Commemorated on December 4
Saint Barbara was from Heliopolis of Phoenicia and lived during the reign of Maximian.
She was the daughter of a certain idolater named Dioscorus. When Barbara came of age,
she was enlightened in her pure heart and secretly believed in the Holy Trinity. About this time Dioscorus began building
a bath-house; before it was finished he was required to go away to attend to certain matters, and in his absence Barbara directed
the workmen to build a third window in addition to the two her Father had commanded. She also inscribed the sign of the Cross
with her finger upon the marble of the bath-house, leaving the saving sign cut as deeply into the marble as if it had been
done with an iron too. (When the Synaxarion of Saint Barbara was written, the marble of the bath-house and the cross inscribed
by Saint Barbara were still preserved, and many healings were worked there.) When Dioscorus returned, he asked why the third
window had been added; Barbara began to declare to him the mystery of the Trinity. Because she refused to renounce her faith,
Dioscorus tortured Barbara inhumanely, and after subjecting her to many sufferings he beheaded her with his own hands, in
the year 290.
St. Spyridon the Wonder-worker, Bishop of Tremithus
Spyridon (Spiridon) was born in about 348 in Cyprus. He was an uneducated and unsophistticated
shepherd with a wife and children. When he was chosen bishop of Tremithus for his great piety, he kept his living as a shepherd.
One day, it is said, a robber came to steal a sheep from his fold. Spyridon found him there, as it were, in the act. "So that
you won't have had trouble for nothing" he said, "take a ram and go. But I wish you would've asked first."
He as a simple, but wise man. One day Spyridon was listening to the sermon of a famous
preaher of Cypus. In quoting the gospels, the preacher substituted the more luxurious word "couch" for the original "bed."
"What!" Spyridon said in response, "Are you better than the Lord who used the word 'bed' that you are ashamed to use His words?"
Another time a traveler came to him, much worn by his journey. He had no food to set
before him except some salted pork. It was Great Lent and the traveler did not want to break the fast. Spyridon replied, "You
have good reason to eat. As St. Paul says 'to the pure, all things are pure." Spyridon himself began to eat the pork.
He traveled to the First Ecumenical Council in Nicea in 325. He had no educated philosophical
sublety, but he had the shrewdness of spiritual wisdom. When he heard two men arguing philosophically, he interrupted and
silenced them by saying, "Christ and His apostles left us not a system of logic, but a naked truth to be guarded by faith
and good works." After the council, he returned to his native Cyprus and died in peace in about 348. His relics were afterwards
translated to Constantinople.
Source: "A Daily Calendar of Saints" by Rev. Lawrence R. Farley
St. Anastasia the Great Martyr
She was born in Rome to a wealthy and prominent family. Her father was pagan, Roman senator and her mother
was a Christian. She chose to follow Christ, but was forced by her father to marry a wealthy pagan, Publius. She refused physical
relations with her husband under a guise of feminine weakness. This and the fact that she was secretly using his wealth to
minister to Christians in prison engaged Publius, so that he imprisoned her and tortured her. Publius was sent by the emperor
to Persia and drowned on the voyage. Anastasia then used her great inheritance to openly minister to the Christians who were
suffering. Emperor Diocletian went to Aquileia and summoned Chrysogonus (the holy man who had discipled Anastasia as a girl)
and beheaded him. He also killed 3 sisters, Agapia, Chionia and Irene. Anastasia had followed her teacher to the town and
witnessed these martyrdoms. She took their bodies, wrapped them in white linen and aromatic spices and buried them. She went
to Macedonia and continued ministering to those who were suffering for Christ. She was arrested and repeatedly interrogated.
Ulphian, a pagan priest, reached out in lust toward Anastasia and was suddenly blinded, then fell dead. They tried to starve
her for thirty days in prison. Then they put her in a boat with other Christians to drown her, but she survived. Finally they
put her to four wheels over a fire. She endured martyrdom in the year 304.
