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January 4th (I - 17)

Icon of the saint of the day.

Icon of the Synaxis of the 70 Apostles

Sobor (Assemblage) of the 70 Disciples: James Brother of the Lord; Mark and Luke, Evangelists; Cleopas; Simeon; Barnabas; Josiah (Justus); Thaddeus; Ananias; Stephen the ArchDeacon and First-Martyr; Philip; Prochoros; Nikanor; Timon; Parmenas; Timothy; Titus; Philemon; Onysimos; Epaphrasos; Archippos; Silas; Sylvanus; Criscentus; Crispus; Epenetos; Andronikos; Stakhias; Amplias; Urban; Narcissos; Apellias; Aristoboulos; Rodion (Herodion); Ahab; Rufus; Asinkritos; Phlegontos; Hermas; Patrobus; Hermias; Linus; Caius; Philologos; Lucius; Jason; Sosipater; Olympos (Olympanus); Tercias; Herastos; Quartus; Evodus; Onysiphoros; Clement; Sosthenes; Apollos; Tykhikos; Epaphrodites; Carpus; Codratus; Mark; Zeno; Aristarchus; Pudas; Trophymos; Mark; Artemis; Aquila; Fortunatus; Achaecus. Dionysios the Areopagite and Simeon Niger. Monk Theoktistos, Hegumen of Sicilian Kucuma (+ 800). Monk Akhila, Deacon of Pechersk, in Farther Caves (XIV). MonkMartyr Zosima and Martyr Athanasias (III-IV). Sainted Evstathii I, ArchBishop of Serbia (+ c. 1285). MonkMartyr Onuphrii (+ 1818). MonkMartyr Euthymios, Hegumen of Batopedeia Monastery, and 12 Monks with him (1275-1281). Monk Euthymios the New and with him 5 Martyrs. Martyrs Chrysanthos and Euthymios. Martyr Uvelicius. Martyr Alexander the Bishop. Martyress Amma.

The Sobor (Assemblage) of the Seventy Disciples ("Apostles") was established by the Orthodox Church so as to indicate the equal honour of each of the Seventy, and to avert dissonance in their veneration. [Translator Note: Russian idiomatic useage refers both to the "12" and to the "70" as "Apostle"; whereas English idiomatic useage refers to the "12" as "Apostle" and to the "70" as "Disciple".] They were chosen by the Lord Jesus Christ, in order to evangelise the Gospel to all the world.

Besides the celebration of the Sobor (Assemblage) of the Holy Disciples, the Church celebrates the memory of each of them during the course of the year: the Disciple James, Brother of the Lord (23 October); Mark the Evangelist (25 April); Luke the Evangelist (18 October); Cleopas, brother of Joseph the Betrothed, and Simeon his son (27 April); Barnabas (11 June); Josiah, or Joseph, named Barsaba or Justus (30 October); Thaddeus (21 August); Ananias (1 October); Stephen, Archdeacon (27 December); Philip from the 7 Deacons (11 October); Prochoros from the 7 Deacons (28 July); Nikanor from the 7 Deacons (28 July and 28 December); Timon from the 7 Deacons (28 July and 30 December); Parmenas from the 7 Deacons (28 June); Timothy (22 January); Titus (25 August); Philemon (22 November and 19 February); Onysimos (15 February); Epaphrasos and Archippos (22 November and 19 February); Silas, Sylvanus, Criscentus or Criscus (30 July); Crispus and Epenetos (30 July); Andronikos (17 May and 30 July); Stakhias, Amplias, Urban, Narcissos, Apellias (31 October); Aristoboulos (31 October and 16 March); Herodion or Rodion (8 April and 10 November); Ahab, Rufus, Asinkritos, Phlegontos (8 April); Hermas (5 November and 31 May); Patrobus (5 November); Hermias (8 April); Linus, Caius, Philologos (5 November); Lucius (10 September); Jason (28 April); Sosipater (28 April and 10 November); Olympos or Olympanus (10 November); Tercias (30 October and 10 November); Herastos, Quartus (10 November); Evodus (7 September); Onysiphoros (7 September and 8 December); Clement (25 November); Sosthenes (8 December); Apollos (10 September and 8 December); Tykhikos, Epaphrodites (8 December); Carpus (26 May); Codratus (21 September); Mark who is John, Zeno (27 September); Aristarchus (15 April and 27 September); Pudas, Trophymos (15 April); Mark nephew of Barnabas, Artemis (30 October); Aquila (14 July); Fortunatus, Achaecus (4 January).

With the Descent of the Holy Spirit the disciples preached in various lands. Some accompanied the Apostles from the 12, like the holy Evangelists Mark and Luke, or the companion of the holy Apostle Paul -- Timothy, or the disciple of the holy Evangelist John the Theologian -- Prochoros, and others. Many of them were thrown into prison for Christ, and many received the crown of a martyr's death.

To the 70 Disciples are enumerated yet two -- the holy Disciple Cephas, to whom the Lord appeared after the Resurrection (1 Cor. 15: 5-6), and Simeon, by nickname Niger (Acts 13:1), wherefore they also were glorified by apostolic preaching.

The Church in particular venerates and praises the 70 Disciples in that they taught to honour the Trinity One-in-Essence and Un-Divided.

In the IX Century the Orthodox Church received from Joseph the Melodist the Kanon for the Day of the Sobor (Assemblage) of the 70 Disciples of Christ.

Dionysios the Areopagite and Simeon Niger. The account about them is located under 3 October and 27 April.

The Monk Theoktistos founded a monastery in the city of Kucuma on the island of Sicily, where he became hegumen. At his monastery lived Greek monks, having fled persecution by the iconoclasts. The monk died in the year 800.

The Monk Akhila (Aquila), Deacon of Pechersk (XIV), became famous as a great faster, having spent a long while as an hermit. Legend says that he ate neither vareny (pirogi) nor sweet food, he partook vegetables seldom and in small quantity, and during periods of fast he tasted of only one prosphora.

To the intercession of Saint Akhila flee those thirsting of soul to be delivered from "the enslavement of stomach passions" and those wishing to learn temperance (3rd song of the Kanon to the Monks, venerated in the Farther Caves).

The commemoration of the Monk Akhila is also 28 August and on the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent.

The MonkMartyr Zosima came from Cilicia and was an inhabitant of the wilderness. During a time of persecution against christians under the emperor Diocletian (284-305) Saint Zosima was seized and subjected to fierce torture for the faith, but by the power of God he was preserved unharmed. Having beheld such a miracle of God, the prison head by the name of Athanasias believed in Christ and was baptised. The Monk Zosima together with Athanasias was released and went off into the wilderness where, pursuing asceticism, they lived in a crevice in a mountain until their death.

Sainted Eustathii, ArchBishop of Serbia, lived in the second half of the XIII Century, during the reign of the Serbian king Stefan Urosh (1262-1320).

He was born in the Budimil'sk district into a pious Christian family, where he received a spiritual upbringing. Distinguished by remarkable talents, the youth Evstathii was given over by his parents for training in "book wisdom". With particular diligence he studied Holy Scripture, perfecting himself in piety and good deeds. Having finished his education, the youth took vows at the monastery of the Archangel Michael in the Zetsk district (Chernogore) and led a strict monastic life, such that he soon became noted as a great ascetic. From thence he undertook a journey to Jerusalem, for veneration to the Holy Sepulchre of the Lord. On the return journey he visited Holy Mount Athos and settled there in the Serbian Khilendaria monastery.

The monk Evstathii gained general reknown and love as a strict ascetic and good teacher, and he was advanced to the dignity of hegumen of the monastery.

After several years they ordained him bishop of the Zetsk diocese, and the saint returned to his native land. Rich spiritual experience and monastic life won him the love of his fellow countrymen, and Saint Evstathii was chosen to the throne of the archbishops of Serbia, successors of Saint Sava. For seven years Sainted Evstathii guided the Serbian Church and peacefully died about the year 1285. His body was buried in the Zhidocha monastery, and later it was transferred to Pesh (Pech) and placed in the cathedral church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.

The MonkMartyr Onufrii, in the world Matfei (Matthew), was born in Bulgaria in the settlement of Gabrovo in Tyrnovsk diocese. Matfei received a fine education, but in place of worldly blessings he preferred service to God, and he went to Athos to the Khilendaria monastery. Here he took monastic vows with the name Manassiya (Manassas). but even the strict asceticism of a monk on Mount Athos did not fully satisfy the self-strictness of the monk, and Manassiya decided to suffer for Christ. With this desire he became involved with the starets Nikifor. The elder vowed him to schema-monk with the name Onufrii and, having been given admonition, he set off with the Monk Gregory to the Turkish island of Chios. There the MonkMartyr Onufrii openly confessed the Christian faith, for which he was seized and subjected to cruel tortures.

After the torturing they beheaded him and threw him into the sea (+ 4 January 1818).

The MonkMartyr Euthymios, Hegumen of the Batopedeia Monastery, and with him 12 Monks suffered on Athos in the XIII Century for denouncing as heretical the Latinisers patriarch Michael Paleologos (1261-1281) and patriarch John Bekkas (1275?1282). The hegumen was drowned in the sea, and the monks -- were hung.

© 1997 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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