Theology

Imitate Their Faith

Metropolitan Vladimir (Sabodan): A Homily on the Commemoration of the holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Vladimir

This homily was delivered by the ever-memorable Metropolitan Vladimir (Sabodan), the predecessor to the current primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry, on the day of his own patron saint. He served as a bishop in Christ’s Church from 1966, and as the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from 1992 until his repose on July 5, 2014 at the age of 78.

Equal of the Apostles Great Prince Vladimir, in Holy Baptism Basil, the Enlightener of the Russian Land

The Holy Great Prince Vladimir, Equal of the Apostles. Few names in the annals of history can compare in significance with the name of Saint Vladimir, the Baptizer of Rus, who stands at the beginning of the spiritual destiny of the Russian Church and the Russian Orthodox people. Vladimir was the grandson of Saint Olga, and he was the son of Svyatoslav (+ 972). His mother, Malusha (+ 1001) was the daughter of Malk Liubechanin, whom historians identify with Mal, prince of the Drevlyani. Having subdued an uprising of the Drevlyani and conquered their cities, Princess Olga gave orders to execute Prince Mal for his attempt to marry her after he murdered her husband Igor, and she took to herself Mal’s children, Dobrynya and Malusha. Dobrynya grew up to be a valiant brave warrior, endowed with a mind for state affairs, and he was later on an excellent help to his nephew Vladimir in matters of military and state administration.

Sts. Cyricus and Julita the Martyrs of Tarsus

The Holy Martyrs Cyricus and Julitta lived in the city of Iconium in the province of Lykaoneia in Asia Minor. St Julitta was descended from an illustrious family and was a Christian. Widowed early on, she raised her three-year old-son Cyricus (Quiricus). During the emperor Diocletian's persecution of Christians, St Julitta departed the city with her son and two trustworthy servants, leaving behind her home, property, and servants.Concealing her noble rank, she hid out first at Seleucia, and then at Tarsus. There around the year 305 she was recognized, arrested and brought to trial before the governor, Alexander. Strengthened by the Lord, she fearlessly answered the judge's questions, and firmly confessed her faith in Christ.

The Priestly-martyr Pancratius [Pancras] The bishop of Taormina

This saint was born in Antioch during the time when the Lord Jesus Christ walked as a man among men on earth.

Hearing about the miracles of Christ, the parents of Pancratius desired to see the Lord, the miracle-worker. Together with Pancratius, they traveled to Jerusalem where they saw Jesus, heard His words and witnessed His miracles. It was in Jerusalem that Pancratius became acquainted with the Apostle Peter. After the Ascension of the Lord, both parents and Pancratius were baptized in Antioch. Pancratius withdrew to a cave in Pontus where the Apostle Peter found him and in agreement with the Apostle Paul he was appointed as the Bishop of Taormina in Sicily. In Taormina, St. Pancratius worked many miracles, destroyed the idols, baptized the unbaptized, strengthened the baptized and governed well the Church of God.

St. Great-Martyr Procopius

Procopius was born in Jerusalem of a father who was a Christian and a mother who was a pagan. At first, his name was Neanias.

Following the death of his father, the mother raised her son completely in the spirit of Roman idolatry. When Neanias matured, Emperor Diocletian saw him and, at once, took a liking to him and brought him to his palace for military service. When this nefarious emperor began to persecute Christians, he ordered Neanias to go to Alexandria with a garrison of soldiers and there to exterminate the Christians. But, on the road, something happened to Neanias similar to that which happened to Saul [Paul]. In the third hour of the night there was a strong earthquake and, at that moment, the Lord appeared to him and a voice was heard: "Neanias, where are you going and against whom are you rising up?" In great fear, Neanias asked: "Who are You Lord? I am unable to recognize You." At that moment, a glowing cross as if of crystal appeared in the air and from the cross there came a voice saying: "I am Jesus, the crucified Son of God."