June 4th (VI - 17)
Icon of the Righteous Martha and Mary Sisters of Lazarus and Saint Mitrophanes
Sainted Mitrophanes, Patriarch of Constantinople (+ c. 326). Monk Methodii, Hegumen of Peshnoshsk (+ 1392). Monks Eleazar and Nazarii of Olonets (XV). Martyrs: Frontasius, Severinus, Severianus and Silanus (I); Concordius (+ c. 175); Paul; John, Hegumen of Monagreia (+ 761); PriestMartyr Astios, Bishop of Dirrakheia (II). Righteous Martha and Mary, Sisters of Lazarus (I). Sainted Titus, Bishop of Byzantium (III). Blessed Optatus, Bishop of Melebita (IV). Monk Zosima, Bishop of Egyptian Babylon (VI); Sophios (VI-VII); Alonias.
Sainted Mitrophanes, Patriarch of Constantinople, was a contemporary of Saint Constantine the Great (306-337). His father, Dometius, was by birth a brother of the Roman emperor Probus (276-282). Having reasoned out the falseness of the pagan religion, Dometius came to believe in Christ. During a time of terrible persecution of Christians at Rome, Saint Dometius set off to Byzantium with two of his sons, Probus and Mitrophanes, and began to be instructed in the law of the Lord by Bishop Titus, a man holy of life. Seeing the ardent desire of Dometius to labour for the Lord, Saint Titus ordained him presbyter. And after the death of Titus there was elevated upon the bishop's throne first Dometius (272-303), and thereafter his sons, Probus (303-315) and in 316 -- Saint Mitrophanes.
Upon a time having come to Byzantium, the emperor Constantine was delighted by the beauty and comfortable setting of the city. And having seen the holiness of life and sagacity of Saint Mitrophanes, the emperor took him back along to Rome. Soon Constantine the Great transferred the capital from Rome to Byzantium and he brought Saint Mitrophanes there. In the year 325 there was convened the First OEcumenical Council for resolving the Arian heresy. Constantine the Great had the holy fathers of the Council bestow upon Saint Mitrophanes the title of Patriarch. In such manner, the saint became the first Patriarch of Constantinople. Saint Mitrophanes was himself very old, and was not able to be present at the Council, and he sent in place of himself the khore-bishop (vicar bishop) Alexander. At the close of the Council the emperor together with the holy fathers visited with the ailing Patriarch. At the request of the emperor, the saint disclosed his choice of worthy successor to himself -- Bishop Alexander, foretelling, that after Alexander there would be elevated upon the patriarchal throne Paul (at that time a reader), and to the Patriarch of Alexandria Alexander he foretold, that his successor would be the archdeacon Saint Athanasias.
Saint Mitrophanes peacefully expired to God in the year 326, at age 117. His relics rest at Constantinople, in a church, erected in his memory.
The Holy Martyr Concordius, son of the presbyter Gordian, was raised in piety and faith in Christ, and therefore the bishop of Rome Pius made him a sub-deacon. Together with his father, Saint Concordius made fasting and prayers, and he generously distributed alms to the needy. With the permission of his father he settled not far from Rome with his kinsman Evtychius and began to spend his days in prayer and good deeds. The reknown of his pious life reached even the head of the Tussa region, Torquatus. Having summoned the saint, he urged him to renounce Christ, promising to make him a priest of the pagan gods, while Saint Concordius in turn urged Torquatus to turn to the True God -- Jesus Christ. They beat the martyr and threw him into prison. Holy Bishop Anthymus, a friend of Torquatus, made entreaty to release the prisoner to him. Saint Concordius lived with him for a certain while and was ordained presbyter. When Torquatus again summoned the saint and asked him, what he thought about his life, the saint answered, that life for him -- is Christ. They bound him and locked him up in prison, chaining him by the neck and hands to the wall. Three days later Torquatus sent his assistant to the prison, with an order demanding that the martyr either offer sacrifice to the gods, or be condemned to death. The saint cried out: "Glory to Thee, Lord Jesus Christ", and spat on the idol of Zeus carried by the soldiers. He himself bent his neck beneathe the sword. His death occurred in about the year 175. His relics rest in Italy, not far from the city of Spoleto.
The PriestMartyr Astios was bishop of the city of Dirrakheia (Macedonia) during the time of the emperor Trajan (98-117), a persecutor of Christians. The saint once had a dream, a foreboding of his impending suffering and death for Christ. He ordered his assistants to hide, and he himself was arrested and beaten fiercely with tin rods and oxhide whips. But Saint Astios did not renounce Christ. They smeared his body with honey, so as to increase his suffering with the stings of hornets and flies, and crucified him on a cross. The body of the priestmartyr was reverently buried by Christians.
The Holy Martyrs Frontasius, Severinus, Severianus and Silanus suffered for Christ under the emperor Claudius (41-54). They had been sent to preach the Word of God in Southern Gaul (now France) by the bishop of Petragorium, Frontonus. The governor, a pagan named Squiridonus, arrested them and demanded that they renounce Christ. But the martyrs firmly confessed their faith, saying they had but one desire -- to either live or die for Christ. The enraged Squiridonus gave orders to take the saints out before the city, secure them to pillars, and thrust nails into their heads in the likeness of a crown of thorns. After this they were beheaded.
And by tradition, the holy martyrs by the power of God continued to live, they took in hand their heads and went to the church of the Mother of God, where at prayer was the holy bishop Frontonus, who had sent them preaching. Putting their heads at the feet of the bishop, they then expired to God.
The Monk Zosima, Bishop of Babylon, was born in Cilicia (Asia Minor). While still a youth he left the world and settled on Mount Sinai, and later he withdrew to a more solitary place in Lebanon. One time he encountered an elderly ascetic, who foretold that he would be bishop in Babylon. When Zosima returned to Sinai, he was sent on an errand to Alexandria. The Alexandrian Patriarch made him bishop of Babylon, and into old age he wisely guided his flock. Sensing the approach of death, he returned to Sinai and there peacefully expired to God (V Century).
The Monk Methodii of Peshnoshsk was a disciple of the Monk Sergei of Radonezh. The account about him is located under 14 June.
The Righteous Sisters Martha and Mary were believers in Christ even before the Resuscitation by Christ of their brother Saint Lazarus. After the murder of the holy Archdeacon Stephen a persecution against the Jerusalem Church broke out, and Righteous Lazarus was cast out of Jerusalem. The holy sisters then assisted their brother in the proclaiming of the Gospel in various lands.
The Monks Eleazar and Nazarii of Olonets were founders of the monastery of Saint John the Forerunner on the island of Murma in Lake Onega. In the manuscripts of the saints they are sometimes termed Greeks, which allows them possibly to be considered disciples of the Monk Lazar of Murmansk, who had come from Constantinople.
The Martyr John, Hegumen of Monagreia, was thrown into the sea during the reign of the Iconoclast emperor Constantine Kopronymos in the year 761.
© 2000 by translator Fr. S. Janos