Lives of all saints commemorated on June 30


Synaxis of All Saints

The Sunday following Pentecost is dedicated to All Saints, both those who are known to us, and those who are known only to God. There have been saints at all times, and they have come from every corner of the earth. They were Apostles, Martyrs, Prophets, Hierarchs, Monastics, and Righteous, yet all were perfected by the same Holy Spirit.

The Descent of the Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to rise above our fallen state and to attain sainthood, thereby fulfilling God’s directive to “be holy, for I am holy” (Lev. 11:44, 1 Peter 1:16, etc.). Therefore, it is fitting to commemorate All Saints on the first Sunday after Pentecost.

This feast may have originated at an early date, perhaps as a celebration of all martyrs, then it was broadened to include all men and women who had borne witness to Christ by their virtuous lives, even if they did not shed their blood for Him.

St Peter of Damascus, in his “Fourth Stage of Contemplation,” mentions five categories of saints: Apostles, Martyrs, Prophets, Hierarchs, and Monastic Saints (PHILOKALIA [in English] Vol. 3, p.131). He is actually quoting from the OCTOECHOS, Tone 2 for Saturday Matins, kathisma after the first stichology.

St Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain (July 14) adds the Righteous to St Peter’s five categories. The list of St Nicodemus is found in his book THE FOURTEEN EPISTLES OF ST PAUL (Venice, 1819, p. 384) in his discussion of I Corinthians 12:28.

The hymnology for the feast of All Saints also lists six categories: “Rejoice, assembly of the Apostles, Prophets of the Lord, loyal choirs of the Martyrs, divine Hierarchs, Monastic Fathers, and the Righteous....”

Some of the saints are described as Confessors, a category which does not appear in the above lists. Since they are similar in spirit to the martyrs, they are regarded as belonging to the category of Martyrs. They were not put to death as the Martyrs were, but they boldly confessed Christ and came close to being executed for their faith. St Maximus the Confessor (January 21) is such a saint.

The order of these six types of saints seems to be based on their importance to the Church. The Apostles are listed first, because they were the first to spread the Gospel throughout the world.

The Martyrs come next because of their example of courage in professing their faith before the enemies and persecutors of the Church, which encouraged other Christians to remain faithful to Christ even unto death.

Although they come first chronologically, the Prophets are listed after the Apostles and Martyrs. This is because the Old Testament Prophets saw only the shadows of things to come, whereas the Apostles and Martyrs experienced them firsthand. The New Testament also takes precedence over the Old Testament.

The holy Hierarchs comprise the fourth category. They are the leaders of their flocks, teaching them by their word and their example.

The Monastic Saints are those who withdrew from this world to live in monasteries, or in seclusion. They did not do this out of hatred for the world, but in order to devote themselves to unceasing prayer, and to do battle against the power of the demons. Although some people erroneously believe that monks and nuns are useless and unproductive, St John Climacus had a high regard for them: “Angels are a light for monks, and the monastic life is a light for all men” (LADDER, Step 26:31).

The last category, the Righteous, are those who attained holiness of life while living “in the world.” Examples include Abraham and his wife Sarah, Job, Sts Joachim and Anna, St Joseph the Betrothed, St Juliana of Lazarevo, and others.

The feast of All Saints achieved great prominence in the ninth century, in the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Leo VI the Wise (886-911). His wife, the Holy Empress Theophano (December 16) lived in the world, but was not attached to worldly things. She was a great benefactor to the poor, and was generous to the monasteries. She was a true mother to her subjects, caring for widows and orphans, and consoling the sorrowful.

Even before the death of StTheophano in 893 or 894, her husband started to build a church, intending to dedicate it to Theophano, but she forbade him to do so. It was this emperor who decreed that the Sunday after Pentecost be dedicated to All Saints. Believing that his wife was one of the righteous, he knew that she would also be honored whenever the Feast of All Saints was celebrated.


Synaxis of the Holy, Glorious and All-Praised Twelve Apostles

The Synaxis of the Glorious and All-Praiseworthy Twelve Apostles of Christ appears to be an ancient Feast. The Church honors each of the Twelve Apostles on separate dates during the year, and has established a general commemoration for all of them on the day after the commemoration of the Glorious and First-Ranked among the Apostles Peter and Paul.

