Lives of all saints commemorated on February 1


Forefeast of the Meeting of our Lord in the Temple

The Typikon should be consulted if the Forefeast falls on the Sunday of the Pharisee, the Publican, or Meatfare.

Because of the Forefeast of the Meeting of the Lord, the service to Saint Tryphon (February 1) may be moved to Compline or to another day, as the rector decides, unless the parish is dedicated to Saint Tryphon, or there is a particular devotion to him.


Martyr Tryphon of Lampsacus Near Apamea in Syria

The Martyr Tryphon was born in Phrygia, one of the districts of Asia Minor, in the village of Lampsacus. From his early years the Lord granted him the power to cast out demons and to heal various maladies. He once saved the inhabitants of his native city from starvation. Saint Tryphon, by the power of his prayer, turned back a plague of locusts that were devouring the grain and devastating the fields.

Saint Tryphon gained particular fame by casting out an evil spirit from the daughter of the Roman emperor Gordian (238-244). Helping everyone in distress, he asked only one thing from them: faith in Jesus Christ, by Whose grace he healed them.

When the emperor Decius (249-251) assumed the imperial throne, he began a fierce persecution of Christians. Someone reported to the commander Aquilinus that Saint Tryphon was boldly preaching faith in Christ, and that he led many to Baptism. The saint was arrested and subjected to interrogation, during which he fearlessly confessed his faith.

He was subjected to harsh tortures: they beat him with clubs, raked his body with iron hooks, they scorched his flesh with fire, and led him through the city, after iron nails were hammered into his feet. Saint Tryphon bravely endured all the torments without complaint.

Finally, he was condemned to beheading with a sword. The holy martyr prayed before his execution, thanking God for strengthening him in his sufferings. He also asked the Lord to bless those who should call upon his name for help. Just as the soldiers raised the sword over the head of the holy martyr, he surrendered his soul into the hands of God. This event occurred in the city of Nicea in the year 250.

Christians wrapped the holy body of the martyr in a clean shroud and wanted to bury him in the city of Nicea, where he suffered, but Saint Tryphon in a vision commanded them to take his body to his native land to the village of Lampsacus. Later on, the relics of Saint Tryphon were transferred to Constantinople, and then to Rome.

In Russia, Saint Tryphon is regarded as the patron saint of birds. There is a story that when Tsar Ivan the Terrible was out hunting, his falconer carelessly allowed the Tsar’s favorite falcon to fly away. The Tsar ordered the falconer Tryphon Patrikeiev to find the bird within three days, or else he would be put to death. Tryphon searched all through the forest, but without luck.

On the third day, exhausted by long searching, he returned to Moscow to the place called Marinaya Grove. Overcome with weariness, he lay down to rest, fervently praying to his patron saint, the Martyr Tryphon, for help.

In a dream he saw a youth on a white horse, holding the Tsar’s falcon on his hand. The youth said, “Take the lost bird, go to the Tsar and do not grieve.” When he awakened, the falconer actually spotted the falcon on a pine tree. He took it to the Tsar and told him about the miraculous help he received from the holy Martyr Tryphon. Grateful to Saint Tryphon for saving his life, Tryphon Patrikeiev built a chapel on the spot where the saint appeared. Later on, he also built a church dedicated to the holy Martyr Tryphon in Moscow.

The holy martyr is greatly venerated in the Russian Orthodox Church as the heavenly protector of Moscow. Many Russian icons depict the saint holding a falcon on his arm.


Martyrs Perpetua, a woman of Carthage, and the Catechumens: Saturus, Revocatus, Saturninus, Secundulus and Felicitas

The Holy Martyrs Perpetua, Felicitas and those with them. Vibia Perpetua was from a patrician family, and lived in Carthage. She came to believe in Christ, and was baptized after her arrest as a Christian. A few days later, the twenty-two-year-old woman was taken to prison with her infant son. Arrested with her were her brother Saturus, the servants Felicitas, Revocatus, Saturninus and Secundulus, who were also catechumens.

Despite the exhortations of her father, who persistently appealed to her maternal feelings, the widowed Saint Perpetua refused to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods.

Before their execution, Saints Perpetua and Saturus had visions from God, which strengthened their souls. Saint Felicitas, who was eight months pregnant, gave birth to a baby girl while in prison. She rejoiced because now she would be permitted to die with her companions. There was a law forbidding the execution of pregnant women.

The martyrs were led from the prison into the amphitheatre. Saturninus and Revocatus had to face a leopard and a bear. Saints Perpetua and Felicitas were brought to the arena in nets, and they were pitted against a wild heifer. After being tossed to the ground by the heifer, the two women were led out of the arena. Saturus was bitten by a leopard, but did not die. The martyrs were then led to a certain spot to be killed by the sword. The young gladiator who was to execute Saint Perpetua was inexperienced and did not kill her with the first blow. She herself took his hand and guided it to her throat, and so she received the crown of martyrdom. This occurred in about the year 203.

The amphitheatre where these saints perished is located a few miles from the city of Tunis. In 1881, a room was discovered opposite the modern entrance into the arena. Some say this was a cell where the victims waited to be brought into the arena.


Venerable Peter the Hermit of Galatia Near Antioch, in Syria

Saint Peter of Galatia left home at the age of seven, then spent the rest of his life in ascetical labors as a monk. At first, he remained in Galatia, then went to Palestine. Later, he went to Antioch. There he enclosed himself in a tomb, devoting himself to deeds of prayer and strict abstinence. He partook of bread and water only every other day. Because of his holy life, God granted him the gift of wonderworking, healing infirmities and expelling devils.

Saint Peter died around the year 429 at the age of ninety-nine. His Life was written by Theodoret of Cyrrhus, whose mother had been healed by the saint.

This Saint Peter should not be confused with the other Saint Peter of Galatia, who is commemorated on October 9.


Venerable Vendemianus the Hermit of Bithynia

Saint Vendemianus (Bendemianus) was born in Myzia. In his youth he was a disciple of Saint Auxentius, one of the Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Council. He went to the monastery founded by Saint Auxentius (February 14) on Mount Oxia, not far from Chalcedon (Asia Minor), where he lived in asceticism for forty-two years at the cell of his teacher in the crevice of a cliff. He spent his life in fasting and prayer, and was tempted by demons. Because of his holy life and spiritual struggles, the saint was granted the gift of healing. He died around the year 512.


Venerable Brigid (Bridget) of Ireland

Saint Brigid, “the Mary of the Gael,” was born around 450 in Faughart, about two miles from Dundalk in County Louth. According to Tradition, her father was a pagan named Dubthach, and her mother was Brocessa (Broiseach), one of his slaves.

Even as a child, she was known for her compassion for the poor. She would give away food, clothing, and even her father’s possessions to the poor. One day he took Brigid to the king’s court, leaving her outside to wait for him. He asked the king to buy his daughter from him, since her excessive generosity made her too expensive for him to keep. The king asked to see the girl, so Dubthach led him outside. They were just in time to see her give away her father’s sword to a beggar. This sword had been presented to Dubthach by the king, who said, “I cannot buy a girl who holds us so cheap.”

Saint Brigid received monastic tonsure at the hands of Saint Mael of Ardagh (February 6). Soon after this, she established a monastery on land given to her by the King of Leinster. The land was called Cill Dara (Kildare), or “the church of the oak.” This was the beginning of women’s cenobitic monasticism in Ireland.

The miracles performed by Saint Brigid are too numerous to relate here, but perhaps one story will suffice. One evening the holy abbess was sitting with the blind nun Dara. From sunset to sunrise they spoke of the joys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and of the love of Christ, losing all track of time. Saint Brigid was struck by the beauty of the earth and sky in the morning light. Realizing that Sister Dara was unable to appreciate this beauty, she became very sad. Then she prayed and made the Sign of the Cross over Dara’s eyes. All at once, the blind nun’s eyes were opened and she saw the sun in the east, and the trees and flowers sparkling with dew. She looked for a while, then turned to Saint Brigid and said, “Close my eyes again, dear Mother, for when the world is visible to the eyes, then God is seen less clearly by the soul.” Saint Brigid prayed again, and Dara became blind once more.

Saint Brigid fell asleep in the Lord in the year 523 after receiving Holy Communion from Saint Ninnidh of Inismacsaint (January 18). She was buried at Kildare, but her relics were transferred to Downpatrick during the Viking invasions. It is believed that she was buried in the same grave with Saint Patrick (March 17) and Saint Columba of Iona (June 9).

Late in the thirteenth century, her head was brought to Portugal by three Irish knights on their way to fight in the Holy Land. They left this holy relic in the parish church of Lumiar, about three miles from Lisbon. Portions of the relic were brought back to Ireland in 1929 and placed in a new church of Saint Brigid in Dublin.

The relics of Saint Brigid in Ireland were destroyed in the sixteenth century by Lord Grey during the reign of Henry VIII.

The tradition of making Saint Brigid’s crosses from rushes and hanging them in the home is still followed in Ireland, where devotion to her is still strong. She is also venerated in northern Italy, France, and Wales.


