Lives of all saints commemorated on June 27


St Sampson the Hospitable of Constantinople

Saint Sampson the Hospitable was the son of rich and illustrious Roman parents. In his youth he received an excellent education, he studied the medical arts, and doctored the sick without charge. After the death of his parents St Sampson generously distributed alms and set his slaves free, preparing himself to go into the wilderness.

With this intent in mind he soon journeyed from Rome to the East. But the Lord directed him onto a different path, that of service to neighbor, and so St Sampson came to Constantinople. Settling into a small house, the saint began to take in homeless wanderers, the poor and the sick, and he attended to them. The Lord blessed the efforts of St Sampson and endowed him with the power of wonderworking. He healed the sick not only through being a skilled physician, but also as a bearer of the grace of God. News of St Sampson spread abroad. The patriarch heard of his great virtue and ordained him to the holy priesthood.

It was revealed to the grievously ill Emperor Justinian (527-565), that he could receive healing only through St Sampson. In praying, the saint put his hand on the afflicted area, and Justinian was healed. In gratitude the emperor wanted to reward his healer with silver and gold, but the saint refused and instead asked Justinian to build a home for the poor and the sick. The emperor readily fulfilled his request.

St Sampson devoted the rest of his life to serving his neighbor. He survived into old age and after a short illness he departed peacefully to the Lord. The saint was buried at the church of the holy Martyr Mocius, and many healings were effected at his grave. His hospice remained open, and the saint did not cease to care for the suffering. He appeared twice to a negligent worker of the hospice and upbraided him for his laziness. At the request of an admirer of St Sampson the hospice was transformed into a church, and beside it a new edifice was built for the homeless. During the time of a powerful fire at Constantinople the flames did not touch the hospice of St Sampson. Through his intercession a heavy rain quenched the fire.


St Joanna the Myrrhbearer

Saint Joanna the Myrrh-bearer, wife of Chusa, the household steward of King Herod, was one of the women following and attending the Lord Jesus Christ during the time of His preaching and public ministry. She is mentioned in Luke 8:3 and 24:10. Together with the other Myrrh-bearing Women, St. Joanna went to the Sepulchre to anoint the Holy Body of the Lord with myrrh after His death on the Cross, and she heard from the angels the joyful proclamation of His All-Glorious Resurrection. According to Tradition, she recovered the head of St. John the Baptist after Herodias had disposed of it (February 24).

St. Joanna is also commemorated on the Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing Women.


Venerable Serapion of Kozhe Lake

Saint Serapion of Kozhe Lake was brought to Moscow among the Kazan Tatar captives in the year 1551. They called him Murza (Tatar-prince) Turtas Gravirovich. He was baptized with the name Sergius and lived in the home of the Moscow boyar Zachariah Plescheev. Sergius accepted the Christian Faith so sincerely, that he decided to devote himself entirely to God. In 1560, on a desolate island of Kozhe Lake, he encountered the hermit Niphon and stayed to live with him. At the fervent request of Sergius, Niphon tonsured him into monasticism with the name Serapion. In 1584, after the death of the monk Niphon, St Serapion set off for Moscow and asked Tsar Theodore Ioannovich (1584-1598) for a land deed for a monastery. After his return to the monastery, St Serapion and the brethren made a clearing in the forest and built two churches; one in honor of the Holy Theophany, and the other in honor of St Nicholas. Patriarch Job (+ 1607) provided St Serapion with antimensia for the altars. In 1608, when St Serapion had become old, he made his disciple Abramius the igumen in place of himself. St Serapion died in 1611 and was buried at a church of the Kozhe Lake monastery. In 1613 the monk Bogolep of Kozhe Lake wrote an account of the founding of the monastery and about its initial construction under St Serapion. He compiled also a Life of St Serapion.


St Severus the Presbyter of Interocrea in Italy

Saint Severus the Presbyter during the sixth century served in a church of the Most Holy Theotokos in the village of Interocleum in Central Italy. He was noted for his virtuous and God-pleasing life. One time, when the saint was working in his garden, cutting grapes in the vineyard, they summoned him to administer the Holy Mysteries for the dying. St Severus said: “Go back, and I’ll catch up with you soon.”

