June 30th (VII - 13)
Icon of the Synaxis of the 12 Apostles: Peter, Andrew, James son of Zebedee, John his brother, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Jude brother of James or Thaddeus, Simon Zelotes and Matthias.
The Sobor (Assemblage) of the Glorious and All-Praiseworthy 12 Apostles: Peter, Andrew, James son of Zebedee, John his brother, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Jude brother of James or Thaddeus, Simon Zelotes and Matthias. Monk Peter, Tsarevich of the Horde (Rostov) (+ 1290). Sainted Sophronii, Bishop of Irkutsk (glorified 1918). Martyrs: Meliton; Peter of Sinope; Perpetua; Michael the Gardener, of Athens (+ 1770). Nobleborn Empress Dinara (X) (Gruzia). Balykinsk (1711) and Gorbanevsk (XVIII) Icons of the Mother of God.
The Sobor (Assemblage) of the Glorious and All-Praiseworthy 12 Apostles of Christ appears an ancient feast. Holy Church, -- honouring each of the 12 Apostles at a separate time of the year, from ancient times established a general commemoration of them on the day following after the commemoration of the Glorious and First-Ranked among the Apostles Peter and Paul (+ c. 67). An account about each of the Apostles is on the day of his individual commemoration: the Apostle Peter (+ c. 67; Comm. 29 June); the Apostle Andrew the First-Called (+ 62, Comm. 30 November); the Apostle James son of Zebedee (+ 44, Comm. 30 April); the Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian (+ early II Century, Comm. 26 September); Apostle Philip (Comm. 14 November); Apostle Bartholomew (Comm. 11 June); Apostle Thomas (Comm. 6 October); Apostle and Evangelist Matthew (+ 60, Comm. 16 November); Apostle James Alphaeus (Comm. 9 October); Apostle Jude, brother of the Lord (+ c. 80, Comm. 19 June); Apostle Simon Zelotes (Comm. 10 May); Apostle Matthias (+ c. 63, Comm. 9 August).
The holy nobleborn emperor Constantine the Great (306-337) built at Tsar'grad a temple in the name of the holy Twelve Apostles. Directions for the celebrating of this feast are encountered from the IV Century.
[trans. note: Vide for varying-name Apostle lists: Mt. 10: 2, Mk. 3: 14, Lk. 6: 12, Acts 1: 13, 26].
The Monk Peter, Tsarevich of the Horde, was the nephew of khan Bergai of the Golden Horde. In the year 1253 Sainted Kirill, Bishop of Rostov (Comm. 21 May), went to the Horde to petition for church needs in his diocese and he told the khan about the miracles, worked by the relics of Sainted Leontii (Comm. 23 May). Among the retinue was the young nephew of the khan, upon whom the sainted-bishop made a very strong impression. After some length of time the son of Bergai fell ill. Remembering the account of the Russian bishop about the healings, he summoned Sainted Kirill, and through his prayers the sick one was healed. The khan richly rewarded Saint Kirill and sent him off to his diocese. Along the way the lad, the nephew of khan Bergai, overtook the sainted-bishop, and entreated him to take him along to Rostov. At Rostov the lad was baptised with the name Peter and he married. Saint Peter distinguished himself with a love for silence, Divine-meditation and prayer. After a miraculous appearance to him of the Apostles Peter and Paul he built near Lake Nera a monastery in their honour. After the death of his spouse, shortly before his own death, the saint accepted monasticism at the monastery founded by him.
The Monk Peter died in extreme old age in the year 1290.
The veneration of the monastic tsarevich Peter began in the XIV Century. A general celebration was established at the Sobor (Council) of 1547.
Sainted Sophronii, Bishop of Irkutsk and All Siberia, expired to God on 30 March 1771, the second day of Holy Pascha. While they awaited a decision of the Holy Synod concerning the burial, his body remained for six months uncommitted to earth and during this time it was not subject to decay. Then already, in view of this circumstance, and also knowing about the strict ascetic life of Saint Sophronii, the flock began to venerate him as a saint of God. Frequently (in 1833, 1854, 1870, 1909) his relics were witnessed as undecayed and the source of grace-bearing wonderworkings. A fire occurring on 18 April 1917 at the Theophany Cathedral at Irkutsk left only the bones of the sainted-bishop, but it did not diminish, but rather on the contrary, it increased the reverent veneration of the saint by the faithful of the nation.
A local Sobor (Council) of the Russian Orthodox Church in its deliberations of 10/23 April 1918 decreed to make a glorification of Sainted Sophronii, enumerating him among the rank of the holy saints of God. This solemnity of enumerating Sainted Sophronii to the list of the saints was done on 30 June. At a second session of this Sobor under the presiding of His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon [now Sainted Tikhon] was sanctioned a Service to Sainted Sophronii with a tropar, compiled by Archbishop John who at that time guided the Irkutsk diocese, so that all believers would have the possibility of adding prayer to the holy saint into the voice of the Siberian churches, deeply venerating the memory of their illuminator and intercessor.
And at the present time believers turn for help to Sainted Sophronii. Prayers witness to this, having been composed on the day of the 40th year celebration of the glorification of the sainted-bishop on 13 July 1958, by Metropolitan Nestor (Anisimov), -- then Metropolitan of Novosibirsk and Barnaul'sk, and a solemn feast of the 200 year anniversary of the day of death of Sainted Sophronii took place at the Zolotonoshsk Krasnogorsk women's monastery and in the Irkutsk diocese ("Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate", 1971, No. 9), and there is reverent veneration of his memory by all believers of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Martyr Michael the Gardener suffered under the Turks for confessing the Christian faith at Athens in the year 1770.
© 1997 by translator Fr. S. Janos.