Lives of all saints commemorated on May 28


Postfeast of Pentecost — Day of the Holy Spirit

On the day after every Great Feast, the Orthodox Church honors the one through whom the Feast is made possible. On the day following the Nativity of the Lord, for example, we celebrate the Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos (December 26). On the day after Theophany, we commemorate Saint John the Baptist (January 7), and so on.

Today we honor the all-Holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, Who descended upon the Apostles at Pentecost in the form of fiery tongues in fulfillment of the Lord’s promise to send the Comforter to His disciples (JN 14:16). That same Holy Spirit remains within the Church throughout the ages, guiding it “into all truth” (JN 16:13).

One of the hymns at Vespers on Saturday evening tells us that the Holy Spirit “provides all things. He gushes forth prophecy, He perfects the priesthood, ... He holds together the whole institution of the Church.”

At Vespers on the day of Pentecost, we hear that the Holy Spirit is “the Fountain of goodness, through Whom the Father is known, and the Son is glorified.” He is “the living Fountain of spiritual gifts” Who “purifies us from our sins.” It is by the Holy Spirit that “the prophets, divine Apostles, and martyrs are crowned.” He is the source of life and of sanctification.

In the services of this day, we sing the same hymns as on Pentecost, except the Canon of the Holy Spirit, which is sung at Compline. The Vigil is not prescribed for the eve of today’s feast. We sing the Great Doxology at Matins, but not the Polyeleos. The Irmos of the Ninth Ode (“Hail, O Queen, glory of mothers and virgins...”) is sung in place of the Song of the Theotokos (“My soul magnifies the Lord...”).

At the Liturgy, the priest or deacon chants the Entrance Verse (“Be exalted in Thy strength, O Lord. We will sing and praise Thy power.”) as on the day of Pentecost. “Holy God” replaces “As many as have been baptized....” The dismissal of Pentecost is also used.

This whole week is fast-free, and the Leave-taking of Pentecost occurs on Saturday.


St. Nicetas the Bishop of Chalcedon

Saint Nicetas, Bishop of Chalcedon, lived during the second half of the eighth century. For his God-pleasing life he was consecrated as Bishop of Chalcedon.

Saint Nicetas distinguished himself by his charity, he always helped the poor, he lodged travelers in his home, he cared for orphans and widows, and he interceded for those who had been wronged.

During the reign of the iconoclast Leo the Armenian (813-820), Saint Nicetas bravely denounced the Iconoclast heresy and urged his flock to venerate the holy icons of Christ, the Theotokos, and the saints. Saint Nicetas endured much suffering from the impious emperor and his like-minded cohorts. He was subjected to tortures and sent off to exile.

The holy confessor Nicetas died at the beginning of the ninth century. From his relics occurred many miracles of healing. The Canon of the service, written by the priest Joseph of Constantinople, also includes Saint Nicetas’s brother, Saint Ignatius, among the saints.


St. Ignatius the Bishop and Wonderworker of Rostov

Saint Ignatius was Bishop of Rostov, and shepherded his flock for twenty-six years. After his death on May 28, 1288, his body was brought to the church. Some people saw him leave his coffin, and float in the air above the church. He blessed the people and the city, then went back to his coffin.

Many miracles took place at his grave.


St. Eutychius the Bishop of Melitene

The Hieromartyr Eutychius, Bishop of Melitene, was a co-worker with the Holy Apostles, and he suffered for Christ in the city of Melitene during the first century.


Martyr Heliconis of Thessalonica

The Holy Martyr Heliconis lived during the third century in the city of Thessalonica. Saint Heliconis arrived in the city of Corinth during a persecution of Christians, and urged the pagans to stop serving senseless idols and instead to worship the one true God, the Creator of the universe.

She was arrested and brought before the governor Perinus, who vainly attempted to persuade the saint to offer sacrifice to idols, both by flattery and by threats. The holy martyr was subjected to tortures, but she bravely endured them. Then they threw her into a hot furnace, but she emerged from it unharmed, because an angel of the Lord had cooled the flames.

Thinking the saint was a sorceress, the governor invented new torments for her. They tore the skin from her head, and burned her breasts and head with fire. After halting the torture, the judge again attempted to urge Saint Heliconis to offer sacrifice to the idols, promising her honors and the title of priestess. The saint seemed to consent, and the pagan priests and the people led her to the pagan temple with the sounds of trumpet and drum.

At the saint’s request, they left her there alone. Saint Heliconis, filled with heroic strength, cast down and smashed all the idols. When some time had passed, the pagan priests entered their temple. Seeing the destruction, they were even more enraged and cursed the holy virgin shouting, “Put the sorceress to death!” They beat the holy martyr, and then they threw her into prison, where she spent five days.

Christ the Savior and the holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel appeared to the holy martyr in prison and healed her of her wounds. Finally, they sent the saint to be torn apart by wild beasts. They set loose three hungry lions upon her, but the beasts came up to the martyr meekly and lay down at her feet. The pagan mob shouted and cried, “Death to the sorceress.”

But at this point the lions jumped out of the arena and pounced on the people, who fled in terror. Not knowing what else to do, the governor ordered that Saint Heliconis be beheaded. The saint went to execution with joy and heard a Voice summoning her to the heavenly habitations.

She contested in the year 244, and her body was reverently buried by Christians.


Hieromartyr Helladius the Bishop in the East

The Hieromartyr Helladius the Bishop was thrown into fire because of his faith in Christ, but he remained unharmed. He died as a martyr from the terrible beating inflicted upon him.

In the Service to Saint Helladius it is said that the Lord Jesus Christ visited him in prison and healed him of his wounds. According to certain sources, Saint Helladius suffered under the Persians during their invasion into the Eastern part of the Roman Empire in the fourth century.


St. Germanus the Bishop of Paris

Saint Germanus was born near Autun in 496. He was abbot of Saint Symphorian’s monastery at Autun, and was made Bishop of Paris around 536. He was tireless and courageous in his efforts to end civil strife and to restrain the viciousness of the Frankish kings, though he was not very successful in this. Saint Radegund (August 13) appealed to him for protection from her cruel husband King Chlotar I.

Saint Germanus founded a monastery at Paris, and was buried in its church after his death in 576. This is the renowned monastery of Saint Germaine-des-Pres.


Icon of the Mother of God “the Softener of Evil Hearts”

The “Softener (or “Consoler”) of Evil Hearts” Icon of the Mother of God is similar to the “Seven Swords” Icon (August 13). It depicts the Theotokos with seven swords piercing Her heart (Luke 2:35). There are three swords on the right side, three on the left, and one from below. The icon appears to be of Western origin.

The “Softener of Evil Hearts” icon is commemorated on the Sunday of All Saints.


Icon of the Mother of God “the Unbreakable Wall”

The “Unbreakable (or “Indestructible”) Wall” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos is commemorated on the Sunday of All Saints. It is an icon of the Blachernae type, in which the Virgin is shown with Her hands raised and the palms facing forward. Christ is depicted within a roundel, or mandorla. This is an oval or circle symbolizing the glory of Heaven, or Divine Light.

Perhaps the name of this particular Icon is derived from Amos 7:7 where the Lord is said to be standing on “a wall of adamant” (LXX).


St. Sophronius the Bulgarian

No information available at this time.


New Martyr Demetrius

No information available at this time.


Icon of the Mother of God of Nicea

No information available at this time.