Lives of all saints commemorated on June 13


The Ascension of our Lord

“AND ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN....”

V. Rev. George Florovsky, D.D.

“I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and to My God, and Your God” (John 20:17).

In these words the Risen Christ described to Mary Magdalene the mystery of His Resurrection. She had to carry this mysterious message to His disciples, “as they mourned and wept” (Mark 16:10). The disciples listened to these glad tidings with fear and amazement, with doubt and mistrust. It was not Thomas alone who doubted among the Eleven. On the contrary, it appears that only one of the Eleven did not doubt—St John, the disciple “whom Jesus loved.” He alone grasped the mystery of the empty tomb at once: “and he saw, and believed” (John 20:8). Even Peter left the sepulcher in amazement, “wondering at that which was come to pass” (Luke 24:12).

The disciples did not expect the Resurrection. The women did not, either. They were quite certain that Jesus was dead and rested in the grave, and they went to the place “where He was laid,” with the spices they had prepared, “that they might come and anoint Him.” They had but one thought: “Who shall roll away the stone from the door of the sepulcher for us?” (Mark 16:1-3; Luke 24:1). And therefore, on not finding the body, Mary Magdalene was sorrowful and complained: “They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him” (John 20:13). On hearing the good news from the angel, the women fled from the sepulchre in fear and trembling: “Neither said they anything to any man, for they were afraid” (Mark 16:8). And when they spoke no one believed them, in the same way as no one had believed Mary, who saw the Lord, or the disciples as they walked on their way into the country, (Mark 16:13), and who recognized Him in the breaking of bread. “And afterward He appeared unto the Eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them who had seen Him after He was risen” (Mark 16:10-14).

From whence comes this “hardness of heart” and hesitation? Why were their eyes so “holden,” why were the disciples so much afraid of the news, and why did the Easter joy so slowly, and with such difficulty, enter the Apostles’ hearts? Did not they, who were with Him from the beginning, “from the baptism of John,” see all the signs of power which He performed before the face of the whole people? The lame walked, the blind saw, the dead were raised, and all infirmities were healed. Did they not behold, only a week earlier, how He raised by His word Lazarus from the dead, who had already been in the grave for four days? Why then was it so strange to them that the Master had arisen Himself? How was it that they came to forget that which the Lord used to tell them on many occasions, that after suffering and death He would arise on the third day?

The mystery of the Apostles’ “unbelief” is partly disclosed in the narrative of the Gospel: “But we trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel,” with disillusionment and complaint said the two disciples to their mysterious Companion on the way to Emmaus (Luke 24:21). They meant: He was betrayed, condemned to death and crucified. The news of the Resurrection brought by the women only “astonished” them. They still wait for an earthly triumph, for an exernal victory. The same temptation possesses their hearts, which first prevented them from accepting “the preaching of the Cross” and made them argue every time the Saviour tried to reveal His mystery to them. “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” (Luke 24:26). It was still difficult to understand this.

He had the power to arise, why did He allow what that had happened to take place at all? Why did He take upon Himself disgrace, blasphemy and wounds? In the eyes of all Jerusalem, amidst the vast crowds assembled for the Great Feast, He was condemned and suffered a shameful death. And now He enters not into the Holy City, neither to the people which beheld His shame and death, nor to the High Priests and elders, nor to Pilate—so that He might make their crime obvious and smite their pride. Instead, He sends His disciples away to remote Galilee and appears to them there. Even much earlier the disciples wondered, “How is it that Thou wilt manifest Thyself unto us, and not unto the world?” (John 14:22). Their wonder continues, and even on the day of His glorious Ascension the Apostles question the Lord, “Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). They still did not comprehend the meaning of His Resurrection, they did not understand what it meant that He was “ascending” to the Father. Their eyes were opened but later, when “the promise of the Father” had been fulfilled.

In the Ascension resides the meaning and the fullness of Christ’s Resurrection.

