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The Shepherd's Guild

Saints of July

A listing of a few saints commemorated in the month of July:

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Holy Wonderworking Unmercenary Physicians Cosmas and Damian at Rome

Commemorated on July 1

These holy brothers, Ss. Cosmas and Damian of Rome, were born in the third century of Christian parents that raised them in piety and chastity.  Ss. Cosmas and Damian were physicians that were given the gift of healing.  They are called unmercenaries, because they refused payment.  The brothers told those seeking healing from them: "It is not by our own power that we treat you, but by the power of Christ, the true God. Believe in Him and be healed."  Through their faith and the power of healing, they brought many to the Faith rousing the anger of the Roman authorities.  The local Christians convinced them to hide, but they surrendered themselves when they heard of other Christians being imprisoned in their place.  They were imprisoned and put on trial in front of Emperor Carinus, being accused of sorcery.  They professed their faith in Jesus Christ.   The emperor Carinus was then struck blind and pleaded with the Saints to heal him and promised to release them and to repent and join the Faithful.  Ss. Cosmas and Damian did so and the emperor did as he promised.  Seeing this and the fame that the brothers found from the miracles that occurred through them, their former teacher became filled with envy.  He invited them into the wilderness to collect healing herbs.  Ss. Cosmas and Damian, trusting their teacher went suspecting nothing, only to be murdered and thrown into the river.  Many are still healed through their intercessions.  

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St. Andrew of Crete
 
Feastday: July 4
 
     He was born in Damascus about 600. At a young age he went to Jerusalem where he was was tonsured a monk at the Monastery of St. Sava. He stayed there for then years, serving as secretary to the patriarch. The patriarch sent Andrew to Constantinople as his representative to the Sixth Ecumenical Council. In about 700 he was chosen to be archbishop of Gortyna in Crete. Andrew was not distinguished for his theological ability or dogmatic steadfastness. Rather, his gifts were devotional and mystical. He composed many hymns for the Church, including his "Great Canon of Repentance" which has 250 verses and is sung by the Church during Great Lent. Andrew wrote many other hymns, each with its own melody (called ideomela) and he was a great preacher. He died in peace about 740.  
 
Source: "A Daily Calendar of Saints" by Rev. Lawrence R. Farley

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Myrrhbearer and Equal of the Apostles Mary Magdalene
 
Commemorated on July 22

Saint Mary was from Magdala in Galilee on the Sea of Tiberias, and for this was named Magdalene. When the Lord Jesus cast out seven demons from her, from which she had been suffering, she became His faithful and inseparable disciple, following Him and ministering unto Him even to the time of His crucifixion and burial. Then, returning to Jerusalem together with the rest of the Myrrh-bearers, she prepared the fragrant spices for anointing the body of the Lord. And on the Lord's day they came very early to the tomb, even before the Angels appeared declaring the Resurrection of the Lord. When Mary Magdalene saw the stone taken away from the tomb, she ran and proclaimed it to Peter and John. And returning immediately to the tomb and weeping outside, she was deemed worthy to be the first of the Myrrh-bearers to behold the Lord arisen from the dead, and when she fell at His feet, she heard Him say, "Touch Me not." After the Lord's Ascension, nothing certain is known concerning her. Some accounts say that she went to Rome and later returned to Jerusalem, and from there proceeded to Ephesus, where she ended her life, preaching Christ. Although it is sometimes said that Saint Mary Magdalene was the "sinful woman" of the Gospel, this is nowhere stated in the tradition of the Church, in the sacred hymnology, or in the Holy Gospels themselves, which say only that our Lord cast seven demons out of her, not that she was a fallen woman. "Madeleine" is a form of Magdalene.
 
Source: GOArch
Icon: OCA

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Icon of the Mother of God "the Joy of All who sorrow" (with coins) in St. Petersburg
 
Commemorated on July 23

The Icon of the Mother of God "Joy of All Who Sorrow" (With Coins) was glorified in the year 1888 in Petersburg, when during the time of a terrible thunderstorm lightning struck in a chapel. All was burned or singed, except for this icon of the Queen of Heaven. It was knocked to the floor, and the poor box broke open at the same time. Somehow, twelve small coins (half-kopeck pieces), became attached to the icon. A church was built in 1898 on the site of the chapel.

