Lives of all saints commemorated on June 6


Postfeast of Pentecost — 3rd Day of the Trinity

Many of the hymns of Pentecost are repeated in the postfestal services of this week, and references to the Holy Spirit, and to fire, abound. In particular, we are reminded of the Unburnt Bush (Exodus 3:2), the zealous Prophet Elias who ascended to Heaven in a chariot of fire, the three youths in the fiery furnace, and the Lord descending on Mt. Sinai in fire (Exodus 19:18).

As we commemorate the Holy Spirit this week, we look forward to the Sunday of All Saints, those righteous men and women of all nations and in every age, who were perfected and sanctified by the same Holy Spirit.


Venerable Bessarion the Wonderworker of Egypt

Saint Bessarion, Wonderworker of Egypt was an Egyptian. He was baptized while still in his youth, and he led a strict life, striving to preserve the grace given him during Baptism. Seeking to become more closely acquainted with the monastic life, he journeyed to the holy places. He was in Jerusalem, he visited Saint Gerasimus (March 4) in the Jordanian wilderness, he viewed other desert monasteries, and assimilated all the rules of monastic life.

Upon his return, he received monastic tonsure and became a disciple of Saint Isidore of Pelusium (February 4). Saint Bessarion took a vow of silence, and partook of food only once a week. Sometimes he remained without food or drink for forty days. Once, the saint stood motionless for forty days and forty nights without food or sleep, immersed in prayer.

Saint Bessarion received from God the gift of wonderworking. When his disciple was very thirsty, he sweetened bitter water. By his prayer the Lord sent rain upon the earth, and he could cross a river as if on dry land. With a single word he cast out devils, but he did this privately to avoid glory.

His humility was so great that once, when a priest ordered someone from the skete to leave church for having fallen into sin, Bessarion also went with him saying, “I am a sinner, too.” Saint Bessarion slept only while standing or sitting. A large portion of his life was spent under the open sky in prayerful solitude. He peacefully departed to the Lord in his old age.


Venerable Hilarion the New, Abbot of the Dalmatian Monastery

Saint Hilarion the New was born of pious parents, Peter and Theodosia, who raised him in the virtues and instructed him in Holy Scripture. At twelve years of age Saint Hilarion was tonsured as a monk at the Hesychius monastery near Constantinople, and from there he transferred to the Dalmatus monastery, where he received the Great Schema and became a disciple of Saint Gregory the Dekapolite (November 20).

The monk deeply venerated his God-bearing patron Saint Hilarion the Great (October 21), and he strove to imitate his life, so he came to be called Hilarion the New. At the Dalmatus monastery, he was ordained presbyter. After the death of the igumen the brethren wanted to elect Saint Hilarion to this position, but learning of this, he secretly fled to Constantinople.

Then the monks of Dalmatus monastery sent a petition to Patriarch Nicephorus, asking that Saint Hilarion be assigned as igumen. The Patriarch summoned the saint and persuaded him to give his assent. Saint Hilarion submitted out of holy obedience. For eight years he peacefully guided the monastery, but in the year 813 the iconoclast Leo the Armenian (813-820) occupied the imperial throne. The saint refused to dishonor the holy icons, and he boldly accused the emperor of heresy, for which he endured many torments. They locked him up in prison for awhile, and vexed him with hunger and thirst.

The impious Patriarch Theodotus, who replaced the exiled Patriarch Nicephorus, caused the monk much suffering in demanding that he abandon Orthodoxy. The monks of the Dalmatus monastery went to the emperor and asked him to release the saint, promising to submit to the imperial will. After they returned to the monastery, however, Saint Hilarion and the monks continued to venerate the holy icons. The enraged emperor again threw the monk into prison. He gave the saint over to torture with all the means at his disposal, hoping to change his mind.

The wrath of God soon overtook the wicked emperor. He was cut down by his own soldiers in church at the very spot where he had once thrown down a holy icon. The new emperor Michael II (820-829) freed Saint Hilarion from his imprisonment, and the saint settled into a monastic cell. Upon the death of Saint Theodore the Studite (November 11), who also suffered for the holy icons, Saint Hilarion beheld holy angels taking the soul of Saint Theodore to Heaven.

Under the iconoclast emperor Theophilus (829-842), Saint Hilarion was again put under guard and beaten terribly, then they confined him on the island of Aphousia.

After the death of Theophilus, the holy empress Saint Theodora (842-855) gave orders to recall the confessors from exile. Saint Hilarion returned to the Dalmatus monastery, again agreeing to be igumen. He departed peacefully in the year 845.


St. Jonah the Bishop of Perm

Saint Jonah, Bishop of Great Perm, was successor to Saint Pitirim, Bishop of Perm (August 19), who was murdered by the Vogulani in 1455. In the year 1462 Saint Jonah converted the inhabitants of Great Perm to Christ. He journeyed throughout his extensive diocese to spread and consolidate the Christian Faith. The saint reposed on June 6, 1470 and was buried at Ust-Vym at the Annunciation cathedral.


Venerable Paisius the Abbot of Uglich

Saint Paisius of Uglich was igumen of the Protection monastery, near Uglich. He was born in the Tver district near the city of Kashin, and he was a nephew of Saint Macarius of Kalyazin (March 17).

Saint Paisius entered his uncle’s monastery after the death of his parents, when he was just an eleven-year-old child. Under his uncle’s guidance, Saint Paisius led a monastic life of obedience, fasting and prayer, and he was put to work copying soul-saving books.

“A man wondrous of spirit, famed teacher of holiness and most astounding wonderworker, he founded (in 1464) the cenobitic Protection monastery three versts from Uglich at the wish of Prince Andrew, and he was chosen igumen.” Saint Paisius was also “founder and organizer of the holy Nikolsky Grekhozaruchnya monastery in 1489.”

Struggling at the Protection monastery, Saint Paisius lived into old age and died on June 6, 1504. His relics, glorified by miracles, rest beneath a crypt in the Protection monastery.

Saint Paisius is also commemorated on January 8.


Venerable Jonah the Abbot of Klimetzk

Saint Jonah of Klimetzk, in the world John, became a monk, and founded the Klimetzk Trinity Monastery in fulfillment of a vow.

In 1490 he had been caught by a storm on Lake Onega. When there was no hope for survival, John cried out to the Lord, entreating Him to preserve his life so he might repent and serve God. The boat was thrown onto a sandbar by the waves. There he heard the voice of the Lord commanding him to found a monastery in honor of the Life-Creating Trinity.

He miraculously discovered a holy icon on a juniper tree. The saint fulfilled the will of the Lord and built a monastery with two churches, one dedicated to the Most Holy Trinity and the other in honor of Saint Nicholas, protector of those who sail and those who travel.

Refusing the rank of igumen, Saint Jonah remained a simple monk at the monastery. He died on June 6, 1534. A church was built over his relics, and was dedicated to Saints Zachariah and Elizabeth.


Virginmartyr Archelais Beheaded at Salerno

The Holy Virgin Martyrs Archelais, Thekla and Susanna sought salvation in a small monastery near Rome. During the persecution by Diocletian (284-305), the holy virgins dressed themselves in men’s clothing, cut their hair and went to the Italian province of Campania. Settling in a remote area, they continued to pursue an ascetical life of fasting and prayer. They received the gift of healing from God, and treated the local inhabitants, converting many pagans to Christ.

When the governor of the district heard about them, he had them brought to Salerno. He threatened Saint Archelais with torture and death if she did not offer sacrifice to idols. With firm hope in the Lord, the saint refused to submit to the command, and she denounced the folly of worshipping soulless statues. Then the governor ordered the saint to be torn apart by hungry lions, but the beasts meekly lay at her feet. In a rage the governor ordered the lions to be killed, and locked the holy virgins in prison.

In the morning, having suspended Saint Archelais, the torturers began to rake her with iron utensils and pour hot tar on the wounds. The saint prayed even more loudly, and suddenly a light shone over her and a voice was heard, “Fear not, for I am with you.”

The saint was defended by the power of God. When they wanted to crush her with an immense stone, an angel pushed it to the other side, and it crushed the torturers instead. A judge ordered soldiers to behead the holy virgins, but the soldiers did not dare to put their hands upon the saints. Then Saints Archelais, Thekla and Susanna said to the soldiers, “If you do not fulfill the command, you shall have no respect from us.” The holy martyrs were beheaded in 293.

In the nineteenth century, Saint Susanna appeared to a disciple of Elder Boniface saying, “We must pray to God with the soul, the mind, and the heart.” She is described as a maiden of untold beauty, with a soft, pleasant voice.


Virginmartyr Thekla Beheaded at Salerno

The Holy Virgin Martyrs Thekla, Archelais, and Susanna sought salvation in a small monastery near Rome. During the persecution by Diocletian (284-305), the holy virgins dressed themselves in men’s clothing, cut their hair and went to the Italian province of Campania. Settling in a remote area, they continued to pursue an ascetical life of fasting and prayer. They received the gift of healing from God, and treated the local inhabitants, converting many pagans to Christ.

When the governor of the district heard about them, he had them brought to Salerno. He threatened Saint Archelais with torture and death if she did not offer sacrifice to idols. With firm hope in the Lord, the saint refused to submit to the command, and she denounced the folly of worshipping soulless statues. Then the governor ordered the saint to be torn apart by hungry lions, but the beasts meekly lay at her feet. In a rage the governor ordered the lions to be killed, and locked the holy virgins in prison.

In the morning, having suspended Saint Archelais, the torturers began to rake her with iron utensils and pour hot tar on the wounds. The saint prayed even more loudly, and suddenly a light shone over her and a voice was heard, “Fear not, for I am with you.”

The saint was defended by the power of God. When they wanted to crush her with an immense stone, an angel pushed it to the other side, and it crushed the torturers instead. A judge ordered soldiers to behead the holy virgins, but the soldiers did not dare to put their hands upon the saints. Then Saints Archelais, Thekla and Susanna said to the soldiers, “If you do not fulfill the command, you shall have no respect from us.” The holy martyrs were beheaded in 293.


Virginmartyr Susanna Beheaded at Salerno

The Holy Virgin Martyrs Susanna, Archelais, and Thekla sought salvation in a small monastery near Rome. During the persecution by Diocletian (284-305), the holy virgins dressed themselves in men’s clothing, cut their hair and went to the Italian province of Campania. Settling in a remote area, they continued to pursue an ascetical life of fasting and prayer. They received the gift of healing from God, and treated the local inhabitants, converting many pagans to Christ.

When the governor of the district heard about them, he had them brought to Salerno. He threatened Saint Archelais with torture and death if she did not offer sacrifice to idols. With firm hope in the Lord, the saint refused to submit to the command, and she denounced the folly of worshipping soulless statues. Then the governor ordered the saint to be torn apart by hungry lions, but the beasts meekly lay at her feet. In a rage the governor ordered the lions to be killed, and locked the holy virgins in prison.

In the morning, having suspended Saint Archelais, the torturers began to rake her with iron utensils and pour hot tar on the wounds. The saint prayed even more loudly, and suddenly a light shone over her and a voice was heard, “Fear not, for I am with you.”

The saint was defended by the power of God. When they wanted to crush her with an immense stone, an angel pushed it to the other side, and it crushed the torturers instead. A judge ordered soldiers to behead the holy virgins, but the soldiers did not dare to put their hands upon the saints. Then Saints Archelais, Thekla and Susanna said to the soldiers, “If you do not fulfill the command, you shall have no respect from us.” The holy martyrs were beheaded in 293.

In the nineteenth century, Saint Susanna appeared to a disciple of Elder Boniface saying, “We must pray to God with the soul, the mind, and the heart.” She is described as a maiden of untold beauty, with a soft, pleasant voice.


Icon of the Mother of God of Pimen

The Pimen Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos was brought to Moscow from Constantinople in 1381 by Metropolitan Pimen. Many miracles took place before this icon, which flowed with a fragrant healing myrrh.

The Pimen Icon was kept in the altar of the Dormition Cathedral in the Kremlin.


Martyr Gelasius

Saint Gelasius, the holy martyr of Christ, lived during a time of fierce persecution. He gave away all his property and possessions to the poor, put on a long white garment, and went to visit those who were facing martyrdom.

Since these Christians had been tortured in various ways, Saint Gelasius kissed their wounds and encouraged them to remain steadfast in their confession of Christ. When the pagans saw him doing this they seized him and brought him before their ruler. When he was questioned he proclaimed Christ as the true God, denouncing the idols as deaf and inanimate objects.

The governor mocked him and had him flogged. Finally, he ordered that the saint’s head be cut off, and so Saint Gelasius received the unfading crown of martyrdom from the Lord.

This saint should not be confused with the third century saint Gelasius (one of the ten martyrs of Crete, commemorated on December 23), Saint Gelasius of Palestine (December 31), nor with Saint Gerasimus the actor of Heliopolis (February 27).