Lives of all saints commemorated on November 27


Greatmartyr James the Persian

The Holy Great Martyr James the Persian (the Sawn-Asunder) was born in the fourth century into a pious Christian family, both wealthy and illustrious. His wife was also a Christian, and the couple raised their children in piety, inspiring in them a love for prayer and the Holy Scriptures. James occupied a high position at the court of the Persian emperor Izdegerd (399-420) and his successor Barakhranes (420-438). But on one of the military campaigns James, seduced by the emperor’s beneficence, was afraid to acknowledge himself a Christian, and so he offered sacrifice to idols with the emperor.

Learning of this, James’ mother and wife wrote him a letter, in which they rebuked him and urged him to repent. Receiving the letter, James realized the gravity of his sin. Faced with the horror of being cut off not only from his family, but also from God Himself, he began to weep loudly, imploring the Lord for forgiveness.

His fellow-soldiers, hearing him pray to the Lord Jesus Christ, reported this to the emperor. Under interrogation, St James bravely confessed his faith in the one True God. No amount of urging by the emperor could make him renounce Christ. The emperor then ordered the saint to be put to death.

They began to cut off his fingers and his toes one by one, then his hands and his feet, and then his arms and legs. During the prolonged torture St James offered prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord, Who had granted him the possibility of redemption from his sins by enduring these terrible torments. Finally, the martyr was beheaded. Christians gathered up the pieces of his body and buried them with great reverence.


Venerable Palladius of Thessalonica

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St James the Bishop and Wonderworker of Rostov

Saint James, Bishop of Rostov According to a local tradition, he received monastic tonsure at Kopyrsk monastery on the River Ukhtoma, 80 kilometers from Rostov. For a long time he was igumen of this monastery, and in the year 1385 he was made Bishop of Rostov when Pimen was Metropolitan and Demetrius of the Don was Great Prince.

In defending a woman condemned to execution, the saint followed the example of the Savior, inviting whoever considered himself to be without sin to cast the first stone at her (John 8:7), and he then sent the woman forth to repentance. The Prince and the Rostov nobles, disgruntled over the bishop’s judgment, threw St James out of Rostov.

Leaving the city, the saint proceeded to Lake Nero, spread his bishop’s mantiya on the water, and having signed himself with the Sign of the Cross, he sailed off on it as if on a boat, guided by the grace of God. Traveling one and a half versts from the city, St James emerged on shore at the site of his future monastery. The prince and the people, repenting their actions, besought the saint’s forgiveness. The gentle bishop forgave them, but he did not return again.

On the shore of Lake Nero he made himself a cell and built a small church in honor of the Conception of the Most Holy Theotokos by Righteous Anna, marking the beginning of the Conception-St James monastery. St James died there on November 27, 1392.

There is a story that St James fought against the Iconoclast heresy of a certain fellow named Markian, who appeared in Rostov toward the end of the fourteenth century. The more ancient Lives of our saint do not mention this, and even the great hagiographer St Demetrius of Rostov was unaware of it. More recent hagiographers were wont to draw material from the Service to St James of Rostov. But the Service itself, preserved in copies from the sixteenth-seventeenth centuries, was compiled by borrowing from the Service to St Bucolus (February 6), who struggled against the first century heretic Marcian, and from the Service to St Stephen of Surozh (December 15), who contended against the emperor Constantine Kopronymos (741-775).

St James is also commemorated on May 23.


Uncovering of the relics of St Vsevolod (Gabriel) of Pskov

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17 Monkmartyrs in India

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St Romanus

Saint Romanus the Wonderworker was born in the city of Rosa and lived an ascetical life on the outskirts of Antioch, acquiring the gifts of clairvoyance and healing. Through his intercession, the Lord granted many childless women the joy of motherhood.

St Romanus was strict in his fasting, and he wore heavy chains beneath his hairshirt. The saint spent many years as a hermit without lighting a fire. Reaching old age, he departed to the Lord in peace.

St Romanus is one of many saints to whom we pray for deliverance from childlessness and barreness. Some of the others are: St Stylianos (November 26), St Hypatius of Rufinus (March 31), Sts Theodore and John (July 12).


Repose of the Venerable Diodorus the Abbot of the Yuriev Monastery, Solovki

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Commemoration of the Weeping Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign” at Novgorod

The Icon of the Mother of God “Of the Sign”, depicts the Most Holy Theotokos with prayerfully uplifted hands, and the Divine Infant is at Her bosom in a mandorla (or sphere). This depiction of the Mother of God is regarded as one of the very first of Her iconographic images. In the mausoleum of St Agnes at Rome is a depiction of the Mother of God with hands raised in prayer with the Infant Christ sitting upon Her knees. This depiction is ascribed to the fourth century. There is also an ancient Byzantine icon of the Mother of God “Nikopea” from the sixth century, where the Most Holy Theotokos is depicted seated upon a throne and holding in Her hands an oval shield with the image of the Savior Emmanuel.

Icons of the Mother of God, known as “The Sign”, appeared in Russia during the eleventh-twelfth centuries, and were so called because of a miraculous sign from the Novgorod Icon in the year 1170.

In that year the allied forces of Russian appanage princes, headed by a son of Prince Andrew Bogoliubsky of Suzdal, marched to the very walls of Great Novgorod. For the people of Novgorod, their only remaining hope was that God would help them. Day and night they prayed, beseeching the Lord not to forsake them. On the third night Bishop Elias of Novgorod heard a wondrous voice commanding that the icon of the Most Holy Theotokos be taken out of the church of the Savior’s Transfiguration on Ilina street, and carried about on the city walls.

