- The Holy Martyrs Anicetas And Photius Emperor Diocletian once visited the city of Nicomedia with the evil intention of completely exterminating the Christians. But when he began his merciless torture of Christians, Anicetas, one of the high ranking officials of the city, boldly confessed his faith in Christ the Lord before the emperor. Anicetas also denounced the idols as deaf and dumb stones, the worship of which is unworthy of a rational man. The emperor had Anicetas’s tongue cut out; but Anicetas, by the power of God, continued to speak. They then released a lion against him, but the lion fawned about him. At that very moment, the temple of Hercules collapsed. Photius, a kinsman of Anicetas, seeing the miracles and endurance of Anicetas, kissed him, declared himself a Christian, and cried out to the emperor: “O idolator, be ashamed! Your gods are nothing!” The emperor then ordered that Anicetas be immediately beheaded. However, in raising his hand against holy Photius, the executioner struck himself with the sword and died. After prolonged tortures, both Anicetas and Photius were cast into prison, where they languished for three years. Then a fire was lighted in an enormous furnace, and they cast them in. Many other Christians–men, women and children- -willingly followed them into the fire. The prayer of the Christians, praising God for their martydom in the flames, issued forth from the furnace. They all suffered in about the year 305 A.D. Saints Anicetas and Photius are invoked in the prayers of the Sacrament of Holy Unction [Anointing with Oil] and in the Blessing of Water.
[The Sacrament Of Holy Unction, Anointing With Holy Oil].
O holy Father, Physician of souls and bodies, who did send Your Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who heals every infirmity and delivers from death. Heal Thou, also Your servant [Name] from the ills of body and soul which do hinder [him/her] and quicken [him/her] by the grace of Your Christ: through the prayers of our Most Holy Lady, the Birth-giver of God and Ever-virgin Mary; through the intercession of the honorable Bodiless Powers of Heaven; through the might of the precious and Life-giving Cross, through the protection of the honorable, glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John; of the glorious and all-laudable Apostles; of the holy, glorious and right-victorious Martyrs; of our venerable and God-bearing Fathers; of the holy and healing, unmercenaries, Cosmas and Damian, Cyrus and John, Pantaleon and Hermolaus, Samson and Diomedes, Photius and Anicetas; of the holy righteous Ancestors of God, Joachim and Anna; and all the Saints. For You are the Fountain of healing, O our God, and unto You do we ascribe glory, together with Your Only-begotten Son and Your Spirit, one in essence, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.
- How Saul went out to seek the lost asses;
- How Samuel, to whom God revealed that Saul should be accepted as the King of Israel, met him;
- How the providence of God directs men, and sometimes gives them that which they do not envision.
About the awesome vision of the Prophet Isaiah
“I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up” (Isaiah 6:1).
Here is the vision of visions! Here is the glory of glories and the majesty of majesties! God showed great mercy to all of mankind, in that He gave them to see the great starry firmament, the work of His hands. He showed an even greater mercy in allowing some to see the eternal and wondrous angelic world. He showed the greatest mercy to a small number of His chosen ones, whom He allowed to see Himself–the Lord Sabaoth, the Only Uncreated One, and Creator of both worlds. How can mortal man see the Immortal God? Did not God Himself say to Moses: For there shall no man see me and live (Exodus 33:20)? And does not the Gospel say: No man has seen God at any time (John 1:18)? Truly, no mortal can see the face of God–His essence. But, by His condescension and infinite goodness and power, God can reveal–to some extent and in some form– how accessible He is to men. In a particular form and appearance, He appeared to Moses, Elias, Daniel and John the Theologian. He did not reveal His Essence, but a particular form and appearance. Isaiah saw Him on a throne high and lifted up–as the Judge raised above all the judges and all the earthly courts. The six-winged Seraphim stood around Him and cried one to another: Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of Hosts (Isaiah 6:3). The Lord did not allow Himself to be seen alone, but rather as the King in His Invisible Kingdom, surrounded by the most exalted of beings, who were created by His power. Around Him are the foremost orders of the heavenly hierarchy, the chief commanders of His innumerable immortal hosts, the foremost lampstands of His light and His unendurable radiance. This is the wondrous vision of Isaiah, the Son of Amos, the prophet of God. O Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord–Thrice Holy–have mercy on us and save us, impure and sinful as we are. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.