Lives of all saints commemorated on June 15


Prophet Amos

The Holy Prophet Amos, third of the Twelve Minor Prophets, lived during the eighth century before Christ. At this time the Hebrew nation was divided into two kingdoms: Judea and Israel. The Judean king Hosiah ruled in Jerusalem, but the ten separated Israelite tribes were ruled by Jeroboam II, an idol-worshipper. At Bethel he set up an idol in the form of a golden calf, which they worshipped, after they rejected the God of Israel.

The Prophet Amos was a Judean, from the city of Thecua in the land of Zebulon. Simple and untaught, but fervent in faith and zealous for the glory of the true God, this former shepherd and dresser of sycamore trees (Amos 7:14-15) was chosen by the Lord for prophetic service. He was sent to the kingdom of Israel to denounce the impiety of King Jeroboam, and also the Israelites for falling away from God. The prophet predicted a great misfortune which would befall Israel and the neighboring pagan nations, because of their impiety. As a result of his denunciations, the Prophet Amos repeatedly suffered beatings and torture. He returned to Bethel, and threatening inevitable misfortunes, he continued to call the Israelites to repentance.

The idolatrous priest Amaziah of the pagan temple particularly hated the prophet. The prophet predicted speedy destruction for him and all his household, and for this he was subjected to beatings. Hosiah, the son of Amaziah, struck the saint on the head with a club and seriously wounded him. Still alive, the Prophet Amos reached his native village and died there around 787 B.C. He is not to be confused with Amos, the father of the Prophet Isaiah.


St Jonah the Metropolitan of Moscow

Saint Jonah, Metropolitan of Moscow and Wonderworker of All Russia, was born in the city of Galich into a pious Christian family. The father of the future saint was named Theodore. The youth received monastic tonsure in one of the Galich monasteries when he was only twelve years old. From there, he transferred to the Moscow Simonov monastery, where he fulfilled various obediences for many years.

Once, St Photius, Metropolitan of Moscow (May 27 and July 2), visited the Simonov monastery. After the Molieben, he blessed the archimandrite and brethren, and also wished to bless those monks who were fulfilling their obediences in the monastery.

When he came to the bakery, he saw St Jonah sleeping, exhausted from his work. The fingers of the saint’s right hand were positioned in a gesture of blessing. St Photius said not to wake him. He blessed the sleeping monk and predicted to those present that this monk would be a great hierarch of the Russian Church, and would guide many on the way to salvation.

The prediction of St Photius was fulfilled. Several years later, St Jonah was made Bishop of Ryazan and Murom.

St Photius died in 1431. Five years after his death, St Jonah was chosen Metropolitan of All Russia for his virtuous and holy life. The newly-elected Metropolitan journeyed to Constantinople in order to be confirmed as Metropolitan by Patriarch Joseph II (1416-1439). Shortly before this the nefarious Isidore, a Bulgarian, had already been established as Metropolitan. Spending a short time at Kiev and Moscow, Isidore journeyed to the Council of Florence (1438), where he embraced Catholicism.

A Council of Russian hierarchs and clergy deposed Metropolitan Isidore, and he was compelled to flee secretly to Rome (where he died in 1462). St Jonah was unanimously chosen Metropolitan of All Russia. He was consecrated by Russian hierarchs in Moscow, with the blessing of Patriarch Gregory III (1445-1450) of Constantinople. This was the first time that Russian bishops consecrated their own Metropolitan. St Jonah became Metropolitan on December 15, 1448. With archpastoral zeal he led his flock to virtue and piety, spreading the Orthodox Faith by word and by deed. Despite his lofty position, he continued with his monastic struggles as before.

In 1451 the Tatars unexpectedly advanced on Moscow; they burned the surrounding area and prepared for an assault on the city. Metropolitan Jonah led a procession along the walls of the city, tearfully entreating God to save the city and the people. Seeing the dying monk Anthony of the Chudov monastery, who was noted for his virtuous life, St Jonah said, “My son and brother Anthony! Pray to the Merciful God and the All-Pure Mother of God for the deliverance of the city and for all Orthodox Christians.”

The humble Anthony replied, “Great hierarch! We give thanks to God and to His All-Pure Mother. She has heard your prayer and has prayed to Her Son. The city and all Orthodox Christians will be saved through your prayers. The enemy will soon take flight. The Lord has ordained that I alone am to be killed by the enemy.” Just as the Elder said this, an enemy arrow struck him.

The prediction of Elder Anthony was made on July 2, on the Feast of the Placing of the Robe of the Most Holy Theotokos. Confusion broke out among the Tatars, and they fled in fear and terror. In his courtyard, St Jonah built a church in honor of the Placing of the Robe of the Most Holy Theotokos, to commemorate the deliverance of Moscow from the enemy.

