Lives of all saints commemorated on August 16


Afterfeast of the Dormition of the Mother of God

In today’s hymns at Vespers, the Mother of God is praised as “only created being to pass from earth to heaven in the flesh.”


Translation of the Image “Not-Made-By-Hands” of our Lord Jesus Christ from Edessa to Constantinople, the Third “Feast of the Savior in August”

The Transfer from Edessa to Constantinople of the Icon of our Lord Jesus Christ Not-Made-by-Hands occurred in the year 944. Eusebius, in his HISTORY OF THE CHURCH (I:13), relates that when the Savior was preaching, Abgar ruled in Edessa. He was stricken all over his body with leprosy. Reports of the great miracles worked by the Lord spread throughout Syria (Mt.4:24) and reached even Abgar. Without having seen the Savior, Abgar believed in Him as the Son of God. He wrote a letter requesting Him to come and heal him. He sent with this letter to Palestine his own portrait-painter Ananias, and commissioned him to paint a likeness of the Divine Teacher.

Ananias arrived in Jerusalem and saw the Lord surrounded by people. He was not able to get close to Him because of the large throng of people listening to the preaching of the Savior. Then he stood on a high rock and attempted to paint the portrait of the Lord Jesus Christ from afar, but this effort was not successful. The Savior saw him, called to him by name and gave him a short letter for Abgar in which He praised the faith of this ruler. He also promised to send His disciple to heal him of his leprosy and guide him to salvation.

Then the Lord asked that water and a cloth be brought to Him. He washed His Face, drying it with the cloth, and His Divine Countenance was imprinted upon it. Ananias took the cloth and the letter of the Savior to Edessa. Reverently, Abgar pressed the holy object to his face and he received partial healing. Only a small trace of the terrible affliction remained until the arrival of the disciple promised by the Lord. He was St Thaddeus, Apostle of the Seventy (August 21), who preached the Gospel and baptized Abgar and all the people of Edessa. Abgar put the Holy Napkin in a gold frame adorned with pearls, and placed it in a niche over the city gates. On the gateway above the icon he inscribed the words, “O Christ God, let no one who hopes on Thee be put to shame.”

For many years the inhabitants kept a pious custom to bow down before the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands, when they went forth from the gates. But one of the great-grandsons of Abgar, who later ruled Edessa, fell into idolatry. He decided to take down the icon from the city wall. In a vision the Lord ordered the Bishop of Edessa to hide His icon. The bishop, coming by night with his clergy, lit a lampada before it and walled it up with a board and with bricks.

Many years passed, and the people forgot about it. But in the year 545, when the Persian emperor Chozroes I besieged Edessa and the position of the city seemed hopeless, the Most Holy Theotokos appeared to Bishop Eulabius and ordered him to remove the icon from the sealed niche, and it would save the city from the enemy. Having opened the niche, the bishop found the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands: in front of it was burning the lampada, and upon the board closing in the niche, a copy of the icon was reproduced. After a church procession with the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands had made the circuit of the city walls, the Persian army withdrew.

In the year 630 Arabs seized Edessa, but they did not hinder the veneration of the Holy Napkin, the fame of which had spread throughout all the East. In the year 944, the emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitos (912-959) wanted to transfer the icon to the Constantinople, and he paid a ransom for it to the emir of the city. With great reverence the Icon of the Savior Not-Made-by-Hands and the letter which He had written to Abgar, were brought to Constantinople by clergy.

On August 16, the icon of the Savior was placed in the Tharossa church of the Most Holy Theotokos. There are several traditions concerning what happened later to the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands. According to one, crusaders ran off with it duringtheir rule at Constantinople (1204-1261), but the ship on which the sacred object was taken, perished in the waters of the Sea of Marmora.

According to another tradition, the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands was transported around 1362 to Genoa, where it is preserved in a monastery in honor of the Apostle Bartholomew. It is known that the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands repeatedly gave from itself exact imprints. One of these, named “On Ceramic,” was imprinted when Ananias hid the icon in a wall on his way to Edessa; another, imprinted on a cloak, wound up in Georgia. Possibly, the variance of traditions about the original Icon Not-Made-by-Hands derives from the existence of several exact imprints.

During the time of the Iconoclast heresy, those who defended the veneration of icons, having their blood spilt for holy icons, sang the Troparion to the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands. In proof of the validity of Icon-Veneration, Pope Gregory II (715-731) sent a letter to the Byzantine emperor, in which he pointed out the healing of King Abgar and the sojourn of the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands at Edessa as a commonly known fact. The Icon Not-Made-by-Hands was put on the standards of the Russian army, defending them from the enemy. In the Russian Orthodox Church it is a pious custom for a believer, before entering the temple, to read the Troparion of the Not-Made-by-Hand icon of the Savior, together with other prayers.