The Lord did not rise in order to return again to the fleshly order of life, so as to live again and commune with the disciples and the multitudes by means of preaching and miracles. Now he does not even stay with them, but only “appears” to them during the forty days, from time to time, and always in a miraculous and mysterious manner. “He was not always with them now, as He was before the Resurrection,” comments St John Chrysostom. “He came and again disappeared, thus leading them on to higher conceptions. He no longer permitted them to continue in their former relationship toward Him, but took effectual measures to secure these two objects: That the fact of His Resurrection should be believed, and that He Himself should be ever after apprehended to be greater than man.” There was something new and unusual in His person (cf. John 21:1-14). As St John Chrysostom says, “It was not an open presence, but a certain testimony of the fact that He was present.” That is why the disciples were confused and frightened. Christ arose not in the same way as those who were restored to life before Him. Theirs was a resurrection for a time, and they returned to life in the same body, which was subject to death and corruption—returned to the previous mode of life. But Christ arose for ever, unto eternity. He arose in a body of glory, immortal and incorruptible. He arose, never to die, for “He clothed the mortal in the splendor of incorruption.” His glorified Body was already exempt from the fleshly order of existence. “It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body” (I Cor. 15:42-44). This mysterious transformation of human bodies, of which St Paul was speaking in the case of our Lord, had been accomplished in three days. Christ’s work on earth was accomplished. He had suffered, was dead and buried, and now rose to a higher mode of existence. By His Resurrection He abolished and destroyed death, abolished the law of corruption, “and raised with Himself the whole race of Adam.” Christ has risen, and now “no dead are left in the grave” (cf. The Easter Sermon of St John Chrysostom). And now He ascends to the Father, yet He does not “go away,” but abides with the faithful for ever (cf. The Kontakion of Ascension). For He raises the very earth with Him to heaven, and even higher than any heaven. God’s power, in the phrase of St John Chrysostom, “manifests itself not only in the Resurrection, but in something much stronger.” For “He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19).

And with Christ, man’s nature ascends also.

“We who seemed unworthy of the earth, are now raised to heaven,” says St John Chrysostom. “We who were unworthy of earthly dominion have been raised to the Kingdom on high, have ascended higher than heaven, have came to occupy the King’s throne, and the same nature from which the angels guarded Paradise, stopped not until it ascended to the throne of the Lord.” By His Ascension the Lord not only opened to man the entrance to heaven, not only appeared before the face of God on our behalf and for our sake, but likewise “transferred man” to the high places. “He honored them He loved by putting them close to the Father.” God quickened and raised us together with Christ, as St Paul says, “and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephes. 2:6). Heaven received the inhabitants of the earth. “The First fruits of them that slept” sits now on high, and in Him all creation is summed up and bound together. “The earth rejoices in mystery, and the heavens are filled with joy.”

“The terrible ascent....” Terror-stricken and trembling stand the angelic hosts, contemplating the Ascension of Christ. And trembling they ask each other, “What is this vision? One who is man in appearance ascends in His body higher than the heavens, as God.”

Thus the Office for the Feast of the Ascension depicts the mystery in a poetical language. As on the day of Christ’s Nativity the earth was astonished on beholding God in the flesh, so now the Heavens do tremble and cry out. “The Lord of Hosts, Who reigns over all, Who is Himself the head of all, Who is preeminent in all things, Who has reinstated creation in its former order—He is the King of Glory.” And the heavenly doors are opened: “Open, Oh heavenly gates, and receive God in the flesh.” It is an open allusion to Psalms 24:7-10, now prophetically interpreted. “Lift up your heads, Oh ye gates, and be lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty....” St Chrysostom says, “Now the angels have received that for which they have long waited, the archangels see that for which they have long thirsted. They have seen our nature shining on the King’s throne, glistening with glory and eternal beauty.... Therefore they descend in order to see the unusual and marvelous vision: Man appearing in heaven.”

The Ascension is the token of Pentecost, the sign of its coming, “The Lord has ascended to heaven and will send the Comforter to the world”

For the Holy Spirit was not yet in the world, until Jesus was glorified. And the Lord Himself told the disciples, “If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you” (John 16:7). The gifts of the Spirit are “gifts of reconciliation,” a seal of an accomplished salvation and of the ultimate reunion of the world with God. And this was accomplished only in the Ascension. “And one saw miracles follow miracles,” says St John Chrysostom, “ten days prior to this our nature ascended to the King’s throne, while today the Holy Ghost has descended on to our nature.” The joy of the Ascension lies in the promise of the Spirit. “Thou didst give joy to Thy disciples by a promise of the Holy Spirit.” The victory of Christ is wrought in us by the power of the Holy Spirit.

