The hymns at Vespers today speak of the sun appearing dim compared to the divine light of the Transfiguration. In His compassion for humanity, Christ took on mortal flesh, yet Peter, James and John saw the radiance of His glory. The incarnate Lord “made Adam’s darkened image to shine again” when He appeared on earth “arrayed in the original beauty of the Image (Genesis 1:26).
Saint Emilian, Bishop of Cyzikus, lived during the reign of the Iconoclast emperor Leo the Armenian (813-820). He was summoned together with other bishops to the court of the emperor, who insistently urged the bishops to refrain from the veneration of holy icons. Saint Emilian was the first to tell the emperor firmly that the question of the veneration of holy icons ought to be discussed and decided only within the Church by its spiritual leaders, and not at the imperial court. In the year 815 he was sent to prison for the Orthodox Faith, where he died as a confessor.
Saint Gregory, Iconographer of the Caves, was a colleague of Saint Alypius of the Caves (August 17). In the “Accounts of the holy Iconographers” it says that he painted many wonderworking icons throughout the Russian Land.
In the Ninth Ode of the Canon of the Service of the Synaxis of the Kiev Caves Monastics, Venerated in the Near Caves (September 28), Saint Gregory is called a “Byzantine.” This probably means that he was among the number of iconographers who had come from Constantinople to Kiev to embellish the Great Church of the monastery, dedicated in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos.
The Transfer of the Relics of Saints Zosimas and Sabbatius of Solovki took place on August 8, 1566, on the third day of the altar-feast of the Solovki monastery of the Transfiguration of the Lord. The relics of the saints were transferred into a chapel of the Transfiguration cathedral, built in their honor.
Beekeepers pray to these saints for an increase of bees.
The Life of Saint Zosimas is found under April 17; the Life of Saint Sabbatius on September 27.
Saint Myron, Bishop of Crete, a wonderworker, in his youth was a family man, and worked as a farmer. He was known for his goodness, and he assisted everyone who turned to him for help. Once, thieves burst in upon his threshing floor, and Saint Myron himself helped them lift a sack of grain upon their shoulders. By his generosity the saint so shamed the thieves, that in future they began to lead honorable lives.
Out of profound respect for the saint, the Cretan people urged him to accept ordination to the priesthood in his native city of Raucia, and afterwards they chose him Bishop of Crete.
Wisely ruling his flock, Saint Myron received from the Lord the gift of wonderworking. At the time of a flood on the River Triton, the saint stopped its flow and went upon it as upon dry land, and then he sent a man back to the river with his staff to command the river to resume its course. Saint Myron fell asleep in the Lord at the age of 100, around the year 350.
The Martyrs Eleutherius, Leonides, along with many infants, were cast into a fire at a youthful age during one of the persecutions against Christians.
Saint Gregory of Sinai was born around the year 1268 in the seacoast village of Clazomenia near the city of Smyrna (Asia Minor), of rich parents. In about the year 1290, he was taken into captivity by the Hagarenes and sent off to Laodicea.
After gaining his freedom, the saint arrived on the island of Cyprus, where he was tonsured a monk. He set off afterwards to Mount Sinai and there assumed the great schema. Having fulfilled his obediences of cook and baker, and then as copyist, he surpassed all in reading and knowledge of Scriptural and patristic books.
The strictness of his life (fasting, vigil, psalmody, standing at prayer) brought some to astonishment and others to envy. Departing the monastery, the monk visited Jerusalem. For some time he lived on the island of Crete, and afterwards he visited Mt. Athos with its monasteries and ascetics. In this way, he acquired the experience of many centuries of the monastic life from the ancient monasteries. Only after this did Saint Gregory the Sinaite settle himself in a solitary place for “hesychia” [stillness doing the Jesus Prayer], a cell for silence and the unhindered pursuit of mental prayer, combined with hard work.
The precious legacy of Saint Gregory is in his teaching about the inner life, 15 texts “On Stillness,” and 137 texts “On Commandments and Doctrines,” where he says that “trying to comprehend the commandments through study and reading without fulfilling them, is like mistaking a shadow of something for its reality” (“On Commandments and Doctrines,” section 22).
He is renowned also as a remarkable hymnographer (“It is Truly Meet” is ascribed to him), and a canon to the Most Holy Trinity read at Sunday Vigil, and a canon to the Holy Cross. In a book of canons (from the year 1407) of Saint Cyril of White Lake (June 9) is found the “Canon of Supplication to the Lord Jesus Christ, the work of Gregory the Sinaite.”
Because of his concern for the spreading of monasticism, the saint founded several cells on Athos, and also four monasteries in Thrace. Saint Gregory the Sinaite died in the year 1310 (some historians suggest the year 1346) at his so-called “Concealed” (“Parariseia”) monastery, founded on Mt. Paroria on the west coast of the Black Sea for the strict followers of his life.
Saint Gregory is also commemorated on November 27 (his repose), February 11, and April 6.
The Tolga Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos appeared on August 8, 1314 to the Rostov hierarch Prochorus (Tryphon in schema). Going about his diocese, the saint visited the environs of White Lake and from there traveled along the banks of the Rivers Sheksna and Volga, to Yaroslavl. He stopped with the approach of night 7 versts distant from Yaroslavl, at the right bank of the Volga River where there flows opposite into it the River Tolga.
At midnight, when everyone was asleep, the saint awoke and saw a bright light illuminating the area. The light proceeded from a fiery column on the other bank of the river, to which there stretched a bridge. Taking up his staff, the saint went across to the other bank, and having approached the fiery column, he beheld on it the icon of the Most Holy Theotokos, suspended in the air. Astonished at the miracle, the saint prayed for a long time, and when he went back, he forgot to take his staff.
The next day, after serving Matins, when Saint Prochorus was preparing to continue his journey by boat, they began to search for his staff, but they were not able to find it anywhere. The saint then remembered that he had forgotten his staff on the other side of the river, where he had gone across on the miraculous bridge. He then revealed what had occurred, and sent servants across on a boat to the other shore. They came back and reported that in the forest they had seen an icon of the Mother of God suspended in the branches of a tree, next to his bishop’s staff.
The saint quickly crossed over with all his retinue to the opposite shore, and he recognized the icon that had appeared to him. Then after fervent prayer before the icon, they cleared the forest at that place, and put down the foundations of a church. When the people of Yaroslavl learned of this, they came out to the indicated spot. By midday the church was already built, and in the evening the saint consecrated it in honor of the Entrance into the Temple of the Most Holy Theotokos, and having installed the icon there he established a Feast on the day of its appearance. Saint Prochorus later built the Tolga monastery near this church. Saint Prochorus died on September 7, 1328.
The Tolga Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos is also commemorated on July 18.
Saint Euthymius was abbot of the Monastery of Saint John the Baptist in the Davit-Gareji Wilderness. In the chronicles of the monastery he is commemorated as a “man of many labors.”
According to the 19th-century historian Prince John Bagrationi, Euthymius was a philosopher and theologian and an outstanding preacher. He dedicated his life to improving the monastery and rebuilt the nearby village of Khashmi, which had been utterly razed by Dagestani thieves. In Khashmi he constructed a mill and planted a vineyard with a rare variety of grapes. He adorned the monastery and expanded the estate surrounding the complex. At his instruction, a great number of theological works were translated, and many rare books were recopied. Saint Euthymius instructed several of his pupils in philosophy and theology as well.
After receiving a commission from Bishop Saba of Ninotsminda, Saint Euthymius composed an Akathist hymn to Saint Nino the Equal to-the-Apostles and Enlightener of Georgia.
In 1797 the black plague broke out in Tbilisi and residents fled from the city. Like true guardian angels, monastics and hermits abandoned their isolated cells and arrived to minister to the sick and the suffering. As he had in so many other worthy endeavors, Saint Euthymius served as the leader and inspiration behind these works of mercy.
The pious Euthymius reposed peacefully in the year 1804.
The New Martyr Triandaphyllus, a native of Zagora, Magnesia (in Thessaly), was beheaded by the Turks at Constantinople in the year 1680 for his refusal to reject Christ and accept Islam. He was only fifteen years old when he received the crown of victory from Christ.
No information available at this time.
On this day we also commemorate ten Egyptian ascetics who died at sea, and two martyrs of Tyre, who were dragged over the ground.