Lives of all saints commemorated on March 24


Forefeast of the Annunciation

No information available at this time.


Venerable Zachariah the Recluse

Saint Zachariah the Recluse of Egypt because of his concern for the poor and homeless was called “to the outcast.” In the printed MENAION he is known as “our Monastic Father Zachariah,” and so he has been identified erroneously with St Zachariah the Monk.


St Artemon (Menignus) the Bishop of Seleucia

Saint Artemon, Bishop of Seleucia, was born and lived in Seleucia of Pisidia (Asia Minor). He was pious and virtuous, therefore when the holy Apostle Paul (June 29) came to Seleucia, he established St Artemon as the first bishop of this city, since he was the most worthy. St Artemon wisely nourished the flock entrusted to him and won glory as a comforter of the poor and oppressed. St Artemon died in great old age.

[In the ancient Slavonic Lives of the Saints “Seleucian” was written as “Seleoukinian” or “Seleunian.” However, in several of the Greek memorials the bishop was also called Solunian (i.e., of Thessalonica). St Artemon (or Menignus) was listed in the MENAIA as Seleucian or Solunian. In the second half of the eighteenth century, these two names were mistakenly applied to various persons.]


Venerable Zachariah the Ascetic of the Kiev Caves

Saint Zachariah the Faster of the Caves was an ascetic in the Far Caves in the thirteenth-fourteenth centuries. He fasted so strictly that he ate nothing baked nor boiled, and he consumed only greens once a day at the setting of the sun. Demons trembled at the mere mention of his name.

Often the monk saw angels, with which he deserved to live in Heaven. The identification of St Zachariah, Faster of Caves, with Zachariah the son of John of Kiev, who had given all his inheritance for the adornment of the Caves temple and became a monk at the monastery, is unfounded.

Before his death, John had transferred his property to his friend Sergius. This was when the igumen was St Nikon (March 23). Zachariah was five years old at the time. At age fifteen, i.e., not later than the year 1098, he obtained his inheritance from Sergius, in order to give it to the monastery. However, St Zachariah the Faster of the Caves lived approximately 200 years later.


Martyr Stephen of Kazan

The Holy Martyr Stephen of Kazan was a Tatar. For more than twenty years, he suffered from a weakness of the legs. After the capture of Kazan by Ivan the Terrible (1552), he believed in Christ and received healing. The saint was baptized by Archpriest Menignus of the Moscow cathedral, who had brought a letter from Metropolitan Macarius to the Russian army.

After the Russian army withdrew from Kazan, the Tatars chopped the martyr Stephen into pieces, scattered his body and plundered his house, because he remained faithful to Christ.


Martyr Peter of Kazan

The Holy Martyr Peter of Kazan was a newly-baptized Tatar who suffered because he converted to Christianity from Islam.

After the Russian army left Kazan, the inhabitants dragged Peter from his home by force, and addressed him by his former Moslem name, hoping that he would deny Christ. But to all flattery and persuasion St Peter answered, “My father and mother is God Who is glorified in Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If you believe in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, then you are my family. I was named Peter in holy Baptism, and I will not answer to the name by which you address me.”

Seeing that he would remain steadfast in the Faith, his family had him tortured. He endured fierce torments, but he did not cease to confess the Name of Christ, saying, “I am a Christian.” The holy martyr was buried in Kazan on the site where the church of the Resurrection of Christ later stood, at the Zhitny-Grain marketplace.

For the Lives of the holy martyrs Stephen and Peter of Kazan see: “Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate,” 1977, No. 9, p. 79-80.


St James the Confessor the Bishop of Catania

No information available at this time.


Icon of the Mother of God of “the Uncut Mount”

“The Uncut,” or “Clouded Mountain” Icon of the Mother of God: About 250-300 years ago this icon was in one of the men’s monasteries of Tver and was presented by the Superior to Cosmas Volchaninov in gratitude for his fine work in the monastery church. This icon was passed on from generation to generation, but a certain impious grandson of Cosmas removed it and placed the icon in an attic.

His bride endured many insults from her husband and his relatives. In despair over her marriage she resolved to commit suicide in a deserted bath-house. On the way there a monk appeared to her and said, “Where are you going, unhappy one? Go back, pray to the Theotokos of The Clouded Mountain, and you will live in peace.”

The agitated young wife returned home and revealed everything, not concealing her interrupted intention. They searched for the monk, but they did not find him, and no one had seen him but her. This took place on the eve of the Feast of the Annunciation to the Most Holy Theotokos.

They found the icon in the attic, cleaned off the dirt and set it up in the house in a place of honor. In the evening, the parish priest served the all-night Vigil before the icon. From that time, Vigil was served in the house every year on this day.

For more than 150 years the icon was in the Volchaninov family. Katherine, daughter of Basil, the last of the Volchaninov line, married George Ivanovich Konyaev, taking with her the icon of the Mother of God as a precious inheritance. Moliebens and all-night vigils were served in the Konyaev house on March 24 and November 7 (perhaps this was the day when the icon was transferred from the monastery to the house of Cosmas Volchaninov).

In 1863 near a cemetery church of the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God it was decided to build a chapel in honor of St Tikhon and St Macarius of Kalyazin. The then owner of the icon, George Konyaev (who died in 1868 at the age of 97) wanted to donate the icon of the Theotokos to the church. He asked the clergy to build another chapel for the wonderworking icon of the Mother of God of the “Clouded Mountain.”

He also said, “I feel the very best place for it is the temple of the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God, since the place on which the church was built, in former times was called a Mount, since it was the highest place in the city. The inhabitants took their possessions to the Mount and saved themselves from ruin during a flood. Let the icon, The Clouded Mountain, remain on this mountain with your blessing, and let all who are buried here be veiled with Her mercy.” On July 15, 1866 the icon was transferred into the new chapel, which was consecrated by Bishop Anthony of Staritsk the following day.

On the icon the Most Holy Theotokos is depicted standing on a semi-circular elevation, a mountain; on Her left arm, the Divine Infant blesses with His right hand. Upon the head of the Mother of God is a crown, and in Her hand a mountain, on which are seen above churches with cupolas and crosses.

This icon should not be confused with the “Stone of the Mountain not cut by Hands” Icon on the iconostasis of the cathedral of the Transfiguration at Solovki. The latter depicts the Theotokos in half-length, holding Her Son in Her left hand. In Her right hand, She holds a ladder and a stone with the image of Christ’s head (the King of Kings). Instead of the usual stars on her head and shoulders are the heads of angels. The title of the icon is derived from Daniel 2:44-45.