May 26th (VI - 8)
Icon of Disciples from the 70: Carpus and James Alphaeus
Disciples from the 70: Carpus and Alphaeus (I). Martyrs Avercius and Helen (I). Martyr George the New (1515). Monk Makarii of Kalyazinsk (UnCovering of Relics, 1521). Monk John Psychantes the Confessor (IX). Martyr Alexander (+ 1794). Icon of the Mother of God of Seligersk-Vladimir.
The Holy Disciple Carpus (from the 70) -- was a disciple and companion of the holy Apostle Paul. In the 2nd Epistle to Timothy, the apostle mentions the name Carpus, at the house of whom in Troias he left a phelon and books (2 Tim. 4: 13). Knowing Carpus as a man of virtue and possessing a mind of lofty purity, the Apostle Paul made him bishop of Thracian Bereia. The disciple Carpus went preaching the Gospel to the island of Crete. Here he encountered Saint Dionysios the Areopagite (Comm. 3 October). In his reminiscences Dionysios recounts about a miraculous vision to the disciple Carpus.
The holy disciple Carpus died peacefully at Bereia (according to other histories he received a martyr's end during the persecution under the emperor Nero).
The Holy Disciple Alphaeus (of the 70) came from the Galilean city of Capernaum and was the father of the Apostles James Alphaeus and Matthew.
The Holy Martyrs Avercius and Helen, by tradition, were children of the holy Disciple Alphaeus. For confessing faith in Christ Jesus, Saint Avercius was bound naked amidst a bee-hive and died a martyr from the sting of the bees. His sister, Saint Helen, was pelted with stones.
The Holy Martyr George the New was born into an illustrious Bulgarian family, living in the capital city of Bulgaria -- Sredets (now the city of Sofia). Saint George was implored of the Lord by the fervent prayer of his parents, John and Mary, who until their declining years remained childless. They baptised the infant in the name of the holy GreatMartyr George (Comm. 23 April). Young George received a fine upbringing, he attentively studied the Holy Scriptures, and he was pious and chaste. His parents died when George reached age 25. At that time Bulgaria found itself under the rule of the Turks, who by force converted Christians to Mahometanism. Once several musselmans tried to convert George. They put on the head of the saint a tafta (fez), a circular headpiece, in which musselmans enter their own house of prayer. But George threw the fez (tafta) on the ground. The turks with beatings and abuse led the martyr to their governor. The governor was impressed with the manly form and handsome face of Saint George and he began gently to urge him to accept Mahometanism, promising dignitary honours and wealth from Sultan Selim (1512-1520). But the saint boldly and steadfastly confessed his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and reproached the error of Mahometanism. The governor in a rage gave orders to incessantly flog Saint George with canes, but the saint bravely endured in his confession of faith in Christ. The governor gave orders to intensify the tortures. The passion-bearer enduringly bore all his sufferings, calling for help on the Lord Jesus Christ. They then led the martyr through the city to the beat of a drum and shouts: "Do not insult Mahomet nor abase the musselman faith". Finally, amidst the city a big bon-fire was fired up, for burning Saint George, but he, -- weakened from his wounds, fell upon the ground. They threw him still alive into the fire, and from above they threw on corpses of dogs, so that then Christians would not then be able to find the remains of the martyr. But suddenly heavy rain started pouring and extinguished the bon-fire. With the onset of evening darkness, the place, -- where the body of the martyr was thrown, shone with a bright light. They gave permission to a certain Christian priest to take the venerable remains of the martyr for burial. Informed about the occurrence, Metropolitan Jeremiah with accompanying clergy set out to the place of execution. In the extinguished bon-fire they located the body of the holy Martyr George and carried it to the church of the holy GreatMartyr George in the city of Sredets.
The UnCovering of the Relics of the Monk Makarii of Kalyazinsk occurred on 26 May 1521. A merchant from the city of Dmitrov, Mikhail Voronkov, offered the means for the construction of a stone church, in place of the decaying wooden one, at the Kalyazinsk monastery. The hegumen of the monastery, Joasaph, set up a cross designated for the altar, and gave blessing to dig the trench for the foundation. During the time of work there was discovered an undestroyed grave, from which they issued forth a fragrance. Hegumen Joasaph immediately recognised the grave of the founder of the monastery -- the Monk Makarii, gone to rest in the year 1483. The brethren of the monastery and a crowd of gathered people made a panikhida over the transfer of the grave to the church. From this day the undecayed relics of the saint began to work healings. A report about this was made to the Metropolitan of Moscow, Daniel (1522-1539), who convened at Moscow a Sobor (Council) and, having examined in detail testimony about the sanctity of the Monk Makarii, he established a feastday to the newly-appeared saint. The relics were solemnly transferred to a temple in the Name of the Holy Trinity. Feodosii of Tver' was the compiler of the Service for the UnCovering of the Relics. Until 1547 the veneration of Saint Makarii was done only at this monastery. During the Moscow Sobor of 1547, under Metropolitan Makarii (1543-1564), the Monk Makarii of Kalyazinsk was enumerated to the rank of the Saints, and his memory set on the list of other Russian Saints to be celebrated throughout all of Russia. An account about the Monk Makarii of Kalyazinsk is located also under 17 March, on the day in memory of the repose of the saint.
The Monk John Psychantes the Confessor lived during the end-VIII beginning-IX Century. In his youth he left the secular world and accepted monasticism in the Psukhanteia Lavra (in the suburbs of Constantinople). For his holy life and salvific exploits, the monk received from God the gift to cast out demons and to heal the sick. During this time there raged the heresy of the iconoclasts, and those venerating holy icons were subjected to persecution. They led away the Monk John for interrogation, where they put him under coercion to renounce the veneration of holy icons and to sign a renunciation. The monk in place of a renunciation denounced the persecutors, calling the emperor Leo Isauros (717-741) an heretic. For this they sent the monk into exile, where he died, having endured much distress from the iconoclasts.
The Holy Martyr Alexander was a dervish (a musselman begging monk) in the city of Soluneia (Thessalonika), but he converted to Christ. For a confession of Christian faith the Turks beheaded him in the city of Smyrna in the year 1794.
The Icon of the Mother of God of Seligersk-Vladimir was brought in the XVI Century by the Monk Nil of Stolobensk (Comm. 7 December and 27 May) to the island of Seliger, where the saint pursued asceticism and founded a monastic hermitage. The celebration for the Wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God is done also on 7 December.
© 1997 by translator Fr. s. Janos.