Lives of all saints commemorated on June 13


Martyr Aquilina of Byblos in Syria

The Holy Martyr Aquilina, a native of the Phoenician city of Byblos, suffered under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). Her parents raised her in Christian piety. When the girl was only twelve years old, she persuaded a pagan friend to convert to Christ. One of the servants of the imperial governor Volusian accused her of teaching others not to follow the religion of their fathers. The girl firmly confessed her faith in Christ before the governor and said that she would not renounce Him. Volusian tried to influence the young confessor through persuasion and by flattery, but seeing her confidence, he ordered her to be tortured.

They struck her upon the face, then they stripped her and beat her with whips. The torturer asked, “Where then is your God? Let Him come and take you out of my hands”.

The saint answered, “The Lord is here with me invisibly, and the more I suffer, the more strength and endurance will He give me.”

They drilled through the martyr’s ears with heated metal rods. The holy virgin fell down as if dead. The torturer thought that the girl had actually died, and he gave orders to throw her body outside the city to be eaten by dogs.

By night a holy angel appeared to St Aquilina, roused her and said, “Arise and be healed. Go and denounce Volusian, so that he and his plans may come to nothing.”

The martyr went to the court of the governor and stood before Volusian. Seeing St Aquilina, he called for his servants and ordered them to keep watch over her until morning.

In the morning he sentenced St Aquilina to death, saying that she was a sorceress who did not obey the imperial decrees. When they led the saint to execution, she prayed and gave thanks to God for allowing her to suffer for His Holy Name.

A voice was heard in answer to her prayer, summoning her to the heavenly Kingdom. Before the executioner could carry out the sentence, the martyr gave up her spirit to God (+ 293). The executioner feared to disobey the governor’s orders, so he cut off her head although she was already dead.

Christians piously buried the martyr’s body. Later, her relics were taken to Constantinople and placed in a church named for her.


St Triphyllius the Bishop of Leucosia (Nicosia) in Cyprus

Saint Tryphillius, Bishop of Leukosia, was born in Constantinople, and he received his education at Berit (Beirut, in Lebanon). He was very intelligent and eloquent. In spite of this, the saint chose as his guide a man neither bookish nor learned, but one of conspicuous holiness: St Spyridon of Tremithos (December 12).

The emperor Constantine II (337-340) fell grievously ill, and receiving no help from the doctors, he turned to God. In a dream he saw an angel, directing him to a group of hierarchs. Pointing out two of them, the angel said that only through them could he receive healing.

Constantine issued an imperial edict, commanding the bishops to assemble. St Spyridon also received this order, and went to the emperor with his disciple St Tryphillius. The sick one immediately recognized them as the healers indicated by the angel. He bowed to them and asked them to pray for his health. St Spyridon with a prayer touched the head of the emperor, and he became well.

St Tryphillius was charmed by the beautiful palace, the majestic figure of the emperor, and the pomp of palace life. St Spyridon said, “Why are you astonished? Does all this make the emperor any more righteous? All of them, emperors and dignitaries alike, will die and stand together with the very poorest before the judgment seat of God. One should seek eternal blessings and heavenly glory.”

Soon St Tryphillius was made Bishop of Leukosia on Cyprus. He often visited with St Spyridon. Once, they passed through an area of vineyards and gardens of special beauty and abundance, named Parimnos. St Tryphillius, attracted by the beauty of nature, considered how they might explore this land. St Spyridon discerned the thoughts of St Tryphillius and said, “Why do you always think about earthly and transitory blessings? Our habitation and riches are in Heaven, for which we ought to strive.” Thus did St Spyridon lead his disciple toward spiritual perfection, which St Tryphillius attained through the prayers of his instructor. St Tryphillius had a charitable soul, a heart without malice, right faith and love towards all, and many other virtues.

Once, a Council of bishops assembled on Cyprus. The Fathers of the Council requested that St Tryphillius, known for his erudition and eloquence, address the people. Speaking about the healing of the paralytic by the Lord (Mark 2:11). in place of the word “cot” he used the word “bed”. Impatient with the imprecise rendering of the Gospel text, St Spyridon said to St Tryphillius, “Are you better than He who said “cot”, that you should be ashamed of His wording?” and abruptly he left the church.

In this way St Spyridon gave St Tryphillius a lesson in humility, so that he would not become proud of his own eloquence. St Tryphillius wisely shepherded his flock. From the inheritance left him by his mother, he built a monastery at Leukosia. The saint died in old age in about the year 370.

The Russian pilgrim Igumen Daniel saw the relics of St Tryphillius on Cyprus at the beginning of the twelfth century.