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St. Paraskevi

St. Paraskevi

Commemorated July 26
 
St. Paraskevi was born in Rome about 140 AD of Greek Christian parents. Her father, Agathon was rich and her mother, Politia, had many attributes, the greatest of which was her charitability. Agathon and Politia had been married for many years but they were childless. They prayed to God to bless them with a child which they would raise in a true Christian atmosphere. Their prayers were answered with the birth of a girl and because she was born on the sixth day of the week, they named her Paraskevi, the Greek word for Friday.

What impressed Paraskevi the most was not her parents' guidance, but the Christian life which they led. Thus, she knew from a young age, the way of life she would one day lead. She obtained her education from secular books and from the Scriptures. She was also very knowledgeable in the field of philosophy. Bolstered by her Christian upbringing and philosophy, she often conversed with other women about Christianity, trying to strengthen their faith in this new religion.

Many noblemen wanted to marry this beautiful, educated and rich woman. Her understanding and kindness made her even more desirable, but having a higher goal in life, Paraskevi rejected any marriage proposals.

When she was 20 years old, both her parents died. Filled with the spirit of Christ and Christian ideals, she sold all her worldly goods and dispersed most of her money among the poor. The remainder was contributed to a community treasury which supported a home for young virgins and widows who had dedicated their lives to the teachings of Christianity. These women had, however, strayed far from the word of the Gospel and, therefore, Paraskevi remained in this home for many years and taught them the true meaning of Christianity.

This was not enough for her, however, and unprotected she went out to teach the way of Christ, knowing that death was waiting for her at the end of her journey. It was during this period that the Jews and Romans persecuted the new religion with the greatest intensity.

She left Rome at the age of 30 and began her holy mission, passing through many cities and villages. She was not caught immediately and put to death because Antonius Pius ruled Rome at this time, and he did not execute Christians without a trial. Instead, he protected them against the blind mania of the Jewish and Roman inhabitants. A Christian could only be brought to trial if a formal complaint were lodged against him by another citizen. However, at one time Antonius had to repeal this law because of the many disasters which had befallen Rome, and which were blamed on the Christians.

Eventually, Antonius heard of St. Paraskevi's holy mission. Upon her return to Rome, several Jews filed complaints about her and Antonius summoned her to his palace to question her. Attracted by her beauty and humility he tried with kind words to make her denounce her faith, even promising to marry her and make her an empress. Angered by her refusal he had a steel helmet, which fitted tightly around her head, lined with nails and placed on her head. It had no effect on the Saint and many who witnessed this miracle converted to Christianity. Hearing of this, Antonius had them put to death.

Thrown into prison, Paraskevi asked God to give her the strength to face the terror which awaited her. Antonius again continued the torture by having her hung by her hair and her hands and arms burned with torches. The Saint suffered greatly, but had the will not to submit to the pain. Antonius then prepared a large kettle of oil and tar, boiled the mixture and then had Paraskevi immersed in it. Miraculously she stood as if she were being cooled rather than burned. Angered, Antonius thought that she was using magic to keep the contents cool, but the Saint told him that he could test it. She took some of the boiling liquid and threw it in the Emperor's face. It burned his eyes and blinded him. She stepped out of the kettle and went to Antonius, telling him that only the Christian God could cure him. Immediately, he regained his sight and humbled by the miracle he freed the Saint and ended all persecutions against the Christians throughout the Roman Empire.

Free now, Paraskevi went forth with greater zeal to accomplish her apostolic mission. As long as Antonius was alive she taught without fear, however the Emperor died at which time Marcus Aurelius came to power. During his reign a pestilence befell Rome and many people died. Once again the Christians were blamed. The Emperor was forced to change the laws dealing with "non-believers".

Paraskevi was captured in a city which was ruled by a man called Asclipius. Refusing to sacrifice to the pagan gods, she was thrown into a pit with a large snake. The Saint made the sign of the cross and the snake did not harm her. Asclipius, realising that a great and mighty power guarded Paraskevi, she was again set free to teach others about Christianity.

She soon arrived at the city in which she would meet her death. Taracius was the ruler here, and he summoned her to the palace for trial. As Antonius, he also ordered his soldiers to prepare a kettle filled with boiling oil and melted tar and the Saint was placed in it. Once again, nothing happened, and many of the onlookers converted to Christianity. Paraskevi was then tied and beaten and afterwards imprisoned and a huge rock placed on her chest. She prayed to Christ to help her be strong.

The next morning Paraskevi was taken willingly to the Temple of Apollo. Everyone praised Taracius, thinking that he had succeeded in breaking Paraskevi's faith. However, upon entering the temple, the Saint raised her hand and made the sign of the cross. Suddenly, a loud noise was heard and all the idols in the temple were destroyed. The priests and idolaters dragged her from the altar, beat her, and pushed her out of the temple. The priests demanded that Taracius kill Paraskevi. She was convicted and condemned to death.

