Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk
Commemorated on August 13
Our father among the saints Tikhon of Zadonsk
(1724-1783) was born in the village of Korotsk, in the Novgorod
region, Russia. He received the monastic habit at the age of thirty-four. He was later consecrated Bishop of Voronezh. He
served as bishop for a little under seven years and retired to the monastery of Zadonsk and lived there until he died. His
relics were kept there and due to the reports of the many miracles that occurred near his relic he was made a saint by the
Russian Orthodox Church in 1861.
He is remembered by many as the "Russian Chrysostom." His feast day is celebrated on August 13. The first opening of the
relics of St Tikhon of Zadonsk is commemorated on May 14.
St. Cosmas the Aetolian
The holy, glorious and right-victorious New Hieromartyr and Equal-to-the-Apostles Kosmas Aitolos (also known as Cosmas Aitolos, and St Cosmas
the Aetolian) was born in 1714 in Aitolia, Greece, to a father who was a weaver and a devout mother. He attended public
schools, but was tutored by an archdeacon. He taught and then attended a school on
Mt. Athos. He became a monk and later a priest at Philotheou Monastery there. After a time, he felt a calling to do missionary work in Greece,
especially in the remote areas where there was a lack of churches and priests for
the many unbaptized adults. As an aftermath of four centuries of Turkish oppression
in Greece, Kosmas received the patriarchal blessing to travel wherever needed, for
however long, with complete independence, to breathe life back into Christianity in Greece. Kosmas travelled in Greece, its
islands, and Albania for 25 years, founding over 200 schools, as well as charities and rural churches. He travelled by foot,
by donkey and by ship. When he came to a village he would ask the villagers to plant a large wooden cross in the village square. Then he would mount a bench next to the cross and preach to the villagers about the love of
God and the Orthodox faith. The Muslims tried him on charges of conspiracy and sentenced
him to hang in August 1779 in Albania. However, one account reports that he prayed
and gave up his spirit before this could occur. St. Kosmas received from God the gift of prophecy, and was known to have prophesied of the telephone, airplanes, and aerial bombings. Patriarch Athenagoras glorified him in 1961. His feast day
is celebrated on August 24.
Commemorated on August 27
We know nothing for certain about the background
of St Phanourius, nor exactly when he lived. Tradition says that when the island of Rhodes had been conquered by Moslems,
the new ruler of the island wished to rebuild the walls of the city, which had been damaged in previous wars. Several ruined
buildings were near the fortress, and stone from these buildings was used to repair the walls at the end of the fifteenth
century, or the beginning of the sixteenth.
While working on the fortress, the Moslems uncovered the ruins of a beautiful
church. Several icons, most of them badly damaged, were found on the floor. One icon, of St Phanourius, looked as if it had
been painted that very day. The local bishop, whose name was Nilus, was called to see the icon. It said, "Saint Phanourius."
The saint is depicted as a young soldier holding a cross in his right hand. On the upper part of the cross is a lighted
taper. Twelve scenes from his life are shown around the border of the icon. These scenes show him being questioned by an official,
being beaten with stones by soldiers, stretched out on the ground while soldiers whip him, then having his sides raked with
iron hooks. He is also shown locked up in prison, standing before the official again, being burned with candles, tied to a
rack, thrown to the wild animals, and being crushed by a large rock. The remaining scenes depict him standing before idols
holding burning coals in his hands, while a demon stands by lamenting his defeat by the saint, and finally, the saint stands
in the midst of a fire with his arms raised in prayer.
These scenes clearly revealed that the saint was a martyr.
Bishop Nilus sent representatives to the Moslem ruler, asking that he be permitted to restore the church. Permission was denied,
so the bishop went to Constantinople and there he obtained a decree allowing him to rebuild the church.
At that time,
there was no Orthodox bishop on the island of Crete. Since Crete was under the control of Venice, there was a Latin bishop.
The Venetians refused to allow a successor to be consecrated when an Orthodox bishop died, or for new priests to be ordained,
hoping that in time they would be able to convert the Orthodox population to Catholicism. Those seeking ordination were obliged
to go to the island of Kythera.
It so happened that three young deacons had traveled from Crete to Kythera to be ordained
to the holy priesthood. On their way back, they were captured at sea by Moslems who brought them to Rhodes to be sold as slaves.
Lamenting their fate, the three new priests wept day and night.
While in Rhodes the priests heard of the miracles
performed by the holy Great Martyr Phanourius. They began to pray to him with tears, asking to be freed from their captivity.
Each of the three had been sold to a different master, and so remained unaware of what the others were doing.
mercy of God, each of the priests was allowed by his master to pray at the restored church of St Phanourius. All three arrived
at the same time and prostrated themselves before the icon of the saint, asking to be delivered from the hands of the Hagarenes
(Moslems, descendents of Hagar). Somewhat consoled, the priests left the church and returned to their masters.
night St Phanourius appeared to the three masters and ordered them to set the priests free so that they could serve the Church,
or he would punish them. The Moslems ignored the saint's warning, believing the vision to be the result of sorcery. The cruel
masters bound the priests with chains and treated them even worse than before.
Then St Phanourius went to the priests
and freed them from their shackles, promising that they would be freed the next day. Appearing once more to the Moslems, the
holy martyr told them severely, "If you do not release your slaves by tomorrow, you shall witness the power of God!"
next morning, all the inhabitants of the homes where the priests were held awoke to find themselves blind, paralyzed, and
in great pain. They considered what they were to do, and so decided to send for the priests. When the three priests arrived,
they asked them whether they could heal them. The priests replied, "We will pray to God. May His will be done!"
more St Phanourius appeared to the Hagarenes, ordering them to send to the church a document granting the priests their freedom.
He told them that if they refused to do this, they would never recover their sight or health. All three masters wrote letters
releasing the priests, and sent the documents to the church, where they were placed before the icon of St Phanourius.
the messengers returned from the church, all those who had been blind and paralyzed were healed. The priests joyfully returned
to Crete, carrying with them a copy of the icon of St Phanourius. Every year they celebrated the Feast of St Phanourius with
deep gratitude for their miraculous deliverance.
The saint's name sounds similar to the Greek verb "phanerono," which
means "to reveal" or "to disclose." For this reason, people pray to St Phanourius to help them find lost objects. When the
object is recovered, they bake a sweet bread and share it with the poor, offering prayers for the salvation of saint's mother.
Her name is not known, but according to tradition, she was a sinful woman during her life. St Phanourius has promised to help
those who pray for his mother in this way.