number of believers quickly grew, and soon almost all the people of Tauromeneia and the surrounding cities accepted the Christian faith.Saint Pankratios governed his flock peacefully for many years. But one time pagans connived against the saint, and seizing an appropriate moment, they fell upon him and stoned him. Thus did Saint Pankratios end his life as a martyr (I). The relics of the saint rest in the church named for him, at Rome.
The PriestMartyr Cyril, Bishop of Gortineia, was for 50 years bishop at Gortineia. He suffered either under the emperor Decius (249-251), or according to other historical sources the emperor Maximian (284-305), being at the time an 84 year old elder.
Brought to trial before a governor named Lucius, who demanded him to offer sacrifice to idols, the holy elder steadfastly confessed his faith in Christ and refused to fulfill the soul-destroying command. The governor sentenced Saint Cyril to burning, but the flames did not touch the saint. Beholding this miracle, many a pagan came to believe in Christ, and Lucius himself in astonishment offered up praise to the Christian God and set free the saint.
Saint Cyril continued with his preaching and led many pagans to Christ, but also he grieved, that he had not been given to suffer for the Saviour. After a certain while it was reported to the governor, that Saint Cyril would not cease his evangelising, and that he continued successfully to convert people from the darkness of paganism to the light of Christ. Hearing the sentence against him, Saint Cyril rejoiced that he was to be granted a martyr's death for Truth, and he willingly placed his head beneathe the sword (III).
The MonkMartyrs Patermuphios, Koprios and the Martyr Alexander suffered under the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363). Patermuphios and his disciple Koprios were Egyptian hermits. When the apostate-emperor learned of the saints, he ordered them to be brought to him and he tried to seduce them into paganism, wickedly saying, that formerly he had served Christ but had learned, that only the pagan gods could provide salvation. Koprios was deceived by these words of the emperor and he betrayed Christ, but by the entreating prayers and tears of his elder he perceived his downfall, he repented and again confessed himself a Christian. The emperor became enraged and gave orders to torture Koprios fiercely. Patermuphios encouraged his brother monk to be brave and endure. One of the soldiers, Alexander by name, seeing the terrible sufferings of Koprios, believed in Christ and was sentenced to burning. Saints Patermuphios and Koprios were beheaded by the sword.
The Monks Patermuphios and Koprios: Patermuphios at first was a pagan and also the head of a band of robbers, but then he repented, was baptised and withdrew into the wilderness. The monk devoted all the rest of his life to attending the sick and burying the dead. For his love of toil and efforts, Patermuphios received from God the gift of wonderworking.
Presbyter Koprios was an eyewitness of the doings of the Monk Patermuphios and recorded his life and miracles. Saint Koprios narrated this vita to presbyter Ruphinos, who in turn transmitted it to Palladios, Bishop of Hellenopolis, who in turn included the account in his book, the "Historica Lausiaca".
One time the Monk Koprios entered into a debate with the heretic Manichaeos, and seeing that he could not prevail against him in dispute, he suggested to the heretic to arrange a large bon-fire and together with him to go into it, so that the Lord Himself should decide, whose was the true faith. Manichaeos refused to go in first, but Koprios went into the bon-fire, and standing amidst the burning embers, he remained unharmed. The people glorified the faith of Koprios, while the heretic who wanted not to go into the flames they threw into the bon-fire. The heretic jumped out all scorched and tried to flee, but they caught hold of him and again cast him into the bon-fire. The Monk Koprios then quelled the crowd and let Manichaeos go.
Sainted Theodore, Bishop of Edessa, was born in the Syrian city of Edessa. All his life the holy saint was a bright witness of the great deeds of God, glorified in His Saints.
