Lives of all saints commemorated on November 20


Forefeast of the Entry into the Temple of the Most Holy Theotokos

The Feast of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple has only one day of prefeast. The hymns for today praise St Anna for bringing her daughter, the living temple of God, to the Temple in Jerusalem.

The three Old Testament readings at Great Vespers refer to the Temple. The first lesson (Exodus 40:1-5, 9-10, 16, 34-35) refers to the arrangement of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation (a portable sanctuary which was carried by the Israelites in their wanderings). The second lesson (III Kings/I Kings 7:51; 8:1, 3-7, 9-11) describes the dedication of Solomon’s Temple. The third lesson (Ezekiel 43:27-44:4) speaks of the gate of the sanctuary which faces east. God enters through this gate, which is shut so that no one else can enter by it.


Venerable Gregory Decapolite

Saint Gregory the Decapolite was born in the Isaurian city of Decapolis (ten cities) in the eighth century. From his childhood he loved the temple of God and church services. He read the Holy Scripture constantly and with reverence.

In order to avoid the marriage which his parents had intended for him, he secretly left home. He spent all his life wandering: he was in Constantinople, Rome, Corinth, and he lived as an ascetic on Olympus for a while. St Gregory preached the Word of God everywhere, denouncing the Iconoclast heresy, strengthening the faith and fortitude of the Orthodox, whom the heretics in those times oppressed, tortured and imprisoned.

Through his ascetic effort and prayer, St Gregory attained the gifts of prophecy and wonderworking. After overcoming the passions and reaching the height of virtue, he was permitted to hear angelic singing in praise of the Holy Trinity. St Gregory left the monastery of St Menas near Thessalonica, where he had labored for a long time, and he went again to Constantinople in order to combat the Iconoclast heresy. At the capital, a grievous illness undermined his strength, and he departed to the Lord in the year 816.

St Gregory was buried at a monastery in Constantinople, and many miracles took place at his tomb. As a result, the monks removed the holy relics of St Gregory and enshrined them in the church where people could venerate them.

When Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453, the relics of St Gregory were carried to the region of the Danube by a Turkish official. In 1498 Barbu Craiovescu, the Ban of the Romanian Land (Wallachia) heard of the miracles performed by the holy relics and bought them for a considerable sum of money. Barbu Craiovescu placed the relics in the main church of Bistritsa Monastery which he founded in Rimnicu Vilcea, where they remain to the present day.

A small book describing the miracles and healings performed by St Gregory the Decapolite in Romania has been written by Abbess Olga Gologan, who reposed in 1972.


St Proclus the Archbishop of Constantinople

Saint Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople, from his early years devoted all his time to prayer and the study of Holy Scripture. The Lord granted him the great good fortune to be a disciple of St John Chrysostom (November 13), who at first ordained him as a deacon, and then to the holy priesthood. He witnessed the appearance of the Apostle Paul to St John Chrysostom. St Proclus received from his teacher a profound understanding of Holy Scripture, and learned to elucidate his thoughts in a polished form.

After the exile and death of St John Chrysostom, the holy Patriarch of Constantinople Sisinius (426-427) consecrated St Proclus as bishop of the city of Kyzikos, but under the influence of Nestorian heretics he was expelled by his flock there.

St Proclus then returned to the capital and preached the Word of God in the churches of Constantinople, strengthening listeners in the Orthodox Faith and denouncing the impiety of the heretics. He once preached a sermon before Nestorius in which he fearlessly defended the title “Theotokos” in speaking of the holy Virgin. Upon the death of the Patriarch St Sisinius, St Proclus was chosen to take his place. Having thus been made Patriarch of Constantinople, he guided the Church over the course of twelve years (434-447). By the efforts of St Proclus, the relics of St John Chrysostom were transferred from Comana to Constantinople in the time of the holy emperor St Theodosius II (408-450).

When St Proclus was Patriarch, the Empire suffered destructive earthquakes, lasting for several months. At Bithynia, in the Hellespont, and in Phrygia cities were devastated, rivers disappeared from the face of the earth, and terrible flooding occurred in previously dry places. The people of Constantinople came out of the city with the patriarch and emperor at their head and offered prayers for an end to the unprecedented calamities.

