Lives of all saints commemorated on January 4


Forefeast of the Theophany of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

The third day of the Forefeast of Theophany falls on January 4. The hymns compare the Feast of the Nativity with the coming Feast. “There shepherds saw the Child and were amazed; here the voice of the Father proclaims the only-begotten Son.”


Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles

The Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles was established by the Orthodox Church to indicate the equal honor of each of the Seventy. They were sent two by two by the Lord Jesus Christ to go before Him into the cities He would visit (Luke 10:1).

Besides the celebration of the Synaxis of the Holy Disciples, the Church celebrates the memory of each of them during the course of the year:

St James the Brother of the Lord (October 23); Mark the Evangelist (April 25); Luke the Evangelist (October 18); Cleopas (October 30), brother of St Joseph the Betrothed, and Simeon his son (April 27); Barnabas (June 11); Joses, or Joseph, named Barsabas or Justus (October 30); Thaddeus (August 21); Ananias (October 1); Protomartyr Stephen the Archdeacon (December 27); Philip the Deacon (October 11); Prochorus the Deacon (28 July); Nicanor the Deacon (July 28 and December 28); Timon the Deacon (July 28 and December 30); Parmenas the Deacon (July 28); Timothy (January 22); Titus (August 25); Philemon (November 22 and February 19); Onesimus (February 15); Epaphras and Archippus (November 22 and February 19); Silas, Silvanus, Crescens or Criscus (July 30); Crispus and Epaenetos (July 30); Andronicus (May 17 and July 30); Stachys, Amplias, Urban, Narcissus, Apelles (October 31); Aristobulus (October 31 and March 16); Herodion or Rodion (April 8 and November 10); Agabus, Rufus, Asyncritus, Phlegon (April 8); Hermas (November 5, November 30 and May 31); Patrobas (November 5); Hermes (April 8); Linus, Gaius, Philologus (November 5); Lucius (September 10); Jason (April 28); Sosipater (April 28 and November 10); Olympas or Olympanus (November 10 ); Tertius (October 30 and November 10); Erastos (November 30), Quartus (November 10); Euodius (September 7); Onesiphorus (September 7 and December 8); Clement (November 25); Sosthenes (December 8); Apollos (March 30 and December 8); Tychicus, Epaphroditus (December 8); Carpus (May 26); Quadratus (September 21); Mark (September 27), called John, Zeno (September 27); Aristarchus (April 15 and September 27); Pudens and Trophimus (April 15); Mark nephew of Barnabas, Artemas (October 30); Aquila (July 14); Fortunatus (June 15) and Achaicus (January 4).

With the Descent of the Holy Spirit the Seventy Apostles preached in various lands. Some accompanied the Twelve Apostles, like the holy Evangelists Mark and Luke, or St Paul’s companion Timothy, or Prochorus,the disciple of the holy Evangelist John the Theologian, and others. Many of them were thrown into prison for Christ, and many received the crown of martyrdom.

There are two more Apostles of the Seventy: St Cephas, to whom the Lord appeared after the Resurrection (1 Cor. 15:5-6), and Simeon, called Niger (Acts 13:1). They also were glorified by apostolic preaching.

There are discrepancies and errors in some lists of the Seventy Apostles. In a list attributed to St Dorotheus of Tyre (June 5) some names are repeated (Rodion, or Herodion, Apollos, Tychicus, Aristarchus), while others are omitted (Timothy, Titus, Epaphras, Archippus, Aquila, Olympas). St Demetrius of Rostov consulted the Holy Scripture, the traditions passed down by the Fathers, and the accounts of trustworthy historians when he attempted to correct the mistakes and uncertainties in the list in compiling his collection of Lives of the Saints.

The Church in particular venerates and praises the Seventy Apostles because they taught us to honor the Trinity One in Essence and Undivided.

In the ninth century St Joseph the Hymnographer composed the Canon for the Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles of Christ.


Apostle James, of the Seventy, the Brother of the Lord

Holy Apostle James, the Brother of God (Adelphotheos) was the son of Righteous Joseph the Betrothed of the Most Holy Theotokos (December 26). From his early years James was a Nazarene, a man especially dedicated to God. The Nazarenes vowed to preserve their virginity, to abstain from wine, to refrain from eating meat, and not to cut their hair. The vow of the Nazarenes symbolized a life of holiness and purity, commanded formerly by the Lord for all Israel. When the Savior began to teach the nation about the Kingdom of God, St James believed in Christ and became His apostle. He was chosen as the first Bishop of Jerusalem.

St James presided over the Council of Jerusalem and his word was decisive (Acts 15). In his thirty years as bishop, St James converted many of the Jews to Christianity. Annoyed by this, the Pharisees and the Scribes plotted together to kill St James. They led the saint up on the pinnacle of the Jerusalem Temple and asked what he thought of Jesus. The holy Apostle began to bear witness that Christ is the Messiah, which was not the response the Pharisees were expecting. Greatly angered, the Jewish teachers threw him off the roof. The saint did not die immediately, but gathering his final strength, he prayed to the Lord for his enemies while they were stoning him. St James’ martyrdom occurred about 63 A.D.

The holy Apostle James composed a Divine Liturgy, which formed the basis of the Liturgies of Sts Basil the Great and John Chrysostom. The Church has preserved an Epistle of St James, one of the books of the New Testament.

In 1853, Patriarch Hierotheus of Alexandria sent to Moscow a portion of the relics of St James. The Church distinguishes between the holy Apostle James the Brother of God, and St James the son of Zebedee (April 30) and St James the son of Alphaeus (October 9).


Apostle Mark the Evangelist of the Seventy

The Holy Apostle and Evangelist Mark, also known as John Mark (Acts 12:12), was one of the Seventy Apostles, and was also a nephew of St Barnabas (June 11). He was born at Jerusalem. The house of his mother Mary adjoined the Garden of Gethsemane. As Church Tradition relates, on the night that Christ was betrayed he followed after Him, wrapped only in a linen cloth. He was seized by soldiers, and fled away naked, leaving the cloth behind (Mark 14:51-52). After the Ascension of the Lord, the house of his mother Mary became a place where Christians gathered, and a place of lodging for some of the Apostles (Acts 12:12).

St Mark was a very close companion of the Apostles Peter and Paul (June 29) and Barnabas. St Mark was at Seleucia with Paul and Barnabas, and from there he set off to the island of Cyprus, and he traversed the whole of it from east to west. In the city of Paphos, St Mark witnessed the blinding of the sorcerer Elymas by St Paul (Acts 13:6-12).

After working with the Apostle Paul, St Mark returned to Jerusalem, and then went to Rome with the Apostle Peter. From there, he set out for Egypt, where he established a local Church.

St Mark met St Paul in Antioch. From there he went with St Barnabas to Cyprus, and then he went to Egypt again, where he and St Peter founded many churches. Then he went to Babylon. From this city the Apostle Peter sent an Epistle to the Christians of Asia Minor, in which he calls St Mark his son (1 Pet 5:13).

When the Apostle Paul came to Rome in chains, St Mark was at Ephesus, where St Timothy (January 4) was bishop. St Mark went with him to Rome. There he also wrote his holy Gospel (ca. 62-63).

From Rome St Mark traveled to Egypt. In Alexandria he started a Christian school, which later produced such famous Fathers and teachers of the Church as Clement of Alexandria, St Dionysius of Alexandria (October 5), St Gregory Thaumatourgos (November 5), and others. Zealous for Church services, St Mark composed a Liturgy for the Christians of Alexandria.

St Mark preached the Gospel in the inner regions of Africa, and he was in Libya at Nektopolis.

During these journeys, St Mark was inspired by the Holy Spirit to go again to Alexandria and confront the pagans. There he visited the home of Ananias, and healed his crippled hand. The dignitary happily took him in, listened to his words, and received Baptism.

Following the example of Ananias, many of the inhabitants of that part of the city where he lived were also baptized. This roused the enmity of the pagans, and they wanted to kill St Mark. Having learned of this, St Mark made Ananias a bishop, and the three Christians Malchos, Sabinos, and Kerdinos were ordained presbyters to provide the church with leadership after his death.

The pagans seized St Mark when he was serving the Liturgy. They beat him, dragged him through the streets and threw him in prison. There St Mark was granted a vision of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who strengthened him before his sufferings. On the following day, the angry crowd again dragged the saint through the streets to the courtroom, but along the way St Mark died saying, “Into Your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.”

The pagans wanted to burn the saint’s body, but when they lit the fire, everything grew dark, thunder crashed, and there was an earthquake. The pagans fled in terror, and Christians took up the body of St Mark and buried it in a stone crypt. This was on April 4, 63. The Church celebrates his memory on April 25.

In the year 310, a church was built over the relics of St Mark. In 820, when the Moslem Arabs had established their rule in Egypt and oppressed the Christian Church, the relics of St Mark were transferred to Venice and placed in the church named for him.

In the ancient iconographic tradition, which adopted symbols for the holy Evangelists borrowed from the vision of St John the Theologian (Rev. 4:7) and the prophecy of Ezekiel (Ez.1:10), the holy Evangelist Mark is represented by a lion, symbolizing the might and royal dignity of Christ (Rev. 5:5).

St Mark wrote his Gospel for Gentile Christians, emphasizing the words and deeds of the Savior which reveal His divine Power. Many aspects of his account can be explained by his closeness to St Peter. The ancient writers say that the Gospel of Mark is a concise record of St Peter’s preaching.

One of the central theological themes in the Gospel of St Mark is the power of God achieving what is humanly impossible. The Apostles performed remarkable miracles with Christ (Mark 16:20) and the Holy Spirit (Mark 13:11) working through them. His disciples were told to go into the world and preach the Gospel to all creatures (Mark 13:10, 16:15), and that is what they did.


Apostle and Evangelist Luke of the Seventy

The Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke, was a native of Syrian Antioch, a companion of the holy Apostle Paul (Phil.1:24, 2 Tim. 4:10-11), and a physician enlightened in the Greek medical arts. Hearing about Christ, Luke arrived in Palestine and fervently accepted the preaching of salvation from the Lord Himself. As one of the Seventy Apostles, St Luke was sent by the Lord with the others to preach the Kingdom of Heaven during the Savior’s earthly life (Luke 10:1-3). After the Resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Sts Luke and Cleopas on the road to Emmaus.

