Τρίτη 13 Οκτωβρίου 2009

October - December

Compilled by Antonios Markou
This text is under constraction.

October 20.
St. Artemius of Verkola (+ 1545)
He was born in1532 in the village of Verkole (Dvinsk province), located near the Pinega-river. His God-fearing parents, Cosmas and Appolinaria, brought young Artemy up to be a devout believer - and from age five the boy avoided typical chil-dren's games. But at age 13, Artemy went with his father into the fields, and out of no-where thunder struck and there was a bolt of lightning. Artemy fell down and died. Yet there was no outward sign of the blow on his body. The local peasants decided that it must have been the Lord's wrath, and left the boy's body unburied in a deserted area in a pine forest. This took place on June 23, 1545.
Thirty-two years later a clergyman from St. Nicholas' Church, Deacon Agafo-nik, was passing near the place where Artemy's body had been left. Suddenly, he saw a light. Agafonik approached the place and found the incorrupted body of the child.
Later, the son of a peasant, Kallinik, fell ill, and while praying for his son's recovery, the peasant took a piece of bark that had covered the Saint's Relics and placed it on his son's breast. The boy was immediately cured. Kallinik told the other peasants what had happened, and so began the elevation of Artemy to Sainthood. His Relics were soon interred at the pulpit of St. Nicholas' Church in Verkole.
The Saint's healing powers cured many people, especially those suffering from eye diseases.
Hilarion, a native to Holmogory, had lost his sight and suffered greatly. On St. Nicholas Day, righteous Artemy came to Hilarion, carrying a staff in his left hand and a cross in his right. He crossed the stricken man and said: "Stand up. Christ cures you by the hand of His servant Artemy. Go to Vercole, bow before his relics and tell everything to the priest and peasants." After this, Hilarion was immediately cured.
Followers of the Saint transferred his Relics to a special side-altar constructed in 1584. Later, in gratitude for his own son's recovery, the head of the local Mezensk Government, Athanasy Pashkov, built a Church in honor of Great Martyr Artemy, heavenly patron of the righteous young man. On Dec. 16, 1619, Saint Artemy's Relics were transferred to this Church. Thirty years later - during the rule of Alexei Mikhailovich (1649) - the Church was burned down. But in the exact place where the Relics were found among the ashes, a monastery was built, and the Relics interred there.
St. Artemy had a sister, the righteous Paraskeva of Pinega River, who became a famous Miracleworker.
November 6
St. Varlaam of Keretsk (16th c.)
He served during the 16th c. as a Priest in the Keretsk area of the Kolsk penin-sula on the White Sea. He was venerated as the patron of White Sea industrial workers and seafarers. He was glorified by posthumous miracles, saving those in danger of drowning.

