November 20th (XII - 3)
Icon of St. Gregory Decapolites, St. Theoktist, and St. Proclus
Monk Gregory Dekapolites (+ 816). Sainted Proklos, Archbishop of Constantinople (+ 446-447). Monk Diodor of Yur'egorsk (+ 1633). Martyr Dasias (+ 284-305). Martyrs Eustathios, Thespasios and Anatolios (+ 312). Saint Theoktistos the Confessor. Monk Isidor of Alexandria. PriestMartyr Nirses and Joseph his Disciple, and John, Saverios, Isaac and Ipatios -- Bishops of Persia; Martyrs Azates the Eunuch, Sasonios, Thekla, Anna, Bautha, Denachisa, and many other Men and Women, Suffering in Persia (+ 343).
The Monk Gregory Dekapolites was born in the city of Isaurian Dekapolis in the VIII Century. From the time of his childhood he was fond of the temple of God and church services. He read constantly with reverence in the Holy Scripture. In order to avoid the marriage which his parents had intended for him, he secretly left home. He spent all his life wandering: he was in Constantinople, Rome, Corinth, and he pursued asceticism for a certain while on Olympos. The Monk Gregory preached everywhere the Word of God, denouncing the Iconoclast heresy, strengthening the faith and fortitude of the Orthodox, whom the heretics in those times were oppressing, torturing and imprisoning. Through his ascetic effort and prayer, Saint Gregory acquired the graced gifts of prophecy and wonderworking. Having attained to purity of heart, he was granted to hear Angelic singing in praise of the Holy Trinity. To better contend against the Iconoclast heresy, Saint Gregory left the monastery of Saint Minos where he had asceticised for a long while, and he set off again to Constantinople. At the capital, a grievous illness undermined his strength, and he expired to the Lord in the year 816.
Sainted Proklos, Archbishop of Constantinople, from his early years devoted all his time to prayer and the study of Holy Scripture. The Lord granted him the great good fortune to be a student of Saint John Chrysostom (+ 407, Comm. 13 November), who at first ordained him to the dignity of deacon, and then to the dignity of presbyter. Saint Proklos was a witness of the appearance of the Apostle Paul to Saint John Chrysostom. Saint Proklos received from his teacher a profound comprehension of Holy Scripture, and learned in polished form to elucidate thought.
After the exile and death of Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Proklos was ordained by the holy Patriarch of Constantinople Sisinios (426-427) to the dignity of bishop of the city of Kyzikos, but under the influence of Nestorian heretics he was expelled by his flock there. Saint Proklos then returned to the capital and preached the Word of God in the churches of Constantinople, strengthening listeners in the Orthodox faith and denouncing the impiety of the heretics. Upon the death of the Patriarch Saint Sisinios, Saint Proklos was elevated to archbishop. Having thus been made Patriarch of Constantinople, he guided the Church over the course of twelve years (434-447). By the efforts of Saint Proklos, the relics of Saint John Chrysostom were transferred from Comana to Constantinople during the time of the holy emperor Saint Theodosius II (408-450).
During the time of Saint Proklos as patriarch the empire suffered destructive earthquakes, lasting for several months. At Bithynia, in the Hellespont, and in Phrygia cities were devastated, rivers disappeared from the face of the earth, and in previously dry places there occurred terrible flooding. The people of Constantinople together with the patriarch and emperor at the head came out from the city and made moliebens for the ceasing of the calamities, unprecedented in force. During the time of one molieben a boy from the crowd was snatched up into the air by an unseen force and carried off to such an height, that he was no longer to be seen by human sight. Then, whole and unharmed, the lad was lowered upon the ground and he reported, how that up Above he heard and he saw, how the Angels in glorifying God did sing: "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal". All the people began to sing this Trisagion Prayer, -- adding to it the refrain. "Have mercy on us!" -- and the earthquakes stopped. The Orthodox Church sings still this prayer at Divine-services to this very day.
The Constantinople flock esteemed their Patriarch for his ascetic life, for his concern about the downtrodden, and for his preaching. Many works of the saint have survived down to the present day. Best known are his discourses against the Nestorians, two tracts of the Saint in praise of the Mother of God, and four tracts on the Nativity of Christ, -- setting forth the Orthodox teaching about the Incarnation of the Son of God. The activity of the holy Patriarch in establishing decorum in all the church affairs gained him universal esteem. Surrounded by love and respect, Saint Proklos expired to the Lord in his declining years (+ 446-447).
The Monk Diodor of Yur'egorsk (Damian), was born in the village of Turchasovo at the River Onega. His parents -- Jerothei and Maria -- named their son Diomid. As a fifteen year old youth he set out on pilgrimage to the Solovetsk monastery, and then remained there as a novice. And there at age 19 he received monastic tonsure under the hegumen Antonii, he lived with the hermits on desolate islands, and then he settled at Lake Vodla. He spent seven year there with his student Prokhor. Resolving to found a monastery in the Name of the MostHoly Trinity on Mount Yur'ev, the monk set out to Moscow, where he received approval from tsar Mikhail Feodorovich (1613-1645) and also money for the building of the monastery from the mother of the tsar, the nun and eldress Martha. Somewhat before his death the Monk Diodor was obliged on monastery matters to journey to Kargopol'. Taking leave of the brethren, he predicted his impending death. He died and was buried at Kargopol' (+ 27 November 1633). After two years his undecayed body was transferred to the Trinity monastery and buried at the south wall of the cathedral church. The memory of the Monk Diodor is celebrated on 20 November out of deference to the feastday of the Znamenie-Sign Icon of the Mother of God, with which his repose co-incides.
The Holy Martyr Dasios lived during the III Century in the city of Dorostolum on the Dunaj/Danube River. The inhabitants of the city were preparing for a feast in honour of the pagan god Saturn. By custom, 30 days before the feast they selected an handsome youth, dressed him in fine clothing, accorded him royal honours, and on the day of the feast brought him in sacrifice to their god. The choice of his compatriots fell upon Saint Dasios, since in the city there was not a more handsome youth. Having learned of this, the saint said: "If I am fated to die, then better to die for Christ as a Christian". He openly confessed his faith in Christ in front of his fellow citizens. He denounced their impiety and error and converted many of them to Christ. For this, on orders of the emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian (284-305), he was beheaded after cruel tortures.
The Holy Martyrs Eustathios, Thespasios and Anatolios, natives of the city of Gangra, were the children of a rich merchant. They were baptised by bishop Anthymos of Nicomedia. They died as martyrs at Nicea, having suffered quite fierce tortures (+ 312).
The PriestMartyrs Bishop Nirses, and Joseph his disciple, the Bishops of Persia John, Saverios, Isaac and Ipatios, the Martyrs Azates the Eunuch , Sasonios, Thekla, Anna and many other Men and Women suffering in Persia: They were executed during the time of a persecution against Christians under the emperor Sapor II.
Saint Nirses and his disciple Joseph were beheaded; Saint John was stoned. This fate befell also Saints Isaac and Ipatios. Saint Saverios died in prison, and after death they cut off his head. A certain apostate-presbyter strangled the Martyr Azates the Eunuch. The Martyrs Sasonios, Thekla, Anna and many other men and women likewise underwent torture, suffering and death for Christ (+ 343).
© 2000 by translator Fr. S. Janos