St. Nicholas, Wonderworker and Archbishop of Myra
Commemorated on December 6
He was born at the turn of the fourth century
in Asia Minor, possibly in the town of Patara in Lycia. Some say that his uncle was bishop of his city and that he served
for a while as a monk in a monastery there. It is likely that he suffered during the persecution of the Church prior to the
peace of Constantine. He was elected bishop of Myra and served there as a faithful pastor and possibly even attended the First
Ecumenical Council of Nicea in 325. He vigorously opposed Arianism---so much so that story is told how he punched Arius at
the Nicene Council! As bishop of the busy seaport town of Myra, devoted much of his energy to charitable work. The story is
told of how he anonymously gave three bags of gold to a needy family with three daughters who otherwise would have had to
send the girls out to earn a dishonorable living on the streets. He was a kindly and compassionate pastor to his flock
and a model for hierarchs---so much so, that in the weekly calendar of the church, where each day is given a special liturgical
theme, he shares every Thursday with the apostles. He died in peace in the fourth century, one of the most beloved of the
Source: "A Daily Calendar of Saints" by Rev. Lawrence R. Farley
St. Hilarion the Hieromartyr and Archbishop of Vereiya
A 20th-Century Saint
Commemorated on December 15
The holy New Martyr Archbishop Hilarion
(Vladimir Alexeevich Troitsky in the world), an outstanding theologian, an eloquent preacher, and a fearless defender of Christ's
holy Church, was born around 1885.
Vladika Hilarion wrote many books and articles on various topics, including "The
Unity of the Church." His Master's thesis, "An Outline of the History of the Church's Dogma," was over five hundred pages
long, and was a well-documented analysis of the subject.
During the Council of 1917 he delivered a brilliant address calling for the restoration of the Moscow Patriarchate,
which had been dissolved byTsar Peter I in the eighteenth century. When St Tikhon (April 7) was chosen as Patriarch, St Hilarion
became his fervent supporter.
St Hilarion was consecrated as bishop on May 20, 1920, and so the great luminary was
placed upon the lampstand (Luke 11:33). From that time, he was to know less than two years of freedom. He spent only six months
working with Patriarch Tikhon.
Vladika was arrested and exiled in Archangelsk for a year, then he spent six years
(1923-1929) in a labor camp seven versts from Solovki. There at the Filomonov Wharf he and at least two other bishops were
employed in catching fish and mending nets. Paraphrasing the hymns of Pentecost, Archbishop Hilarion remarked, "Formerly,
the fishermen became theologians. Now the theologians have become fishermen."
Archbishop Hilarion was one of the most
popular inmates of the labor camp. He is remembered as tall, robust, and with brownish hair. Personal possessions meant nothing
to him, so he always gave his things away to anyone who asked for them. He never showed annoyance when people disturbed him
or insulted him, but remained cheerful.
In the summer of 1925, Vladika was taken from the camp and placed in the Yaroslav
prison. There he was treated more leniently, and received certain privileges. For example, he was allowed to receive religious
books, and he had pleasant conversations with the warden in his office. St Hilarion regarded his time at the Yaroslav Isolated
Detention Center as the best part of his imprisonment. The following spring he was back at Solovki.
In 1929 the Communists
decided to exile Archbishop Hilarion to Alma-Atu in central Asia. During his trip southward from the far north, St Hilarion
was robbed and endured many privations. When he arrived in Petrograd, he was ill with typhus, infested with parasites and
dressed in rags. When informed that he would have to be shaved, he replied, "You may now do with me whatever you wish." He
wrote from the prison hospital, "My fate will be decided on Saturday, December 15. I doubt I will survive."
died at the age of forty-four in the hospital of a Petrograd prison on December 15, 1929. His body was placed in a coffin
hastily made from some boards, and then was released to his family. The once tall and robust Archbishop Hilarion had been
transformed by his sufferings into a pitiful white-haired old man. One female relative fainted when she saw the body.
Seraphim (Chichagov) provided a set of white vestments for the late Archbishop. He was also placed in a better coffin.
Seraphim presided at the funeral of St Hilarion, assisted by six bishops and several priests. The saint was buried at Novo-Divichy