1. The Holy Female Martyr Glyceria Glyceria was the daughter of a Roman governor. Becoming impoverished after her father’s death, Glyceria settled in Trajanopolis in Thrace. During the reign of the wicked Emperor Antoninus, Glyceria was taken to offer sacrifices to the idol of Zeus. She traced the sign of the Cross on her forehead, and when the Prefect Sabinus asked where her lamp was (for all of them carried lamps in their hands), Glyceria pointed to the Cross on her forehead and said: “This is my lamp.” As a result of her prayer, lightning struck the idol and smashed it to pieces. The prefect became angry and ordered her flogged and thrown into prison. He sealed the doors to the prison, determined to starve the virgin to death. However, an angel of God appeared to Glyceria and supplied heavenly food to her. After some time, when the prefect thought that the virgin must have died from hunger, he opened the doors of the prison and was astonished to see her healthy, radiant and joyful. Witnessing this miracle, Laodicius the jailer confessed Christ the Lord and was immediately beheaded. After that, Glyceria was thrown into a fiery furnace but remained unharmed by the fire. Standing in the midst of the fire and remembering the miracle of the three youths in the Babylonian furnace, Glyceria praised the Lord. Finally she was thrown to the lions. While praying to God, this holy virgin gave up her soul to the Lord, for Whom she had bravely endured many tortures. She suffered honorably in the year 177 A.D. A healing myrrh [oil] flowed from her relics, which healed the sick of the gravest diseases.

  2. The Holy Martyr Alexander Alexander was a Slav. As an eighteen-year-old soldier in the army of Emperor Maximilian, he refused the order of the emperor to give honor to the Roman idols. For this he was handed over to Captain Tiberian, who was to either convince Alexander to deny Christ or else torture and kill him. Since all counseling was in vain, Tiberian took Alexander with him across Macedonia to Constantinople, whither [to where] he himself had an errand. In every town along the way the young Alexander was cruelly tortured, but also in every town Christians came out before him, begged him for a blessing and encouraged him in his sufferings. Pimenia, his mother, followed him. During the course of Alexander’s travels, an angel of God appeared to him many times, assuaging [soothing] his pain and encouraging him. In one place named Carasura, the martyr performed a miracle through his prayers: when thirst overcame him and the soldiers who escorted him, he brought forth a well of cold water from an arid place. On the shore of the Ergina River, Tiberian ordered the executioner to behead Alexander and cast his body into the water. When the executioner swung at the martyr’s head, he saw radiant angels of God around Alexander. Terrified, he dropped his hand. Alexander asked him why his hand had dropped, and the executioner replied that he saw some radiant young men surrounding him. Yearning for death and union with the Lord, Alexander prayed to God to withdraw the angels from him so that the executioner would not be frightened. Thus, the executioner carried out his work in the year 298 A.D. Pimenia removed the body of her son and honorably buried him. Many healings occurred at the grave of the martyr. After his death, the martyr appeared to his mother and informed her of her imminent departure to the other world.

  3. The Venerable John, Euthymius, George And Gabriel Of Iveron Monastery [Mount Athos] These four Holy Fathers were the founders of the famous Iveron (Georgian) Monastery on the Holy Mountain. At first St. John lived a life of asceticism in the Lavra [Monastery] of Athanasius, and after that he founded his monastery, Iveron. John reposed in the year 998 A.D. Euthymius and George translated the Holy Scripture into the Georgian language. Euthymius reposed in the year 1029 A.D., and George in 1066 A.D. Gabriel was found worthy of receiving the miracle-working Icon of the Mother of God, which arrived at the monastery by way of the sea.

Hymn Of Praise Saint Glyceria “Glyceria–sacrifice to the gods!” Thus orders the mindless judge. “Or you shall be thrown into the fire, to be consumed.” Glyceria mocks the judge: “God is one; the ‘gods’ are demons Who confuse your mind. What kind of sacrifice, O mindless man? Was there not one Sacrifice on Golgotha, An awesome sacrifice, divine and bloody, That abolished all bloody sacrifices? One sacrifice after that Sacrifice, One sacrifice the Lord seeks from us: A pure heart, as an altar of prayer; Clean hands performing works of mercy; Faith, hope, love and piety. Such a sacrifice I endeavor to offer To the Living God, my Creator. God, the All-holy, desires such a sacrifice, Not a corpse, bloody and dead.”

Reflection Concerning the power of death and the power of the Cross of Christ, St. Athanasius writes: “Whose death ever drove out demons? And whose death has caused more fear in the demons than the death of Christ? Where the name of Christ is invoked, every demon is driven out. Who has tamed spiritual passions in people to such a measure that prostitutes come to live chaste lives, murderers lay down the sword, and the fearful become courageous? Has not the Faith of Christ? Has not the sign of the Cross? And what else has so convinced men of immortality as the Cross of Christ and the Resurrection of the Body of Christ? The death of the Sinless One and the Cross of the Lover of men have brought a greater and more lasting victory than have all the earthly kings with their many millions of soldiers. Which army was able to defeat a single demon? Only the mention of the name of the Crucified One puts to flight the army of demons. Oh, if all Christians would know what a treasure they have in the name of Christ, and what a weapon they have in the Cross of Christ!

Contemplation Contemplate the action of God the Holy Spirit upon the apostles:

  1. How the apostles, led by the Holy Spirit, traveled throughout the world without means and without friends;
  2. How they converted the rich and the poor to the Christian Faith by their words, lives and miracles alone.

Homily on how God uses unbelievers to punish believers “Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, My servant” (Jeremiah 25:9). Is this not a hard saying? Who can be nourished by it? A pagan king, an idolatrous king, called by the Lord, “My servant!” If a servant of God is one who knows the true God and adheres to the Law of God, how then can one be a servant of God who neither knows the true God nor adheres to the Law of God? Indeed, the true servant of God is he who knows the true God and who keeps the Law of God. However, when he to whom God has given the knowledge of Himself and His law turns knowledge into ignorance and law into lawlessness, then God takes as His servant him who does not know Him, so as to punish the apostate. For an apostate from God is worse than a pagan, and an apostate from the Law of God is lower than a born idolater. Therefore, when Israel, as the ancient Church of God, alienated itself from God and the Law of God, God chose Nebuchadnezzar as His servant to punish Israel, the apostate. Therefore, when the Christian peoples in Asia and Africa through numerous heresies alienated themselves from God, God took as His servant the Arabs, to punish the Christians and bring them to their senses. And when the Christian peoples in the Balkans alienated themselves from God and God’s law, God invited the Turks as His servants to punish the apostates, so that through chastisement they would come to their senses. Whenever the faithful alienate themselves from God, God makes a whip out of the unbelievers to bring the believers to their senses. And, as the faithful consciously and willingly turn away from God, so the unbelievers unconsciously and unwillingly become servants of God: the whip of God. But God takes the unbelievers only temporarily into His service against the believers. For the same Lord says of the land of Nebuchadnezzar that He will visit it for its lawlessness and make it a perpetual desolation (Jeremiah 25: 12). Then He will find a servant against His servant. For God did not take the Babylonians for His servants because of their goodness and faith, but rather because of Israel’s wickedness and unbelief. O Righteous Lord, help us by Thy Most-high Spirit to always adhere to Thee, the One True God, and to Thine own saving Law. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.