Lives of all saints commemorated on May 6


Bright Monday

On Bright Monday the Church commemorates the Sweet-Kissing (Glykophilousa) Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos.

Like the Iveron Icon (March 31), the Sweet-Kissing Icon was also saved from the iconoclasts by a pious woman in the ninth century. It also traveled miraculously upon the sea, arriving at Mt. Athos, the “Garden of the Theotokos,” where it was honored by the monks.

A nobleman named Simeon was an iconoclast who shared the emperor Theophilus’s hatred for the holy icons. Simeon’s wife Victoria, on the other hand, venerated icons, especially a certain icon of the Mother of God before which she prayed each day. Simeon could not tolerate his wife’s piety, so he demanded that she give him the icon so he could burn it. Victoria threw the icon into the sea, hoping that it would be preserved through God’s providence.

Years later, the icon appeared on the shores of Mt. Athos near the monastery of Philotheou. The igumen and the brethren of the monastery retrieved the icon and placed it in the church, where it worked many miracles.

In 1830 a pilgrim came to the monastery from Adrianopolis. He listened to the history of the icon and the miracles associated with it, but regarded such things as childish fables. The monk who had related all this was surprised and grieved by the pilgrim’s disbelief, fearing that such doubts indicated an unhealthy spiritual state. He did all that he could to remove the pilgrim’s skepticism, but the man stubbornly adhered to his opinion.

The Mother of God, in her compassion, finally healed the pilgrim’s soul in a rather dramatic way. On the very day that he had his discussion with the monk, the pilgrim was walking on an upper balcony. Suddenly, he lost his footing and began to fall. In his distress he called out, “Most Holy Theotokos, help me!” The Mother of God heard him, and he landed on the ground completely unharmed.

The icon is one of the Eleusa (Tenderness) type. It is unusual in that it shows the Virgin kissing her Child. Christ raises His hand as if to repulse His mother’s caress.

Other Sweet-Kissing (Tenderness) icons are:

Lubyatov (March 19)

Novgorod (July 28)

Pskov (May 21, June 23, August 26, October 7)

Smolensk (March 19)

Sviatogorsk (July 17)

Yaroslavl (May 14)


Icon of the Mother of God of Mt. Athos, “Sweet Kissing”

Like the Panagia Portaitissa, the Glykophilousa Icon is one of those which were saved during the iconoclastic period and brought miraculously to Mount Athos. It originally belonged to Victoria, the devout wife of the senator Symeon. Victoria was one who venerated the holy icons, especially that of the Most Holy Theotokos, before which she prayed each day. Her husband was an iconoclast who found her piety offensive, for he, like Emperor Theophilos (r. 829-842), found the veneration of icons distasteful. Symeon told his wife to give him her icon so that he could burn it. In order to save the icon from being destroyed, she threw it into the sea, and it floated away standing upright on the waves. After a few years, the icon appeared on the shores of Mount Athos near the Monastery of Philotheou, where it was received with great honor and rejoicing by the Abbot and Fathers of the Monastery, who had been informed of its impending arrival through a revelation of the Theotokos.

A spring of holy water sprouted forth on the very spot where they placed the icon on the shore. Every year on Monday of Bright Week there is a procession and blessing of water. Numerous miracles have occurred.

Although there are many miracles of the Glykophilousa Icon, we will mention only a few. In 1713, the Mother of God answered the prayers of the devout Ecclesiarch Ioannikios, who complained about the poverty of the monastery. She assured him that she would provide for the material needs of the monastery.

Another miracle took place in 1801. A pilgrim, after seeing the precious offerings (tagmata) hanging from the icon, a certain pilgrim planned to steal them. He stayed in the Temple after the Ecclesiarch closed it. Then he stole the offerings and left for the port of Iveron Monastery. There he found a boat that was leaving for Ierissos. After a while the ship sailed, but despite the excellent weather, it remained stationary in the sea. When the Ecclesiarch saw what had happened, the abbot sent monks out in various directions. Two went to the port of Iveron and when they saw the immobile ship, they realized what happened. Getting into a boat they went to the ship came aboard. The guilty man who committed this fearful sacrilege asked for forgiveness. The monks were magnanimous and did not want the thief to be punished.

A pilgrim from Adrianopolis visited Philotheou Monastery in 1830. He listened attentively to a monk tell the story of the holy Icon and the miracles associated with it, but he regarded the account as a fictitious tale which only a child might believe. The monk was grieved at the man’s unbelief, and tried to persuade him that everything he had said was absolutely true. The unfortunate pilgrim remained unconvinced.

