Lives of all saints commemorated on July 29


Martyr Callinicus of Gangra in Asia Minor

The Holy Martyr Callinicus, a native of Cilicia, was raised from childhood in the Christian Faith. Grieving that many misguided people would perish for eternity because they worshiped idols, he went through the cities and villages to proclaim Jesus Christ and His teachings to the pagans, and with the Word of God he converted many to Christianity.

In the Galatian city of Ancyra the holy confessor was arrested and brought to trial before a governor named Sacerdonus, a fierce persecutor of Christians. The governor, threatening tortures and death, ordered the saint to offer sacrifice to the idols. The saint fearlessly declared that he was not afraid of martyrdom, since every believer in Christ receives from Him strength in ordeals, and through death inherits an eternal blessed life.

They cruelly beat the saint with ox thongs and tore at his body with iron hooks, but he endured everything with patience and calm. This aroused still greater fury in Sacerdonus, and he ordered that sandals with sharp nails be placed on the saint’s feet, and that they should drive the martyr with whips to the city of Gangra to be burned.

The pathway was arduous, and the soldiers who accompanied the condemned man were weak from thirst. In despair they began to implore the saint to pray the Lord for water. The saint, taking pity on his tormentors, with the help of God caused a miraculous spring of water to gush forth from a stone. The astonished soldiers were filled with sympathy for their rescuer, and they wanted even to set him free. Fear of execution, however, compelled them to bring the martyr farther. In Gangra, St Callinicus joyfully offered thanks to the Lord, Who had vouchsafed him the crown of martyrdom. He went into the blazing fire and gave up his soul to God. His body, remaining unharmed, was reverently buried by believers.


Venerable Constantine the Abbot of Kosinsk, Pskov

Sts Constantine and Cosmas were monastic followers of St Barlaam of Khutyn (November 6) and his successor, St Anthony of Dymsk (January 17). About the year 1220, they left the Khutyn monastery and settled upon a wilderness peninsula, situated 3 versts from the city of Staraya Rus, between the Rivers Polista and Smezhnya. In time they founded a monastery there in the name of St Nicholas, headed by St Constantine until his death (ca. 1240).

St Cosmas continued with the exploits of his mentor. He was buried in the same grave with St Constantine. Their bodies rest beneath the vestibule of the Nikolaev church, built in 1820 over the tomb of the saints.


Venerable Cosmas the Abbot of Kosinsk, Pskov

Sts Cosmas and Constantine were monastic followers of St Barlaam of Khutyn (November 6) and his successor, St Anthony of Dymsk (January 17). About the year 1220, they left the Khutyn monastery and settled upon a wilderness peninsula, situated 3 versts from the city of Staraya Rus, between the Rivers Polista and Smezhnya. In time they founded a monastery there in the name of St Nicholas, headed by St Constantine until his death (ca. 1240).

St Cosmas continued with the exploits of his mentor. He was buried in the same grave with St Constantine. Their bodies rest beneath the vestibule of the Nikolaev church, built in 1820 over the tomb of the saints.


Virginmartyr Seraphima (Serapia) of Antioch

The Holy martyr Seraphima the Virgin, a native of Antioch, lived at Rome during the reign of the emperor Hadrian (117-138) with the illustrious Roman Sabina, whom the saint converted to Christianity. During the persecution against Christians begun by order of the emperor, the governor Virilus gave orders to bring St Seraphima to trial. Desiring a crown of martyrdom from the Lord, she fearlessly went to the executioner at the first summons. The devoted Sabina accompanied her. Seeing that illustrious lady, Virilus at first set the maiden free, but after several days he again summoned St Seraphima and began the trial.


Martyr Theodota in Bithynia

The Holy martyr Theodota and her three young children lived during the reign of the emperor Diocletian (284-305). She was a Christian, a native of the city of Nicea, Bithynia. After being widowed, St Theodota led a pious life and raised her sons in the Christian Faith. She had a spiritual friendship with St Anastasia (December 22).

When the persecution against Christians began, they arrested the holy women. At the trial, the dignitary Leucadius was captivated by the beautiful Theodota and he decided to take her home with him, intending to marry her. Finding herself in the home of Leucadius with her children, St Theodota kept herself in purity, yielding neither to inducements nor charms, nor threats by the pagan.

Angered at the steadfastness of the saint, Leucadius sent her and her children to Bithynia, to the district governor Nicetas. At the interrogation, when the judge began to threaten her with torture, St Theodota’s eldest son Evodus said that Christians do not fear tortures, but rather fear being forsaken by God. They cruelly beat the boy before the eyes of his mother, so that his blood began to flow. St Theodota prayed that the Lord would strengthen her son in his sufferings, and rejoiced in that he was being given a martyr’s death for the sake of truth.

They gave St Theodota over to be defiled, but the Lord preserved her. An angel of the Lord held back everyone who tried to approach the saint. Imputing this miracle to sorcery, the judge sentenced the saint and her children to death by fire.

