Lives of all saints commemorated on May 16


Venerable Theodore the Sanctified, Disciple of the Venerable Pachomius the Great

Saint Theodore was called “Sanctified” because he was the first in his monastery ordained to the priesthood.

St Theodore came from Egypt and was the son of rich and illustrious Christian parents. The yearning for monastic life appeared early in him. Once there was a large party at the house of his parents during the feast of Theophany. The boy did not want to take part in the festivities, grieving that because of earthly joys he might be deprived of joys in the life to come. He secretly left home when he was fourteen and entered one of the monasteries.

Hearing about Pachomius the Great, he burned with the desire to see the ascetic. St Pachomius received the young man with love, having been informed by God beforehand about his coming. Remaining at the monastery, St Theodore quickly succeeded in all his monastic tasks, particularly in the full obedience to his guide, and in his compassion towards the other brethren. Theodore’s mother, learning that he was at the Tabennisi monastery, came to St Pachomius with a letter from the bishop, asking to see her son. St Theodore did not wish to break his vow to renounce the world, so he refused to meet with his mother.

Seeing St Theodore’s strength of mind and ability, St Pachomius once told him to instruct the brethren on Holy Scripture. St Theodore was then only twenty years old. He obeyed and began to speak, but some of the older brethren took offense that a new monk should teach them, and they departed. St Pachomius said to them, “You have given in to the devil and because of your conceit, your efforts will come to naught. You have not rejected Theodore, but rather the Word of God, and have deprived yourselves of the Holy Spirit.”

St Pachomius appointed St Theodore as overseer of the Tabennisi monastery, and withdrew to a more solitary monastery. St Theodore with filial love continued to concern himself over his instructor, and he looked after St Pachomius in his final illness, and when the great abba reposed in the Lord, he closed his eyes. After the death of St Pachomius, St Theodore directed the Tabennisi monastery, and later on he was at the head of all the Thebaid monasteries. St Theodore the Sanctified was famed for his holiness of life and a great gift of wonderworking, and he was well known to St Athanasius, Patriarch of Alexandria. St Theodore reposed in his old age in the year 368.


Translation of the relics of the Venerable Ephraim the Abbot of Perekop, Novgorod

The Transfer of the Relics of St Ephraim of Perekomsk occurred on May 16, 1545. This celebration was established at a Moscow Council of the year 1549. St Ephraim of Perekomsk reposed on September 26, 1492. The Life of the saint is found under September 26 .


Venerable Cassian the Abbot of Komel (Vologda)

St Cassian of Komel and Vologda was a disciple of St Cornelius of Komel (May 19) and he guided the Komel monastery after St Cornelius went to Lake Sura. Chosen by the brethren with the blessing of St Cornelius, he strove to imitate his teacher in everything, and he strictly observed his monastic Rule.

St Cassian instructed the monks in the fear of God to spend their time at prayer, to be concerned about inner activity, and to banish all worldly thoughts, to be sober in thought, to be vigilant in soul and contrite in heart (Chapter 1 of the Rule “On Church Decorum and Communal Prayer”).

Upon the return of St Cornelius to the monastery, St Cassian joyfully met his teacher, and resigned as igumen, wanting to remain in obedience to the holy Elder as before. St Cassian reposed in the year 1537.


Venerable Laurence the Abbot of Komel (Vologda)

Saint Laurence of Komel was a disciple of St Cornelius of Komel. In the year 1538, on the recommendation of St Cornelius, he was unanimously chosen by the brethren as igumen of the monastery, and he made use of the spiritual counsels and instructions of his teacher.

Learning of the approach of Tatars towards the monastery, and on the advice of St Cornelius, igumen Laurence led all the brethren away to a safe place. Later, when the danger had passed, the monks returned to the monastery.

Upon the repose of his teacher, St Laurence guided the holy monasteryfor ten years, devoting himself to its welfare. Seeing the zeal and the love for the Lord in St Laurence as head of the Korniliev monastery, the Elder Alexius placed the Koptevo monastery, which he directed, under the Korniliev monastery in 1547.

Even with his many cares, St Laurence did not forsake his beloved work of copying books. St Laurence reposed in the Lord on May 16, 1548.