When the Saint was taken out of the city to be beheaded, she asked to be left alone for a few moments so that she might pray for the last time. Afterwards, the soldiers returned and executed the Saint.

St. Paraskevi is considered to be a healer of the blind, because of the miracle she performed in restoring the sight of Antonius Pius.

source: Greek Archdiocese of Australia website

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St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr & Healer

Commemorated on July 27

This Saint, who had Nicomedia as his homeland, was the son of Eustorgius and Eubula. His father was an idolater, but his mother was a Christian from her ancestors. It was through her that he was instructed in piety, and still later, he was catechized in the Faith of Christ by Saint Hermolaus (see July 26) and baptized by him. Being proficient in the physician's vocation, he practiced it in a philanthropic manner, healing every illness more by the grace of Christ than by medicines. Thus, although his parents had named him Pantoleon ("in all things a lion"), because of the compassion he showed for the souls and bodies of all, he was worthily renamed Panteleimon, meaning "all-merciful." On one occasion, when he restored the sight of a certain blind man by calling on the Divine Name, he enlightened also the eyes of this man's soul to the knowledge of the truth. This also became the cause for the martyrdom of him who had been blind, since when he was asked by whom and in what manner his eyes had been opened, in imitation of that blind man of the Gospel he confessed with boldness both who the physician was and the manner of his healing. For this he was put to death immediately. Panteleimon was arrested also, and having endured many wounds, he was finally beheaded in the year 305, during the reign of Maximian. Saint Panteleimon is one of the Holy Unmercenaries, and is held in special honor among them, even as Saint George is among the Martyrs.

Reading courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery

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The Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel, the leader of the heavenly hosts of angels: July 13

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Grand Duchess Elizabeth
 
Commemorated on July 5

Saint Elizabeth was the older sister of Tsarina Alexandra, and was married to the Grand Duke Sergius, the governor of Moscow. She converted to Orthodoxy from Protestantism of her own free will, and organized women from all levels of society to help the soldiers at the front and in the hospitals.

Grand Duke Sergius was killed by an assassin's bomb on February 4, 1905, just as St Elizabeth was leaving for her workshops. Remarkably, she visited her husband's killer in prison and urged him to repent.

After this, she began to withdraw from her former social life. She devoted herself to the Convent of Sts Martha and Mary, a community of nuns which focused on worshiping God and also helping the poor. She moved out of the palace into a building she purchased on Ordinka. Women from the nobility, and also from the common people, were attracted to the convent.

St Elizabeth nursed sick and wounded soldiers in the hospitals and on the battle front. On Pascha of 1918, the Communists ordered her to leave Moscow, and join the royal family near Ekaterinburg. She left with a novice, Sister Barbara, and an escort of Latvian guards.

After arriving in Ekaterinburg, St Elizabeth was denied access to the Tsar's family. She was placed in a convent, where she was warmly received by the sisters.

At the end of May St Elizabeth was moved to nearby Alopaevsk with the Grand Dukes Sergius, John, and Constantine, and the young Count Vladimir Paley. They were all housed in a schoolhouse on the edge of town. St Elizabeth was under guard, but was permitted to go to church and work in the garden.

On the night of July 5, they were all taken to a place twelve miles from Alopaevsk, and executed. The Grand Duke Sergius was shot, but the others were thrown down a mineshaft, then grenades were tossed after them. St Elizabeth lived for several hours, and could be heard singing hymns.

The bodies of St Elizabeth and St Barbara were taken to Jerusalem in 1920, and buried in the church of St Mary Magdalene.
 
source: OCA

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Grand Duchess Elizabeth, New Martyr

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St. Athanasius the Founder of the Great Lavra and Coenobitic Monasticism on Mt. Athos

Commemorated on July 5

Saint Athanasius had Trebizond for his homeland. He first entered the monastic life on the mountain called Kymaeos or Kyminas, which is in Mysia of Bithynia, then he went to Mount Athos and founded a large monastery, which is known as the Great Lavra. He became so renowned for his virtue that from Rome, Calabria, Georgia, and elsewhere, rulers, men of wealth and nobility, abbots, and even bishops came to him and were subject to him. When the time for his departure was at hand, God revealed to him how it would take place, so that he was able to instruct his spiritual children not to be troubled when it should come to pass. A new church was being built for the sake of the many who came to him, and only the dome had not been finished. Together with six of the brethren, the Saint went to the top of the church to help the workmen. The dome collapsed, and they fell. Five were killed at once, and the Saint died three hours later. His holy body remained incorrupt and he worked many miracles after his death. He reposed about the end of the tenth century. (Source: GOArch)

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St. Anthony of the Caves (Antony Pechersky)

Commemorated on July 10

St. Anthony of the Caves, also known as Antony Pechersky, established the first Russian monastery known now as Kiev Pechersk Lavra, and is considered to be the father of Russian monasticism.

