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January 31, 2019

A Miracle of Saints Cyrus and John for the Physician Gesios

The Miracles of Saints Cyrus and John

Miracle 30

On Gesios, the Physician-Philosopher

By St. Sophronios of Jerusalem

Gesios was not famous because he wore a philosophers garment, but primarily because he was distinguished in the art of medicine, and he was also recognized as an excellent teacher of medicine for all those who wanted to learn the art in his time. Gesios, however, although great in wisdom and of an excellent reputation, which he received from the physicians of Alexandria, was not free of the error of idolatry, as those who knew him closely have said, but he spread everywhere that he accepted baptism for fear of sanctions. Indeed, when he came out of the baptistry it is said that he spoke a blasphemous phrase from the Homeric epics concerning the drowning of Ajax.*

January 30, 2019

The Three Hierarchs in the Orthodox Church (John Fountoulis)

By John Fountoulis

On January 30th, the Church celebrates the memory of the three great hierarchs: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom. This is not a commemoration in the strict sense of the word, i.e. the anniversary of the death of these Fathers, but a common feast, a “synaxis” (to use liturgical terminology). Basil the Great died on January 1st in the year 379 and his memory is celebrated, as is well-known, on January 1; Gregory the Theologian departed this life on January 25th 389, so his feast has just past; and John Chrysostom fell asleep in the Lord on September 14th 407, on the day of the Elevation of the Honorable Cross. The latter’s commemoration has been moved, however, because it coincided with one of the Lord’s feasts, and it is now held on November 13th.

The Three Hierarchs and the Greek Emphasis on Hellenism

By Fr. John Romanides

Modern Greeks learn to admire them so much in school that the Fathers turn into performers on the stage who dance to the music of Plato and Aristotle. How else, other than by being followers of the ancient Greeks, could the Fathers have become great Fathers in the eyes of modern Greeks? In Greece, the sole criterion for greatness is if something comes from ancient Greece. This is also why the feast of the Three Hierarchs has taken on the particular form it has taken in Greece, portraying the Three Hierarchs as a continuation of the great Hellenic spirit of ancient Greece. But if you read the Three Hierarchs, and above all St. Chrysostom, you will see that St. John Chrysostom consistently ridicules the ancient Greeks. He is renowned for deriding them. As far as St. Chrysostom is concerned, the word 'Hellene,' which ended up meaning idolater, is nothing more than an insult. Basil the Great and Gregory the Theologian do not lag far behind him for that matter, but as Cappadocians, they belonged to another tradition.

From Patristic Theology: The University Lectures of Fr. John Romanides, Pt. 1, Ch. 16.

Saint Bathild, Queen of France and Nun of Chelles (+ 680)

St. Bathild of Chelles (Feast Day - January 30)

Saint Bathild was an Anglo-Saxon slave-girl who was sold by Danish raiders into the household of the chief officer of the Frankish imperial palace, Erchinoald, in the first half of the seventh century. Being physically beautiful and humble and obedient in soul, she quickly won the favor of the prince, and was nearly always in his presence, even bringing him drinks in his bedroom. She also served the older women in the household, washing their feet, dressing them and helping them in every way.

Saint Zeno the Faster of the Kiev Caves (+ 14th cent.)

St. Zeno the Faster of the Kiev Caves (Feast Day - January 30)

Venerable Zeno the Faster was a monk at the Far Caves of the Kiev Caves Lavra, and lived in the fourteenth century. In the Third Ode of the Canon to the Monks of the Far Caves, he is described as “resplendent in fasting” and was known as a lover of labor who pleased God with many ascetic feats. For this reason God allowed the body of His servant Zeno to remain incorrupt, which can now be venerated in the Far Caves. The data of scientific anthropological studies indicate that the Saint died around the age of 20-25 years old, and his height was about 167-170 cm.

