Lives of all saints commemorated on September 22


Hieromartyr Phocas the Bishop of Sinope

Hieromartyr Phocas was born in the city of Sinope. From youth he led a virtuous Christian life, and in his adult years he became Bishop of Sinope. St Phocas converted many pagans to faith in Christ. At the time of a persecution against Christians under the emperor Trajan (98-117), the governor demanded that the saint renounce Christ. After fierce torture they enclosed St Phocas in a hot bath, where he died a martyr’s death in the year 117.

In the year 404, the relics of the saint were transferred to Constantinople (July 22).

The Hieromartyr Phocas is especially venerated as a defender against fires, and also as a helper of the drowning.


Prophet Jonah

The Holy Prophet Jonah lived in the eighth century before the birth of Christ and was a successor of the Prophet Elisha. The Book of the Prophet Jonah contains prophecies about the judgments on the Israelite nation, the sufferings of the Savior, the downfall of Jerusalem, and the end of the world. Besides the prophecies, the Book of Jonah relates how he was sent to the Ninevites to preach repentance (Jon. 3: 3-10).

Our Lord Jesus Christ, addressing the Scribes and the Pharisees who demanded a sign from Him, said that no sign would be given except for the sign of the Prophet Jonah, “As Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so also shall the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights (Mt. 12: 40). From these words the Lord shows clearly the symbolic meaning of the Book of the Prophet Jonah in relation to Christ’s death on the Cross, descent into Hell, and the Resurrection.

Reproaching the lack of penitence and recalcitrance of the Jews, the Lord said, “The Ninevites shall rise in the judgment with this generation and will condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and one greater than Jonah is here” (Mt. 12: 41).


St Jonah the Presbyter, father of St Theophanes the Hymnographer and Theodore Graptus

Saint Jonah the Presbyter, Father of Sts Theophanes the Hymnographer (October 11) and Theodore the Branded (December 27), lived in Palestine in the late eighth to early ninth centuries.

St Jonah lived a virtuous and holy life. He had two sons who were glorified afterwards for their confession of Orthodoxy during the time of the Iconoclast heresy. After the death of his wife, St Jonah withdrew to the Lavra of St Sava the Sanctified (December 5), where both his sons earlier had been tonsured as monks. St Jonah dwelt at the Lavra until his death in the ninth century. The Lord bestowed upon His saint the gift of healing.


Venerable Jonah the Abbot of Yashezersk

Saint Jonah of Yash Lake was born in the village of Shoksha, sixteen versts from the monastery later established by him. The foundation of the monastery took place in 1580, when a wooden church was built in honor of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos, and eight monks joined together with the monk to labor in asceticism.

St Jonah toiled with great concern over the building up of the monastery. Thus, for example, in order to ease the catching of fish, he himself dug a channel from Yash Lake to the nearby Lake Senno. He often rode horseback along the solitary paths of the forest in search of necessities for the monastery.

The ascetic made vessels from wood to be used for the divine services. In time the monk became known for his holy life far beyond the bounds of the monastery. Many pilgrims brought gifts, among which also were Church service books. The boundaries of the monastery expanded, and the number of churches increased. Profound love and reverence for the ascetic were demonstrated by Metropolitan Isidore of Novgorod, by Igumen James of the Solovki monastery, by St Irenarchus (July 17), and also by many other contemporaries.

St Jonah died at the end of the sixteenth century and was buried in the Annunciation monastery founded by him.


Martyr Phocas the Gardener of Sinope

The Holy Martyr Phocas the Gardener came from the city of Sinope on the southern shore of the Black Sea. Having a small garden, he lived modestly. He sold what he grew, and supported himself on the proceeds. He helped the needy and paid for the housing of vagrants. The Christian piety of the saint had a great influence on other people. Even pagans deferred to him with deep respect. Under his influence they often abandoned their error and accepted the Christian Faith.

The governor of the district, aware that St Phocas was spreading Christian teachings, gave orders to find and kill him. The saint himself accidentally came upon those sent after him, and without revealing his name, he courteously received them, fed them and prepared a place for them to spend the night.

At night he went into the garden, then prepared a grave and a place for his burial. He even made arrangements for all his possessions to be distributed to the poor after his death. In the morning St Phocas declared to the strangers that it was he for whom they were searching, and told them to fulfill the duty entrusted to them. The visitors were distressed, not wanting to kill the kindly saint. They felt honor bound to spare St Phocas, but he would not hear of it, and humbly bent his head beneath the sword.

They buried the holy Martyr Phocas in the grave that he himself had prepared in the garden. The place of his burial was glorified by miracles, and later a church was built there. An accurate account of the martyr’s death was collected by Asterius of Amasea (+ 410). The holy Martyr Phocas is especially venerated by seafarers, and he is called upon by those traveling by sea.


St Peter the Tax-Collector

Saint Peter, Former Tax-Collector, was the chief collector of taxes in Africa in the service of the emperor Justinian (527-565). He was a cruel and merciless man.

One day he threw a morsel of bread to a beggar who annoyed him by incessantly begging alms. In a vision Peter saw himself as dead and how the holy Angels weighed his deeds on the scale of the righteous judgment of God. On the side of good deeds nothing was placed except a morsel of bread, thrown at the beggar, but this prevented the opposite side from being pulled down by his vicious deeds.

Peter pondered the meaning of the dream, and thought that if one loaf of bread, thrown involontarily, was of such help to him, then he might receive much more help for good deeds performed with compassion and from the heart. He repented and completely changed his life. He liberally distributed alms to the needy, and fed and clothed many.

On day, in a dream, Peter saw Jesus Christ. The Lord was dressed in clothes which the saint once gave to a beggar. Peter then distributed his substance to the poor and ordered his slave to sell him into slavery and to give the money to the poor. The slave reluctantly carried out the orders of his master.