That very day, as the pilgrim was walking on an upper balcony, he slipped and began to fall. He cried out, “Most Holy Theotokos, help me!” The Mother of God heard him and came to his assistance. The pilgrim landed on the ground completely unharmed.

The Glykophilousa Icon belongs to the Eleousa (the Virgin of Tenderness) category of icons, where the Mother accepts the affection shown by the Child Christ. The icon is commemorated by the Church on March 27 and also on Bright Monday. The icon depicts the Theotokos inclining toward Christ, Who embraces her. She seems to be embracing Him more tightly than in other icons, and her expression is more affectionate.

The Icon is located on a pillar on the left side of the katholikon (main church).


Righteous Job the Long-Suffering

The righteous Job (whose name means “persecuted”), God’s faithful servant, was the perfect image of every virtue. The son of Zarah and Bossorha (Job 42), Job was a fifth-generation descendent of Abraham. He was a truthful, righteous, patient and pious man who abstained from every evil thing. Job was very rich and blessed by God in all things, as was no other son of Ausis (his country, which lay between Idoumea and Arabia). However, divine condescension permitted him to be tested.

Job lost his children, his wealth, his glory, and every consolation all at once. His entire body became a terrible wound covered with boils. Yet he remained steadfast and patient in the face of his misfortune for seven years, always giving thanks to God.

Later, God restored his former prosperity, and he had twice as much as before. Job lived for 170 years after his misfortune, completing his earthly life in 1350 B.C. at the age of 240. Some authorities say that Job’s afflictions lasted only one year, and that afterwards he lived for 140 years, reaching the age of 210.

Job’s explanations are among the most poetic writings in the Old Testament book which bears his name. It is one of the most edifying portions of Holy Scripture. Job teaches us that we must endure life’s adversities patiently and with trust in God. As St Anthony the Great (January 17) says, without temptations, it is impossible for the faithful to be saved.

The Orthodox Church reads the book of Job, the first of the seven wisdom books of the Old Testament, during Holy Week, drawing a parallel between Job and Christ as righteous men who suffered through no fault of their own. God allowed Satan to afflict Job so that his faithfulness would be proven. Christ, the only sinless one, suffered voluntarily for our sins. The Septuagint text of Job 42:17 says that Job “will rise again with those whom the Lord raises up.” This passage is read on Great and Holy Friday, when the composite Gospel at Vespers speaks of the tombs being opened at the moment the Savior died on the Cross, and the bodies of the saints were raised, and they appeared to many after Christ’s Resurrection (Mt.27:52)


Venerable Micah the Disciple of the Venerable Sergius of Radonezh

St Micah of Radonezh was one of the first disciples of St Sergius of Radonezh, and lived with him in the same cell, and under his guidance he attained a high degree of spiritual perfection. For his meekness of soul and purity of heart, St Micah was permitted to witness the appearance of the Mother of God to his great teacher. Once, after St Sergius had completed the morning Rule of prayer, sat down to rest for awhile, but suddenly he said to his disciple, “Be alert, my child, for we shall have a wondrous visitation.”

Hardly had he uttered these words when a voice was heard, “The All-Pure One draws near.” Suddenly there shone a light brighter than the sun. St Micah fell down upon the ground in fear, and lay there as if he were dead. When St Sergius lifted up his disciple, he asked, “Tell me, Father, what is the reason for this wondrous vision? My soul has nearly parted from my body from fright.” St Sergius then informed his disciple about the appearance of the Most Holy Theotokos.

St Micah fell asleep in the Lord in the year 1385.

St Micah’s relics rest in a crypt at the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra. On December 10, 1734, over St Micah’s tomb, a church was consecrated in honor of the Appearance of the Most Holy Theotokos and the Holy Apostles Peter and John the Theologian to St Sergius of Radonezh.


Martyr Barbarus the Soldier in Morea

The Holy Martyrs Barbarus the Soldier, Bacchus, Callimachus and Dionysius lived during the fourth century and served in the army of the emperor Julian the Apostate.

St Barbarus was secretly a Christian, and in a war with the Franks he gained victory in single combat against a mighty enemy soldier. For this he received great honor in the army and the acclamation of the emperor, and was given the title of comitus (imperial bodyguard).

After the victory over the Franks, Bacchus wanted to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods, and he deferred to Barbarus as the victor, allowing him to have the honor of making the first sacrificial offering.