There remained only but a few more grapes to cut off, and St Severus dallied for awhile in the garden to finish the work. When he arrived at the sick person’s home, they told him that the person was already dead. St Severus, regarding himself as guilty in the death of a man without absolution, started to tremble and loudly he began to weep. He went into the house where the deceased lay.

With loud groans and calling himself a murderer, in tears he fell down before the dead person. Suddenly the dead man came alive and related to everyone that the demons wanted to seize his soul, but one of the angels said, “Give him back, since the priest Severus weeps over him, and on account of his tears the Lord has granted him this man.” St Severus, giving thanks to the Lord, confessed and communed the resurrected man with the Holy Mysteries. That man survived for another seven days, then joyfully went to the Lord.


Venerable George of Mt. Athos, Georgian

Saint George’s family had its roots in the region of Samtskhe in southern Georgia. George was born in Trialeti to the pious Jacob and Mariam.

When George reached the age of seven, the God-fearing and wise Abbess Sabiana of Tadzrisi Monastery in Samtskhe took him under her care. George spent three years at Tadzrisi, and when he was ten his father sent him to Khakhuli Monastery, to his own brothers Sts. George the Scribe and Saba.

Soon after, Prince Peris Jojikisdze of Trialeti invited George’s uncle, George the Scribe, to stay with him, and George’s uncle took his young nephew with him. But the Byzantine emperor Basil II subsequently summoned Peris and his family to Constantinople, accused him of conspiring against the throne, and had him beheaded. (At that time Trialeti was under the jurisdiction of Byzantium.) Peris’ faithful wife remained in Constantinople for twelve years and sent the young George to study with the finest philosophers and rhetoricians of that time.

Eventually Emperor Basil was moved with compassion for the prince’s family and permitted them to return to Georgia. The twenty-five-year-old George returned to Khakhuli Monastery and “bowed his neck to the sweet yoke of monastic life.”

Later George secretly left the monastery and, clad in beggars’ rags, journeyed to Jerusalem. After enduring many deprivations and overcoming a great number of obstacles, he reached the Black Mountains near Antioch and, after venerating the holy places and visiting several elders, began to search for a spiritual father and guide. He found the great Georgian elder St. George the Recluse (the God-bearer) in an isolated cave and remained there with him for three years.

Then St. George the Recluse tonsured his disciple, “who had reached perfection of age, wisdom and understanding,” into the great schema and sent him to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage. According to his teacher’s counsel, George then moved from Jerusalem to the Iveron Monastery on Mt. Athos to continue the work of St. Ekvtime—the translation of theological texts from the Greek to

the Georgian language. George considered himself unworthy and unqualified to continue St. Ekvtime’s great work, but St. George the Recluse was insistent, so he set off for the Holy Mountain in humble obedience.

The monks of the Iveron Monastery received St. George with great joy. But instead of translating the patristic texts as his spiritual father had advised him, George soon grew slothful and for seven years performed only the work of a novice. When St. George the Recluse heard this, he sent his disciple Tevdore to Mt. Athos to rebuke him and remind him of the reason he had been sent there. Finally George of the Holy Mountain obeyed the will of his teacher, and soon he was enthroned as abbot of the monastery.

From that time on St. George of the Holy Mountain pursued his work with great earnestness. He gathered information on Sts. Ekvtime and John, compiled their Lives, translated their holy relics to ornate burial vaults covered in precious jewels, and enhanced the life of the monastery in many other ways.

During a visit to the Byzantine emperor Constantine Monomachus, the Georgian king Bagrat IV Kuropalates offered George the opportunity to return to Georgia to be consecrated bishop of Chqondidi and serve as his own spiritual adviser. But George declined, having already been drawn far from the vanity of the world.

Leadership of the monastery was demanding, and George was forced to choose between his literary work and the life of the monastery.

He resigned as abbot and returned to St. George the Recluse for counsel. But his teacher blessed him to return to the Iveron Monastery, so George set off again for Mt. Athos.