January 29, 2019

A Prayer of the Emperor When Departing the City of Constantinople

Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos crowned by Christ, ivory, ca. 945

In the Roman world, the responsibility for protecting civilization lay in the hands of one human being: the emperor of the Romans. All authority had been delegated to the emperor by God, and the legitimacy of all states, officials and armies emanated down from the imperial person and were thus subordinate to him as he was in turn subordinate to Christ. As the deacon Agapetos reminded Justinian, the latter had “been entrusted by God with the empire of the world." The basic nature of this authority was the emperor’s responsibility to maintain, uphold and protect Christian Roman civilization against enemies internal and external: from the internal with laws and from the external with armies and fortifications. The scholar-emperor Constantine Porphyrogennitos (913-959) encapsulates the awesome scope of the emperor’s responsibility in his account of the ritual prayer for urban protection the emperor made when leaving the capital city of Constantinople.

Saint Laurence the Recluse of the Kiev Caves, Bishop of Turov (+ 1194)

St. Laurence of the Kiev Caves, Bishop of Turov (Feast Day - January 29)

Saint Laurence at first lived as a monk at the Kiev Caves Lavra, but desiring to retire into solitude, he was forbidden to do so by the holy fathers. For this reason Laurence went to the Monastery of the Great Martyr Demetrios, built by Great Prince Izyaslav at Kiev near the Kiev Caves Lavra, where he lived as a recluse. Because of his austere life, the Lord granted him the gift of healing.

Venerable Akepsimas

Venerable Akepsimas (Feast Day - January 29)


Akepsimas rejoices at the stripping off of his flesh,
Which now dead is arranged to enter the earth.

Today we commemorate Venerable Akepsimas.

Though we are told nothing else about him for this day, he is most likely the same person as Venerable Akepsimas of Cyrus commemorated on November 3rd, though some have argued it can even be the Holy Martyr Akepsimas also commemorated on November 3rd.

January 28, 2019

Saint Ephraim the Syrian in the "Ecclesiastical History" of Sozomen

By Sozomen

(Ecclesiastical History, Bk. 3, Ch. 16)

Ephraim the Syrian was entitled to the highest honors, and was the greatest ornament of the Catholic Church. He was a native of Nisibis, or his family was of the neighboring territory. He devoted his life to monastic philosophy; and although he received no instruction, he became, contrary to all expectation, so proficient in the learning and language of the Syrians, that he comprehended with ease the most abstruse theorems of philosophy.

His style of writing was so replete with splendid oratory and with richness and temperateness of thought that he surpassed the most approved writers of Greece. If the works of these writers were to be translated into Syriac, or any other language, and divested, as it were, of the beauties of the Greek language, they would retain little of their original elegance and value. The productions of Ephraim have not this disadvantage: they were translated into Greek during his life, and translations are even now being made, and yet they preserve much of their original force, so that his works are not less admired when read in Greek than when read in Syriac.

Saint Ephraim of the Kiev Caves, Bishop of Pereyaslavl (+ 1098)

St. Ephraim, Bishop of Pereyaslavl (Feast Day - January 28)

Saint Ephraim, before his tonsure into monasticism, was treasurer and steward of household affairs at the court of the Kiev Great Prince Izyaslav (Demetrius) Yaroslavich (1054-1068). Weighed down by this noisy and bustling life and wishing to become a monk, he was accepted into the Kiev Caves Lavra by Saint Anthony of the Kiev Caves and was tonsured by Saint Nikon (Mar. 23).

Saint Ephraim the Wonderworker of Novy Torg (+ 1053)

St. Ephraim of Novy Torg (Feast Day - January 28)

Venerable Ephraim of Novy Torg (or Novotorzhsky; modern Torzhok), founder of the Saints Boris and Gleb Monastery in the city of Novy Torg, was a native of Hungary. Together with his brothers, Saint Moses the Hungarian (July 26) and Saint George (in Hungarian “Sandor,” pronounced “Shandor”), he left his native land, possibly because he was Orthodox.