He was born in the town of Lyubech north of Kiev and was baptized with the name “Antipas”. He was drawn to the spiritual life from an early age, and when he got older he left for the Greek Orthodox Esphigmenou Monastery on Mount Athos to live as a hermit.
 
There, he lived in a secluded cave overlooking the sea. In 1051, the abbot gave Anthony the job of expanding monasticism in his native land, which had only recently begun its conversion to Christianity.
 
Anthony returned to Kiev, and was ordered by local princes to found several monasteries based on the Greek model.
 
These monasteries were not as austere as Anthony was used to from his time on Mount Athos. He traveled through many of them and was surprised how busy the monks there were with daily matters instead of prayers and service. Anthony did not stay in either of the monasteries, but chose the life of a hermit in a cave once used by robbers as a hiding place.
 
In 1015 his peaceful austerity was interrupted by the death of Vladimir I of Kiev, and the subsequent fratricidal war for the throne between Vladimir's sons Yaroslav and Sviatopolk. They tried to revive the old pagan traditions and beliefs, and that forced Anthony to return to Mount Athos. Soon his was ordered by church authorities to go back to his Motherland.

The second return differs from the first one drastically – the man did not wander through monasteries in search of spiritual guidance, but walked to the hills near the busiest city of that time, Kiev, and settles in a small four-yard cave which had been dug by the presbyter Hilarion in woods on the Dnepr river bank. There he prays and fasts.
 
The fame of a holy man living quietly outside of the city spreads fast and soon many followers inhabit the caves around and build the first church underground. With new people joining the monastery new caves had to be dug, and strict monastic rules were introduced. Anthony always denied to be called a priest and never took any church rank, he never lead the new community of monks but only guided them with his faith and wisdom. 
 
As the conventual community grows, Antoniy has to lead the people out of the caves and start to build a church on a hill given to the monks by the ruler of Kiev Izyaslav.
 
Local peasants, artisans, poor folk and nobility came to Anthony for advise and blessing. Once when Izyaslav and his brothers faced a popular uprising, they came to Anthony for his blessing. They did not get it. Anthony foretold that because of their sins they would be defeated. Izyaslav was planning to send Anthony to exile but before he could do so, Izyaslav's brother, Svyatoslav, arranged for Anthony to be secretly taken to Chernigov. When the conflict ended, the holy man was secretly sent back to Kiev.

The burial place of Anthony of the Caves is not known. He prohibited the monks to search for his remnants, and attempts to do so twice failed. The historical scripts of that time say, first time the monks digging in the caves to recover the body of St.Anthony saw a column of fire descend from the sky and that blinded the diggers, and the second time the cave was flooded.

source: Russiapedia
Written by Alyona Kipreyeva for RT

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The All-Praised Olga, Equal-To-The-Apostles, Princess of Kiev

Commemorated on July 11

Saint Olga, renowned for her wisdom and sobriety, in her youth became the wife of Igor, Great Prince of Kiev, who ruled during the tenth century. After her husband's death, she herself ruled capably, and was finally moved to accept the Faith of Christ. She traveled to Constantinople to receive Holy Baptism. The Emperor, seeing her outward beauty and inward greatness, asked her to marry him. She said she could not do this before she was baptized; she furthermore asked him to be her Godfather at the font, which he agreed to do. After she was baptized (receiving the name of Helen), the Emperor repeated his proposal of marriage. She answered that now he was her father, through holy Baptism, and that not even among the heathen was it heard of a man marrying his daughter. Gracefully accepting to be outwitted by her, he sent her back to her land with priests and sacred texts and holy icons. Although her son Svyatoslav remained a pagan, she planted the seed of faith in her grandson Vladimir (see July 15). She reposed in peace in 969.

