The Holy Martyr Justin The Philosopher Justin was born of Greek parents in the Samaritan town of Shechem, later called Nablus, one hundred-five years after Christ. He zealously sought wisdom among philosophers, at first with the Stoics and after that with the Peripatetics, with the Pythagoreans and finally with the Platonists. Even though Plato’s philosophy did not satisfy him, nevertheless, he adhered to it the longest time, not having anything else that would attract him more. By God’s Providence Justin encountered an honorable elder, who shook his faith in the philosophy of Plato and persuaded him that men cannot know the truth about God unless God reveals it and that God had revealed the truth about Himself in the books of Holy Scripture. Justin began to read Holy Scripture and became a thoroughly convinced Christian. However, he did not want to be baptized or to be called a Christian until he was personally convinced of the falseness of all the accusations that the pagans raised against the Christians. Coming to Rome in a philosopher’s dolman [cape], he quickly achieved great respect as well as many followers there. He was present at the martyrdom of St. Ptolemy and St. Lucian. Witnessing the tortures of innocent Christians, Justin wrote an Apologia (Defense) of Christians and Christian teachings and presented it to Emperor Antoninus and to the Senate. The emperor read the Apologia with care and ordered the persecution of Christians to cease. Justin took a copy of the emperor’s decree and journeyed with it to Asia, where, with the help of this decree, he saved many persecuted Christians. After that he returned to Rome. When a persecution began under Emperor Marcus Aurelius, he wrote another Apologia and sent it to the emperor. A disreputable philosopher, Crescens, a Cynic, out of envy denounced him as a Christian because Justin had always overcome him in their debates, and Justin found himself in prison. Desiring the death of Justin and fearing that he [Justin] would somehow justify himself before the court, Crescens seized the opportunity and poisoned Justin in prison. So ended the earthly life of this great defender of the Christian Faith, who took up habitation in blessed eternity in the year 166 A.D.
The Holy Martyrs Justin, Chariton, Charita, Euelpistus, Hierax, Paeon, Valerian [Liberianus] And Justus They all suffered martyrdom in Rome during the reign of Marcus Aurelius and the Roman prefect [eparch] Rusticus. When Rusticus asked: “Do you think that if you die for Christ you will receive a reward in heaven?” St. Justin replied: “We do not think, we know!” Then they were all beheaded in the year 163 A.D. and took up their habitation in the Eternal Kingdom of Christ our God.
The Venerable Agapitus Of The Caves In Kiev Agapitus was an unmercenary physician, who practiced medicine by using natural remedies. He was a disciple of St. Anthony of the Caves. He cured people through prayer and by giving them greens, from which he prepared bread for himself. In this manner he cured Prince Vladimir Monomachus, because of which Agapitus became known everywhere. Being envious of this, the prince’s physician, an Armenian, began to slander Agapitus. When Agapitus became ill, the Armenian came to him and, examining him, said that he [Agapitus] would die within three days and that if he [Agapitus] did not die, he, the Armenian, would become a monk. Agapitus said that it had been revealed to him by the Lord that he would not die in three days, but in three months. And so it happened. After the death of Agapitus, the Armenian came to the abbot of the Caves and begged him to tonsure him a monk, for, he said, Agapitus had appeared to him from the other world and had reminded him of his promise. Thus the formerly envious one became a humble monk by the providence of God, Who wishes that all men be saved. St. Agapitus died in about the year 1095 A.D.
Hymn Of Praise
St. Justin The Philosopher
Whoever belongs to Christ dies for Christ.
Saint Justin, defender of the truth,
Recognized the power of Christ and expressed it,
And fearlessly traveled throughout the empire,
Defending the righteous, the heathens admonishing,
To the entire world, shining with truth.
He was from the city of unbaptized ones, where once ten lepers
To Christ the Savior, bitterly cried out,
And by His word were healed.
Now Justin’s leprosy of falsehood
By the power of the Faith of Christ was healed.
Like a father he protected Christians;
The foolishness of paganism he unmasked;
To emperors he spoke the truth;
He was a light until the candle burned down,
Until the evil ones his body took,
And his soul to Paradise the angels raised,
That in heaven it might shine like the sun,
As his Apologia also shines,
Glorifying the name of the immortal Justin,
Teaching the world what is the truth.
No one has ever spread as much shameful slander about Christ the Lord as the Jews. Their Talmud seethes with evil and malice toward the Lord. But all of those worthless calumnies are refuted by the most prominent historian of the Jews, Josephus Flavius, a rabbi and scholar who lived near the end of the first century after Christ. Josephus writes: “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call Him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to Himself both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ. And when Pilate, at the denunciation of the most eminent men among us, had Him condemned to the cross, those that loved Him from the first did not forsake Him. He appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold, and they foretold many other things concerning Him. And the sect of Christians, so named after Him, remains to the present day.” [Antiquities of the Jews, Volume 2, Page 45 1845 Edition]. Thus wrote a man who did not believe in Christ but was a scholar free of prejudice and malice.
To contemplate the miraculous healing of Peter’s mother-in-law:
- How the Lord took the feverish woman by the hand, and the fever left her and she served them;
- How the Lord can cure even me of the fever of passion, so that I may immediately straighten up and serve Him with my whole spirit.
About what is the beginning of wisdom
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7).
If someone knew the number of stars in the heavens and the names of the fish in the sea and the amount of the grass in the field and the habits of the beasts in the forest, but did not have the fear of God, his knowledge would be as water in a sieve. And his knowledge would make him a greater coward in the face of death than the completely ignorant. If someone could guess all the thoughts of mankind and foretell the fate of mankind and reveal every mystery that the earth conceals in its depths, but did not have the fear of God, his knowledge would be as milk poured into an unclean container, by which all the milk would be spoiled. And, in the hour of his death, his wisdom would not shine even as much as a piece of charcoal without a flame, but would make the night of his death even darker. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.How can he who has not begun aright finish aright? Whoever has started out on a wrong path from the beginning must turn back and take up the correct beginning, i.e., he must set his feet on the right path. He who does not have the fear of God cannot have love for God. What are we talking about? He who has no fear of God has no faith in God. The greatest ascetics, those who mortified themselves and who lived a life of asceticism day and night for forty or fifty years, were filled with the fear of God until death, and these, the most sinless among mortals, cried out at their hour of death: “O God, have mercy on me a sinner!” The fear of God is the salt of all piety. If there is no such salt then all of our piety is insipid and lax. The fear of God girds the loins, girdles the stomach, makes the heart sober, restrains the mind, and flogs self-will. Where is repentance without the fear of God? Where is humility? Where is restraint? Where is chastity? Where is patience? Where is service and obedience? O my brethren, let us embrace this word as the holy truth: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. O Lord Almighty, implant Your fear in our hearts.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.