Saint Tryphon, Bishop of Rostov

Saint Tryphon, Bishop of Rostov was head of Moscow’s Novospassky (New Savior) monastery and was confessor to Great Prince Basil the Dark. On May 23, 1462 he was consecrated as Bishop of Rostov by Metropolitan Theodosius of Moscow.

In 1466, he retired to the Savior monastery in Yaroslavl, where he died on December 30, 1468 (certain local documents indicate the year 1466). His commemoration was transferred to February 1, it seems, so that he would be honored with his namesake Saint Tryphon of Lampsacus. Saint Prochorus was also buried at this monastery, as the schemamonk Tryphon, also a Bishop of Rostov, who died in 1328 (September 7).


Icon of the Mother of God “Socola”

The Socola Icon of the Mother of God was in the church of the Transfiguration in the Orthodox Theological Seminary at the Socola Monastery in Romania. In February 1854, it became famous for the remarkable miracle of shedding tears.

After the Divine Liturgy on February 1, 1854, a frightened member of the clerical staff went to Hieromonk Isaiah, the ecclesiarch, and said that he had seen tears on the Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos. Several of those serving ran to the church. There they all witnessed tears running down from the eyes of the Mother of God. Bishop Philaret Skriban, the rector of the seminary, removed the Icon of the Mother of God from its frame, and carefully examined it. Believing that it may have been sprinkled with holy water for the Feast of Saint Tryphon, the bishop wiped away the tears with a towel, and put the Icon back in its place. Then, after ordering everyone to leave the church, he looked all around the church, and then locked it.

Several hours later, the seminary professors and students went into the church with the rector for Vespers, and all were amazed to see the same miraculous flow of tears from the eyes of the Theotokos depicted on the Icon. Immediately, Bishop Philaret served a Moleben and Akathist to the Mother of God. Soon, all of Romania learned of this miraculous event, and people from all parts of the country began to arrive at the Socola Monastery to venerate the newly-revealed Weeping Icon of the Theotokos. The tears sometimes flowed every day; and sometimes they appeared two, three, or four days apart. As a result, many people were able to see the actual miracle of weeping first hand, and bear witness to it. Those who did not see the actual miracle were convinced that a genuine miracle had taken place because they observed traces of the dried tears on the surface of the Icon.

During the Crimean War (1854-1856), the Principality of Moldavia was occupied by Austrian troops. General Paar, the commanding officer of the Austrian army, heard about the Socola Icon and ordered a staff officer to investigate the reported miracle and to give a report of his results. The Colonel went to the monastery and examined the Icon, which was not weeping at the time. Finding nothing unusual, he returned the Icon to its frame. Taking a lighted candle, he looked carefully at the face of the Virgin. Suddenly, two small shining tears formed in the eyes of the Mother of God, and the tears began to flow. The officer recoiled in terror, and exclaimed, “It is weeping! This is a great miracle! Fathers, pray unto God!”

The Colonel reported what had transpired to his commanding officer. His description of the miraculous flow of tears from the Icon is of unquestionable importance, for he had come to Socola Monastery with no faith that such a miracle was possible. When he left, however, he was convinced that it was an indisputable fact. His was not the only evidence that a true miracle had taken place. There were many other eyewitness accounts, including accounts by individuals whose sincerity there would be no reason to question.

Reports of the weeping Socola Icon also spread to Russia, and some people believe that the weeping icon mentioned in Tolstoy’s “War and Peace“ (Book 5, Ch. 11) may have been based on this Icon.

The account provided by Bishop Melchizedek Ştefănescu of Romania deserves particular attention. He was one of the first to witness this miracle, when he was a professor in the seminary at Socola Monastery. Reminiscing 35 years later about seeing tears flow from the eyes of the Mother of God, the Elder recalled how he had speculated about the reason for its tears. He knew that in times past there had also been such Icons, which wept from time to time, and that such events always presaged difficult trials for Christ’s Church and for the homeland.

History supported the Elder’s conclusion. Soon after the miraculous appearance of the tears, the Moldavian Principalities were subjected to severe trials. Socola Monastery also suffered great hardship. It was as important to Romanians as St. Sergius Lavra is to the Russian people.

Romania’s great religious and educational center was destroyed. The seminary was moved to Iași, and the local instructors and monastics were dispersed. Thus, where the glorious historical seminary had stood, serving for almost a century as a center of religious education, there remained only a small elementary school. When the Seminary moved from Socola to Iași in 1886, the icon was transferred to the new Metropolitan Cathedral in Iași.

The name Socola probably came from a Slavic source, from the word socola, or “hawk” (perhaps because there were many hawks near the monastery).


Saint Seririol of Wales

No information available at this time.