St Barbarus openly confessed himself a Christian and refused to offer the sacrifice. He was subjected to much torture for this, by order of Julian the Apostate. They suspended the saint and tore his body until his insides were falling out. St Barbarus called out to the Lord for help, and then an angel of God appeared and healed his wounds, so that not a trace of them remained.

Seeing this miracle, the military commander Bacchus and two soldiers, Callimachus and Dionysius, believed in Christ and repudiated the pagan gods. For this, they were immediately beheaded. They continued to torture St Barbarus. They tied him to a wheel and lit a fire under it, and they sprinkled the body of the sufferer with oil. But here also the power of God preserved the holy martyr unharmed. The fire burned many of the torturers, however, killing two. After this they continued to torment the holy Martyr Barbarus for another seven days.

Through miraculous help from on high, the saint remained unharmed. Seeing in this miracle the manifest power of God, many pagans were converted to the true God. St Barbarus finally completed his glorious endeavor by being beheaded by the sword in the year 362. The martyr’s body was buried in the city of Methona in the Peloponnesus by the pious Bishop Philikios.


Martyr Bacchus in Morea

The Holy Martyrs Bacchus, Barbarus the Soldier, Callimachus and Dionysius lived during the fourth century and served in the army of the emperor Julian the Apostate.

When the military commander Bacchus and two soldiers, Callimachus and Dionysius, saw St Barbarus healed by an angel, they believed in Christ and repudiated the pagan gods. For this, they were immediately beheaded.


Martyr Callimachus in Morea

The Holy Martyrs Callimachus, Barbarus the Soldier, Bacchus, and Dionysius lived during the fourth century and served in the army of the emperor Julian the Apostate.

When the military commander Bacchus and two soldiers, Callimachus and Dionysius, saw St Barbarus healed by an angel, they believed in Christ and repudiated the pagan gods. For this, they were immediately beheaded.


Martyr Dionysius in Morea

The Holy Martyrs Dionysius, Barbarus the Soldier, Bacchus, Callimachus lived during the fourth century and served in the army of the emperor Julian the Apostate.

When the military commander Bacchus and two soldiers, Callimachus and Dionysius, saw St Barbarus healed by an angel, they believed in Christ and repudiated the pagan gods. For this, they were immediately beheaded.


Martyr Barbarus in Thessaly, who was a robber

The Holy Martyr Barbarus, formerly a robber, lived in Greece and for a long time he committed robberies, extortions and murders. But the Lord, Who does not desire the death of a sinner, turned him to repentance. Once, when Barbarus was sitting in a cave and gazing upon his stolen possessions, the grace of God touched his heart. He thought about the inevitability of death, and about the dread Last Judgment. Pondering over the multitude of his wicked deeds, he was distressed in his heart and he decided to make a beginning of repentance, saying, “The Lord did not despise the prayer of the robber hanging beside Him. May He spare me through His ineffable mercy.”

Barbarus left all his treasures behind in the cave and he went to the nearest church. He did not conceal his wicked deeds from the priest, and he asked to be accepted for repentance. The priest gave him a place in his own home, and St Barbarus followed him, going about on his hands and knees like a four-legged animal, since he considered himself unworthy to be called a man. In the household of the priest he lived with the cattle, eating with the animals and considering himself more wicked than any creature. Having received absolution from his sins from the priest, Barbarus went into the woods and lived there for twelve years, naked and without clothing, suffering from the cold and heat. His body became dirty and blackened all over.

Finally, St Barbarus received a sign from on high that his sins were forgiven, and that he would die a martyr’s death. Once, merchants came to the place where St Barbarus labored. In the deep grass before them they saw something moving. Thinking that this was an animal, they shot several arrows from their bows. Coming closer, they were terrified to see that they had mortally wounded a man. St Barbarus begged them not to grieve. He told them about himself and he asked that they relate what had happened to the priest at whose house he had once lived.

After this, St Barbarus yielded up his spirit to God. The priest, who had accepted the repentance of the former robber, found his body shining with a heavenly light. The priest buried the body of St Barbarus at the place where he was killed. Afterwards, a curative myrrh began to issue forth from the grave of the saint, which healed various maladies. His relics are located at the monastery of Kellios in Thessaly, near the city of Larissa.


Translation of the relics of St Sava, 1st Archbishop of Serbia

No information available at this time.


St Seraphim of Lebadeia

No information available at this time.