The memory of the holy Martyrs Theodota, the child Evodus and her other two small sons is celebrated also on December 22, together with the memory of St Anastasia the Deliverer from Potions.


3 Martyred Sons of Theodota in Bithynia

The Holy martyr Theodota and her three young children lived during the reign of the emperor Diocletian (284-305). She was a Christian, a native of the city of Nicea, Bithynia. After being widowed, St Theodota led a pious life and raised her sons in the Christian Faith. She had a spiritual friendship with St Anastasia (December 22).

When the persecution against Christians began, they arrested the holy women. At the trial, the dignitary Leucadius was captivated by the beautiful Theodota and he decided to take her home with him, intending to marry her. Finding herself in the home of Leucadius with her children, St Theodota kept herself in purity, yielding neither to inducements nor charms, nor threats by the pagan.

Angered at the steadfastness of the saint, Leucadius sent her and her children to Bithynia, to the district governor Nicetas. At the interrogation, when the judge began to threaten her with torture, St Theodota’s eldest son Evodus said that Christians do not fear tortures, but rather fear being forsaken by God. They cruelly beat the boy before the eyes of his mother, so that his blood began to flow. St Theodota prayed that the Lord would strengthen her son in his sufferings, and rejoiced in that he was being given a martyr’s death for the sake of truth.

They gave St Theodota over to be defiled, but the Lord preserved her. An angel of the Lord held back everyone who tried to approach the saint. Imputing this miracle to sorcery, the judge sentenced the saint and her children to death by fire.

The memory of the holy Martyrs Theodota, the child Evodus and her other two small sons is celebrated also on December 22, together with the memory of St Anastasia the Deliverer from Potions.


Martyr Michael

The Hosiomartyr Michael, a disciple of St Theodore of Edessa (July 9), was beheaded during the ninth century for his confession of faith in Christ. His memory is celebrated also on May 23.


Martyr Eustathius of Mtskheta in Georgia

Saint Eustathius, a Persian by descent, was a fire-worshipper named Gvirobandak prior to his baptism into the Christian Faith. When he arrived in Georgia and settled in Mtskheta, he was deeply drawn to the morals and traditions of the Georgian people, and he resolved to convert to Christianity.

His decision entailed a great risk, as the Persians dominated eastern Georgia, persecuting Christians and forcing all to worship fire, as they did. Catholicos Samoel himself baptized Gvirobandak and called him Eustathius. The new convert soon married a Georgian woman and was fully assimilated into Georgian society and the life of the Church.

Once the Persians who were occupying Mtskheta invited Eustathius to a celebration, but he declined, saying, “I am stamped with the seal of Christ and far removed from every darkness!”

After the celebration the fire-worshippers reported Eustathius to Ustam, the chief of the Mtskheta Fortress. The chief summoned Eustathius and threatened him, saying, “You will not remain a Christian without punishment. If you do not voluntarily turn back from this way of misfortune, severe tortures will await you!”

St. Eustathius calmly answered him, saying, “For the sake of Christ I am prepared to endure not only torture but even death itself with rejoicing!”

Since he himself did not have the authority to punish Eustathius, Ustam sent the accused to the marzban Arvand Gushnasp. Then the informers appeared again before Ustam and reported that seven more fire-worshippers had converted to Christianity. All eight of them were bound in chains and escorted to Tbilisi.

The furious marzban ordered his servants to shave the captives’ heads and beards, bore holes in their noses, hang weights round their necks, fetter their bodies in chains and cast them into prison.

Anyone who denied Christ was to be pardoned. Two of the victims, Bakhdiad and Panagushnasp, could not bear the suffering and denied Christ. The marzban freed them, while the six holy men—Gushnaki, Eustathius, Borzo, Perozak, Zarmil and Steven—remained in confinement.

Six months later Arvand Gushnasp was summoned to Persia, so Catholicos Samoel, the chieftain Grigol of Mtskheta and the nobleman Arshusha took advantage of the opportunity and requested that he release the imprisoned Persian Christians. Arvand Gushnasp yielded to the request of the Georgian dignitaries, but warned that the Christian converts would soon meet their deaths.

Meanwhile, the betrayer Bakhdiad fell ill with epilepsy and died, while Panagushnasp lived on in terrible poverty.

Three years later Vezhan Buzmir was appointed the new marzban of Kartli, and the pagan priests again reported on Sts. Eustathius’s and Steven’s conversion. St. Eustathius asked to see his family and said to them: “Farewell, for I am not destined to return home again. I will not betray Christ, and for this they will not forgive me. Imprisonment and beheading await me in Tbilisi. My remains will be brought here according to God’s will.”