St Jonah reposed in the year 1461, and miraculous healings began to take place at his grave.

In 1472 the incorrupt relics of Metropolitan Jonah were uncovered and placed in the Dormition Cathedral of the Kremlin (the Transfer of the holy Relics is celebrated May 27). A Council of the Russian Church in 1547 established the commemoration of St Jonah, Metropolitan of Moscow. In 1596, Patriarch Job added St Jonah to the Synaxis of the Moscow Hierarchs (October 5).

St Jonah, Metropolitan of Moscow is also commemorated on March 31.


Venerable Gregory the Abbot of Avnezh, Vologda

Saints Gregory and Cassian of Avnezh pursued asceticism at the River Sukhona in the Vologda land. On June 15, 1392 they died as martyrs at Avnezh monastery during an incursion by Tatars. The relics of the monastic martyrs were uncovered in the year 1524. In 1560, with the blessing of Macarius, Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia (+ 1564), Barlaam, the Igumen of Makrisch monastery, wrote an account of these holy martyrs.


Venerable Cassian the Abbot of Avnezhk, Vologda

Saints Gregory and Cassian of Avnezh lived in asceticism at the River Sukhona in the Vologda land. On June 15, 1392 they died as martyrs at Avnezh monastery during an incursion by Tatars.

The relics of the monastic martyrs were uncovered in the year 1524. In 1560, with the blessing of Macarius, Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia (+ 1564), Barlaam, the Igumen of Makrisch monastery, wrote an account of these holy martyrs.


Martyr Modestus at Lucania

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

St Modestus, the tutor of St Vitus, 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 May 16.


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.

St Crescentia is also commemorated on May 16.


Martyr Doulas of Cilicia

The Holy Martyr Doulas was a pious Christian from the city of Praetoriada. At the height of a persecution against Christians under Maximian (305-313) they arrested him and sent him to trial under the Cilicia district governor Maximus. Before the beginning of the trial the saint firmly besought the Lord to grant him the words to denunce idol-worship.

At his interrogation, the holy martyr bravely confessed Christ and forcefully denounced the false religion of the pagans and their gods with their shameful human vices and passions. The governor tried to confute his faith in Christ, but he was not able to resist against the grace-filled words of St Doulas. The governor flew into a rage, tortured him without pity and after interrogation sent him back to prison. At each new interrogation the saint appeared strong in spirit and body, prepared for new torture. At the final interrogation of St Doulas, they broke his lower jaw, they broke his knees, and they bound him to the chariot of the governor and dragged him about. In this way the holy martyr died, having signed himself with the Sign of the Cross.

They untied his body from the chariot and threw it into the river. The current carried the relics of the holy martyr to his native city. Dogs of shepherds discovered the holy body. One of them sat and guarded the body of the saint from birds, and another brought a shepherd’s robe in its teeth and covered up the body of the saint. The shepherds led Christians to the body of St Doulas, who then buried it with reverence.


St Doulas the Passion-Bearer of Egypt

Saint Doulas the Passion-Bearer was a monk at one of the Egyptian monasteries. He distinguished himself by his meekness, humility and obedience. For twenty years he endured the mockery, abuse and contempt of several of the monastic brethren. At first it was difficult for him to bear up and humbly endure the insult, but eventually he reached such a degree of passionlessness (apatheia), that he pitied his detractors and prayed for them with all his heart.

At the end of his life St Doulas underwent temptation. A certain monk stole some church vessels and hid them. When the Igumen and elders of the monastery started to investigate the theft, they accused St Doulas of this sin, because on that day he had not appeared at the Vigil service. St Doulas had always come to church before this, but he had been ill that day, and was unable to attend the service. They led St Doulas to the elders, to whom he protested his innocence, but his enemies slandered him, saying that they were witnesses of his sin. When he saw that they did not believe his words, St Doulas did not argue but said, “Forgive me, holy Fathers, I am a sinner.” The Igumen ordered that the innocent Doulas be stripped of his monastic garb and dressed in secular clothes. Sobbing bitterly, St Doulas prayed, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, because of Thy Holy Name I clothed myself in monastic garb, but now, through my sins, it is stripped from me.”

St Doulas was placed in chains, and the steward demanded to know where the church vessels were hidden, but the innocent passion-bearer only repeated, “Forgive me, I have sinned.”

