October 7th (X - 20)
Icon of 99 Cretan Ascetics, and the Martyrs Sergios and Bakkhos
Martyrs Sergios and Bakkhos (290-303). Martyrs Julian the Presbyter, Caesarius the Deacon, Eusebius the Presbyter, Felix and Leontius of Ipatia (III). Monk Sergei the Obedient, Pechersk Lavra in Nearer Caves (c. XIII). Monk Sergei of Obnorsk, Nuromsk and Vologda (+ 1412). Uncovering of Relics of Monk Martinian of Belozersk (1514). Martyress Pelagia of Tarsis (+ 290). Martyr Polychronios the Presbyter (IV). Monk Joseph Khutsia, Mokhev Wonderworker (+ 1763, Gruzia). 99 Cretan Ascetics. Sainted Mark, Pope of Rome ((IV). Pskovo-Pechersk Icon of Mother of God, named "Umilenie/Tenderness" (1524).
The Holy Martyrs Sergios and Bakkhos were appointed to high positions in the army by the emperor Maximian (284-305), who did not know that they were Christians. Malevolent persons made a denunciation to Maximian, that his two military-commanders did not honour the pagan gods, and this was considered a crime against the state.
The emperor, wanting to convince himself of the veracity of the denunciation, ordered Sergios and Bakkhos to offer sacrifice to the idols, but they answered, that they honoured but the One God and Him only did they worship.
Maximian commanded that the martyrs be stripped of the insignia of military rank, and then having dressed them in feminine clothing to lead them through the city with an iron chain on the neck, for the mockery by the people. Then he again summoned Sergios and Bakkhos to him and in a friendly approach advised them not to be swayed by Christian fables and instead return to the Roman gods. But the saints remained steadfast. Then the emperor commanded that they be dispatched to the governor of the eastern part of Syria, Antiochus, a fierce hater of Christians. Antiochus had received his position with the help of Sergios and Bakkhos. "My fathers and benefactors! -- he addressed the saints, -- have pity not only upon yourself, but also on me: I want not to condemn ye to martyrdom". The holy martyrs replied, that for them life -- is Christ, and death for Him -- its acquisition. In a rage Antiochus ordered Bakkhos to be mercilessly beaten, and the holy martyr expired to the Lord. They shod Sergios with iron shoes inset with nails and sent him off to another city, where he as beheaded with the sword (c. year 300).
The Monk Sergei of Obnorsk and Nuromsk, Vologda Wonderworker, began his monastic exploits on Holy Mount Athos. Then he arrived in Russia and settled in the monastery of the Life-Originating Trinity under the guidance of the Monk Sergei of Radonezh (Comm. 5 July and 25 September). After several years, with the blessing of the hegumen, the Monk Sergei to the Vologda forests and settled at the bank of the River Nurma. There he erected a cross and built a chapel with a cell, in which he ascetic in deep silence, "going forth in like-angelic life", and with patience enduring temptation from demons and malevolent people.
It pleased the Lord to summon the saint from his solitude, so that he in his attainment of wisdom and spiritual experience should serve unto the salvation of others. From various places gathered to him 40 men, thirsting for the pious life. By their common efforts, the brethren built a large temple in honour of the Carrying-Forth of the Venerable Wood of the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord (Comm. 1 August). Around the church were built the monastic cells.
The Monk Paul of Obnorsk (Comm. 10 January) asceticised not far from the Nuromsk monastery, and the Monk Sergei often visited him for discourse to benefit of soul. The Monk Sergei died on 7 October 1412, and in the year 1546 began the churchly veneration of the saint.
The Monk Martinian of Belozersk (Uncovering of Relics 1514): The account about him is located under 12 January.
The Holy Martyr Polychronios the Presbyter -- was the son of a landowner. He was raised with a love for work and in Christian piety. Reaching maturity, Polychronios left his parental home for Constantinople and began to work for one of the rich vineyard owners. The vineyard owner was amazed at the love for toil and the ascetic life of the youth. For his fine work the saint received much money, with which he built a church. Soon he was ordained to the dignity of presbyter. According to tradition, Saint Polychronios participated in the acts of the First OEcumenical Council. He was murdered by heretics (Arians) at the altar of the church (IV Century).
The Holy Martyrs Julian the Presbyter and Caesarius the Deacon suffered for Christ in the I Century. Saint Caesarius was thrown into prison in the Italian city of Terracinium for insulting the pagan gods. They later took him bound to the temple of Apollo, but before they got him near the pagan temple it collapsed, killing the pagan priests and many of the people. At about this same time the idolators arrested the Christian priest Julian. By order of the emperor, the holy martyrs were cast into the sea, but their bodies floated up, and Christians buried the sufferers. The relics of Saint Caesarius are situated at Rome.
© 2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos