Lives of all saints commemorated on May 6


Sunday of the Samaritan Woman

The Holy Martyr Photina (Svetlana) the Samaritan Woman, her sons Victor (named Photinus) and Joses; and her sisters Anatola, Phota, Photis, Paraskeva, Kyriake; Nero’s daughter Domnina; and the Martyr Sebastian: The holy Martyr Photina was the Samaritan Woman, with whom the Savior conversed at Jacob’s Well (John. 4:5-42).

During the time of the emperor Nero (54-68), who displayed excessive cruelty against Christians, Saint Photina lived in Carthage with her younger son Joses and fearlessly preached the Gospel there. Her eldest son Victor fought bravely in the Roman army against barbarians, and was appointed military commander in the city of Attalia (Asia Minor). Later, Nero called him to Italy to arrest and punish Christians.

Sebastian, an official in Italy, said to Saint Victor, “I know that you, your mother and your brother, are followers of Christ. As a friend I advise you to submit to the will of the emperor. If you inform on any Christians, you will receive their wealth. I shall write to your mother and brother, asking them not to preach Christ in public. Let them practice their faith in secret.”

Saint Victor replied, “I want to be a preacher of Christianity like my mother and brother.” Sebastian said, “O Victor, we all know what woes await you, your mother and brother.” Then Sebastian suddenly felt a sharp pain in his eyes. He was dumbfounded, and his face was somber.

For three days he lay there blind, without uttering a word. On the fourth day he declared, “The God of the Christians is the only true God.” Saint Victor asked why Sebastian had suddenly changed his mind. Sebastian replied, “Because Christ is calling me.” Soon he was baptized, and immediately regained his sight. Saint Sebastian’s servants, after witnessing the miracle, were also baptized.

Reports of this reached Nero, and he commanded that the Christians be brought to him at Rome. Then the Lord Himself appeared to the confessors and said, “Fear not, for I am with you. Nero, and all who serve him, will be vanquished.” The Lord said to Saint Victor, “From this day forward, your name will be Photinus, because through you, many will be enlightened and will believe in Me.” The Lord then told the Christians to strengthen and encourage Saint Sebastian to peresevere until the end.

All these things, and even future events, were revealed to Saint Photina. She left Carthage in the company of several Christians and joined the confessors in Rome.

At Rome the emperor ordered the saints to be brought before him and he asked them whether they truly believed in Christ. All the confessors refused to renounce the Savior. Then the emperor gave orders to smash the martyrs’ finger joints. During the torments, the confessors felt no pain, and their hands remained unharmed.

Nero ordered that Saints Sebastian, Photinus and Joses be blinded and locked up in prison, and Saint Photina and her five sisters Anatola, Phota, Photis, Paraskeva and Kyriake were sent to the imperial court under the supervision of Nero’s daughter Domnina. Saint Photina converted both Domnina and all her servants to Christ. She also converted a sorcerer, who had brought her poisoned food to kill her.

Three years passed, and Nero sent to the prison for one of his servants, who had been locked up. The messengers reported to him that Saints Sebastian, Photinus and Joses, who had been blinded, had completely recovered, and that people were visiting them to hear their preaching, and indeed the whole prison had been transformed into a bright and fragrant place where God was glorified.

Nero then gave orders to crucify the saints, and to beat their naked bodies with straps. On the fourth day the emperor sent servants to see whether the martyrs were still alive. But, approaching the place of the tortures, the servants fell blind. An angel of the Lord freed the martyrs from their crosses and healed them. The saints took pity on the blinded servants, and restored their sight by their prayers to the Lord. Those who were healed came to believe in Christ and were soon baptized.

In an impotent rage Nero gave orders to flay the skin from Saint Photina and to throw the martyr down a well. Sebastian, Photinus and Joses had their legs cut off, and they were thrown to dogs, and then had their skin flayed off. The sisters of Saint Photina also suffered terrible torments. Nero gave orders to cut off their breasts and then to flay their skin. An expert in cruelty, the emperor readied the fiercest execution for Saint Photis: they tied her by the feet to the tops of two bent-over trees. When the ropes were cut the trees sprang upright and tore the martyr apart. The emperor ordered the others beheaded. Saint Photina was removed from the well and locked up in prison for twenty days.

After this Nero had her brought to him and asked if she would now relent and offer sacrifice to the idols. Saint Photina spit in the face of the emperor, and laughing at him, said, “O most impious of the blind, you profligate and stupid man! Do you think me so deluded that I would consent to renounce my Lord Christ and instead offer sacrifice to idols as blind as you?”

Hearing such words, Nero gave orders to again throw the martyr down the well, where she surrendered her soul to God (ca. 66).

On the Greek Calendar, Saint Photina is commemorated on February 26.