According to the Prologue, there are four known Icons of the Savior Not-Made-by-Hands:

  • at Edessa, of King Abgar (August 16)

  • the Kamulian, -- St Gregory of Nyssa (January 10) wrote of its discovery, while according to St Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain (July 14), the Kamulian icon appeared in the year 392, but it had in appearance an icon of the Mother of God (August 9)

  • in the time of Emperor Tiberius (578-582), St Mary Syncletike (August 11) received healing from this

    on ceramic tiles (16 August)

  • The Feast of the Transfer of the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands, made together with the Afterfeast of the Dormition, they call the third-above Savior Icon, the “Savior on Linen Cloth.” The particular reverence of this Feast in the Russian Orthodox Church is also expressed in iconography, and the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands was one of the most widely distributed.


    Martyr Diomedes the Physician of Tarsus, in Cilicia

    The Martyr Diomedes was born in Cilician Tarsus. He was a physician, and a Christian, and he treated not only ills of the body but also of the soul. He enlightened many pagans with belief in Christ, and baptized them. The Church venerates him as a healer and mentions him during the Mystery of Holy Unction.

    St Diomedes traveled much, converting people to the true Faith. When he arrived in the city of Nicea, the emperor Diocletian (284-305) sent soldiers to arrest him. Along the way from Nicea to Nicomedia, he got down from the cart so as to pray, and he died.

    As proof of carrying out their orders, the soldiers cut off his head, but became blinded. Diocletian gave orders to take the head back to the body. When the soldiers fulfilled the order, their sight was restored and they believed in Christ.


    Venerable Cherimon (Chaeremon) of Egypt

    Saint Cherimon was an ascetic in Egypt in the Skete desert monastery, either at the end of the fourth century, or the beginning years of the fifth century. His name is remembered in the LAUSIAC HISTORYof Palladius and in the alphabetic Paterikon.

    His cave stood at a distance of 40 stadia from church and 12 stadia from a spring of water. The saint died at handicraft at more than 100 years of age. St Cherimon is remembered by St Theodore the Studite (November 11) in the Lenten Triodion, in the Service for Cheesefare Saturday, in the 6th Ode of the Matins canon.


    Icon of the Mother of God of St Theodore

    On August 16 we commemorate the miraculous finding of the Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos of St Theodore. According to Tradition, the Theodore Icon of the Mother of God was painted by the Evangelist Luke, and resembles the famous Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God.

    This icon received its name from St Alexander Nevsky’s father Great Prince Yaroslav Vsevolodovich (+ 1246), who in holy Baptism was named Theodore in honor of St Theodore Stratelates (February 8).

    According to Tradition, his elder brother, St George (February 4), had found the icon in an old wooden chapel near the city of Gorodets. Later, the Gorodets monastery of St Theodore was built on this spot. When the citizens of Gorodets fled the city at the approach of Khan they did not have time to take the Icon with them.

    In 1239 the residents of Kostroma saw the Icon being carried through their city by a radiant figure who resembed St Theodore Stratelates. The next day the Icon was found in a tree by Prince Basil of Kostroma, St Alexander Nevsky’s younger brother while he was hunting in the forest. The Icon was placed in the church of St Theodore Stratelates, and many miracles took place before it.

    Prince Yaroslav-Theodore became the Great Prince of Vladimir after his brother St George perished in battle with the Mongols at the Sita River. He gave the icon which he inherited from his brother to his own son, St Alexander Nevsky.

    The wonderworking Theodore Icon of the Mother of God was constantly with St Alexander, and he often prayed before it. After St Alexander Nevsky died on November 14, 1263 at the monastery founded by his father, the icon was taken by his younger brother Basil.

    Numerous copies of the Kostroma Theodore Icon were made, and one of the first was commissioned and brought to Moscow by Tsar Michael’s mother, the nun Martha. From the second half of the seventeenth century, various copies of the Theodore Icon were enlarged with scenes depicting events from the history of the wonderworking icon.

    The Theodore Icon is two-sided. On the reverse side is the image of the holy Great Martyr Paraskeva, depicted in the splendid attire of a princess. It is believed that the image of Paraskeva on the reverse of the icon is connected with the wife of St Alexander Nevsky.

    The first Romanov tsar was acclaimed as sovereign before the Theodore Icon in 1613.

    The Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos of St Theodore is also commemorated on March 14.


    St Anthony of Martkofeli

    No information available at this time.


    Martyr Christopher of Guria, Georgia

    It is commonly believed that St. Christopher Guruli was martyred, but little information exists about him to prove this. Christopher’s name has been preserved in the nation’s memory, and he is commemorated in the Church calendar.

    The Georgian ancestry of Holy Martyr Christopher is indicated by his appellation, “Guruli,” which means “from the province of Guria (in western Georgia).” From this, Church historians have been led to believe that Holy Martyr Christopher labored in Georgia.


    Martyr Isaac of Karnu, Georgia

    No information available at this time.


    Martyr Joseph of Karnu, Georgia

    No information available at this time.


    St Joachim of Osogovo

    Saint Joachim of Osogov was one of four great hermits of Bulgaria. He inspired hundreds and thousands of people to Christian asceticism by his ascetic efforts. He lived in the eleventh century, unknown by anyone, in a cave on a mountain of Osogov.


    St Roman of Banat

    No information available at this time.