The God-fearing king Bagrat IV Kuropalates continued to ask St. George to return to Georgia, and he finally consented to the will of the king and the catholicos. In accordance with their request, the pious father instituted general guidelines for the qualifications and conduct of the clergy and wisely administered the affairs of the Church. Five years later St. George returned to the Iveron Monastery. Before he departed, King Bagrat bestowed upon him much of his own wealth and saw him off with great respect.

Departing for Mt. Athos, Blessed George took with him eighty orphans. En route he stopped in Constantinople, and sensing that the day of his repose was near, he arranged for the orphans to be received in the emperor’s court. He personally requested that the emperor make provision for the orphaned children.

Venerable George of the Holy Mountain reposed peacefully the next day, the Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. His Athonite brothers buried him on the monastery grounds with great reverence.


Finding of the relics of the Venerable St Ambrose of Optina

No information available at this time.


Venerable Martin of Turov

Saint Martin of Turov served as a cook under the Turov bishops Simeon, Ignatius, Joachim (1144-1146), and George. This last hierarch made St. Martin retire because of his age. But the old man did not want to leave the monastery (the bishops lived at the monastery of Sts Boris and Gleb), and so he accepted monasticism.

In his former work he had often overexerted himself and therefore often fell ill.

One time St. Martin lay motionless and in moaning with sickness. He fervently called on Sts Boris and Gleb for help, and on the third day the saints appeared to him, gave him a sip of water, and healed him of his illness. After this miraculous healing, St. Martin survived for another year.


Hieromartyr Kirion II, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia

The holy Hieromartyr Kirion II (known in the world as George Sadzaglishvili) was born in 1855 in the village of Nikozi in the Gori district. His father was a priest.

He enrolled at the parochial school in Ananuri, then at the theological school in Gori, and finally at Tbilisi Seminary.

In 1880 he graduated from the Kiev Theological Academy and was appointed assistant dean of the Odessa Theological Seminary. From 1883 to 1886 St. Kirion was active in the educational life of Gori, Telavi, Kutaisi, and Tbilisi. In 1886 he was appointed supervisor of the Georgian monasteries and dean of the schools of the Society for the Renewal of Christianity in the Caucasus. He directed the parochial schools, established libraries and rare book collections within them, and published articles on the history of the Georgian Church, folklore and literature under the pseudonyms Iverieli, Sadzagelov, and Liakhveli (the Liakhvi River flows through his native region of Shida [Inner] Kartli, the central part of eastern Georgia).

In 1886 God’s chosen, George, was tonsured a monk with the name Kirion, and he was enthroned as abbot of Kvabtakhevi Monastery. Kirion continued his scholarly pursuits and intensified his spiritual labors. He collected folklore and ethnographic materials and studied artifacts from ancient Georgian churches. He generously donated the reliquaries and rare manuscripts he found to the antiquities collections at the Church Museum of Tbilisi and the Society for the Propagation of Literacy among the Georgians.

In 1898 Kirion published a description of the historical monuments of Liakhvi Gorge. His publication is an important resource for scholars and historians, since most of the monuments he describes were toppled by Georgia’s ideological and national enemies in subsequent years. (Kirion would later join the Moscow Archaeological Society.)

In August of 1898 Archimandrite Kirion was consecrated bishop of Alaverdi.

St. Kirion began at once to rebuild Alaverdi Church, and he offered his own resources for this momentous task. At the same time, he began to study the ancient artifacts of Kakheti and Hereti in eastern Georgia. Among the manuscripts he turned over to the Church Museum of Tbilisi was a Holy Gospel from the year 1098, unknown to scholars until that time.

Bishop Kirion was a tireless researcher, with a broad range of scholarly interests. To his pen belong more than forty monographs on various themes relating to the history of the Georgian Church and Christian culture in Georgia. He compiled a short terminological dictionary of the ancient Georgian language and, with the linguist Grigol Qipshidze, a History of Georgian Philology.

Kirion fought the appropriation of Georgian churches by the Armenian Monophysites. He sent a detailed memorandum to the Russian exarch in Georgia demanding that the confiscated Orthodox

churches be returned.