Saint Theodosius of Totma (+ 1568)

St. Theodosius of Totma (Feast Day - January 28)

Venerable Theodosius was born at Vologda about the year 1530. In his youth he was raised in a spirit of Christian piety and the fear of God. At the insistence of his parents he married and had a daughter named Marina, but family life did not turn him away from God. He went frequently to church and prayed at home, particularly at night. After the death of his parents and his wife, he left his daughter with relatives and withdrew to the Savior Priluki Monastery not far from Vologda.

Holy Two Martyrs, a Mother and Daughter

Holy Mother and Daughter the Martyrs (Feast Day - January 28)


The Mother bent with hers the head of the child,
Together with the Daughter they expired by the sword.

The Holy Two Martyrs, a Mother and Daughter, met their end by the sword.

January 27, 2019

Venerable Claudinus

Venerable Claudinus (Feast Day - January 27)


Seeing your beautiful soul carried off,
The lover of souls received you Claudinus.

Venerable Claudinus met his end in peace.

Gospel Commentary for the Fifteenth Sunday of Luke (St. Theophylact of Ochrid)

Fifteenth Sunday of Luke

The Calling of Zacchaeus

Luke 19:1-10

From The Explanation of the Gospel of St. Luke

By Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria

Luke 19:1-10 -- And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, who was a chief publican, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who He was, and could not for the crowd, because he was of little stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him: for He was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, "Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down: for today I must abide at thy house." And he made haste, and came down, and received Him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, "He has gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner." And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold." And Jesus said unto him, "This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham."

January 26, 2019

The Churches and Monasteries of Constantinople

The following is a list of church and monastery dedications from the fourth to the fifteenth century in Constantinople and the surrounding regions derived from authentic texts of the period. This list was compiled by the prolific Greek scholar Manuel Gedeon (1851-1943) in 1899. More contemporary research will perhaps yield different results.

Holy Two Martyrs of Phrygia

Holy Two Martyrs of Phrygia (Feast Day - January 26)


The two athletes were wounded with sticks*,
Being crowned they found speedy healing.

The Holy Two Martyrs of Phrygia met their end by being beaten with sticks.

* The Greek word for "sticks" here is "βάκλα", which are the sticks used for beating drums.

January 25, 2019

Saint Moses, Archbishop of Novgorod (+ 1362)

St. Moses of Novgorod (Feast Day - January25)

Saint Moses, Archbishop of Novgorod (1325-1330, 1352-1359), in the world Metrophanes, was born in Novgorod. In his youth he secretly left his home and entered Otroch Monastery in Tver, where he became a monk. His parents found him, and at their insistence he transferred to a monastery near Novgorod. At this monastery he was ordained as a hieromonk, and later he was appointed archimandrite of the Yuriev Monastery.

After the death of Archbishop David of Novgorod, Saint Peter (Dec. 21) consecrated Moses as Archbishop of Novgorod in 1325. This was the first episcopal consecration to be performed in Moscow. Saint Moses did not guide his Novgorod flock for long, however. The quarrels and contentious factions, the conflagrations and other misfortunes weighed heavily on his soul, which sought monastic solitude. After four years, he petitioned to be allowed to retire and live in asceticism. He was succeeded by Saint Basil.

Holy Martyr Felicitas of Rome and her Seven Sons

St. Felicitas and her Seven Sons (Feast Day - January 25)

Saint Felicitas was born into a wealthy Roman family under the emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161). Having given birth to seven sons (Januarius, Felix, Philip, Silvanus, Alexander, Vitalius and Martial) and become a widow, she devoted her life to the proper raising of her children and the service of God. By her public and edifying example, many idolaters were moved to renounce the worship of their false gods. For this Felicitas and her seven sons were turned over to the Prefect Publius to be examined and compelled to sacrifice to the idols.