Luke accompanied St Paul on his second missionary journey, and from that time they were inseparable. When Paul’s coworkers had forsaken him, only Luke remained to assist him in his ministry (2 Tim. 4:10-11). After the martyric death of the First-Ranked Apostles Peter and Paul, St Luke left Rome to preach in Achaia, Libya, Egypt and the Thebaid. He ended his life by suffering martyrdom in the city of Thebes.

Tradition credits St Luke with painting the first icons of the Mother of God. “Let the grace of Him Who was born of Me and My mercy be with these Icons,” said the All-Pure Virgin after seeing the icons. St Luke also painted icons of the First-Ranked Apostles Peter and Paul. St Luke’s Gospel was written in the years 62-63 at Rome, under the guidance of the Apostle Paul. In the preliminary verses (1:1-3), St Luke precisely sets forth the purpose of his work. He proposes to record, in chronological order, everything known by Christians about Jesus Christ and His teachings. By doing this, he provided a firmer historical basis for Christian teaching (1:4). He carefully investigated the facts, and made generous use of the oral tradition of the Church and of what the All-Pure Virgin Mary Herself had told him (2:19, 51).

In St Luke’s Gospel, the message of the salvation made possible by the Lord Jesus Christ, and the preaching of the Gospel, are of primary importance.

St Luke also wrote the Acts of the Holy Apostles at Rome around 62-63 A.D. The Book of Acts, which is a continuation of the four Gospels, speaks about the works and the fruits of the holy Apostles after the Ascension of the Savior. At the center of the narrative is the Council of the holy Apostles at Jerusalem in the year 51, a Church event of great significance, which resulted in the separation of Christianity from Judaism and its independent dissemination into the world (Acts 15:6-29). The theological focus of the Book of Acts is the coming of the Holy Spirit, Who will guide the Church “into all truth” John 16:13) until the Second Coming of Christ.


Apostle Cleophas of the Seventy, the Brother of Joseph the Betrothed

Saint Cleopas (Cleophas) does not appear on some lists of the Seventy Apostles. The name Cleopas is mentioned in Luke 24:18 and John 19:25, but it is not certain that either of these refers to our saint. St Cleopas is called the younger brother of St Joseph the Betrothed, and he was married to a woman named Mary.


Apostle Simeon, of the Seventy, the son of Cleophas

Hieromartyr Simeon, Kinsman of the Lord, Apostle of the Seventy was the son of Cleopas, younger brother of St Joseph the Betrothed. He witnessed the miracles of the Lord Jesus Christ, believed in Him and became one of the Seventy Apostles. St Simeon preached the Gospel of Christ, proclaimed the truths of the Faith, and denounced idolatry.

After the killing of St James, the first Bishop of Jerusalem (October 23) the Christians chose St Simeon in his place. During the reign of Emperor Trajan (98-117) it was reported to the Roman governor Atticus that St Simeon was descended from the lineage of King David (the Romans exterminated all the descendants of King David) and was confessing the Christian faith. The pagans seized St Simeon, who at that time was already one hundred years old. After lengthy torture, they crucified him.

Eusebius mentions St Simeon in his ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY (Books 2:22, 3:11, 3:32).


Apostle Barnabas of the Seventy

The holy Apostle Barnabas of the Seventy was born on the island of Cyprus into the family of the tribe of Levi, and he was named Joseph. He received his education at Jerusalem, being raised with his friend and fellow student Saul (the future Apostle Paul) under the renowned teacher of the Law, Gamaliel. Joseph was devout, he frequented the Temple, he strictly observed the fasts and avoided youthful distractions. During this time period our Lord Jesus Christ began His public ministry. Seeing the Lord and hearing His Divine Words, Joseph believed in Him as the Messiah. Filled with ardent love for the Savior, he followed Him. The Lord chose him to be one of His Seventy Apostles. The other Apostles called him Barnabas, which means “son of consolation.” After the Ascension of the Lord to Heaven, Barnabas sold land belonging to him near Jerusalem and he brought the money to the feet of the Apostles, leaving nothing for himself (Acts 4:36-37).

When Saul arrived in Jerusalem after his conversion and sought to join the followers of Christ, everyone there was afraid of him since he had persecuted the Church only a short while before. Barnabas, however, came with him to the Apostles and reported how the Lord had appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:26-28).

Saint Barnabas went to Antioch to encourage the believers, “Having come and having seen the grace of God, he rejoiced and he urged all to cleave to the Lord with sincerity of heart” (Acts 11:23). Then he went to Tarsus, and brought the Apostle Paul to Antioch, where for about a year they taught the people. It was here that the disciples first began to be called Christians (Acts 11:26). With the onset of famine, and taking along generous alms, Paul and Barnabas returned to Jerusalem. When King Herod killed St James the son of Zebedee, and had the Apostle Peter put under guard in prison to please the Jews, Sts Barnabas and Paul and Peter were led out of the prison by an angel of the Lord.

They hid out at the house of Barnabas’ aunt Maria. Later, when the persecution had quieted down, they returned to Antioch, taking with them Maria’s son John, surnamed Mark. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the prophets and teachers there imposed hands upon Barnabas and Paul, and sent them off to do the work to which the Lord had called them (Acts 13:2-3). Arriving in Seleucia, they sailed off to Cyprus and in the city of Salamis they preached the Word of God in the Jewish synagogues.

On Paphos they came across a sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was close with the proconsul Sergius. Wishing to hear the Word of God, the proconsul invited the saints to come to him. The sorcerer attempted to sway the proconsul from the Faith, but the Apostle Paul denounced the sorcerer, who through his words suddenly fell blind. The proconsul believed in Christ (Acts 13:6-12).

From Paphos Barnabas and Paul set sail for Pergamum of Pamphylia, and then they preached to the Jews and the Gentiles at Pisidian Antioch and throughout all that region. The Jews rioted and expelled Paul and Barnabas. The saints arrived in Iconium, but learning that the Jews wanted to stone them, they withdrew to Lystra and Derben. There the Apostle Paul healed a man, crippled in the legs from birth. The people assumed them to be the gods Zeus and Hermes and wanted to offer them sacrifice. The saints just barely persuaded them not to do this (Acts 14:8-18).

When the question arose whether those converted from the Gentiles should accept circumcision, Barnabas and Paul went to Jerusalem. There they were warmly received by the Apostles and elders. The preachers related “what God had wrought with them and how He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27).

After long deliberations the Apostles collectively resolved not to impose any sort of burden upon Gentile Christians except what was necessary: to refrain from the pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood (Acts 15:19-20). Letters were sent with Barnabas and Paul, and they again preached at Antioch, and after a certain while they decided to visit the other cities where they had visited earlier. St Barnabas wanted to take Mark along with him, but St Paul did not want to, since earlier he had left them. A quarrel arose, and they separated. Paul took Silas with him and went to Syria and Cilicia, while Barnabas took Mark with him to Cyprus (Acts 15:36-41).

Having multiplied the number of believers, St Barnabas traveled to Rome, where he was perhaps the first to preach Christ.

St Barnabas founded the episcopal see at Mediolanum (now Milan), and upon his return to Cyprus he continued to preach about Christ the Savior. Then the enraged Jews incited the pagans against Barnabas, and they led him out beyond the city and stoned him, and then built a fire to burn the body. Later on, having come upon this spot, Mark took up the unharmed body of St Barnabas and buried it in a cave, placing upon the saint’s bosom, in accord with his final wishes, the Gospel of Matthew which he had copied in his own hand.

St Barnabas died in about the year 62, at age seventy-six. In time, the burial spot was forgotten, but numerous signs took place at this spot. In the year 448, in the time of the emperor Zeno, St Barnabas appeared three times in a dream to Archbishop Cyril of Cyprus and indicated the place where his relics were buried. Starting to dig at the indicated spot, Christians found the incorrupt body of the saint, and upon his chest was the Holy Gospel.


Apostle Justus of the Seventy

St Justus, called Barsaba, a son of St Joseph the Betrothed, was chosen in place of Judas, together with Matthias. He was a bishop and died a martyr’s death at Eleutheropolis. He is also commemorated on October 30.


Apostle Thaddeus of the Seventy

Saint Thaddeus, Apostle of the Seventy, was by descent a Hebrew, and he was born in the Syrian city of Edessa. The holy Apostle Thaddeus of the Seventy must be distinguished from St Jude, also called Thaddeus or Levi (June 19), who was one of the Twelve Apostles.

When he came to Jerusalem for a feastday, he heard the preaching of John the Forerunner. After being baptized by him in the Jordan, he remained in Palestine. He saw the Savior, and became His follower. He was chosen by the Lord to be one of the Seventy Disciples, whom He sent by twos to preach in the cities and places where He intended to visit (Luke. 10: 1).

After the Ascension of the Savior to Heaven, St Thaddeus preached the good news in Syria and Mesopotamia. He came preaching the Gospel to Edessa and he converted King Abgar, the people and the pagan priests to Christ. He backed up his preaching with many miracles (about which Abgar wrote to the Assyrian emperor Nerses). He established priests there and built up the Edessa Church.

Prince Abgar wanted to reward St Thaddeus with rich gifts, but he refused and went preaching to other cities, converting many pagans to the Christian Faith. He went to the city of Beirut to preach, and he founded a church there. It was in this city that he peacefully died in the year 44. (The place of his death is indicated as Beirut in the Slavonic MENAION, but according to other sources he died in Edessa. According to an ancient Armenian tradition, St Thaddeus, after various tortures, was beheaded by the sword on December 21 in the Artaz region in the year 50).


Apostle Ananias of the Seventy

The Holy Apostle Ananias of the Seventy was the first Bishop of Damascus. The Lord ordered him to restore the sight of Saul, the former persecutor of Christians, then baptize him (Acts 9:10-19, 22:12). Saul became the great preacher and Apostle Paul. St Ananias boldly and openly confessed Christianity before the Jews and the pagans, despite the danger.

From Damascus he went to preach at Eleutheropolis, where he healed many of their infirmities. Lucian, the prefect of the city, tried to persuade the holy one to offer sacrifice to idols. Because of Ananias’ staunch and solid confession of Christ, Lucian ordered that he be tortured. Harsh torments did not sway the witness of Truth. Then the torturers led him out beyond the city, where they stoned him. The saint prayed for those who put him to death. His relics were later transferred to Constantinople.