For many years St Peter worked diligently and humbly for his master. One day he was recognized by tradesmen to whom he had been known earlier. They told the master who his servant was. Having overheard this conversation, the saint quickly fled from the city. In departing, he worked a miracle: the gatekeeper, a deaf-mute slave, was ordered by St Peter to open the gates in the name of Jesus Christ. He fulfilled the command, and at once received his hearing and speech. He rushed around everywhere to tell his master and added moreover, that when the saint commanded him to open the gates, fire came forth from his mouth touching his face, after which he began to hear and speak. Everyone went to look for Peter, but the search proved in vain. The saint hid and remained hidden until his death.

The Life of St Peter was passed along by St John the Merciful, Patriarch of Alexandria (November 12), who in turn knew it from a man personally acquainted with the saint.


Venerable Macarius the Wonderworker of Zhabynka and Belev

No information available at this time.


Synaxis of the Saints of Tula

St Alexander Nevsky, Great Prince August 30 (translation of relics in 1724), November 22 (his burial in 1263)

St Alexander, soldier, schemamonk, disciple of St Sergius. September 7 (+1390)

St Alexander, soldier, schemamonk, disciple of St Sergius. September 7 (+1380)

St Boris (Roman in Baptism), Prince, Passion-Bearer. May 2 (transfer of relics in 1072), July 24 (commemorated with St Gleb) (+1015)

St Gleb (David in Baptism), Prince, Passion-Bearer. May 2 (transfer of relics in 1115), July 24 (commemorated with St Boris), September 5 (martyrdom) (+1015)

St Demetrius Donskoy, Great Prince. May 19 (+1389)

St Igor (George in Baptism, Gabriel in monasticism), Great Prince. June 5 (transfer of relics in 1150), September 19 (+1147)

St John I Kalita, Great Prince. (+ 1340, date unknown)

St Kushka, Hieromonk of the Kiev Near Caves, hieromartyr. (+ after 1114)

St Macarius, abbot of Zhabyn, hieroschemamonk, wonderworker. January 22 (+1623)

Blessed Matrona the Blind of Moscow. April 19 (+1952)

St Michael of Chernigov, Great Prince, martyr, wonderworker. February 14 (transfer of relics in 1578), September 20 (martyrdom +1245)

St Nikita, Bishop of Belev, hieromartyr (+1938) September 3 (glorification)

St Nicola Sviatosha, monk, prince, wonderworker. October 14 (+1143)

St Nicholas, Archbishop of Myra and Lycia. May 9 (transfer of relics), December 6 (repose), July 29 (birth).

St Nikon, martyr, disciple of St Kushka. August 27 (+ after 1114)

St Onesimus, Bishop of Tula, New Martyr. February 14 (+1937), September 3 (glorification)

St Peter (Pavlushov), hieromartyr November 10, September 3 (glorification)

St Pimen, Archbishop of Novgorod (+ 1571, no date)

St Theoctistus, Bishop of Chernigov, August 5 (+1123)


Venerable Cosmas of the Zographou Monastery on Mt. Athos

Saint Cosmas, Hermit of Zographou, was a Bulgarian. In his youth he avoided entering into marriage, and secretly left his parents’ home for Mount Athos. Then as he was on his way to the Holy Mountain, the devil tried to shake the yearning of the youth, vexing him with a vision of the infinite abyss of the sea surrounding the Holy Mountain. The fervent prayer of the youth dispelled the demonic temptation.

On Athos, St Cosmas was accepted in the Zographou monastery. There he was a novice for a long time, and then he was tonsured, and was appointed ecclesiarch. St Cosmas received a special mercy to see the heavenly abbess of Mount Athos Herself, Who on the Feast of the Annunciation at the Vatopedi monastery deigned to reveal to him a glimpse of Her care for Her earthly appanage. He saw a Woman of royal majesty and grandeur, Who attended to both in church for services, and in the trapeza. All the monks served and obeyed Her.

Soon the saint was ordained as deacon, and then as presbyter, which inspired him to new exploits. Zealous for salvation, the saint through fervent prayer to the Most Holy Theotokos was granted a particular sign of Her special favor. He heard the voice of the Mother of God issuing from Her holy icon and asking Her Son, “How will Cosmas be saved?” The Lord answered, “Let him withdraw from the monastery into silence.” After obtaining the blessing of the Superior, St Cosmas withdrew into the wilderness, and there in a cave cut into a cliff, and began his new deed of silent seclusion. God did not forsake the faithful man of prayer, for the saint was granted the gift of clairvoyance.

Just as at the start of his ascetic life, the Enemy of the race of mankind again tried to dissuade the saint from his intended path, and so the final days before the righteous one’s death were also a grievous trial for him.

Not long before the death of God’s chosen one, he was granted a vision of Christ Himself, Who informed the saint that before his soul would depart to the heavenly Kingdom, Satan himself with his hosts would beat and gnash at him. Prepared for the suffering by this divine solace, the saint bravely underwent the terrible demonic assaults, and on the third day after furious beatings, he received the All-Pure Mysteries. With words of praise on his lips, he peacefully departed to the Lord.

God, “Who glorifies those who glorify Him,” also glorified St Cosmas miraculously at his death. At the time of the saint’s burial a multitude of beasts and birds flocked to his cave, as though sensing the common loss of the Holy Mountain. When they placed his body in the grave and began to cover it with ground, each of the speechless creatures let out a mournful cry, bestowing final respect to the saint of God.

Forty days later, when the brethren opened the saint’s tomb after the all-night Vigil (as was customary), in order to transfer them to the monastery with honor, they were not to be found. The Lord hid them in a miraculous manner. This occurred in the year 1323.