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October 20th (XI - 2)

Icon of the saint of the day.

Icon of the Monk Gerasimos of Athos, Great Martyr Artemios, (+ 1579) and the Nun Matrona of Chios

GreatMartyr Artemios (+ 362). Righteous Lad Artemii of Verkol'sk (+ 1545). Monk Gerasimos of Athos (+ 1579). Nun Matrona of Chios (+ 1462).

The Holy GreatMartyr Artemios was a prominent military leader during the reign of the Equal-to-the-Apostles emperor Constantine the Great (306-337, Comm. 21 May), and later -- also of his son and successor Constantius (337-361). Artemios held many awards for distinguished service and courage, and he was appointed viceroy of Egypt. In this official position he did much for spreading and strengthening Christianity in Egypt. The emperor Constantius was succeeded on the throne by Julian the Apostate (361-363). Julian in his desire to restore paganism carried on an implacable struggle with Christianity, sending hundreds to their death.At Antioch he ordered the torture of two bishops unwilling to forsake the Christian faith. During this time Saint Artemios arrived in the city and publicly denounced Julian for his impiety. The enraged Julian subjected the saint to terrible tortures, after which they threw the Great-martyr Artemios into prison. During the time of prayer which the saint offered to the Lord, Christ Himself appeared to him surrounded by angels and said: "Take courage, Artemios! I am with thee and wilt preserve thee from every hurt which the tormentors may inflict upon thee, and already have I preared thy crown of glory. Wherefore as thou hast confessed Me before the people on earth, so also shalt I confess thee before Mine Heavenly Father. Therefore, take courage and rejoice, -- thou shalt be with Me in Mine Kingdom". Hearing this of the Lord Himself, Artemios rejoiced and began fervently to offer up glory and thanksgiving to Him.

On the following day Julian demanded that the Great-martyr Artemios honour the pagan gods. Meeting with steadfast refusal, the emperor resorted to torture. The saint endured all without a single moan. The saint then predicted to Julian that he would soon receive just recompense for the evil done by him to Christians. Julian became furious and resorted to even more fiercesome tortures, but they did not break the will of the saint, and finally the Great-martyr Artemios was beheaded (+ 362).

His remains were buried by Christians.

And after the death of the holy Great-martyr Artemios, his prophecy about the impending perishing of Julian the Apostate came true.

Julian left Antioch for a war with the Persians. Near the Persian city of Ctesiphon he came upon an elderly Persian, who agreed to betray his countrymen and guide Julian's army. But the old man deceived Julian and led his army into an impassable place in the Karmanite wilderness, where there was neither food nor water. Worn down by hunger and thirst, the Graeco-Roman army of Julian had to do battle against fresh Persian forces.

Divine retribution caught up here with Julian the Apostate. At the time of battle he was mortally wounded by an unseen hand and an unseen weapon. Julian groaned deeply, and dying, he said: "Thou hast conquered, Gallileian!" After the perishing of the apostate-emperor, the relics of the Great-martyr Artemios were transferred with honour from Antioch to Constantinople.

The Righteous Lad Artemii of Verkol'sk (+ 1545). The account about him is located under 23 June.

The Monk Gerasimos was born in the village of Trikala in the Peloponessus. Upon reaching maturity he withdrew to the island of Zakina for a monastic life. On the Holy Mountain he became a schema-monk and studied with the ascetics of Athos. Having received blessing from the elders, the monk set off to Jerusalem to worship at the Lifebearing Grave of the Saviour. Having made the rounds of the holy places, visiting Mount Sinai, Antioch, Damascus, Alexandria and Egypt, he returned to Jerusalem where he became a a candle-lighter at the Sepulchre of the Lord. The monk was ordained by the blessed Patriarch of Jerusalem, Germanos (1534-1579), to the diaconate, and then to the priesthood. The Monk Gerasimos did not slacken in deeds of prayer. For quietude he withdrew to Jordan, where he spent 40 days without respite. Having received the Patriarch's blessing for a life of silence, the monk Gerasimos withdrew Zakinthos. He dwelt there in solitude for 5 years, nourishing himself on vegetation. At an inspiration from above he went to the island of Cephalonia and on to Omal, and having restored a church he founded a women's monastery at which he dwelt for 30 years in constant toil, vigil, and prayer on bended knee stretched out upon the earth.For his exalted life he was vouchsafed of God a miraculous gift -- to heal the sick and cast out unclean spirits. The Monk Gerasimos, aware of his impending end for several days, gave his blessing to the nuns and peacefully expired to the Lord on 15 August 1579, at 71 years of age. When his grave was opened two years later, his holy relics were found undecayed and exuding fragrance, and were curative.



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