Lives of all saints commemorated on January 24


Venerable Xenia of Rome, and her two female servants

Saint Xenia of Rome, in the world Eusebia, was the only daughter of an eminent Roman senator. From her youth she loved God, and wished to avoid the marriage arranged for her. She secretly left her parental home with two servants devoted to her, and set sail upon a ship. Through the Providence of God she met the head of the monastery of the holy Apostle Andrew in Milassa, a town of Caria (Asia Minor). She besought him to take her and her companions to Milassa. She also changed her name, calling herself Xenia [which means “stranger” or foreigner” in Greek].

At Milassa she bought land, built a church dedicated to St Stephen, and founded a woman’s monastery. Soon after this, Bishop Paul of Milassa made Xenia a deaconess, because of her virtuous life. The saint helped everyone: for the destitute, she was a benefactress; for the grief-stricken, a comforter; for sinners, a guide to repentance. She possessed a deep humility, accounting herself the worst and most sinful of all.

In her ascetic deeds she was guided by the counsels of the Palestinian ascetic, St Euthymius. The sublime life of St Xenia drew many souls to Christ. The holy virgin died in 450 while she was praying. During her funeral, a luminous wreath of stars surrounding a radiant cross appeared over the monastery in the heavens. This sign accompanied the body of the saint when it was carried into the city, and remained until the saint’s burial. Many of the sick received healing after touching the relics of the saint.


The two Female Servants of the Venerable Xenia of Rome

These holy martyrs travelled with St Xenia from Rome to Milassa in Asia Minor. They remained with her when she founded a women’s monastery, and agreed to live together as sisters and devote themselves to the salvation of their souls.

Following the death of St Xenia, first one of her former servants died, then the other. They were buried at the saint’s feet.


St Gerasimus the Bishop of Perm

Saint Gerasimus, Bishop of Great Perm and Ust’Vymsk, was the third bishop of the newly-enlightened Zyryani people, and he was a worthy successor to St Stephen, the Enlightener of Perm (April 26). He was elevated to the See of Perm sometime after 1416, and participated in many Church councils: one in 1438 to condemn the Unia and Metropolitan Isidore, and one in 1441, which defined the selection of the Metropolitan of All Rus by a Council of Russian pastors.

The saint assiduously cared for his newly-established flock, which suffered raids from Novgorodians, particularly from the pagan Vogulians. He went to their camps urging them to cease the pillaging of villages of the defenseless Christians of Perm. He was murdered by a Vogulian servant during one of his journeys through Perm in 1441 (according to Tradition, he was strangled with his omophorion). He was buried in the cathedral church of the first bishops of Perm, which later became the Annunciation church in the village of Ust’Vyma, northeast of the city of Yarenga, at the River Vychegda.

The celebration of his memory was established in 1607. On January 29 there is a general commemoration of the three Perm Hierarchs: Gerasimus, Pitirim, and Jonah.


Martyr John of Kazan

The Martyr John of Kazan suffered for Christ in the city of Kazan on January 24, 1529. During the reign of Great Prince Basil the Tatars swooped down upon Nizhni Novgorod. Many of the inhabitants were taken into captivity and brought to Kazan. Also among their number was the fearless John.

When the captives were distributed to their new owners, he was given to Alei-Shnura, who was related to the Khan. By day John honestly served his master, but at night he went without sleep and prayed, patiently enduring insults and abuse. The master resolved to force his servant to become a Moslem, but John firmly declared that he worshiped Jesus Christ as God.

In the winter the Tatars tied him up and led him to a Russian cemetery, mortally wounded him with swords, and threw him into the snow. That night, St John reached the door of some Russians living in Kazan, and he asked them to summon a priest. He received the Holy Mysteries and prayed all night, then died the following morning.


Martyr Babylas of Sicily

The Holy Martyrs Babylas of Sicily and his two disciples Timothy and Agapius lived during the third century on the outskirts of Rome. St Babylas was born in the city of Reupolium into a rich family, and he was raised by his parents in the Christian Faith.

While still in his youth he abandoned the world, secretly going from the house of his parents to a mountain, where he spent all his time in fasting, prayer and silence. His two disciples, Timothy and Agapius, labored with him. Fleeing a persecution by the pagans, he went with his disciples to the island of Sicily, where they converted many unbelievers to Christ.

The governor of the island, angered by the missionary activity of St Babylas, ordered that he and his disciples be arrested, and he also had them tortured. The saints patiently endured their sufferings, and all three died by the sword. Their bodies were thrown into a fire, but the flames did not harm the warriors of Christ. They were buried on the island of Sicily by local Christians.


Martyr Timothy the Disciple of Babylas of Sicily

Saints Timothy and Agapius, disciples of St Babylas of Sicily, lived during the third century on the outskirts of Rome.

Sts Timothy and Agapius labored with St Babylas on a mountain, where they struggled in fasting, prayer and silence. Fleeing a persecution by the pagans, St Bablyas and his disciples went to the island of Sicily, where they converted many unbelievers to Christ.

The governor of the island, angered by the missionary activity of St Babylas, ordered that he and his disciples be arrested, and he also had them tortured. The saints patiently endured their sufferings, and all three died by the sword. Their bodies were thrown into a fire, but the flames did not harm the warriors of Christ. They were buried on the island of Sicily by local Christians.


Martyr Agapius the Disciple of Babylas of Sicily

Saints Agapius and Timothy, disciples of St Babylas of Sicily, lived during the third century on the outskirts of Rome.

Sts Timothy and Agapius labored with St Babylas on a mountain, where they struggled in fasting, prayer and silence. Fleeing a persecution by the pagans, St Bablyas and his disciples went to the island of Sicily, where they converted many unbelievers to Christ.

The governor of the island, angered by the missionary activity of St Babylas, ordered that he and his disciples be arrested, and he also had them tortured. The saints patiently endured their sufferings, and all three died by the sword. Their bodies were thrown into a fire, but the flames did not harm the warriors of Christ. They were buried on the island of Sicily by local Christians.


St Macedonius the Hermit of Syria

Saint Macedonius, a Syrian hermit, lived during the end of the fourth century and the beginning of the fifth. At the beginning of his ascetic path he led the life of a wanderer, roving through the cities of Phoenicia, Cilicia and Syria, and then he spent forty-five years in a deep pit and lived under the open sky in the Syrian wilderness, shunning human glory.

A multitude of people came out to him, seeking spiritual help and guidance. Only in his old age did he accede to the requests of people to live in a narrow cell built for him. Throughout his life St Macedonius ate only barley, ground up and mixed with water, for which he was called “Kritophagos” (“Barley-Eater”) [Grk. he krithe, “barley”; and phagomai, “to eat”). Only when he felt his strength decline did he begin to eat baked bread.

Because of his ascetic life, God granted him the power to cast out demons and to heal the sick. He died around the year 420, having reached his seventieth year.


Translation of the relics of St Anastasius the Persian

After the death of Chozroes, the relics of the Monk Martyr Anastasius were transferred to the Anastasius monastery in Palestine. See his Life on January 22.


Venerable Dionysius of Olympus

Saint Dionysius of Olympus was born into a family of poor parents in the village of Platina. When he was an infant, the Cross shone over his crib. Fond of prayer and reading spiritual books from his youth, St Dionysius decided to become a monk after the death of his parents. With this aim he went to Meteora, and then to Mount Athos. There he lived with a pious Elder, the priest Seraphim, and under his guidance he began to lead an ascetic life, keeping a strict fast. During Passion Week he went into the forest, and ate only chestnuts. Soon he was ordained deacon, and then priest.

The exalted life of St Dionysius became known, and many monks came to hear his edifying words. He also guided many lawless people onto the path of salvation, among whom was a robber who intended to rob the saint’s cell, but was moved to repentance by the Elder’s kind and wise words.

The brethren of the Philotheou monastery lost their igumen and asked St Dionysius to be their head. However, he did not receive enough votes, and dissensions arose. Valuing peace and love most of all, St Dionysius withdrew and went to Verria. Later, he fled to Mount Olympus in order to avoid being consecrated as a bishop.

Here those zealous for monasticism began to flock to him. Dionysius built cells for them and also a church and they spent their time in fasting and prayer. Having attained the spiritual heights, he worked many miracles. Often, through the prayers of the saint, the Lord punished iniquitous people who oppressed the monks of Olympus or broke the commandments of Christ. The holdings of a Turk who had expelled the monks and wrecked their monastery were destroyed by severe drought and by hail. The cattle of a herdsman who had oppressed the monastery were stricken with disease and sickness; because of her impudence, a maiden from one of the villages was subjected to an assault of the devil. They all received healing and deliverance from misfortune through the prayers of St Dionysius, after being led to penitence by his lack of malice.

The saint compiled a Rule for monastic life, and was an example of monastic activity. He built a church on Olympus, and also a monastery dedicated to the Prophet Elias. He left the brethren his final testament about the monastic life based on the Rule of the Holy Mountain.

St Dionysius died in the sixteenth century at an advanced age, and was buried on Olympus, in the church portico of the monastery he founded.


Venerable Philotheus the Founder of Philotheou Monastery of Mt Athos

Saint Philotheus, the founder of the Philotheou Monastery on Mount Athos, lived toward the end of the tenth century.


Blessed Xenia of St Petersburg

Saint Xenia lived during the eighteenth century, but little is known of her life or of her family. She passed most of her life in Petersburg during the reigns of the empresses Elizabeth and Catherine II.

Xenia Grigorievna Petrova was the wife of an army officer, Major Andrew Petrov. After the wedding, the couple lived in St Petersburg. St Xenia became a widow at the age of twenty-six when her husband suddenly died at a party. She grieved for the loss of her husband, and especially because he died without Confession or Holy Communion.

Once her earthly happiness ended, she did not look for it again. From that time forward, Xenia lost interest in the things of this world, and followed the difficult path of foolishness for the sake of Christ. The basis for this strange way of life is to be found in the first Epistle to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 1:18-24, 1 Cor. 2:14, 1 Cor. 3:18-19). The Lord strengthened her and helped her to bear sorrow and misfortune patiently for the next forty-five years.

She started wearing her husband’s clothing, and insisted that she be addressed as “Andrew Feodorovich.” She told people that it was she, and not her husband, who had died. In a certain sense, this was perfectly true. She abandoned her former way of life and experienced a spiritual rebirth. When she gave away her house and possessions to the poor, her relatives complained to the authorities. After speaking to Xenia, the officials were conviced that she was in her right mind and was entitled to dispose of her property as she saw fit. Soon she had nothing left for herself, so she wandered through the poor section of Petersburg with no place to lay her head. She refused all assistance from her relatives, happy to be free of worldly attachments.

When her late husband’s red and green uniform wore out, she clothed herself in rags of those colors. After a while, Xenia left Petersburg for eight years. It is believed that she visited holy Elders and ascetics throughout Russia seeking instruction in the spiritual life. She may have visited St Theodore of Sanaxar (February 19), who had been a military man himself. His life changed dramatically when a young officer died at a drinking party. Perhaps this officer was St Xenia’s husband. In any case, she knew St Theodore and profited from his instructions.

St Xenia eventually returned to the poor section of Petersburg, where she was mocked and insulted because of her strange behavior. When she did accept money from people it was only small amounts, which she used to help the poor. She spent her nights praying without sleep in a field outside the city. Prayer strengthened her, and in her heart’s conversation with the Lord she found the support she needed on her difficult path.

When a new church was being built in the Smolensk cemetery, St Xenia brought bricks to the site. She did this in secret, during the night, so that no one would know.

Soon her great virtue and spiritual gifts began to be noticed. She prophesied future events affecting the citizens of Petersburg, and even the royal family. Against her will, she became known as someone pleasing to God, and nearly everyone loved her.They said, “Xenia does not belong to this world, she belongs to God.” People regarded her visits to their homes or shops as a great blessing. St Xenia loved children, and mothers rejoiced when the childless widow would stand and pray over a baby’s crib, or kiss a child. They believed that the blessed one’s kiss would bring that child good fortune.

St Xenia lived about forty-five years after the death of her husband, and departed to the Lord at the age of seventy-one. The exact date and circumstances of her death are not known, but it probably took place at the end of the eighteenth century. She was buried in the Smolensk cemetery.

By the 1820s, people flocked to her grave to pray for her soul, and to ask her to intercede with God for them. So many visitors took earth from her grave that it had to be replaced every year. Later, a chapel was built over her grave.

Those who turn to St Xenia in prayer receive healing from illness, and deliverance from their afflictions. She is also known for helping people who seek jobs.


2 Martyred Brothers

The Hieromartyr Philippicus the Presbyter and the Martyr Barsimos and two brothers were beheaded for their confession of faith in Christ.


Martyr Theodotion of Egypt

The Holy Martyrs Theodotion, Paul and Pausirius lived in Egypt during the third century. They were two brothers who confessed their faith in Christ and suffered martyrdom under Diocletian (284-305). Their brother Theodotion converted to Christianity after witnessing their martyrdom. He also endured many torments before being put to death.


Martyr Paul of Egypt

The Holy Martyrs Paul, Pausirius, and Theodotion lived in Egypt during the third century. They were two brothers who confessed their faith in Christ and suffered martyrdom under Diocletian (284-305). Their brother Theodotion converted to Christianity after witnessing their martyrdom. He also endured many torments before being put to death.


Martyr Pausirios of Egypt

The Holy Martyrs Pausirius, Paul, and Theodotion lived in Egypt during the third century. They were two brothers who confessed their faith in Christ and suffered martyrdom under Diocletian (284-305). Their brother Theodotion converted to Christianity after witnessing their martyrdom. He also endured many torments before being put to death.


St Philon, Bishop of Kolpasteia, Crete

Saint Philon, Bishop of Kolpasteia (Crete) He died peacefully in the fifth century. He wrote a commentary on the Pentateuch, and on the Song of Songs.


Hieromartyr Philippicus

The Hieromartyr Philippicus the Presbyter and the Martyr Barsimos and two brothers were beheaded for their confession of faith in Christ.


Martyr Barsimos

The Hieromartyr Philippicus the Presbyter and the Martyr Barsimos and two brothers were beheaded for their confession of faith in Christ.


St Macarius

No information available at this time.