Lives of all saints commemorated on April 24


Martyr Sava Stratelates “the General” of Rome

Saint Sabbas Stratelates came from a Gothic tribe. For his bravery he attained the high rank of military commander or “stratelates,” and he served under the Roman emperor Aurelian (270-275).

From his youth, Sabbas was a Christian and he fervently followed the commands of Christ. He helped the needy, and visited Christians in prison. Because of his pure and virtuous life the saint received from the Lord the gift of wonderworking, healing the sick and casting out demons in the name of Christ.

When the emperor learned that St Sabbas was a Christian, he demanded that he apostasize. The martyr threw down his military belt and declared that he would not forsake his faith. They beat him, burned him with torches, and threw him into a cauldron with tar, but the martyr remained unharmed.

Looking on at his torments, seventy soldiers came to believe in Christ. They were beheaded by the sword. St Sabbas was thrown in prison. At midnight, while he was praying, Christ appeared to the martyr and shone on him the light of His Glory. The Savior bade him not to fear, but to stand firm. Encouraged, the Martyr Sabbas underwent new torture in the morning, and was drowned in a river in 272.


Martyred 70 Soldiers with Sabbas Stratelates of Rome

After witnessing the torments of St Sava Stratelates, seventy soldiers came to believe in Christ. They were beheaded by the sword in 272.


Venerable Sava the Recluse of the Kiev Far Caves

Saint Sava of the Caves lived in the Near Caves of the Kiev Caves monastery during the thirteenth century. In the manuscripts, in the “Book of the Saints,” and in the Canon of the Services to the Fathers of the Kiev Caves, he is called a wonderworker.

His memory is celebrated on April 24 because of his namesake, the Holy Martyr Sava Stratelates. The memory of St Sava is also celebrated on the Synaxis of the Monastic Fathers of the Near Caves (September 28), and on the Synaxis of all the Wonderworkers of the Kiev Caves (Second Sunday of Great Lent).


Venerable Alexius the Recluse of the Kiev Far Caves

Saint Alexius, Hermit of Caves, lived a life of asceticism in the Near Caves of the Kiev Caves monastery during the thirteenth century. His relics were uncovered after 1675. The memory of St Alexius is celebrated on April 24, because his relics rest beside the relics of St Sava of Caves. His memory is also celebrated on the Synaxis of the Monastic Fathers of the Near Caves (September 28) and on the Synaxis of all the Wonderworkers of the Kiev Caves (Second Sunday of Great Lent).


Martyr Pasikrates in Moesia, Bulgaria

The Martyrs Pasikrates and Valention came from the city of Durostorum, Silistria (now Bulgaria) and were soldiers under the governor Absolanus. Pasikrates was twenty-two years old, and Valention was thirty.

When a persecution against Christians began, Sts Pasikrates and Valention openly confessed their faith in Christ. At the trial Pasikrates spit at the idol of Apollo, and refused to offer sacrifice.

The brother of St Pasikrates wept and urged him merely to appear to offer sacrifice to the idols. The martyr placed his hand on the sacrifice in the fire and said, “The body is mortal and burns in the fire, the soul, however, is immortal and is not harmed by these torments.” St Valention also showed his readiness to suffer for Christ.

When they led the martyrs to execution, the mother of St Pasikrates followed them and exhorted her son not to fear death for Christ. Both martyrs were tortured and then beheaded in 288.


Martyr Valentine in Moesia, Bulgaria

The Martyrs Valentine and Pasikrates came from the city of Durostorum, Silistria (now Bulgaria) and were soldiers under the governor Absolanus. Pasikrates was twenty-two years old, and Valentine was thirty.

When a persecution against Christians began, Sts Pasikrates and Valentine openly confessed their faith in Christ. At the trial Pasikrates spit at the idol of Apollo, and refused to offer sacrifice.

The brother of St Pasikrates wept and urged him merely to appear to offer sacrifice to the idols. The martyr placed his hand on the sacrifice in the fire and said, “The body is mortal and burns in the fire, the soul, however, is immortal and is not harmed by these torments.” St Valentine also showed his readiness to suffer for Christ.

When they led the martyrs to execution, the mother of St Pasikrates followed them and exhorted her son not to fear death for Christ. Both martyrs were tortured and then beheaded in 288.


Martyr Eusebius and Others, at Nicomedia

The Martyrs Eusebius, Neon, Leontius, Longinus, and 40 Others were present at the sufferings of the Great Martyr George (April 23), through which they came to believe in Christ. They were then locked up in prison. After the execution of St George, the emperor Diocletian (284-305) issued an edict stating that all the prisoners were to offer sacrifice to the idols. The martyrs refused. They were beaten with iron rods, almost exposing their inner organs, and then their heads were cut off with a sword.