Then they turned him over to the civil authorities for trial and subjected him to torture, but the saint repeated, “I have neither silver, nor the lost vessels.” The city eparch asked the monks what to do with him, since they had delivered him over to the secular court. They answered, “Do with him as the laws prescribe.” The saint was sentenced to have both his hands cut off. Before the execution of the sentence the governor said, “Tell us where the vessels are and you shall go free.” The saint answered, “Governor, do you want me to confess something that I did not do? I do not want to tell lies about myself, since every lie is from the devil.” They took the saint to the place of execution. Finally, the perpetrator of the theft experienced remorse and went to the Igumen to confess that he had committed the crime.

After twenty years of exile and humiliation, St Doulas was allowed to return to the monastery. The monks began to ask forgiveness of the saint. Not only did he not bear them malice, but he was even grateful that they had given him the opportunity to wipe out his sins by enduring guiltless suffering. The saint asked the Lord to pardon his accusers.

After three days they found the saint had departed to the Lord while kneeling at prayer. His body was locked in the cathedral, and burial was delayed until the arrival of the Igumen and brethren of a nearby monastery. When everyone had gathered and gone into the church, the body of the innocent passion-bearer was not in the cathedral. Only his clothes and sandals remained.

Thus, those who had accused St Doulas of sin, were shown to be unworthy of burying his holy body.


St Jerome (Hieronymus) of Stridonium

Saint Jerome of Stridon was born into a Christian family in the city of Stridon located on the border between Dalmatia and Pannonia. His full name is Eusebius Hieronymos Sophronius. His parents sent him to Rome, where he studied the secular sciences. At the beginning of his life in the capital, the youth was captivated by worldly vanities and fell into temptation. At the end of his time in Rome, Jerome resolved to change his life and to live in goodness and purity. When the youth was about 20 years old, he accepted holy Baptism. After this he visited in Gaul (France). Then St Jerome decided to dedicate himself totally to God, and to become a monk.

In about the year 372 St Jerome returned to his native city, but his parents had already departed this life. On him fell the responsibility of raising his younger sisters and his brother Paulinian. These cares forced him to put aside his plans to enter a monastery, at least for a time.

Having made arrangements for the care of his siblings, he journeyed to the East with several of his friends. In 374, he decided to dwell in the desert of Chalcis southeast of Antioch. There he remained for about 5 years, combining work on the Holy Scriptures with austere ascetic deeds. Besides this, St Jerome mastered the Hebrew and Chaldean languages. During this period he began his correspondence with numerous persons upon a variety of questions. About 120 letters, considered as authentically written by St Jerome, have been preserved.

At the beginning of the 360s there arose a controversy between the proponents of bishops Meletius, Paulinos and Vitalis. The controversy also reached the monastery where St Jerome toiled. In consequence, the disputes caused him to leave the monastery and go to Antioch. Here Bishop Paulinos ordained him to the priesthood. Afterwards, St Jerome visited Constantinople and conversed with the holy hierarchs Gregory the Theologian and Gregory of Nyssa In the year 381 he set off for Rome. At Rome he continued his studies. The holy Pope Damasus I (366-384), who also devoted much of his time to the study of Holy Scripture, made Jerome his secretary.

But because the saint denounced the morals of the contemporary Christian society, a whole party of those bearing malice towards the saint came forward to spread slanders about him. After a three year stay at Rome, St Jerome felt compelled to abandon this city for good. Together with his brother Paulinian and friends, St Jerome visited the Holy Land, and also the monks of the Nitria wilderness monastery. In the year 386 he settled into a cave at Bethlehem near the cave where Christ was born, and there he began a life of austere asceticism.

This was the period of blossoming of his creative activity. Attending to the studies of his time, St Jerome left to the Church a rich written legacy: collections of dogmatic-polemic works, moral-ascetic works, commentaries on Scripture, and historical works. But the most important of his works was a new translation the books of the Old and New Testaments into the Latin language. This Latin translation is called the “Vulgate,” and it passed into general use throughout the Western Church.

St Jerome lived through the fall of his beloved city Rome, which was sacked by the Goths in the year 410. In the year 411 a new ordeal beset the saint, Bethlehem was invaded by wild Bedouin Arabs. Only through the mercy of God was the community of the aged ascetic saved from complete destruction. He finished his life at the cave in Bethlehem. St Jerome is believed to have reposed in 420. His relics were transferred from Bethlehem to Rome in 642, but their present location is unknown. His hand is enshrined in a church near Rome’s Piazza Farnese.


Translation of the relics of St Theodore the Sykeote

The Relics of Saint Theodore the Sykeote, Bishop of Anastasioupolis were transferred from Galatea to Constantinople in the ninth century. His relics were seen in the year 1200 by the Russian pilgrim Anthony at the monastery of Saint George.

St Theodore of Sykeon is also commemorated on April 22.


Right-believing Prince Lazarus the Great Martyr of Serbia

The Holy Prince Lazar of Serbia lived during the fourteenth century at a time when the Turks, having conquered neighboring lands, were preparing to invade Serbia.

