Saint Job of Pochaev died on October 28, 1651, and his relics were transferred to the church of the Holy Trinity on August 28, 1659. A second uncovering of the relics took place on August 28, 1833. In the year 1902, the Holy Synod decreed that on this day the holy relics of Saint Job be carried around the Dormition cathedral of the Pochaev Lavra after the Divine Liturgy.
Saint Moses lived in Egypt during the fourth century. He was an Ethiopian, and since he was black of skin he was called “Murin” (meaning “like an Ethiopian”). In his youth he was the slave of an important man, but after he committed a murder, his master banished him, and he joined a band of robbers.
Because of his bad character and great physical strength, they chose him as their leader. Moses and his band of brigands were feared because of their many evil exploits, including murders and robberies. People trembled at the mere mention of his name.
Moses the brigand spent several years leading a sinful life, but through the great mercy of God he repented, left his band of robbers and went to one of the desert monasteries. Here he wept for a long time, begging to be admitted as one of the brethren. The monks were not convinced of the sincerity of his repentance, but the former robber would neither be driven away nor silenced. He continued to implore that they accept him.
Saint Moses was completely obedient to the hegoumen and the brethren, and he poured forth many tears of sorrow for his sinful life. After a certain while Saint Moses withdrew to a solitary cell, where he spent his time in prayer and the strictest fasting.
Once, four of the robbers of his former band descended upon the cell of Saint Moses. He had lost none of his great physical strength, so he tied them all up. Throwing them over his shoulder, he brought them to the monastery, where he asked the Elders what to do with them. The Elders ordered that they be set free. The robbers, learning that they had chanced upon their former ringleader, and that he had dealt kindly with them, followed his example: they repented and became monks. Later, when the rest of the band of robbers heard about Saint Moses’ repentance, then they also gave up their thievery and became fervent monks.
Saint Moses was not quickly freed from the passions. He went often to the hegoumen, Abba Isidore, seeking advice on how to be delivered from the passions of profligacy. Being experienced in the spiritual struggle, the Elder taught him never to eat too much food, to remain partly hungry while observing the strictest restraint. But the passions did not cease to trouble Saint Moses in his dreams.
Then Abba Isidore taught him the all-night vigil. The monk stood the whole night at prayer, so he would not fall asleep. As a result of his prolonged struggles, Saint Moses fell into despondency, and when he began to have thoughts about leaving his solitary cell, Abba Isidore instead strengthened the resolve of his disciple.
In a vision he showed him many demons in the west, prepared for battle, and in the east a still greater quantity of holy angels, also ready for fighting. Abba Isidore explained to Saint Moses that the power of the angels would prevail over the power of the demons, and in the long struggle with the passions it was necessary for him to become completely cleansed of his former sins.
Saint Moses drove himself to additional labors. Making the rounds of the wilderness cells at night, he carried water from the well to each brother. He did this especially for the Elders, who lived far from the well and who were not easily able to carry their own water. Once, kneeling over the well, Saint Moses felt a powerful blow upon his back and he fell down at the well like one dead, laying there in that position until dawn. Thus did the devils take revenge upon the monk for his victory over them. In the morning the brethren carried him to his cell, and he lay there crippled for a whole year. After he recovered, the monk with firm resolve confessed to the hegoumen, that he would continue with his ascetic struggles. But the Lord Himself put limits to this toil which lasted for many years: Abba Isidore blessed his disciple and told him that the passions had already left him. The Elder commanded him to receive the Holy Mysteries, and to go to his own cell in peace. From that time, Saint Moses received from the Lord power over demons.
Accounts about his exploits spread among the monks and even beyond the bounds of the wilderness. The governor of the land wanted to see the saint. When he heard of this, Saint Moses decided to hide from any visitors, and he departed his own cell. Along the way he met servants of the governor, who asked him how to get to the cell of the desert-dweller Moses. The monk answered them: “Go no farther to see this false and unworthy monk.” The servants returned to the monastery where the governor was waiting, and they told him the words of the Elder they had chanced to meet. The brethren, hearing a description of the Elder’s appearance, told them that they had encountered Saint Moses himself.