Martyr Neon and others, at Nicomedia

The Martyrs Neon, Eusebius, Leontius, Longinus, and 40 Others were present at the sufferings of the Great Martyr George (April 23), through which they came to believe in Christ. They were then locked up in prison. After the execution of St George, the emperor Diocletian (284-305) issued an edict stating that all the prisoners were to offer sacrifice to the idols. The martyrs refused. They were beaten with iron rods, almost exposing their inner organs, and then their heads were cut off with a sword.


Martyr Leontius and others at Nicomedia

The Martyrs Leontius, Eusebius, Neon, Longinus, and 40 Others were present at the sufferings of the Great Martyr George (April 23), through which they came to believe in Christ. They were then locked up in prison. After the execution of St George, the emperor Diocletian (284-305) issued an edict stating that all the prisoners were to offer sacrifice to the idols. The martyrs refused. They were beaten with iron rods, almost exposing their inner organs, and then their heads were cut off with a sword.


Martyr Longinus and others at Nicomedia

The Martyrs Longinus, Eusebius, Neon, Leontius, and 40 Others were present at the sufferings of the Great Martyr George (April 23), through which they came to believe in Christ. They were then locked up in prison. After the execution of St George, the emperor Diocletian (284-305) issued an edict stating that all the prisoners were to offer sacrifice to the idols. The martyrs refused. They were beaten with iron rods, almost exposing their inner organs, and then their heads were cut off with a sword.


Venerable Thomas the Fool of Syria

Saint Thomas the Fool-for-Christ was a monk in one of the monasteries in Caesarea of Cappadocia (Asia Minor). His obedience was to collect alms for the monastery. When the Blessed Thomas arrived in the city of Antioch, Syria he began his exploit of foolishness for the sake of Christ.

The steward of one of the churches, a certain Anastasius, became annoyed with the entreaties of St Thomas, and struck him on the cheek. Those present reproached Anastasius for his inappropriate manner of dealing with the fool, but St Thomas quieted them saying, “From this moment I shall accept nothing further from Anastasius, nor will Anastasius be able to give me anything further.” These words proved prophetic. Anastasius died the very next day, and the saint also died along the road to his monastery, at the church of St Euthymius in the suburb of Daphne. They buried him at a place set aside for the burial of strangers.

After a certain while they buried another stranger in the saint’s grave. After four hours the ground on the grave of the stranger was thrown aside. They again covered the grave, but in the morning the ground on the grave again lay open. They reburied the stranger in another place.

The same thing happened when they buried two women nearby. Everyone realized that St Thomas did not wish to have a woman buried over him. The occurrence was reported to Patriarch Domnus of Antioch (546-560). At his command the relics of St Thomas were transferred to Antioch and placed in a cemetery where the relics of many holy martyrs rested. A small church was built over these relics, from which many healings occurred.

Through the prayers of St Thomas a deadly plague ceased at Antioch. From that time the inhabitants began to honor the memory of St Thomas every year.


St Elizabeth the Wonderworker of Constantinople

Saint Elizabeth the Wonderworker was from Constantinople, and was chosen for the service of God at birth. It was revealed to her mother that the girl would become a chosen vessel of the Lord (Acts 9:15).

The parents sent their daughter to a monastery as a child. She grew up in an atmosphere of fasting and constant prayer, and received the gift of healing physical and spiritual infirmities.

The sisters chose her to be abbess of the Sts Cosmas and Damian Monastery. She wore a coarse hairshirt all year round. Her body was chilled in winter, but her spirit blazed with ardent love for God.

The saint’s asceticism was very strict. For many years she ate only grass and vegetables, but would not partake of bread, wine, or oil. Many times St Elizabeth ate nothing at all during the forty days of the Great Fast. Imitating the Publican in humility, for three years she did not lift up her eyes to the heavens, but she looked constantly to God with her spiritual eyes. At midnight prayers, the saint shone with a heavenly light.

St Elizabeth performed many miracles: a vicious serpent was killed by her prayer, she healed a woman with issue of blood who had been ill for many years, and she cast out unclean spirits from people. At her tomb many were healed of various illnesses, and the blind received their sight. Many were cured with just some earth from her grave.

We do not know exactly when St Elizabeth lived, but it was probably between the sixth and ninth centuries.


St Iorest Metropolitan of Ardeal, and the Confessor of Romania

Saint Iorest the Confessor was born into a peasant family of Transylvania, and received the name Elias in Baptism.

At an early age he entered the Puta Monastery and was tonsured with the name Iorest. He made great progress in the spiritual life, and was also a calligrapher and an iconographer. Because of his virtuous life, the igumen of the monastery recommended him to be ordained to the holy priesthood. St Iorest served in the altar with great compunction and fear of God, edifying others by his sermons.

In 1640, Prince Basil Lupu of Moldavia proposed St Iorest to succeed Metropolitan Gennadius of Ardeal, who had reposed. By God’s will, St Iorest was chosen to lead the church in Transylvania, and was installed as Metropolitan in 1641.