The holy God-crowned Emperor Constantine the Great (May 21) built a church in Constantinople in honor of the Twelve Apostles. There are instructions for celebrating this Feast which date from the fourth century.

For lists of the Apostles’ names, see: Mt.10:2, Mark 3:14, Luke 6:12, Acts 1:13, 26.


Apostle Andrew

The Synaxis of the Glorious and All-Praiseworthy Twelve Apostles of Christ appears to be an ancient Feast. The Church honors each of the Twelve Apostles on separate dates during the year, and has established a general commemoration for all of them on the day after the commemoration of the Glorious and First-Ranked among the Apostles Peter and Paul.

The holy, glorious, all-laudable Apostle Andrew the First-called is also commemorated on November 30. He was the brother of St Peter (June 29).

For lists of the Apostles’ names, see: Mt.10:2, Mark 3:14, Luke 6:12, Acts 1:13, 26.


Apostle James, the Son of Zebedee

The Synaxis of the Glorious and All-Praiseworthy Twelve Apostles of Christ appears to be an ancient Feast. The Church honors each of the Twelve Apostles on separate dates during the year, and has established a general commemoration for all of them on the day after the commemoration of the Glorious and First-Ranked among the Apostles Peter and Paul.

The holy, glorious, all-laudable Apostle James is also commemorated on April 30. He and his brother John are the sons of Zebedee, and were called “sons of Thunder” (Mark 3: 17).

For lists of the Apostles’ names, see: Mt.10:2, Mark 3:14, Luke 6:12, Acts 1:13, 26.


Apostle John, the Son of Zebedee

The Synaxis of the Glorious and All-Praiseworthy Twelve Apostles of Christ appears to be an ancient Feast. The Church honors each of the Twelve Apostles on separate dates during the year, and has established a general commemoration for all of them on the day after the commemoration of the Glorious and First-Ranked among the Apostles Peter and Paul.

The holy, glorious, all-laudable Apostle and Evangelist, virgin, and beloved friend of Christ, John the Theologian is also commemorated on September 26 and May 8. He and his brother James are the sons of Zebedee, and were called “sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17).

For lists of the Apostles’ names, see: Mt.10:2, Mark 3:14, Luke 6:12, Acts 1:13, 26.


Apostle Philip of the Seventy

The Synaxis of the Glorious and All-Praiseworthy Twelve Apostles of Christ appears to be an ancient Feast. The Church honors each of the Twelve Apostles on separate dates during the year, and has established a general commemoration for all of them on the day after the commemoration of the Glorious and First-Ranked among the Apostles Peter and Paul.

The holy, glorious, all-laudable Apostle Philip is also commemorated on November 14.

For lists of the Apostles’ names, see: Mt.10:2, Mark 3:14, Luke 6:12, Acts 1:13, 26.


Apostle Bartholomew

The Synaxis of the Glorious and All-Praiseworthy Twelve Apostles of Christ appears to be an ancient Feast. The Church honors each of the Twelve Apostles on separate dates during the year, and has established a general commemoration for all of them on the day after the commemoration of the Glorious and First-Ranked among the Apostles Peter and Paul.

The holy, glorious, all-laudable Apostle Bartholomew is also commemorated on June 11 and August 25.

For lists of the Apostles’ names, see: Mt.10:2, Mark 3:14, Luke 6:12, Acts 1:13, 26.


Apostle Thomas

The Synaxis of the Glorious and All-Praiseworthy Twelve Apostles of Christ appears to be an ancient Feast. The Church honors each of the Twelve Apostles on separate dates during the year, and has established a general commemoration for all of them on the day after the commemoration of the Glorious and First-Ranked among the Apostles Peter and Paul.

The holy, glorious, all-laudable Apostle Thomas is also commemorated on October 6 and

on the Sunday after Pascha.

For lists of the Apostles’ names, see: Mt.10:2, Mark 3:14, Luke 6:12, Acts 1:13, 26.