“On high is His body, here below with us is His Spirit. And so we have His token on high, that is His body, which He received from us, and here below we have His Spirit with us. Heaven received the Holy Body, and the earth accepted the Holy Spirit. Christ came and sent the Spirit. He ascended, and with Him our body ascended also” St John Chrysostom). The revelation of the Holy Trinity was completed. Now the Spirit Comforter is poured forth on all flesh. “Hence comes foreknowledge of the future, understanding of mysteries, apprehension of what is hidden, distribution of good gifts, the heavenly citizenship, a place in the chorus of angels, joy without end, abiding in God, the being made like to God, and, highest of all, the being made God!” (St Basil, On the Holy Spirit, IX). Beginning with the Apostles, and through communion with them—by an unbroken succession—Grace is spread to all believers. Through renewal and glorification in the Ascended Christ, man’s nature became receptive of the spirit. “And unto the world He gives quickening forces through His human body,” says Bishop Theophanes. “He holds it completely in Himself and penetrates it with His strength, out of Himself; and He likewise draws the angels to Himself through the spirit of man, giving them space for action and thus making them blessed.” All this is done through the Church, which is “the Body of Christ;” that is, His “fullness” (Ephesians 1:23). “The Church is the fulfillment of Christ,” continues Bishop Theophanes, “perhaps in the same way as the tree is the fulfillment of the seed. That which is contained in the seed in a contracted form receives its development in the tree.”

The very existence of the Church is the fruit of the Ascension. It is in the Church that man’s nature is truly ascended to the Divine heights. “And gave Him to be Head over all things” (Ephesians 1:22). St John Chrysostom comments: “Amazing! Look again, whither He has raised the Church. As though He were lifting it up by some engine, He has raised it up to a vast height, and set it on yonder throne; for where the Head is, there is the body also. There is no interval of separation between the Head and the body; for were there a separation, then would the one no longer be a body, nor would the other any longer be a Head.” The whole race of men is to follow Christ, even in His ultimate exaltation, “to follow in His train.” Within the Church, through an acquisition of the Spirit in the fellowship of Sacraments, the Ascension continues still, and will continue until the measure is full. “Only then shall the Head be filled up, when the body is rendered perfect, when we are knit together and united,” concludes St John Chrysostom.

The Ascension is a sign and token of the Second Coming. “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

The mystery of God’s Providence will be accomplished in the Return of the Risen Lord. In the fulfillment of time, Christ’s kingly power will be revealed and spread over the whole of faithful mankind. Christ bequeathes the Kingdom to the whole of the faithful. “And I appoint unto you a Kingdom as My Father has appointed unto me. That ye may eat and drink at My table in My Kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:29-30). Those who followed Him faithfully will sit with Him on their thrones on the day of His coming. “To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne” (Rev. 3:21). Salvation will be consummated in the Glory. “Conceive to yourself the throne, the royal throne, conceive the immensity of the privilege. This, at least if we chose, might more avail to startle us, yea, even than hell itself” (St John Chrysostom).

We should tremble more at the thought of that abundant Glory which is appointed unto the redeemed, than at the thought of the eternal darkness. “Think near Whom Thy Head is seated....” Or rather, Who is the Head. In very truth, “wondrous and terrible is Thy divine ascension from the mountain, O Giver of Life.” A terrible and wondrous height is the King’s throne. In face of this height all flesh stands silent, in awe and trembling. “He has Himself descended to the lowest depths of humiliation, and raised up man to the height of exaltation.”

What then should we do? “If thou art the body of Christ, bear the Cross, for He bore it” (St John Chrysostom).

“With the power of Thy Cross, Oh Christ, establish my thoughts, so that I may sing and glorify Thy saving Ascension.”

Originally published in St Vladimir’s Seminary Quarterly, Vol. 2 # 3, 1954.

Used with permission.


Martyr Aquilina of Byblos in Syria

The Holy Martyr Aquilina, a native of the Phoenician city of Byblos, suffered under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). Her parents raised her in Christian piety. When the girl was only twelve years old, she persuaded a pagan friend to convert to Christ. One of the servants of the imperial governor Volusian accused her of teaching others not to follow the religion of their fathers. The girl firmly confessed her faith in Christ before the governor and said that she would not renounce Him. Volusian tried to influence the young confessor through persuasion and by flattery, but seeing her confidence, he ordered her to be tortured.

They struck her upon the face, then they stripped her and beat her with whips. The torturer asked, “Where then is your God? Let Him come and take you out of my hands”.