St Lazar was raised at the court of the holy King Dushan, and was appointed governor of one of the Serbian districts. In the year 1371 he was chosen King of all Serbia and he toiled much at strengthening the condition of the country. He pacified neighboring princes, who had wronged or plundered Serbian settlements. He was concerned also for the Christian enlightenment of the nation, he built churches, supported the monasteries and charitable establishments. In 1380 the saint established the monastery at Rovanetz. Saint Lazar petitioned the Patriarch of Constantinople to remove the anathema from the people of Serbia. During the course of the ten years of his rule, Serbia was at peace.

Afterwards there began war with the Turks. At the time of the Battle of Kosovo, the wounded king was taken prisoner. On the orders of Sultan Bayazet, he was beheaded with a sword on June 15, 1389. The body of the holy King Lazar was buried at a nearby church. In 1391 his incorrupt relics were transferred to the Ravanica monastery. The monastery was destroyed by the Turks in 1683, and the relics of King Lazar were transferred to the monastery of New Ravanica on Mount Thruzh. He was the founder of the Monastery of St Panteleimon on the Holy Mountain, as well as numerous other monasteries and churches.


St Ephraim the Bulgarian, Patriarch of Serbia

Saint Ephraim, Patriarch of Serbia, lived in asceticism on Mount Athos, and afterwards became Igumen of the Serbian Iveron monastery. After the death of Patriarch Sava III in 1376, he was chosen to the patriarchal throne. Aspiring to silence, the saint left the throne and for nine years dwelt at the Archangel-Dushanov monastery. After the Battle of Kosovo he returned to the throne. He died peacefully at age 88 in the year 1400, and was buried in the Patriarchal church at Pec.


St Augustine the Bishop of Hippo

Saint Augustine was born in the city of Thagaste in northern Africa. He was raised by his mother, St Monica (May 4), and he received his education at Carthage. In the capacity of professor of rhetoric, Augustine arrived at Milan, Italy where St Ambrose (December 7) was bishop. Under the guidance of St Ambrose, Augustine studied the Holy Scriptures. The Word of God produced in his soul a radical crisis; he accepted holy Baptism, gave all his wealth to the poor and was tonsured as a monk.

In the year 391 Valerian, Bishop of Hippo, ordained Saint Augustine a priest, and in 395, appointed him vicar bishop of the see of Hippo. After the death of Bishop Valerian, St Augustine took his place.

During his 35 years as bishop, St Augustine wrote many works devoted to combating the Donatist, Manichaean and Pelagian heresies.

St Augustine wrote many works (according to his student and biographer Possidias, the number approached 1030). Of his works the best known are: The City of God (De civitate Dei), The Confessions, 17 Books against the Pelagians and Handbook of Christian Knowledge (The Enchiridion). St Augustine was concerned above all else that his writings be intelligent and edifying. “It is better,” he said, “for them to condemn our grammar, than for people not to understand.” St Augustine died on August 28, 430.


Icon of the Mother of God “Marianica”

No information available at this time.


St Michael the first Metropolitan of Kiev

Saint Michael the first Metropolitan of Kiev, according to the Joakimov chronicle, was a Syrian by birth, but according to other chronicles, he was a Bulgarian or Serb. In the year 989, he arrived at Korsun with other clergy for holy Prince Vladimir (July 15), not long after Vladimir’s Baptism (988).

As first metropolitan of the Russian Church his service was difficult, but grace-filled. He zealously made the rounds of the newly-enlightened Russian Land, preaching the Holy Gospel, baptizing and teaching the newly-illumined people, founding the first churches and religious schools.

In Rostov he established the first wooden church in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos and installed Theodore the Greek there as bishop. St Michael was a wise and gentle, but also strict hierarch. The Russian Church has preserved the memory of the saint’s praiseworthy deeds. In the Synodikon of the Novgorod and Kiev Sophia cathedrals he is rightfully called the initiator.

St Michael died on June 15, 992 and was buried in the Desyatin-Tithe church of the Most Holy Theotokos in Kiev. In about the year 1103, under the Igumen St Theoctistus (afterwards Bishop of Chernigov, August 5), his relics were transferred to the Antoniev Cave, and on October 1, 1730 into the Great Church of the Caves. Thus his memory was celebrated on September 30, and also July 15, the day of his repose.

Formerly, his memory was celebrated on September 2, along with Sts Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves. There is a trace of this earlier celebration in the service to St Michael. In the second verse of the “Praises” we sing: “Having begun the new year, we offer you our first songs, O blessed one, for you were the beginning of the hierarchy in the Russian land.”

St Michael is also commemorated on September 30.