Publius tried to persuade her to renounce her faith in Christ, with such words as: “Take pity on your children, Felicitas; they are in the bloom of youth, and may aspire to the greatest honors and preferments.” The holy mother answered: “Your pity is really impiety, and the compassion to which you exhort me would make me the most cruel of mothers.” Then turning herself towards her children, she said to them: “My sons, look up to heaven where Jesus Christ with his saints expects you. Be faithful in his love, and fight courageously for your souls.”

Venerable Demetrios the Skeuophylax

St. Demetrios the Skeuophylax (Feast Day - January 25)


Demetrios was not of things earthly,
Looking towards the delights of the immaterial abode.

On this day we commemorate Venerable Demetrios the Skeuophylax, which means he was probably a deacon who was a keeper of the sacred vessels of the church, perhaps the one mentioned under Patrairch Tarasios in the late eighth century. It is thought that at the Seventh Ecumenical Synod he read from the works of the Holy Fathers on icons.

Holy Martyr Medula with her Companions

St. Medula the Martyr and her Companions (Feast Day - January 25)


Medula the revered servant of God,
Was seen to contest with the servants of God in the fire.

The Holy Martyr Medula with her Companions met their end by fire.

January 24, 2019

Abortion Resource Page

"I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb." (Jer. 1:5)

Abortion as a Form of Genocide

The Fathers of the Orthodox Church on Abortion

The Horrific Act of Abba Apollo of Scetis

Saint Germain, Bishop of Paris

St. Seraphim of Vyritsa and the Woman who had 18 Abortions

A Woman Repents for the Sin of Abortion

Elder Epiphanios Theodoropoulos on Abortion

Commemoration of the Holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John next to the Taurus

Church of Saint John the Forerunner next to the Taurus (Feast Day - January 24)


How will my tongue praise you Preacher,
Whom Christ called greater than all the earthborn?

On this day is the Commemoration of the Holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John next to the Taurus. It appears that next to the Forum of Taurus in Constantinople, there was a church dedicated to John the Baptist which was probably consecrated on this day.

Holy Martyr Barsimos and his Two Brothers

Sts. Barsimos and his Two Brothers (Feast Day - January 24)


Divine longing seized the three brothers,
Divine longing persuaded them to an end by the sword.

The Holy Martyr Barsimos and his Two Brothers met their end by the sword.

Venerable Philippikos the Presbyter

St. Philippikos the Presbyter (Feast Day - January 24)


Even as a horse yearns after exertion,
Philippikos flew up with joy towards the heavens.

Venerable Philippikos the Presbyter met his end in peace.

Holy Martyrs Hermogenes and Mamas

Sts. Hermogenes and Mamas the Martyrs (Feast Day - January 24)


Hermogenes and Mamas were friends of Christ,
They died for him without being ensnared by cowardice.

On this day we commemorate the Holy Martyrs Hermogenes and Mamas. We do not know any other details of their lives or martyrdoms. Some have argued that this commemoration is a repeat of the feast of the Holy Martyrs Hermogenes and Menas from December 10th, with the names of Mamas and Menas being confused.

January 23, 2019

Synaxis of the Saints of Kostroma

The Synaxis of the Saints of Kostroma was established in 1981 by the Russian Patriarchate to honor all the Saints associated with the Kostroma diocese. The Synaxis was established to be celebrated on the feast of Saint Gennadius of Kostroma, which is January 23rd. That same year, at the initiative of Archbishop Cassian (Yaroslav) of Kostroma and Galich, the Cathedral of the Kostroma Saints was founded. The Great Martyr Theodore Stratelates is the heavenly patron of the city of Kostroma. However, this Saint is not included in the Kostroma Saints Cathedral.

