June 1st (VI - 14)
Icon of the Martyr Justin the Philosopher
Martyrs Justin the Philosopher and another Justin and with them Chariton, Charita, Euelpistos, Ierax, Peonus, Valerian and Justus (+ 166). Martyr Neonos. PriestMartyr Pyrrhus. MonkMartyrs Shio the New, David, Gabriel and Paul of Garedzh (+ 1696-1700) (Gruzia). Blessed Metrios (IX -X). Martyr Thespesios (+ c. 230). Martyr Firmus (III - IV). 10,000 Martyrs at Antioch (+ c. 250). Monk Dionysios, Hegumen of Glushitsk (+ 1437). Monk Agapit of Pechersk, Unmercenary Physician, in Nearer Caves (XI).
The Holy Martyr Justin the Philosopher was born at Sykhem -- an ancient city of Samaria. Justin's parents, being Greeks, were pagan. From the time of his childhood the saint displayed profundity of mind, love for knowledge and a fervent devotion to the cognition of Truth. When he came of age he studied the various schools of Greek philosophy: the Stoics, the Peripatetics (Aristotelians), the Pythagoreans, the Platonists -- and he concluded, that none of these pagan teachings revealed the way to the knowledge of the True God.
Once, when he was strolling in a solitary place beyond the city and pondering about where to seek out the way to the knowledge of Truth, he met an old man, who in the ensuing conversation revealed to Justin the essential essence of the Christian teaching and advised him to seek out the solutions to all the questions of life in the books of Holy Scripture. "But before anything else, -- said the holy elder, -- pray diligently to God, so that He might open to thee the doors of Light. No one is able to comprehend Truth, unless it be given him in understanding by God Himself, Who revealeth it to each that seeketh Him in prayer and in love".
In his 30th year of life Justin accepted holy Baptism (between the years 133 and 137). From this time Saint Justin devoted his talents and vast philosophical knowledge to preaching the Gospel among the pagans. He began to journey about throughout the Roman empire, everywhere sowing the seeds of the faith of salvation. "Whosoever is able to proclaim Truth and does not proclaim, that one will be condemned by God", -- he wrote.
Justin opened up a school, where he preached Christian philosophy. Saint Justin subsequently defended the veracity and the salvificity of the Christian teaching, persuasively confuting pagan sophistry (thus, for example, in a debate with the Cynic philosopher Crescentius) and heretical distortions of Christianity (in particular, he spoke out against the teachings of the Gnostic, Marcian).
In about the year 155, when the emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161) started a persecution against Christians, Saint Justin personally gave him an "Apologia" (Apology) in defense of Christians innocently condemned to execution -- Ptolemy and Lucias, the name of a third remaining unknown. In the "Apologia" he demonstrated the falseness of the slander against Christians accused "unjustly for the mere name as loathsome and transgressive Christians". The "Apologia" made such a favourable effect upon the emperor, that he ceased with the persecution. Saint Justin journeyed with the decision of the emperor to Asia Minor, -- where they were persecuting Christians with particular severity, and he himself distributed the joyous message about the imperial edict throughout the surrounding cities and countryside.
At Ephesus occurred the debate of Saint Justin with the Rabbi Trypho. The Orthodox philosopher on the basis of the Old Testament prophetic writings demonstrated the truth of the Christian teaching of faith. Saint Justin gave an account of this debate in his work "Dialogue with Trypho the Jew".
A second "Apologia" of Saint Justin was addressed to the Roman Senate. It was written in the year 161, soon after Marcus Aurelius (161-180) ascended the throne.
Having returned to Italy, Saint Justin, like the Apostles, preached everywhere the Gospel and by his Divinely-inspired words he converted many to the Christian faith. When the saint arrived at Rome, the envious Crescentius -- whom Justin always defeated in debate -- brought against him many false accusations before the Roman court. Saint Justin was put under guard, subjected to torture and accepted a martyr's death (+ 166).
In addition to the above-mentioned works, the following array of compositions belong to the holy martyr Justin the Philosopher: "Observations about the Soul", "Demonstration against the Hellenes", "Speech against the Hellenes". Saint John Damascene preserved a significant part of a non-surviving work of Saint Justin "About the Resurrection". The church historian Eusebios asserts, that by Saint Justin were written books entitled "The Singer", "Denunciation of all Existing Heresies" and "Against Marcian".
The relics of Saint Justin the Philosopher rest in Rome.
In the Russian Church the memory of the martyr is particularly glorified in temples of his name.
The Holy Martyrs Justin, Chariton, Euelpistos, Ierax, Peonus, Valerian, Justus and the Martyress Charita suffered at the same time with Saint Justin the Philosopher, in the year 166. They were brought to Rome and thrown into prison. The saints bravely confessed their faith in Christ before the court of the city-commander Rusticus. Rusticus asked Saint Justin, whether in actuality he thought, that after undergoing tortures he would go to heaven and receive recompense from God. Saint Justin answered, that not only did he think, but truly he knew and believed in this.
The city-commander proposed to all the Christian prisoners that they offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. But he received their refusal and issued a sentence of death. The saints were beheaded.
The Monk Agapit of Pechersk, Unmercenary Physician ("Medic"), born at Kiev, a novice and student of the Monk Antonii of Pechersk, lived during the XI Century. If any of the monastic brethren fell ill, the Monk Agapit came to him and selflessly attended to the sick one; he fed him boiled herbs which he himself prepared, and the patient recovered through the prayers of the monk. Many laymen also turned for help to the monastic physician possessing the gift of healing. In Kiev at this time was an experienced Armenian physician, who by one look at a patient was able to diagnose the nature of the illness and even accurately determine the day of death. When one of these fore-doomed patients turned to Saint Agapit, the grace-bearing healer gave him to taste of food from the monastery refectory, and the patient became well. Enflamed with envy, the physician wanted to poison Saint Agapit, but the Lord preserved the monk, and the poison had no effect.
Saint Agapit healed the Chernigov prince Vladimir Monomakh, -- the future GreatPrince of Kiev (1114-1125), by having sent him boiled herbs. The grateful prince himself went to the monastery and wanted to see his healer, but the humble ascetic hid himself and would not accept gifts.
When the holy healer himself became sick, that same Armenian physician came to him and having taken a look, he said, that death would follow after three days. Before this he gave an oath to became an Orthodox monk, if his prediction were not fulfilled. The monk answered, that the Lord had revealed to him, that He would summon him only after three months.
Saint Agapit died after three months (1 June, not later than 1095), and the Armenian went to the hegumen of the Pechersk monastery and took monastic vows. "It is certain, that Agapit was a saint of God, -- said he. -- I well knew, that it was impossible for him in his sickness to last three days, but the Lord gave him three months". Thus did the monk heal sickness of the soul and guide to the way of salvation.
© 1997 by translator Fr. S. Janos.