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October 14th (X - 27)

Icon of the saint of the day.

Icon of the Martyrs Gervasius, Nazarius, Protasius and Celsius and the Monk Kosmas

Martyrs Nazarius, Gervasius, Protasius and Celsius (I). Monastic Paraskeva the Serbian (XI). Monk Nikola Svyatosha -- Svyatoslav, Prince of Chernigov, Pechersk Wonderworker in the Nearer Caves (+ 1143). Martyr Siluan, Presbyter of Gaza (IV). PriestMartyr Ignatios, Bishop of Mephthimna (1814). Yakhromsk Icon of the Mother of God (XV).

The Holy Martyrs Nazarius, Gervasius, Protasius and Celsius suffered during the reign of the emperor Nero (54-68). Saint Nazarius (son of the Christian Perpetua and the Jew Africanus) was born at Rome and was baptised by Bishop Linus. From his youthful years Nazarius decided to devote his life to preaching the teachings of Christ and to aid wandering Christians. With this intent he left Rome and arrived in Mediolanum (Milan). While visiting Christians at the Mediolanum prison, Nazarius made the acquaintance of the twins Protasius and Gervasius. The twin brothers had been born in the city of Mediolanum into a family of rich Roman citizens -- Vitalius and Valeria. But having been left orphans (their parents had been martyred for the Christian faith), the brothers distributed their substance to the poor, emancipated their slaves, and occupied themselves with fasting and prayer. The pagans locked them up in prison for their confession of faith in Christ. Saint Nazarius esteemed the twins, and as much as he was able he relieved their sufferings. But for this the pagans gave him a beating and banished him from Mediolanum. Saint Nazarius proceeded on to Gaul (modern France), and there he successfully preached Christianity and converted many pagans. In the city of Kimel he baptised the son of a certain Christian by name Celsius, and in teaching him, acquired a faithful student and co-worker in their missionary labours. For their confession of faith in Christ, the pagans gave them over for devouring by wild beasts, but the beasts would not touch the saints. Afterwards they tried to drown the martyrs in the sea, but they went through the water, as though on dry land. the soldiers, carrying out the orders, were so amazed, that they themselves accepted Christianity and released the holy martyrs.

Set free, Nazarius and Celsius went to Mediolanum and visited Gervasius and Protasius in prison. For this, they were delivered over to Nero, who ordered that Saints Nazarius and Celsius be beheaded. Soon after this they executed also the holy brothers Gervasius and Protasius.

Many years later, during the reign of the holy Emperor Theodosius (408-450), Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, through a revelation from above discovered the relics of the holy martyrs. The holy relics, glorified by many an healing, were solemnly transferred to the Mediolanum cathedral.

The Nun Paraskeva the Serbian was born into a pious Bulgarian family, living during the XI Century in the village of Epivato, betwixt Silistra and Constantinople. One day, while listening to Divine-services, the words of the Lord pierced her heart like an arrow: "Whoso doth wish to come follow Me, let him deny himself" (Mt. 16: 24). From that time she began to give away her clothing to the needy, for which reason she endured much grief from her family. Upon the death of her parents, the saint was tonsured into monasticism and withdrew to the Jordan valley, where she famously asceticised into old age.

But two years before her death an Angel appeared to the Nun Paraskeva and bid her return to her native-land, which she did. The saint died peacefully. Her relics, resting at the cathedral temple at Yassa, are marked by incorruptibility and many an healing.

The Monk Nikola Svyatosha (Svyatoslav), Prince of Chernigov, Pechersk Wonderworker, in the Nearer Caves (+ 1143), was a great-grandson of Great-prince Yaroslav the Wise and son of prince David Svyatoslavich of Chernigov (+ 1123), and in certain sources the father of the monk is named a saint. Svyatosha was the Lutsk prince, and he had a wife and children (his daughter was afterwards married to the Novgorod prince Saint Vsevolod-Gavriil (+ 1138, Comm. 11 February). On 17 February 1106 the holy prince, leaving his family, received tonsure at the Kievo-Pechersk monastery. Nikola Svyatosha here with great humility carried out his obediences: for three years he worked in the kitchen, for which he chopped wood and carried water, and the next three years he was gatekeeper at the monastery. Around his cell the saint kept a garden. From his means he built at the monastery the temple of the Holy Trinity and the infirmary church in the name of Saint Nicholas, his patron saint.

The Monk Nikola was the first of the Russian princes to accept monasticism. He patiently endured the reproaches of his brothers for his decision to lead a life of humble obedience. The saint's doctor, Petr, pointed out to the prince-ascetic, that such exploits of obedience had injured his health. But suddenly the doctor himself fell sick, and was healed only by the prayer of the Monk Nikola. Peter himself then took monastic tonsure.

Having progressed through various obediences, the Monk Nikola then took upon himself the vow of silence. When the saint received money, he used it on beautifying the church, and on the procuring of books (because he loved book reading), or he distributed it to the poor. Saint Nikola was a zealous peacemaker: in 1142 he reconciled the Chernigov prince with Great-prince Vsevolod.

Soon after the death of the saint, his brother by birth prince Izyaslav fell grievously ill. The hegumen of the monastery sent the sick man the hairshirt of the saint. Izyaslav put it on and was healed.

The Holy PriestMartyr Siluan, Presbyter of Gaza (IV), was a native of the city of Gaza, where he as presbyter. For his zeal in preaching the faith of Christ, he was banished to work at digging in the Palestinian city of Phena. In spite of many a tribulation, the saint did not renounce Christ. He later received a martyr's end: he was beheaded together with forty Christian soldiers.

The Yakhromsk Icon of the Mother of God appeared to the lad Kosma (Comm. 18 February), whilst accompanying a sick person. Kosma had stopped at the bank of the Yakhroma River, not far from Vladimir, and the sick person fell asleep. Kosma suddenly saw a bright light and heard a voice: "Attend to and consider thou words of life, show a life God-pleasing and desire the joy of the righteous, and then delight thou of eternal blessings". The light had come from an icon of the Uspenie-Dormition of the MostHoly Mother of God, upon a tree. The lad Kosma took hold the icon, carried it over to the sick person, and that one immediately was healed. Kosma after this set out for the Kievo-Pechersk monastery, where he was tonsured and grew in his own spiritual efforts. The Monk Kosma later upon an inspiration from God took with him the wonderworking icon and withdrew to the bank of the Yakhroma at the place, where he had found the icon. The Monk Kosma built a church, in honour of the Uspenie of the Mother of God, and installed within it the Yakromsk Icon. A monastery later formed there.

© 2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos



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