Saint Gennadius of Kostroma (+ 1565)

St. Gennadius of Kostroma (Feast Day - January 23)

Venerable Gennadius (Gennady) of Kostroma and Liubimograd, in the world Gregory, was born in the city of Mogilev, which was then part of Lithuania, into a rich family, his parents being the boyars Ivan and Helen. He early displayed love for the church, and his frequent visits to monasteries evoked the dismay of his parents, who wanted him to spend more time with friends. Gregory, however, was firmly resolved to devote himself to God, and changing into tattered clothing, he secretly left his parental home and journeyed to Moscow, since Lithuania was primarily Catholic.

Holy Two Martyrs of Parium

Holy Two Martyrs of Parium (Feast Day - January 23)


The pit contained two Martyrs,
Divine longing removed fear.

The Holy Two Martyrs of Parium (Parion) met their end by being cast into a pit.

January 22, 2019

Holy New Martyr Gregory of Pec

St. Gregory of Pec (Feast Day - January 22)

Saint Gregory of Pec (17th-18th cent.) was a young monk of the Monastery of the Patriarchate of Pec. He was handsome in appearance, and because of this the Turks sought to convert such men to Islam. Knowing this, Gregory rarely made his appearance in public, and when he did he tried not to stand out and took roundabout ways where there were as few people as possible.

However, the daughter of a certain known and noble Turk noticed him. The girl was captivated with the beauty of the ascetic, so her father with his companions sought for a way to get him to become a Muslim to marry his daughter. At first they tried to deceive him by promising him a high position if he converted to Islam and the opportunity to marry his beautiful daughter, but the monk refused the offer. Seeing that he was steadfast, they turned to using threats, but he remained unmoved.

Saint Macarius of Zhabyn the Wonderworker (+ 1623)

St. Macarius of Zhabyn (Feast Day - January 22)

Venerable Macarius of Zhabyn, Wonderworker of Belev, was born in the year 1539. In his early years he was tonsured with the name Onufry, and in the year 1585 he founded Zhabyn’s Monastery of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple near the River Oka, not far from the city of Belev. In 1615 the monastery was completely destroyed by Polish soldiers under the command of Lisovski. Returning to the charred remains, the monk began to restore the monastery. He again gathered the brethren, and in place of the wooden church a stone church was built in honor of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple, with a bell-tower at the gates.

Venerable Martyr Anastasius the Deacon of the Kiev Caves

St. Anastasius the Deacon of the Kiev Caves (Feast Day - January 22)

Venerable Martyr Anastasius, Deacon of the Kiev Caves Lavra, lived an ascetical life in the Near Caves of Saint Anthony around the twelfth century. The hieromonk Athanasius the Sooty calls him the brother of Saint Titus the Presbyter (Feb. 27). In the manuscripts of the saints he is called a deacon. In the Service for the Synaxis of the Fathers of the Near Caves, it says that the Venerable Martyr Anastasius possessed such boldness before God, that he received everything he asked for.*

* I could not find why he is referred to as a Martyr. Perhaps it is a confusion with the Holy Martyr Anastasios the Persian, also commemorated on this day.

January 21, 2019

Synaxarion of the Holy Martyr Agnes of Rome

St. Agnes of Rome (Feast Day - January 21)


Like a young calf in the fire, as David says,
Agnes pleased you O Word.

The Holy Martyr Agnes was from the great city of Rome, and was from an illustrious family. Because she lived a pure and clean life, in accordance with her name, she taught the women who would come to her the words of truth. She also taught them about prudence and purity, and advised them to recognize Christ as the true God, and to worship only Him. When the ruler of Rome heard about this, he ordered for the immediate arrest of the Saint. She therefore stood before him, and he ordered for her to sacrifice to the idols, and if she did not do so, he said, he would put her in a brothel. The Saint responded: "I will neither sacrifice to your gods, nor will I consider the brothel you threaten me with. I place my hope in God, that I will be released from these clean with His help."