For three years the holy archpastor defended his flock from the snares of the devil, and from the false teachings of the Calvinists.He traveled throughout his diocese appointing priests, consecrating churches, and teaching the people.

St Iorest was thrown into prison in 1643 because of his zealous opposition to the activities of foreign missionaries who wished to convert the Orthodox faithful. For nine months he endured beatings and abuse, then he was released and ordered to pay a fine.

St Iorest returned to Moldavia in 1656-1657, and was appointed as Bishop of Hushi. Here too, he served the Church well, laboring for the salvation of the flock which God had entrusted to him. The Lord called St Iorest to himself on April 24, 1657.


St Sava Brancovici the Metropolitan of Ardeal, and the Confessor of Romania

Saint Sava was born into an old Serbian family from Hertzegovina who took refuge near Arad in Transylvania at the end of the sixteenth century. The future saint was born at Inau around 1620, and received the name Simeon in Baptism. His parents were named John and Maria.

At first he was tutored at home, then he traveled in Hungary, Serbia and Bulgaria. After visiting his uncle, Metropolitan Longinus, at the Comana Monastery south of Bucharest, he decided to stay there to complete his education. The Metropolitan tutored him in religious and secular subjects. After completing his studies, Simeon returned home and got married at the age of thirty. He was ordained to the holy priesthood, but his wife died soon after this. Not long afterward, his mother became a nun. Fr Simeon continued to serve in the Lord’s vineyard for ten years, converting many Moslems, and reconverting Christians who had embraced Islam..

In 1656, a council of clergy and laymen at Alba Iulia elected the widowed Fr Simeon as Metropolitan of Ardeal in Transylvania (western Romania). He traveled to the cathedral in Tirgovishte in Wallachia, and there he received monastic tonsure with the name Sava. On September 16, 1656 he was consecrated as a bishop by Metropolitan Stephen of Wallachia.

St Sava’s episcopal service was plagued by the missionary activities of Calvinists who tried to convert the Orthodox, and who were supported by the princes of Transylvania. In addition, frequent wars threatened the stability of the area during his first years as Metropolitan. The saint, however, proved to be a faithful defender of the Church.

In the face of these difficulties, St Sava set up a print shop and published service books, manuals of instruction for clergy and laity, and a catechism. He also preached sermons based on the writings of Fathers, and using the Lives of the Saints as models for his flock.

St Sava was driven from his See between 1660-1662 because of his labors to strengthen his flock in Orthodoxy. Although he returned to his duties and served without interruption until 1680, Metropolitan Sava was often harassed because of his refusal to cooperate with the prince and the Calvinists.

In 1668 Metropolitan Sava journeyed to Russia seeking help. This led to his persecution by Prince Michael Apaffi and Protestant leaders, who did not appreciate his fierce opposition to their attempts to convert the Orthodox of Transylvania to Calvinism. In February of 1669 the prince issued a decree imposing many duties and restrictions on him.

St Sava convened a council at Alba Iulia in 1675. Among other things, the council decided to celebrate the Liturgy in the Romanian language rather than Slavonic, and to improve the spiritual and moral life of the clergy and laity.

In 1680 the Calvinist Superintendent of Transylvania made false accusations against St Sava and had him put on trial and thrown into prison. This effectively ended his career. Old and sickly, the Metropolitan endured three years of cruel torture in the Blaj Castle prison. He was finally released through the efforts of Prince Sherban of Wallachia, but died of his injuries on April 24, 1683.

St Sava served as Metropolitan for almost twenty-five years under very trying circumstances. In spite of this, he defended his clergy and his flock against the activities of the proselytizers. Since he endured all things with Christian patience, even the bitter sufferings to which he was subjected at the end of his life, St Sava is regarded as a martyr and a Confessor of the Orthodox Faith.

St Sava was glorified by the Church of Romania on October 21, 1955.


Hieromartyr and Confessor Elijah (Ilie) the Wallachian

No information available at this time.


Icon of the Mother of God of Molcha

The Molcha Icon of the Mother of God appeared on September 18, 1405 in the Molcha swampland not far from Putivl. At first it was in the Molcha Sophroniev wilderness monastery, but it was transferred to the Putivl monastery on April 24, 1605.


Hieromartyr Branko (Dobrosavljevic) the Newmartyr

No information available at this time.


St Joseph the Confessor of Maramures

Saint Joseph was born in the seventeenth century, and was consecrated as a bishop in Moldavia (northern Romania in 1690 by Metropolitan Dositheus. This was a period of great trials and sufferings for the people of Maramures (in northern Romania) because the Roman Catholic authorities wanted to wipe out Orthodoxy in the region.

St Joseph was a zealous defender of the Orthodox Faith, and therefore he was jailed by the civil authorities. He died in 1711 after suffering for the truth and defending his flock.

St Joseph the Confessor was glorified by the Orthodox Church of Romania in 1992.


Hieromartyr Branko, parish priest of Veljusa

No information available at this time.