St Ananias is also commemorated on October 1.


Apostle Stephen the Archdeacon of the Seventy

The Holy Protomartyr and Archdeacon Stephen was the eldest of the seven deacons, established by the Apostles themselves, and therefore he is called “archdeacon.” He was the first Christian martyr, and he suffered for Christ at about age 30. In the words of Asterias, he was “the starting point of the martyrs, the instructor of suffering for Christ, the foundation of righteous confession, since Stephen was the first to shed his blood for the Gospel.”

Filled with the Holy Spirit, St Stephen preached Christianity and defeated Jewish teachers of the Law in debate. The Jews maligned St Stephen, saying that he had uttered blasphemy against God and against Moses. St Stephen came before the Sanhedrin and the High Priest to answer these charges. He gave a fiery speech, in which he recounted the history of the Jewish nation, and denounced the Jews for persecuting the prophets, and also for executing the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ (Acts ch. 7).

During his speech, St Stephen suddenly saw the heavens opened and Jesus Christ standing at the right hand of God. The Jews shouted and covered their ears, and rushed at him. They dragged him out of the city and stoned him, but the holy martyr prayed for his murderers. Far off on the heights stood the Mother of God with the holy Apostle John the Theologian, and She prayed fervently for the martyr. Before his death St Stephen said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. O Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” Then he joyfully gave up his pure soul to Christ.

The body of the holy Protomartyr Stephen, left to be eaten by beasts, was secretly taken up by the Jewish teacher Gamaliel and his son Habib, who buried Stephen on his estate. They both believed in Christ, and later receivedholy Baptism.


Apostle Philip the Deacon of the Seventy

Holy Apostle Philip of the Seventy, one of the 7 Deacons is not to be confused with St Philip one of the Twelve Apostles (November 14). This Philip was born in Palestine, was married and had four daughters who had the gift of prophecy.

After the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the Twelve Apostles made Philip a deacon in the Church of Jerusalem. Along with the other six deacons, they appointed him to deal with the offerings of the faithful and attend to the concerns of the widowed, the orphaned and the needy. The eldest among the seven deacons was the holy Archdeacon Stephen. When the persection of Christians began, the Jews stoned the Protomartyr Stephen. The Apostle Philip left Jerusalem and settled in Samaria. There he successfully preached Christianity. Among the disciple’s converts was the noted magician Simon, who “after being baptized, continued with Philip.” (Acts 8:9-13)

At the command of an angel of the Lord, St Philip set out upon the road connecting Jerusalem with Gaza. There he met an official of the empress of Ethiopia, whom also he converted to Christianity (Acts 8:26-39).

The holy Apostle Philip tirelessly preached the Word of God in many of the lands of the Near East adjoining Palestine. At Jerusalem the Apostles made him a bishop and sent him to Tralles in Asia Minor, where he also baptized many. St Philip died in old age. He is also commemorated on October 11.


Apostle Prochorus the Deacon of the Seventy

Saint Prochorus was one of the of the Seventy Apostles, and was among the first deacons in the Church of Christ.

In the Acts of the Holy Apostles (6: 1-6) it is said that the twelve Apostles chose seven men: Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicholas, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, and established them to serve as deacons.

The Holy Church celebrates their memory together on July 28, although they died at various times and in various places.

St Prochorus at first accompanied the holy Apostle Peter and was made by him bishop in the city of Nicomedia. After the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, Prochorus was a companion and coworker of the holy Apostle John the Theologian and was banished to the island of Patmos together with him. There he wrote down the Book of Revelation concerning the final fate of the world. Upon returning to Nicomedia, St Prochorus converted pagans to Christ in the city of Antioch and there he received a martyr’s crown.


Apostle Nicanor the Deacon of the Seventy

Saint Nicanor was one of the of the Seventy Apostles, and was among the first deacons in the Church of Christ.

In the Acts of the Holy Apostles (6: 1-6) it is said that the twelve Apostles chose seven men: Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicholas, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, and established them to serve as deacons.

The Holy Church celebrates their memory together on July 28, although they died at various times and in various places.

St Nicanor suffered on that day when the holy Protomartyr Stephen and many other Christians were killed by stoning.


Apostle Timon the Deacon of the Seventy

Saint Timon was one of the Seventy Apostles, and was among the first deacons in the Church of Christ.

In the Acts of the Holy Apostles (6: 1-6) it is said that the twelve Apostles chose seven men: Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicholas, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, and established them to serve as deacons.

The Holy Church celebrates their memory together on July 28, although they died at various times and in various places.

St Timon was established by the Apostles as bishop of the city of Bastoria in Arabia and suffered from the Jews and pagans for preaching the Gospel. He was thrown into a furnace, but by the power of God he came out of it unharmed. The tradition of the Roman Church says that St Timon died by crucifixion.


Apostle Parmenas the Deacon of the Seventy

Saint Parmenas, one of the Seventy Apostles, was among the first deacons in the Church of Christ.

In the Acts of the Holy Apostles (6: 1-6) it is said that the twelve Apostles chose seven men: Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicholas, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, and established them to serve as deacons.

The Holy Church celebrates their memory together on July 28, although they died at various times and in various places.

St Parmenas zealously preached Christ in Macedonia. He died after being afflicted with an illness. Some are of the opinion that St Parmenas suffered under Trajan (98-117) in the final year of his reign, and suffered martyrdom.


Apostle Timothy of the Seventy

The Holy Apostle Timothy was from the Lycaonian city of Lystra in Asia Minor. St Timothy was converted to Christ in the year 52 by the holy Apostle Paul (June 29). When the Apostles Paul and Barnabas first visited the cities of Lycaonia, St Paul healed one crippled from birth. Many of the inhabitants of Lystra then believed in Christ, and among them was the future St Timothy, his mother Eunice and grandmother Loida (Lois) (Acts 14:6-12; 2 Tim. 1:5).

The seed of faith, planted in the soul of St Timothy by the Apostle Paul, brought forth abundant fruit. He became St Paul’s disciple, and later his constant companion and co-worker in the preaching of the Gospel. The Apostle Paul loved St Timothy and in his Epistles called him his beloved son, remembering his devotion and fidelity with gratitude.

He wrote to Timothy: “You have followed my teaching, way of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, and patience” (2 Tim. 3:10-11). The Apostle Paul appointed St Timothy as Bishop of Ephesus, where the saint remained for fifteen years. Finally, when St Paul was in prison and awaiting martyrdom, summoned his faithful friend, St Timothy, for a last farewell (2 Tim. 4:9).

St Timothy ended his life as a martyr. The pagans of Ephesus celebrated a festival in honor of their idols, and carried them through the city, accompanied by impious ceremonies and songs. St Timothy, zealous for the glory of God, attempted to halt the procession and reason with the spiritually blind idol-worshipping people, by preaching the true faith in Christ.

The pagans angrily fell upon the holy apostle, they beat him, dragged him along the ground, and finally, they stoned him. St Timothy’s martyrdom occurred in the year 93.

In the fourth century the holy relics of St Timothy were transferred to Constantinople and placed in the church of the Holy Apostles near the tombs of St Andrew (November 30) and St Luke (October 18). The Church honors St Timothy as one of the Apostles of the Seventy.


Apostle Titus of the Seventy and Bishop of Crete

Saint Titus, Apostle of the Seventy was a native of the island of Crete, the son of an illustrious pagan. In his youth he studied Hellenistic philosophy and the ancient poets. Preoccupied by the sciences, Titus led a virtuous life, not devoting himself to the vices and passions characteristic of the majority of pagans. He preserved his virginity, as the Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-bearer (December 20) testifies of him.

For such a manner of life the Lord did not leave him without His help. At age twenty St Titus heard a voice in a dream, suggesting that he abandon Hellenistic wisdom, which could not provide salvation for his soul, but rather to seek that which would save him. After this dream, St Titus waited yet another year, since it was not actually a command, but it did guide him to familiarize himself with the teachings of the prophets of God. The first that he happened to read was the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. Having opened it to the 47th Chapter, he was struck by the words, speaking as it were about his own spiritual condition.

When news reached Crete about the appearance of a Great Prophet in Palestine, and about the great miracles He worked, the governor of the island of Crete (an uncle of Titus) sent him there. This Prophet was the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, incarnate of the Most Holy Virgin Mary Who came into the world for the redemption of the race of mankind from the oppression of ancestral sin.

At Jerusalem, St Titus saw the Lord. He heard His preaching and believed in Him. He witnessed the sufferingand death of the Savior on the Cross, His glorious Resurrection and Ascension to Heaven. On the day of Pentecost the future apostlle heard how the Twelve Apostles, after the descentof the Holy Spirit, spoke in various languages, among which was the Cretan language (Acts 2: 11).

St Titus received Baptism from the Apostle Paul and became his closest disciple. He accompanied St Paul on his missionary journeys, fulfilling the tasks entrusted to him. He was involved in establishing new churches, and was with Paul in Jerusalem.

St Titus was numbered among the Seventy Apostles and was made Bishop of Crete by the Apostle Paul. Around the year 65, not long before his second imprisonment, the Apostle Paul sent a pastoral epistle to his son in the Faith (Tit. 1: 4).

When the Apostle Paul was taken like a criminal to Rome to stand trial before Caesar, St Titus left his flock in Cretefor a time and went to Rome to be of service to his spiritual Father. After St Paul’s death by martyrdom, Titus returned to Gortyna, the chief city of Crete.

St Titus peacefully guided his flock and toiled at enlightening the pagans with the light of faith in Christ. He was granted the gift of wonderworking by the Lord. During one of the pagan feasts in honor of the goddess Diana, Titus preached to a crowd of pagans.

When he saw that they would not listen to him, he prayed to the Lord, so that the Lord Himself would show to the mistaken people the falseness of idols. By the prayer of St Titus, the idol of Diana fell down and shattered before the eyes of all. Another time St Titus prayed that the Lord would not permit the completion of a temple of Zeus, and it collapsed.

By such miracles St Titus brought many to faith in Christ. After bringing the light of faith to the surrounding regions, St Titus died peacefully at the age of 97. At the time of his death, his face shone like the sun.