    St Eustathius of Serbia

    No information available at this time.


    St Raphael of Banat

    No information available at this time.


    Hieromartyr Nicodemus of Meteora

    Hieromartyr Nicodemus of Meteora struggled in Thessaly, and suffered in the year 1551.


    New Martyr Stamatius of Volos

    The New Martyr Stamatius was a native of the city of Volos, Thessaly. They accused him of accepting Islam, but he bravely confessed himself a Christian and was beheaded by the sword at Constantinople in 1680.


    Venerable Gerasimus the New Ascetic of Cephalonia

    Saint Gerasimus the New Ascetic of Cephalonia was born in the village of Trikkala in the Peloponessos. As a young adult, he became a monk on the island of Zakynthos. On the Holy Mountain he became a schemamonk and studied with the ascetics of Mt Athos. Receiving a blessing from the Elders, the monk went to Jerusalem to worship at the Life-bearing Tomb of the Savior. After visiting many holy places in Jerusalem, Mount Sinai, Antioch, Damascus, Alexandria and Egypt, he returned to Jerusalem where he became a lamp-lighter at the Sepulchre of the Lord.

    The monk was ordained a deacon and then a priest by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Germanus (1534-1579). St Gerasimus maintained the discipline of an ascetic. For soltitude he withdrew to the Jordan, where he spent forty days without respite. Having received the Patriarch’s blessing for a life of silence, St Gerasimus withdrew to Zakynthos in solitude, eating only vegetation.

    After five years he was inspired to go the the island of Cephalonia, where he lived in a cave. He restored a church at Omala, and he founded a women’s monastery where he lived in constant toil and vigil for thirty years. He prayed on bent knees stretched out on the ground. For his exalted life he was granted a miraculous gift: the ability to heal the sick and cast out unclean spirits.

    At 71 years of age, the venerable Gerasimus knew that he would soon die. He gave his blessing to the nuns and peacefully fell asleep in the Lord on August 15, 1579. Two years later, his grave was opened and his holy relics were found fragrant and incorrupt with a healing power.

    Since the Feast of the Dormition falls on August 15, St Gerasimus is commemorated on August 16th. Today’s Feast celebrates the uncovering of his holy relics in 1581.


    St Constantine Brancoveanu

    The holy Prince Constantine Brancoveanu, the son of Prince Matthew Basarab, was born in 1654. When his parents died, he was raised and educated by his uncle, Constantine Cantacuzino. When another uncle, Prince Serban Cantacuzino died on on October 19, 1688, Constantine was chosen to succeed him as Prince of the Romanian Land (Wallachia). St Constantine was a wise and just ruler who was guided by Christian principles, and worked for the benefit of his people. He also built and restored many churches and monasteries. His philanthropy extended even into Transylvania and Moldavia, which were ruled by others.

    In 1714, after a reign of twenty-five years, St Constantine, his sons, and his sons-in-law were arrested by soldiers sent to Bucharest by Sultan Ahmed III (1703-1730).The prisoners were brought to Constantinople, where they were tortured for four months. Prince Constantine was told that if he and his sons wanted to escape death, they would have to convert to Islam and pay a large sum of money. Constantine did not have the money required by the Turks, and he did not wish to convert to the Moslem faith.

    Seeing that neither tortures nor threats would induce the prisoners to forsake Christ, the Turks sentenced them to death. Before his own execution, St Constantine had to watch as his sons were beheaded before his eyes.

    On the Feast of the Dormition (August 15), The sixty-year-old prince, his sons, and his counsellor Ianache Vacarescu died as martyrs for Christ. Their bodies were left unburied for three days, then they were thrown into the sea. Their relics were recovered by Orthodox Christians who brought them to the Monastery of the Theotokos on the island of Chalki.

    St Constantine’s wife Marica brought his holy relics back to Bucharest and placed them in the church of St George the New, which he had founded. He was glorified by the Orthodox Church of Romania in 1992.


    St Constantine the Younger

    Saint Constantine the Younger was one of the four sons of the holy Prince Constantine Brancoveanu. He was martyred with his father on August 15, 1714. He was glorified by the Orthodox Church of Romania in 1992.


    St Stephen Brancoveanu

    Saint Stephen was one of the four sons of the holy Prince Constantine Brancoveanu. He was martyred with his father on August 15, 1714. He was glorified by the Orthodox Church of Romania in 1992.


    St Radu Brancoveanu

    Saint Radu was one of the four sons of the holy Prince Constantine Brancoveanu. He was martyred with his father on August 15, 1714. He was glorified by the Orthodox Church of Romania in 1992.


    St Matthew Brancoveanu

    Saint Matthew was one of the four sons of the holy Prince Constantine Brancoveanu. He was martyred with his father on August 15, 1714. He was glorified by the Orthodox Church of Romania in 1992.


    St Ianache Vacarescu

    Saint Ianache Vacarescu was the loyal Counsellor of the holy Prince Constantine Brancoveanu. He was martyred with his master on August 15, 1714, and was glorified by the Orthodox Church of Romania in 1992.