Saint Symeon the Stylite
Our righteous Father Symeon was born about the year 390 in a certain village named Sis, in the mountain region of Cilicia
and Syria. Having first been a shepherd, he entered the monastic discipline at a young age. After trying various kinds of
ascetical practices, both in the monastery and then in the wilderness, he began standing on pillars of progressively greater
height, and heroically persevered in this for more than forty years; the greater part of this time he spent standing upright,
even when one of his feet became gangrenous, and other parts of his body gave way under the strain. He did not adopt this
strange way of life out of vainglory, a charge that some of his contemporaries made against him at the first: because he was
already famous for his asceticism and holiness before ascending his first pillar (in Greek, style, whence he is called "Stylite"),
many pious people came to him wishing to touch his garments, either for healing or for a blessing; to escape the continual
vexation they caused, he made a pillar about ten feet high, and then higher and higher, until the fourth and last was about
fifty feet high. The Church historian Theodoret of Cyrrhus, an eyewitness of his exploits who wrote of him while Symeon was
yet alive, called him "the great wonder of the world." God gave him the grace to persevere in such an astonishing form of
asceticism that multitudes came to see him from Persia, Armenia, South Arabia, Georgia, Thrace, Spain, Italy, Gaul, and the
British Isles. Theodoret says that he became so famous in Rome that the Nomadic Arabs by the thousands believed in Christ
and were baptized because of him; the King of Persia sent envoys to inquire into his way of life, and the Queen asked to be
sent oil that he had blessed. He also was a great defender of sound doctrine, and confirmed the Orthodoxy of the Holy Council
of Chalcedon for many who had been beguiled by the teachings of the Monophysites, including the Empress Eudocia, widow of
Theodosius the Younger. After a life of unheard-of achievements and struggles, he reposed in peace at the age of sixty-nine,
in the year 459.
St. Euphemia the Great Martyr
Commemorated on September 16
The Holy Great Martyr Euphemia the All-Praised was the daughter of Senator Philophronos and Theodosia, both
of whom were Christians. She suffered for Christ in 304 in the city of Chalcedon, on the banks of the Bosphorus opposite Constantinople.
Chalcedon Governor Priscus circulated an order to all the inhabitants of Chalcedon and its surroundings to
appear at a pagan festival to worship and offer sacrifice to an idol of Ares, threatening grave torments for anyone who failed
to appear. During this festival, forty-nine Christians hid in a house where they secretly attended services praising the One
The young maiden, Euphemia, was also among those praying there. Soon the hiding place of the Christians was
discovered, and they were brought before Priscus to answer for themselves. For nineteen days, the martyrs were subjected to
various tortures and torments, but none of them wavered in their faith nor consented to offer sacrifice to the idol. Governor
Priscus, beside himself with rage and not knowing any other way of forcing the Christians to abandon their faith, sent them
for trial to the Emperor Diocletian. Priscus kept the youngest, Euphemia, hoping that she would renounce her faith if she
were all alone.
St. Euphemia, separated from her brethren in faith, fervently prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ that He strengthen
her in her impending ordeal. At first, Priscus urged her to recant, promising her earthly blessings, but then he gave the
order to torture her. St. Euphemia was tied to a wheel with sharp knives. She prayed aloud, and the wheel stopped by itself.
An angel of the Lord came down from Heaven and removed Euphemia from the wheel and healed her wounds. She gave thanks unto
the Lord with gladness.
Not perceiving the miracle that had occurred, Priscus ordered soldiers to take Euphemia to a red-hot oven.
The soldiers, seeing two fearsome angels in the midst of the flames, refused to carry out the order and became believers in
God. Boldly proclaiming that they too were Christians, these solders, Victor and Sosthenes, bravely went to their martyrdom.
During their execution, they cried out for mercy to God, asking that the Lord receive them into the Heavenly Kingdom. A heavenly
voice answered their cries, and they entered into eternal life.
St. Euphemia was cast into the fire by other soldiers, but, with the help of God, she emerged unharmed. Ascribing
this to sorcery, Governor Priscus gave orders to dig a pit, and filling it with knives, he had it covered over with earth
and grass, so that Euphemia would not notice the preparation for her execution. St. Euphemia remained safe, easily passing
over the pit.