After many years of monastic exploits, Saint Moses was ordained deacon. The bishop clothed him in white vestments and said, “Now Abba Moses is entirely white!” The saint replied, “Only outwardly, for God knows that I am still dark within.”
Through humility, the saint believed himself unworthy of the office of deacon. Once, the bishop decided to test him and he bade the clergy to drive him out of the altar, reviling him as an unworthy Ethiopian. In all humility, the monk accepted the abuse. Having put him to the test, the bishop then ordained Saint Moses to the priesthood. Saint Moses labored for fifteen years in this rank, and gathered 75 disciples around himself.
When the saint reached the age of 75, he warned his monks that soon brigands would descend upon the skete and murder all those who remained there. The saint blessed his monks to leave, in order to avoid violent death. His disciples begged the saint to leave with them, but he replied: “For many years now, I have awaited the time when the words spoken by my Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, should be fulfilled: ‘All who take up the sword, shall perish by the sword’” (Matt. 26: 52). After this, seven of the brethren remained with Saint Moses, and one of them hid nearby during the attack of the robbers. The robbers killed Saint Moses and the six monks who remained with him. Their death occurred about the year 400.
Righteous Anna the Prophetess was descended from the tribe of Aser, and was the daughter of Phanuel. She lived with her husband for seven years until he died. After his death, Righteous Anna led a strict and pious life, “not leaving the Temple, and serving God both day and night in fasting and prayer” (Luke. 2: 37). When Righteous Anna was 84 years old, she saw the Infant Jesus Christ at the Temple of Jerusalem. He was brought to be dedicated to God as a firstborn child according to the Mosaic law.
Righteous Anna also heard the prophetic words of Saint Simeon the God-Receiver spoken to the Most Holy Theotokos. The Prophetess Anna together with Saint Simeon glorified God, and told everyone that the Messiah had come into the world (Luke. 2: 38).
Saint Shushanik (Susanna) was the wife of the Georgian prince Varsken, the ruler of Hereti.1 Having been raised in a pious Christian family, she was deeply penetrated with love and the fear of God.
At that time Kartli was under heavy political pressure from Persia, and Prince Varsken visited the Persian king Peroz in hopes of encouraging more friendly relations between the two countries. He willingly denied the true Faith, converted to the worship of fire, and promised the king to convert his wife and children upon his return to Hereti.
Having approached the border of Hereti, Varsken sent messengers to Tsurtavi, the city in which he ruled, to ensure that his subjects met him with due respect. The blessed Shushanik, having learned of her husband’s betrayal, fell to the ground and wept over him with bitter tears. Then she took her four children, deserted the palace, and sought refuge in a nearby church.
That evening Shushanik was visited by her spiritual father, the elder Jacob, who predicted, “Varsken’s cruelty and mercilessness are unmistakable. Know that terrible trials await you. Will you be firm and unbending in your position?”
“I would rather die than unite with him and destroy my soul!” she answered.
Three days later the prince arrived in Tsurtavi. As promised, he tried to persuade his wife to convert, but Saint Shushanik firmly answered, “As you have renounced your Creator, so I am renouncing you. I will no longer take part in your affairs, no matter what suffering I must endure!”
The next time, Varsken sent his younger brother Jojik and Bishop Apots to convince Shushanik to return to the palace. Shushanik refused for some time, but in the end she yielded to their persuasion. She set off for the palace with the Holy Gospel and the Lives of the holy martyrs, and when she arrived she locked herself in a squalid cell. Two days later Varsken returned to the palace and invited Shushanik, his brother Jojik, and his sister-in-law for supper. The queen, however, could not bring herself to share a meal with one who had betrayed Christ: she pushed away the cup that Jojik’s wife had offered her, thus further angering her husband.
The furious Varsken beat his wife mercilessly, fettered her in irons, locked her in prison, and forbade the guards to let anyone in to see her.
Saint Shushanik spent six years in captivity. While she was serving her sentence, she helped the poor that came to her. Through her prayers the sick were healed and children were born to the childless. Before her death, Holy Martyr Shushanik blessed those around her and requested that she be buried at the place from which her unbelieving husband had dragged her out of the palace.
This happened in the year 475. The clergy and people alike wept bitterly over Shushanik’s tragic fate. Her holy relics were buried in accordance with her will.
