Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Saint Joachim, Metropolitan of Zichna (+ 1333)

St. Joachim of Zichna (Feast Day - December 12)

The Monastery of Saint John the Forerunner, located on Mount Menoikeion northeast of Serres in northeastern Greece, owes its foundation to Ioannikios, a former Athonite monk who settled here circa 1275. The original foundation was likely quite modest. He was joined by his nephew Joachim (sometimes named John in sources), an orphan and author of the typikon (rule) of the monastery, whom Ioannikios introduced to monastic life. Circa 1287–88, Joachim was chosen Bishop of Zichna, a fortified town southeast of the monastery. In 1290, his uncle Ioannikios was also honored with the episcopal see of Ezivai (Ezova), a village some distance to the south of Menoikeion, which prompted him to leave the monastery under the direction of Ioannikios Kaloudes. Upon the founder Ioannikios’ death, circa 1300, his nephew Joachim inherited the monastery.

Joachim of Zichna, though he apparently never himself served as superior of the monastery, was primarily responsible for making it an important institution. He built the still-existing katholikon and a refectory. He also continued a successful tradition, begun by his uncle, of obtaining imperial patronage for the monastery. In 1304, the monastery came under the protection of Simonis, daughter of Andronikos II and wife of Stefan Uros II Milutin of Serbia. Though damaged by the depredations of the infamous Catalan Company in 1307–1308, the monastery survived and continued to prosper.

Saint Abra, Daughter of Hilary of Poitiers (+ 360)

St. Abra of Poitiers (Feast Day - December 12)

Saint Abra was the daughter of Hilary of Poitiers, born around 343. She was born before her father converted to Christianity and was made a bishop. During her father's exile from Poitiers, she and her mother remained there. She is remembered for her work among the poor and spreading of Christianity in the area around Poitiers, France.

During this time, the son of the governor declared his love for Abra to her mother and sought her permission to marry. When Hilary heard that a marriage was being contrived for his daughter, he was incensed, for he had hoped that she would dedicate herself to virginity. He therefore wrote her a letter dissuading her from marriage and urging her towards the higher calling of a life of virginity, encouraging her to remain pure and far from the pleasures of the world.

Saint Therapon of Monza (+ 1597)

St. Therapon of Monza (Feast Day - December 12)

Venerable Therapon of Monza began his ascetic deeds in Moscow, and then transferred to the city of Kostroma at the Elevation of the Cross Monastery, and was tonsured there. Here he lived in asceticism for thirteen years.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Daniel the Stylite and the Stylites of Constantinople


Stylitism as a Christian form of asceticism was born in early-fifth century Syria with Saint Symeon the Stylite. It reached Constantinople, the capital of the Roman Empire, and was of´Čücially recognized by the Patriarch and the Emperor of Constantinople. To a large extent this was due to the deeds of Saint Daniel the Stylite, who was one of the most well-known Christian ascetics of the fifth century. On the order of his spiritual mentor Saint Symeon the Stylite, he settled near Constantinople where he soon attracted the attention of the metropolitans who were not used to severe forms of Christian asceticism. According to Daniel’s Life he had a miraculous gift for healing and helped all those in need. Not only common people turned to him. The high and mighty, including Emperor Leo I (457–474), asked for his help. In gratitude for curing his wife Verina of infertility, Leo I ordered a new pillar to be built for the Saint. He also had a monastery and a chapel constructed near this pillar where, at Daniel’s request, the relics of his teacher Saint Symeon were taken.

Holy Martyrs Terence, Vincent, Aimilianos and Bebaia

Sts. Terence, Vincent, Aimilianos and Bebaia (Feast Day - December 11)

Verses

The three and the one were seen decapitated,
God three in persons and one in nature.

The Holy Martyrs Terence, Vincent, Aimilianos and Bebaia met their end by the sword.


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