Righteous Job the Long-Suffering

The righteous Job (whose name means “persecuted”), God’s faithful servant, was the perfect image of every virtue. The son of Zarah and Bossorha (Job 42), Job was a fifth-generation descendent of Abraham. He was a truthful, righteous, patient and pious man who abstained from every evil thing. Job was very rich and blessed by God in all things, as was no other son of Ausis (his country, which lay between Idoumea and Arabia). However, divine condescension permitted him to be tested.

Job lost his children, his wealth, his glory, and every consolation all at once. His entire body became a terrible wound covered with boils. Yet he remained steadfast and patient in the face of his misfortune for seven years, always giving thanks to God.

Later, God restored his former prosperity, and he had twice as much as before. Job lived for 170 years after his misfortune, completing his earthly life in 1350 B.C. at the age of 240. Some authorities say that Job’s afflictions lasted only one year, and that afterwards he lived for 140 years, reaching the age of 210.

Job’s explanations are among the most poetic writings in the Old Testament book which bears his name. It is one of the most edifying portions of Holy Scripture. Job teaches us that we must endure life’s adversities patiently and with trust in God. As Saint Anthony the Great (January 17) says, without temptations, it is impossible for the faithful to be saved.

The Orthodox Church reads the book of Job, the first of the seven wisdom books of the Old Testament, during Holy Week, drawing a parallel between Job and Christ as righteous men who suffered through no fault of their own. God allowed Satan to afflict Job so that his faithfulness would be proven. Christ, the only sinless one, suffered voluntarily for our sins. The Septuagint text of Job 42:17 says that Job “will rise again with those whom the Lord raises up.” This passage is read on Great and Holy Friday, when the composite Gospel at Vespers speaks of the tombs being opened at the moment the Savior died on the Cross, and the bodies of the saints were raised, and they appeared to many after Christ’s Resurrection (Mt.27:52)


Venerable Micah the Disciple of the Venerable Sergius of Radonezh

Saint Micah of Radonezh was one of the first disciples of Saint Sergius of Radonezh, and lived with him in the same cell, and under his guidance he attained a high degree of spiritual perfection. For his meekness of soul and purity of heart, Saint Micah was permitted to witness the appearance of the Mother of God to his great teacher. Once, after Saint Sergius had completed the morning Rule of prayer, sat down to rest for awhile, but suddenly he said to his disciple, “Be alert, my child, for we shall have a wondrous visitation.”

Hardly had he uttered these words when a voice was heard, “The All-Pure One draws near.” Suddenly there shone a light brighter than the sun. Saint Micah fell down upon the ground in fear, and lay there as if he were dead. When Saint Sergius lifted up his disciple, he asked, “Tell me, Father, what is the reason for this wondrous vision? My soul has nearly parted from my body from fright.” Saint Sergius then informed his disciple about the appearance of the Most Holy Theotokos.

Saint Micah fell asleep in the Lord in the year 1385.

Saint Micah’s relics rest in a crypt at the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra. On December 10, 1734, over Saint Micah’s tomb, a church was consecrated in honor of the Appearance of the Most Holy Theotokos and the Holy Apostles Peter and John the Theologian to Saint Sergius of Radonezh.


Martyr Barbarus the Soldier in Morea

The Holy Martyrs Barbarus the Soldier, Bacchus, Callimachus and Dionysius lived during the fourth century and served in the army of the emperor Julian the Apostate.

Saint Barbarus was secretly a Christian, and in a war with the Franks he gained victory in single combat against a mighty enemy soldier. For this he received great honor in the army and the acclamation of the emperor, and was given the title of comitus (imperial bodyguard).

After the victory over the Franks, Bacchus wanted to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods, and he deferred to Barbarus as the victor, allowing him to have the honor of making the first sacrificial offering.

Saint Barbarus openly confessed himself a Christian and refused to offer the sacrifice. He was subjected to much torture for this, by order of Julian the Apostate. They suspended the saint and tore his body until his insides were falling out. Saint Barbarus called out to the Lord for help, and then an angel of God appeared and healed his wounds, so that not a trace of them remained.

Seeing this miracle, the military commander Bacchus and two soldiers, Callimachus and Dionysius, believed in Christ and repudiated the pagan gods. For this, they were immediately beheaded. They continued to torture Saint Barbarus. They tied him to a wheel and lit a fire under it, and they sprinkled the body of the sufferer with oil. But here also the power of God preserved the holy martyr unharmed. The fire burned many of the torturers, however, killing two. After this they continued to torment the holy Martyr Barbarus for another seven days.

Through miraculous help from on high, the saint remained unharmed. Seeing in this miracle the manifest power of God, many pagans were converted to the true God. Saint Barbarus finally completed his glorious endeavor by being beheaded by the sword in the year 362. The martyr’s body was buried in the city of Methona in the Peloponnesus by the pious Bishop Philikios.


Martyr Bacchus in Morea

The Holy Martyrs Bacchus, Barbarus the Soldier, Callimachus and Dionysius lived during the fourth century and served in the army of the emperor Julian the Apostate.

When the military commander Bacchus and two soldiers, Callimachus and Dionysius, saw Saint Barbarus healed by an angel, they believed in Christ and repudiated the pagan gods. For this, they were immediately beheaded.


Martyr Callimachus in Morea

The Holy Martyrs Callimachus, Barbarus the Soldier, Bacchus, and Dionysius lived during the fourth century and served in the army of the emperor Julian the Apostate.

When the military commander Bacchus and two soldiers, Callimachus and Dionysius, saw Saint Barbarus healed by an angel, they believed in Christ and repudiated the pagan gods. For this, they were immediately beheaded.


Martyr Dionysius in Morea

The Holy Martyrs Dionysius, Barbarus the Soldier, Bacchus, Callimachus lived during the fourth century and served in the army of the emperor Julian the Apostate.

When the military commander Bacchus and two soldiers, Callimachus and Dionysius, saw Saint Barbarus healed by an angel, they believed in Christ and repudiated the pagan gods. For this, they were immediately beheaded.


Martyr Barbarus in Thessaly, who was a robber

The Holy Martyr Barbarus, formerly a robber, lived in Greece and for a long time he committed robberies, extortions and murders. But the Lord, Who does not desire the death of a sinner, turned him to repentance. Once, when Barbarus was sitting in a cave and gazing upon his stolen possessions, the grace of God touched his heart. He thought about the inevitability of death, and about the dread Last Judgment. Pondering over the multitude of his wicked deeds, he was distressed in his heart and he decided to make a beginning of repentance, saying, “The Lord did not despise the prayer of the robber hanging beside Him. May He spare me through His ineffable mercy.”

Barbarus left all his treasures behind in the cave and he went to the nearest church. He did not conceal his wicked deeds from the priest, and he asked to be accepted for repentance. The priest gave him a place in his own home, and Saint Barbarus followed him, going about on his hands and knees like a four-legged animal, since he considered himself unworthy to be called a man. In the household of the priest he lived with the cattle, eating with the animals and considering himself more wicked than any creature. Having received absolution from his sins from the priest, Barbarus went into the woods and lived there for twelve years, naked and without clothing, suffering from the cold and heat. His body became dirty and blackened all over.

Finally, Saint Barbarus received a sign from on high that his sins were forgiven, and that he would die a martyr’s death. Once, merchants came to the place where Saint Barbarus labored. In the deep grass before them they saw something moving. Thinking that this was an animal, they shot several arrows from their bows. Coming closer, they were terrified to see that they had mortally wounded a man. Saint Barbarus begged them not to grieve. He told them about himself and he asked that they relate what had happened to the priest at whose house he had once lived.

After this, Saint Barbarus yielded up his spirit to God. The priest, who had accepted the repentance of the former robber, found his body shining with a heavenly light. The priest buried the body of Saint Barbarus at the place where he was killed. Afterwards, a curative myrrh began to issue forth from the grave of the saint, which healed various maladies. His relics are located at the monastery of Kellios in Thessaly, near the city of Larissa.


Translation of the relics of St Sava, 1st Archbishop of Serbia

No information available at this time.


St. Seraphim of Labodeia

Saint Seraphim, who struggled on Dobou mountain in Lebadeia in central Greece, was born in the village of Zeli in Boeotia in 1527, and his name in the world was Sotiris. He was the son of pious and virtuous parents, who nurtured him with the living water of the Gospel (John 4:10). From the time he was very little, he was inclined toward the study of the Holy Scriptures and toward the ascetic life. At an early age and despite the temporary refusal of his parents to give their blessing, he went to the monastery of the Prophet Elias on Mount Karkaras, where he built a church dedicated to the Savior Christ, and lived a life of asceticism.

The Saint’s reputation spread quickly, and there were frequent visits by his parents, his friends, and other pious believers, who sought him out so that he might counsel and help them. Because of these distractions, he was obliged to abandon his beloved cave, and so he went to the monastery of the Holy Unmercenaries.

He soon left this monastery as well, and went to the Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Savior on Mount Sagmation, between Boeotia and Euboia. There he quickly shone forth as a spiritual star of the first magnitude, and the igumen tonsured him as a monk with the name Seraphim. Later, he was ordained as a deacon and then as a priest.

Shortly afterward, in order to avoid vanity because of his reputation for virtue, St. Seraphim asked for the Igumen’s blessing to live elsewhere. He left the monastery of his repentance and arrived west of Helicon, at Dobou, where he built a church of the Savior, a few cells, and then he called some monks to dwell near him. He struggled there for ten years, teaching the other monks the saving precepts of the monastic life.

Saint Seraphim reposed in a godly manner at the age of 75, on May 6, 1602, on the Feast of Mid-Pentecost, at 6 o’clock in the afternoon, after foreseeing his own death and partaking of the spotless Mysteries. He performed many miracles during his lifetime.

The Saint’s head and a portion of his holy relics are found in the Monastery of Boeotia which is named for him. Another portion of the Saint's holy relics is honored at the Agathonos Monastery at Phthiotis in central Greece.