In 1901 Kirion was installed as bishop of Gori. By that time it had become clear to the Georgian exarchate that the educated and progressive clergymen were endorsing the holy hierarch Kirion and contesting the abolition of the autocephaly of the Georgian Church. But the government found a way out of this “dangerous situation” by frequently reassigning St. Kirion to serve in different parts of the Russian Empire: in 1903 he was reassigned to Cherson, in 1904 to Orel, and in 1906 to Sokhumi. In Sokhumi St. Kirion exerted every effort to restore and revive the historical Georgian churches and monasteries, though he would soon be reassigned to the Kovno diocese.

In 1905, at the demand of Georgia’s intelligentsia (under the leadership of St. Ilia the Righteous), the regime formed an extraordinary commission to formally consider the question of the autocephaly of the Georgian Church. St. Kirion delivered two lectures to the commission: one on the reasons behind Georgia’s struggle for the restoration of an autocephalous Church, and the other on the role of nationality in the life of the Church. The commission rejected the Georgian claims to autocephaly and subjected the leaders of the movement to harsh repression.

In 1907 St. Ilia the Righteous was killed, and the government forbade St. Kirion to travel to Georgia to pay his last respects. St. Kirion managed only to send a letter of condolence to St. Ilia’s loved ones. In the months that followed, the regime tightened down even more severely on St. Kirion. In 1908 he was accused of conspiring in the murder of Exarch Nikon, deprived of the rank of bishop, and arrested. This treacherous deed roused the indignation not only of the Georgian people but of the faithful of Russia as well. Even the democratic forces in Europe founded a society for the protection of the rights of Bishop Kirion and gathered signatures to demand his release from prison. The bishop himself humbly carried the cross of his persecution and consoled his sympathizers with the words of the great Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli: “‘Not a single rose is plucked from this world without thorns.’ We must bear our suffering with love, since suffering is the fruit of love and in suffering we will find our strength!”

By the year 1915 the regime had ceased to persecute St. Kirion. They restored him to the bishopric and elevated him as archbishop of Polotsk and Vitebsk in western Russia. He was not, however, permitted to return to his motherland.

In March of 1917 the Georgian Apostolic Orthodox Church declared its autocephaly restored. At the incessant demands of the Georgian people, St. Kirion finally returned to his motherland. One hundred and twenty cavalrymen met him in Aragvi Gorge (along the Georgian Military Highway) and reverently escorted him to the capital. In Tbilisi St. Kirion was met with great honor.

In September of 1917 the Holy Synod of the Georgian Orthodox Church enthroned Bishop Kirion as Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia. During the enthronement ceremony at Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, St. Kirion addressed the faithful: “My beloved motherland, the nation protected by the Most Holy Theotokos, purified in the furnace by tribulations and suffering, washed in its own tears: I turn to you, having been separated from you, having sought after you, having grieved over you, having sought for you and now having returned not as a prodigal son, but as your confidant and the conscience of your Church.

“I know that in your minds you are all inquiring, ‘What has he brought back with him? With what ointment will he heal his wounds? How will he comfort himself in his sadness?’ Consider my words: He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom

for many (Matt. 20:28). I, likewise, have come not as a hired servant, but as a faithful and obedient son!”

Soon after he was enthroned, St. Kirion sent an appeal to all the Orthodox patriarchs of the world in which he described in detail the history of the Georgian Church and requested an official recognition of her autocephaly.

On May 26, 1918, Georgia declared its independence. The next day Catholicos-Patriarch Kirion II presided during a service of thanksgiving. The chief shepherd and his flock rejoiced at the restoration of the autocephaly of the Georgian Church and the independence of the Georgian state, though from the beginning they perceived the imminence of the Bolshevik danger. The socialist revolution, now showing its true face, posed an enormous threat to the young republic and her Church.

On June 27, 1918, Catholicos-Patriarch Kirion II was found murdered in the patriarchal residence at Martqopi Monastery. The investigation was a mere formality and the guilty were never found.

Rumors were even spread that St. Kirion had shot himself. When the Holy Synod of the Georgian Apostolic Orthodox Church convened on October 17, 2002, it canonized Holy Hieromartyr Kirion and numbered him among the saints.