March 5, 2011

Saturday of Cheesefare: Commemoration Of All Ascetic Fathers and Mothers

By Sergei Bulgakov

On Saturday of Cheese Fare Week we commemorate "all the venerable Fathers and dedicated Mothers of the Lord, with the Hieromartyrs and Holy Women, known by name and unknown, who brightly shone forth living ascetically. Just as leaders before fully armed warriors and already standing in the front lines speak about the exploits of old heroes and that encourages the warriors, so precisely the holy Fathers entering into the fast direct the holy men, who have shone in fasting, and teach that fasting is not only abstaining from food, but also in controlling one's tongue, heart and eyes" (Synaxarion).[1]

In the hymns for this day the Holy Church appeals to her children: "Come, all ye faithful, let us praise the choir of the venerable fathers"; "Looking with awe at their valor, let us strive to equal them in virtue"; "Their radiance appearing in our souls, and through the brightness of their signs they have shed their light spiritually upon all the ends of the earth"; "They pray to the Lord for all the world to deliver us from the ancient curse, freeing us from torments".

Praising those who are well-pleasing to God, the Holy Church, turning from the face of their children exclaims in a melodious voice to them:

O Fathers of all the world, who among those born on earth can recount the wonder of your way of life? What tongue can express your holy efforts in the Spirit and your sweat? Was it your feats of virtue, the exhaustion of your flesh, your struggles against passions, in vigils, in prayers and tears? Truly you are shown to be like angels in the world, completely destroying the demonic powers, performing strange and wondrous signs. Therefore pray, most blessed Ones, that we may receive the never ending joy.

Together with these hymns the Holy Church, in view that this Saturday follows the commemoration of the Sunday of the Last Judgment, turning to us exclaims:

Let us cleanse ourselves, brethren, from all defilement of flesh and spirit, let us light the lamps of our souls by our love for the poor, not devouring one another by curses. For the time is nigh when the Bridegroom shall come to reward all according to their works. In the coming of the wise virgins, may we enter with Christ, crying to Him with the voice of the thief: Remember us, O Lord, when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom.

Kontakion in Plagal of the Fourth Tone
As preachers of piety repressing impiety, You explained the assembly of the God-bearing Fathers making them shine on all under the sun. By their prayers, keep all who glorify and magnify Thee in perfect peace, singing to Thee, O Lord, Alleluia.


1. The commemoration of some of these ascetics is celebrated at another time, and others are commemorated only on the present day.

In the service for this day we commemorate the following holy men and women:

