The Venerable Female Macrina Macrina was the eldest sister of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory of Nyssa. As a young virgin, Macrina was betrothed to a young nobleman. When her betrothed died, Macrina vowed never to enter into marriage, saying: “It is not right for a maiden once betrothed to a young man to seek another; according to the law of nature there must be only one marriage, as there is but one birth and one death.” She further justified this by her faith in the Resurrection, considering her betrothed not as one dead but as one alive in God. “It is a sin and a shame,” said Macrina, “for a wife not to preserve her faithfulness when her husband travels to a distant land.” After this, she and her mother Emilia received the monastic tonsure in a convent, where they lived a life of asceticism with other nuns. They lived by the work of their hands, yet devoted a greater part of their time to divine contemplation, prayer and the constant raising of their minds to God. In time, Macrina’s mother died, and afterward her brother Basil also went to rest. Nine months after the death of St. Basil, St. Gregory came to visit his sister, and found her on her deathbed. Before her death Macrina raised a prayer to the Lord: “You, O Lord, Who give rest to our bodies in the sleep of death for a time, will again awaken them at the last trumpet. Forgive me, and grant that when my soul divests itself of its bodily attire it will present itself before You pure and without sin, and that it may be as incense before You.” She then made the sign of the Cross on her forehead, eyes, face and heart, and gave up her soul. She found rest in the Lord in the year 379 A.D.
The Venerable Dius Dius was born of Christian parents in Antioch, Syria. From his youth, he was instructed by divinely inspired men in the monastic life and in asceticism. He persevered in a lengthy and laborious battle with the devil and the passions of the flesh, and God endowed Dius with the great gift of working miracles. In his prayers he most often turned to the Holy Trinity. He performed great and awesome miracles through the power of his prayers. He caused a dry stick to blossom, a dry well to be replenished with water, and an unbelieving man to die and then come to life again. After a certain twice-repeated heavenly vision, Dius departed from Antioch and settled near Constantinople where, close to the city, he continued his life of asceticism. His fame spread rapidly, such that Emperor Theodosius the Younger visited him to receive counsel, and Patriarch Atticus ordained him a presbyter (priest). Having lived for many years, Dius prepared for death, received Holy Communion, instructed the brethren, lay down on his bed, and died before the eyes of all. The news of his death drew many people, including Patriarch Atticus and Patriarch Alexander of Antioch. But when they were preparing to bury Dius, he suddenly arose as though awakening from sleep and said: “God has given me fifteen more years of this life.” St. Dius lived for exactly fifteen years and led many to the path of salvation, healed many, and helped many in various misfortunes and needs. He finally gave up his soul to the Lord, Whom he had faithfully served all his life. He died in the year 430 A.D., in extreme old age.
The Commemoration Of Stefan The Tall Stefan was the son of the Serbian Prince Lazar and Princess Militza. He was a protector of Christianity in the Balkans during most difficult times. He was the founder of the beautiful Monasteries of Manasija and Kalenić. After many labors and troubles, he died on July 19, 1427 A.D.
Hymn Of Praise
The Holy And Venerable Dius
From early youth to extreme old age
Dius held God’s mercy to be a miracle–
God’s mercy and His justice.
Night and day, Dius directed his thoughts
To light divine and pathways holy,
Driving off the passions and the cruel demons.
What is human existence? It is like murky water
Obscuring the heavenly firmament.
Can murky water be made transparent,
And thus the heavenly realm reveal?
“Yes,” Dius affirmed, “by the way of the saints–
With the help of the Cross of Christ the Savior.
The Cross in your heart hold, in the midst of your being,
Affix to it your thought, and God you will see,
And the murky water will turn clear,
And wonders previously hidden you will see.”
The most beautiful adornment of a woman is her modesty, while immodesty in a woman is the most unnatural, repulsive sight in the world. A wonderful example of feminine modesty was shown in the life of St. Macrina. In her youth, a severe wound appeared on her breast. Even though her mother counseled her to show the wound to a doctor and seek a remedy, Macrina did not agree to it. She had completely dedicated herself to God, and would not even think of exposing her body before men, or even before her own mother. One evening, Macrina earnestly prayed to God. Tears poured from her eyes and fell to the dust before her. With unwavering confidence in her Lord, she mixed the dust and tears with her fingers and anointed her wound with it. The next day, she awakened healed. When her mother, with great concern, entered to see her daughter, Macrina did not want to reveal that the Lord healed her (out of humility, concealing the miracle which she herself had performed through prayer), but begged her mother saying: “I will be healed, my mother, if you place your right hand on my bosom and make the sign of the Cross over the wound.” Her mother reached out her hand and made the sign of the Cross over that spot, but did not feel the wound anymore–only the scar of the healed wound. Thus did St. Macrina conceal her body out of modesty, and her miracle-working out of humility.
To contemplate the wondrous prophesying of Balaam (Numbers 23, 24):
- How Balaam came to curse the people of Israel at the invitation of Prince Balak;
- How instead of cursing, Balaam blessed the people, being directed to do so by the Spirit of God;
- How Balaam prophesied about Christ saying: A star shall rise out of Jacob and a rod will rise up out of Israel (Numbers 24:17).
About apostolic love and discernment
“Moreover I will endeavor that you may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance” (2 Peter 1:15).
Brethren, let your hearts be opened to receive and understand this great mystery. At first the apostle says that he will not be slothful in reminding the faithful of the salvific truths of the Faith; of the divine power which was given to mankind through Christ the Lord and of the preparing of men to receive this divine power having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust (2 Peter 1:4). Now he goes even further and promises that he will continue this remembrance even after his parting, i.e., after his going out (the word which is used in the Greek text) from this life, when he will “put off this tabernacle, this body” (cf. 2 Peter 1:14). O faith divine, O comfort, O sweetness! The apostle promises to continue, even from the other world, his concern for the Church of God on earth, to continue the work he had begun–to remind the faithful, and to continue his love toward those on earth who believe in Christ. O apostolic love, so near to the love of Christ! O apostolic discernment, whose love the Spirit of God does not diminish as long as man is still wrapped in the dark curtain of the flesh! The Apostle Peter gave this promise to the faithful nearly two thousand years ago. Did he fulfill it? He fulfilled it to the letter–not only as some would like to interpret it, in reminding the faithful through his written epistles and through his successors the bishops–but primarily through his constant action within the Church from the other world. The Apostle Peter appeared many times, as did the other apostles, whenever there was need, according to the providence of God. He reminded the shepherds and the faithful of the Church that they must adhere firmly to the truth, and that they should correct the paths of their lives. Even when Peter did not appear in dreams or openly, he acted, and still acts, for our salvation, in a mysterious manner known only to heaven. To the Holy Apostles, life after death was as apparent as the sun is to those who have eyes. Through their prayers, may God also open our spiritual eyes, that we might see where we are going and what awaits us after death. O Lord Jesus, All-merciful, deliver us from the darkness into the light according to Your mercy, and through the prayers of Your Holy Apostles. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.