Apostle Philemon of the Seventy

Saints Philemon and his wife Apphia lived in the city of Colossa in Phrygia. Upon receiving Baptism from the holy Apostle Paul, they converted their house into an house of prayer, where all those who believed in Christ gathered together and attended services. They devoted themselves to the service of the sick and downcast. Philemon was made bishop of the city of Gaza and he preached the Word of God throughout all Phrygia. The holy Apostle Paul continued to be his guide, and addressed to him his Epistle filled with love, and in which he sends blessings “to Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow laborer, and to our beloved Apphia, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in thy house” (Phil 1:1-3).

St Onesimus (February 15), also mentioned in the Epistle, was St Philemon’s former slave.

Sts Philemon and Apphia, and also St Archippus (who also lived at Colossa), all received the crown of martyrdom during the persecution of Nero (54-68). During a pagan festival an enraged crowd rushed into the Christian church when services were going on. All fled in terror, and only Sts Philemon, Archippus and Apphia remained. They seized them and led them off to the city prefect. The crowd like beasts beat and stabbed St Archippus with knives, and he died on the way to the court. Sts Philemon and Apphia were stoned to death by order of the prefect.

The memory of the holy Apostles Archippus, Philemon, and Apphia is also celebrated on February 19.


Apostle Onesimus of the Seventy

Saint Onesimus, Apostle of the Seventy in his youth was a servant of Philemon, a Christian of distinguished lineage, living in the city of Colossae, Phrygia. Guilty of an offense against his master and fearing punishment, St Onesimus fled to Rome, but as a runaway slave he wound up in prison. In prison he encountered the Apostle Paul, was enlightened by him and received holy Baptism.

In prison St Onesimus served the Apostle Paul like a son. St Paul was personally acquainted with Philemon, and wrote him a letter filled with love, asking him to forgive the runaway slave and to accept him like a brother. He sent St Onesimus with this letter to his master, depriving himself of help, of which he was very much in need.

St Philemon, having received the letter, not only forgave Onesimus, but also sent him back to Rome to the apostle. St Philemon was afterwards consecrated bishop of the city of Gaza (January 4, February 19, and November 22).

After the death of the Apostle Paul, St Onesimus served the apostles until their end, and he was made a bishop. After the death of the holy apostles he preached the Gospel in many lands and cities: in Spain, Carpetania, Colossae, Patras. In his old age, St Onesimus occupied the bishop’s throne at Ephesus, after the Apostle Timothy. When they took St Ignatius the God-Bearer (December 20) to Rome for execution, Bishop Onesimus came to meet with him with other Christians, as St Ignatius mentions in his Epistle to the Ephesians.

During the reign of the emperor Trajan, St Onesimus was arrested and brought to trial before the eparch Tertillus. He held the saint in prison for eighteen days, and then sent him to prison in the city of Puteoli. After a certain while, the eparch sent for the prisoner and, convincing himself that St Onesimus maintained his faith in Christ, had him stoned, after which they beheaded the saint with a sword. A certain illustrious woman took the body of the martyr and placed it in a silver coffin. This took place in the year 109. St Onesimus is also commemorated on February 15.


Apostle Epaphroditus of the Seventy

St Epaphroditus was Bishop of Andriace (Myra, Lycia), and is mentioned by St Paul (Phil. 2:25, 4:18). He is probably the same person as Epaphras (Col. 1:7, 4:12, Phm. 23). St Epaphroditus is also commemorated on December 8 together with Sts Sosthenes, Apollos, Cephas, Onesiphorus, Tychicus, Caesar, and Onesiphorus.


Apostle Archippus of the Seventy

Saint Archippus was one of the 70 Apostles, and is mentioned by St Paul in his Epistle to Philemon in which he sends blessings “to Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow laborer, and to our beloved Apphia, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in thy house” (Phil 1:1-3).

Sts Philemon and Apphia, and also St Archippus (who also lived at Colossa), all received the crown of martyrdom during the persecution of Nero (54-68). During a pagan festival an enraged crowd rushed into the Christian church when services were going on. All fled in terror, and only Sts Philemon, Archippus and Apphia remained. They were seized and led off to the city prefect. The crowd like beasts beat and stabbed St Archippus with knives, and he died on the way to the court. Sts Philemon and Apphia were stoned to death by order of the prefect.

The memory of the holy Apostles Archippus, Philemon, and Apphia is celebrated also on February 19.


Apostle Silas of the Seventy

Saint Silas was one of the Seventy Apostles chosen and sent forth to preach by Christ (Luke 10:1).

He was a respected figure in the original Church at Jerusalem, one of the “chief men among the brethren” (Acts 15:22). The Council of the Apostles was convened at Jerusalem in the year 51 to deal with the question of whether Gentile Christian converts should be required to observe the Mosaic Law. The Apostles sent a message with Paul and Barnabas to the Christians of Antioch, giving the decision of the Council that Christians of Gentile origin did not have to observe the prescriptions of the Mosaic Law. Nonetheless, they were told that they must refrain from partaking of foods offered to idols, from things strangled and from blood, to refrain from fornication (Acts 15:20-29). Together with Sts Paul and Barnabas, the Council of the Apostles sent Sts Silas and Jude to explain the message in greater detail, since they both were filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit. St Jude was later sent back to Jerusalem, but St Silas remained at Antioch and zealously assisted St Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, on his missionary journeys preaching the Gospel. They visited Syria, Cilicia, and Macedonia.

In the city of Philippi they were accused of inciting unrest among the people, and for this they were arrested, beaten with rods, and then thrown into prison. At midnight, when the saints were at prayer, suddenly there was a strong earthquake, their chains fell off from them and the doors of the prison opened. The prison guard, supposing that the prisoners had fled, wanted to kill himself, but was stopped by the Apostle Paul. Then, he fell down trembling at the feet of the saints, and with faith accepted their preaching about Christ. He then led them out of the prison and took them to his own home, where he washed their wounds, and was baptized together with all his household.

From Philippi Sts Paul and Silas proceeded on to the cities of Amphipolis, Apollonia and Thessalonica. In each city they made new converts to Christ and built up the Church.

At Corinth the holy Apostle Silas was consecrated bishop, and worked many miracles and signs. He finished his life there.


Apostle Silvanus of the Seventy

Saint Silvanus was one of the Seventy Apostles chosen and sent forth to preach by Christ (Luke 10:1).

Silvanus preached the Word of God together with the chief Apostles Peter and Paul. The holy Apostle Peter mentions him in his first Epistle: “By Silvanus, a faithful brother to you, as I suppose, I have written briefly...” (1 Pet 5:12). St Silvanus was made bishop at Thessalonica and died there as a martyr, having undergone many sorrows and misfortunes for the Lord’s sake.

St Silvanus is also commemorated on July 30 together with with Sts Silas, Crescens, Epenetus and Andronicus.


Apostle Crescens of the Seventy

Saints Crescens, Silas, Silvanus, Epenetus and Andronicus were among the Seventy Apostles chosen and sent forth to preach by Christ (Luke 10:1).

The Holy Apostle Crescens is mentioned by the holy Apostle Paul (2 Timothy 4:10), who said that Crescens went to preach in Galatia. He was made bishop there, and afterwards he preached the Word of God in Gaul (modern-day France). In the city of Vienna (modern Austria) the holy Apostle Crescens established his disciple Zacharias as bishop. He returned to Galatia and died as a martyr under the emperor Trajan (98-117).

St Crescens is also commemorated on July 30 together with Sts Epenetus and Andronicus.


Apostle Crispus of the Seventy

The name of Saint Crispus is found in Acts18:8 and 1 Cor. 1:14. He was the chief ruler of the synagogue at Corinth, and was baptized by St Paul. He became the bishop of the Greek island of Aegina.

There are discrepancies and errors in some lists of the Seventy Apostles. In a list attributed to St Dorotheus of Tyre (June 5) some names are repeated (Rodion, or Herodion, Apollos, Tychicus, Aristarchus), while others are omitted (Timothy, Titus, Epaphras, Archippus, Aquila, Olympas). St Demetrius of Rostov consulted the Holy Scripture, the traditions passed down by the Fathers, and the accounts of trustworthy historians when he attempted to correct the mistakes and uncertainties in the list in compiling his collection of Lives of the Saints.

St Crispus appears on the list of St Dorotheus, but other lists say he is the same person as St Crescens. He does not appear to have a separate commemoration.


Apostle Epenetus of the Seventy

Saints Epenetus, Silas, Silvanus, Crescens, and Andronicus were among the Seventy Apostles chosen and sent forth to preach by Christ (Luke 10:1).

The Holy Apostle Epenetus was made bishop at Carthage. In his Epistle to the Romans, the holy Apostle Paul writes: “Greet my dear Epenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ” (Rom 16:5).

He is also commemorated on July 30 together with Sts Crescens and Andronicus.


Apostle Andronicus of the Seventy

Saints Andronicus, Silas, Silvanus, Crescens, and Epenetus were among the Seventy Apostles chosen and sent forth to preach by Christ (Luke 10:1).

The Apostle Andronicus is also mentioned by the Apostle Paul in the Epistle to the Romans: “Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, ... who are of note among the Apostles, who also were in Christ, before me” (Rom 16:7).

The holy Apostle Andronicus was bishop in Pannonia (modern Hungary) Sts Andronicus and Junia are commemorated on May 17.


Apostle Stachys of the Seventy

Saint Stachys was made Bishop of Byzantium by the holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called (November 30). He was bishop for sixteen years, zealously preaching the Gospel of Christ and converting pagans to the true Faith.

St Stachys is also commemorated on October 31 together with Sts Amplias, Urban, Narcissus, Apelles and Aristobulus


Apostle Amplias of the Seventy

St Amplias was one of the Seventy Apostles, and also bishop in the city of Diospolis. He was put to death by Jews and pagan Greeks for preaching the Gospel.

St Amplias is also commemorated on October 31 together with Sts Stachys, Urban, Narcissus, Apelles and Aristobulus.


Apostle Urban of the Seventy

Saint Urban was one of the Seventy Apostles chosen and sent forth to preach by Christ (Luke 10:1).

St Urban was made a bishop by St Andrew, and served in Macedonia. He was put to death by Jews and pagan Greeks for preaching the Gospel.


Apostle Narcissus of the Seventy

Saint Narcissus was one of the Seventy Apostles chosen and sent forth to preach by Christ (Luke 10:1).

St Narcissus was Bishop of Athens. He is also commemorated on October 31 together with Sts Stachys, Amplias, Urban, Apelles, and Aristobulus.


Apostle Apelles of the Seventy

St Apelles was one of the Seventy Apostles, and was made a bishop by the holy Apostle Andrew. He was put to death by Jews and pagan Greeks for preaching the Gospel.

St Apelles is also commemorated on October 31 together with Sts Stachys, Amplias, Urban, Narcissus, and Aristobulus, and again on September 10 with Sts Lucius and Clement.


Apostle Aristobulus of the Seventy

Saint Aristobulus was one of the Seventy Apostles chosen and sent forth to preach by Christ (Luke 10:1).

St Aristobulus is also commemorated on March 16, and on October 31 together with Sts Stachys, Amplias, Urban, Narcissus, Apelles.


Apostle Herodion of the Seventy

Saint Herodion (Rodion) was one of the Seventy Apostles chosen and sent forth to preach by Christ (Luke 10:1).

Herodion was a relative of St Paul, and his companion on many journeys. When Christianity had spread to the Balkan Peninsula, the Apostles Peter and Paul established St Herodion as Bishop of Patara. St Herodion zealously preached the Word of God and converted many of the Greek pagans and Jews to Christianity.

Enraged by the preaching of the disciple, the idol-worshippers and Jews with one accord fell upon St Herodion, and they began to beat him with sticks and pelt him with stones. One of the mob struck him with a knife, and the saint fell down. But when the murderers were gone, the Lord restored him to health unharmed.

After this, St Herodion continued to accompany the Apostle Paul for years afterward. When the holy Apostle Peter was crucified (+ ca. 67), St Herodion and St Olympas were beheaded by the sword at the same time.

St Herodion endured fierce sufferings for Christ and was found worthy of a martyr’s crown. He is also commemorated on November 10.


Apostle Agabus of the Seventy

Saint Agabus was one of the Seventy Apostles chosen and sent forth to preach by Christ (Luke 10:1).

The holy Apostle Agabus was endowed with the gift of prophecy. He predicted (Acts 11:27-28) the famine during the reign of the emperor Claudius (41-52), and foretold the suffering of the Apostle Paul at Jerusalem (Acts 21:11). St Agabus preached in many lands, and converted many pagans to Christ.

Agabus endured fierce sufferings for Christ and was found worthy of a martyr’s crown.


Apostle Rufus of the Seventy

Saint Rufus was one of the Seventy Apostles chosen by Christ and sent out by Him to preach.

St Rufus, whom the holy Apostle Paul mentions in the Epistle to the Romans (Rom. 16:11-15), was bishop of the Greek city of Thebes, and died as a martyr for Christ.


Apostle Asyncritus of the Seventy

Saint Asyncritus was one of the Seventy Apostles chosen and sent forth to preach by Christ (Luke 10:1).

St Asyncritus (Rom. 16:14) was bishop in Hyrcania (Asia Minor), and received a martyr’s crown.


Apostle Phlegon of the Seventy

Saint Phlegon was one of the Seventy Apostles chosen and sent forth to preach by Christ (Luke 10:1). He was a bishop in the city of Marathon (Thrace), and endured martyrdom.


Apostle Hermes of the Seventy

Saint Hermes was among the Seventy Apostles chosen and sent forth to preach by Christ (Luke 10:1).

St Hermes was bishop in Dalmatia (there is another Apostle of the Seventy by the name of Hermas, who was bishop in the Thracian city of Philippopolis).

Because of his intrepid service to Christ, St Hermes underwent fierce sufferings and was found worthy of a martyr’s crown.


Apostle Patrobus of the Seventy

Saint Patrobus, Apostle of the Seventy preached the Gospel in various cities, enduring various hardships in his service as bishop. St Patrobus (Rom 16:14) was Bishop of Neopolis (now Naples) and Puteoli in Italy.


Apostle Hermas of the Seventy

St Hermas was one of the Seventy Apostles, and served as bishop in the city of Philippoplis where he died a martyr.

St Hermas is also commemorated on November 5 together with Sts Patrobas, Linus, Gaius, Philologus. They preached the Gospel in various cities, each enduring various hardships in their service as bishops.


Apostle Linus of the Seventy

St Linus (2 Tim 4:21) was a successor to the Apostle Peter at Rome. He is also commemorated on November 5 together with Sts Patrobas, Hermes, Linus, and Philologus.


Apostle Gaius of the Seventy

St Gaius (Rom 16:23),was Bishop of Ephesus after St Timothy. He is also commemorated on November 5 together with Sts Patrobas, Hermes, Linus, and Philologus.


Apostle Philologus of the Seventy

The Apostle Andrew consecrated St Philologus (Rom 16:15) as bishop of the city of Sinope (in the Black Sea region). He is also commemorated on November 5 together with Sts Patrobas, Hermes, Linus, and Gaius.


Apostle Lucius of the Seventy

The Holy Apostle Lucius of the Seventy was bishop in Syrian Laodicia (a former chief city in Phrygia). The holy Apostle Paul mentions him in the Epistle to the Romans (Rom. 16: 21), among the other Christians whom he greets.


Apostle Jason of the Seventy

The Apostle Jason was from Tarsus (Asia Minor). He was the first Christian in the city. The Apostle Sosipater was a native of Patra, Achaia. He is thought to be the same Sosipater mentioned in Acts 20:4. They both became disciples of St Paul, who even called them his kinsmen (Rom 16:21). St John Chrysostom (Homily 32 on Romans) says that this is the same Jason who is mentioned in Acts 17:5-9. St Jason was made bishop in his native city of Tarsus, and St Sosipater in Iconium. They traveled west preaching the Gospel, and in 63 they reached the island of Kerkyra [Korfu] in the Ionian Sea near Greece.

There they built a church in the name of the Protomartyr Stephen and they baptized many. The governor of the island learned on this and locked them up in prison, where they met seven thieves: Saturninus, Iakischolus, Faustianus, Januarius, Marsalius, Euphrasius and Mammius. The Apostles converted them to Christ. For their confession of Christ, the seven prisoners died as martyrs in a cauldron of molten tar, wax and sulfur.

The prison guard, after witnessing their martyrdom, declared himself a Christian. For this they cut off his left hand, then both feet and finally his head. The governor ordered the Apostles Jason and Sosipater to be whipped and again locked up in prison.

When the daughter of the governor of Kerkyra (Korfu), the maiden Kerkyra, learned how Christians were suffering for Christ, she declared herself a Christian and gave away all her finery to the poor. The infuriated governor attempted to persuade his daughter to deny Christ, but St Kerkyra stood firm against both persuasion and threats. Then the enraged father devised a terrible punishment for his daughter: he gave orders that she be placed in a prison cell with the robber and murderer Murinus, so that he might defile the betrothed of Christ

But when the robber approached the door of the prison cell, a bear attacked him. St Kerkyra heard the noise and she drove off the beast in the name of Christ. Then, by her prayers, she healed the wounds of Murinus. Then St Kerkyra enlightened him with the faith of Christ, and St Murinus declared himself a Christian and was executed.

The governor gave orders to burn down the prison, but the holy virgin remained alive. Then on her enraged father’s order, she was suspended upon a tree, choked with bitter smoke and shot with arrows. After her death, the governor decided to execute all the Christians on the island of Kerkyra. The Martyrs Zeno, Eusebius, Neon and Vitalis, after being enlightened by Sts Jason and Sosipater, were burned alive.

The inhabitants of Kerkyra, escaping from the persecution, crossed to an adjoining island. The governor set sail with a detachment of soldiers, but was swallowed up by the waves. The governor succeeding him gave orders to throw the Apostles Jason and Sosipater into a cauldron of boiling tar. When he beheld them unharmed, he cried out with tears, “O God of Jason and Sosipater, have mercy on me!”

Having been set free, the Apostles baptized the governor and gave him the name Sebastian. With his help, the Apostles Jason and Sosipater built several churches on the island, and increased the flock of Christ by their fervent preaching. They lived there until they reached old age.

St Jason is also commemorated on April 28.


Apostle Sosipater of the Seventy

The Apostle Sosipater was a native of Patra, Achaia. He is thought to be the same Sosipater mentioned in Acts 20:4. They both became disciples of St Paul, who even called them his kinsmen (Rom 16:21). St John Chrysostom (Homily 32 on Romans) says that this is the same Jason who is mentioned in Acts 17:5-9. St Jason was made bishop in his native city of Tarsus, and St Sosipater in Iconium. They traveled west preaching the Gospel, and in 63 they reached the island of Kerkyra [Korfu] in the Ionian Sea near Greece.

There they built a church in the name of the Protomartyr Stephen and they baptized many. The governor of the island learned on this and locked them up in prison, where they met seven thieves: Saturninus, Iakischolus, Faustianus, Januarius, Marsalius, Euphrasius and Mammius. The Apostles converted them to Christ. For their confession of Christ, the seven prisoners died as martyrs in a cauldron of molten tar, wax and sulfur.

The prison guard, after witnessing their martyrdom, declared himself a Christian. For this they cut off his left hand, then both feet and finally his head. The governor ordered the Apostles Jason and Sosipater to be whipped and again locked up in prison.

When the daughter of the governor of Kerkyra (Korfu), the maiden Kerkyra, learned how Christians were suffering for Christ, she declared herself a Christian and gave away all her finery to the poor. The infuriated governor attempted to persuade his daughter to deny Christ, but St Kerkyra stood firm against both persuasion and threats. Then the enraged father devised a terrible punishment for his daughter: he gave orders that she be placed in a prison cell with the robber and murderer Murinus, so that he might defile the betrothed of Christ

But when the robber approached the door of the prison cell, a bear attacked him. St Kerkyra heard the noise and she drove off the beast in the name of Christ. Then, by her prayers, she healed the wounds of Murinus. Then St Kerkyra enlightened him with the faith of Christ, and St Murinus declared himself a Christian and was executed.

The governor gave orders to burn down the prison, but the holy virgin remained alive. Then on her enraged father’s order, she was suspended upon a tree, choked with bitter smoke and shot with arrows. After her death, the governor decided to execute all the Christians on the island of Kerkyra. The Martyrs Zeno, Eusebius, Neon and Vitalis, after being enlightened by Sts Jason and Sosipater, were burned alive.

The inhabitants of Kerkyra, escaping from the persecution, crossed to an adjoining island. The governor set sail with a detachment of soldiers, but was swallowed up by the waves. The governor succeeding him gave orders to throw the Apostles Jason and Sosipater into a cauldron of boiling tar. When he beheld them unharmed, he cried out with tears, “O God of Jason and Sosipater, have mercy on me!”

Having been set free, the Apostles baptized the governor and gave him the name Sebastian. With his help, the Apostles Jason and Sosipater built several churches on the island, and increased the flock of Christ by their fervent preaching. They lived there until they reached old age.

St Sosipater is also commemorated on April 28 and November 10.


Apostle Olympas of the Seventy

St Olympas was one of the Seventy Apostles chosen and sent forth to preach by Christ (Luke 10:1).

The holy Apostle Paul mentions Olympas (Rom 16:15), and he was a companion of the Apostle Peter. He was beheaded on the very day and hour when the Apostle Peter was crucified.

St Olympas is also commemorated on November 10 together with Sts Erastus, Rodion, Sosipater, Quartus and Tertius.


Apostle Tertius of the Seventy

The holy Apostle Tertius, a native of Achaia, was a disciple of St Paul, and wrote what St Paul dictated in the Epistle to the Romans: “I, Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord” (Rom 16:22). He was the second Bishop of Iconium, where also he died.

St Tertius is also commemorated on October 30, and again on November 10 with Sts Erastus, Olympas, Rodion, Sosipater, and Quartus. They lived during the first century.


Apostle Erastus of the Seventy

The holy Apostle Erastus was a disciple of St Paul, and is mentioned in the Epistle to the Romans: “And Erastus, the city treasurer, greets you, and Quartus, a brother” (Rom 16: 23).

St Erastus was at first a deacon and treasurer of the Church of Jerusalem, and later was a bishop at Paneas in Palestine.

St Erastus is also commemorated on November 10 together with Sts Olympas, Rodion, Sosipater, Quartus and Tertius. They lived during the first century.


Apostle Quartus of the Seventy

St Quartus was one of the Seventy Apostles, and a disciple of St Paul. The Apostle to the Gentiles mentions him in the Epistle to the Romans: “And Erastus, the city treasurer, greets you, and Quartus, a brother” (Rom 16: 23).

St Quartus endured much suffering for his piety and converted many pagans to Christ, dying peacefully as a bishop in the city of Beirut.He is also commemorated on November 10 together with Sts Erastus, Olympas, Rodion, Sosipater, and Tertius. They lived during the first century.


Apostle Euodius of the Seventy

The Holy Apostle Euodius of the Seventy was the first bishop in Syrian Antioch after the holy Apostle Peter. His successor, the Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-Bearer (December 20), disciple of St John the Theologian, mentions him in his Letter to the Antiochians: “Remember your blessed father Euodius, who was made your first pastor by the Apostles.”

St Euodius served as bishop for 27 years and died as a martyr under the emperor Nero (54-68). St Euodius wrote several compositions. In one of them he writes that the Most Holy Virgin Mary gave birth to the Savior of the world at the age of fifteen.

Other writings of the saint have not survived. A book entitled THE STAR is mentioned by the fourteenth century church historian Nicephorus Callistus. St Euodius received the crown of martyrdom in the year 66.


Apostle Onesiphorus of the Seventy

Saint Onesiphorus was one of the Seventy Apostles chosen and sent forth to preach by Christ (Luke 10:1). St Paul writes of him: “God grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my bonds. When he was at Rome, he searched for me with great diligence, and found me. May the Lord grant him to find the mercy of the Lord on that day; and you know how much he served me at Ephesus.” (2 Tim 1:16-18).

St Onesiphorus was bishop at Colophon (Asia Minor), and later at Corinth. He died a martyr in the city of Parium (not far from Ephesus) on the shores of the Hellespont, where he had gone to proclaim Christ among the local pagans.

St Onesiphorus was arrested and brought to a temple of the idols. For his refusal to burn incense to the pagan gods, St Onesiphorus and his servant Porphyrius were tied to wild horses, and dragged along the ground.

In the Roman Martyrology St Onesiphorus is commemorated on September 16. The Orthodox Church honors him and the holy disciple Evodus on September 7.


Apostle Clement of the Seventy

The Hieromartyr Clement, Pope of Rome, was born into a rich and illustrious Roman family. Separated from his parents from childhood by force of circumstances, Clement was raised by strangers. Living in Rome, the youth received a fine education, he was surrounded by luxury, and had access to the imperial court. But these comforts brought him no joy, and pagan wisdom failed to attract him. He began to ponder the meaning of life.

When the news of Christ and His teaching began to reach the capital, St Clement left his home and estate and went to the lands where the Apostles were preaching. At Alexandria St Clement met the holy Apostle Barnabas, listening to his words with deep attention, and perceiving the power and truth of the Word of God. Arriving in Palestine, St Clement was baptized by the holy Apostle Peter and became his zealous disciple and constant companion, sharing his toil and sufferings with him. Shortly before his own sufferings and death, St Peter consecrated St Clement as Bishop of Rome. After the death of the Apostle Peter, St Linus (67-79) was the next Bishop of Rome, succeeded by St Anacletus (79-91), and then St Clement (92-101).

The virtuous life, charitable works and prayerful activity of St Clement converted many to Christ. He once baptized 424 people on the day of Pascha. Among the baptized were people of all social classes: slaves, officials, and even members of the imperial family.

The pagans, seeing the success of his apostolic preaching, denounced St Clement to the emperor Trajan (98-117), accusing the saint of insulting the pagan gods. The emperor banished St Clement from the capital, sending him to the Crimea, to work at a stone quarry near the city of Cherson. Many of the saint’s disciples followed after him voluntarily, preferring to go into exile rather than live without their spiritual Father.

When he arrived at the place of exile, St Clement found many Christian believers there, sentenced to labor under harsh conditions amidst a scarcity of water. He prayed together with the condemned, and the Lord appeared to him in the form of a lamb and revealed the location of a spring, from which gushed forth a veritable river of water. This miracle attracted a multitude of people to St Clement. Hearing the zealous preacher, hundreds of pagans were converted to Christ. Each day 500 or more men were baptized. And there in the stone quarry, a church was built, in which he served as priest.

The apostolic activity of the saint aroused the wrath of the emperor Trajan, and he ordered that St Clement be drowned. They threw the martyr into the sea with an anchor tied to his neck. This occurred in the year 101.

The saint’s faithful disciples Cornelius and Fibius asked the people to pray that the Lord would permit them to see the martyr’s body. The sea drew back a distance of three miles from the shore and the people walked out on the seabed until they found a marble cave shaped like a church. There they found the incorrupt body of their archpastor in this “Angelic Church” formed by God. After this, each year on the anniversary of St Clement’s martyric death the sea receded, and for seven days Christians were able to venerate his holy relics.

During the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Nicephorus (802-811), by divine providence, the sea failed to withdraw, and the relics of St Clement became inaccessible for fifty years. In the time of the emperor Michael and his mother Theodora (855-867), Sts Cyril and Methodius visited Cherson. When they learned of the concealed relics of St Clement, they asked Bishop George of Cherson to pray that the Lord would show them the relics of the hieromartyr.

Sts Cyril and Methodius walked along the shore in procession with the clergy who came with them from Constantinople. Through the fervent prayers of everyone gathered there, the holy relics of St Clement miraculously appeared on the surface of the sea at midnight. They solemnly took them to the Church of the Holy Apostles at Constantinople. A portion of the relics were then brought to Rome by Sts Cyril and Methodius, but a large portion of the relics was later brought to Kiev by the holy Prince Vladimir (July 15) and placed in the Desyatin-Tithe church, together with the relics of St Fibius, where a chapel dedicated to St Clement had been built. The hieromartyr Clement is widely venerated in Russia. From ancient times, many churches have been dedicated to him.

St Clement, who belongs to the Apostolic Fathers, has left to us a spiritual legacy (two Epistles to the Corinthians) the first written examples of Christian teaching after the writings of the holy Apostles.


Apostle Sosthenes of the Seventy

St Sosthenes was one of the Seventy Apostles who were chosen and sent forth to preach by Christ (Luke 10:1).

Before accepting Christianity, St Sosthenes was head of the Jewish synagogue at Corinth. During a riot against the Apostle Paul, he too suffered a beating. He was converted by Paul to faith in Christ and afterwards became bishop at Caesarea.

St Sosthenes is also commemorated on December 8 together with Sts Tychicus, Apollos, Cephas, Epaphroditus, Caesar, and Onesiphorus. All of these saints departed to the Lord in peace.


Apostle Apollos of the Seventy

St Apollos was one of the Seventy Apostles chosen and sent forth to preach by the Lord Jesus Christ sometime after the selection of the Twelve Apostles (Luke 10:1-24).

Apollos was a native of Alexandria and was a man of erudition. The chief place of his service was at Corinth. He toiled there for a long time and converted many to Christ. Towards the end of his life he preached on the island of Crete and was Bishop of Caesarea, Bithynia.

St Apollos is also commemorated on December 8 together with Sts Sosthenes, Cephas, Tychicus, Epaphroditus, Caesar, and Onesiphorus. All of these saints departed to the Lord in peace.


Apostle Tychicus of the Seventy

St Tychicus was one of the Seventy Apostles who were chosen some time after the selection of the Twelve Apostles (Luke 10:1-24), and were sent forth to preach by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

St Tychicus, a native of Asia Minor, was a disciple and companion of the holy Apostle Paul. At the time of Paul’s first imprisonment, he delivered the Epistles to the Ephesians and to the Colossians. He replaced St Sosthenes on the episcopal throne at Caesarea.

St Tychicus is also commemorated on December 8 together with Sts Sosthenes, Apollos, Cephas, Epaphroditus, Caesar, and Onesiphorus. They all departed to the Lord in peace.


Apostle Epaphroditus of the Seventy

St Epaphroditus was one of the Seventy Apostles chosen and sent forth to preach by Christ (Luke 10:1).

St Epaphroditus was one of the Apostle Paul’s closest assistants and companions, and later became bishop of the Thracian city of Adriaca.

The Church also commemorates St Epaphroditus on December 8 together with Sts Sosthenes, Apollos, Cephas, Tychicus, Caesar, and Onesiphorus. They departed to the Lord in peace.