During one prayer service, a boy from the crowd was snatched up into the air by an unseen force and carried up to such a height that he was no longer to be seen by human eyes. Then, whole and unharmed, the child was lowered to the ground and he reported that he heard and he saw the angels glorifying God singing: “Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal.” All the people began to sing this Trisagion Prayer, adding to it the refrain, “Have mercy on us!” Then the earthquakes stopped. The Orthodox Church sings still this prayer at divine services to this very day.

The Constantinople flock esteemed their Patriarch for his ascetic life, for his concern about the downtrodden, and for his preaching. Many works of the saint have survived to the present day. Best known are his discourses against the Nestorians, two tracts of the saint in praise of the Mother of God, and four tracts on the Nativity of Christ, setting forth the Orthodox teaching about the Incarnation of the Son of God. The activity of the holy patriarch in establishing decorum in all the church affairs gained him universal esteem. Surrounded by love and respect, St Proclus departed to the Lord after serving as Patriarch for twenty years.


Venerable Diodorus the Abbot of Yuregorsk

Saint Diodorus of Yuregorsk was born in the village of Turchasovo at the River Onega. His parents, Jerothei and Maria, named their son Diomid. As a fifteen-year-old youth he went on pilgrimage to the Solovki monastery, and then remained there as a novice. There he received monastic tonsure when he was nineteen under the igumen Anthony.

He lived with the hermits on desolate islands, and then he settled at Lake Vodla. He spent seven years there with his disciple Prochorus. Resolving to found a monastery in honor of the Most Holy Trinity on Mount Yurev, the monk went to Moscow, where he received approval from Tsar Michael (1613-1645) and also money for the building of the monastery from the Tsar’s mother, the nun and Eldress Martha.

Somewhat before his death, St Diodorus was obliged to journey to Kargopol on monastery matters. Taking leave of the brethren, he predicted his impending death. He died on November 27, 1633 and was buried at Kargopol. After two years his incorrupt body was transferred to the Trinity monastery and buried at the south wall of the cathedral church.

The memory of St Diodorus is celebrated on November 20 because of the Feast of the Icon of the Mother of God “Of the Sign,” with which his repose coincides.


Martyr Dasius of Dorostorum

The Holy Martyr Dasius lived during the third century in the city of Dorostorum on the Danube River. The inhabitants of the city were preparing for a festival in honor of the pagan god Saturn. By custom, thirty days before the celebration they selected a handsome youth, dressed him in fine clothing, accorded him royal honors, and he would go forth in public made up like Saturn. For thirty days, he would indulge in wicked deeds and immoral pleasures. On the day of the feast he was brought before the idols and put to the sword as a sacrifice to Saturn.

The choice of his compatriots fell upon St Dasius, since in the city there was not a more handsome youth. Learning of this, the saint said, “If I am fated to die, then it’s better to die for Christ as a Christian.” He openly confessed his faith in Christ before his fellow citizens and refused to take part in the shameful ritual. He denounced the impiety and error of the idolaters and converted many of them to Christ. Therefore, on the orders of the emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian (305-311), he was beheaded after cruel tortures.


Martyr Eustathius of Nicea

The Holy Martyrs Eustathius, Thespesius and Anatolius, natives of the city of Gangra, were the children of a rich merchant. They were baptized by Bishop Anthimus of Nicomedia (September 3). They died as martyrs at Nicea, after suffering fierce tortures.


Martyr Thespesius of Nicea

The Holy Martyrs Eustathius, Thespesius and Anatolius, natives of the city of Gangra, were the children of a rich merchant. They were baptized by Bishop Anthimus of Nicomedia (September 3). They died as martyrs at Nicea, after suffering fierce tortures.


Martyr Anatolius of Nicea

The Holy Martyrs Eustathius, Thespesius and Anatolius, natives of the city of Gangra, were the children of a rich merchant. They were baptized by Bishop Anthimus of Nicomedia (September 3). They died as martyrs at Nicea, after suffering fierce tortures.


Hieromartyr Nerses of Persia

Saint Nerses the bishop suffered for Christ in Persia with his disciple Joseph; Bishops John, Saverius, Isaac and Hypatius; the Martyrs Azades the Eunuch, Savonius, Thekla, Anna and many other men and women. They were executed in 343 during a persecution against Christians under the emperor Sapor II.