In 578, with the blessing of Catholicos Kirion I, Saint Shushanik’s holy relics were translated to Tbilisi, where they remain today, in the Metekhi Church of the Most Holy Theotokos.
Saint Susanna of Georgia is also commemorated on October 17.
1 Hereti, a province of southeastern Georgia, was under Persian control at that time. Prince Varsken was essentially the viceroy for the Persians.
On this day the Church celebrates the Synaxis of the Holy Fathers of the Kiev Caves, whose relics repose in the Far Caves of Saint Theodosius. They have their own individual days of commemoration, but today we honor the whole assembly of these monastic saints who were a light upon the earth, guiding us on the path of salvation.
Igumen Theodosius, the Founder (May 3, August 14, September 2)
Monk Agathon the Wonderworker (February 20)
Archimandrite Acindynus (+1235)
Monk Ammon (October 4)
Bishop Amphilochius of Vladimir, Volhynia (October 10)
Monk Anatolius the Recluse (July 3)
Monk Aquila the Deacon (January 4)
Monk Arsenius, Lover of Labor (May 8)
Monk Athanasius the Recluse (December 2)
Monk Benjamin the Recluse (October 13)
Monk Cassian the Recluse (February 29, May 8)
Elder Daniel (14th Century)
Hieromonk Dionysius the Recluse (October 3)
Archimandrite Dositheus (+ 1218)
Elder Eulogius (14th Century)
Hieroschemamonk Euthymius (January 20)
Monk Gerontius the Canonarch (April 1)
Monk Gregory the Recluse (January 8, August 8)
Schemamonk Hilarion (October 21)
Monk Hypatius the Healer (March 31)
Archimandrite Ignatius (December 20)
Monk Isidore the Recluse (12th-13th Centuries)
Monk Joseph the Much-Ailing (April 4)
Monk Laurence the Recluse (January 20)
Monk Leontius the Canonarch (April 1, June 18)
Monk Longinus the Gate-Keeper (October 16)
Hieromartyr Lucian the Priest (October 15)
Monk Macarius the Deacon (January 19)
Monk Mardarius the Recluse (December 13)
Monk Martyrius the Recluse (October 25)
Monk Martyrius the Deacon (October 25)
Monk Mercurius the Faster (November 4, 24)
Monk Moses the Wonderworker (July 26, 28)
Monk Nestor the Unlearned (October 29)
Monk Paisius (July 19)
Hieromonk Pambo the Recluse (July 18)
Hieromonk Pancratius the Recluse (February 9)
Monk Paphnutius the Recluse (February 15)
Monk Paul the Obedient (September 10)
Igumen Pimen the Faster (May 8, August 7)
Monk Pior the Recluse (October 4)
Monk Rufus the Obedient (April 8)
Schemamonk Silvanus (June 10, July 10)
Schemamonk Sisoes (July 6)
Monk Sophronius the Recluse (March 11, May 11)
Monk Theodore the Silent (February 17)
Monk Theodosius (Prince Theodore) (August 11)
Archbishop Theophilus of Novgorod (October 26)
Igumen Timothy (+ 1132)
Monk Titus the Soldier (January 27, February 27)
Monk Zachariah the Faster (March 24)
Monk Zeno the Faster (January 30)
Saint Sava of Krypetsk was tonsured at Athos, and from there he came to Pskov. He began to struggle on Mount Snetna at the monastery of Mother of God near Pskov, and then he went to a more remote spot along the River Tolva, at the monastery of Saint Euphrosyne (May 15). Finally, he withdrew for complete solitude to the Krypetsk wilderness, 15 versts from the Tolva, and he settled alone in a small cave in the impenetrable forest.
His food was bread and water, and on Wednesdays and Fridays he ate nothing. Living the life of a hermit he was assailed by unclean spirits, but always he prevailed over them through prayer. After several years in the solitary life, those zealous for wilderness life began to gather around Saint Sava. They asked him to form a monastery and build a church in honor of the Apostle John the Theologian. The monk refused to be igumen of the monastery and entrusted its guidance to the monk Cassian. Many came out from Pskov to the austere Elder, and he healed and admonished them, but never did he accept gifts from them.
