November 25th (XII - 8)
Icon of Great Martyr Mercurius & Great Martyr Katherine
Icon of Great Martyr Katherine
Leave-taking of the Feast of the Entry of the Mother of God into the Temple. PriestMartyrs Clement, Pope of Rome (+ 101), and Peter, Archbishop of Alexandria (+ 311). Monk Peter the Silent, of Galatia (+ c. 429). Two Holy MonkMartyrs. 150 Martyred Rhetoricians. 670 Martyrs. Saint Fibius. Icons of the Mother of God: Dvinsk, Isaakovsk (1661).
The PriestMartyr Clement, Pope of Rome, was born at Rome into a rich and illustrious family. Since childhood separated from his parents by force of circumstances, Clement was raised by strangers. Living at Rome, the youth received a fine education, he was surrounded by luxury, and had access to the imperial court. But the comforts brought him no delight, and the pagan wisdom failed to attract him. He began to think about the meaning of life. When the news about Christ and His teaching began to reach the capital, Saint Clement left his home and estate and set out to those lands, where the Apostles were preaching. At Alexandria Saint Clement encountered the holy Disciple Barnabas, hearkening to his words with deep attention, and with all his heart perceiving the power and truth of the Word of God. Arriving in Palestine, Saint Clement accepted Baptism from the holy Apostle Peter and became his zealous student and constant companion, sharing with him his toil and sufferings. The holy Apostle Peter shortly before his own sufferings and death ordained Saint Clement to become a bishop of the city of Rome. After the death of the Apostle Peter, there followed next as Bishop of Rome Saint Linus (67-79), succeeded by Saint Anacletus (79-91), and then upon the Roman cathethra-see came next Saint Clement (92-101).
The virtuous life, charitable works and prayerful activity of holy Pope Clement converted many to Christ. Thus, on the day of Pascha once he baptised 424 people. And among the baptised were people of all social classes: slaves, officials, members of he imperial family.
The pagans, seeing the success of his apostolic preaching, made denunciations against Saint Clement to the emperor Trajan (98-117), accusing the saint of insulting the pagan gods. The emperor banished Saint Clement from the capital, sending him off to the faraway Crimea, for work at the Inkerman stone quarry not far from the city of Kherson. Many of the disciples of the saint followed after him, voluntarily preferring exile rather than separation from their spiritual father. Having arrived at the place of exile, Saint Clement found there many Christian believers, sentenced to toil under harsh conditions, and amidst a scarcity of water. He prayed together with the condemned, and the Lord in the image of the Lamb revealed to him the place of a spring of water, from which gushed forth a veritable river of water. This miracle attracted to Saint Clement a multitude of people. Hearing the zealous preacher, hundreds of pagans were converted to Christ. Each day 500 or more men were baptised. And there, in the stone quarry, was made a church, in which he served as priest.
The apostolic activity of the saint aroused the wrath of the emperor Trajan, and he gave orders to drown Saint Clement. They threw the martyr into the sea with an anchor about his neck. This occurred in the year 101.
Through the prayers of the saint's faithful disciples, Cornelius and Fibius together with all the people, the sea receded, and the people found a not-wrought-by-hand temple ("Angelic Church") the undecayed body of their pastor. After this, yearly on the day of the martyr's death of Saint Clement the sea fell back and in its wake for seven days Christians were able to venerate his holy relics. Only in the IX Century during the reign of the Constantinople emperor Nicephoros (802-811), by Divine sufferance, the relics of Saint Clement for 50 years became inaccessible for veneration. During the time of the emperor Michael and his mother Theodora (855-867), Kherson was visited by holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Cyril and Methodius. Having learned about the concealed relics of Saint Clement, they induced the Kherson bishop George to make a collective service of prayer to the Lord for the revealing of the relics of the priestmartyr. After the service of prayer of Saints Cyril and Methodius and the clergy having come with them from Tsargrad and the fervent prayer of everyone gathered, on the surface of the sea at midnight there miraculously appeared the holy relics of Saint Clement. These they solemnly conveyed to the church of the Holy Apostles [at Constantinople]. A portion of the relics were then transported by Saints Cyril and Methodius to Rome, but a large portion of the relics was later brought to Kiev by the holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Vladimir (+ 1015) and placed in the Desyatin-Tithe church, together with the relics of Saint Fibius, where a chapel in the name of Saint Clement had been constructed. The memory of the PriestMartyr Clement [in Russian Kliment] is sacredly venerated in Russia. From ancient times many a church has been dedicated to him.
