Lives of all saints commemorated on March 13


Sunday of Cheesefare: Expulsion of Adam from Paradise

As we begin the Great Fast, the Church reminds us of Adam’s expulsion from Paradise. God commanded Adam to fast (Gen. 2:16), but he did not obey. Because of their disobedience, Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden and lost the life of blessedness, knowledge of God, and communion with Him, for which they were created. Both they and their descendents became heirs of death and corruption.

Let us consider the benefits of fasting, the consequences of disobedience, and recall our fallen state. Today we are invited to cleanse ourselves of evil through fasting and obedience to God. Our fasting should not be a negative thing, a mere abstention from certain foods. It is an opportunity to free ourselves from the sinful desires and urges of our fallen nature, and to nourish our souls with prayer, repentance, to participate in church services, and partake of the life-giving Mysteries of Christ.

At Forgiveness Vespers we sing: “Let us begin the time of fasting in light, preparing ourselves for spiritual efforts. Let us purify our soul, let us purify our body. As we abstain from food, let us abstain from all passion and enjoy the virtues of the spirit....”


Translation of the relics of St Nicephorus the Patriarch of Constantinople

Saint Nicephorus was a dignitary at the court of the empress Irene (797-802), and then after receiving monastic tonsure, he became known for his piety. In the year 806 he was elevated to the patriarchal throne. The saint was a zealous defender of the holy Icons. When the Iconoclast emperor Leo the Armenian (813-820) came to rule, the saint in 815 was exiled to Prokonnis, where he died in the year 828.

In the year 846 the holy relics of Patriarch Nicephorus were opened, and were found incorrupt and fragrant. They transferred them from Prokonnis to Constantinople and placed them for one day in Hagia Sophia, and then transferred them to the Church of the Holy Apostles. The saint’s hands are preserved in the Hilandar monastery on Mount Athos.

The saint left behind three writings against Iconoclasm. The main Feast of St Nicephorus is celebrated on June 2, but today we commemorate the finding and transfer of his holy relics.


Martyr Sabinus (Abibus) of Egypt

The Holy Martyr Sabinus suffered in Egypt in the year 287.


Martyr Africanus of Carthage

The Holy Martyrs Africanus, Publius and Terence suffered in the third century at Petrium. Their memory is celebrated also on April 10.


Martyr Publius of Carthage

The Holy Martyrs Africanus, Publius and Terence suffered in the third century at Petrium. Their memory is celebrated also on April 10.


Martyr Terence of Carthage

The Holy Martyrs Africanus, Publius and Terence suffered in the third century at Petrium. Their memory is celebrated also on April 10.


Martyr Alexander of Macedonia

The Holy Martyr Alexander was a presbyter in the city of Pidna, not far from Thessalonica. The saint converted many pagans to Christianity by his preaching. During the persecution against Christians under the emperor Maximian Galerius (305-311), St Alexander was subjected to fierce tortures, and then beheaded.


Martyr Christina of Persia

The Holy Martyr Christina of Persia was scourged to death for confessing her faith in Christ, during the fourth century.


Venerable Aninas of the Euphrates

Saint Aninas the Presbyter See March 18.