October 22nd (XI - 4)
Icon of Equal-to-the-Apostles Auerkios the Wonderworker
Kazan Icon of the MostHoly Mother of God (1612). Equal-to-the-Apostles Auerkios the Wonderworker, Bishop of Hieropolis (+ c. 167). Monks Theodore (Feodor) and Paul of Rostov (XV). Seven Holy Youths of Ephesus: Maximilian, Iamblichus, Martinian, Dionysius, Antoninus, Constantine (Hexakustodianos) and John (+ c. 250). Martyrs: Bishop Alexander, Soldier Heracles, and Women-Martyrs Anna, Elizabeth, Theodotia and Glyceria. Monk Lot of Egypt (V). Martyress Anthusa and her Parents. Monk Rufus. Andronikov Icon of the Mother of God.
The Celebration of the MostHoly Mother of God, in honour of Her "Kazansk" Icon, was established in gratitude for the deliverance of Moscow and all Russia from the incursion of the Polish in 1612. The period of the end of the XVI and beginning XVII Centuries is known in the history of Russia as "the Time of Troubles" ("Smutnoe Vremya"). The country suffered the onslaught of Polish armies, which scoffed at the Orthodox faith, in plundering and burning churches, cities and villages. By way of deceit they succeeded in taking Moscow. To the appeal of His Holiness Patriarch Ermogen (Comm. 12 May), the Russian nation rose up in defense of its native-land. To the militia forces headed by prince Dimitrii Mikhailovich Pozharsky was sent from Kazan the wonderworking image of the Mother of God.
Sainted Dimitrii of Rostov (Comm. 21 September), in his "Discourse on the Day of Appearance of the Icon of the Mother of God at Kazan" (Icon feastday 8 July), said: "The Mother of God doth deliver from misfortune and woe not only the righteous, but also sinners, but which sinners? Those, which do turn themselves to the Heavenly Father like the Prodigal Son, they make lamentation beating their bosom, like the Publican, they weep at the feet of Christ, like the Sinful Woman washing His feet with her tears, and they offer forth confession of Him, like the Thief upon the Cross. Upon suchlike sinners is it that the All-Pure Mother of God doth heed and hasten to their aid, and from great misfortunes and woe doth deliver".
Knowing that the misfortunes were in sufferance for their sins, the whole nation and the militia imposed upon themselves a three-day fast and with prayer they turned to the Lord and His All-Pure Mother for Heavenly help. The prayer was heard. Situated in captivity under the Polish, from Sainted Arsenii (afterwards Bishop of Suzdal') came an announcement, that in a vision to him had been revealed a shifting in the Judgement of God towards mercy, through the intercession of the MostHoly Virgin. Emboldened by the news, Russian forces on 22 October 1612 liberated Moscow from the Polish usurpers. Celebration in honour of the Kazan Icon of the MostHoly Mother of God was established in 1649. And down to our own day this icon is especially revered by the Russian Orthodox nation.
The Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Auerkios the Wonderworker, Bishop of Hieropolis, was glorified in the II Century in Phrygia. The city of Hieropolis back then basically was inhabited by pagans. The saint prayed the Lord for the salvation of their souls and their conversion to the True Light. An Angel appeared and bid Saint Auerkios to destroy the idols in the pagan temple. With zeal he fulfilled the command of God. Upon hearing that the idol-worshippers wanted to kill him, the saint went out to the place where the people had gathered and openly he denounced the failings of the pagans. The pagans tried to seize hold of the saint. At this moment in the crowd cried out three demon-possessed youths. The people became dumbfounded, as the saint by his prayer expelled the devils from them. Seeing the youths restored to normal, the Hieropolis people besought Saint Auerkios to instruct them in the Christian faith, and then they accepted Holy Baptism. After this the saint set off to surrounding cities and villages, healing the sick and preaching the Kingdom of God. With his preaching he made the rounds of Syria, Cilicia, Mesopotamia, he visited Rome and everywhere he converted multitudes of people to Christ. Saint Auerkios because of his great works is termed "Equal-to-the-Apostles". For many years he guarded the Church against heretics, he affirmed Christians in the faith, he set the prodigal upon the righteous path, he healed the sick and propagated the glory of Christ.
The Monks Theodore (Feodor) and Paul of Rostov in the XIV Century founded at the River Ust', not far from Rostov, a monastery in honour of the holy Martyrs Boris and Gleb (+ 1015, Comm. 2 May).The Monk Theodore came first to the place of the future monastery, from the Novgorod region. The Monk Paul came three years later for ascetic exploits.
In 1363 the Monk Sergei of Radonezh (Comm. 25 September and 5 July) came to Rostov, his native region. Learning of this, the Monks Theodore and Paul set off thither and came to the great ascetic for spiritual counsel. The Monk Sergei visited their wilderness monastery, and having pointed out the place, he gave blessing to build there a church in the name of the holy Passion-Bearers Boris and Gleb. Already during the time of construction of this first church, monks began gathering to the ascetics. The hegumen, the Monk Theodore, joyfully accepted all that came. Soon a second temple was built, in honour of the Annunciation of the MostHoly Mother of God.
Having set in order the Borisoglebsk monastery, the Monk Theodore entrusted its direction to the Monk Paul, and then he himself with several disciples withdrew into the Vologda forest. Here at Beloe-Ozero (White-Lake), nigh to the confluence of the River Kouzha into it, he founded a monastery and asceticised there for several years. Having built a church in the name of Saint Nicholas and setting in order the monastery, he established an hegumen for it. And having received a revelation about his impending end, he returned to the Borisoglebsk monastery, where he died on 22 October 1409. The Monk Paul directed the two monasteries for a certain while, and he died at this same monastery.
The Seven Holy Youths of Ephesus -- Maximilan, Iamblichus, Martinian, Dionysius, Antoninus, Constantine (Hexakustodianos) and John: the account about them is located under 4 August.
The Holy Martyrs Bishop Alexander, the Soldier Heracles, and the Women-Martyrs Anna, Elizabeth, Theodotia and Glyceria were killed during the III Century at Adrianopolis for their confession of Christ. This century was noted as a time of the dissemination of Christianity amongst the pagans. Despite the persecutions undertaken against the Christians, Bishop Alexander fearlessly converted to the holy salvific faith and baptised many a pagan. The governor of the region where the saint lived ordered his soldiers to use torture to gain Bishop Alexander's renunciation of Christ. The saint patiently endured terrible tortures. Struck by this, the Soldier Heracles believed in Christ, for Whom the saint suffered. And after him confessing themselves Christian were the Women-Martyrs Anna, Elizabeth, Theodotia and Glyceria.
The Andronikov Icon of the Mother of God was a family icon of the Greek emperor Andronikos III. In 1347 he gifted the icon to the Monembasa monastery at Moreia. From here the image was sent in 1839 to Russia. In 1877 the holy icon was placed in a temple of the Kazansk women's monastery, near Vyshnii Volochek.
© 2000 by translator Fr. S. Janos