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St. Vladimir, Equal-to-the-Apostles
 
Feastday: July 15
 
    He knew of the Christian faith from his grandmother Olga, but continued to be a pagan. In 980, ne became prince of Kievan Rus and had to decide how best to rule his people and guide them among the other nations and which reigion would be best for them. His ambassadors went abroad to examine the religions of the other nations and those from Constantinople brought back word that the worship there was so overwhelming that they "did not know whether they were on earth or in heaven." "There," among the Christians, they said, "we know God dwells among men. We cannot forget that beauty." They also pointed out the the Christian faith of his grandmother Olga. This counsel worked in his heart and he thus decided to convert in 988. He proposed to the emperor of Constantinople that his sister  Anna marry him and that Russia he allied with Byzantium. Thus Vladimir traveled to Kherson to be baptized by the bishop there. When he returned home, he announced to his people that all should join him as Christians. He destroyed their idols, including the dreaded idol Perun, which he threw into the Dneiper River. This act greatly impressed the people and the hold of the old religion was broken. Many were then baptized in the Dneiper River, after which Vladimir began the task of converting his entire country. He furthered literacy and sent clergy throughout the country to preach to all. He himself changed from being a fierce warrior to a person who was also concerned for the poor and needy. He died in peace in 1015, the enlightener of the land of the Rus.
 
Source: "A Daily Calendar of Saints" by Rev. Lawrence R. Farley

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St. Marina, Greatmartyr of Antioch in Pisidia

Commemorated on July 17

The Holy Great Martyr Marina was born in Asia Minor, in the city of Antioch of Pisidia (southern Asia Minor), into the family of a pagan priest. In infancy she lost her mother, and her father gave her into the care of a nursemaid, who raised Marina in the Orthodox Faith. Upon learning that his daughter had become a Christian, the father angrily disowned her. During the time of the persecution against Christians under the emperor Diocletian (284-305), when she was fifteen years old, St Marina was arrested and locked up in prison. With firm trust in the will of God and His help, the young prisoner prepared for her impending fate.

The governor Olymbrios, charmed with the beautiful girl, tried to persuade her to renounce the Christian Faith and become his wife. But the saint, unswayed, refused his offers. The vexed governor gave the holy martyr over to torture. Having beaten her fiercely, they fastened the saint with nails to a board and tore at her body with tridents. The governor himself, unable to bear the horror of these tortures, hid his face in his hands. But the holy martyr remained unyielding. Thrown for the night into prison, she was granted heavenly aid and healed of her wounds. They stripped her and tied her to a tree, then burned the martyr with fire. Barely alive, the martyr prayed: "Lord, You have granted me to go through fire for Your Name, grant me also to go through the water of holy Baptism."

Hearing the word "water", the governor gave orders to drown the saint in a large cauldron. The martyr besought the Lord that this manner of execution should become for her holy Baptism. When they plunged her into the water, there suddenly shone a light, and a snow-white dove came down from Heaven, bearing in its beak a golden crown. The fetters put upon St Marina came apart by themselves. The martyr stood up in the fount of Baptism glorifying the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. St Marina emerged from the fount completely healed, without any trace of burns. Amazed at this miracle, the people glorified the True God, and many came to believe. This brought the governor into a rage, and he gave orders to kill anyone who might confess the Name of Christ. 15,000 Christians perished there, and the holy Martyr Marina was beheaded. The sufferings of the Great Martyr Marina were described by an eyewitness of the event, named Theotimos.

Up until the taking of Constantinople by Western crusaders in the year 1204, the relics of the Great Martyr Marina were in the Panteponteia monastery. According to other sources, they were located in Antioch until the year 908 and from there transferred to Italy. Now they are in Athens, in a church dedicated to the holy Virgin Martyr. Her venerable hand was transferred to Mount Athos, to the Batopedi monastery.

Source: OCA


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Saint Macrina
 
Commemorated on July 19
 
    St. Macrina came from a family of five other saints. Her brothers were Saint Basil the Great, Saint Gregory of Nyssa, and Saint Peter, bishop of Sebasteia. Her parents were Saint Basil the Elder and Saint Emmilia. When her betrothed died, she committed her life to Jesus Christ and encourage her mother towards monasticism. Because of the resurrection of the dead, she believed it iportant to remain faithful to one's departed spouse. She helped to direct the thoughts of her brothers towards God and away from secular life. Once, she received a wound on her breast, and our of modesty, she would not show her doctor or even her mother. Instead, she prayed to God with tears, and bending down she mixed dust with her tears and with that mixture, she healed herself. With her brothers, she created an orphanage and a hospital. She also created a convent that attracted many and became a spiritual haven.
 
Source: "2006 Daily Lives, Miracles, and Wisdom of the Saints and Fasting Calendar"