Saint Clement, who belongs to the Apostolic Fathers, has left to us a spiritual legacy -- two epistles to the Corinthians -- the first such written memorials of Christian teaching after the writings of the holy Apostles. They have been published in Russian translation [and of course also in English]. [trans. note: The significance of the small group of the generation of the Apostolic Fathers, which includes Saint Clement Pope of Rome, is in this: they learned the teaching of Christ directly from the Holy Apostles, who in turn learned directly whilst sitting at the feet of our Lord. The mark of the "Apostolicity of the Church" refers not only to the unbroken chain of priestly ordination stretching back to Christ Himself, but also to our fidelity in the Holy Spirit to the Holy Tradition of the Church stretching back directly through the Apostles to our Lord Jesus Christ, -- wherein our faith truly is one with "the Church of Christ and His Holy Apostles"].
The Holy PriestMartyr Peter, Archbishop of Alexandria, was born and raised at Alexandria. He was a man highly educated, and occupied the position of head of the Alexandria school. In the year 300 he entered upon the guiding of the Alexandria Church, succeeding his teacher and spiritual guide, Blessed Bishop Theonas. Banished from the city during the time of the persecutions against Christians under the emperors Diocletian and Maximian, Saint Peter, being awhile in many imperial districts, again returned to his native city, in order to personally head the Alexandrian Church in this dangerous period. The saint secretly visited the Christians locked up in prison, encouraging steadfastness of faith in them, assisting the widows and orphans, preaching the Word of God, constantly praying and making Divine-services. And the Lord kept him safe out of the hands of the persecutors. During this time of unrest to further unsettle the Church of Church there arose the impious teaching of the heretic Arius, who denied the Divinity of Jesus Christ. Saint Peter came out against him, he condemned the heretic and excommunicated him from the Church. And even then, when Arius through the students of Saint Peter besought the saint to lift the excommunication from him, asserting that he had repented and given up on his false teachings, Saint Peter, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, saw through the falsity and deceit of the renunciation of Arius, and so he instructed his flock not to believe Arius nor to accept him into churchly communion.
Under the wise nurturing of Saint Peter the Alexandria Church strengthened and grew, in spite of the persecutions. But finally, on orders from the emperor Maximian (305?311), the saint as arrested and sentenced to death. A multitude of people gathered at the entrance of the prison, expressing their outrage. Wanting to avoid bloodshed and a riot by the people, the saint sent a message to the authorities, in which he offered to cooperate with them in knocking down a back wall of the prison, so that he might be taken away secretly from the people, to execution. In the dark of the night Saint Peter went forward to the executioners, who took him beyond the city walls and beheaded him at the selfsame spot, where formerly the holy Disciple Mark had been executed, and there was heard a Voice from the heavens, heard by a certain pious virgin that night, exclaiming: "Peter -- first of the Apostles, Peter -- last of the Alexandrian Martyrs". This occurred in the year 311. In the morning, having learned of the death of their bishop, a throng of people gathered at the place of execution, they took up the body and head of the martyr went off to the church, putting on him his bishop's vestments, they put him in the altar at the high place during the time of the funeral service. During his life Saint Peter sat only beneathe it, since in the words of the saint, he beheld a Divine light, encircling the high place, and dared not through humility to enter it.
Saint Peter, a great champion of Orthodoxy, is known also as a profound theologian. Passages from his book, "On the Divinity (of Jesus Christ)", were taken into account at the Ephesus and Chalcedon Councils. From his works the most widely known and highly esteemed by the Church are the "Penitential Canons".
The Monk Peter the Silent, of Galatia: The account about him is located under 1 February.
© 2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos