Lives of all saints commemorated on April 5


Martyr Agathopodes the Deacon, and those with him, at Thessalonica

The Holy Martyrs Agathopodes the Deacon and Theodulus the Reader lived in Thessalonica during the reign of the emperor Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian (284-305) and were among the church clergy. The holy Deacon Agathopodes was very old, and Saint Theodulus very young.

Both distinguished themselves by righteous life and piety. Once, St Theodulus had a vision in his sleep, in which an unknown person in radiant garb placed some object in his hand. When he awoke, he saw in his hand a beautiful ring with the image of the Cross and he realized that this was a sign of his future martyrdom. By the power of the Cross depicted on the ring, the saint healed many of the sick and converted pagans to faith in Christ the Savior.

When the emperor Diocletian issued an edict of a persecution against Christians (303), many attempted to hide themselves from pursuit, but Sts Agathopodes and Theodulus fearlessly continued to proclaim the Gospel.

Governor Faustinus of Thessalonica heard of this, and gave orders to bring them to him for trial. Seeing the youth and excellence of St Theodulus, Faustinus attempted flattery to persuade him to renounce Christianity and to offer sacrifice. St Theodulus replied that he had long ago renounced error and that he pitied Faustinus, who by embracing paganism had condemned himself to eternal death. The governor offered the martyr a choice: the fortunes of life, or immediate death. The saint said that he would certainly choose life, but life eternal, and that he did not fear death.

When Faustinus saw that he would not persuade Theodulus, he began to talk with St Agathopodes. The governor attempted to deceive him and said that St Theodulus had already agreed to offer sacrifice to the gods. But Agathopodes did not believe this. He was convinced that St Theodulus was prepared to offer his life for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Not having any success, Faustinus commanded the martyrs to be taken to prison. The holy martyrs prayed fervently and boldly preached the Word of God to the imprisoned, so that many were converted to Christianity. Eutinios, the head of the prison, reported this to the governor.

Faustinus again summoned them to trial and again he urged them to renounce Christ. Before the eyes of St Theodulus they brought forth some who had been Christians, but betrayed the Faith. “You have conquered the weak, but you will never conquer the strong warriors of Christ, even if you invent greater torments,” exclaimed St Theodulus. The governor commanded the martyr to produce the Christian books. “Here, is my body given for torture,” he answered, “do with it what you wish; torture me fiercely, but I shall not hand over the sacred writings to be mocked by the impious!”

Faustinus gave orders to bring St Theodulus to the place of execution, where an executioner readied a sword in order to cut off his head. The martyr bravely and with joy cried out, “Glory to You, O God, the Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, Who deigned to suffer for us. Here, by His grace, I am coming to You, and with joy I die for You!”

Then Faustinus halted the execution and again locked up the martyrs in prison. There the holy martyrs prayed fervently and both had the same dream. They were sailing in a ship, which was in danger of being wrecked in a storm. The waves cast them up on shore, arrayed in radiant white clothing. The saints told each other about the vision, and they gave thanks to God for their impending martyrdom.

In the morning, when the martyrs were again brought to Faustinus, they declared to him: “We are Christians and we are prepared to undergo any suffering for Christ.” Faustinus gave orders to cast them into the sea. The waves carried St Agathopodes to the rocks, and he loudly exclaimed, “This shall be for us a second Baptism, which will wash away our sins, and we shall come to Christ in purity.” St Theodulus was also cast into the sea (+ 303).

The bodies of the saints were washed up on shore. They were dressed in radiant garb, but the ropes and stones used to weight them down were gone. Christians took their holy bodies and gave them reverent burial.


Martyr Theodulus the Reader, and those with him, at Thessalonica

The Holy Martyrs Agathopodes the Deacon and Theodulus the Reader lived in Thessalonica during the reign of the emperor Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian (284-305) and were among the church clergy. The holy Deacon Agathopodes was very old, and Saint Theodulus very young.

Both distinguished themselves by righteous life and piety. Once, St Theodulus had a vision in his sleep, in which an unknown person in radiant garb placed some object in his hand. When he awoke, he saw in his hand a beautiful ring with the image of the Cross and he realized that this was a sign of his future martyrdom. By the power of the Cross depicted on the ring, the saint healed many of the sick and converted pagans to faith in Christ the Savior.

When the emperor Diocletian issued an edict of a persecution against Christians (303), many attempted to hide themselves from pursuit, but Sts Agathopodes and Theodulus fearlessly continued to proclaim the Gospel.

Governor Faustinus of Thessalonica heard of this, and gave orders to bring them to him for trial. Seeing the youth and excellence of St Theodulus, Faustinus attempted flattery to persuade him to renounce Christianity and to offer sacrifice. St Theodulus replied that he had long ago renounced error and that he pitied Faustinus, who by embracing paganism had condemned himself to eternal death. The governor offered the martyr a choice: the fortunes of life, or immediate death. The saint said that he would certainly choose life, but life eternal, and that he did not fear death.

When Faustinus saw that he would not persuade Theodulus, he began to talk with St Agathopodes. The governor attempted to deceive him and said that St Theodulus had already agreed to offer sacrifice to the gods. But Agathopodes did not believe this. He was convinced that St Theodulus was prepared to offer his life for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Not having any success, Faustinus commanded the martyrs to be taken to prison. The holy martyrs prayed fervently and boldly preached the Word of God to the imprisoned, so that many were converted to Christianity. Eutinios, the head of the prison, reported this to the governor.

Faustinus again summoned them to trial and again he urged them to renounce Christ. Before the eyes of St Theodulus they brought forth some who had been Christians, but betrayed the Faith. “You have conquered the weak, but you will never conquer the strong warriors of Christ, even if you invent greater torments,” exclaimed St Theodulus. The governor commanded the martyr to produce the Christian books. “Here, is my body given for torture,” he answered, “do with it what you wish; torture me fiercely, but I shall not hand over the sacred writings to be mocked by the impious!”

Faustinus gave orders to bring St Theodulus to the place of execution, where an executioner readied a sword in order to cut off his head. The martyr bravely and with joy cried out, “Glory to You, O God, the Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, Who deigned to suffer for us. Here, by His grace, I am coming to You, and with joy I die for You!”

Then Faustinus halted the execution and again locked up the martyrs in prison. There the holy martyrs prayed fervently and both had the same dream. They were sailing in a ship, which was in danger of being wrecked in a storm. The waves cast them up on shore, arrayed in radiant white clothing. The saints told each other about the vision, and they gave thanks to God for their impending martyrdom.

In the morning, when the martyrs were again brought to Faustinus, they declared to him: “We are Christians and we are prepared to undergo any suffering for Christ.” Faustinus gave orders to cast them into the sea. The waves carried St Agathopodes to the rocks, and he loudly exclaimed, “This shall be for us a second Baptism, which will wash away our sins, and we shall come to Christ in purity.” St Theodulus was also cast into the sea (+ 303).

The bodies of the saints were washed up on shore. They were dressed in radiant garb, but the ropes and stones used to weight them down were gone. Christians took their holy bodies and gave them reverent burial.


Venerable Publius of Egypt

Saint Publius lived a life of asceticism in the Egyptian desert during the reign of the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363). Before a military campaign against the Persians, the emperor sent a devil to explore the way for the army to go. The venerable Publius foresaw the intent of the emperor. He stood in prayer with upraised hands, praying day and night, and blocked the path of the devil.

For ten days the evil spirit waited until the monk concluded his prayer. Unable to proceed, he returned to the emperor and reported that he had been thwarted. In a rage against St Publius, Julian the Apostate vowed to avenge himself on the saint upon his return from the campaign. He did not fulfill this oath, since he soon perished.

After the death of Julian, one of his military commanders distributed his effects and received monastic tonsure at the hand of St Publius.


St Theonas of Egypt

No information available at this time.


St Simeon of Egypt

No information available at this time.


St Phorbinus of Egypt

No information available at this time.


Venerable Mark the Anchorite of Athens

Saint Mark was born in Athens. He related his life to Abba Serapion who, by the will of God, visited him before his death.

He had studied philosophy in his youth. After the death of his parents, St Mark withdrew into Egypt and settled into a cave of Mount Trache (in Ethiopia). He spent ninety-five years in seclusion and during this time not only did he not see a human face, but not even a beast or bird.