The saint answered, “The Lord is here with me invisibly, and the more I suffer, the more strength and endurance will He give me.”

They drilled through the martyr’s ears with heated metal rods. The holy virgin fell down as if dead. The torturer thought that the girl had actually died, and he gave orders to throw her body outside the city to be eaten by dogs.

By night a holy angel appeared to St Aquilina, roused her and said, “Arise and be healed. Go and denounce Volusian, so that he and his plans may come to nothing.”

The martyr went to the court of the governor and stood before Volusian. Seeing St Aquilina, he called for his servants and ordered them to keep watch over her until morning.

In the morning he sentenced St Aquilina to death, saying that she was a sorceress who did not obey the imperial decrees. When they led the saint to execution, she prayed and gave thanks to God for allowing her to suffer for His Holy Name.

A voice was heard in answer to her prayer, summoning her to the heavenly Kingdom. Before the executioner could carry out the sentence, the martyr gave up her spirit to God (+ 293). The executioner feared to disobey the governor’s orders, so he cut off her head although she was already dead.

Christians piously buried the martyr’s body. Later, her relics were taken to Constantinople and placed in a church named for her.


St Triphyllius the Bishop of Leucosia (Nicosia) in Cyprus

Saint Tryphillius, Bishop of Leukosia, was born in Constantinople, and he received his education at Berit (Beirut, in Lebanon). He was very intelligent and eloquent. In spite of this, the saint chose as his guide a man neither bookish nor learned, but one of conspicuous holiness: St Spyridon of Tremithos (December 12).

The emperor Constantine II (337-340) fell grievously ill, and receiving no help from the doctors, he turned to God. In a dream he saw an angel, directing him to a group of hierarchs. Pointing out two of them, the angel said that only through them could he receive healing.

Constantine issued an imperial edict, commanding the bishops to assemble. St Spyridon also received this order, and went to the emperor with his disciple St Tryphillius. The sick one immediately recognized them as the healers indicated by the angel. He bowed to them and asked them to pray for his health. St Spyridon with a prayer touched the head of the emperor, and he became well.

St Tryphillius was charmed by the beautiful palace, the majestic figure of the emperor, and the pomp of palace life. St Spyridon said, “Why are you astonished? Does all this make the emperor any more righteous? All of them, emperors and dignitaries alike, will die and stand together with the very poorest before the judgment seat of God. One should seek eternal blessings and heavenly glory.”

Soon St Tryphillius was made Bishop of Leukosia on Cyprus. He often visited with St Spyridon. Once, they passed through an area of vineyards and gardens of special beauty and abundance, named Parimnos. St Tryphillius, attracted by the beauty of nature, considered how they might explore this land. St Spyridon discerned the thoughts of St Tryphillius and said, “Why do you always think about earthly and transitory blessings? Our habitation and riches are in Heaven, for which we ought to strive.” Thus did St Spyridon lead his disciple toward spiritual perfection, which St Tryphillius attained through the prayers of his instructor. St Tryphillius had a charitable soul, a heart without malice, right faith and love towards all, and many other virtues.

Once, a Council of bishops assembled on Cyprus. The Fathers of the Council requested that St Tryphillius, known for his erudition and eloquence, address the people. Speaking about the healing of the paralytic by the Lord (Mark 2:11). in place of the word “cot” he used the word “bed”. Impatient with the imprecise rendering of the Gospel text, St Spyridon said to St Tryphillius, “Are you better than He who said “cot”, that you should be ashamed of His wording?” and abruptly he left the church.

In this way St Spyridon gave St Tryphillius a lesson in humility, so that he would not become proud of his own eloquence. St Tryphillius wisely shepherded his flock. From the inheritance left him by his mother, he built a monastery at Leukosia. The saint died in old age in about the year 370.

The Russian pilgrim Igumen Daniel saw the relics of St Tryphillius on Cyprus at the beginning of the twelfth century.


Venerable Andronicus the Abbot of Moscow and Disciple of the Venerable Sergius of Radonezh

Saint Andronicus was born in Rostov, and was a disciple of St Sergius of Radonezh (September 25), and received the monastic tonsure from him. Adorned with every virtue, St Andronicus lived at Holy Trinity Monastery for many years.

