Saint Demetrios suffered in Thessalonica during the reign of Galerius Maximian (c. 306). He belonged to one of the most distinguished families of the province of Macedonia and was widely admired not only because of his noble ancestry and grace of bearing, but also for virtue, wisdom and goodness of heart surpassing that of his elders.The military expertise of Saint Demetrios led Galerius, as Caesar of the Eastern Empire, to appoint him commander of the Roman forces in Thessaly and Proconsul for Hellas. But for all this, Demetrios remained ever aware of the underlying realities of life. Since faith in Christ had touched his heart, all the glory of this world meant nothing to him, and there was nothing he preferred to teaching and preaching the word of God.
Holy Apostle James, the Brother of God (Adelphotheos) was the son of Righteous Joseph the Betrothed of the Most Holy Theotokos (December 26). From his early years James was a Nazarene, a man especially dedicated to God. The Nazarenes vowed to preserve their virginity, to abstain from wine, to refrain from eating meat, and not to cut their hair. The vow of the Nazarenes symbolized a life of holiness and purity, commanded formerly by the Lord for all Israel. When the Savior began to teach the nation about the Kingdom of God, St James believed in Christ and became His apostle. He was chosen as the first Bishop of Jerusalem.
Saint Luke was born a Greek and a Gentile in Antioch, Syria. He was a physician and it is believed that he may have also been a slave, as it was not uncommon in his day for slaves to be educated in medicine so the family would have a resident physician.
Luke became a close companion of Paul of Tarsus and accompanied him on his missionary journeys. It is very possible that Luke provided medical assistance to Paul when he had been beaten, stoned or nearly drowned while evangelizing to the Western Roman Empire.
Luke is the only Gentile to have written books in the Bible. He is the writer of the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles and his writings have been proven to be historically accurate.
The Elevation of the Venerable and Life-Creating Cross of the Lord: The pagan Roman emperors tried to completely eradicate from human memory the holy places where our Lord Jesus Christ suffered and was resurrected for mankind. The Emperor Hadrian (117-138) gave orders to cover over the ground of Golgotha and the Sepulchre of the Lord, and to build a temple of the pagan goddess Venus and a statue of Jupiter.
Pagans gathered at this place and offered sacrifice to idols there. Eventually after 300 years, by Divine Providence, the great Christian sacred remains, the Sepulchre of the Lord and the Life-Creating Cross were again discovered and opened for veneration. This took place under the Emperor Constantine the Great (306-337) after his victory in the year 312 over Maxentius, ruler of the Western part of the Roman empire, and over Licinius, ruler of its Eastern part. In the year 323 Constantine became the sole ruler of the vast Roman Empire.
The Lord Who, on Mount Sinai, gave the Fifth Commandment, Honor thy father and thy mother, showed by His own example how one should respect one’s parents.
Hanging on the Cross in agony, He remembered His Mother, and indicating the Apostle John He said to her: Woman, behold thy son. After that, He said to John: Behold thy mother. And so, providing for His Mother, He breathed His last. John had a home on Mount Zion, in Jerusalem, in which the Theotokos then lived. She dwelt there to the end of her days on earth. By her prayers, kind guidance, meekness and patience, she greatly assisted her Son’s apostles. She spent most of her remaining time on earth in Jerusalem, often visiting those places that reminded her of the great events and of the great works of her Son. She especially visited Golgotha, Bethlehem, and the Mount of Olives. Of her few distant journeys, her visit to St. Ignatius the God-bearer in Antioch is recorded; as is her visit to Lazarus (whom our Lord resurrected on the fourth day), the Bishop of Cyprus. She also visited Mount Athos, which she blessed; and she stayed in Ephesus with St. John the Evangelist during the time of the great persecution of Christians in Jerusalem.
Among the Church's feasts, there are three in honor of God's saint which in their significance stand out from the others devoted to the saints and are numbered among the great feasts of the Church of Christ. These feasts glorify the economy of God for our salvation.
These three feasts are the Nativity of St. John the Forerunner, his Beheading, and the feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.
The apparition of the holy Archangel Gabriel to the priest Zacharias in the Temple, with the announcement of the birth to him and the righteous Elizabeth, of a son who would prepare the way for the Lord, the Savior of the world, and the subsequent fulfillment of this premise, are the first of the events related by the Evangelists.