Lives of all saints commemorated on June 21

Martyr Julian of Tarsus, in Cilicia

The Holy Martyr Julian of Tarsus was born in the Asia Minor province of Cilicia. He was the son of a pagan senator, but his mother was a Christian. After the death of her husband the mother of Saint Julian moved to Tarsus, where her son was baptized and raised in Christian piety. When Julian reached age 18, a persecution against Christians began under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). Among those arrested was Saint Julian. They brought him before the governor Marcian for trial, and for a long time they urged him to renounce Christ. Neither tortures nor threats, nor promises of gifts and honors could convince the pious youth to offer pagan sacrifice and deny Christ. The holy confessor remained steadfast in his firm faith.

For a whole year they led the martyr through the cities of Cilicia, everywhere subjecting him to interrogation and tortures, after which they threw him in prison. Saint Julian’s mother followed after her son and prayed that the Lord would strengthen him. In the city of Aegea, she besought the governor to permit her to visit the prison, ostensibly to persuade her son to offer sacrifice to idols. She spent three days in prison with Saint Julian, exhorting him to be strong until the end.

Saint Julian was again brought to stand before the governor. Thinking that the mother had persuaded her son to submit to the imperial decree, the governor began to praise her prudence. But suddenly she boldly confessed Jesus Christ, and even more fearlessly and boldly denounced polytheism. The governor then gave orders to cut off her feet, since she had accompanied her son from Tarsus. They tied the Martyr Julian into a sack, filled with sand and poisonous snakes, and threw it into the sea. The body of the sufferer was carried by the waves to the shores of Alexandria, and with reverence was buried by a certain pious Christian. The martyr’s death occurred in about the year 305. Afterwards his relics were transferred to Antioch. Saint John Chrysostom honored the holy Martyr Julian with an encomium.

Hieromartyr Terence, Bishop of Iconium

Saint Terence was Bishop of Iconium in Lycaonia in the first century. He was tortured and beheaded for his faith in Christ.

Saint Julius, Presbyter of Novara, and his brother, Saint Julian the Deacon

Saints Julius the presbyter and Julian the Deacon, brothers by birth, were natives of Myrmidonia. For his virtuous life Saint Julius was ordained to the priesthood, and his brother as a deacon. Inspired with zeal for the spreading of the Christian Faith, the holy brothers received permission for the building of churches and set off preaching to remote sections East and West within the Roman Empire, where pagan temples still existed and where offering of sacrifice to idols was still made. Visiting several lands, they converted many pagans to Christianity, persuading them not only by word, but also by numerous miracles. At Constantinople they turned to the pious emperor Theodosius the Younger (408-450) requesting permission to build churches upon the sites of pagan temples.

Having received the blessing of the patriarch and the permission of the emperor, the holy brothers built many churches. The people considered it their duty to assist them in this matter. Once, some people went past a church under construction. Fearing that they would be talked into taking part in this work, they engaged in a deception, in order to get away. One of them feigned being dead, and when Saint Julius invited them to take part in the work, they excused themselves, saying that they had to bury a dead person. The saint asked, “You’re not lying, are you?” The passers-by persisted in their ruse. Then Saint Julian said to them, “Let it be according to your words.” Having continued on farther, they discovered that the one pretending to be dead really was dead. After this, no one else dared to lie to the holy brothers.

Foreseeing his own impending end, Saint Julius set off in search of a place to build his one hundredth church, which he believed would be his last. Reaching Lake Mukoros, he saw a beautiful island. Because of the huge quantity of snakes on it, no one was able to settle there. Saint Julius decided to build a church upon this island. Having prayed, he sailed off to the island on his mantle as though on a boat, and set up a cross on it. In the Name of God, the holy ascetic ordered all the snakes to gather together and leave the island. All the venomous vipers slithered into the lake and re-established themselves upon Mount Kamunkin.

On the island Saint Julius built a church in honor of the holy Twelve Apostles. At this time his brother, Saint Julian, finished construction on a church near the city of Gaudiana and decided to build a crypt for his brother Julius by the church. Saint Julius paid his brother a visit and advised him to hurry with the construction of the crypt, prophetically foretelling that he would lie in it. Indeed, Saint Julian the Deacon soon died and was buried in the crypt built by him. Saint Julius the Presbyter reverently buried his brother and returned to the island, where he soon died and was buried in the church of the Twelve Apostles he had built. From his grave many of the sick received healing. The blessed end of the holy brothers occurred after the first half of the fifth century.

Martyr Archil II, King of Georgia

The Holy Martyr Archil II, King of Georgia belonged to the dynasty of the Chosroidoi, and he was a direct descendant of the holy emperor Saint Mirian (+ 342).

During the reign of Archil II, Georgia was subjected to a devastating invasion by Murvana-Kru (“the Wild”), so called by the Georgian people for his inexorable cruelty. The position of the Georgian people was desperate, and the emperor Archil II, together with his brother Myro, the ruler of Western Georgia, tearfully implored the intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos, and She showed forth Her mercy.