One day, the holy Metropolitan Alexis (February 12) visited the monastery to speak with St Sergius about founding a monastery in fulfillment of a vow he had made when he was saved from shipwreck. St Alexis wished to establish a cenobitic monastery dedicated to the Icon of Christ Not-Made-By Hands (August 16), and he wanted St Andronicus to become the igumen. St Sergius agreed to this proposal, and the monastery was completed between 1358-1361.

St Andronicus governed the monastery for many years, attracting many monks to that place. Among the notable monks of that monastery was St Andrew Rublev (July 4).

St Andronicus fell asleep in the Lord in 1395, and was succeeded as igumen by his disciple St Sava of Moscow.


Venerable Sava the Abbot of Moscow

Saint Sava of Moscow succeeded St Andronicus as the igumen of the monastery of the Savior, dedicated to the Icon of Christ Not-Made-By Hands (August 16) in 1395. He died in 1410.


Martyr Antonina of Nicea

The Holy Martyr Antonina suffered during the third century under Diocletian (284-305) in the city of Nicea. They tortured her in various ways: they burned her with fire, they put her on a red-hot plate, they bored into her hands and feet with red-hot rods and they threw her in prison, where she languished for two days.

These torments did not break St Antonina’s spirit, and to her very death she confessed her faith in Christ. The threw the holy martyr into the sea.


St Anna and Her Son of Constantinople

Saint Anna and her son St John lived in the ninth century. St Anna was the daughter of a deacon of the Blachernae church in Constantinople. After the death of her husband, she dressed in men’s clothing and called herself Euthymianus. She and her son St John lived in asceticism in one of the Bythinian monasteries near Olympus.

St Anna died in Constantinople in 826. Her memory is also celebrated on October 29.

Today we also commemorate 10,000 Martyrs, beheaded by the sword for Christ. The year of their death is not known.


St John of Constantinople

Saint Anna and her son St John lived in the ninth century. St Anna was the daughter of a deacon of the Blachernae church in Constantinople. After the death of her husband, she dressed in men’s clothing and called herself Euthymianus. She and her son St John lived in asceticism in one of the Bythinian monasteries near Olympus.

St Anna died in Constantinople in 826. Her memory is also celebrated on October 29.

Today we also commemorate 10,000 Martyrs, beheaded by the sword for Christ. The year of their death is not known.


St James the Ascetic

Saint James had such love for Christ, and so little regard for the things of this world, that he liquidated his entire estate and gave the proceeds to the poor without spending any of the money on himself. Later, he fell into a demonic temptation and became very proud. He would say, “Who knows better than I do, concerning my own salvation?” Following his own self will and personal preferences, he lived in solitude and undertook difficult struggles without first seeking the advice of wise and experienced ascetics.

Once a demon appeared to him in the guise of an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). He told James that Christ was very pleased by his labors, and would come that night to reward him. “Clean your cell,” he said, “and make ready by lighting the lamps and burning incense.”

The foolish James, in his delusion, accepted all of this without question. When the Antichrist came at midnight, James opened his door and fell down in worship before him. The devil struck him on the head, then vanished.

James awoke at dawn and went to visit a certain Elder to tell him what had happened. Before James could speak a single word, the Elder said, “You must leave this place, for you have been deceived by Satan.”

James was heartbroken and wept bitter tears. The Elder also advised him to go to a cenobitic monastery, which he did. There he fulfilled his obedience in the trapeza with great humility. Then for seven years he sat in his cell working at some handicraft, and fulfilling his Rule of prayer.

St James acquired the gift of discernment, learned the straight and narrow path of God, and became a great wonderworker. He completed the course of his life in peace.


St Antipatros, Bishop of Bostra in Arabia

No information available at this time.


St Anthimus, Bishop of Georgia

Saint Anthimus of Iberia was one of the most highly educated people of his time. He was fluent in many languages, including Greek, Romanian, Old Slavonic, Arabic, and Turkish and well-versed in theology, literature, and the natural sciences. He was unusually gifted in the fine arts—in painting, engraving, and sculpture in particular. He was famed for his beautiful calligraphy. Finally, St. Anthimus was a great writer, a renowned orator, and a reformer of the written Romanian language.

Little is known about the youth of St. Anthimus. He was a native of the Samtskhe region in southern Georgia. His parents, John and Mariam, gave him the name Andria at Baptism. He accompanied King Archil to Russia and helped him to found a Georgian print shop there, but after he returned he was captured by Dagestani robbers and sold into slavery. Through the efforts of Patriarch Dositheus of Jerusalem, Anthimus was finally set free, but he remained in the patriarch’s service in order to further his spiritual education.

