Saint Paul the Confessor, Archbishop of Constantinople

Saint Paul the Confessor, Archbishop of Constantinople, was chosen to the patriarchal throne after the death of Patriarch Alexander (+ 340), when the Arian heresy had again flared up. Many of the Arians were present at the Council which selected the new Archbishop of Constantinople. They revolted in opposition to the choice of Saint Paul, but the Orthodox at the Council were in the majority.

The emperor Constantius, ruling over the Eastern half of the Roman Empire, was an Arian. He was not in Constantinople for the election of the Archbishop, and so it took place without his consent. Upon his return, he convened a council which illegally deposed Saint Paul, and the emperor banished him from the capital. In place of the saint they elevated Eusebius of Nicomedia, an impious heretic. Archbishop Paul withdrew to Rome, where other Orthodox bishops were also banished by Eusebius.

Eusebius did not rule the Church of Constantinople for long. When he died, Saint Paul returned to Constantinople, and was greeted by his flock with love. But Constantius exiled the saint a second time, and so he returned to Rome. The Western emperor Constans wrote a harsh letter to his Eastern co-ruler, which he sent to Constantinople along with the holy exiled archpastor. The threats worked, and Saint Paul was reinstated upon the archepiscopal throne.

But soon the pious emperor Constans, a defender of the Orthodox, was treacherously murdered during a palace coup. They again banished Saint Paul from Constantinople and this time sent him off in exile to Armenia, to the city of Cucusus, where he endured a martyr’s death.

When the Archbishop was celebrating the Divine Liturgy, Arians rushed upon him by force and strangled him with his own omophorion. This occurred in the year 350. In 381, the holy Emperor Theodosius the Great solemnly transferred the relics of Saint Paul the Confessor from Cucusus to Constantinople. In 1326, the relics of Saint Paul were transferred to Venice.

Saint Athanasius the Great, a contemporary of Saint Paul, writes briefly about his exiles, “Saint Paul the first time was sent by Constantine to Pontus, the second time he was fettered with chains by Constantius, and then he was locked up in Mesopotamian Syngara and from there moved to Emesus, and the fourth time to Cappadocian Cucusus in the Taurian wilderness.”

Venerable Barlaam, Abbot of Khutyn, Novgorod

Saint Barlaam, Abbot of Khutyn lived in the twelfth century, the son of an illustrious citizen of Novgorod, where he spent his childhood years. Withdrawing at an early age to the Lisich monastery near the city, Saint Barlaam was tonsured there. Later he settled on a solitary hill below Volkhov, in a place called Khutyn, ten versts from Novgorod.

Saint Barlaam led a strict solitary life, occupying himself with unceasing prayer and keeping a very strict fast. He was a zealous ascetic in his labors: he cut timber in the forest, chopped firewood and tilled the soil, fulfilling the words of Holy Scripture, “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thess. 3: 10).

Certain inhabitants of Novgorod gathered around him, wanting to share in monastic works and deeds. Instructing those who came, Saint Barlaam said, “My children, beware of all unrighteousness, and do not give in to envy or slander. Refrain from anger, and do not practice usury. Beware of unjust judgment. Do not swear an oath falsely, but rather fulfill it. Do not indulge the bodily appetites. Always be meek and bear all things with love. This virtue is the beginning and root of all good.”

Soon a church was built in honor of the Transfiguration of the Lord, and a monastery founded. Because of his service to others, the Lord granted Saint Barlaam the gifts of wonderworking and discernment.

When Saint Barlaam’s life was drawing to a close, the hieromonk Anthony came from Constantinople by divine Providence. He was of the same age and a friend of Saint Barlaam. The saint turned to him and said, “My beloved brother! God’s blessings rest upon this monastery. Now I leave this monastery in your hands. Watch over it and care for it. Although in the flesh I am leaving you, I shall always be with you in spirit.” After instructing the brethren, commanding them to preserve the Orthodox Faith and to dwell constantly in humility, Saint Barlaam fell asleep in the Lord on November 6, 1192.

In Slavonic practice, Saint Barlaam is commemorated during the Proskomedia along with the venerable and God-bearing Fathers who shone forth in asceticism (sixth particle).

Venerable Luke the Steward of the Kiev Near Caves

No information available at this time.

Repose of Saint Herman, Archbishop of Kazan

Saint Herman, Archbishop of Kazan, lived during the sixteenth century. He was born in the city of Staritsa, and was descended from the old boyar nobility of the Polevi. In his youth Gregory (his baptismal name) was tonsured at the Joseph-Volokolamsk monastery under Igumen Gurias, who later became Archbishop of Kazan (December 5). (Saint Gurias was head of the monastery from 1542 to 1551).

At the monastery Saint Herman occupied himself with copying books, and he was a close friend of Saint Maximus the Greek (January 21), who was living there in confinement. In 1551 the brethren of the Staritsa Dormition monastery, seeing his piety, chose him as their archimandrite.

Taking up the governance of this monastery with a pastoral zeal, Saint Herman concerned himself with its internal and external order, for he himself was a model of humility and meekness. He exhorted all to observe their monastic commitment strictly, and he introduced into his monastery the Rule of Saint Joseph of Volokolamsk (October 18).

But after two and a half years Archimandrite Herman left the Staritsa monastery, leaving its direction to the hieromonk Job (June 19), who afterwards was to become the first Patriarch of Moscow, and was an ascetic and sufferer for the Russian Land.

Saint Herman’s love for solitary struggles brought him to return to his original Volokolamsk monastery, where he strove toward salvation as a simple monk. However, when the new heretic Matthew Bashkin (who refused to acknowledge the Holy Mysteries and denied faith in the Holy Trinity) appeared at Moscow, Saint Herman and his own father (who had received tonsure at the Volokolamsk monastery with the name Philotheus) were summoned to the Moscow Council of 1553. The Council censured the heretic Bashkin and resolved to send him for correction to Saint Herman at the Volokolamsk monastery, since Saint Herman was known for his holy life and zeal for the faith in Christ.

In 1555, after the taking of Kazan, an archepiscopal See was established there. Saint Gurias, the former igumen of Volokolamsk monastery, was chosen as archbishop. He was entrusted with building the Dormition monastery in the city of Sviyazhsk for missionary purposes. By decree of Saint Gurias, Saint Herman was appointed as head of this new monastery in Sviyazhsk. A stone cathedral was built with a belltower and monastic cells. The igumen of the monastery lived very frugally in a cramped cell beneath the cathedral belltower. Saint Herman particularly concerned himself with acquiring a library for the monastery.

Soon his monastery became famous for its good works, and it became a center of enlightenment for the Kazan region.

On March 12, 1564, after the repose of Saint Gurias, Saint Herman was consecrated Bishop of Kazan. The short duration of his tenure there was marked nonetheless by his efforts to build churches and to enlighten the people of the region with the light of Christ.

In 1566, Ivan the Terrible summoned Saint Herman to Moscow and ordered that he be elected to the Metropolitan cathedra. At first, Saint Herman refused to have this burden imposed upon him. The Tsar would not tolerate any objection, however, and the saint was obliged to settle into the Metropolitan’s quarters until his elevation to the position of Metropolitan.

Seeing injustice among those of the Tsar’s inner circle, Saint Herman, true to his pastoral duty, attempted to admonish the Tsar. “You are not yet elevated to Metropolitan, and already you place constraints upon my freedom,” the Tsar told him through his aides. He ordered Saint Herman expelled from the Metropolitan’s quarters and that he be kept under surveillance.

The saint lived in disgrace for about two years, and died on November 6, 1567. They buried him in the church of Saint Nicholas the Hospitable. In 1595, at the request of the inhabitants of Sviyazhsk, the relics of the saint were transferred from Moscow to the Sviyazhsk Dormition monastery. Saint Hermogenes, then Metropolitan of Kazan, visited his grave.

Saint Herman is also commemorated on September 25 (first translation of his relics in 1595) and June 23 (second translation of his relics in 1714).

Venerable Barlaam of Keret Lake

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Martyrs Tecusa, Alexandra, Claudia, Matrona, Polactia, Euphrosyne, and Athanasia, of Ancyra

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Venerable Luke of Sicily

Saint Luke of Sicily was a native of the Sicilian city of Tauromenium. In his youth he left his parents and fiancée and went into the wilderness, where he spent many years in fasting and prayer. He lived the ascetic life at Mount Aetna.

Towards the end of his life Saint Luke, because of a revelation to him, founded a monastery. In order to become familiar with the rule and life of other monasteries, he visited many other cities. He died at Corinth in 820.