The Venerable Alypius the Stylite, of Adrianople

 (December 9, / November 26)O          

Alypius was born in Hadrianopolis, a city in Paphlagonia. From child- hood, he was dedicated to the service of God. He served as a deacon with Bishop Theodore in the church in that city. But, desirous of a life of solitude, prayer and meditation, Alypius withdrew to a Greek cemetery outside the city. This was a cemetery from which people fled in terror, because of frequent demonic visions seen there. Alypius set up a cross in the cemetery and built a church in honor of St. Euphemia, who had appeared to him in a dream. Beside the church, he built a tall pillar, climbed on top of it, and spent fifty-three years there in fasting and prayer. Neither the mockery of men nor the evil of the demons was able to drive him away or cause him to waver in his intention. Alypius especially endured countless assaults from demons. Not only did the demons try to terrorize him with apparitions, but stoned him as well, and gave him no peace, day or night, for a long time. The courageous Alypius protected himself from the power of the demons by the sign of the Cross and the name of Jesus. Finally the demons were defeated and fled from him. Men began to revere him and come to him for prayer, consolation, instruction and healing. Two monasteries were built beside his pillar, one on one side for men and one on the other for women. His mother and sister lived in the women’s monastery. St. Alypius guided the monks and nuns from his pillar, by example and words. He shone like the sun in the heavens for everyone, showing them the way to salvation. This God-pleas- er had so much grace that he was often illuminated in heavenly light, and a pillar of this light extended to the heavens above him. St. Alypius was a wonderful and mighty miracle-worker in life, and also after his repose. He lived for one hundred years and entered into rest in the year 640, during the reign of Emperor Heraclius. His head is preserved in the Monastery of Koutloumousiou on the Holy Mountain.

The Hieromartyr Clement, Pope of Rome

(December 8, / November 25)

Clement was born in Rome of royal lineage and was a contemporary of the holy apostles. His mother and two brothers, traveling on the sea, were carried by a storm to different places. His father then went to find his wife and two sons and he, too, became lost. Clement, being twenty-four years old, then set out for the east to seek his parents and brothers. In Alexandria, he made the acquaintance of the Apostle Barnabas and, afterward, joined the Apostle Peter whom his two brothers, Faustinus and Faustinian, were already following. By God’s providence, the Apostle Peter came upon Clement’s mother as an aged beggar woman, and then found his father as well. Thus, the whole family was united, and all returned to Rome as Christians. Clement did not separate himself from the great apostle, who appointed him as bishop before his death. After Peter’s martyrdom, Linus was Bishop of Rome, then Cletus—both of them for a short time— and then Clement. Clement governed the Church of God with flaming zeal, and from day to day brought a great number of un- believers to the Christian Faith. In addition, he ordered seven scribes to write the lives of the Christian martyrs who were suffering at that time for their Lord. The Emperor Trajan banished him to Cherson, where Clement found about two thousand exiled Christians. All were occupied with the difficult job of hewing stones in a waterless land. The Christians received Clement with great joy and he was a living source of comfort to them. By his prayer, he brought forth water from the ground and converted so many of the unbelieving natives to Christianity that, in one year, seventy-five churches were built there. To prevent his spreading the Christian Faith even more, the authorities condemned Clement to death, and drowned him in the sea with a stone around his neck in the year 101. His miracle-working relics were removed from the sea only in the time of Saints Cyril and Methodius.

The Holy Great-martyr Catherine

[celebrated on November 25 in Greek Calendar]

(December 7 / November 24)

Catherine was the daughter of King Constus. After the death of her father, she lived with her mother in Alexandria. Her mother was secretly a Christian who, through her spiritual father, brought Catherine to the Christian Faith. In a vision, St. Catherine received a ring from the Lord Jesus Himself as a sign of her betrothal to Him. This ring remains on her finger even today. Catherine was greatly gifted by God and was well educated in Greek philosophy, medicine, rhetoric and logic. In addition to that, she was of unusual physical beauty. When the iniquitous Emperor Maxentius offered sacrifices to the idols and ordered others to do the same, Catherine boldly confronted the emperor and denounced his idolatrous errors. The emperor, seeing that she was greater than he in wisdom and knowl- edge, summoned fifty of his wisest men to de- bate with her on matters of faith and to put her to shame. Catherine outwitted and shamed them. In a rage, the emperor ordered all fifty of those men burned. By St. Catherine’s prayers, all fifty confessed the name of Christ and declared themselves Christians before their execution.

After Catherine had been put in prison, she converted the emperor’s commander, Porphyrius, and two hundred soldiers to the true Faith, as well as Empress Augusta-Vasilissa herself. They all suffered for Christ. During the torture of St. Catherine, an angel of God came to her and destroyed the wheel on which the holy virgin was being tortured. Afterward, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself appeared to her and comforted her. After many tortures, Catherine was beheaded at the age of eighteen, on November 24, 310. Milk, instead of blood, flowed from her body. Her miracle-working relics repose on Mount Sinai.

Sainted Amphylokhios, Bishop of Iconeia

Commemorated on December 6

Sainted Amphylokhios, Bishop of Iconeia, was born in Caesarea Cappadocia, a city having given the world among the greatest fathers and teachers of the Orthodox Church. He was a first cousin to Saint Gregory the Theologian, and a close friend of Saint Basil the Great. He was their student, follower and of like-mind with them. Saint Amphylokhios toiled hard on the field of Christ. Up until the time when the Lord summoned him for hierarchical service, he lived in the wilderness as a strict ascetic for about forty years. In the year 372 the bishop of Iconeia died.

The Venerable Gregory of Decapolis (816)

(December 3 / November 20)

Gregory was born in Isaurian Decapolis of prominent and devout parents, Sergius and Mary. After he had completed his schooling, his par- ents desired that he marry, but he fled to the wilderness and was tonsured a monk. He lived in various places: Byzantium, Rome and on Mount Olympus. Wherever he was, he amazed men by his asceticism and miracles. At times a heavenly light illumined him and angels of God appeared to him. He gazed upon the beauty of the angels and listened to their sweet chanting. He lived a long and God-pleasing life and died peacefully in the ninth century in Constantinople, his soul taking up its abode in the joy of his Lord.