Lives of all saints commemorated on February 13


Venerable Martinian of Caesarea, in Palestine

Saint Martinian went to live in the wilderness at the age of eighteen, not far from the city of Caesarea in Palestine. For twenty-five years, he devoted himself to ascetic deeds and silence, and he was granted the gift of healing illnesses and casting out demons. However, the Enemy of the race of man would not stop bothering the hermit with various temptations.

Once a profligate woman made a wager with some dissolute people that she could seduce St Martinian, the fame of whose virtuous life had spread throughout all the city. She came to him one night pretending that she had lost her way in the storm, and asking for shelter. The saint let her enter, unable to turn her away in such a storm. He went into his room and locked the door. The wicked guest changed into beautiful clothes and began to tempt the ascetic.

When morning came, St Martinian came out to send the woman away. Though he was tempted by the woman’s beauty, he was determined not to fall into sin. Lighting a fire, he stepped into it, saying, “You want me to burn with temptation, and want to lead me into the fires of Hell. I will not let you. Instead, I will burn for my virginity and save my soul.”

The woman came to see how evil she was. She repented and asked the saint to guide her onto the way of salvation. He told her to go to Bethlehem, to St Paula (January 26). There she lived as a nun for twelve years in strict asceticism until her blessed end. The woman’s name was Zoe.

St Martinian went to an uninhabited rocky island, and lived on it under the open sky for several years, nourished by the provisions brought by a certain sailor from time to time. In return the monk wove baskets for him.

Once a powerful storm wrecked a ship, and a woman named Photina floated on pieces of the wreckage to the island of St Martinian. St Martinian helped her to survive the island. “Remain here,” he told her, “for here is bread and water, and in two months a boat will come.”

Then he jumped into the sea and swam off. Two dolphins carried him to dry land. Thereafter, St Martinian led the life of a wanderer. Later, he came to Athens and fell ill. Sensing the approach of death, he went into church and lay upon the floor. God revealed to the Bishop of Athens who St Martinian was, and the bishop buried his body with honor. This occurred around the year 422.


Venerable Stephen (In Monasticism Simeon), the Myrrhgusher and Prince of Serbia

Saint Simeon the Myrrh-Gusher, King of Serbia Stephen Nemanya was the Great Zhupan of Serbia, and lived during the twelfth century. The saint toiled much for his fatherland: he united a large portion of the Serbian lands, and strove for the political independence of his country from the Byzantine Empire. In his zeal for the Orthodox Church, he defended his nation against heresy and false teaching.

At the age of eighty, Stephen went to Mt. Athos, where his son St Sava (January 12), was glorified by the holiness of his life. Together they restored the desolate Hilandar monastery, to which monks from various lands began to gather.

St Simeon was a great ascetic and wise guide for the monks. He died on February 13, 1200, and his relics began to exude myrrh. St Sava transported his father’s relics back to Serbia, and placed them in a church of the Most Holy Theotokos at the River Studenitsa. St Simeon had richly adorned this church while he was still ruler of Serbia.


St Zoe

Saint Photina remained on the island, where she spent six years in solitude, and then she gave up her soul to God. Everything about her death was reported by that same sailor who brought her food, just as he had done previously for St Martinian. The sailor brought the body of St Photina to Palestinian Caesarea, where it was solemnly buried by the bishop and clergy.

Ss. Zoe and Photina are celebrated on the same day with St Martinian.


St Photina

Saint Photina remained on the island, where she spent six years in solitude, and then she gave up her soul to God. Everything about her death was reported by that same sailor who brought her food, just as he had done previously for St Martinian. The sailor brought the body of St Photina to Palestinian Caesarea, where it was solemnly buried by the bishop and clergy.

Ss. Zoe and Photina are celebrated on the same day with St Martinian.


St Eulogius the Archbishop of Alexandria

Saint Eulogius, Patriarch of Alexandria, was one of the enlightened hierarchs of the sixth century. At first he was igumen of the monastery of the Mother of God in Antioch, and then in 579 he was chosen as Patriarch of Alexandria, where he served for twenty-seven years. Throughout his life, the saint struggled vigorously against heresies. He was also a friend of St Gregory Dialogus (March 12), and some of their correspondence has been preserved.

St Eulogius died in 607 or 608. St Photius quotes from his writings, which reveal an Orthodox theology of the two natures of our Lord Jesus Christ. Only one of his sermons, for Palm Sunday, has survived in complete form.