Apostle Carpus of the Seventy

Saint Carpus was one of the Seventy Apostles chosen and sent forth to preach by Christ (Luke 10:1). He was Bishop of Verria, Macedonia, and is also commemorated on May 26.


Apostle Quadratus of the Seventy

Saint Quadratus (Codratus), Apostle of the Seventy, preached the Word of God at Athens and at Magnesia (eastern peninsula of Thessaly), and was Bishop of Athens. His biographer called him “a morning star” among the clouds of paganism. He converted many pagans to the true faith in Christ the Savior, and his preaching aroused the hatred of the pagans. Once, an angry mob fell upon the saint to pelt him with stones. Preserved by God, St Quadratus remained alive, and they threw him into prison, where he died of starvation. His holy body was buried in Magnesia.

In the year 126, St Quadratus wrote an Apologia in defence of Christianity. Presented to the emperor Hadrian (117-138), the Apologia affected the persecution of Christians, since the emperor issued a decree saying that no one should be convicted without just cause. This Apologia was known to the historian Eusebius in the fourth century. At the present time, only part of this Apologia survives, quoted by Eusebius: “The deeds of our Savior were always witnessed, because they were true. His healings and raising people from the dead were visible not only when they were healed and raised, but always. They lived not only during the existence of the Savior upon the earth, but they also remained alive long after His departure. Some, indeed, have survived to our own time.”

St Quadratus is also commemorated on September 21.


Apostle Mark of the Seventy, called John

St Mark, also called John, (Acts 12:12), was a nephew of St Barnabas (Col. 4:10). Some, however, say that St John Mark is St Mark the Evangelist (April 25). It was in the house of his mother Maria that the persecuted disciples found shelter after the Ascension of the Lord (Acts 12:12). This saint is probably Mark, the Bishop of Apollonia, commemorated on October 30 with Sts Justus and Artemas.


Apostle Zenas of the Seventy

The Holy Apostle Zenas of the Seventy (September 27), a disciple and co-worker with the first-ranked Apostle Paul, was called a lawyer, since he was a learned man and led juridical matters in church courts. He is mentioned in the Epistle of the holy Apostle Paul to Titus (Tit 3:13): “Help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing.” Afterwards, St Zenas became bishop of the city of Diospolis (or Lydda) in Palestine.


Apostle Aristarchus of the Seventy

Saint Aristarchus was one of the Seventy Apostles, whom the Lord Jesus Christ sent to proclaim the good news of the Gospel (Luke. 10:1-24).

St Aristarchus, a co-worker of the holy Apostle Paul, became bishop of the Syrian city of Apamea. His name is repeatedly mentioned in the Acts of the Holy Apostles (Acts 19:29, 20:4, 27:2) and in the Epistles of St Paul (Col. 4:10, Philemon 1:24). He accompanied St Paul on his travels (Acts 16:29), and was Bishop of Apamea, Syria.

St Aristarchus is also commemorated on April 15 with Sts Pudens and Trophimus and on September 27 together with Sts Mark and Zenas.


Apostle Pudens of the Seventy

Saint Pudens (Poudes) is mentioned by St Paul (2 Tim 4:21). He was one of the Seventy Apostles whom the Lord Jesus Christ sent before him with the good news of the Gospel (Luke 10:1-24).

St Pudens is mentioned in St Paul’s second Epistle to Timothy (2 Tim. 4:21). He occupied high position as a member of the Roman Senate. The saint received the foremost Apostles Peter and Paul in his home, where believing Christians gathered. His house was converted into a church, receiving the name “Pastorum”. According to Tradition, the holy Apostle Peter himself served in it as priest.

St Pudens suffered martyrdom at Rome under the emperor Nero (54-68). He is also commemorated on April 15 together with Sts Trophimus and Aristarchus.


Apostle Trophimus of the Seventy

St Trophimus hailed from the city of Edessa. His name is mentioned in the Acts of the Holy Apostles (Acts 20:4) and in St Paul’s second Epistle to Timothy (2 Tim. 4:20). He was a disciple and companion of the Apostle Paul, sharing with him all the sorrows and persecution.

St Trophimus is also commemorated on April 15 together with Sts Aristarchus and Pudens.


Apostle Mark of the Seventy

This Saint Mark was also one of the Seventy Apostles, and was Bishop of Biblos. He is also commemorated on September 27 together with Sts Aristarchus and Zenas.


Apostle Artemas of the Seventy

St Artemas was bishop of the Lycian city of Lystra, and he died in peace. St Paul mentions him in his Epistle to Titus (3:12). He is also commemorated on October 30 together with Sts Tertius, Mark, and Justus.


Apostle Aquila of the Seventy

St Aquila was one of the Seventy Apostles. It is possible that he was a disciple of the Apostle Paul, a native of Pontus and a Jew, living in the city of Rome with his wife Priscilla (they are commemorated on February 13 on the Greek Calendar, and July 14 on the Slavic Calendar). During the reign of the emperor Claudius (41-54) all the Jews were banished from Rome, so St Aquila and his wife were compelled to leave. They settled in Corinth. A short while later, the holy Apostle Paul arrived there from Athens preaching the Gospel. Having made the acquaintance of Aquila, he began to live at his house and labored together with him, making tents.

Having receivedBaptism from the Apostle Paul, Aquila and Priscilla bacame his devoted and zealous disciples. They accompanied the apostle to Ephesus. The Apostle Paul instructed them to continue the preaching of the Gospel at Ephesus, and he himself went to Jerusalem, in order to be present for the feast of Pentecost. At Ephesus, Aquila and Priscilla heard the bold preaching of a newcomer from Alexandria, the Jew Apollos. He had been instructed in the fundamentals of the Faith, but knew only the baptism of John the Forerunner. They called him over and explained more precisely about the way of the Lord.

After the death of the emperor Claudius, Jews were permitted to return to Italy, and Aquila and Priscilla then returned to Rome. The Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Romans recalls his faithful disciples, “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my coworkers in Christ Jesus, who put forth their heads for my soul, whom I do not alone thank, but also all the Church of the Gentiles and the church of their household” (Rom. 16: 3-4). St Aquila did not long dwell in Rome: the Apostle Paul made him a bishop in Asia. St Aquila zealously labored at preaching the Gospel in Asia, Achaia and Heraklia. He converted pagans to Christ, he confirmed newly-converted Christians in the faith, he established presbyters and destroyed idols. St Priscilla constantly assisted him in the apostolic work. St Aquila ended his life a martyr: pagans murdered him. According to the Tradition of the Church, Saint Priscilla was killed together with him.


Apostle Fortunatus of the Seventy

St Fortunatus was one of the Seventy Apostles chosen and sent forth to preach by Christ (Luke 10:1). He is mentioned by St Paul (I Cor. 16:17).


Apostle Achaicus of the Seventy

Saint Achaicus is mentioned by St Paul in I Corinthians 16:17.


Venerable Theoctistus, Abbot at Cucomo, in Sicily

Saint Theoctistus founded a monastery in the city of Cucomo on the island of Sicily, where he became igumen. At his monastery were some Greek monks who fled persecution by the iconoclasts. He died in the year 800.

St Theoctistus of Sicily should not be confused with St Theoctistus of Palestine (September 3), the companion of St Euthymius (January 20) in the ascetic life.


Repose of St Eustathius I, Archbishop of Serbia

Saint Eustathius, Archbishop of Serbia, lived in the second half of the thirteenth century, during the reign of the Serbian king Stephen Urosh (1262-1320).

He was born in the diocese of Budim into a pious Christian family, where he received a spiritual upbringing. Distinguished by remarkable talents, Eustathius was given a tutor by his parents to train him in spiritual wisdom. He studied Holy Scripture with particular diligence, perfecting himself in piety and good deeds. Having finished his education, the youth entered the Monastery of the Archangel Michael in the Zeta district (Montenegro) and led a strict monastic life. Soon he became known as a great ascetic. From thence he undertook a journey to Jerusalem, to venerate the Holy Sepulchre of the Lord. On the return journey he visited Mount Athos and settled there in the Serbian Hilandar monastery.

Saint Eustathius gained general renown and love as a strict ascetic and good teacher, and many came to him for spiritual advice. Later, he became igumen of the monastery.

After several years he was consecrated as Bishop of Zeta, and the saint returned to his native land. Experienced in spiritual life and in churchly matters, he won the love of his fellow countrymen, and continued to set an example for his flock.

St Eustathius was chosen as Archbishop of Serbia after the death of Archbishop Joannicius. St Eustathius guided the Serbian Church for seven years, and died about the year 1285. His body was buried in the Zhicha monastery, and later it was transferred to Pech and placed in the cathedral church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.


St. Aquila, Deacon, of the Kiev Caves

Saint Aquila the Deacon of the Kiev Caves (14th Century), became famous as a great faster, having spent a long while as a hermit. He ate neither vareny (pirogi) nor sweet food, he ate vegetables seldom and only in small quantities. During fasting periods, he ate only one prosphora.

Those thirsting for deliverance from “the enslavement of the passions of the stomach,” and those wishing to learn temperance turn to St Aquila entreating his help (Third Ode of the Canon to the monks venerated in the Far Caves).

St Aquila the Deacon is also commemorated on August 28 and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.


Martyrs Zosimus the Hermit and Athanasius the Commentarisius (Superintendent of Prisoners), Anchorites, of Cilicia

The Monk Martyr Zosimus came from Cilicia and was an inhabitant of the wilderness. During a time of persecution against Christians under the emperor Diocletian (284-305) Saint Zosimus was seized and subjected to fierce torture for the Faith, but by the power of God he was preserved unharmed.

Having beheld such a miracle of God, the prison warden named Athanasius believed in Christ and was baptized. Sts Zosimus and Athanasius were released and went into the wilderness where they lived in the crevice of a mountain until their death.


Martyr Athanasius the Superintendent of Prisoners, Anchorite of Cilicia

Saint Athanasius was a prison warden who witnessed the torture of St Zosimus. Seeing him unharmed, St Athanasius believed in Christ and was baptized.

Sts Zosimus and Athanasius were released and went into the wilderness where they lived in the crevice of a mountain until their death.


Ven. Euthymius and twelve other Monks, martyred at Vatopedi

The Monk Martyr Euthymius, Igumen of the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos, and twelve other monks suffered martyrdom for denouncing the Latinizing Patriarchs Michael Paleologos (1261-1281) and John Bekkos (1275-1282) as heretics. St Euthymius was drowned in the sea, and the monks were hanged.


12 Monks, Martyred at Vatopedi on Mt Athos

Twelve monastic martyrs suffered martyrdom with St Euthymius, the igumen of the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos for denouncing the Latinizing Patriarchs Michael Paleologos (1261-1281) and John Bekkos (1275-1282) as heretics. St Euthymius was drowned in the sea, and the monks were hanged.


Venerable Onuphrius of Hilandar (Mt. Athos) the Newmartyr

The New Martyr Onuphrius, in the world Matthew, was born in Bulgaria in Gabrovo in the Trnovo diocese. Matthew became angry with his parents one day, and said he wished to become a Moslem. Unfortunately, he was overheard by the Hagarenes, who wished to take him away. He regretted these words as soon as he uttered them, and he went to Athos to the Hilandar monastery as soon as he came of age. There he became a monk with the name Manassas.

Tormented by his conscience, Manassas decided to suffer for Christ. Therefore, he asked the blessing of his Elder Nicephorus to pursue the path of martyrdom. The Elder tonsured him a schemamonk with the name Onuphrius. After four months of intense prayer, fasting, and spiritual struggle, he went with Gregory of the Peloponnesos to the island of Chios. There the Monk Martyr Onuphrius openly confessed the Christian Faith, for which he was seized and subjected to cruel tortures.

After the torture they beheaded him and threw him into the sea. He died in 1818 at the age of thirty-two.


Martyrs of the Shio-Mgvime Monastery

The Thirteen Syrian fathers arrived in Georgia in the 6th century, having received a blessing for their journey from the Most Holy Theotokos. They settled on Zedazeni Mountain, living an ascetic life of prayer and fasting. Their spiritual leader, Ioane, then sent them to perform good works throughout various regions of Georgia. The founding of many monasteries and the revival of monastic life in Georgia today are linked to the names of the Thirteen Syrian Fathers.

St. Ioane sent one of his disciples, Shio, the son of a God-fearing Antiochian nobleman, to take up his abode in the nearby Sarkineti Mountains. By the grace of God, a dove brought food to St. Shio in the deserted highlands where he labored.

A certain ruler, Evagre of Tsikhedidi, would often go hunting in the area where St. Shio lived. On one of his excursions he happened upon venerable Shio and was so awed by his wondrous way of life that he decided to remain there with him. St. Evagre gave up all his possessions and was found worthy to be appointed abbot at the time of St. Shio’s death.

St. Ioane remained on Zedazeni Mountain with only one disciple, the holy deacon Ilia. Fr. Ilia was a great consolation to St. Ioane in his infirmities. St. Ilia was also a great ascetic in his own right, laboring in prayer, fasting, and mortification of the flesh.

The mountain on which they lived was completely lacking water. St. Ilia labored in the sweat of his brow carrying water from the Aragvi River, which flows around the foot of Zedazeni Mountain. Seeing the great ascetic labors of his disciple, St. Ioane besought God with tears that He would supply them with a spring of water on top of this high mountain. God heard the prayer of His servant and a spring of delicious water began to flow.

St. Ilia the Deacon often accompanied St. Ioane on his travels. Fr. Ioane once took him to the monastery of St. Shio, and Ilia the Deacon, as requested, presented St. Ioane with a cup of wine in the refectory. The blessed Ioane made the sign of the Cross over the cup, raised it aloft, prayed to God, and left the cup suspended in the air. It remained where he had placed it, as if supported by an invisible hand.

One day St. Ilia went to the spring to draw water. Glancing up he saw opposite him a bear of enormous size approaching the spring. Ilia was terrified and, leaving his bucket, turned and fled to the great schemamonk Ioane to tell him about the bear. St. Ioane followed his disciple to the well and saw the bear drinking water. St. Ioane meekly said, “Drink if you are thirsty and go away from here. But I tell you that henceforth, you and your kind shall never dare to cause any harm to anyone on this mountain.” Hearing the words of the saint and inclining its head like an obedient servant, the bear immediately left the spring. And to this day the animals continue to obey St. Ioane’s command.

The holy deacon Ilia remained with St. Ioane the rest of his life. The Georgian Apostolic Church beseeches the protection of the venerable Evagre, Ilia the Deacon, and all the blessed and pious elders who dwelt with the Thirteen Syrian Fathers and continued laboring in holiness to the end of their lives.


Martyr Evargrisi of the Shio-Mgvime Monastery

The Thirteen Syrian fathers arrived in Georgia in the 6th century, having received a blessing for their journey from the Most Holy Theotokos. They settled on Zedazeni Mountain, living an ascetic life of prayer and fasting. Their spiritual leader, Ioane, then sent them to perform good works throughout various regions of Georgia. The founding of many monasteries and the revival of monastic life in Georgia today are linked to the names of the Thirteen Syrian Fathers.

St. Ioane sent one of his disciples, Shio, the son of a God-fearing Antiochian nobleman, to take up his abode in the nearby Sarkineti Mountains. By the grace of God, a dove brought food to St. Shio in the deserted highlands where he labored.

A certain ruler, Evagre of Tsikhedidi, would often go hunting in the area where St. Shio lived. On one of his excursions he happened upon venerable Shio and was so awed by his wondrous way of life that he decided to remain there with him. St. Evagre gave up all his possessions and was found worthy to be appointed abbot at the time of St. Shio’s death.

St. Ioane remained on Zedazeni Mountain with only one disciple, the holy deacon Ilia. Fr. Ilia was a great consolation to St. Ioane in his infirmities. St. Ilia was also a great ascetic in his own right, laboring in prayer, fasting, and mortification of the flesh.

The mountain on which they lived was completely lacking water. St. Ilia labored in the sweat of his brow carrying water from the Aragvi River, which flows around the foot of Zedazeni Mountain. Seeing the great ascetic labors of his disciple, St. Ioane besought God with tears that He would supply them with a spring of water on top of this high mountain. God heard the prayer of His servant and a spring of delicious water began to flow.

St. Ilia the Deacon often accompanied St. Ioane on his travels. Fr. Ioane once took him to the monastery of St. Shio, and Ilia the Deacon, as requested, presented St. Ioane with a cup of wine in the refectory. The blessed Ioane made the sign of the Cross over the cup, raised it aloft, prayed to God, and left the cup suspended in the air. It remained where he had placed it, as if supported by an invisible hand.

One day St. Ilia went to the spring to draw water. Glancing up he saw opposite him a bear of enormous size approaching the spring. Ilia was terrified and, leaving his bucket, turned and fled to the great schemamonk Ioane to tell him about the bear. St. Ioane followed his disciple to the well and saw the bear drinking water. St. Ioane meekly said, “Drink if you are thirsty and go away from here. But I tell you that henceforth, you and your kind shall never dare to cause any harm to anyone on this mountain.” Hearing the words of the saint and inclining its head like an obedient servant, the bear immediately left the spring. And to this day the animals continue to obey St. Ioane’s command.

The holy deacon Ilia remained with St. Ioane the rest of his life. The Georgian Apostolic Church beseeches the protection of the venerable Evagre, Ilia the Deacon, and all the blessed and pious elders who dwelt with the Thirteen Syrian Fathers and continued laboring in holiness to the end of their lives.


Martyr Ilia, the Deacon of the Shio-Mgvime Monastery

The Thirteen Syrian fathers arrived in Georgia in the 6th century, having received a blessing for their journey from the Most Holy Theotokos. They settled on Zedazeni Mountain, living an ascetic life of prayer and fasting. Their spiritual leader, Ioane, then sent them to perform good works throughout various regions of Georgia. The founding of many monasteries and the revival of monastic life in Georgia today are linked to the names of the Thirteen Syrian Fathers.

St. Ioane sent one of his disciples, Shio, the son of a God-fearing Antiochian nobleman, to take up his abode in the nearby Sarkineti Mountains. By the grace of God, a dove brought food to St. Shio in the deserted highlands where he labored.

A certain ruler, Evagre of Tsikhedidi, would often go hunting in the area where St. Shio lived. On one of his excursions he happened upon venerable Shio and was so awed by his wondrous way of life that he decided to remain there with him. St. Evagre gave up all his possessions and was found worthy to be appointed abbot at the time of St. Shio’s death.

St. Ioane remained on Zedazeni Mountain with only one disciple, the holy deacon Ilia. Fr. Ilia was a great consolation to St. Ioane in his infirmities. St. Ilia was also a great ascetic in his own right, laboring in prayer, fasting, and mortification of the flesh.

The mountain on which they lived was completely lacking water. St. Ilia labored in the sweat of his brow carrying water from the Aragvi River, which flows around the foot of Zedazeni Mountain. Seeing the great ascetic labors of his disciple, St. Ioane besought God with tears that He would supply them with a spring of water on top of this high mountain. God heard the prayer of His servant and a spring of delicious water began to flow.

St. Ilia the Deacon often accompanied St. Ioane on his travels. Fr. Ioane once took him to the monastery of St. Shio, and Ilia the Deacon, as requested, presented St. Ioane with a cup of wine in the refectory. The blessed Ioane made the sign of the Cross over the cup, raised it aloft, prayed to God, and left the cup suspended in the air. It remained where he had placed it, as if supported by an invisible hand.

One day St. Ilia went to the spring to draw water. Glancing up he saw opposite him a bear of enormous size approaching the spring. Ilia was terrified and, leaving his bucket, turned and fled to the great schemamonk Ioane to tell him about the bear. St. Ioane followed his disciple to the well and saw the bear drinking water. St. Ioane meekly said, “Drink if you are thirsty and go away from here. But I tell you that henceforth, you and your kind shall never dare to cause any harm to anyone on this mountain.” Hearing the words of the saint and inclining its head like an obedient servant, the bear immediately left the spring. And to this day the animals continue to obey St. Ioane’s command.

The holy deacon Ilia remained with St. Ioane the rest of his life. The Georgian Apostolic Church beseeches the protection of the venerable Evagre, Ilia the Deacon, and all the blessed and pious elders who dwelt with the Thirteen Syrian Fathers and continued laboring in holiness to the end of their lives.