Apostle and Evangelist Matthew

The Synaxis of the Glorious and All-Praiseworthy Twelve Apostles of Christ appears to be an ancient Feast. The Church honors each of the Twelve Apostles on separate dates during the year, and has established a general commemoration for all of them on the day after the commemoration of the Glorious and First-Ranked among the Apostles Peter and Paul.

The holy, glorious, all-laudable Apostle and Evangelist Matthew is also commemorated on November 16.

For lists of the Apostles’ names, see: Mt.10:2, Mark 3:14, Luke 6:12, Acts 1:13, 26.


Apostle James, the Son of Alphaeus

The Synaxis of the Glorious and All-Praiseworthy Twelve Apostles of Christ appears to be an ancient Feast. The Church honors each of the Twelve Apostles on separate dates during the year, and has established a general commemoration for all of them on the day after the commemoration of the Glorious and First-Ranked among the Apostles Peter and Paul.

The holy, glorious, all-laudable Apostle James, the son of Alphaeus, is also commemorated on October 9

For lists of the Apostles’ names, see: Mt.10:2, Mark 3:14, Luke 6:12, Acts 1:13, 26.


Apostle Jude, the Brother of James

The Synaxis of the Glorious and All-Praiseworthy Twelve Apostles of Christ appears to be an ancient Feast. The Church honors each of the Twelve Apostles on separate dates during the year, and has established a general commemoration for all of them on the day after the commemoration of the Glorious and First-Ranked among the Apostles Peter and Paul.

The holy, glorious, all-laudable Apostle Jude is also commemorated on June 19. He is also known as Thaddeus (but should not be confused with St Thaddeus of the Seventy, who is commemorated on August 21), and was the brother of St James (October 23).

For lists of the Apostles’ names, see: Mt.10:2, Mark 3:14, Luke 6:12, Acts 1:13, 26.


Apostle Simon Zealotes

The Synaxis of the Glorious and All-Praiseworthy Twelve Apostles of Christ appears to be an ancient Feast. The Church honors each of the Twelve Apostles on separate dates during the year, and has established a general commemoration for all of them on the day after the commemoration of the Glorious and First-Ranked among the Apostles Peter and Paul.

The holy, glorious, all-laudable Apostle Simon the Zealot is also commemorated on May 10.

For lists of the Apostles’ names, see: Mt.10:2, Mark 3:14, Luke 6:12, Acts 1:13, 26.


Apostle Matthias

The Synaxis of the Glorious and All-Praiseworthy Twelve Apostles of Christ appears to be an ancient Feast. The Church honors each of the Twelve Apostles on separate dates during the year, and has established a general commemoration for all of them on the day after the commemoration of the Glorious and First-Ranked among the Apostles Peter and Paul.

The holy, glorious, all-laudable Apostle Matthias is also commemorated on August 9.

For lists of the Apostles’ names, see: Mt.10:2, Mark 3:14, Luke 6:12, Acts 1:13, 26.


St Peter the Prince of Ordinsk, Rostov

Saint Peter, Prince of the Horde, was the nephew of Bergai Khan of the Golden Horde. In the year 1253 St Cyril, Bishop of Rostov (May 21), went to the Horde to petition for church needs in his diocese and he told the khan about the Christian Faith, and of the miracles and healings worked by the relics of St Leontius of Rostov (May 23). Among the retinue was the young nephew of the khan, upon whom the holy bishop made a very strong impression. After some length of time the son of Bergai fell ill. Remembering the account of the Russian bishop about the healings, he summoned St Cyril, and through his prayers the sick one was healed. The khan richly rewarded St Cyril and sent him off to his diocese.

Along the way the lad, the nephew of Bergai Khan, overtook the holy hierarch, and entreated him to take him along to Rostov. At Rostov the boy was baptized with the name Peter, and he married. St Peter distinguished himself with a love for silence, contemplation, and prayer. After a miraculous appearance to him of the Apostles Peter and Paul he built a monastery near Lake Nera in their honor. After the death of his wife, shortly before his own death in 1290, the saint embraced monasticism at the monastery he had founded.

Local veneration of the holy Prince Peter began in the fourteenth century. A general celebration was established at the Council of 1547.


