July 5, 2016

Synaxarion of Saint Athanasios the Athonite and His Six Disciples

On the fifth of this month [July], we commemorate our Holy and God-bearing Father Athanasios the Athonite and his Six Disciples killed with him.


To Athanasios
Anthony the Great was indeed the first of the Fathers,
Divine Athanasios was the divinely-inspired last.

And although Athanasios lived in these latter years,
Yet he exceeded those of old with his hard work.

To His Six Disciples
Athansios and his six disciples,
Are unbound of the temples of their bodies by the destruction of the temple.

On the fifth Athanasios was noetically carried to God's city.

This renowned star of the universe flourished during the reign of Nikephoros Phokas (963-969). His homeland was Trebizond, which was near Lazika. He was born to pious parents who loved God, and were both from Antioch. Since the Saint had such good parents, for this reason he was brought up well by them. From a young age he was taught letters, which as soon as he had a taste of them, he desired to attain its perfection. Hence he went to Constantinople, and was satiated by his lessons, and although he was taught by others, he also taught many. Although he was young in age, he had an elderly intelligence, and a sound mind, and he embraced the hardships of asceticism. Wherefore having contemplated arriving at the perfection of asceticism and virtue, he withdrew from Constantinople, and went to the high and difficult to climb mountain of Kymina, which is in Asia. Atop there was a Monastery which had as its Abbot a man named Michael Maleinos. He was a sacred man and an exact teacher of the monastic state, leading the Monks subject to him to a heavenly and angelic life. With these therefore was this blessed man numbered, and from Abramios he took on the name Athanasios.

Soon after he exceeded through struggles and labors all those who struggled there, bringing his body to subjection and complete withering, and focused upon heavenly rest alone. Because he was held in honor by all those there, for this reason he departed from the honors of men, and the renowned one withdrew and went to the mountain of Athos, namely the Holy Mountain. This place is located in Macedonia, high and long, and its great length reaches the sea, and it is like a narrow neck. There the Saint found an Elder, and became his disciple and novice, loving obedience with a humble mindset. Near him the divine Athanasios poured out much spiritual sweat. From there by divine revelation he got up and went to the interior part of the Holy Mountain.

After many requests to Emperor Nikephoros Phokas, who had known the Saint beforehand and had a friendship with him, he built a beautiful Temple to the Theotokos, as well as many cells and large houses from those foundations, for Monks to dwell and find rest. And having established a Lavra of many Monks, he departed to the Lord, though he was also a shareholder of a martyric end. Because the unbreakable one did not cease to subject himself to heavier labors, he worked to better rebuild the roof, namely the dome of the Holy Sanctuary. When the Saint went up to complete the dome, it collapsed, burying the Saint with six of his disciples.

This Saint worked a myriad of miracles, and was glorified by his words and teachings, and by his works and foresight, as referred to in his lengthy life. He also healed a leper, and from the deep seas rescued sailors on a ship. A brother also suffered from a terrible illness, and after covering himself with the sheet of the Saint that was covered in the blood of the Saint, O the miracle! he was immediately healed. And many other things, that are worthy of words and remembrance, were worked and continue to work through his miracles by God.

Apolytikion in the Third Tone
The ranks of Angels were greatly astonished, at thy life in the flesh, O glorious Saint. Thou didst rout the ranks of demons, wherefore Christ rewarded thee richly, O our father Athanasios. Intercede with Him that our souls may be saved.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Thou didst take Christ's yoke and bear thy cross on thy shoulders, O holy Father Athanasios. Thou didst participate in His sufferings and share His glory, and dost rejoice in unending gladness.