At twelve years of age, having lost his parents and given away his inheritance to the poor, he set out to Jerusalem, where at the Laura of the Monk Sava the Sanctified he took monastic tonsure. After 12 years of fervent monastic obedience and then another 24 years of full seclusion and great abstinence the Lord summoned the valiant ascetic to be bishop, so that he might bring light to the world. For after the death of the Edessa bishop, no more worthy a successor was found than Theodore, and through the mutual assent of the Antioch and Jerusalem Patriarchs, and likewise of both clergy and laity, this fine man was chosen bishop. It was not easy for Saint Theodore to forsake his quietude, but he submitted himself to the will of God and entered into the guidance of the Edessa Church. This occurred during the reign of the Greek emperor Michael and his mother Theodora (842-855). During the time of the episcopal imposition of hands over the Monk Theodore, there occurred a great miracle. The people beheld a dove white like snow, soaring about beneathe the cupola of the church, which then came down upon the head of the newly-made bishop. Setting about the governance of his flock, Saint Theodore devoted all his abilities to this service. He was a model for the faithful in word, in life, in love, and by the good example of his holy ascetic life he guided the flock, entrusted to him by God, onto the path of salvation. Theodore exerted much effort in the struggle with heretics, and with a firm hand he guarded the Church from temptations and errant thought. By his consolation and support for Saint Theodore, the perspicacious elder and pillar-dweller the Monk Theodosios likewise served the spiritual community, while asceticising not far from the city near the monastery of the holy GreatMartyr George.
With the blessing of the elder, Saint Theodore undertook a journey to Baghdad to the caliph Mavi with a complaint about unjust measures against the Orthodox. Having come to Mavi, the saint found him seriously ill. Calling on the help of the Lord, the holy bishop threw into a vessel with water a bit of earth from the Sepulchre of the Lord and gave it to the caliph to drink, and the sick one was healed. The grateful Mavi, favourably disposed towards the saint, happily heard out his teachings and finally, together with three close associates he accepted holy Baptism with the name John.
Shortly afterwards for his open confession of faith in Christ before the Mussulmans, the caliph John was killed with his three close associates. Having appeared in a dream simultaneously to Saint Theodore and to the Pillar-Dweller Theodosios, he reported that he had been granted to suffer for Christ, being numbered among the rank of the Martyrs, and he would soon meet the two of them in the Kingdom of Heaven. This was an indication to the saint of God, that his own end was approaching. Three years later, again in solitude at the Laura of Saint Sava the Sanctified, he peacefully expired to the Lord (IX). Saint Theodore has left to Christians his writings of edification. The Life of Saint Theodore of Edessa was a beloved reading in Rus' during the XVI-XVII Centuries and was preserved in many a manuscript.
The Cypriot Icon of the Mother of God appears thus: the Mother of God sits upon a throne with the Divine-Infant in Her arms, and at Her sides are two angels, holding branches.
The holy icon manifested itself in the year 392 on the Island of Cyprus, and is situated there in a monastery. Reknown venerable copies from it are at the Moscow Uspensky cathedral, and in the Nikolo-Golutvinsk church in the village of Stromyna, Moscow diocese.
The Koloch Icon of the Mother of God manifested itself in the year 1413 during the reign of Vasilii I Dimitrievich, 15 versts from the city of Mozhaisk, in the vicinity of Koloch in the Smolensk governance. A peasant of this village by the name of Luke found this holy image and took it to his home. One of his household suffered from a crippling of the body. The sick one with faith put his forehead to the icon and received complete healing.
This became known of through the surroundings, and many of the suffering began to throng to the wonderworking icon for veneration, and they received graced help from the Mother of God. Luke afterwards took the image to Mozhaisk, and from thence to Moscow. At the capital, Metropolitan Photii, together with an assemblage of clergy and a multitude of the people, met the holy icon. During the carrying of the image through Moscow many of the sick were healed of their infirmities. Later they returned the icon to Mozhaisk.
At the place of the appearance of the icon was built a church named for the Mother of God, into which was put the holy image.
With the offerings of the peasant Luke and other Orthodox, prince Andrei Dimitrievich built at this locale a monastery, called the Kolochsk or Mozhaisk.
© 2000 by translator Fr. S. Janos