May 6th (V - 19)
Icon of the Righteous Job the Much-Suffering and Monk Seraphim
Righteous Job the Much-Suffering (c. 2000-1500 B.C.). Monk Mikhei of Radonezh (+ 1385). Martyrs: Barbaros the Soldier, Callimachos and Dionysios (+ c. 362); Barbaros, a former Brigand; Demetrion; Donaktos, Mesyros and Pherinos; Barbarus; Donatus; Basil. Monks Mamant, Pakhomios and Ilarion. Saints: John the New; Demos. Sainted Cassian, Bishop of Narnium (VI-VII).
Saint Job the Righteous lived about 2000-1500 years before the Birth of Christ, in Northern Arabia, in the country of Austidia in the land of Uz. His life and sufferings are recorded in the Bible (Book of Job). There exists an opinion, that Job was by descent a nephew of Abraham, and that he was the son of a brother of Abraham -- Nakhor. Job was a man God-fearing and pious. With all his soul he was devoted to the Lord God and in everything conducted himself in accord with God's will, refraining from everything evil not only in deeds, but also in thoughts. The Lord blessed his earthly existence and rewarded Righteous Job with great wealth: he had many cattle and all kinds of possessions. Righteous Job's seven sons and three daughters were amiable amongst themselves and gathered for common repast all together in turns at each of their homes. Every seven days Righteous Job made for his children offerings to God, saying: "If perchance any of them hath sinned or offended God in their heart". For his justness and honesty Saint Job was held in high esteem by his fellow citizens and he had great influence in public matters.
One time however, when the Holy Angels did stand before the Throne of God, Satan appeared amongst them. The Lord God asked Satan, whether he had seen His servant Job, a man righteous and without blemish. Satan answered audaciously, that it was not for nothing that Job was God-fearing -- since God was watching over him and multiplying his riches, but if misfortune were sent him, he would then cease to bless God. Then the Lord, wishing to prove Job's patience and faith, said to Satan: "Everything, that Job hath, I give into thine hand, but only he himself touch not". After this Job suddenly lost all his wealth, and then also all his children. Righteous Job turned to God and said: "Naked did I emerge from the womb of my mother, and naked shalt I be returned to my mother the earth. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.
"Blest be the Name of the Lord!" And thus did Job not sin before the Lord God, nor utter even an unthinking word.
When the Angels of God again did stand before the Lord and amongst them Satan also, then said the devil, that Job was righteous, since that he himself was without harm. Thereupon declared the Lord: "I permit thee to do with him, what thou wishest, sparing only his soul". After this Satan inflicted upon Righteous Job an horrid illness, leprous boils, which covered him head to foot. The sufferer was compelled to remove himself from the company of people, he sat outside the city on an heap of ashes and had to scrape at his pussing wounds with an shard of clay. All his friends and acquaintances abandoned him. His wife had to see after her own welfare, toiling and roaming from house to house. She not only did not support her husband with patience, but rather she thought, that God was punishing Job for some kind of secret sins, and she wept, and wailed against God, she reproached also her husband and finally advised Righteous Job to curse God and die. Righteous Job sorrowed grievously, but even in these sufferings he remained faithful to God. He answered his wife: "Thou speakest, like someone hysterical. Shalt we have from God only the good, and have nothing bad?" And Righteous Job did sin in nothing before God.
Hearing about the misfortunes of Job, three of his friends came afar off to comfort his sorrow. They reckoned, that Job was being punished by God for his sins, and they urged this righteous man though innocent to repent. The righteous one answered, that he was suffering not for sins, but that these tribulations were sent him from the Lord in accord with the Divine Will, which is inscrutable for man. His friends however did not believe him and they continued to think that the Lord was dealing with Job in accord withe the laws obtaining under human standards, thus punishing Job for the committing of sins. In begrieved sorrow of soul Righteous Job turned with a prayer to God, beseeching Him Himself to bear witness before them of his innocence. God thereupon manifested Himself in a tempestuous whirlwind and reproached Job, in that he had tried to penetrate by his reason into the mystery of the world-order and the judgemental-purposes of God. The Righteous Job with all his heart repented himself in these thoughts and said: "I am as nothing, and I foreswear and repent myself in dust and ashes". The Lord thereupon commanded the friends of Job to have recourse to him in asking him to offer sacrifice for them. "Since, -- said the Lord, -- only the person Job do I accept it of, lest I spurn ye for this, that ye did speak concerning Me not thus rightly, as hath instead My servant Job". Job offered sacrifice to God for his friends, and the Lord accepted his intercession, and the Lord likewise returned to Righteous Job his health and gave him twice over more than he had previously. In place of his deceased children was born to him seven sons and three daughters, more beautiful than any other in that land. After bearing his sufferings, Job lived yet another 140 years (altogether he lived 248 years) and he lived to see his descendants down to the fourth generation.
Saint Job prefigures the Lord Jesus Christ, having come down to earth and suffering for the salvation of mankind, and then glorified in His glorious Resurrection.
"I know, -- said Righteous Job, afflicted with the leprous boils, -- I know, that my Redeemer liveth and He wilt raise up from the dust on the last day my decayed skin, and I in my flesh shalt see God. I shalt see Him myself with mine own eyes, and not through the eyes of some other see Him. In expectation of this, my heart doth jump within my bosom!" (Job 19: 25-27).
"Know ye, the judgement, in which be justified only those having true wisdom -- the fear of the Lord, and true understanding -- the departing from evil" (Job 28: 28).