Sermon on the Birthday of the Martyrs Fructuosus the Bishop with Augurius and Eulogius the Deacon (St. Augustine of Hippo)

Synaxis of Hagia Eirene by the Sea at the Perama

On January 21st the Synaxis of Hagia Eirene (Saint Irene) is celebrated. This Hagia Eirene was a church by the sea in the Perama district of Constantinople, along the Golden Horn shore, built by Saint Markianos (Jan. 10), a presbyter and steward of the Great Church in the fifth century, begun during the reign of Empress Pulcheria. It had five porticoes, the roof was covered with lead, and golden mosaics depicted the miracles of Christ. In the Life of Saint Markianos, we are informed that the site of the church and its dimensions were revealed to him in a divine vision. Since Saint Markianos died before its consecration, it was completed by Empress Verina, who finished it and adorned it with magnificence. Parts of the church were later destroyed by fire, but it was restored by Emperor Manuel I Komnenos in the 12th century. This church seems to have been dedicated to the Holy Martyr Irene (May 5), though this is uncertain. It is not to be confused with Hagia Eirene next to Hagia Sophia, Hagia Eirene in Galata, or Hagia Eirene at the Deuteron.

Holy Four Martyrs of Tyre

Holy Four Martyrs of Tyre (Feast Day - January 21)


With one voice the four steadfast athletes said,
We are cheerful to die by the sword.

The Holy Four Martyrs of Tyre met their end by the sword.

Though we do not know the exact identity of these four holy Martyrs, it is possible that they may be the Martyrs of Tyre under Diocletian of whom Eusebius writes in his Ecclesiastical History (Bk. 8, Ch. 7), though the total number of Martyrs he gives is five, yet they are also not named, were noted for their steadfastness, and they met their end by the sword. He writes of them:

January 20, 2019

That We Should Attend the Divine Liturgy with Awe and Reverence

By Cyril of Scythopolis,

(Life of St. Euthymios, 28)

The great and inspired Euthymios returned from Rouba to the lavra after two years. One holy Sunday he was offering the bloodless sacrifice to God, while Domitian was standing to the right of the altar and holding the liturgical fan. As he was performing the anaphora, Terebon the Saracen, who was standing near the altar with his hands resting on the sanctuary rails, suddenly beheld fire descend from heaven, which spread out over the altar rather like a veil and concealed the great Euthymios and the blessed Domitian, remaining there from the start of the doxology of the Trisagion till its completion. No one saw this miracle save those within the fire and Terebon and also Chrysippus' brother Gabrielius, a eunuch from birth, who after twenty five years had now for the first time advanced forward into the church as was related to me by Abba Kyriacos the anchorite, who received an accurate account of this from Terebon and Gabrielius.

Holy Martyr Anna


Anna longed for her noetic bridegroom,
Him she approached through martyrdom.

On this day we commemorate the Holy Martyr Anna. Nothing else is known of her life or martyrdom.

Holy Martyrs Thyrsus and Agnes

Sts. Thyrsus and Agnes the Martyrs (Feast Day - January 20)


Thyrsus and Agnes loved Christ,
They loved death and were altogether glad.

On this day we commemorate the Holy Martyrs Thyrsus and Agnes. We know nothing of their life or martyrdom. Their Synaxis took place next to the Elenianon, which was the Helenianae Palace of Constantinople built by Helen the mother of Constantine the Great probably in Kserolophos (todays Cerrahpasa neighborhood). It was near the Forum of Arcadius on the seventh hill.

Gospel Commentary for the Twelfth Sunday of Luke (St. Theophylact of Ochrid)

Twelfth Sunday of Luke

Healing of the Ten Lepers

Luke 17:12-19

From The Explanation of the Gospel of St. Luke

By Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria

11-19. And it came to pass, as He went to Jerusalem, that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as He entered into a certain village, there met Him ten men that were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices, and said, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us." And when He saw them, He said unto them, "Go show yourselves unto the priests." And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? There are not found any that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger." And He said unto him, "Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole."

