September 21st (X - 4)
Icon of the Prophet Ionas and Apostle Kothratos
Leave-taking of Feast of Exaltation of the Venerable and Life-Creating Cross of the Lord. Disciple from the 70 -- Codratus (+ c. 130). Uncovering of Relics of Sainted Dimitrii, Metropolitan of Rostov (1752). Monk Daniel of Shuzhgorsk (XVI). Monk Joseph of Zaonikievsk (+ 1612). Priestmartyr Ipatios the Bishop, and Andrew the Presbyter (+ c. 730-735). Saints Isaac and Meletios, Bishops of Cyprus. Martyrs Eusebius and Priscus. Martyrs Eusebios, Nestabos and Zinon. 6 Martyrs (+ 298). Martyress Bassa of Tyre. Martyrs Nestor and Buzyros. Saints Lawrence and Agnes.
The Holy Disciple from the 70 -- Codratus preached the Word of God at Athens and at Magnezia (eastern peninsula of Thessaly), and was bishop of Athens. He converted many pagans to the true faith in Christ the Saviour. His preaching aroused the hatred of unswayable pagans. One time an angry mob fell upon the disciple to pelt him with stones. Preserved by God, the Disciple Codratus remained alive, and they threw him into prison, where he died from starvation. His holy body was buried in Magnezia.
In the year 126 the Disciple Codratus wrote an Apologia in defence of Christianity. Presented by him to the emperor Adrian (117-138), the Apologia thus affected the persecution of Christians, since the emperor issued a decree, prescribing not to convict anyone without proof. This Apologia was known in the IV Century to the historian Eusebios. At the present time only part of this Apologia is known, quoted by Eusebios: "The deeds of our Saviour were always witnessed, because they were true. The healings by Him and the raisings-up from the dead were visible not only when they were healed and raised up, but always. They lived not only during the existence of the Saviour upon the earth, but they remained alive sufficiently long also after His departure; some indeed have survived to our present time".
Sainted Dimitrii, Metropolitan of Rostov, arrived at the Rostov cathedral in 1702, and he first of all visited the monastery of Sainted Jakov, Bishop of Rostov (Comm. 27 November and 23 May). At the cathedral church in honour of the Conception of the MostHoly Mother of God he made liturgy, after which before all those present in the temple he pointed out on the right side the place of his future burial with the words: "Behold my repose, here settle I for eternity". Sainted Dimitrii reposed on 28 October 1709 (the account about his life is located under this day). Contrary to the wishes of the saint, expressed in his will, the clergy and people of Rostov requested the locum-tenens of the patriarchal throne, the Metropolitan of Ryazan Stefan Yavorsky, -- who arrived for the funeral, to make the burial at the cathedral church of the city, alongside the predecessor of Saint Dimitrii, Sainted Joasaph. Metropolitan Stefan, keeping to the will of his deceased friend, insisted on burial of the body of Saint Dimitrii at the designated spot. However, until the arrival of Metropolitan Stefan the place of burial had not been prepared, although from the day of death about a month had elapsed. Owing to the urgent departure of Metropolitan Stefan from Rostov, into the dug-out grave was made an hastily constructed wooden frame, in which on 25 November the body of the saint was buried. This circumstance, foreseen by the Providence of God, led to a quick uncovering of the relics. In 1752 repairs were being done at the cathedral church of the monastery, and on 21 September during repair of the torn-up floor was discovered the undecayed body of Saint Dimitrii. The place of burial was affected by dampness, the oaken coffin and the writing on it were decayed, but the body of the saint, and even the omophor, sacchos, mitre and silken rosary were preserved uncorrupt. After the uncovering of the holy relics many healings were worked, about which report was made to the Synod, -- by the order of which there arrived at Rostov the Suzdal' Metropolitan Sylvester and the Simonovsk archimandrite Gavriel for an examination of the relics of saint Dimitrii and the incidents of miraculous healings. There resulted an ukaz (decree) of the Synod of 29 April 1757 concerning the enumeration to the ranks of the saints of Sainted Dimitrii, Metropolitan of Rostov, and feastdays established for 28 October (the day of repose) and 21 September (the day of uncovering of the relics).
The Monk Daniel of Shuzhgorsk was born in the Moscow dominion in the XVI Century. He asceticised in northern Rus', where he took vows at the Komel'sk monastery, founded by the Monk Kornilii of Komel'sk in 1498. The Monk Daniel left the monastery and continued solitary ascetic life in the unpopulated and forested locale of the Belozersk hinterland, on a mountain named Shuzhgor. Here the holy ascetic founded his monastery in honour of the Transfiguration of the Lord. The Monk Daniel was buried at a temple in honour of the Transfiguration of the Lord at the monastery founded by him. In 1764 the monastery was turned into a parish.
The Monk Joseph of Zaonikievsk, was in the world Ilarion, a pious peasant from the village of Obukhovo Kubensk in the region of the Vologda gubernia. For a long time he suffered an illness of eyesight and he fervently prayed for the help of the Lord, to the MostHoly Mother of God and to the Saints, in particular the holy Unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian. His prayer was heard, and in 1588, by revelation of Saint Cosmas, the Monk Joseph went into the forest into a swampy place, to an icon of the Mother of God, from which he received healing. In gratitude the monk cleared a forest thicket at the place of the appearance of the wonderworking icon and built a chapel, in which he put the icon. He himself settled close by, taking the monastic form with the name of Joseph. Afterwards, with the blessing of Sainted Antonii, Bishop of Vologda, on the place of Joseph's ascetic exploits emerged the Zaonikiev monastery, called such from the name of the brigand Aniki who once dwelt in this forest. When the monastery expanded and the number of monks grew, upon the advice of the Monk Joseph, Antonii was chosen as hegumen. Joseph himself out of humility did not accept the leadership and, having concealed from the others his own strict exploits, he was perceived as a fool-for-Christ, -- he stood on his feet at prayer in his chapel, and in the fierce cold he went about barefoot.
The Monk Joseph reposed on 21 September 1612 at age 83, and was buried in the monastery founded by him.
The Priestmartyr Ipatios, Bishop of Ephesus, and the Presbyter Andrew suffered in the VIII Century under the iconoclast emperor Leo the Isaurian (717-741). In youth they studied together in one of the monasteries. Saint Ipatios accepted monasticism, and Saint Andrew became a clergyman and zealously taught people the Christian faith. When the emperor Leo the Isaurian began to persecute those who venerated holy icons, and the holy icons were thrown out from the churches, to trample underfoot and burn, Saints Ipatios and Andrew rose up in defence of icon-veneration, urging their flock to maintain faithfulness to Orthodoxy. The emperor, wanting to persuade the saints, summoned them to him and arranged a disputation about icon-veneration, at which Saints Ipatios and Andrew were consistently able to defend the Orthodox veneration of icons. They threw the martyrs into prison and for a long time they held them there, hoping, that this would force the saints to renounce their convictions, but the saints remained steadfast. Then the emperor gave orders to torture the martyrs. They beat them, flayed the skin with hair from their heads, smeared their beards with tar and set it afire, and upon the heads of the martyrs they burned holy icons. The saints with endurance bore all the tortures and remained alive. The emperor gave orders to drag the saints through the city for mockery from the people and only after this to kill them. They threw the bodies of Saints Ipatios and Andrew for devouring by dogs, but believers reverently gave them burial.
© 1997 by translator Fr. S. Janos.