St Alexander the Archbishop of Jerusalem

The Hieromartyr Alexander, Bishop of Jerusalem, was a disciple of the great teacher and writer of the Church, Clement of Alexandria. At the beginning of the third century he was chosen bishop of Flavia, Cappadocia. He was arrested during the reign of the emperor Septimus Severus (193-211) and spent three years in prison.

After his release from prison he went to Jerusalem to venerate the holy places, and was told to remain there through a divine revelation. In 212 he was chosen as coadministrator with the elderly Patriarch Narcissus, an unusually rare occurrence in the ancient Church. Following the death of St Narcissus (August 7), St Alexander succeeded him and governed the Church of Jerusalem for thirty-eight years, working for the enlightenment of Christians. He also established the first library of Christian theological works at Jerusalem.

St Alexander was arrested during the persecution of the Church under the emperor Decius (249-251). The holy martyr was sent to Cappadocia, where he suffered many tortures. He was condemned to be eaten by wild beasts, but they did not harm him. St Alexander was cast into prison, where he surrendered his soul to God in the year 251.

The hieromartyr Alexander is also commemorated on December 12.


Martyr Vitus at Lucania

The Holy Martyrs Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia suffered for Christ during the reign of Emperor Diocletian (284-305).

St Vitus was the son of an illustrious Sicilian dignitary, the pagan Gelas. Gelas tried to turn his son from Christianity, but failed. Paternal love then turned to hatred, and he decided to kill Vitus.

In order to save the boy, his tutor St Modestus and his governess St Crescentia, who were Christians, secretly took him from his parental home. They saw a boat at the river, and an angel entered the boat with them. They reached the Italian district of Lucanium, where the saints lived quietly, hiding from those who would persecute them. The holy youth continued to heal the sick and convert pagans to Christianity. His fame soon spread throughout the region.

Sts Vitus and Modestus went to present themselves before Diocletian, and were thrown into prison. Then the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to the prisoners, strengthening them for their contest. He helped them, and the fetters fell from their hands.

Ascribing the miracle to magic, Diocletian ordered that St Vitus be thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil. The saint stood in it as if in cool water, and remained unharmed. Then a fierce lion was set loose. The young man made the Sign of the Cross, and the beast laid at his feet and began to lick them. They tied the holy martyrs to pillars and began to scrape them with iron claws.

St Crescentia came out of the crowd of spectators, confessed herself a Christian and reproached the emperor for his cruelty. He also sentenced her to torture.

St Vitus called out to God, “O God, save us by Thy power and deliver us.” Then an earthquake struck, and many pagans perished beneath the collapsed buildings. Diocletian fled to his chambers in fear. An angel released the martyrs from the pillars and took them to Lucanium.

St Vitus prayed that God would accept their souls in peace and not deprive those who kept their memory of His benefaction. A Voice came from Heaven, “Thy prayer is heard.” Then the saints joyfully surrendered their souls to God.

The holy martyrs Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia suffered for Christ in the year 303. These saints are also commemorated on June 15.

The relics of Saint Vitus were transferred to Prague. The Holy Prince Vyacheslav (Wenceslaus) of the Czechs (September 28) built a church in honor of St Vitus, in which he was afterwards buried.


Martyr Modestus at Lucania

Saint Modestus suffered for Christ during the reign of Emperor Diocletian (284-305) with the holy martyrs Vitus and Crescentia.

The boy’s tutor St Modestus and his governess St Crescentia, who were Christians, secretly took him from his parental home. They found a boat at the river, and an angel entered the boat with them. They reached the Italian district of Lucanium, where the saints lived quietly, hiding from those who would persecute them. St Vitus continued to heal the sick and convert pagans to Christianity. His fame soon spread throughout the region.

Sts Vitus and Modestus were arrested and thrown into prison, then Diocletian had them tortured. St Crescentia came out of the crowd of spectators and confessed herself a Christian. She reproached the emperor for his cruelty, and he also sentenced her to torture.

St Vitus called out to God, “O God, save us by Thy power and deliver us.” Then an earthquake struck, and many pagans perished beneath the collapsed buildings. Diocletian fled to his chambers in fear. An angel released the martyrs from the pillars and took them to Lucanium.

St Vitus prayed that God would accept their souls in peace and not deprive those who kept their memory of His benefaction. A Voice came from Heaven, “Thy prayer is heard.” Then the saints joyfully surrendered their souls to God.

The holy martyrs Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia suffered for Christ in the year 303. These saints are also commemorated on June 15.