Saint John Chrysostom says: "There was no human misfortune, which this man did not undergo. He was the firmest and most adamant, beset by sudden tribulation by hunger, and by woe, and sickness, and bereft of children, and loss of riches, and then suffering abuse from his wife, insult from his friends, reproach from his servants, and in everything he showed himself more solid than a stone, and a source before the Law also of Grace".
The Monk Mikhei of Radonezh was one of the first disciples of the Monk Sergei of Radonezh, and lived with him in the same cell, and under his guidance he attained to high spiritual perfection. For his meekness of soul and purity of heart, the Monk Mikhei during his lifetime was vouchsafed to witness the appearance of the Mother of God to his great teacher. One time the Monk Sergei, having made the morning rule of prayer, sat for awhile to rest, but suddenly he said to his student: "Be alert, my child, for we shalt have a wondrous visitation". Hardly had he pronounced these words when a voice was heard: "The All-Pure One draweth nigh". Suddenly there shone a light brighter than the sun, and the Monk Mikhei fell down upon the ground and out of fear lay there as though dead. When the Monk Sergei lifted up his disciple, that one asked: "Tell me, father, what is the reason for this wondrous vision? From fright my soul hath nearly parted from my body". The Monk Sergei thereupon informed his disciple about the appearance of the MostHoly Mother of God. Saint Mikhei reposed to God in the year 1385. The celebration of the Monk Mikhei is done on 6 May, and his relics rest beneathe a crypt at the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra. On 10 December 1734, over the place of burial of the Monk Mikhei, there was consecrated a church in honour of the Appearance to the Monk Sergei of Radonezh of the MostHoly Mother of God, together with the Holy Apostles Peter and John the Theologian.
The Holy Martyrs Barbaros the Soldier, and together with him Bakkhos, Callimachos and Dionysios lived during the IV Century and served in the army of the emperor Julian the Apostate. Saint Barbaros was secretly a Christian; in a war with the Franks he gained victory in single-combat against a mighty enemy soldier. For this he received great honour in the army and the acclamation of the emperor, and was bestown the title of "comites" ("imperial bodyguard"). After the victory over the Franks, the military Bakkhos wanted to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods and he deferred to Barbaros as the victor to have the honour of making the first sacrificial offering. Saint Barbaros thereupon openly confessed himself a Christian and refused to offer the sacrifice. For this, by order of Julian the Apostate, he was subjected to much torture. They suspended the saint and tore at his body until his insides were falling out. Saint Barbaros called out to the Lord for help, and forthwith an Angel of God appeared and healed his wounds, such that not a trace of them remained. Seeing this miracle, the military commander Bakkhos and two soldiers -- Callimachos and Dionysios, believed in Christ and repudiated the pagan gods. For this they were immediately beheaded. They continued with their torture of Saint Barbaros. They tied him to a wheel, beneathe which they set ablaze a strong fire, and the body of the sufferer they sprinkled with oil. But here also the power of God preserved the holy martyr unharmed, while the fire however caught upon the torturers, burning many and killing two. After this they continued to torment the holy Martyr Barbaros for yet another seven days. But through miraculous help from on high he remained unharmed. Seeing in this miracle the manifest appearance of the power of God, many pagans were converted them to faith in the True God. Saint Barbaros finally had an end to his glorious deed, being beheaded by the sword in the year 362. The body of the martyr was given burial in the city of Peloponnesian Methona by the pious bishop Philikios.
The Holy Martyr Barbaros, formerly a brigand, lived in Greece and for a long time he committed robberies, extortions and murders. But the Lord, not desiring the death of a sinner, turned him also to repentance. One time, when Barbaros was sitting in a cave and gazing upon the multitude of his stolen possessions, the grace of God touched his heart. He thought about the inevitability of death, and about the Dread Last Judgement to come. Pondering over the multitude of his wicked deeds, he was distressed in his heart and he decided to make a start with his repentance, saying: "The Lord did not despise the prayer of the robber hanging alongside Him, and grant that He spare me through His ineffable mercy". Barbaros left behind in the cave all his treasures and he went to the nearest church. He did not hide his wicked deeds from the priest and he asked to be accepted for repentance. The priest gave him a place in his own home, and Saint Barbaros followed after him, going about on his hands and knees like a four-legged animal, since he considered himself unworthy to be called a man. In the household of the priest he settled himself in amongst the cattle, eating with the animals and considering himself more wicked than any creature. Having received from the priest absolution from his sins, Barbaros went off into the woods and lived there for 12 years bare and without clothing, suffering the cold and heat, and his body became dirty and blackened all over. Finally, Saint Barbaros received news from on high, that his sins were forgiven and that he would die a martyr's death. At the place where Saint Barbaros asceticised one time there came merchants. In the deep grass before them something was moving. Thinking that this was an animal, they let loose several arrows from their bows. Coming closer, they were terrified seeing that they had mortally wounded a man. But Saint Barbaros besought them not to sorrow, he told them about himself, and he asked that they relate what had happened to the priest, at the house of whom he earlier had lived. After this, Saint Barbaros yielded up his spirit to God. The priest, who had accepted the repentance of the former robber, located his body, shining with an Heavenly light. The priest gave burial to the body of Saint Barbaros at the spot where he was killed. Afterwards from the grave of the saint there began to issue forth a curative myrh, which did heal various maladies. His relics are located at the monastery of Kellios in Thessaly, near the city of Larissa.
© 2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos