Lives of all saints commemorated on October 19


Memorial Saturday of St Demetrius

In the spiritual experience of the Russian Church, veneration of the holy Great Martyr Demetrius of Thessalonica is closely linked with the memory of the defense of the nation and Church by the Great Prince of Moscow, Demetrius of the Don (May 19).

Saint Demetrius of the Don smashed the military might of the Golden Horde at the Battle of Kulikovo Field on September 8, 1380 (the Feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos), set between the Rivers Don and Nepryadva. The Battle of Kulikovo, for which the nation calls him Demetrius of the Don, became the first Russian national deed, rallying the spiritual power of the Russian nation around Moscow. The “Zadonschina,” an inspiring historic poem written by the priest Sophronius of Ryazem (1381), is devoted to this event.

Prince Demetrius of the Don was greatly devoted to the holy Great Martyr Demetrius. In 1380, on the eve of the Battle of Kulikovo, he solemnly transferred from Vladimir to Moscow the most holy object in the Dimitriev cathedral of Vladimir: the icon of the Great Martyr Demetrius of Thessalonica, painted on a piece of wood from the saint’s grave. A chapel in honor of the Great Martyr Demetrius was built at Moscow’s Dormition Cathedral.

The Saint Demetrius Memorial Saturday was established for the churchwide remembrance of the soldiers who fell in the Battle of Kulikovo. This memorial service was held for the first time at the Trinity-Saint Sergius monastery on October 20, 1380 by Saint Sergius of Radonezh, in the presence of Great Prince Demetrius of the Don . It is an annual remembrance of the heroes of the Battle of Kulikovo, among whom are the schemamonks Alexander (Peresvet) and Andrew (Oslyab).


Prophet Joel

The Prophet Joel (800 B.C.) predicted the desolation of Jerusalem. He also prophesied that the Holy Spirit would be poured out upon all people, through the Savior of the world (Joel 2:28-32).

The hymnographer Anatolius links Joel’s prophecy to the Nativity of the Lord. In the Praises at Matins on the Sunday following the Nativity, he refers to Joel 2:30, saying that the blood refers to the Incarnation, the fire to the Divinity, and the pillars of smoke to the Holy Spirit.


Martyr Varus

Martyr Varus lived in Egypt during the period of several persecutions against Christians (late third to early fourth century). Varus (Ouaros) was a military commander and secretly a Christian. He gave assistance to many of the persecuted and imprisoned Christians, and he visited the prisoners at night. He also brought food to the prisoners, dressed their wounds, and gave them encouragement.

Once Varus spent a whole night talking with seven imprisoned monks. These men were Christian teachers who had been beaten and starved. Varus marched with the teachers when they were led to their execution. The judge, seeing Varus’ strong faith, had him fiercely beaten. Varus died during the beating. After his death, the monks were beheaded.


7 Monk Martyrs with Varus

The holy Martyr Varus lived in Egypt during the period of several persecutions against Christians (late third to early fourth century). Varus (Ouaros) was a military commander and secretly a Christian. He gave assistance to many of the persecuted and imprisoned Christians, and he visited the prisoners at night. He also brought food to the prisoners, dressed their wounds, and gave them encouragement.

Once Varus spent a whole night talking with seven imprisoned monks. These men were Christian teachers who had been beaten and starved. Varus marched with the teachers when they were led to their execution. The judge, seeing Varus’ strong faith, had him fiercely beaten. Varus died during the beating. After his death, the monks were beheaded.


Translation of the relics of Venerable St John the Abbot of Rila in Bulgaria

Today we commemorate the transfer of the relics of Saint John, Abbot of Rila in Bulgaria (1238).

The relics of Saint John were transferred from the city of Sredets [Sofia] to Trnovo, the capital of the Bulgarian realm, in the year 1238. See August 18 for his Life.


Blessed Cleopatra with her son in Egypt

Saint Cleopatra and her son John came from the village of Edra near Mount Tabor in Palestine. She was a contemporary of the holy Martyr Varus and witnessed his voluntary suffering. After the execution, Saint Cleopatra brought the body of the holy martyr to her own country and buried him with reverence. Cleopatra had one beloved son, John, who had attained the honorable rank of officer. To the great sorrow of his mother, John suddenly died. Cleopatra with tears of grief turned to the relics of the holy Martyr Varus, begging him for the return of her son.

Varus and her son appeared to Cleopatra in a dream, radiant in bright attire with crowns upon their heads. She realized that the Lord had received her son into the heavenly Kingdom, and was comforted. After this vision blessed Cleopatra started to live by a church she built over the relics of the holy martyr Varus and her son John, and performed many good deeds. She distributed her property to the poor and spent her time in prayer and fasting. After seven years she fell asleep in the Lord.


Blessed John with his mother, Cleopatra in Egypt

Saint Cleopatra and her son John came from the village of Edra near Mount Tabor in Palestine. She was a contemporary of the holy Martyr Varus and witnessed his voluntary suffering. After the execution, Saint Cleopatra brought the body of the holy martyr to her own country and buried him with reverence. Cleopatra had one beloved son, John, who had attained the honorable rank of officer. To the great sorrow of his mother, John suddenly died. Cleopatra with tears of grief turned to the relics of the holy Martyr Varus, begging him for the return of her son.

Varus and her son appeared to Cleopatra in a dream, radiant in bright attire with crowns upon their heads. She realized that the Lord had received her son into the heavenly Kingdom, and was comforted. After this vision blessed Cleopatra started to live by a church she built over the relics of the holy martyr Varus and her son John, and performed many good deeds. She distributed her property to the poor and spent her time in prayer and fasting. After seven years she fell asleep in the Lord.


Hieromartyr Sadoc (Sadoth) the Bishop of Persia

Hieromartyr Sadoc was the hierarch of a Persian district. When the Persian emperor Sapor learned that Sadoc was preaching faith in Christ, he gave orders to arrest and imprison him together with 128 Christian believers. For several months they attempted to persuade the righteous martyrs to repudiate the holy Faith, but unable to accomplish this, they executed them.


128 Martyrs with Sadoc of Persia

Hieromartyr Sadoc, Bishop of Persia, and 128 Martyrs with him He was the hierarch of a Persian district. When the Persian emperor Sapor learned that Sadoc was preaching faith in Christ, he gave orders to arrest and imprison him together with 128 Christian believers. For several months they attempted to persuade the righteous martyrs to repudiate the holy Faith, but unable to accomplish this, they executed them.


Venerable Prochorus of Pcinja

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