June 8th (VI - 21)
Icon of GreatMartyr Theodore Stratelates and the Martyr Kalliopa
GreatMartyr Theodore Stratelates (Transfer of Relics, 319). Sainted Theodore, Bishop of Rostov (+ 1023). NobleBorn Princes Vasilii and Konstantin of Yaroslavsk (Uncovering of the Relics, XIII). Martyrs: Kalliopios (+ c. 249-251); Nikander and Marcian (+ c. 303); Paul of Kaium (+ 766); Theophanos at Tsar'grad (+ 1559). Saint Theodosius. Monastics: Melania (+ 410); Aphre (V); Ephrem, Patriarch of Antioch (+ 545); Zosima of Phoenicia (VI); Naukratios (+ 848). Icons of Mother of God: Yaroslavsk (XIII), Uriupinsk (1821).
The Holy GreatMartyr Theodore Stratelates suffered for Christ in Herakleia on 8 February 319. At the time of his sufferings the holy Greatmartyr Theodore ordered his servant Uaros to bury his body on the estate of his parents in Eukhaitos. The transfer of the relics of the Greatmartyr Theodore was done on 8 June 319.
On this day also is remembered a miracle from an image of the Greatmartyr Theodore in a church of his name, at a place called Karsata, near about Damascus. The Saracens had turned this church into a residence. One of the Saracens shot an arrow into the image of the greatmartyr. From the shoulder of the saint, where the arrow had stuck into the wall, blood flowed forth in front of the eyes of everyone. A short while later, the Saracens who had settled in the church, killed each other. Accounts about this miracle are given by the holy Patriarch Anastasias of Antioch (+ 599, Comm. 20 April) and the Monk John Damascene (+ c. 780, Comm. 4 December).
The Uncovering of the Relics of the Nobleborn Princes Vasilii and Konstantin -- The account about them is located under 3 July [trans. note: but the account is lacking in the Russian text through some oversight].
The Nun Melania was by birth the grandmother of Saint Melania the Roman (+ 431, Comm. 31 December).
The Monk Aphre was a student of the Monk Horus of Nitreia (+ c. 390, Comm. 7 August). He pursued asceticism in Egypt, and died during the V Century.
Sainted Ephrem, Patriarch of Antioch, a Syrian, was a military general under the emperors Anastasias (491-518) and Justin (518-527). The saint was distinguished for his virtue, piety, and compassion for all the destitute.
In the year 526 the Lord punished Antioch for the straying of christians into the heresies of Nestorius and Eutykhes: an earthquake destroyed this magnificent city. A large number of the inhabitants perished. Patriarch Euphrasios was crushed beneathe a fallen column.
The emperor summoned Saint Ephrem for the restoration of the ruined city. One of his workers, a bishop, -- who because of his obscure doings had withdrawn from being a bishop, predicted to Saint Ephrem his election to the patriarchal throne and asked him not to abandon deeds of charity and to struggle firmly against the heretics. In the year 527 Saint Ephrem was elected to the patriarchal throne. He firmly and wisely governed his flock and by the example of his life, by his sermons and letters he defended it against heretical teachings.
A notion about the strength of his faith is given by the following event. Near Herakleia was a pillar-dweller practising asceticism, who had fallen into heresy. Learning about the ascetic, Saint Ephrem went to him and urged him to be re-united to the Orthodox Church. The pillar-dweller was not agreeable. He decided to frighten the patriarch and he offered to kindle a large bon-fire, so that they both might enter the fire. The bon-fire was set, but the pillar-dweller did not dare to go into it. The patriarch prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ to show that his was the correct faith and, removing his omophorion, he put it in the bon-fire. After three hours the fire-wood was consumed, but the omophorion of the saint was taken out unharmed. The pillar-dweller recanted from heresy and was re-united to the Church.
Holy Patriarch Ephrem peacefully expired to the Lord in the year 425.
Among his labours, Sainted Ephrem defended the teaching of the Orthodox Church about the union in the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ of two natures -- the Divine and the human.
The Monk Zosima of Phoenicia was born in the Syrian village of Synda, near the city of Tyre. He accepted monasticism and was zealous as an ascetic by his fasting, prayer, labours and other virtues. The monk received from God the gift of perspicacity. When he was at Caesarea, he foresaw the terrible earthquake which destroyed Antioch in the year 526.
One time, the patrician Arkesilaos visited the monk. During this while a messenger informed Arkesilaos, that his wife had punctured her eye with a needle and was suffering terribly. But the monk put his guest at ease and said, that the Caesarea Sainted-bishop John Khozevites (Comm. 3 October) had his wife.
The Monk Zosima attained to such a degree of spiritual accomplishment, that wild beasts were submissive to him. One time on the way to Caesarea an hungry lion pounced upon the donkey of the monk, and dragged it away and started eating. Finding the beast, the monk said: "Friend, I have not the strength to carry the load because of old age. Do thou carry it, and then return into the wilderness and again be fierce according to thy nature". The lion meekly carried the load to Caesarea, where the monk set him free.
The Holy Martyr Paul of Kaium was born and raised at Constantinople. For denouncing the emperor Constantine Kopronymos (740-775) in the Iconoclast controversy, the saint was sent to prison. Under interrogation the martyr remained unyielding. They cut off his nose, poured on his head boiling brimstone with pitch, blinded his eyes and with bound legs they dragged him along the street. The saint died from his torments on 8 June 766. 122 years later his unperished relics were discovered at the Kaium monastery and put in a church of the MostHoly Mother of God. in the year 1222 the holy relics were transferred from Constantinople to Venice.
The Monk Naukratios, a student of the Monk Theodore the Studite (Comm. 11 November), because of his devotion to Orthodoxy and veneration of holy icons, was subjected to persecution by the iconoclasts. After the condemnation of the Iconoclast heresy he returned from exile and was made hegumen of the Studite monastery. he died in 848.
The Yaroslavsk Icon of the Mother of God belonged to the holy nobleborn Princes Vasilii and Konstantin (comm. 3 July). In honour of the wonderworking icon, there was dedicated a lower temple of the Ilinsk church of the city of Yaroslavl'.
© 1997 by translator Fr. S. Janos.