The first thirty years were the most difficult for St Mark. Barefoot and bedraggled, he suffered from the cold in winter, and from the heat in summer. The desert plants served him for food, and sometimes he had to eat the dust and drink bitter sea water. Unclean spirits chased after St Mark, promising to drown him in the sea, or to drag him down from the mountain, shouting, “Depart from our land! From the beginning of the world no one has come here. Why have you dared to come?”

After thirty years of tribulation, divine grace came upon the ascetic. Angels brought him food, and long hair grew on his body, protecting him from the cold and heat. He told Abba Serapion, “I saw the likeness of the divine Paradise, and in it the prophets of God Elias and Enoch. The Lord sent me everything that I sought.”

During his conversation with Abba Serapion, St Mark inquired how things stood in the world. He asked about the Church of Christ, and whether persecutions against Christians still continued. Hearing that idol worship had ceased long ago, the saint rejoiced and asked, “Are there now in the world saints working miracles, as the Lord spoke of in His Gospel, ‘If ye have faith even as a grain of mustard seed, ye will say to this mountain, move from that place, and it will move, and nothing shall be impossible for you’ (Mt.17:20)?”

As the saint spoke these words, the mountain moved from its place 5,000 cubits (approximately 2.5 kilometers) and went toward the sea. When St Mark saw that the mountain had moved, he said, “I did not order you to move from your place, but was conversing with a brother. Go back to your place!” After this, the mountain actually returned to its place. Abba Serapion fell down in fright. St Mark took him by the hand and asked, “Have you never seen such miracles in your lifetime?”

“No, Father,” Abba Serapion replied. Then St Mark wept bitterly and said, “Alas, today there are Christians in name only, but not in deeds.”

After this, St Mark invited Abba Serapion to a meal and an angel brought them food. Abba Serapion said that never had he eaten such tasty food nor drunk such sweet water. “Brother Serapion,” answered St Mark, “did you see what beneficence God sends His servants? In all my days here God sent me only one loaf of bread and one fish. Now for your sake He has doubled the meal and sent us two loaves and two fishes. The Lord God has nourished me with such meals ever since my first sufferings from evil.”

Before his death, St Mark prayed for the salvation of Christians, for the earth and everything in the world living upon it in the love of Christ. He gave final instructions to Abba Serapion to bury him in the cave and to cover the entrance. Abba Serapion was a witness of how the soul of the one hundred- thirty-year-old Elder Mark, was taken to Heaven by angels.

After the burial of the saint, two angels in the form of hermits guided Abba Serapion into the inner desert to the great Elder John. Abba Serapion told the monks of this monastery about the life and death of St Mark.


St Plato the Confessor of Studion

Saint Platon was born in the year 735 into a pious Christian family of the parents, Sergius and Euphemia. Orphaned early on, the boy was taken to be raised by relatives, who gave him a fine education. When he grew up, he began life on his own. The saint occupied himself in the first years in the management of the property which his parents had left him upon their death. He was very temperate and hard-working and acquired great wealth by his toil. However, the future monk’s heart blazed with love for Christ. He gave away all his property, set his servants free and withdrew into a monastery named “Ensymboleion” near Mount Olympos.

His prayerful zeal, love of work and geniality won him the love of the brethren. When he was not praying he copied service books, and compiled anthologies from the works of the holy Fathers.

When the head of the monastery Theoctistus died in 770, the brethren chose St Platon as igumen, even though he was only thirty-five years old. After the death of the emperor Constantine Kopronymos (775), St Platon went to Constantinople. He resigned from the administration of the Metropolitan of Nicomedia. In 782, he withdrew to the desolate place of Sokudion with his nephews Sts Theodore (November 11) and Joseph (January 26). On the mount they built a church in honor of the holy Apostle John the Theologian, and founded a monastery, whose Superior was St Platon.

When Saint Tarasius and the empress Irene convened the Seventh Ecumenical Council in Nicea in 787, St Platon took an active part in its work. Being learned in Holy Scripture, he successfully unmasked the error in the Iconoclast heresy and defended the veneration of holy icons. When St Platon approached old age, he transferred the administration of the monastery to St Theodore.

In 795 the emperor Constantine VI (78-797) forced his wife to become a nun, and he married one of his relatives, Theodota.

Even though the holy Patriarch Tarasius condemned this marriage, Joseph, a prominent priest of Constantinople, violated the Patriarch’s prohibition and celebrated the marriage of the emperor.

When they learned of this, Sts Platon and Theodore excommunicated the emperor from the Church and sent a letter about this to all the monks. The enraged emperor gave orders to lock St Platon in prison and to banish St Theodore to Thessalonica. Only after the death of the emperor in 797 did they receive their freedom. St Theodore settled in Constantinople and became igumen of the Studion monastery. St Platon lived as a simple monk at this monastery under the obedience of his nephew.

When the new emperor Nicephorus (802-811) returned the excommunicated priest Joseph to the Church on his own authority, Sts Platon and Theodore again came forward denouncing the unlawful activities of the emperor. For this the brave confessors were again subjected to punishment in 807. They were jailed for four years. St Platon was freed from imprisonment in 811 after the death of the emperor, and he returned to the Studion monastery.

He lived three more years at work and prayer, and departed to the Lord on Lazarus Saturday at age 79, on April 8, 814. St Platon is honored as a Confessor because of his fearless defense of the holy icons.


Venerable Theodora of Thessalonica

Saint Theodora of Thessalonica. We have no information about St Theodora’s birthplace or early life. From a young age, she loved Christ and turned away from worldly pursuits. She entered a women’s monastery, where she struggled in asceticism and adorned her soul with virtues. Regarding the other sisters as worthy of honor, she was obedient to all, especially to the abbess. Even after her death, St Theodora was a model for the nuns of a pure and blameless life.

Years after the saint’s blessed repose, the abbess also departed to the heavenly habitations. When they dug the grave to bury the abbess, they uncovered the relics of St Theodora. Just as though she were still alive, she moved over in order to make room for the abbess. When those present witnessed this remarkable event they cried, “Lord, have mercy!”

Many miracles were worked through St Theodora’s holy relics. Those who came to venerate her were healed of all manner of diseases, or freed from the power of demons. Therefore, the faithful continue to celebrate her memory.

St Theodora should not be confused with the other St Theodora of Thessalonica who is commemorated on August 29.


Translation of the relics of St Job the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia

After his death in 1607, the relics of Patriarch Job were buried by the western doors of the Dormition Church of the monastery in Staritsa. Many miracles took place at his grave.

In 1652, on the recommendation of Metropolitan Nikon of Novgorod, Tsar Alexei ordered that the relics of St Job and St Philip (January 9) be transferred to Moscow.

Metropolitan Barlaam of Rostov presided at the uncovering of St Job’s relics in Staritsa. The Patriarch’s incorrupt and fragrant relics became the source of healing for many who were afflicted by physical and mental illnesses.

On March 27 a procession set off for Moscow with the relics. On Monday of the sixth week of Lent (April 5), the relics of Patriarch Job were brought to the Passions Monastery. From there, the procession proceeded to the Kremlin, and the relics of the saint were placed in the Dormition cathedral. A few days later, Patriarch Joseph died and was buried next to St Job.

St Job has long been revered as a worker of miracles. The Altar Crosses in the churches of the Staritsa monastery and the Tver cathedral contained particles of his holy relics.

St Job is commemorated on June 19, and also (in the Tver diocese) on the first Sunday after the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul.


Icon of the Mother of God of Kasperov

The Kasperov Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos. Tradition says that this holy icon had been brought to Cherson from Transylvania by a Serb at the end of the sixteenth century. Passing down from parent and child, the icon had come to a certain Mrs. Kasperova of Cherson in 1809.

One night in February of 1840 she was praying, seeking consolation in her many sorrows. Looking at the icon of the Virgin, she noticed that the features of the icon, darkened by age, had suddenly become bright. Soon the icon was glorified by many miracles, and people regarded it as wonder-working.

During the Crimean War (1853-1856), the icon was carried in procession through the city of Odessa, which was besieged by enemy forces. On Great and Holy Friday, the city was spared. Since that time, an Akathist has been served before the icon in the Dormition Cathedral of Odessa every Friday.

The icon is painted with oils on a canvas mounted on wood. The Mother of God holds Her Son on her left arm. The Child is holding a scroll. St John the Baptist (Janurary 7) is depicted on one border of the icon, and St Tatiana (January 12) on the other. These were probably the patron saints of the original owners of the icon.

The Kasperov Icon is commemorated on October 1, June 29, and Bright Wednesday.


Martyr Claudius

No information available at this time.


Martyr Evpomoni

No information available at this time.