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October 17th (X - 30)

Icon of the saint of the day.

Icon of the Martyrs the Unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian

Prophet Hosea (+ 820 B.C.). MonkMartyr Andrew of Crete (+ 767). Monk Antonii (Anthony) of Leokhnovsk, Novgorod (+ 1611). Martyrs the UnMercenaries Cosmas and Damian of Arabia, with their brothers the Martyrs Leontios, Anthymos and Eutropios (+ 287 or 303). Transfer of Relics of Righteous Lazarus of the Four-Days, Bishop of Kiteia (898). Sainted Joseph, Catholikos-Patriarch of All Gruzia (Georgia, + 1770). Martyr Isidor and his companions. Icons of the Mother of God, named "Before Birth and After Birth the Virgin" (1827) and "Deliveress".

The Holy Prophet Hosea was descended from the tribe of Issachar. He lived during the IX Century before the Birth of Christ, and he lived in the Israelite kingdom. He was a contemporary of the holy Prophets Isaiah, Micah (Mikhei) and Amos. During this time many of his fellow Israelites, having forgotten the True God, worshipped idols. The holy Prophet Hosea by his wise guidances attempted to turn them again to the ancient piety. Denouncing the iniquities of the people of Israel [i.e. the northern kingdom Israel], the prophet proclaimed to them great misfortunes from a foreign people and their removal into captivity by Assyria. Almost a thousand years before the coming of the Saviour, and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the prophet foretold the cessation of the Old Testament sacrificial offering and of the priesthood of Aaron (Hos. 3: 4-5), and that through all the earth would spread knowledge of the True God (Hos. 2: 20-23). Hosea spoke also about Christ, that He would return from out of Egypt (Hos. 11: 1; compare Mt. 2: 15), that He would be resurrected on the third day (Hos. 6 and especially Hos. 6: 2; compare with 1 Cor. 15: 4), and that He would conquer death (Hos. 13-14, especially Hos. 13: 14; compare 1 Cor. 15: 54-55). The prophesies of Saint Hosea are included in the books of Holy Scripture, in the Book of Hosea. The prophetic service of Saint Hosea continued for more than 60 years. The God-inspired prophet died in extreme old age, having devoted all his life to fulfilling the Will of God.

The MonkMartyr Andrew of Crete lived during the reign of the iconoclast emperor Constantine Kopronymos (741-775), who under penalty of death ordered Christians to throw out the holy icons from their churches and homes. Believers, who fearlessly resisted the impious iconoclast, and cleaving firmly to the tradition of the holy fathers, -- were locked up into prison. When the Monk Andrew heard, that the emperor was throwing into prison not the thieves and robbers, but virtuous and pious Christians instead, he went to Constantinople and in front of everyone, in the church of the holy Martyr Mamant, he denounced the heretic for persecuting the true faith. In justifying himself the emperor said, that it is folly to bestow veneration on wood and paint. To this the monk answered, that whosoever suffers for holy icons suffers for Christ, but whosoever reviles the icon upon which Christ is imaged, offers insult to Christ Himself. The enraged iconoclast gave orders to torture Saint Andrew without mercy. Along the way to the place of execution the martyr expired to the Lord. An hundred years later a canon was written to the saint by the Monk Joseph the Melodist. Through the prayers to the saint are healed seizures.

The Monk Antonii (Anthony) of Leokhnovsk, Novgorod, was from the Tver lineage of the Veniaminov boyar-nobles. The monk lived as an hermit not far from Novgorod, in the Rublev wilderness, at the River Perekhoda. In about the year 1556 he resettled with the wilderness-dweller Tarasii, who lived beyond Lake Il'men at Leokhnovo, not far from Stara Rus', and from him received monastic tonsure. Thus began the wilderness monastery in honour of the Transfiguration of the Lord, afterwards called the Leokhnovsk or Ivetsk-Antoniev monastery. The Monk Antonii lived into old age, having acquired the gift of perspicacity.

In the year 1611, when the Swedes had laid waste the surroundings of Novgorod, the monk on the invitation of metropolitan Isidor resettled to Novgorod. He died on 14 September 1611 at age 85 and was buried nearby the church of the holy Evangelist Luke, on the side towards the Saint Sophia church. Before his death and in the presence of many the monk said, that his body would rest in his wilderness-monastery. A disciple of the monk, named Gregory, having returned to the place of the monastery laid waste and burnt by the Swedes, made a cell there with a chapel and remained there to live. The Monk Antonii thrice appeared to him in a dream and said: "Brother Grigorii, go to Novgorod, tell metropolitan Kiprian and the elders of the city, that they should put me in the place of my monastery". After the report of Gregory, the metropolitan made a church procession to the grave of the Monk Antonii. The uncovered incorrupt relics were transferred to the Leokhnovsk monastery on 13 July 1620. At the uncovering of the relics, a blind man named Iosif gained his sight, and many other miracles occurred.

