May 16th (V- 29)
Icon of Monk Theodore the Sanctified and Martyr Nicholas of Mechebos
Monk Theodore the Sanctified (+ 368). Monks: Ephrem of Perekomsk, Novgorod Wonderworker (Transfer of Relics, 1545); Kassian (+ 1537) and Lavrentii (+ 1548) of Komel'sk. Sainted Alexander, Bishop of Jerusalem (+ 213-250). Martyrs: Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia (+ c. 303); Auda, Audiesos and others (+ c. 418); Peter (+ 761); Nicholas of Mechebos (+ 1617); Paplinus. Blessed Maiden Muza (V). Holy Fathers, murdered at the Laura of Saint Sava (+ 614). Sainted George II, Bishop of Mytilene (IX). Sainted Nicholas the Mystic, Patriarch of Constantinople (+ 925). Saint Euphemia. Saint Neadios the Wonderworker. Saint Arkadius and his Companions.
The Monk Theodore was called "Sanctified" because he was the first in his monastery ordained to the priesthood.
The Monk Theodore came from Egypt and was the son of rich and illustrious Christian parents. The yearning for monastic life early showed up in him. One time at the house of his parents during the feast of Theophany there was a large party, and the lad did not want to take part in the festivities, grieving that because of earthly joys he would be deprived of joys in the life to come. At 14 years of age he secretly left home and settled in one of the monasteries. Hearing about Pakhomios the Great, he burned with the desire to see the ascetic. The Monk Pakhomios received the arriving lad with love, having been informed by God beforehand about his coming. Remaining at the monastery, the Monk Theodore quickly succeeded in all his monastic tasks, particularly in the full obedience to his guide and in his compassion towards the surrounding brethren. Theodore's mother, learning that he was at the Tabennisa monastery, came to the Monk Pakhomios with a letter from the bishop, imploring a meeting with her son. But the Monk Theodore, fearing to break his vow of renunciation from the world, refused to meet with his mother.
Seeing the strength of mind and ability of Saint Theodore, the Monk Pakhomios once directed him to speak an instruction to the brethren on Holy Scripture. Saint Theodore was then but 20 years old. He unquestioningly obeyed and began to speak, but certain of the older brethren took offence that a newly begun monk should read them a discourse, and they departed. The Monk Pakhomios thereupon said to them: "Ye have given in to the devil and by your conceit your efforts art come to naught. Ye rejected not Theodore, but rather the Word of God, and have deprived yourselves of the Holy Spirit".
Saint Pakhomios appointed the Monk Theodore as overseer of the Tabennisa monastery, and withdrew to a more solitary monastery. Saint Theodore with filial love continued to concern himself over his instructor, and in the final illness of the Monk Pakhomios he looked after him, and when the great abba reposed to the Lord, he closed his eyes. After the death of the Monk Pakhomios, Saint Theodore directed the Tabennisa monastery, and later on he was at the head of all the Thebaid monasteries. The Monk Theodore the Sanctified was famed for holiness of life and a copious gift of wonderworking, and he was well known to Saint Athanasias, Patriarch of Alexandria. Saint Theodore reposed in his old age in the year 368.
The Transfer of the Relics of the Monk Ephrem of Perekomsk occurred on 16 May 1545. This celebration was established at a Moscow Council of the year 1549. The Monk Ephrem of Perekomsk reposed on 26 September 1492. The account about the life of the saint is located under 26 September.
The Monk Kassian of Komel'sk and Vologda was a student of the Monk Kornilii of Komel'sk (Comm. 19 May) and he guided the Komel'sk monastery during the time of the departure of the Monk Kornilii to Lake Sura. Chosen by the brethren with the blessing of the Monk Kornilii, he strove in everything to imitate his teacher and he strictly observed his ustav (monastic rule). Following his directives, the Monk Kassian instructed the monks in the fear of God to spend their time at prayer, to be concerned about inward actions and to banish all worldly thoughts, to be sober in thought, to be vigilant in soul and contrite in heart. (Chapter 1 of the Ustav: "About Church decorum and collective prayer".)
Upon the return of the Monk Kornilii to the monastery, Saint Kassian joyfully met his teacher, and resigned as hegumen, wanting as before to remain in obedience to the holy elder. The Monk Kassian reposed in the year 1537.
The Monk Lavrentii of Komel'sk was a student of the Monk Kornilii of Komel'sk. In the year 1538, on the suggestion of the Monk Kornilii, he was unanimously chosen by the brethren as hegumen of the monastery, and he made use of the spiritual counsels and guidances of his teacher. One time learning about the approach of Tatars towards the monastery, and on the advice of the Monk Kornilii, Hegumen Lavrentii led away all the brethren to a safe place, and later when the danger had diminished, the monks returned to the monastery. Over the course of ten years, and upon the repose of his teacher, the Monk Lavrentii guided the holy monastery, constantly concerning himself over its welfare. Seeing the zeal and the love for the Lord in Saint Lavrentii as head of the Korniliev monastery, the starets-elder Aleksei transferred under the Korniliev monastery in 1547 the Koptevo wilderness-monastery, which he directed. Amidst his many cares the Monk Lavrentii did not forsake his beloved craft -- the copying of books. The Monk Lavrentii reposed to the Lord on 16 May 1548.
The Martyrs Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia: The account about them is located under 15 June.
Blessed Muza lived during the V Century. It is known, that she was distinguished for her decent morals. Saint Gregory Dialogus, Pope of Rome, spoke about her to his archdeacon Peter, saying that he had heard suchlike from the brother of Muza, named Probus. One time in a dream there appeared to the saint the MostHoly Mother of God, surrounded by maidens, and asked her: "Dost thou wish to follow after Me and to live together with these maidens?" "I wish it", -- answered the maiden. "Do nothing unseemly, and avoid frivolity and child's play. And in 30 days I shalt come for thee and thou wilt be with us". From that moment Muza began to pray earnestly and with constant concentration. In answer to the questioning of her astonished parents, Saint Muza told them about the vision. On the 25th day the maiden fell ill, and on the 30th day she again beheld the Mother of God. With the words: "I am coming, I am coming, my Lady!" -- the blessed maiden reposed to God.
Sainted George was made bishop of Mytilene in the years 820-829, during the time of the Iconoclast disturbance. He died in the year 842 at Mytilene. In the XII Century his holy relics were seen by the Russian hegumen Daniel, journeying through the East and recording an account of his journey.
Sainted Nicholas the Mystic was Patriarch of Constantinople. His title of "Mystic" ("mystikos" -- an old rank of "privy counsellor") indicates that he earlier served at the imperial court. He was elevated onto the patriarchal throne in the year 895. In 905, because of his excommunication from the Church of the emperor Leo I -- who had unlawfully entered into a fourth marriage, he was deposed from his cathedra-seat and sent to prison. In the year 911, after the death of Leo I, he was again raised onto the cathedra as patriarch and guided the Church until his death, which followed in about the year 925.
The Holy Martyrs Auda, Audiesos the Bishop and with them 16 Priests, 9 Deacons, 6 Monks and 7 Virgins were natives of Persia and they suffered for the Name of Christ in about the year 418 under Izdegerd.
The Holy Martyr Peter suffered in the year 761 for icon-veneration at Blakhernae under the emperor Constantine Copronymos (he was whipped to death).
The NewMartyr Nicholas (from Mechebos) was burned by the Turks in the year 1617. His head is situated at the Varlaam monastery in Meteora.
© 1999 by translator Fr. S. Janos