Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Synaxarion for the Veneration of the Honorable Chain of the Apostle Peter

On the sixteenth of this month, the veneration of the honorable Chain of the Holy and Glorious Apostle Peter is celebrated.


We venerate your honorable bonds O Peter,
Release me from the long bonds of my accusations.
On the sixteenth I venerate the bonds of Peter.

On this day is venerated the honorable Chain, with which the Foremost Peter was bound for Christ by orders of the tetrarch Herod, as the Apostle Luke records in the twelfth chapter of Acts. From his apostolic and all-sacred body, this Chain received sanctifying and wonderworking grace, to sanctify those who venerate it with faith, and to release those bound by all types of evils and illness.

Saint Maxim of Totma the Fool for Christ (+ 1650)

St. Maxim of Totma (Feast Day - January 16)

Venerable Maxim was a priest in the town of Totma in the Russian North during the early seventeenth century. He was called Maxim Makarev, son of Pope (priest). He was made a priest, and for forty-five years he lead the ascetic life of a fool-for-Christ, abiding in ceaseless prayer, fasting, nakedness, and with total disregard for his own body.

The venerable priest Maxim was distinguished even during his lifetime by his grace-filled gifts from God. He reposed in deep old age on January 16, 1650 and was buried near the Varnitsa Resurrection in Totma. His holy and laborious life, and the miraculous healings that came from his grave, inspired his contemporaries to compile his Life, but this Life burned in a fire at the Resurrection Church in 1676. Later, in 1680, a new Life was compiled after the first was lost. Meanwhile, the miracles continued happening at the venerable one’s grave.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Saint Maurus, Disciple of Saint Benedict of Nursia (+ 584)

St. Maurus (Feast Day - January 15)

Venerable Maurus was born into a noble family of Rome in the year 512. At the age of twelve he was entrusted to the care of Saint Benedict (Mar. 14), who at that time was giving shape to twelve monasteries. Saint Gregory the Diaologist wrote of this in his Dialogues (Bk. 2, Ch. 3):

"At that time also many noble and religious men of Rome came to him, and committed their children to be brought up under him for the service of God. Evitius delivered Maurus to him, and Tertullius, the Senator, brought Placidus. These were their sons of great hope and promise: of the two, Maurus, growing to great virtue, began to be his master's helper; but Placidus, as yet, was but a boy of tender years."

Saint Gregory also informs us of a miracle involving Saint Maurus in his Dialogues (Bk.2, Ch. 7):

"On a certain day, as venerable Benedict was in his cell, young Placidus, the holy man's monk, went out to take up water at the lake, and, putting down his pail carelessly, fell in after it. The water forthwith carried him away from the land as far as one may shoot an arrow. The man of God, being in his cell, by and by knew this. He called in haste for Maurus, saying: 'Brother Maurus, run as fast as you can, for Placidus, who went to the lake to fetch water, has fallen in, and is carried a good way off.'

A strange thing, and, since the time of Peter the Apostle, never heard of! Maurus asked his father's blessing and, departing in all haste at his command, ran to that spot on the water to which the young lad had been carried by the force of the water. Thinking that he had all that while been on the land, Maurus took fast hold of Placidus by the hair of his head, in all haste he returned with him. As soon as he was on land, coming to himself, he looked back, and then knew very well that he had run on the water. That which before he dared not to presume, being now done and past, he both marveled at, and was afraid of what he had done.

Coming back to the father, Benedict, and telling him what had happened, the venerable man did not attribute this to his own merits, but to the obedience of Maurus. Maurus, on the contrary, said that it was done only on his commandment, and that he had nothing to do with that miracle, not knowing at that time what he did. The friendly contention proceeded in mutual humility, but the youth himself that had been saved from drowning determined the fact. He said that when he was drawn out of the water, he saw the Abbot's garment on his head, affirming thereby that it was the man of God that had delivered him from that great danger."

Maurus was ordained a deacon, and subsequently, Benedict, prior to leaving for Monte Cassino, appointed him coadjutor at Subiaco. During his tenure, various miraculous cures were attributed to his prayers. Around 528, Benedict summoned Maurus to join him at Monte Cassino.

Around 543, Innocentius, the Bishop of Mans, sent his vicar, Adenard, to Monte Cassino to request Benedict to send some monks to Gaul. Maurus was dispatched and, during the journey, obtained a number of cures for the sick and injured encountered along the way. Through the generosity of King Theudebert, he founded Glanfeuil Abbey, which he governed for many years. He resigned the abbacy in 581 to spend the remainder of his life in solitude and prayer. The abbey of Glanfeuil, was later called St. Maur-sur-Loire. Maurus died at Glanfeuil Abbey 15 January 584.

Saint Gabriel of Lesnovo Monastery in Bulgaria

St. Gabriel of Lesnovo (Feast Day - January 15)

Venerable Gabriel was born as an answer to his noble parents prayers in Osiche near Ksiva Palanka, some thirty-eight miles from Skopje around the beginning of the twelfth century. After being married for a very short time, he fled his family home upon the death of his wife in search of finding a place suitable to living a God-pleasing life, and at this time he met a deacon named Thomas who inflamed his heart with the beauty of the ascetic life. He then had a vision of the Archangel Michael in which he was urged to return home and establish a church in his village. Having established a church in honor of the Nativity of the Theotokos, he again left his home and entered the Monastery of the Archangel Michael, also known as Lesnovo Monastery, on the slopes of Mount Plavitsa, near the village of Lesnovo about twenty-seven miles east of Skopje. Having become notable for his humility and obedience, the abbot tonsured him and gave him the blessing to live in a cell apart from the brethren in order to further devote his time to prayer.

Saint Alexander, Founder of the Monastery of the Unsleeping Ones (+ 430)

Venerable Alexander, founder of the Monastery of the Unsleeping Ones, was born in Asia and received his education at Constantinople. He spent some time in military service but, sensing a call to other service after reading the passage in Holy Scripture that says: "If you seek perfection, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor. You will then have treasure in heaven. Afterward come back and follow me" (Matt. 19:21), he distributed all his belongings to those in need and left the world, accepting monastic tonsure in one of the Syrian wilderness monasteries near Antioch, under the guidance of the elder Elias. He spent four years in strict obedience and monastic effort, after which he received from the abbot the blessing to dwell in the desert. Going into the wilderness, the monk took with him nothing from the monastery, except the Gospel. The monk then struggled in the desert for seven years. Afterwards, the Lord summoned him to preach to pagans.

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