January 19, 2019

Contemporary Miracles and Apparitions of Saint Mark of Ephesus in Athens

The following miracles and apparitions were recorded from personal testimonies by the parish priest of the Church of Saint Mark the Eugenikos, Father Demetrios Aggelakis, in the neighborhood of Patisia in central Athens.

The Saint Takes Care of the Building of his Church

As the construction of the holy temple had progressed and the whole process was in a critical phase, there was a lack of money with the risk of further work being stopped and the whole venture stagnating. The agony of the priest was great and he called upon St. Mark's to help him, for which he received assurance from the Saint that the next day a gentleman would come and bring him a considerable sum to continue the work (he also mentioned the amount). Indeed, the next day, a gentleman from Vouliagmeni came to the temple asking if it was the temple of St. Mark, and asked to speak to the priest. He replied that he already knew what he wanted. And then the unknown gentleman revealed that the previous night there came to him in a dream a monk, who was introduced to him as Mark Eugenikos, and ordered him to help financially build his home in Kato Patisia. The gentleman obeyed the Saint and offered a donation exactly the same amount the Saint had mentioned to the priest the previous night. Thus, the erection of the church resumed.

Saint Anton the Stylite of Martqopi, Founder of Monasticism in Georgia

St. Anton of Martqopi (Feast Day - January 19 and August 16)

By Archpriest Zakaria Machitadze

Our holy father Anton (Anthony) was from Edessa and lived in the 6th century. After the unsuccessful siege of the city by the Iranian Shah Khosrov I Anushirvan, Anton left the city, taking from the Nestorian church a copy of the Not-Made-By-Hands Icon of the Savior, imprinted on a clay tablet, and went to Georgia with his teacher John of Zedazni. He arrived in Georgia with the rest of the Thirteen Syrian Fathers and settled in Kakheti to preach the gospel of Christ. He always carried with him the icon of the Savior “Not-Made-By-Hands.” 

In Georgia, Anton settled on Mount Akriani (east of Tbilisi, later on this place a temple was built in the name of the Image of the Savior Not Made By Hands) and converted to Christianity the inhabitants of the vicinity of the Zedazen and Ikaltoi mountains, the villages of Akhmety and Lopotiskhevi (north-east of Tbilisi). Anton made his home in the wilderness, and deer visited him every evening to nourish him with their milk.

One day the deer arrived earlier than expected, and they were followed by a wounded fawn. Clearly something had frightened them. When Anton retraced the animals’ path, he discovered a nobleman, the head of a nearby village, hunting in the fields. Astonished to see the old monk with his icon, standing amidst a gathering of deer, the nobleman, being a pagan, became convinced that he was dangerous and ordered his servants to take him to a smith and chop off his hands.

Anton was led at once to the smith, but when the craftsman heated his sword and drew it above the monk’s hands in preparation, he fell down suddenly and his arms became like wood. The daunted smith fell mute, but blessed Anton made the sign of the Cross over him and he was immediately healed.

Having heard about this miracle, the nobleman perceived that Abba Anton was truly holy, and he began to hold him in reverence. “Tell me what you need, and I will provide it for you,” he told Elder Anton. The monk requested a single piece of salt, and they brought him two large blocks. He broke off a small piece and placed it near his cell for the deer.

After the incident at the smith’s, many people began to visit Anton, and the holy father constructed a monastery for the faithful. But before long their attention became burdensome, and Elder Anton fled from the world to the peak of a mountain. There he began to preach from the top of a pillar, where he would remain the last fifteen years of his life. Because he lived most of his life alone, he was nicknamed "Martomkofeli", which means secluded, from which the area of the of the Monastery was named Martqopi.

When God revealed to Fr. Anton the day of his repose, the monk-stylite gathered his pupils, imparted to them a few last words of wisdom, blessed them, and died on his knees in front of his beloved icon.

St. Anton’s body was taken down from the pillar and buried in the monastery that he had founded, before the icon of the Theotokos. Healings were performed at his tomb, and miraculously, no female creature could penetrate the place where his ashes rested.