Venerable Andronicus the Abbot of Moscow and Disciple of the Venerable Sergius of Radonezh

Saint Andronicus was born in Rostov, and was a disciple of St Sergius of Radonezh (September 25), and received the monastic tonsure from him. Adorned with every virtue, St Andronicus lived at Holy Trinity Monastery for many years.

One day, the holy Metropolitan Alexis (February 12) visited the monastery to speak with St Sergius about founding a monastery in fulfillment of a vow he had made when he was saved from shipwreck. St Alexis wished to establish a cenobitic monastery dedicated to the Icon of Christ Not-Made-By Hands (August 16), and he wanted St Andronicus to become the igumen. St Sergius agreed to this proposal, and the monastery was completed between 1358-1361.

St Andronicus governed the monastery for many years, attracting many monks to that place. Among the notable monks of that monastery was St Andrew Rublev (July 4).

St Andronicus fell asleep in the Lord in 1395, and was succeeded as igumen by his disciple St Sava of Moscow.


Venerable Sava the Abbot of Moscow

Saint Sava of Moscow succeeded St Andronicus as the igumen of the monastery of the Savior, dedicated to the Icon of Christ Not-Made-By Hands (August 16) in 1395. He died in 1410.


Martyr Antonina of Nicea

The Holy Martyr Antonina suffered during the third century under Diocletian (284-305) in the city of Nicea. They tortured her in various ways: they burned her with fire, they put her on a red-hot plate, they bored into her hands and feet with red-hot rods and they threw her in prison, where she languished for two days.

These torments did not break St Antonina’s spirit, and to her very death she confessed her faith in Christ. The threw the holy martyr into the sea.


St Anna and Her Son of Constantinople

Saint Anna and her son St John lived in the ninth century. St Anna was the daughter of a deacon of the Blachernae church in Constantinople. After the death of her husband, she dressed in men’s clothing and called herself Euthymianus. She and her son St John lived in asceticism in one of the Bythinian monasteries near Olympus.

St Anna died in Constantinople in 826. Her memory is also celebrated on October 29.

Today we also commemorate 10,000 Martyrs, beheaded by the sword for Christ. The year of their death is not known.


St John of Constantinople

Saint Anna and her son St John lived in the ninth century. St Anna was the daughter of a deacon of the Blachernae church in Constantinople. After the death of her husband, she dressed in men’s clothing and called herself Euthymianus. She and her son St John lived in asceticism in one of the Bythinian monasteries near Olympus.

St Anna died in Constantinople in 826. Her memory is also celebrated on October 29.

Today we also commemorate 10,000 Martyrs, beheaded by the sword for Christ. The year of their death is not known.


St James the Ascetic

Saint James had such love for Christ, and so little regard for the things of this world, that he liquidated his entire estate and gave the proceeds to the poor without spending any of the money on himself. Later, he fell into a demonic temptation and became very proud. He would say, “Who knows better than I do, concerning my own salvation?” Following his own self will and personal preferences, he lived in solitude and undertook difficult struggles without first seeking the advice of wise and experienced ascetics.

Once a demon appeared to him in the guise of an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). He told James that Christ was very pleased by his labors, and would come that night to reward him. “Clean your cell,” he said, “and make ready by lighting the lamps and burning incense.”

The foolish James, in his delusion, accepted all of this without question. When the Antichrist came at midnight, James opened his door and fell down in worship before him. The devil struck him on the head, then vanished.

James awoke at dawn and went to visit a certain Elder to tell him what had happened. Before James could speak a single word, the Elder said, “You must leave this place, for you have been deceived by Satan.”

James was heartbroken and wept bitter tears. The Elder also advised him to go to a cenobitic monastery, which he did. There he fulfilled his obedience in the trapeza with great humility. Then for seven years he sat in his cell working at some handicraft, and fulfilling his Rule of prayer.

St James acquired the gift of discernment, learned the straight and narrow path of God, and became a great wonderworker. He completed the course of his life in peace.


St Antipatros, Bishop of Bostra in Arabia

No information available at this time.


St Anthimus, Bishop of Georgia

Saint Anthimus of Iberia was one of the most highly educated people of his time. He was fluent in many languages, including Greek, Romanian, Old Slavonic, Arabic, and Turkish and well-versed in theology, literature, and the natural sciences. He was unusually gifted in the fine arts—in painting, engraving, and sculpture in particular. He was famed for his beautiful calligraphy. Finally, St. Anthimus was a great writer, a renowned orator, and a reformer of the written Romanian language.

