Saint Eudocimus Eudocimus was born in Cappadocia of devout parents, Basil and Eudocia. At the time of the Emperor Theophilus (829-842 A.D.), Eudocimus was a young officer in the army. Even as an officer, he exerted all his effort to live according to the commandments of the Holy Gospel. Preserving his purity undefiled, he avoided conversing with any woman except his mother. He was merciful toward the unfortunate and needy, conscientious in reading holy books, and even more conscientious in his prayers to God. He avoided vain amusements and idle talk. “Amid the throngs and worldly vanity, he was a lily among thorns, and as gold in the fire.” Because of his extraordinary virtures the emperor appointed him governor of Cappadocia. In this high position, Eudocimus strove to be righteous before God and men. By God’s providence he died at an early age, in his thirty- third year. His relics were found to possess healing properties. An insane man touched his tomb, and was immediately healed; likewise a paralytic child stood up and was made whole. After eighteen months, his mother opened his coffin and found his body to be as though it were still alive, without any signs of decay or corruption. A wonderful fragrance arose from it. His relics were later translated to Constantinople and buried in a new church dedicated to the Holy Theotokos, built by the parents of this righteous Eudocimus.
The Holy Female Martyr Julitta Julitta was from Caesarea, in Cappadocia. When she had a dispute with her neighbor over some property, the neighbor went to the judge and denounced Julitta as a Christian, which at the time placed her outside of the protection of the law. St. Julita gladly denied her property rather than her Faith. However, even after this the evil pagans did not leave her in peace, but tortured her, and finally burned her to death in the year 303 A.D. Thus, this follower of Christ sacrificed her estate and her body for the sake of the eternal salvation of her soul.
Saint Joseph Of Arimathea The noble Joseph, a wealthy man and member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, was secretly a follower of Christ. Now when it was evening, there came a certain rich man of Arimathea, Joseph by name, who was himself a disciple of Jesus (Matthew 27:57); Now after these things Joseph of Arimathea, because he was a disciple of Jesus (although for fear of the Jews a secret one), besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus (John 19:38). Joseph and Nicodemus removed the body of Christ from the Cross, and placed it in Joseph’s sepulchre. As a result of this he was bound by the Jews and thrown into prison. There the resurrected Lord appeared to him and convinced him of His resurrection. The Jews later released Joseph from prison and banished him from his fatherland. He traveled throughout the world preaching the Gospel of Christ, and brought the good tidings [news] even to England, where he reposed in the Lord.
Saint John The Exarch John was a distinguished Bulgarian priest and theologian during the time of Tsar [Emperor] Simeon (892-896 A.D.). He translated the Hexaemeron [Six Days] of St. Basil and the Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith of St. John Damascene into Slavonic. He died peacefully in the Lord.
Hymn Of Praise
Saint Joseph Of Arimathea
Joseph, a wealthy and noble man,
Was not tempted concerning Christ the Crucified,
But when the sun darkened and the earth shook,
He, to Pilate, went and brought him news
That the Lord had died, the Giver of life;
And so the secret disciple became public.
And when the Revealed one was concealed, the concealed one came out into the open,
Thus Joseph, the wise, in a day became famous.
With Nicodemus, the body of Christ he took,
And in his garden, in a new tomb, laid it.
The Jewish spies heard and reported it,
And in chains, the righteous Joseph they put.
In the dark prison, Joseph languished
While his Lord in hades shone forth.
Joseph pondered his memories of Christ,
Recalling His wondrous works,
And His miracles, sayings and prophecies many.
While near Him, he had stood in the presence of God:
But now all was dark, without and within.
Dark days, nights, evenings and mornings,
After the brilliant radiance of the shining sun!
Oh, desperate darkness, darker than hades!
But lo, suddenly in the dungeon it is dawn;
The Risen One appears to the fettered servant.
O Joseph, brave and noble,
Neither, concerning the Risen One, were you tempted.
Of the death of Christ, Pilate you informed,
And recognized and glorified the Risen One.
Let the land of Britain honorably glorify you,
For you sowed her first seed of salvation.
Ascetics in the wilderness labor to cut off their own will and live according to the will of God. Some erroneously think that the hermit lives completely in isolation. No hermit thinks this. He lives in the company of God, His angels and the saints. Wherever a man’s mind is, there also is his life. The mind of the hermit dwells among the greatest, most pure and most numerous company in which a man can possibly dwell. Abba Mark once reproached St. Arsenius the hermit: “For what reason do you flee from our company and from conversation with us?” Arsenius replied: “God knows that I love you all, but I cannot be with both God and man. In heaven, thousands, and thousands of thousands have but one will; but with men there are many and various wills. That is why I cannot leave God, and be with men.”
To contemplate the punishment from God that befell Abimelech and the Shechemites (Judges 9):
- How Abimelech, with the help of the men of Shechem, slew seventy of his brethren;
- How Abimelech then slew the Shechemites, plowed their city under and sowed it with salt;
- How, after many victories, Abimelech was killed by a woman who hurled a piece of a millstone onto his head from a tower;
- How the curse of Jotham, the son of Gideon, came upon the Shechemites and Abimelech.
About the last awaiting
“Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that you may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless” (2 Peter 3:14).
Brethren, what is our last awaiting? In the night, we await the day, and in the day, we await the night; and again the day, and again the night. But this awaiting is not our last awaiting. Brethren, what is our last awaiting? In times of joy we tremble, waiting for sorrow; and in sorrow, we wait with hope for joy; and again sorrow, and again joy. But not even these awaitings are our last awaiting. Brethren, our last awaiting is the awaiting of the judgment of God. When the judgment of God comes–the Dreadful Day which burns like a furnace (Malachi 4:1)–then we receive all that we deserve; for some it will be a day that changes not into night, while for others it will be night that changes not into day; joy for some, without change into sorrow, and sorrow for others, without change into joy. Brethren, that is the last awaiting of the human race–whether we know it or not; whether we think about it or not. Yet, you faithful should know this, and should think about it. Let this knowledge be the zenith of all your knowledge, and let this thought direct all your other thoughts. To the knowledge and contemplation of all this, add that which is most important: your diligence, that you may be found of Him in peace without spot and blameless [pure and blameless]. Be diligent to be pure in mind and in heart, blameless in your conscience and at peace with God. Only then will the last awaiting not terrify you with its unexpectedness, nor will it hurl you into the night without day, or into the sorrow without joy. As everything else in the life of the Lord Jesus was unexpected by man, so also His Second Coming will be unexpected–in power and glory. Unexpected was His birth of the All-holy Virgin; unexpected was His poverty; unexpected was His miracle-working, His every word, His humiliation and voluntary death, His Resurrection, His Ascension, His Church and the spreading of His Faith. His Second Coming too will be unexpected–a shock more fearful than all others. O Lord, O righteous Judge, how shall we meet You, who are not clad in purity, in blamelessness or in peace? Help us! Help us–that we may prepare, as much as possible, for the dreadful encounter with You. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.