Sergius & Bacchus the Great Martyrs of Syria

October 7

Reading

These holy Martyrs were Romans of high rank in the service of the Emperor Maximian, to whom it was reported that they did not take part in the festivals of the idols. When he called them into his presence, they confessed their Faith in the one God. He had them arrayed in women's clothes and paraded through the streets in mockery. They were afterwards scourged, from which Saint Bacchus died. This was about the year 296. Saint Sergius was then taken to Resapha in Syria, where he was tortured and beheaded. His tomb in Resapha became a very famous shrine, to which pilgrims came from as far away as Western Europe; Resapha was later renamed Sergiopolis in his honour.

Homily on the Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God

Translators note: This homily by St. Dimitry of Rostov makes varied use of the Church Slavonic concept of “Pokrov”. The feast of the Protection of the Mother of God is likewise also called the feast of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God. Perhaps this is because the feast holds a greater place of honor in the Slavic typicon than in the Greek; it celebrates the victory of the Byzantines over the Slavic invaders accomplished through the miraculous intercession of the Theotokos, who was seen in the air by Sts. Andrew and Epiphanios. The Slavonic word “Pokrov” has several meanings: It is the protection, covering, hiding place, and protecting veil of the Most Holy Mother of God. It is her omophorion, which covers, protects, and hides us from all peril.

During the last, difficult times, when with the increase of our sins our perils have also increased, in fulfillment of the words of the holy apostle Paul: In perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren (2 Cor. 11:26), when in fulfillment of the words of the Lord Himself, nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places (Matt. 24:7), when we are pressed with invasions by foreign nations, civil wars, and fatal diseases, the Most Holy and Most blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Lord, gives us her protection as our shield, in order to free us from all disasters; in order to protect us from famines, floods, and earthquakes, to save us from wars and diseases, and preserve us unharmed under her protection. A sign of this protection appeared in the royal city of Constantinople during the reign of the pious King Leo the Wise in the glorious church of the Most Holy Theotokos in Blachernae. There during the All-Night Vigil for Sunday, on the first day of the month of October, in the fourth hour of the night, in the presence of many people, St. Andrew the fool for Christ lifted up his eyes and saw the Heavenly Queen, the Protectress of the whole world, the Most Holy Virgin Theotokos, standing in the air and praying, shining with the light of the sun and covering the people with her honorable omophorion. Seeing this, St. Andrew said to his disciple Blessed Ephiphanios:

Exaltation of the Cross

September 14

Introduction

The Feast of the Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross is celebrated each year on September 14. The Feast commemorates the finding of the True Cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by Saint Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine.

On the Transfiguration of Christ

“Jesus goes before us to show us the way, both up the mountain and into heaven.”

At the foot of the God-trodden Mountain of Sinai, Emperor Justinian built the great basilica of St. Catherine's Monastery to the Transfiguration of Christ—the “Feast of monastic feasts.”

Greatmartyr and Healer Panteleimon

The Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon was born in the city of Nicomedia into the family of the illustrious pagan Eustorgius, and he was named Pantoleon. His mother Saint Euboula (March 30) was a Christian. She wanted to raise her son in the Christian Faith, but she died when the future martyr was just a young child. His father sent Pantoleon to a pagan school, after which the young man studied medicine at Nicomedia under the renowned physician Euphrosynus. Pantoleon came to the attention of the emperor Maximian (284-305), who wished to appoint him as royal physician when he finished his schooling.

The hieromartyrs Hermolaus, Hermippus and Hermocrates, survivors of the massacre of 20,000 Christians in 303 (December 28), were living secretly in Nicomedia at that time. Saint Hermolaus saw Pantoleon time and again when he came to the house where they were hiding. Once, the priest invited the youth to the house and spoke about the Christian Faith. After this Pantoleon visited Saint Hermolaus every day.