Translation of the relics of St Sophronius the Bishop of Irkutsk

Saint Sophronius, Bishop of Irkutsk and All Siberia, reposed on March 30, 1771, the second day of Holy Pascha. While they awaited a decision of the Holy Synod concerning the burial, his body remained unburied for six months, and during this time it was not subject to decay. Then, in view of this circumstance, and also knowing about the strict ascetic life of St Sophronius, the flock began to venerate him as a saint of God. Frequently (in 1833, 1854, 1870, 1909) his relics were seen to be incorrupt, and a source of grace-filled miracles. A fire occurring on April 18, 1917 at the Theophany Cathedral at Irkutsk left only the bones of the holy bishop. This did not diminish, but on the contrary, it increased the reverent veneration of the saint by the faithful of the nation.

A local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church in its deliberations of April 10/23, 1918 decided to glorify Bishop Sophronius, numbering him among the holy saints of God. This solemnity of adding St Sophronius to the list of the saints was done on June 30. At a second session of this Council under the presidency of His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon (now St Tikhon) a Service to St Sophronius was approved, with a Troparion composed by Archbishop John, who at that time guided the Irkutsk diocese, so that all believers would have the possibility of adding prayer to the holy saint into the voice of the Siberian churches, deeply venerating the memory of their illuminator and intercessor.

And at the present time believers turn for help to St Sophronius. Prayers witness to this, having been composed on the day of the 40th year celebration of the glorification of the holy hierarch on July 13,1958, by Metropolitan Nestor (Anisimov), then Metropolitan of Novosibirsk and Barnaulsk, and a solemn feast of the 200 year anniversary of the day of death of St Sophronius took place at the Zolotonoshsk Krasnogorsk women’s monastery and in the Irkutsk diocese (Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate, 1971, No. 9), and he is venerated by all believers of the Russian Orthodox Church.


Icon of the Mother of God of Balikin

The Balikin Icon of the Mother of God is from the Chernigov Province. The child Christ is clothed only around the waist, and rests in His Mother’s arms. The hands of the Theotokos are joined in prayer.


St Gelasius of Rimet

Saint Gelasius was the igumen of the Rimet Monastery in Transylvania. He had lived as a solitary near Rimet creek, and he was granted the grace of working miracles.

The saint fasted on weekdays, eating only on Saturdays and Sundays, and his only food was the Eucharist. During the day he fulfilled his monastic obediences, and at night he kept vigil.

St Gelasius was the spiritual Father of many hermits of Rimet Mountain, whom he would visit during Great Lent. He healed the sick, and cast out demons from those who were possessed. It is said that a spring of water appeared through his holy prayers.

His later years were spent as a bishop, and he departed to the Lord after many labors on behalf of his flock.

St Gelasius was glorified by the Orthodox Church of Romania in 1992.


Holy Queen Dinar

The Russian Church has preserved chronicles of the life of Queen Dinar, a woman who achieved much on behalf of the Christian Faith. For years scholars have disputed about the historical figure discussed in great depth in the Russian Church. Many believed that the sources described Holy Queen Tamar, but the period of Tamar’s rule does not match that of the figure described in the chronicles. The Georgian chronicle Life of Kartli, however, has preserved information about a certain Dinar, Queen of Hereti (southeastern Georgia), who, along with her son Ishkhanik, converted Hereti to the Orthodox Faith and delivered its people from the Monophysite heresy in the 10th century. Queen Dinar’s story resembles that recounted in the Russian Chronicles more closely than any other.

According to the Armenian historian Moses of Kalankaytuk, Slavic tribes that carried out incursions in the southernmost Caucasus often journeyed through the Transcaucasus, and it was with these tribes that the story of Queen Dinar made its way to Russia. The Georgian Church renders great honor to Holy Queen Dinar. As a result of her zealous labors and achievements, a large part of the eastern Transcaucasus was saved from the Monophysite heresy that dominated the region.

Today, on the north wall of the Throne Hall in the Moscow Kremlin, there hangs an image of Holy Queen Dinar mounted on a white horse, victorious over the enemy.