St Tikhon the Bishop
of Amathus in Cyprus
Commemorated on June 16
Saint Tikhon, Bishop
of Amathus, was born in the city Amathus on the island of Cyprus. His parents raised their son in Christian piety, and taught
him the reading of sacred books. It is said that the gift of wonderworking appeared in St Tikhon at quite a young age.
father was the owner of a bakery, and whenever he left his son alone in the shop, the holy youth would give free bread to
those in need. Learning of this, his father became angry, but the son said that he had read in the Scriptures, that in giving
to God one receives back a hundredfold. "I," said the youth, "gave to God the bread which was taken," and he persuaded his
father to go to the place where the grain was stored. With astonishment the father saw that the granary, which formerly was
empty, was now filled to overflowing with wheat. From that time the father did not hinder his son from distributing bread
to the poor.
A certain gardener brought the dried prunings of vines from the vineyard. St Tikhon gathered them, planted
them in his garden and besought the Lord that these branches might take root and yield fruit for the health of people. The
Lord did so through the faith of the holy youth. The branches took root, and their fruit had a particular and very pleasant
taste. It was used during the lifetime of the saint and after his death for making wine for the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist.
They accepted the pious youth into the church clergy, made him a reader. Later, Mnemonios, the Bishop of Amathus ordained
him a deacon. After the death of Bishop Mnemonios, St Tikhon by universal agreement was chosen as Bishop of Amathus. St Epiphanius,
Bishop of Cyprus (May 12), presided at the service.
St Tikhon labored zealously to eradicate the remnants of paganism
on Cyprus; he destroyed a pagan temple and spread the Christian Faith. The holy bishop was generous, his doors were open to
all, and he listened to and lovingly fulfilled the request of each person who came to him. Fearing neither threats nor tortures,
he firmly and fearlessly confessed his faith before pagans.
In the service to St Tikhon it is stated that he foresaw
the time of his death, which occurred in the year 425.
The name of St Tikhon of Amathus was greatly honored in Russia.
Temples dedicated to the saint were constructed at Moscow, at Nizhni Novgorod, at Kazan and other cities. But he was particularly
venerated in the Voronezh diocese, where there were three archpastors in succession sharing the name with the holy hierarch
of Amathus: St Tikhon I (Sokolov) (+ 1783, August 13), Tikhon II (Yakubovsky, until 1785) and Tikhon III (Malinin, until 1788).
Commemorated June 29
The Apostles Peter and Paul had a confrontational relationship with each other over how to accomplish their common mission
of evangelizing the world. Their disputes centered on how Jewish the Church should remain. Their conflict helped to sort out
the difference between our natural ethnic identities and our unity as the people (ethnos) of God. They are portrayed
together as often as they are portrayed individually. This icon shows their unity of purpose and ultimate love for one another
as they are hidden in Christ. It is a beautiful icon of overcoming conflicts and living with sometimes difficult and hard
to understand people for the sake of the unity of the Church, the Body of Christ.
Venerable Paul the
Founder of the Xeropotamou Monastery On Mt Athos
Commemorated on July 28
Saint Paul of Xeropotamou, in the world
Procopius, was the son of the Byzanatine Emperor Michael Kuropalatos, who later resigned the imperial office and became a
monk in a monastery he built. Having received the finest education, Procopius became one of the most learned men of his time.
His "Discourse on the Entrance of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple," the "Canon to the Forty Martyrs", the "Canon to
the Venerable Cross" and other works gained him great renown. But worldly knowledge and honors did not interest him. He exchanged
his fine garb for beggar's rags, and he went to the Holy Mountain [Athos], to Xeropotamou. He built a cell there at the ruins
of an old monastery founded by the empress Pulcheria in honor of the Forty Martyrs (March 9). From Cosmas, a hermit, he received
monastic tonsure with the name Paul.
