Lives of all saints commemorated on October 16


Martyr Longinus the Centurion, who stood at the Cross of the Lord

The Holy Martyr Longinus the Centurion, a Roman soldier, served in Judea under the command of the Governor, Pontius Pilate. When our Savior Jesus Christ was crucified, it was the detachment of soldiers under the command of Longinus which stood watch on Golgotha, at the very foot of the holy Cross. Longinus and his soldiers were eyewitnesses of the final moments of the earthly life of the Lord, and of the great and awesome portents that appeared at His death. These events shook the centurion’s soul. Longinus believed in Christ and confessed before everyone, “Truly this was the Son of God” (Mt. 27:54).

According to Church Tradition, Longinus was the soldier who pierced the side of the Crucified Savior with a spear, and received healing from an eye affliction when blood and water poured forth from the wound.

After the Crucifixion and Burial of the Savior, Longinus stood watch with his company at the Sepulchre of the Lord. These soldiers were present at the All-Radiant Resurrection of Christ. The Jews bribed them to lie and say that His disciples had stolen away the Body of Christ, but Longinus and two of his comrades refused to be seduced by the Jewish gold. They also refused to remain silent about the miracle of the Resurrection.

Having come to believe in the Savior, the soldiers received Baptism from the apostles and decided to leave military service. St Longinus left Judea to preach about Jesus Christ the Son of God in his native land (Cappadocia), and his two comrades followed him.

The fiery words of those who had actually participated in the great events in Judea swayed the hearts and minds of the Cappadocians; Christianity began quickly to spread throughout the city and the surrounding villages. When they learned of this, the Jewish elders persuaded Pilate to send a company of soldiers to Cappadocia to kill Longinus and his comrades. When the soldiers arrived at Longinus’s village, the former centurion himself came out to meet the soldiers and took them to his home. After a meal, the soldiers revealed the purpose of their visit, not knowing that the master of the house was the very man whom they were seeking. Then Longinus and his friends identified themselves and told the startled soldiers to carry out their duty.

The soldiers wanted to let the saints go and advised them to flee, but they refused to do this, showing their firm intention to suffer for Christ. The holy martyrs were beheaded, and their bodies were buried at the place where the saints were martyred. The head of St Longinus, however, was sent to Pilate.

Pilate gave orders to cast the martyr’s head on a trash-heap outside the city walls. After a while a certain blind widow from Cappadocia arrived in Jerusalem with her son to pray at the holy places, and to ask that her sight be restored. After becoming blind, she had sought the help of physicians to cure her, but all their efforts were in vain.

The woman’s son became ill shortly after reaching Jerusalem, and he died a few days later. The widow grieved for the loss of her son, who had served as her guide.

St Longinus appeared to her in a dream and comforted her. He told her that she would see her son in heavenly glory, and also receive her sight. He told her to go outside the city walls and there she would find his head in a great pile of refuse. Guides led the blind woman to the rubbish heap, and she began to dig with her hands. As soon as she touched the martyr’s head, the woman received her sight, and she glorified God and St Longinus.

Taking up the head, she brought it to the place she was staying and washed it. The next night, St Longinus appeared to her again, this time with her son. They were surrounded by a bright light, and St Longinus said, Woman, behold the son for whom you grieve. See what glory and honor are his now, and be consoled. God has numbered him with those in His heavenly Kingdom. Now take my head and your son’s body, and bury them in the same casket. Do not weep for your son, for he will rejoice forever in great glory and happiness.”

The woman carried out the saint’s instructions and returned to her home in Cappadocia. There she buried her son and the head of St Longinus. Once, she had been overcome by grief for her son, but her weeping was transformed into joy when she saw him with St Longinus. She had sought healing for her eyes, and also received healing of her soul.


Venerable Longinus the Gatekeeper of the Kiev Caves

Saint Longinus, the Gate-Keeper of the Kiev Caves, Far Caves, made his monastic obedience at the Kiev Caves monastery. His prayerful fervor and humble love for work were rewarded by the Lord. The venerable gatesman was granted the gift of discernment. He encouraged the people who came to the Lavra with good intent, but he denounced those inclined to wickedness and urged them to repentance. He was buried in the Far Caves.

St Longinus is also commemorated on August 28 and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.


Venerable Longinus of Yarenga

St Longinus, the wonderworker of Yarenga, is also commemorated on July 3.


Martyr Longinus of Asistavi

No information available at this time.


St Eupraxia, Princess of Pskov

Saint Eupraxia, Princess of Pskov, in the world Euphrosyne, was the daughter of the Polotsk prince Rogvolod Borisovich, and an aunt to the holy Prince Dovmont-Timothy (May 20). She was the wife of the Pskov prince Yaroslav Vladimirovich. Prince Yaroslav fled from Pskov to Livonia and there married a German. Together with the Teutonic knights he made incursions several times upon the Russian lands, and in 1231 he seized Izborsk. After the departure of her husband, Euphrosyne turned to deeds of piety. In the year 1243, she built a monastery on the banks of the River Velika named for St John the Forerunner, and became its abbess.

Invited to Livonia for a meeting with her former husband in the city of Odenpa (Bear’s Head), she was murdered (May 8, 1243) by a stepson, more accurately, the son of Yaroslav by his German wife. She was buried at the cathedral of the monastery she founded. Ten days after the death of St Eupraxia, a miracle occurred over her grave, when myrrh issued from an icon of the Savior. The icon was called “The myrrh-bearing Savior”. The countenance of the righteous princess was preserved on two icons. On the one she is depicted at prayer with St John the Forerunner and the holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called. The other icon with her likeness is beside the wonderworking icon of the Savior.