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August 8th (VIII - 21)

Icon of the saint of the day.

Icon of Emilian the Confessor, Myronus Bishop of Crete, and St. Triontafilou

Sainted Emelian the Confessor, Bishop of Kyzika (+ c. 815-820). Monk Gregory, Iconographer of Pechersk, in the Nearer Caves (XII). Monks Zosima and Savvatii, of Solovetsk (Transfer of Relics, 1566). Sainted Myron the Wonderworker, Bishop of Crete (+ c. 350). Martyrs Eleutherias and Leonides. Monk Gregory the Sinaite (XIV). Monk Theodore, Hegumen of Orov. Monk Cassian. Ten Egyptian Ascetics. Two Martyrs of Tyre. Martyr Stirakios. Monk Moses and the Other Monastic Fathers with him. Martyr Triandaphilos (+ 1680). Martyr Anastasias the Bulgarian, suffering at Solunieia-Thessalonika (+ 1794). Tolgsk Icon of the Mother of God (1314).

Sainted Emelian, Bishop of Kyzika, lived during the reign of the Iconoclast emperor Leo the Armenian (813-820). He was summoned together with other bishops to the court of the emperor, who insistently urged the bishops to refrain from the veneration of holy icons. Saint Emelian was the first firmly to answer the emperor, that the question about the veneration of holy icons ought to be discussed and decided only within the Church by spiritual personages, and not at the imperial court. In the year 815 he was sent to prison for the Orthodox faith, where he died as a confessor.

The Monk Gregory, Iconographer of Pechersk, was a colleague of the Monk Alypii of Pechersk (Comm. 17 August). In the "Accounts about the holy iconographers" it says, that he wrote many a wonderworking icon located throughout the Russian Land. In the 9th Ode of the Canon of the Service to the Sobor-Assemblage of the Kievo-Pechersk Monastics, Reposed within the Nearer Caves (Comm. 28 September) -- the Monk Gregory is termed a "byzantine". This signifies possibly that he was among the number of iconographers who had come from Constantinople to Kiev for the embellishing of the Great Church of the monastery, in honour of the Dormition-Uspenie of the MostHoly Mother of God.

The Transfer of the Relics of the Monks Zosima and Savvatii of Solovetsk occurred on 8 August 1566, on the third day of the altar-feast of the Solovetsk monastery of the Transfiguration (Preobrazhenie, Metamorphosis) of the Lord. The relics of the saints were transferred into a chapel of the Preobrazhensk cathedral, built in their honour.

The account about the Monk Zosima is located under 17 April; the account about the Monk Savvatii -- 27 September.

Sainted Myron, Bishop of Crete, a wonderworker, in his youth was a family man, and worked at farming. He was known for his goodness, and he assisted everyone who turned to him for help. One time a thieves burst in upon his threshing floor, and Saint Myron himself helped them raise up a sack of grain upon their shoulders. By his generosity the saint so shamed the thieves, that in future they began to lead honourable lives. Out of profound respect for the saint, the Cretan people urged him to accept the dignity of presbyter in his native city of Raucia, and afterwards they chose him bishop of Crete. Wisely ruling his flock, Saint Myron received from the Lord the gift of wonderworking. At the time of a flood on the River Triton, the saint stopped its flow and went upon it as upon dry land, and then he sent a man back to the river with his staff with a command for the river to resume its course. Saint Myron reposed to God at age 100 in about the year 350.

The Martyrs Eleutherias and Leonides were cast into a fire at a youthful age during one of the persecutions against Christians.

The Monk Gregory the Sinaite was born in about the year 1268 in the seacoast village of Clazomeneia near the city of Smyrna (Asia Minor), of rich parents. In about the year 1290 he was taken into captivity by the Hagarites and sent off to Laodicea. After gaining his freedom, the saint arrived on the island of Cyprus, where he was tonsured a monk. He set off afterwards to Mount Sinai and there assumed the great schema. Having fulfilled his obediences of cook and baker, and then as writer-copyist, surpassing all in reading and knowledge of Scriptural and patristic books. The strictness of his life (fasting, vigil, psalmody, standing at prayer) brought some to astonishment and others to envy. Departing the monastery, the monk visited Jerusalem. For some time he lived on the island of Crete, and afterwards he made the rounds on Athos with its monasteries and ascetics. By such manner he acquired the experience of the monastic life of many centuries from the ancient monasteries. Only after this did the Monk Gregory the Sinaite settle himself in a solitary place for "hesychia" ["mystic quiet" doing the Jesus Prayer] -- a cell for silence and unhindered pursuit of mental prayer, combined with hard monastic work.

The precious legacy of the Monk Gregory is in his precepts about the inner life, 15 chapters about silence, and 142 chapters about the commandments, where he says, that "one seeking to comprehend the commandments without fulfilling them, and through study and reading to find that which is desired, is like a man imagining a fantasy in place of truth". The monk is reknown also as a remarkable writer of song, -- to him is ascribed the "Mete it is in truth" ("Dostoino est vo istinu"), and a canon to the MostHoly Trinity read at Sunday vigil, and a canon to the holy Cross. In a canon-book (from the year 1407) of the Monk Kirill (Cyril) of Belozersk (+ 9 June 1427) is found the "Canon of propitiation to the Lord Jesus Christ, -- a work of Gregory the Sinaite". Through his concern for the spreading of monastic deeds, the monk founded several cells on Athos, and also four laura-monasteries in Thrace. The Monk Gregory the Sinaite died in the year 1310 (some historians suggest the year 1346) at his so-called "Concealed" ("Parariseia") monastery, founded in the mountains of Macedonia for the strict followers of his life.

The Martyr Triandaphilos, a native of Transmondane Thessalonika, was beheaded by the Turks at Constantinople in the year 1680 for his refusal to reject Christ and accept Islam.

The Tolgsk Icon of the MostHoly Mother of God appeared on 8 August 1314 to the Rostov Sainted-hierarch Prokhor (schema-name Tryphon). Going about his diocese, the saint visited the Belozersk environs and set off from there and set off thither nigh along the banks of the Rivers Sheksna and Volga, to Yaroslavl'. Having stopped with the approach of night 7 versts distant from Yaroslavl', at the right bank of the Volga River there flows opposite into it the River Tolga. At midnight, when everyone was asleep, the saint awoke and saw a bright light illuminating the surroundings. The light proceeded from a fiery column on the other bank of the river, to which there stretched a bridge. Taking up his staff, the saint went across to the other bank, and having approached the fiery column, he beheld on it the icon of the MostHoly Mother of God, suspended in the air. Astonished at the miracle, the saint prayed for a long time, and when he returned back, he forgot to take his staff.

The next day, after making matins, when Saint Prokhor was preparing to continue his journey by boat, they began to search for his staff, but they were not able to find it anywhere. The saint then remembered, that he had forgotten his staff on the other bank of the river, whither he had gone across on the miraculous bridge. He then told about what had occurred, and sending servants across on a boat to the other shore, they came back and reported the news, that in the forest amidst the trees they had seen an icon of the Mother of God, next to his bishop's staff. The saint quickly crossed over with all his retinue to the opposite shore, and he recognised the icon that had appeared to him. Then after fervent prayer in front of the icon, they cleared the forest at that place, and put down the foundations of a church. When the people of Yaroslavl' learned of this, they came out to the indicated spot. By midday the church was already built, and in the evening the saint consecrated it in honour of the Entrance ("Vvedenie") into the Temple of the MostHoly Mother of God, and having installed the icon there he established a feastday on the day of its appearance. Saint Prokhor later built near this church the Tolgsk monastery. Sainted Prokhor died on 7 September 1328.

On this day also are commemorated 10 Egyptian Ascetics -- having died at sea, and 2 Tyrian Martyrs -- dragged over the ground.

© 1999 by translator Fr S Janos

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