Martyr Crescentia at Lucania

Saint Crescentia suffered for Christ during the reign of Emperor Diocletian (284-305) with the holy martyrs Vitus and Modestus. She was the governess of St Vitus, and tried to save the boy when his father wanted to kill him because he would not abandon his faith in Christ.

St Crescentia and the boy’s tutor St Modestus, who were Christians, secretly took him from his parental home. They found a boat at the river, and an angel entered the boat with them. They reached the Italian district of Lucanium, where the saints lived quietly, hiding from those who would persecute them. The holy youth continued to heal the sick and convert pagans to Christianity. His fame soon spread throughout the region.

Sts Vitus and Modestus were arrested and thrown into prison, then Diocletian had them tortured. St Crescentia came out of the crowd of spectators and confessed herself a Christian. She reproached the emperor for his cruelty, and he also sentenced her to torture.

St Vitus called out to God, “O God, save us by Thy power and deliver us.” Then an earthquake struck, and many pagans perished beneath the collapsed buildings. Diocletian fled to his chambers in fear. An angel released the martyrs from the pillars and took them to Lucanium.

St Vitus prayed that God would accept their souls in peace and not deprive those who kept their memory of His benefaction. A Voice came from Heaven, “Thy prayer is heard.” Then the saints joyfully surrendered their souls to God.

The holy martyrs Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia suffered for Christ in the year 303. These saints are also commemorated on June 15.


Blessed Child Musa of Rome

Saint Musa lived during the fifth century. She was distinguished for her pure life. St Gregory Dialogus included her story in his DIALOGUES, saying that he had heard these things from Musa’s brother Probus.

The Most Holy Theotokos once appeared to Musa in a dream, surrounded by girls dressed in white. She asked her, “Do you wish to live together with these maidens in my court?”

“Yes, I do,” the girl replied.

“Do not do anything silly, as little girls often do. Avoid frivolity and joking. In thirty days I shall come for you and you will be with us.”

From that moment, Musa’s character was changed. She began to pray earnestly and lived a strict life. In answer to the questions of her astonished parents, St Musa told them about the vision.

On the twenty-fifth day the maiden developed a fever, and on the thirtieth day she again saw the Mother of God coming to her with the same girls as before. The blessed child reposed with the words, “I am coming, I am coming to you, my Lady!”

St Musa departed this earthly life and was gathered into the heavenly Kingdom, where she glorifies the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit unto ages of ages.


St George the Bishop of Mitylene

Saint George was made Bishop of Mytilene in the years 820-829, during the Iconoclast controversy. He died in 842 at Mytilene. In the twelfth century his holy relics were seen by the Russian igumen Daniel, who was journeying through the East and recording what he saw on his journey.


Venerable Priestmartyrs of St Sava Lavra

Forty-four monks of the St Sava Lavra received the unfading crown of martyrdom about 614, during the reign of the emperor Heraclius.

The monastery was attacked by Arabs in search of plunder. When they were unable to find the treasure they expected, they became angry and murdered the defenseless Fathers. Some were beheaded, while others were hacked to pieces.

St Antiochus (December 24) has preserved an account of the martyrs in his “107th Homily.” Dositheus also mentions them in his DODEKABIBLOS.

The saints commemorated today should not be confused with other martyrs of the St Sava Lavra, who suffered in 796 (March 20). The two dates reflect separate attacks on the monastery at different times. History tells us that barbarians raided the St Sava Lavra on several occasions.


Venerable Monkmartyrs of St Sava Lavra

Forty-four monks of the St Sava Lavra received the unfading crown of martyrdom about 614, during the reign of the emperor Heraclius (610-641).

The monastery was attacked by Arabs in search of plunder. When they were unable to find the treasure they expected, they became angry and murdered the defenseless Fathers. Some were beheaded, while others were hacked to pieces.

St Antiochus (December 24) has preserved an account of the martyrs in his “107th Homily.” Dositheus also mentions them in his DODEKABIBLOS.

The saints commemorated today should not be confused with other martyrs of the St Sava Lavra, who suffered in 796 (March 20). The two dates reflect separate attacks on the monastery at different times. History tells us that barbarians raided the St Sava Lavra on several occasions.


St Theodore of Vrsac, Serbia

No information available at this time.


New Martyr Vukasin of Klepci, Serbia

No information available at this time.


St Vukasin the Martyr

No information available at this time.