There is an especial order of commemorations, celebrated by the churches in the name of the Monk Antonii of Leokhnovsk, both in the village of Leokhnovo (not far from Stara Rus") and in the Rublevsk wilderness-monastery. On the Second Friday after the feast of the First-Ranked Apostles Peter and Paul (29 June) is remembered the Uncovering and Transfer of the Relics of the Relics of the Monk Antonii from Novgorod to the Leokhnovsk monastery. On the Ascension of the Lord is remembered the coming of the Monk Antonii from the Rublev wilderness to Leokhnovo. On 17 October -- is the memory of the Repose of the Saint, who died on the feast of the Exaltation of the Venerable Cross, on the 9th hour of the evening. At the Rublevsk wilderness monastery was celebrated likewise the memory of the Consecration of the church in the name of the Monk Antonii -- on 30 August (1873).

The Holy Martyrs and UnMercenaries Cosmas and Damian of Arabia walked through the cities and the villages, preaching Christ and healing the sick by the power of Christ. The saints would not take any sort of payment for the help they rendered. In Cilicia pagans seized hold of the holy physicians and led them before the governor named Lysias. For their refusal to renounce the Christian faith, the governor gave orders for the saints to be brutally beaten, and then to drown them in the sea. But an Angel of God conveyed them from the deeps to shore. The pagans then beheaded the saints. Together with the holy physicians were martyred also their brothers Leontios, Anthymos and Eutropios. (The UnMercenary Saints Cosmas and Damian of Arabia ought not to be confused with UnMercenary Saints Cosmas and Damian of Asia Minor -- Comm. 1 November, or the Unmercenary Saints Cosmas and Damian of Rome -- Comm. 1 July).

The Transfer of the Relics of Righteous Lazarus of the Four-Days, Bishop of Kiteia, was made in the IX Century. Righteous Saint Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary (Magdalene), lived in the village of Bethany, not far from Jerusalem. During His earthly life the Lord Jesus Christ often visited the house of Lazarus, whom He much loved and called His friend (Jn. 11: 3, 11), and when Lazarus had died and lain four days already in the grave, the Lord resurrected ("voskresenie") him from the dead (Jn. 11: 1-44). (The Resuscitation ("voskreshenie") of Lazarus is remembered by the Church on Saturday of the Sixth Week of Great Lent -- "Lazarus Saturday".) Many of the Jews in hearing about this themselves came to Bethany, and being persuaded in the reality of this most remarkable wonder, became followers of Christ. And because of this the high-priests wanted also to kill Lazarus. Righteous Lazarus is mentioned in the Holy Gospel yet one more time: when the Lord had come again to Bethany 6 days before the Passover, and the resuscitated Lazarus was again also there (Jn. 12: 1-2, 9-11). After his resuscitation Saint Lazarus lived yet another 30 years, as a bishop on the island of Cyprus, where he spread Christianity and peacefully reposed.

The holy relics of Saint Lazarus were discovered in Kiteia. They were within a marble coffin, upon which was inscribed: "Lazarus of the Four-Days, the friend of Christ". The Byzantine emperor Leo the Wise (886-911) gave orders in the year 898 to transfer the relics of Saint Lazarus to Constantinople and place them within the church of Righteous Lazarus.

The Icon of the Mother of God, named "Before Birth and After Birth the Virgin", was transferred to the Nikolaev Peshkovsk monastery of Moscow diocese by the Moscow merchant Aleksei Grigor'evich Mokeev. In about the year 1780 Aleksei joined the brethren of the monastery. He had given all his wealth to the monastery to its monastic head, archimandrite Makarii, and the holy icon remained in his cell. After the death of Aleksei, the icon was brought to the archimandrite, who observed that the icon was written in oil on canvas and not according as proscribed, and he installed it over the exit door to the chapel of the Monk Methodii, which was situated on a street not far from the monastery.

The glorification of the holy icon began in 1827, when captain Platon Osipovich Shabashev, going by night past the chapel, saw that from the icon of the MostHoly Mother of God issued forth an extraordinary light. Another time he had a vision of the icon during a period circumstances during his life. In a dream Platon beheld the radiant icon of the Mother of God amidst the clouds over the Methodiev chapel and heard a voice: "If thou dost wish to be delivered from temptation, pray before this icon". Platon obeyed the guidance of the Mother of God, and the sorrow passed him by.

The pious Platon told about the miracles to the monastery head, who transferred the holy image into the monastery. When they went to encase the icon in ornament, it then transpired, that the image of the MostHoly Virgin, written on canvas-linen, was stiffened taunt upon a board, on which was concealed a depiction of the Mother of God of finest quality. Especially numerous were the miracles from this icon in 1848 during a time of cholera, when many praying before it were healed.

The Icon of the Mother of God "Deliveress", before being brought to the Novo-Athonsk Simono-Kananitsk monastery in the Caucasus, was situated on Holy Mount Athos with a resident of the Russian Panteleimonov monastery, schemamonk Martinian (+ 1884). The pious schemamonk had received this icon from the ascetic, Theodoul. The holy icon was glorified by miracles from times of old. Through prayer before this icon in 1841 the inhabitants of Sparta (in Greece) were delivered from locusts. From the Panteleimonov monastery, upon the final wishes of schemamonk Makarii, on 20 July 1889 this icon was given over to the Novo-Athonsk monastery, and the festal celebration in honour of it established under 17 October. When the feastday in honour of this icon was first made at the Simono-Kananitsk monastery, a storm cast up on shore at the monastery more than a ton of fish. On the icon the MostHoly Mother of God holds on Her right arm the God-Infant, Who blesses with His right hand.

© 1999 by translator Fr S Janos

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