St Nerses and his disciple Joseph were beheaded.


Hieromartyr Joseph of Persia

Saint Joseph the bishop was a disciple of St Nerses. They suffered for Christ in Persia with Bishops John, Saverius, Isaac and Hypatius; the martyrs Azades the Eunuch, Savonius, Thekla, Anna and many other men and women. They were executed in 343 during a persecution against Christians under the emperor Sapor II.

Sts Joseph and Nerses were beheaded.


Hieromartyr John of Persia

Saint John the bishop suffered for Christ in Persia with Bishop Nerses and his disciple Joseph; the bishops Saverius, Isaac and Hypatius; the martyrs Azades the Eunuch, Savonius, Thekla, Anna and many other men and women. They were executed in 343 during a persecution against Christians under the emperor Sapor II.

St John was put to death by stoning.


Hieromartyr Saverius of Persia

Saint Saverius the bishop suffered for Christ in Persia with St Nerses and his disciple Joseph; Bishops John, Isaac and Hypatius; the martyrs Azades the Eunuch, Savonius, Thekla, Anna and many other men and women. They were executed in 343 during a persecution against Christians under the emperor Sapor II.

St Nerses and his disciple Joseph were beheaded; St John was stoned. This fate befell also Sts Isaac and Hypatius. St Saverius died in prison, and after death they cut off his head. A certain apostate presbyter strangled the Martyr Azades the Eunuch. The Martyrs Savonius, Thekla, Anna and many other men and women also underwent torture, suffering and death for Christ in 343.


Hieromartyr Isaac of Persia

Saint Isaac suffered for Christ in Persia with St Nerses and his disciple Joseph; the bishops John, Saverius, and Hypatius; the martyrs Azades the Eunuch, Savonius, Thekla, Anna and many other men and women. They were executed in 343 during a persecution against Christians under the emperor Sapor II.

St Isaac was put to death by stoning.


Hieromartyr Hypatius the Bishop of Persia

Saint Hypatius the bishop suffered for Christ in Persia with St Nerses and his disciple Joseph; bishops John, Saverius, and Isaac; the martyrs Azades the Eunuch, Savonius, Thekla, Anna and many other men and women. They were executed in 343 during a persecution against Christians under the emperor Sapor II.

St Hypatius was put to death by stoning..


Martyr Azades the Eunuch who suffered in Persia

Saint Azades the Eunuch suffered for Christ in Persia with the hieromartyrs Bishop Nerses, and his disciple Joseph; Bishops John, Saverius, Isaac and Hypatius; the Martyrs Savonius, Thekla, Anna and many other men and women. They were executed in 343 during a persecution against Christians under the emperor Sapor II.

St Azades was strangled by an apostate priest.


Martyr Savonius and many other men and women who suffered in Persia

Saint Savonius suffered for Christ in Persia with St Nerses the bishop and his disciple Joseph; Bishops John, Saverius, Isaac and Hypatius; the Martyrs Azades the Eunuch, Thekla, Anna and many other men and women. They were executed in 343 during a persecution against Christians under the emperor Sapor II.

Sts Savonius, Thekla, Anna and many other men and women also underwent torture, suffering and death.


Martyr Thekla and many other men and women who suffered in Persia

Saint Thekla suffered for Christ in Persia with St Nerses and his disciple Joseph; the bishops John, Saverius, Isaac and Hypatius; the martyrs Azades the Eunuch, Savonius, Thekla, Anna and many other men and women. They were executed in 343 during a persecution against Christians under the emperor Sapor II.

St Thekla was one of many men and women who underwent torture, suffering and death for Christ.


Martyr Anna and many other men and women who suffered in Persia

Saint Anna suffered for Christ in Persia with St Nerses the bishop and his disciple Joseph; Bishops John, Saverius, Isaac and Hypatius; the Martyrs Azades the Eunuch, Savonius, Thekla, Anna and many other men and women. They were executed in 343 during a persecution against Christians under the emperor Sapor II.

St Anna and many other men and women also underwent torture, suffering and death for Christ.


St Theoctistus the Confessor

No information available at this time.