Out of humility the saint did not reveal his erudition to anyone. The fame of
Paul's strict life quickly spread throughout the Holy Mountain. He became called Paul of Xeropotamou, and the monastery where
he pursued monasticism, to the present day bears the name Xeropotamou ("dry river").
At that time the emperor Romanus,
a relative of Paul, ascended the throne. Through the Protos of the Holy Mountain he requested the saint to come to Constantinople
and planned a splendid reception for him. The humble Paul, not betraying his monastic duty, appeared with a cross and in torn
robes amid the courtly splendor and magnificence. St Paul confirmed his fame as a chosen one of God, miraculously healing
the grievously ill Romanus by placing his hand on him. But the vanity of courtly life, promised by the gratitude of the emperor,
did not interest the saint; he returned to the Holy Mountain, having asked one favor of the emperor: to restore the Xeropotamou
In the holy altar in the consecrated cathedral church of the restored monastery, was put a piece of the
Venerable Wood of the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord, given to St Paul by the emperor Romanus.
Soon the Xeropotamou
monastery was filled by a throng of monks, wanting to put themselves under the guidance of the holy ascetic, but St Paul,
having entrusted the rule of the monastery to one of the brethren, moved off to the remote wilderness. His quiet was again
disturbed by disciples, not wanting to leave their Elder. Then the monk requested of the emperor the means for the building
of a new monastery. Thus the saint founded a monastery in the name of the holy Great Martyr and Victory-Bearer St George.
The first head of the new monastery was St Paul himself, who also brought a piece of the Venerable Wood of the Cross of the
Having been informed in advance by the Lord of his impending end, the saint summoned the brethren of the
Xeropotamou and the new Georgikos monasteries and gave them his final instructions. On the day of his death, St Paul donned
the mantle, and read the prayer of St Joannicius, which he said continually: "My hope is the Father, my refuge is the Son,
my protection is the Holy Spirit, O Holy Trinity, glory to Thee," and he received the Holy Mysteries of Christ.
Paul had instructed in his will to bury his body on the peninsula of Pongosa (opposite the Holy Mountain). But by the will
of God the ship was driven to the shores of Constantinople, where the Emperor and Patriarch with the pious took the body of
the saint and solemnly placed it in the Great Church (Hagia Sophia). After the sacking of Constantinople by the Crusaders,
the relics of St Paul were transferred to Venice. (Source: OCA)
Synaxis of the Twelve Holy Apostles
The Synaxis of the Glorious and All-Praiseworthy Twelve Apostles of
Christ appears to be an ancient Feast. The Church honours each of the
Twelve Apostles on separate dates during the year, and has
established a general commemoration for all of them on the day after
the commemoration of the Glorious and First-Ranked among the Apostles
Peter and Paul.
The holy God-crowned Emperor Constantine the
Great (commemorated May 21) built a church in Constantinople in honour
of the Twelve Apostles. There are instructions for celebrating this
Feast, which date from the fourth century.
The names of the
Twelve Apostles are these: Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother
Andrew, the First-called; James the son of Zebedee, and his brother
John, who was also the Evangelist and Theologian; Philip, and
Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican, who was also called Levi
and was an Evangelist; James the son of Alphaeus, and Jude (also called
Lebbaeus, and surnamed Thaddaeus), the brother of James, the Brother of
God; Simon the Cananite ("the Zealot"), and Matthias, who was elected to
fill the place of Judas the traitor.
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
St. John Maximovitch the Wonderworker, Archbishop
of Shanghai and San Francisco
Commemorated on June 19
John was born in Russia in 1896 and at first given the name Michael. When he became a monk, he took the
a monk, he took the name of John in honor of his relative Saint John of Tobolsk. He taught at the Orthodox Seminary in Serbia,
and then was elevated to bishop and sent to Shanghai, China. He became known for his daily church services, the strictness
of his own asceticism, coupled with a loving heart, and the raising of orphans. By this point, John had been known as a holy
man for some time. In 1950, John and his spiritual children safely left Shanghai. He was then elevated to Archbishop of Paris
and later of San Francisco in 1963. Wherever John went, he inspired souls to convent to Orthodoxy. He also found and celebrated
the services of many of the forgotten saints of the West, and he foresaw and worked for the canonization of Saint Herman of
Alaska as well. The power of John's prayers worked miracles in the lives of those for whom he prayed.
Source: "2006 Daily Lives, Miracles, and Wisdom of the Saints"
St. Niketas the New Martyr of Nisyros
St. Niketas was born in 1716 to rich parents. His father was the governor
of the island of Nisyros, however, he fell into trouble with the Turks, and to escape tortures, he and his family converted
to Islam and moved to Rhodes. There, his youngest son, Mehmet, learned that at one time he had been a Christian named Niketas.
Immediately after, at 14 years of age, Niketas went to Nea Moni of Chios where he confessed his situation to the Abbot. The
Abbot sent him first to the former Bishop of Thebes Makarios, who gave him Holy Chrism and valuable guidance. Niketas learned
of the way of martyrdom and received advice from the well-known ascetic Anthimos Agiopateriti, and with the prayers and blessing
of the other fathers, he left for Chios. When he reached Chios, he was compelled by the Turks to pay the head tax, which he
was unable to do. Therefore the Turkish employee led him towards the prison at Vounaki. On the road he met some priest who
greeted Niketas as Mehmet. When the Turk heard this and learned from someone what had happened he led him to the Aga. There
Niketas confessed his faith with boldness and withstood the pressures and threats to return to their religion. Because however
he did not give way, they delivered him to terrible tortures for ten days. In the end, he was beheaded on June 21st 1732 at
17 years of age, gaining the crown of martyrdom and heavenly glory.
St. Sampson the Hospitable of Constantinople
Commemorated on June 27
Saint Sampson the Hospitable was the son of rich and
illustrious Roman parents. In his youth he received an excellent education, he studied the medical arts, and doctored the
sick without charge. After the death of his parents St Sampson generously distributed alms and set his slaves free, preparing
himself to go into the wilderness.
With this intent in mind he soon journeyed from Rome to the East. But the Lord
directed him onto a different path, that of service to neighbor, and so St Sampson came to Constantinople. Settling into a
small house, the saint began to take in homeless wanderers, the poor and the sick, and he attended to them. The Lord blessed
the efforts of St Sampson and endowed him with the power of wonderworking. He healed the sick not only through being a skilled
physician, but also as a bearer of the grace of God. News of St Sampson spread abroad. The patriarch heard of his great virtue
and ordained him to the holy priesthood.
It was revealed to the grievously ill Emperor Justinian (527-565), that he
could receive healing only through St Sampson. In praying, the saint put his hand on the afflicted area, and Justinian was
healed. In gratitude the emperor wanted to reward his healer with silver and gold, but the saint refused and instead asked
Justinian to build a home for the poor and the sick. The emperor readily fulfilled his request.
St Sampson devoted
the rest of his life to serving his neighbor. He survived into old age and after a short illness he departed peacefully to
the Lord. The saint was buried at the church of the holy Martyr Mocius, and many healings were effected at his grave. His
hospice remained open, and the saint did not cease to care for the suffering. He appeared twice to a negligent worker of the
hospice and upbraided him for his laziness. At the request of an admirer of St Sampson the hospice was transformed into a
church, and beside it a new edifice was built for the homeless. During the time of a powerful fire at Constantinople the flames
did not touch the hospice of St Sampson. Through his intercession a heavy rain quenched the fire.
Saints Peter and Paul, the Holy
divinely-blessed Peter was from Bethsaida of Galilee. He was the son of Jonas and the brother of Andrew the First-called.
He was a fisherman by trade, unlearned and poor, and was called Simon; later he was renamed Peter by the Lord Jesus Christ
Himself, Who looked at him and said, "Thou art Simon the son of Jonas; thou shalt be called Cephas (which is by interpretation,
Peter)" (John 1:42). On being raised by the Lord to the dignity of an Apostle and becoming inseparable from Him as His zealous
disciple, he followed Him from the beginning of His preaching of salvation up until the very Passion, when, in the court of
Caiaphas the high priest, he denied Him thrice because of his fear of the Jews and of the danger at hand. But again, after
many bitter tears, he received complete forgiveness of his transgression. After the Resurrection of Christ and the descent
of the Holy Spirit, he preached in Judea, Antioch, and certain parts of Asia, and finally came to Rome, where he was crucified
upside down by Nero, and thus he ascended to the eternal habitations about the year 66 or 68, leaving two Catholic (General)
Epistles to the Church of Christ.
Paul, the chosen vessel of Christ, the glory of the Church,
the Apostle of the Nations and teacher of the whole world, was a Jew by race, of the tribe of Benjamin, having Tarsus as his
homeland. He was a Roman citizen, fluent in the Greek language, an expert in knowledge of the Law, a Pharisee, born of a Pharisee,
and a disciple of Gamaliel, a Pharisee and notable teacher of the Law in Jerusalem. For this cause, from the beginning, Paul
was a most fervent zealot for the traditions of the Jews and a great persecutor of the Church of Christ; at that time, his
name was Saul (Acts 22:3-4). In his great passion of rage and fury against the disciples of the Lord, he went to Damascus
bearing letters of introduction from the high priest. His intention was to bring the disciples of Christ back to Jerusalem
in bonds. As he was approaching Damascus, about midday there suddenly shone upon him a light from Heaven. Falling on the earth,
he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?" And he asked, "Who art Thou, Lord?" And the Lord said,
"I am Jesus Whom thou persecutest; it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks." And that heavenly voice and brilliance
made him tremble, and he was blinded for a time. He was led by the hand into the city, and on account of a divine revelation
to the Apostle Ananias (see Oct. 1), he was baptized by him, and both his bodily and spiritual eyes were opened to the knowledge
of the Sun of Righteousness. And straightway- O wondrous transformation! - beyond all expectation, he spoke with boldness
in the synagogues, proclaiming that "Christ is the Son of God" (Acts 9:1-21). As for his zeal in preaching the Gospel after
these things had come to pass, as for his unabating labors and afflictions of diverse kinds, the wounds, the prisons, the
bonds, the beatings, the stonings, the shipwrecks, the journeys, the perils on land, on sea, in cities, in wildernesses, the
continual vigils, the daily fasting, the hunger, the thirst, the nakedness, and all those other things that he endured for
the Name of Christ, and which he underwent before nations and kings and the Israelites, and above all, his care for all the
churches, his fiery longing for the salvation of all, whereby he became all things to all men, that he might save them all
if possible, and because of which, with his heart aflame, he continuously traveled throughout all parts, visiting them all,
and like a bird of heaven flying from Asia and Europe, the West and East, neither staying nor abiding in any one place - all
these things are related incident by incident in the Book of the Acts, and as he himself tells them in his Epistles. His Epistles,
being fourteen in number, are explained in 250 homilies by the divine Chrysostom and make manifest the loftiness of his thoughts,
the abundance of the revelations made to him, the wisdom given to him from God, wherewith he brings together in a wondrous
manner the Old with the New Testaments, and expounds the mysteries thereof which had been concealed under types; he confirms
the doctrines of the Faith, expounds the ethical teaching of the Gospel, and demonstrates with exactness the duties incumbent
upon every rank, age, and order of man. In all these things his teaching proved to be a spiritual trumpet, and his speech
was seen to be more radiant than the sun, and by these means he clearly sounded forth the word of truth and illumined the
ends of the world. Having completed the work of his ministry, he likewise ended his life in martyrdom when he was beheaded
in Rome during the reign of Nero, at the same time, some say, when Peter was crucified.
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