The Holy Hieromartyr Patrick [Patricios], Bishop Of Prusa, With Three Presbyters: Acacius, Menander And Polyenus They suffered for the Christian Faith in Asian Prusa during the reign of Julian the Apostate. Junius the imperial deputy brought these saints to a hot spring and asked Patrick: “Who created these curative waters if not our gods Aesculapius and others whom we worship?” St. Patrick replied: “Your gods are demons and these waters, like everything else, were created by Christ the Lord, our God.” Then the deputy asked: “And will your Christ save you if I throw you into this boiling water?” The saint replied: “If He wills, He is able to preserve me whole and unharmed, even though I desire that in these waters I become separated from this temporary life to live with Christ eternally. But let His holy will be done, without which not even a hair from a man’s head can fall!” Hearing this, the deputy ordered that Patrick be cast into the boiling water. Drops of boiling water splashed on all sides and cruelly scalded many of those present, but the saint, whose lips were continually in prayer, remained unharmed as though he were standing in cold water. Seeing this, the deputy, deeply embarrassed, became enraged and ordered that Patrick and his three presbyters be beheaded with an ax. Then the innocent followers of Christ recited their prayers and placed their heads under the ax of the executioner. When they were beheaded, their joyful souls ascended to Christ’s Kingdom of Light, to reign forever.
Saint John, Bishop Of The Goths John was a bishop in Georgia, but when the Tartar Khan in Georgia began to torture Christians, he left for four years to live among the Goths in Bessarabia. The diocese of the Goths had been established during the reign of Constantine the Great. Learning of the death of the Khan, John returned to his duties in Georgia and guided his flock zealously and devoutly. Before his death, he said: “In about forty days, I go to be judged with the Khan,” that is, through death, John was going to the throne of God. And so it happened: on the fortieth day he died and went to the Lord. He reposed peacefully in the eighth century.
The Holy Prince Ivan (John) Of Vologda Ivan was a miracle-worker, God-fearing and virtuous from his youth. He was cast into prison by his uncle, Prince Ivan Vasilievich, along with his brother Dimitri, where they remained for thirty-two years. Before his death, Ivan was tonsured a monk and received the name Ignatius.
Hymn Of Praise The Saintly Princes Ivan And Dimitri Of Vologda In the dark dungeon, Prince Ivan languishes With his brother Dimitri, and he counsels his brother: “O brother, sorrow not; do not weary yourself with sorrows. To the faithful, a dungeon is as a royal court. Do not speak ill about our uncle, Who has cast us, who are guiltless, into prison. Without God’s will, is it possible that this could be– To enslave two of God’s creatures in the darkness? If our uncle cares only about himself, God cares about us, to save our souls. The irrational one only seeks his own benefit, But God consoles with gifts those who are despised. The merciful God is not afraid of the dungeon– He prefers to be with captives than to stand with the proud. Do not be angry, my brother, do not reproach our uncle. Only God knows the truth between us. Our uncle goes by one path, and we by another path are saved. Worship God, to God be glory!”
Reflection The great hierarchs, the pillars of the Orthodox Church, knew how to blend meekness and firmness in their character: meekness toward the righteous ones and penitents, and firmness toward unrepentant criminals. One Sunday, following the Divine Liturgy, Tsar Ivan the Terrible approached Metropolitan Philip to receive his blessing. The metropolitan pretended not to see the tsar and gazed at the icon of the Savior. The tsar’s adjutant approached the metropolitan and said to him: “Your Eminence, the Ruler is before you, bless him.” The metropolitan looked at the tsar and said: “O Tsar, fear the judgment of God. Here, we offer up the Bloodless Sacrifice to God, and outside the sanctuary the blood of Christians is being spilled. How many innocent people suffer? You are exalted on the throne, but nevertheless you are a man.” The enraged tsar told the metropolitan to keep silent, but the metropolitan said to him: “Where is my faith, if I remain silent?” When the tsar began to threaten the metropolitan, the latter quietly replied: “I am a visitor and guest on earth and am ready to suffer for the truth!” After some time, the cruel tsar had the metropolitan suffocated, but he could not suffocate the saint.
Contemplation Contemplate God the Holy Spirit as the Inspirer of wisdom and truth:
- How He inspired with wisdom and truth the prophets, evangelists and apostles who wrote the Holy Scriptures by His inspiration and guidance;
- How He inspired with wisdom and truth the Holy Fathers, who interpreted the Holy Scriptures by His inspiration and guidance.
Homily on the holy men of God “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). This is witnessed by the Apostle Peter, who was himself a holy man of God, a rock of faith and a knight of the Cross. As a holy man of God he explained, from his own personal experience, how the holy men of God spoke, and how they still speak: Theyspake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. They did not speak according to their own reasoning, nor according to their own memory, nor according to their own speculation, nor according to their own eloquence; rather they spoke from and by the Holy Spirit. The wisdom of God flowed through them, and the truth of God was revealed through them. Holy Scripture was not written with the false pen of the scribes (Jeremiah 8:8), but was written by the servants and the chosen ones of the Holy Spirit of God. Neither was Holy Scripture written by professional writers; rather, it was written by the saints of God, who were directed and compelled by the Spirit of God to write. Although they often did not want to write, at times even protesting, they had to write, as the Holy Prophet Jeremiah testified: I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His name. But His word was in my heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing and I could not stay (Jeremiah 20:9). O my brethren, Sacred Scripture is not of men but of God. It is not of the earth but rather from heaven. Nor is it from the body; rather it is from the Spirit. Yes, from the Holy Spirit of God. Inspired by the wisdom and truth of the Holy Spirit, these holy men of God wrote: prophets, evangelists, apostles, fathers, teachers and shepherds. O God the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Truth, inspire us by Thy life- creating breath, that we may recognize wisdom and truth and fulfill them with Thy help. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.