When they carried the icon, the enemy fired a volley of arrows at the procession, and one of them pierced the iconographic face of the Mother of God. Tears trickled from Her eyes, and the icon turned its face towards the city. After this divine Sign an inexpressible terror suddenly fell upon the enemy. They began to strike one another, and taking encouragement from the Lord, the people of Novgorod fearlessly gave battle and won the victory.

In remembrance of the miraculous intercession of the Queen of Heaven, Archbishop Elias established a feastday in honor of the Sign of the Mother of God, which the Russian Church celebrates to the present day. The Athonite hieromonk Pachomius the Logothete, who was present at the festal celebration of the Icon in Russia, composed two Canons for this Feast.

On certain Novgorod Icons of the Sign, the miraculous occurrences of the year 1170 were also depicted. For 186 years afterwards, the wonderworking icon remained in the Savior-Transfiguration church on Ilina street. In 1356 it was transferred to a church built in Novgorod in honor of the Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos “of the Sign,” which became the cathedral church of the monastery of the Sign.

Numerous copies of the Sign Icon are known throughout Russia. Many of them were also glorified by miracles in their local churches, and were then named for the place of the appearance of the miracle. Similar copies of the Sign Icon are the icons of Dionysievo-Glushets, Abalaka (July 20), Kursk, Seraphim-Ponetaev and others.


Icon of the Mother of God “Kursk-Root”

The Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God “Of the Sign” is one of the most ancient icons of the Russian Church. In the thirteenth century during the Tatar invasion, when all the Russian realm was put to the extremest tribulation, the city of Kursk, ravaged by the Horde of Batu, fell into desolation.

One day in the environs of the city a hunter noticed the ancient icon, lying on a root face downwards to the ground. The hunter lifted it and saw that the image of the icon was similar to the Novgorod “Znamenie” Icon. With the appearance of this icon immediately there appeared its first miracle. Just as the hunter lifted up the holy icon from the earth, right then, at that place where the icon lay, gushed up strongly a spring of pure water. This occurred on September 8, 1259. The hunter decided not to leave the icon in the forest and settled on as a resting place an ancient small chapel, in which he put the newly-appeared image of the Theotokos. Soon inhabitants of the city of Ryl’a heard about this, and being in location not far away, they began to visit the place of the appearance for venerating the new holy image.

They transferred the icon to Ryl’a and put it in a new church in honor of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos. But the icon did not long remain there. It disappeared and returned to its former place of appearance. The inhabitants of Ryl’a repeatedly took it and carried it to the city, but the icon incomprehensibly returned to its former place. Everyone then realized, that the Theotokos preferred the place of appearance of Her Icon. The special help granted by the Mother of God through this icon is bound up with important events in Russian history: with the war of liberation of the Russian nation during the Polish-Lithuanian incursion in 1612, and the 1812 Fatherland war. From the icon several copies were made, which also were glorified.


Icon of the Mother of God of Abalaka

The Abalaka Icon of the Mother of God “Of the Sign” was painted by Matthew, a protodeacon of the Tobolsk cathedral, in honor of Sophia (the Wisdom of God), in fulfillment of a vow by a paralytic peasant Euthymius to rebuild the church at the Abalaka monastery of the Mother of God “of the Sign.” This church was built in 1637 after the Mother of God, accompanied by St Nicholas and St Mary of Egypt, appeared to the pious widow Maria. After the temple’s Icon “of the Sign” was painted, the paralytic Euthymius was completely healed. Many healings took place during the solemn transfer of the icon to the Abalaka church.

In general appearance, the Abalaka Icon resembles the Novgorod Icon of the Sign, but with this distinction: on the Abalaka Icon, St Nicholas and St Mary of Egypt stand before the Most Holy Theotokos. St Basil of Mangazeya (March 23) is also depicted on this icon. Many wonderworking copies of the Abalaka Icon are venerated throughout Siberia.

The Abalaka Icon “Of the Sign” is also commemorated on July 20.


St Theodosius of Trnovo

No information available at this time.


Icon of the Mother of God of Tsarskoe Selo

The Tsarskoe Selo Sign Icon of the Mother of God an ancient wonderworking icon, was brought by way of a present to Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich by one of the Eastern Patriarchs, supposedly by St Athanasius of Constantinople (October 28). Tsar Peter I transferred the icon, together with other sacred items from Moscow, to his new capital city.

In the year 1747, a church was built for the icon at Tsarskoe Selo. Moliebens were served before it during times of national catastrophe, for example, during a plague in 1771, and of cholera in 1831. Through the intercession of the Mother of God, the terrible epidemics almost did not touch Tsarskoe Selo. Prayers before the Tsarsko Selo Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos “of the Sign,” were also offered entreating the Mother of God’s help during fires and shipwrecks.

On the icon, Cherubim shade the head of the Mother of God. More recent copies of the icon depict the Apostle Peter, Sts Zachariah, Alexis the Man of God, and Righteous Elizabeth.


Icon of the Mother of God “Seraphim-Ponetaevka”

The Seraphim-Ponetaevka Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign” was painted in the year 1879 by the nuns of the Seraphim-Ponetaevka women’s monastery, not far from Arzamas, near the village of Ponetaevka. The monastery was named after St Seraphim of Sarov by the founder of the monastery, a sister of the Diveyevo community.

Six years after it was painted, the icon became for its numerous miracles and became the chief holy item of the monastery. When the sisters were praying during the services, they noticed distinct changes in the countenance of the Mother of God: Her All-Pure face became bright and life-like. Numerous pilgrims thronged to the icon, and many were healed from blindness and crippling. In all, about seventy instances of healing were noted.