Lives of all saints commemorated on May 14


Day of Rejoicing

On Tuesday of St Thomas week we remember those Orthodox Christians from all ages who have died in faith, and in the hope of resurrection.

There are indications of this commemoration in the sermons of the Fathers of the Church. St John Chrysostom, for example, mentions it in his homily “On the Cemetery and the Cross.”

In pre-Revolutionary Russia bars remained closed and alcoholic beverages were not sold until this Day of Rejoicing so that the joy people felt would be because of the Resurrection, and not an artificial joy brought on by alcohol.

Today the Church remembers its faithful members at Liturgy, and kollyva is offered in remembrance of those who have fallen asleep. Priests visit cemeteries to bless the graves of Orthodox Christians, and to share the paschal joy with the departed. It is also customary to give alms to the poor on this day.


Martyr Isidore of Chios

No information available at this time.


Venerable Isidore the Fool-For-Christ and Wonderworker of Rostov

Saint Isidore Tverdislov (“Constant of Word”), Fool-for-Christ, Wonderworker of Rostov. He was born in Germany of rich parents. From his youth, he led “an unsullied life and had a compassionate understanding.” Leaving his parental home and “desiring the Kingdom of God,” St Isidore distributed his wealth to the poor. Taking up the staff of a wanderer, he visited many lands and cities.

It is not known where he accepted the holy Orthodox Faith, but he was raised in Catholicism. Finally, he arrived in Russia and decided to live in Rostov. Here St Isidore, “in filth and snow and rain and cold” and “enduring every outrage,” settled in a rickety wooden hut that he himself had made. He chose a foolish manner of life for the sake of Christ, which St Paul describes in his Epistle” (1 Cor.4:10-13).

St Isidore spent all his time at unceasing prayer, not allowing himself much sleep or rest. “He stood at all night vigil and praise” to dedicate his body “everlastingly to God.”

By day the blessed one made the rounds of the city, acting like a fool. “Like Job of old in his patience,” Blessed Isidore, while still alive, was “an earthly angel and a heavenly man,” “a compassionate soul, and pure of thought, and vigilant heart and faith unassailed, and true love without pretense.” During his life he received the grace to work miracles.

St Isidore reposed in the year 1474. They learned of his death only when passing by his hut they noticed a special fragrance. At the place of his burial in the city of Rostov the church of the Ascension of the Lord was built, in which his relics rest in a crypt as a source of miracles to the present day.

Blessed Isidore is termed “Tverdislov” [“Constant of Word”] since that he spoke constantly. [The title “Tverdislov” seems unique to St Isidore. This supplemental account of him is from Bulgakov’s NASTOLNAYA KNIGA (1900).]


St Nikita the Bishop of Novgorod and Recluse, of the Kiev Far Caves

Saint Nikita, Hermit of the Kiev Caves, Bishop of Novgorod (+1109): The memory of St Nikita was celebrated on May 14 at Novgorod, where his relics are located. The saint is also commemorated on January 31, the day of his repose, and on April 30, the day of the Uncovering of his Relics (1558).


Martyr Maximus

The Holy Martyr Maximus suffered under the emperor Decius (249-251). Maximus was a layman and a merchant. He was a devout Christian and he led many pagans to faith in Christ the Savior, and persuaded them to accept Baptism.

Once, when the pagans had gathered to offer a human sacrifice to their gods, St Maximus plucked up his courage, unable to bear the sight of such a spectacle, and rushed at them, loudly denouncing their impiety and error, calling the idols soulless creations of mankind. The frenzied pagans stoned the martyr to death.


Venerable Serapion of Egypt

Saint Serapion lived during the fifth century in Egypt. He was called the linen cloth-wearer (Sindonite) since he wore only a coarse linen garb called a “sindon.” From his youth the monk lived like the birds of the air, without a shelter.

For several days at a time he did not eat, not having the means to buy bread. He gave away his sindon to a beggar who was shivering from the cold, and he himself was naked.

A certain Greek philosopher, wishing to test the non-covetousness of the monk, gave him a gold coin and watched him. The saint went to the bakery, bought one loaf of bread, gave the merchant the gold coin and left, having no regard for the value of the money.

St Serapion led many on the way of salvation. Once, he was the servant of a Greek actor, whom he converted to Christ. The actor, imitating the example of the holy life of the saint, believed and was baptized together with all his family. He asked St Serapion to remain with him not as a servant, but as a guide and friend, but the monk went away, not taking any of the money offered him.

Traveling to Rome, St Serapion got on a ship, but paid nothing to the ship owners. At first they began to reproach him for this, but noticing that the Elder had gone five days already without eating, they began to feed him for the sake of God, and in this they fulfilled the command of the Lord.

At Rome, the saint continued to wander about, going from house to house, having nothing, accumulating only spiritual wealth for himself and for his neighbor.


St Leontius the Patriarch of Jerusalem

Saint Leontius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, according to St Gregory Palamas (Nov. 14), he was Patriarch from 1223-1261. His life was similarly described by Theodore, a monk of Constantinople.

This Life was translated from Greek into the Russian language in an abridged form. It was translated a second time more fully by St Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain (July 14), who says the death of the Patriarch actually occured in 1175.


First opening of the relics of St Tikhon of Zadonsk

The incorrupt relics of St Tikhon of Zadonsk were first uncovered in May 1846, during the construction of the new cathedral at Zadonsk. They were found beneath the altar of the old church.

St Tikhon is also commemorated on August 13.


Icon of the Mother of God “the Sweet-Kissing”

No information available at this time.


Icon of the Mother of God of Chelnsk and Pskov Caves

The Yaroslavl (Pechersk) Icon of the Mother of God: In the city of Yaroslavl the townswoman Alexandra Dobychkina suffered terribly for seventeen years from emotional and bodily illness. In 1823 she saw in a dream a church with an icon of the Mother of God. She decided to seek out the Yaroslavl temple and icon she had seen in the vision.

This church turned out to be the temple in honor of the Procession of the Venerable Wood of the Cross of the Lord (August 1), under the belltower of the archbishop’s residence. Entering the church, the afflicted Alexandra saw on the wall the depiction of the Kiev Caves Mother of God. Suddenly she had a powerful attack of fever, after which there was some relief at first, and later a full healing from the grievous illness. From that time, miraculous healings took place when people prayed to the Most Hoy Theotokos.


New Martyr Raiko (John) of Bulgaria

No information available at this time.


Hieromartyr Therapontus of Cyprus

No information available at this time.