Lives of all saints commemorated on December 22


Sunday before the Nativity

Adam and Eve (the first-created), the righteous Abel, son of Adam, the righteous Seth, son of Adam, the righteous Enos,son of Seth, the righteous Kenan, son of Enos, the righteous Mehaliel (Maleleim), son of Kenan, the righteous Jared, son of Mehaliel, the righteous Enoch, son of Jared, the righteous Methuselah, son of Enoch, the righteous Lamech, son of Methuselah, the righteous Noah, son of Lamech, the righteous Shem, son of Noah, the righteous Japheth, son of Noah, the righteous Arphachshad, son of Shem, the righteous Canaan, son of Arphachshad (in some versions of the OT, Canaan is called the son of Ham), the righteous Shelah, son of Canaan (some versions of the OT call Shelah the son of Arphachshad), the righteous Eber (from whom the Hebrews take their name), son of Shelah, the righteous Peleg, son of Eber, the righteous Ragab (Reu), son of Peleg, the righteous Serug, son of Ragab, the righteous Nahor, son of Serug, the righteous Terah, son of Serug.

The holy Patriarchs: the righteous Patriarch Abraham, son of Terah, the righteous Patriarch Isaac, son of Abraham, the righteous Patriarch Jacob, son of Isaac, the righteous Patriarch Reuben, son of Jacob and Leah, the righteous Patriarch Simeon, son of Jacob and Leah, the righteous Patriarch Levi, son of Jacob and Leah, the righteous Patriarch Judah (Christ was of this tribe), the righteous Patriarch Zebulon, son of Jacob and Leah, the righteous Patriarch Issachar, son of Jacob and Leah, the righteous Patriarch Dan, son of Jacob and Bilhah (Rachel's maid), the righteous Patriarch Gad, son of Jacob and Zilpah (Leah's maid), the righteous Patriarch Asher, son of Jacob and Zilpah, the righteous Patriarch Naphthali, son of Jacob and Bilhah, the righteous Patriarch Joseph, son of Jacob and Rachel, the righteous Patriarch Benjamin, son of Jacob and Rachel.

The righteous Pharez and Zerah, twin sons of Judah, the righteous Hezron, son of Pharez, the righteous Aram, son of Hezron, the righteous Aminadab, son of Aram, the righteous Nahshon, son of Aminadab, the righteous Salmon, son of Nahshon, the righteous Boaz, son of Salmon, the righteous Obed, son of Boaz and Ruth, the righteous Jesse, son of Obed.

The holy Prophet-King David, son of Jesse, King Solomon, son of David, King Rehoboam, son of Solomon, King Abijah, son of Rehoboam, King Asa, son of Abijah, King Jehosaphat, son of Asa, King Joram (Jehoram, an evil king), son of Jehosaphat, King Ochoziah (Ahaziah), son of Joram, King Jotham, son of Uzziah (Oziah), King Ahaz (a faithless king), son of Jotham, King Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, King Manesseh, son of Hezekiah, King Amos (Ammon), son of Manesseh, King Josiah, son of Amos, King Jechoniah, son of Josiah.

Shealtiel, son of Jechoniah, Zerubbabel (who led captives back to Jerusalem, and laid the foundations of the new Temple), son of Shealtiel, Abiud, son of Zerubbabel, Eliachem, son of Abiud, Azor, son of Eliachem, Zadok, son of Azor, Achim, son of Zadok, Eliud, son of Achim, Eleazar, son of Eliud, Matthan, son of Eleazar, Jacob, son of Matthan, St Joseph the Betrothed, son of Jacob.

The righteous Melchizedek, King of Salem, the righteous Job, the holy Prophet Moses, the priests Hur and Aaron, Joshua, son of Nun.

The holy prophet Samuel, the holy prophet Nathan, the holy prophet Daniel, the three holy youths Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.

The righteous Sarah, wife of Abraham, the righteous Rebecca, wife of Isaac, the righteous Leah, first wife of Jacob, the righteous Rachel, second wife of Jacob, the righteous Asineth, wife of Patriarch Joseph the all-comely, the righteous Miriam, sister of Moses, the righteous Deborah, Judge of Israel and prophetess, the righteous Ruth, wife of Boaz, the righteous woman of Zarephath, to whom Elias was sent (3 Kings 17), the righteous woman of Shunem, who was hospitable to Elisha (4 Kings 4), the righteous Judith, slayer of Holofernes, the righteous Esther, who delivered Israel from death, the righteous Hannah, mother of the prophet Samuel, the righteous Susanna.


Forefeast of the Nativity of our Lord

The Forefeast of the Nativity of the Lord begins on December 20. From now on, most of the liturgical hymns will be concerned with the birth of the Savior.

At Vespers for this third day of the prefeast of the Nativity we sing, “Christ is born on earth to crush the power of evil, to enlighten those in darkness, and to free the captives. Let us go forth to meet Him.”


Greatmartyr Anastasia the “Deliverer from Potions”, her teacher, Martyr Chrysogonus, and many with them

The Great Martyr Anastasia the Deliverer from Potions, a Roman by birth, suffered for Christ at the time of Diocletian’s persecution of Christians. Her father was a pagan, but her mother was secretly a Christian. Saint Anastasia’s teacher in her youth was an educated and pious Christian named Chrysogonus. After the death of her mother, her father gave Saint Anastasia in marriage to a pagan named Publius, but feigning illness, she preserved her virginity.

Clothing herself in the garb of a beggar, and accompanied by only one servant, she visited the prisons. She fed, doctored and often ransomed captives who were suffering for their faith in Christ. When her servant told Publius about everything, he subjected his wife to a beating and locked her up at home. Saint Anastasia then began to correspond secretly with Chrysogonus, who told the saint to be patient, to cleave to the Cross of Christ, and to accept the Lord’s will. He also foretold the impending death of Publius in the sea. After a certain while Publius did indeed drown, as he was setting out with a delegation to Persia. After the death of her husband, Saint Anastasia began to distribute her property to the poor and suffering.

Diocletian was informed that the Christians who filled the prisons of Rome stoically endured tortures. He gave orders to kill them all in a single night, and for Chrysogonus to be sent to him at Aquileia. Saint Anastasia followed her teacher at a distance.

The emperor interrogated Chrysogonus personally, but could not make him renounce his faith. Therefore, he commanded that he be beheaded and thrown into the sea. The body and severed head of the holy martyr were carried to shore by the waves. There by divine Providence, the relics were found by a presbyter named Zoilus who placed them in a coffer, and concealed them at his home.

Saint Chrysogonus appeared to Zoilus and informed him that martyrdom was at hand for Agape, Chione and Irene (April 16), three sisters who lived nearby. He told him to send Saint Anastasia to them to encourage them. Saint Chrysogonus foretold that Zoilus would also die on the same day. Nine days later, the words of Saint Chrysogonus were fulfilled. Zoilus fell asleep in the Lord, and Saint Anastasia visited the three maidens before their tortures. When these three martyrs gave up their souls to the Lord, she buried them.

Having carried out her teacher’s request, the saint went from city to city ministering to Christian prisoners. Proficient in the medical arts of the time, she zealously cared for captives far and wide, healing their wounds and relieving their suffering. Because of her labors, Saint Anastasia received the name Deliverer from Potions (Pharmakolytria), since by her intercessions she has healed many from the effects of potions, poisons, and other harmful substances.

She made the acquaintance of the pious young widow Theodota, finding in her a faithful helper. Theodota was taken for questioning when it was learned that she was a Christian. Meanwhile, Saint Anastasia was arrested in Illyricum. This occurred just after all the Christian captives there had been murdered in a single night by order of Diocletian. Saint Anastasia had come to one of the prisons, and finding no one there, she began to weep loudly. The jailers realized that she was a Christian and took her to the prefect of the district, who tried to persuade her to deny Christ by threatening her with torture. After his unsuccessful attempts to persuade Saint Anastasia to offer sacrifice to idols, he handed her over to the pagan priest Ulpian in Rome.

The cunning pagan offered Saint Anastasia the choice between luxury and riches, or grievous sufferings. He set before her gold, precious stones and fine clothing, and also fearsome instruments of torture. The crafty man was put to shame by the bride of Christ. Saint Anastasia refused the riches and chose the tools of torture.

But the Lord prolonged the earthly life of the saint, and Ulpian gave her three days to reconsider. Charmed by Anastasia’s beauty, the pagan priest decided to defile her purity. However, when he tried to touch her he suddenly became blind. His head began to ache so severely that he screamed like a madman. He asked to be taken to a pagan temple to appeal to the idols for help, but on the way he fell down and died.

Saint Anastasia was set free and she and Theodota again devoted themselves to the care of imprisoned Christians. Before long, Saint Theodota and her three sons accepted a martyrdom. Her eldest son, Evodus, stood bravely before the judge and endured beatings without protest. After lengthy torture, they were all thrown into a red-hot oven.

Saint Anastasia was caught again and condemned to death by starvation. She remained in prison without food for sixty days. Saint Theodota appeared to the martyr every night and gave her courage. Seeing that hunger caused Saint Anastasia no harm whatsoever, the judge sentenced her to drowning together with other prisoners. Among them was Eutychianus, who was condemned for his Christian faith.

The prisoners were put into a boat which went out into the open sea. The soldiers bored holes in the boat and got into a galley. Saint Theodota appeared to the captives and steered the ship to shore. When they reached dry land, 120 men believed in Christ and were baptized by Saints Anastasia and Eutychianus. All were captured and received a martyr’s crown. Saint Anastasia was stretched between four pillars and burned alive. A certain pious woman named Apollinaria buried her body, which was unharmed by the fire, in the garden outside her house.

In the fifth century the relics of Saint Anastasia were transferred to Constantinople, where a church was built and dedicated to her. Later the head and a hand of the Great Martyr were transferred to the monastery of Saint Anastasia [Deliverer from Potions], near Mount Athos.