Abbakyres (Egyptian, 6th century), Abramius (Oct. 29), Auxentius (Feb. 14), Agatho (Mar. 2), Acacius (July 7), Alonius (June 4), Anthony (Jan. 17) and his disciples: Nisthenor, the Sarmatian (killed in 357 by robbers in Thebaid, Aug. 30), Ammon (Oct. 4), Amonathas (Egyptian desert dweller, Dec. 12), Anubius (June 5), Aninas (Mar. 18), Antiochus (Dec. 24), Aris (Dec. 19), Arsenius (May 8) and his disciple Ammonius, Aphrodisius (Dec. 24), Athenodorus (Dec. 29), Apollos (or Apolonius, March 31), Achilles (Jan. 17), Athanasius (Jan. 18 and July 5), Athry (June 8), Ambrose (Dec. 7), Alexander (Aug. 30 and Dec. 12), Antipater (June 13), Amphilochius (Nov. 2_), Atticus (Jan. 8), Anatolius (July 3), Babylus (Dec. 28), Bassian (Oct. 10), Benedict (Mar. 14). Benjamin (Dec. 29), Bessarion (June 6), Basil (Jan. 1), Vitalis (Apr. 22), Vitymius (or Vitimion, venerable one of Egypt, 5th Century, Dec. 24), Gaius (Dec. 31), Gelasius (Dec. 31), Germanus (May 12), Gerasimus (Mar. 4), Gregory (Jan. 10 and 25 and Nov. 17), Gennadius (Aug. 31), David (June 26), Dalmatus (Aug. 3), Daniel (Dec. 11 and see Oct. 9), Dius (July 19), Dometius (Mar. 8), Dalmatou (or Matou, Cilicia, 5th century), Dionysius (Oct. 5), Diodochus (Bishop of Photicus in Epirus, teacher of the church in the 5th century), Eulabius (Bishop of Caesarea, 4th century, Aug. 30), Eulogius (the Egyptian, 4th century), Eusebius (June 22), Eustathius (Feb. 21), Euthymius (Jan. 20), Helladius (the hermit of the cells in Egypt, Nov. 9), Jerid (divine), Ephraim (Jan. 28), Epiphanius (May 12), Ennat (all-hymned), Zechariah (Dec. 5), Zoilus (of the Skete, 5th century), Zosimus (Apr. 4), Isaiah (an Egyptian hermit, 5th century), Elijah (the ascetic of the Jordan, 4th century), Hilarion (Oct. 21), Ischyrion (bishop, who died in peace, Nov. 23), Ivestion (Aug. 28), Hyperechius (Aug. 7), Hesychius (Jerusalem presbyter, 5th century), Ignatius (Dec. 20), Hierotheus (Oct. 4), Hierax (Nitrian hermit who died in 408), John (Mar. 30, Nov. 9 and 13), Ireneus (June 1), Joseph (June 17), Juvenal (or Juvenaly, June 2), Jerome (June 15), Karion (Dec. 5), Coprius (July 9), Castor (Aug. 12), Cassian (Feb. 29), his companion in Egypt. German (Bethlehem) and his contemporary Cassiana. Theonas (of the Skete), Callistus (June 20), Xenophon (Jan. 29), Cyprian (Aug. 31), Clem (or Clement, Nov. 25), Cyril (Mar. 18 and June 9), Laurence (May 10), Longinus (Nov. 17), Lot (Oct. 22), Leontius (Oct. 19). Maximus (Jan. 21), Marcian (Jan. 10), Mark (Mar. 5), Macarius (Jan. 19), Martinian (Feb. 13), Malchus (Mar. 26), Marcellus (Dec. 29), Milles (who raised the dead), Meletius (Feb. 12). Metrophanes (June 4), Michael (May 23), Moses (Aug. 28), Nilus (Nov. 12), Naucratius (June 8), Nikon (of Mount Sinai, 5th century), Nathaniel (Nov. 27), Nonus (Nov. 10), Nicephorus (June 2), Nectarius (Oct. 11), Nicholas (Dec. 6), Onuphrius (June 12), Horus (Aug. 7), Pambo (July 18) and his disciple Ammonium (Jan. 10), Paul (Jan., Oct. 4 and Nov. 6), Pachomius (May 15) and his disciple Silvanus, Palamon (Aug. 12), Proclus (Nov. 20), Palladius (Bishop of Helionopolis, author of Lausiac History, 5th century), Paphnutius (an Egyptian Bishop and confessor), Patermuthius (July 9), Passarion (Aug. 11), Petronius (Sept. 4), Peter (Nov. 25), Pinnuphrius (Nov. 27), Pitiron (Nov. 29), Poemen (Aug. 27), Pior (June 17), Porsyrius (the Great), Publius (Apr. 5), Psoes (Aug. 9), Rabulas (Feb. 19), Rufus (Oct. 22), Sisoes (July 6), Silvanus (Palestinian, 4th century) and his disciples: Mark and Zeno (June 19), Sabbas (Dec. 5) and his disciples: Agapetus, Anthimus and Dometian, Simeon (May, 24, Sept. 1, Stylite of Cilicia, 6th century, and July 21). Serapion (Nitrian, 4th century), Sophronius (Mar. 11), Spiridon (Dec. 12), Timothy (Feb. 21), Tithoes (Aug. 26), Tarasius (Feb. 25), Pharmuthius (Apr. 11), Flavian (Feb. 18), Phocas (hermit of the Skete, then of Palestine, 5th century), Phaidimus (the divine, Bishop of Amisus, 3rd century), Chariton (Sept. 28), Cherimon (Aug. 16), Theodore (Apr. 22, Dec. 27 and of the Thurman, 4th century), Theophanes (Oct. 11). Theodulus (Jan. 14), Theodosius (Jan. 11) and his contemporary (from obedience to him settled in a tomb) the priest Basil, Theoctistus (Sept. 3), Thalelaeus (May 20), Anastasia (Mar. 10 and Oct. 29), Vryaine (of Nisibis, Aug. 30, see June 25) and her disciple Thomaida (of Nisibis), Eupraxia (Jan. 12 and July 25), Euphrosyne (Sept. 25), Isidora (May 10), Julitta (Tabenna, June 14), Hiereia (June 3), Justina (the wise), Maria (Feb. 12 and Apr. 1), Marina (heavenly wise), Matrona (Nov. 9), Melania (Dec. 31), Platonida (Apr. 6), Pelagia (Oct. 8), Syncletica (Jan. 5), Sara (the Libyan, 4th century, July 13), Thais (Oct. 8), Febronia (June 25), Theodota (Nov. 1), Theodora (Sept. 11 and Dec. 30), Theodula (of Tabenna, a flame of fire in her way of life, died in 410).