Little is known about the youth of St. Anthimus. He was a native of the Samtskhe region in southern Georgia. His parents, John and Mariam, gave him the name Andria at Baptism. He accompanied King Archil to Russia and helped him to found a Georgian print shop there, but after he returned he was captured by Dagestani robbers and sold into slavery. Through the efforts of Patriarch Dositheus of Jerusalem, Anthimus was finally set free, but he remained in the patriarch’s service in order to further his spiritual education.

Already famed for his paintings, engravings, and calligraphy, Anthimus was asked by Prince Constantine Brincoveanu (1688-1714) of Wallachia (present-day Romania) to travel to his kingdom around the year 1691. After he had arrived inWallachia, he began to manage a local print shop. The printing industry in that country advanced tremendously at that time, and the chief inspiration and driving force behind the great advances was the Georgian master Anthimus. He succeeded in making Wallachia a center of Christianity and a major publisher of books for all the East.

In 1694 Anthimus was enthroned as abbot of Snagov Monastery (in present-day Romania), where he soon founded a print shop. In the same year his new print shop published Guidelines for the Divine Services on May 21, All Saints’ Day. The book was signed by Subdeacon Michael Ishtvanovich, future founder of the first Georgian print shop.

In 1705 Anthimus, “the chosen among chosen abbots of Wallachia,” was consecrated bishop of Rimnicu Vilcea, and in 1708 he was appointed metropolitan of Hungro-Wallachia. The whole country celebrated his elevation. As one abbot proclaimed: “The divine Anthimus, a great man and son of the wise Iberian nation, has come to Wallachia and enlightened our land. God has granted him an inexhaustible source of wisdom, entrusted him to accomplish great endeavors, and helped to advance our nation by establishing for us a great printing industry.”

Under the direct leadership of St. Anthimus, more than twenty churches and monasteries were erected in Wallachia. Of particular significance is All Saints’ Monastery, located in the center of Bucharest. The main gates of this monastery were made of oak and carved with traditional Georgian motifs by St. Anthimus himself. The metropolitan also established rules for the monastery and declared its independence from the Church of Constantinople.

From the day of his consecration, Metropolitan Anthimus fought tirelessly for the liberation of Wallachia from foreign oppressors. On the day he was ordained he addressed his flock: “You have defended the Christian Faith in purity and without fault. Nevertheless, you are surrounded and tightly bound by the violence of other nations. You endure countless deprivations and tribulations from those who dominate this world.... Though I am unworthy and am indeed younger than many of you—like David, I am the youngest among my brothers— the Lord God has anointed me to be your shepherd. Thus I will share in your future trials and griefs and partake in the lot that God has appointed for you.”

His words were prophetic: In 1714 the Turks executed the Wallachian prince Constantine Brincoveanu, and in 1716 they executed Stefan Cantacuzino (1714-1716), the last prince of Wallachia.

In his place they appointed the Phanariote (a member of one of the principal Greek families of the Phanar, the Greek quarter of Constantinople, who, as administrators in the civil bureaucracy, exercised great influence in the Ottoman Empire after the Turkish conquest.) Nicholas Mavrokordatos, who concerned himself only with the interests of the Ottoman Empire.

During this difficult time, Anthimus of Iberia gathered around him a group of loyal boyar patriots determined to liberate their country from Turkish and Phanariote domination. But Nicholas Mavrokordatos became suspicious, and he ordered Anthimus to resign as metropolitan. When Anthimus failed to do so, he filed a complaint with Patriarch Jeremiah of Constantinople.

Then a council of bishops, which did not include a single Romanian clergyman, condemned the “conspirator and instigator of revolutionary activity” to anathema and excommunication and declared him unworthy to be called a monk. But Nicholas Mavrokordatos was still unsatisfied and claimed that to deny Anthimus the title of Metropolitan of Hungro-Wallachia was insufficient punishment. He ordered Anthimus to be exiled far from Wallachia, to St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mt. Sinai. Metropolitan Anthimus, beloved of the Romanian people, was escorted out of the city at night since the conspirators feared the reaction of the people.

But Metropolitan Anthimus never reached Mt. Sinai. On September 14, 1716, a band of Turkish soldiers stabbed St. Anthimus to death on the bank of the Tundzha (Tunca) River where it flows through Adrianople, not far from Gallipoli, and cast his butchered remains into the river.

Thus ended the earthly life of one more Georgian saint—a man who had dedicated all of his strength, talent, and knowledge to the revival of Christian culture and the strengthening of the Wallachian people in the Orthodox Faith.

In 1992 the Romanian Church canonized Anthimus of Iberia and proclaimed his commemoration day to be September 14, the day of his repose. The Georgian Church commemorates him on June 13.