Eustathius and Steven were escorted to the new marzban, and Eustathius declared before him that he would not deny Christ. The enraged marzban ordered that he be cast into prison and that his head be chopped off that night and his body thrown behind the fortress wall, to be torn to pieces by the birds. As directed, the marzban’s servants beheaded the saint and cast his body into the abyss behind the fortress wall.

But a group of faithful Christians located St. Eustathius’s body and carried it in secret to Mtskheta. Catholicos Samoel met the holy relics when they arrived, and with great honor they were buried in Svetitskhoveli Cathedral under the altar table.


Martyr Bessarion, the Bishop of Smolyan

No information available at this time.


Child Schemamonk Bogolep

The Child Schemamonk Bogolep was the son of a Moscow nobleman Iakov Lukich Ushakov and his wife Katherine. He was born in 1660 at Moscow. At Baptism they gave him the name Boris, in honor of the holy Passion-Bearer Boris (July 24).

Ushakov was appointed voevoda (military-commander) in the city of Chernyi Yar (Black Ravine), situated 250 versts from Astrakhan. He was known for his integrity. From infancy Boris displayed unusual traits. On Wednesdays and Fridays he would not drink milk from his mother’s breasts. When the bells pealed at the church, he began to cry, and became quiet only when they brought him into the church. When they did not take the infant to church, he cried all day and ate nothing.

In 1662 a deadly pestilence spread about in Russia. The child fell ill, and the pestilence afflicted him in the legs. He became lame, but continued to walk to church. The parents prayed for the health of their son and they tried everything in their power to heal him. But no sooner had the one illness gone, than upon his face there appeared another, called scales.

Once during his illness the child saw a wandering monk who visited at their home. The angelic garb so impressed the child, that he began to implore his parents to sew him such clothing and permit him to receive monastic tonsure. The holy child proclaimed: “You will see for yourselves, when you tonsure and grant me the angelic garb, I shall be well.” The parents consented. The child was invested in the schema with the name Bogolep (the Russian version of the Greek name Theoleptos, meaning “similar to God”).

On the next day the child schemamonk was completely healthy, his face was clear and there remained no trace of the illness. But on the third day there was a new illness, he developed a fever, and it struck down the child. He died on August 1, 1667 and was buried at the left wall of the wooden Black Ravine church in honor of the Resurrection of Christ. (This church was built after a great fire in Black Ravine, on July 24, 1652 the Feast of St Boris). A chapel was built over the grave of the child.

The Life of the holy Schemamonk Bogolep was compiled under a vow by the Black Ravine merchant Sava Tatarinov during the years 1731-1732.

Icons of the saint, with the Troparion and Kontakion to him, were widely dispersed throughout the Astrakhan region.

In 1750 on the place of the wooden church a stone church was built with a side-altar in honor of the holy Martyr John the Warrior. The grave of the holy schemamonk was enclosed in this side altar.

The bank of the river, where the church of the Resurrection of Christ stood, was constantly eroding. By the mid-nineteenth century the structure of the church was threatened, and they removed all the holy things from it. For a long time the people of Black Ravine did not remove the chief holy object: the grave of the holy schemamonk. Finally, in 1851 when the water had already approached 4 ft. 8 inches, the people petitioned the Most Holy Synod with a request to transfer the holy relics of the Schemamonk Bogolep, and they received permission for this. The small child’s coffin was laid bare, but just when the city head took it into his hands, it slid out of his hands and disappeared into the waters of the Volga.

This disappearance of the relics just at the opening of the grave was accepted as the Will of God, since the holy child had repeatedly appeared to many either in sleep, or awake while walking along the river bank, or coming down the hill. He consoled them, promising that he would be present spiritually with believers.

The simple life of the holy Schemamonk Bogolep, full of the mysteries of God, illustrates the words of the Savior concerning children: “Let the children come unto Me and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of God. Truly I say to you, whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, shall not enter therein. And He took them up in His arms, put His hands upon them, and blessed them” (Mark 10: 14-16).

We pray to St Bogolep for children, and also for protection against lightning.


St Roman of Kirzhachsk

Saint Roman of Kirzhachsk was a coascetic and student of St Sergius, Igumen of Radonezh (September 25 and July 5). Sts Sergius and Roman built a church in the forests of Vladimir governia at the River Kirzhach in honor of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos, and established a new monastery (in 1371). Three years later, with the blessing of St Alexis, Metropolitan of Moscow (February 12), St Sergius returned to the Trinity monastery, and St Roman remained to head the newly-created wilderness monastery.

Ordained to the priesthood by St Alexis, the new head of the Annunciation monastery fulfilled the precepts of his spiritual father and teacher, St Sergius with great fervor. A zealous ascetic, a good and demanding instructor, St Roman was an example for all the brethren.

The saint died on July 29, 1392 and was buried in the Annunciation temple. In the manuscripts, St Roman is numbered among the saints and is called a wonderworker.


Martyr Shushanik, Queen of Georgia

No information available at this time.