Already famed for his paintings, engravings, and calligraphy, Anthimus was asked by Prince Constantine Brincoveanu (1688-1714) of Wallachia (present-day Romania) to travel to his kingdom around the year 1691. After he had arrived inWallachia, he began to manage a local print shop. The printing industry in that country advanced tremendously at that time, and the chief inspiration and driving force behind the great advances was the Georgian master Anthimus. He succeeded in making Wallachia a center of Christianity and a major publisher of books for all the East.

In 1694 Anthimus was enthroned as abbot of Snagov Monastery (in present-day Romania), where he soon founded a print shop. In the same year his new print shop published Guidelines for the Divine Services on May 21, All Saints’ Day. The book was signed by Subdeacon Michael Ishtvanovich, future founder of the first Georgian print shop.

In 1705 Anthimus, “the chosen among chosen abbots of Wallachia,” was consecrated bishop of Rimnicu Vilcea, and in 1708 he was appointed metropolitan of Hungro-Wallachia. The whole country celebrated his elevation. As one abbot proclaimed: “The divine Anthimus, a great man and son of the wise Iberian nation, has come to Wallachia and enlightened our land. God has granted him an inexhaustible source of wisdom, entrusted him to accomplish great endeavors, and helped to advance our nation by establishing for us a great printing industry.”

Under the direct leadership of St. Anthimus, more than twenty churches and monasteries were erected in Wallachia. Of particular significance is All Saints’ Monastery, located in the center of Bucharest. The main gates of this monastery were made of oak and carved with traditional Georgian motifs by St. Anthimus himself. The metropolitan also established rules for the monastery and declared its independence from the Church of Constantinople.

From the day of his consecration, Metropolitan Anthimus fought tirelessly for the liberation of Wallachia from foreign oppressors. On the day he was ordained he addressed his flock: “You have defended the Christian Faith in purity and without fault. Nevertheless, you are surrounded and tightly bound by the violence of other nations. You endure countless deprivations and tribulations from those who dominate this world.... Though I am unworthy and am indeed younger than many of you—like David, I am the youngest among my brothers— the Lord God has anointed me to be your shepherd. Thus I will share in your future trials and griefs and partake in the lot that God has appointed for you.”

His words were prophetic: In 1714 the Turks executed the Wallachian prince Constantine Brincoveanu, and in 1716 they executed Stefan Cantacuzino (1714-1716), the last prince of Wallachia.

In his place they appointed the Phanariote (a member of one of the principal Greek families of the Phanar, the Greek quarter of Constantinople, who, as administrators in the civil bureaucracy, exercised great influence in the Ottoman Empire after the Turkish conquest.) Nicholas Mavrokordatos, who concerned himself only with the interests of the Ottoman Empire.

During this difficult time, Anthimus of Iberia gathered around him a group of loyal boyar patriots determined to liberate their country from Turkish and Phanariote domination. But Nicholas Mavrokordatos became suspicious, and he ordered Anthimus to resign as metropolitan. When Anthimus failed to do so, he filed a complaint with Patriarch Jeremiah of Constantinople.

Then a council of bishops, which did not include a single Romanian clergyman, condemned the “conspirator and instigator of revolutionary activity” to anathema and excommunication and declared him unworthy to be called a monk. But Nicholas Mavrokordatos was still unsatisfied and claimed that to deny Anthimus the title of Metropolitan of Hungro-Wallachia was insufficient punishment. He ordered Anthimus to be exiled far from Wallachia, to St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mt. Sinai. Metropolitan Anthimus, beloved of the Romanian people, was escorted out of the city at night since the conspirators feared the reaction of the people.

But Metropolitan Anthimus never reached Mt. Sinai. On September 14, 1716, a band of Turkish soldiers stabbed St. Anthimus to death on the bank of the Tundzha (Tunca) River where it flows through Adrianople, not far from Gallipoli, and cast his butchered remains into the river.

Thus ended the earthly life of one more Georgian saint—a man who had dedicated all of his strength, talent, and knowledge to the revival of Christian culture and the strengthening of the Wallachian people in the Orthodox Faith.

In 1992 the Romanian Church canonized Anthimus of Iberia and proclaimed his commemoration day to be September 14, the day of his repose. The Georgian Church commemorates him on June 13.