Finally, she was sentenced to be devoured by wild beasts at the circus. Before her execution, St. Euphemia
implored that the Lord deem her worthy to die a violent death. But none of the beasts, having been set loose in the arena,
attacked her. Finally, one of the she-bears gave her a small wound on the leg, and immediately the Holy Great Martyr Euphemia
died. Immediately following her martyrdom, an earthquake occurred, and the guards and the spectators ran in terror. St. Euphemia’s
parents were able to take her body and reverently buried it not far from Chalcedon.
Later, a majestic church was built over the grave of Great Martyr Euphemia. The Fourth Ecumenical Council
held its meetings there in 451 where Great Martyr Euphemia confirmed the Orthodox confession in a miraculous manner and exposed
the Monophysite heresy. (Details of this miracle may be found on July 11.)
With the taking of Chalcedon by the Persians in 617, the relics of Euphemia were transferred to Constantinople.
During the Iconoclast heresy, the reliquary with her relics was thrown into the sea. However, pious sailors recovered them,
and the relics were afterwards taken to the Island of Lemnos. In 796, they were returned to Constantinople.
source: Antiochian Archdiosese
St. Sergius, Abbot of Radonezh
Feastday: September 25
Even as a child in the womb, Sergius had the grace of the Holy Spirit. Three times during a service, those
around his mother heard him cry out from within her. From his birth he would not drink milk on Wednesdays, Fridays or other
fast days. As a child, he could not read well until an angel of God blessed him. When his parents died, he realized his own
mortality so acutely that he gave away his belongings and built a hut in the wilderness. At twenty-three years of age, he
was tonsured a monk by a passing priest. In vain, demons would transform themselves into snakes and wild animals to drive
him away. He built a small church and then a monastery that stands today. He prayed, and suddenly a spring appeared, which
also still exists. He raised a child from the dead, cleaned lepers, and caused the blind to see. Monks left their monasteries
to live close to him. An angel of the Lord celebrated the Divine Liturgy with him. He had the gift of clairvoyance and reported
the results of a far-off battle as it was happening. The Theotokos came with Saints Peter and John to bless his monastery.
He foresaw his repose six months in advance. After he died, his countenance was bright, and thirty years, his relics were
incorrupt, fragrant, and healed the sick.
Source: "2006 Daily Lives, Miracles and Wisdom of the Saints"
Saint John IV the Faster, Patriarch of Constantinople
Commemorated on September 2
Saint John IV the Faster, Patriarch
of Constantinople (582-595), is famed in the Orthodox Church as the compiler of a penitential nomokanon (i.e. rule for penances),
which has come down to us in several distinct versions, but their foundation is one and the same. These are instructions for
priests on how to hear the confession of secret sins, whether sins already committed, or merely sins of intent.
church rules address the manner and duration of public penances, established for obvious and evident sinners. But it was necessary
to adapt these rules for the secret confession of undetected things. St John the Faster issued his penitential nomokanon (or
"Canonaria"), so that the confession of secret sins, unknown to the world, already testifies to the good disposition of the
sinner and his conscience in being reconciled to God, and so the saint reduced the penances of the ancient Fathers by half
On the other hand, he set more exactly the character of the penances: severe fasting, daily performance of
a set number of prostrations to the ground, the distribution of alms, etc. The length of penance is determined by the priest.
The main purpose of the nomocanon compiled by the holy Patriarch consists in assigning penances, not simply according to the
seriousness of the sins, but according to the degree of repentance and the spiritual state of the person who confesses.
the Greeks, and later in the Russian Church, the rules of St John the Faster are honored on a level "with other saintly rules,"
and the nomocanons of his book are accounted "applicable for all the Orthodox Church." St Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain (July
14) included him in the Manual for Confession (Exomologitarion), first published in 1794, and in the Rudder (Pedalion), published
The first Slavonic translation was done quite possibly by the holy Equal of the Apostles Methodius, at the
same time as he produced the Nomocanon in 50 Titles of the holy Patriarch John Scholastikos, whose successor on the Constantinople
cathedra-seat was St John the Faster. This ancient translation was preserved in Rus in the "Ustiug Rudder" of the thirteenth
century, published in 1902.