At a battle by the Rivers Abasha and Tskhenis-Tskhali the Georgian forces miraculously gained the victory over the significantly superior forces of Murvana-Kru.

After this victory the emperor Archil II was occupied with the restoration of the Georgian kingdom. He rebuilt the city of Nukhpatis, rebuilt ruined churches in Mtskheta and furthered the acceptance of Christianity by many of the mountain tribes. But soon Georgia suffered a new Arab invasion with the sudden appearance of Dzhidzhum-Asim (Jijum-Asim). Having paid a tribute to the Arabs, the emperor did not expect this invasion. In order to deliver the land from new devastation and avert the intrusion of Islam upon it, he deemed it beneficial to go himself to Dzhizhum-Asim, and subject formerly independent Georgia to the Arabs, and ask for peace. Placing all his hope on the mercy of God and ready to offer up his soul for his holy Faith and for his nation, Saint Archil went to the camp of the Arabs. Dzhidzhum-Asim received him hospitably and promised his suzerainty, but insisted on acceptance of Mohammedanism. As the “Georgian Chronicle” relates, the holy emperor Archil calmly said, “It will not be, that I should forsake Christ, the True God, Who for our salvation took upon Himself human flesh. I know, if I obey you, then I shall die a spiritual death and shall suffer eternally. If for my firmness you put me to death, I shall then rise as did my Lord, and I shall go to Him”.

Hearing these words, Dzhidzhum-Asim gave orders to seize the confessor and take him off to prison. But neither tortures nor promises could make the eighty-year-old emperor Archil apostasize.

On March 20, 744 the holy emperor Archil was beheaded. The body of the martyr was secretly taken by Georgian Christians to the locale Ertso and buried in Kakhetia, in the Notkor church built by the holy emperor himself.

Martyr Luarsab II, King of Georgia

The Holy Martyr Luarsab II, Emperor of Georgia was born in 1587. He was the son of George X (1600-1603), poisoned by the Persian shah Abbas I (1584-1628). After the death of his father Luarsab remained with his two sisters, Choreshan and Helen. He was still a child, but distinguished himself by his intellect and piety. Despite his youthful age, he was crowned with the name Luarsab II. In 1609 Georgia suffered invasion by a Turkish army under the leadership of Deli-Mamad-khan. The young emperor gave decisive battle to the Turks near the village of Kvenadkotsi (between Gori and Surami). On the eve of battle the 14,000 Georgians spent all night in prayer. In the morning after Divine Liturgy and having received the Holy Mysteries, the Georgian forces put 60,000 enemy soldiers to flight in a heroic battle.

The Persian shah Abbas I, alarmed over this victory by the Georgians, and bearing enmity towards Luarsab II, sought for an opportunity to destroy him. Because he saved Kartli (Central Georgia) from destruction Saint Luarsab was forced to give his sister Helen in marriage to the Moslem shah Abbas. But even this did not stop the shah. Several times he entered Georgia with a large army. Because of the treachery of several feudal lords, the emperor Luarsab and the Kakhetian emperor Teimuraz I were compelled at the end of 1615 to withdraw to Imeretia (Western Georgia) to the Imeretian emperor George III (1605-1639).

Shah Abbas I laid waste to Kakhetia and, threatening Kartli with ruin, he demanded that he should have Luarsab II, promising that if he came, he would conclude a peace. The emperor Luarsab II, trying to preserve the churches of Kartli from devastation, set out to shah Abbas with the words, “I place all my hope in Christ, and whatever fate awaits me, life or death, blessed be the Lord God!”

Shah Abbas I received Saint Luarsab II amicably and, it would seem, was prepared to fulfill his promise. After a hunt together Shah Abbas invited him to Mazandaran, but Luarsab II refused to eat fish (since it was Great Lent), despite the threats and demands of the shah. The enraged shah began to insist that the Georgian emperor accept Islam, in return for which he promised to let him go with great treasures to Kartli, threatening death by torture if he did not. The emperor Luarsab II, having from his youth kept strict fast and constantly at prayer, without hesitation refused the demands of the shah. They seized him and imprisoned him in the impenetrable fortress of Gulab-Kala, near Shiraz. The Mrovel Bishop Nicholas relates, that the emperor Luarsab spent seven years imprisoned in chains, undergoing cruel torments and frequent beatings to force him to accept Islam. But the holy confessor remained faithful to the Holy Church of Christ and accepted a martyr’s death in the year 1622 at 35 years of age. Two of his faithful retainers were martyred with him.

By night the bodies of the holy martyrs were cast out of the prison without burial, but on the next day Christians committed them to earth in a common grave.

Venerable Anastasia of Serbia

Saint Anastasia was the mother of Saint Sava of Serbia (January 12). She was the daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Romanus, and received the name Anna when she was baptized. Later, she married the Serbian king Stephen Nemanya (September 24).

She finished her life as a nun, receiving the name Anastasia.

New Martyr Nicetas of Nisyros near Rhodes

No information available at this time.