December 10
St. Joasaph Bishop of Belgorod (+ 1754)
He was born on September 8, 1705, the feast day of the Nativity of Most Holy Theotokos, in the town of Priluky, Poltava province, to the family of Andrew and Maria Gorlenko. His baptismal name was Joachim. One day, his father had a vision of the Most Holy Mother of God in the sky and own son Joachim praying on his knees at Her feet and heard a voice saying: "Your prayer is pleasant to me". At that moment, an Angel covered Joachim with a Bishop's mantle. The father was stunned, but he soon forgot the vision and recalled it only after his son's death.
In 1712, when Joachim was seven years old, his parents sent him to study at the Kiev Theological Academy. Frequent visits to the Monastery of the Caves in Kiev evoked in Joachim a desire to become a monk. After seven years of testing and ruminations, he became firm in his intentions and asked his parents' blessing to be tonsured. His father strictly refused and instead sent to Kiev a servant to watch over his son, but in 1725, Joachim secretly took monastic vows as a rasophor monk (not fully tonsured) with the name of Ilarion in Kiev Mezhigorsk Monastery. His mother and father could not help but reconcile themselves to the fact and sent him their blessing.
On November 21, 1727 after graduation from the Theological Academy, Ilarion was tonsured "in mantle" (full tonsure) in the Kiev Brothers' Monastery with the name of Joasaph. A year later, Archbishop Varlaam of Kiev ordained him as a Hierodeacon and appointed him as a teacher in the Kiev Theological Academy.
After His Eminence Varlaam passed away, Archbishop Raphael took over the Kievan Diocese. He was very impressed with the extraordinary faculties of the young Hierodeacon and appointed him as an examiner in the Kiev Archbishop's Council. In November of 1734, Hierodeacon Joasaph was ordained as an Hieromonk and transferred from the Brothers' Monastery to the Kiev-Sophia Archbishop's house. In the same year, he was appointed as a member of the Kiev Theological Consistory.
The years in the Consistory were spiritually and educationally enriching for St. Joasaph: he learned about the needs of the clergy, he combined his duties with the ascetic labors of prayer and fasting and quickly ascended the ladder of spiritual growth. The evidence of this was his writing entitled "A Struggle of Seven Honest Virtues Against Seven Deadly Sins", as well as the words addressed to his sister before his repose (the Holy Hierarch had very frail health): "Dear sister, strict labors at the beginning do not let me live through my lifetime".
On June 24, 1737, Hieromonk Joasaph was appointed as Farther Superior in the Holy-Transfiguration Monastery in the town of Lubna and was promoted to the rank of Abbot. He dedicated all his energy and zeal to establishing and governing the monastery which was a stronghold of the Orthodox faith in the struggle against the "union". One of the monastery Churches housed the holy relics of Holy Hierarch Athanasius, Patriarch of Constantinople and the Wonderworker of Lubna (comm. May 2), who appeared to the new Abbot several times in visions to testify to his heavenly sponsorship.
In 1744, Metropolitan Raphael raised Abbot Joasaph to the rank of Archimandrite. At the end of the same year he was invited to Moscow where the Holy Synod appointed him as the head of the Holy Trinity-Saint Sergius Lavra. In the Monastery of the Most Venerable Sergius, Father Joasaph selflessly fulfilled his obedience; it took a lot of energy and strength to restore the Monastery after the fire.
On June 2, 1748, at St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Saint Petersburg, Archimandrite Joasaph was consecrated to Bishop of Belgorod. As Bishop, Holy Father Joasaph carefully watched over the piety and ethics of his flock, correctness in conducting services and conditions of church buildings. He visited every parish of his diocese once a year.
One time, he saw in his dream that in a vestibule of a certain Church, on a garbage pile, there was an Icon of God's Most Pure Mother; a voice said: "My image, which is a source of grace, is thrown away with the garbage". Indeed, His Grace found the Icon called "Our Lady of Peschanks" in the Church of the Ascension not too far away from the town of Izum-Zamostie. He ordered the Icon to be placed in the church and prayed before it for a long time.
One time, at a meeting of the clergy, Holy Hierarch Joasaph noticed a very old Priest (about 130 years old). From a conversation with him, His Grace learned that the cause of the tormenting longevity was an unrepentant sin; a local landlord was late for Liturgy and forced the Priest to serve it again which was against the canonical rules. After the very first exclamation the Priest heard a voice: "Don't ! For you will be cursed" Being in a frenzy, the poor Priest replied: "It is you who are cursed!"- and continued the service.
Bishop Joasaph, being terrified by the story, said: "Every Church has its Guardian Angel on duty. You cursed the Guardian Angel of that place. This is the cause of your painful longevity." His Grace took a mobile church and together with the unlucky Priest they went to a field, where years ago stood the Church just mentioned. He blessed the Priest to serve the Divine Liturgy and prayed fervently during the whole service. At the end of the Liturgy, after the dismissal the Bishop read the Prayer of St. Simeon, the God- Receiver and blessed the Priest, saying, "Your sins are forgiven and remitted". The old Priest, comforted by the reconciliation of God and his conscience, prostrated himself by the foot of the Holy Table and passed away.
One day, when entering the room of a certain Priest, His Grace in a very strange way felt in awe. He understood the reason for it when he found on a bookshelf, between stuck flowerpots, the pre-sanctified Holy Gifts wrapped in paper. The Holy Hierarch knelt before the Holy Gifts and prayed the whole night, and in the morning he deprived the unworthy Priest of his rank.
Holy Hierarch Joasaph was very reserved about his inward life. He acquired the grace-filled gift of tearful prayer and at every striking of the clock he read a prayer, "Blessed be the day and the hour when Our Lord Jesus Christ was born and crucified, and died for my sake ..". The letters of His Grace Joasaph to his mother show what a loving and gentle heart the Archpastor had, although he was known for his strict discipline and keeping his whole Diocese in-line. He would buy and chop firewood himself for poor widows and orphans. He secretly gave money to the needy. One time, on Christmas Eve, when his servant was sick, he went himself to distribute money to the needy and was bitten by his own sentry who did not recognize him. His Grace forgave the guard, gave him a gift, but ordered him to keep silent. He would constantly feed the poor and send food to prisons.
In July 1754, the Holy Hierarch visited his parents' house for the last time. On stepping out of the carriage, he bowed low before his father. When he learned that the Church being built by his relatives was not completed, he urged his brother to hurry and complete the side Chapel. He ordered that white flour always be used for baking prosphoras. Then he visited the Mgara Monastery and headed back home, but could not make it all way to Belgorod. Exhausted from a severe disease, His Grace stopped at the Archbishop's country estate in the place of Graivoron. When on his deathbed, he foresaw that his servant Basil would not become a Priest but a Deacon; and it happened as he said.
After the anointing, confession and partaking of the Holy Mysteries, Holy Hierarch Joasaph passed away on December 10, 1754. The holy body of the Bishop was brought to Belgorod. During the funeral, people's crying and weeping muffled the choir. Only seventy kopecks of his personal money were found after the Bishop's death. The funeral expenses were paid by the House of Bishops.
His Eminence John, Metropolitan of Pereslavl was late for the funeral and could come only in February, and the body of St. Joasaph was kept in the open casket until the burial with no signs of corruption. The Holy Hierarch was buried in the Trinity Cathedral on February 23. Two years later, his Holy Relics were discovered uncorrupted.
Holy Hierarch Joasaph was glorified as a Saint on September 4, 1911.

December 20
St. Ignatius of the Kiev Caves
He was Abbot of the Monastery of the Caves in Kiev. The common service to the Holy Fathers of the Kiev Caves, in part addressed to St. Ignatius, reads: "O Thou, pastor of monks and healer of the sick, help us in our ailments, who hold Thee in high esteem and who praise God in Thy memory." (The first Song of the Canon).
His Holy Relics rest in the Distant (Theodosius's) Caves. Venerable Father Ignatius is commemorated on December 20, the Day of his Namesake St. Ignatius, the God-Bearer; in the second week of Great Lent with all the Holy Fathers of the Monastery of the Caves, and on August 28, the commemoration day of the Holy Fathers resting in the Distant Caves of the Monastery.

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