One time the Pskov prince Yaroslav Vasilievich Obolensky, who frequently visited at the monastery, journeyed with his sick wife to see the saint. Saint Sava sent him a message saying, “The Elder, the sinner Sava, tells you, Prince, not to enter the monastery with the princess. Our rule here states that women are not to enter the monastery. If you transgress this fatherly command, your princess will not receive healing.”
The prince asked forgiveness, since it was through ignorance that he was on the point of violating the rule. Saint Sava came out through the monastery gates with the brethren, and served a Molieben there. The princess was healed. In 1487, through the mediation of the prince, Pskov received a deed to the lands for the monastery.
The monk taught the laity to guard their purity, reminding them of the injunction of the Apostle against the defilers of the body (I Cor. 6:9-10). He told the rich and the judges not to make their living at the expense of the poor and to preserve righteous truth. He frequently reminded everyone to avoid quarrels and enmity, to preserve love and peace and to overlook the faults of others by courtesy, even as they in turn have forgiven us.
At the monastery, a strict cenobitic life had been introduced from the very beginning. Then, when sufficient brethren and means had been gathered, there was nothing in the cell of the monk except for two icons, his monk’s garb and the cot upon which he lay down to take his rest.
Through such poverty he taught the brethren. The monk commanded them to work the land with their own hands. He said, “How can we call the ancient ascetics our Fathers, when we do not live their way of life? How can we be counted as their children? They were homeless and poor, they spent their time in caves and in the wilderness, and for the Lord with all their strength they subjected their flesh to the spirit. They knew no respite by day, or by night. We should love the good Lord, children, and show our love for Him not only by words, nor by our manner of attire, but by deeds: by love one for another, by tears, by fasting, by every manner of temperance, just as the ancient Fathers did.”
The grateful prince built a bridge to the monastery through the fens and the swamps 1400 sazhen [1 sazhen = 7 feet] in length. After his death (August 28, 1495), Saint Sava did not forsake the monastery, and many times came to its defense.
Once, robbers approached the monastery at night, and they saw an august Elder who held a staff in his hand and threateningly ordered them to repent. In the morning, they learned that there was no such Elder at the monastery, and they realized that it had been Saint Sava himself. The leader of the robbers repented before the igumen and remained at the monastery.
Saint Sava was tall of stature, with a beard grey as snow, roundish and thick and not very long. In this form he appeared to the monk Isaiah in the mid-sixteenth century, and showed him where to find his incorrupt relics. Later, in the year 1555, the Pskov priest Basil compiled the Life of Saint Sava at the request of the Krypetsk brethren, and his Feastday was established.
Righteous Hezekiah (721-691 B.C.) was the son of the impious king Ahaz. The life of Righteous Hezekiah is described in the Bible (4/2 Kings 18-20).
He became King of Judah at the age of twenty-five, and reigned at Jerusalem for 29 years. A zealous worshipper of the True God, Hezekiah reopened the Temple of Solomon (2 Chron. 20:3). At the time of the celebration of the Passover, to which he summoned all the subjects of the kingdom of Israel, Hezekiah gave orders to destroy the idols throughout his kingdom, reminding the people of the punishments which befell their ancestors for forsaking the True God. After this, idolatry ceased not only in the kingdom of Judah, but also in many places in the kingdom of Israel.
Therefore, God delivered him from his enemies and fulfilled his petitions. Thus, in the fourteenth year of the reign of Hezekiah, the Assyrian king Sennacherib son of Salmanassar, having conquered Israel, gathered his forces to make war upon Hezekiah.
The Assyrian king took the fortress of Lachis and sent an army towards Jerusalem, demanding that the Jewish king surrender. Hezekiah turned to God in prayer, and an angel of the Lord struck down 185,000 soldiers in the Assyrian camp. Soon after the withdrawal of Sennacherib, Hezekiah fell ill. The Prophet Isaiah came to him through the will of God and told him to set his affairs in order, since he would soon die. But the power of Hezekiah’s prayer was so great that God prolonged his life for another fifteen years.
His prayer was fervent when he besought God to help him. But even more ardent was his prayer of thanks. Hezekiah died at age 54 and was buried with great reverence at Jerusalem. The memory of the Righteous Hezekiah is also celebrated on Cheesefare Saturday.