From the sixteenth century in the Russian Church the nomocanon of St John the Faster was
circulated in another redaction, compiled by the monks and clergy of Mount Athos. In this form it was repeatedly published
at the Kiev Caves Lavra (in 1620, 1624, 1629).
In Moscow, the Penitential Nomokanon was published in the form of a
supplement to the Trebnik ("Book of Needs): under Patriarch Joasaph in 1639, under Patriarch Joseph in 1651, and under Patriarch
Nikon in 1658. The last edition since that time is that printed in the Great Book of Needs. A scholarly edition of the nomocanon
with parallel Greek and Slavonic texts and with detailed historical and canonical commentary was published by A. S. Pavlov
St. Euphrosynus the Cook, of Alexandria
Commemorated on September 11
Saint Euphrosynus the Cook was from one of the Palestinian monasteries, and his obedience was to work in
the kitchen as a cook. Toiling away for the brethren, St Euphrosynus did not absent himself from thought about God, but rather
dwelt in prayer and fasting. He remembered always that obedience is the first duty of a monk, and therefore he was obedient
to the elder brethren.
The patience of the saint was amazing: they often reproached him, but he made no complaint
and endured every unpleasantness. St Euphrosynus pleased the Lord by his inner virtue which he concealed from people, and
the Lord Himself revealed to the monastic brethren the spiritual heights of their unassuming fellow-monk.
One of the
priests of the monastery prayed and asked the Lord to show him the blessings prepared for the righteous in the age to come.
The priest saw in a dream what Paradise is like, and he contemplated its inexplicable beauty with fear and with joy.
also saw there a monk of his monastery, the cook Euphrosynus. Amazed at this encounter, the presbyter asked Euphrosynus, how
he came to be there. The saint answered that he was in Paradise through the great mercy of God. The priest again asked whether
Euphrosynus would be able to give him something from the surrounding beauty. St Euphrosynus suggested to the priest to take
whatever he wished, and so the priest pointed to three luscious apples growing in the garden of Paradise. The monk picked
the three apples, wrapped them in a cloth, and gave them to his companion.
When he awoke in the early morning, the
priest thought the vision a dream, but suddenly he noticed next to him the cloth with the fruit of Paradise wrapped in it,
and emitting a wondrous fragrance. The priest, found St Euphrosynus in church and asked him under oath where he was the night
before. The saint answered that he was where the priest also was. Then the monk said that the Lord, in fulfilling the prayer
of the priest, had shown him Paradise and had bestown the fruit of Paradise through him, " the lowly and unworthy servant
of God, Euphrosynus."
The priest related everything to the monastery brethren, pointing out the spiritual loftiness
of Euphrosynus in pleasing God, and he pointed to the fragrant paradaisical fruit. Deeply affected by what they heard, the
monks went to the kitchen, in order to pay respect to St Euphrosynus, but they did not find him there. Fleeing human glory,
the monk had left the monastery. The place where he concealed himself remained unknown, but the monks always remembered that
their monastic brother St Euphrosynus had come upon Paradise, and that they in being saved, through the mercy of God would
meet him there. They reverently kept and distributed pieces of the apples from Paradise for blessing and for healing. (source:
Saint Silouan the Athonite
Commemorated on September the 24th
Saint Silouan was
born Simeon Ivanovich Antonov in 1866 to Russian Orthodox parents who came from the village of Sovsk in Russia's Tambov region.
At the age of twenty-seven he left his native Russia and came to Mount Athos, where he became a monk at the Monastery of St. Panteleimon and was given the name Silouan,
the Russian version of the Biblical name Silvanus.
An ardent ascetic, he received the grace of unceasing prayer and saw Christ in a vision. After long years of spiritual trial, he acquired great humility and inner stillness. He prayed and wept for the whole world as for himself,
and he put the highest value on love for enemies. Thomas Merton, a twentieth-century Catholicmonk, described Silouan as “the most authentic monk of the twentieth century.” St Silouan died onSeptember 24, 1938. He was glorified by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1987.
Though barely literate, he was sought out by pilgrims for
his wise counsel. His writings were edited by his disciple and pupil, Archimandrite Sophrony. Father Sophrony has written the life of the saint along with a record of St. Silouan's teachings in the book Saint
Silouan the Athonite.