The Holy Martyrs Cyrus And John These holy martyrs are commemorated on January 31, and their lives and sufferings are described under that date. But June 28 commemorates the translation of their relics from Canopus to Menuthis and the numerous miracles that occurred through their relics. St. Cyril, the Patriarch of Alexandria, prayed fervently to God to destroy the idolatrous impurity in the town of Menuthis, where there was a pagan temple and where the power of the demons ruled. An angel of God appeared to the patriarch and told him that Menuthis would be cleansed of its impurity if he translated the relics of Saints Cyrus and John to that town. The patriarch did so immediately: he translated the relics of the martyrs to Menuthis and built a church there in honor of Saints Cyrus and John. Through the relics of these martyrs, Ammonius, the son of Julian, the mayor of Alexandria, was healed of scorfula; a certain Theodore was healed of blindness; Isidore of Maiuma was cured of a wasting disease of the liver; the wife of Theodore of poisoning; a certain Eugenia of dropsy; and many other people were healed of various diseases and torments by the relics of these saints. All this occurred in the year 412 A.D.
Venerable Sennuphius “The Standard-Bearer” Sennuphius was a great ascetic and miracle-worker of the Egyptian desert and a contemporary of Patriarch Theophilus and Emperor Theodosius the Great. He is called the “Standard-bearer” because, by his prayers, he once helped Emperor Theodosius gain a victory over the army of his adversaries. When the emperor summoned Sennuphius to Constantinople, Sennuphius replied that he was unable to go, but sent him his tattered monastic habit and staff. Setting out to battle, the emperor donned Sennuphius’s monastic habit and carried the staff, and he returned from battle victorious.
The Venerable Paul The Physician Paul was a Corinthian by birth. Completing his schooling, Paul withdrew to a monastery and was tonsured a monk. He had a difficult struggle with the impure spirit of fornication. When he had driven that spirit away from himself by the power of the Cross, it created a malicious falsehood, inciting a depraved woman to say that she had given birth to a child by Paul. Some heretics then dragged him from the monastery, placed the child in his arms, and forced him to walk through the town, so the people could spit on him. The baby was only a few days old. St. Paul prayed fervently to God and said to the people: “Behold, let the child himself say who is his father.” The child stretched out its hand from the swaddling clothes, pointed to a blacksmith and said: “That man is my father and not Paul the monk!” Paul’s adversaries became ashamed, and God granted Paul great healing power, so that when he laid his hands on the sick they were healed. Paul reposed peacefully in old age, having pleased God by his life on earth. He lived in the seventh century.
Hymn Of Praise
Sennuphius the elder in the wilderness fasted,
His body passionless, like dry bones,
But, like water flowing from a dry stone,
From him flowed the grace of the Holy Spirit;
In a deadened body, was hidden a spirit powerful.
The glorious Emperor Theodosius heard of this
And, when he was readying for war,
He invited the Elder Sennuphius to come,
His blessing to give, so that the emperor the devil would crush.
Numerous gifts to him, the emperor promised.
The Elder Sennuphius into tears broke out.
To Emperor Theodosius, a reply he sent,
Saying that he roads were too distant: that he could not come,
And with cares, he could not upset his prayer.
For every gift, he gave thanks to the emperor,
And to the emperor, his old monastic habit he sent.
Along with the cassock, an old staff he sent.
These, to the emperor, the monk’s gifts were!
“The staff, let the emperor take, and the robe to don,
And, in battle, every adversary he will defeat.”
As a monk attired, the emperor for battle set out,
And glorious victor from the battle he returned.
The emperor, a pillar of victory in the city, erected,
And his likeness as a monk on top of the pillar he placed,
That the faith of Emperor Theodosius, the world would remember,
And of Saint Sennuphius, the miraculous power.
The Protestants have denied the power of God to work miracles through material things. By doing this they thought to spiritualize the Christian Faith; however, in doing this they have impoverished and deformed Christianity. They have rejected the action of God’s power through icons, through the relics of the saints, through the Cross, and finally, some of them, even through the power of Holy Communion. If they were to follow this erroneous path to the end, they would have to reject even the miracles which occurred through the living body of the Lord Jesus, for His body was also material; likewise the miracles from the touch of the hands of the apostles and the saints, for these hands are also material–not to mention the rod of Moses, or the vesture of the All-holy Birth-giver of God, or the handkerchief of the Apostle Paul and so forth. In this rejection, the Protestants stand in contradiction to the entire ancient Church. Here is one out of thousands and thousands of proofs that God acts through things, especially when He wants to glorify His saints: There was a tall pillar erected in Alexandria bearing a statue of Emperor Theodosius dressed in a monastic habit and with a monastic staff in his hand. This pillar served as a memorial of the emperor’s victory over his adversaries while he was clad in the monastic habit of St. Sennuphius and held his staff in his hand. When God so wills, even one garment of a saint will conquer the powerful armies of unbelievers. Who would dare to limit the actions or the methods of action of the power of the Almighty God?
To contemplate the miraculous healing of the ten lepers: And as He entered into a certain village, there met Him ten men that were lepers which stood afar off (St. Luke 17:12):
- How the Lord, by the power of His word, healed the ten lepers who begged Him;
- How the Lord can heal even me, spiritually and morally leprous, if I cry out to Him.
“But as the One who called you is holy, be you also holy in all your behavior” (1 Peter 1:15).
Brethren, holiness is the virtue which encompasses all other virtues. Hence brethren, a saint is a man adorned with all the virtues. For if a man is prayerful but not compassionate, he cannot be called holy. Or if a man endures but is without faith and hope, he cannot be numbered among the saints. Or if a man is very compassionate but is without faith in God, in truth, such a man cannot be numbered among the saints. A saint is a perfect man such as Adam was in Paradise; or even better, such as the New Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, is. This is the Saint above the saints. This is the Sower of holiness on earth and the Nurturer of the saints in history. He has called us to the dignity of the saints. He has showed us an example of a true saint. He is the prototype of the saints, as He is the archetype of man. A true man, my brethren, is nothing else but a saint. A saint and a man–it is one and the same. He showed us what it means to be a man and what it means to be a saint. The Apostle Peter commands us: Be you also holy in all your [living] behavior! A saint is not a saint in only one aspect of his life but rather in his entire life. We must be holy in every work of our life, large and small, in order to be numbered among the saints; i.e., among people whose lives were in accordance with the prototype of the saints and the archetype of man, the Lord Jesus Christ.
O All-holy Lord, to Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.