Lives of all saints commemorated on June 3


Synaxis of All Saints

The Sunday following Pentecost is dedicated to All Saints, both those who are known to us, and those who are known only to God. There have been saints at all times, and they have come from every corner of the earth. They were Apostles, Martyrs, Prophets, Hierarchs, Monastics, and Righteous, yet all were perfected by the same Holy Spirit.

The Descent of the Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to rise above our fallen state and to attain sainthood, thereby fulfilling God’s directive to “be holy, for I am holy” (Lev. 11:44, 1 Peter 1:16, etc.). Therefore, it is fitting to commemorate All Saints on the first Sunday after Pentecost.

This feast may have originated at an early date, perhaps as a celebration of all martyrs, then it was broadened to include all men and women who had borne witness to Christ by their virtuous lives, even if they did not shed their blood for Him.

Saint Peter of Damascus, in his “Fourth Stage of Contemplation,” mentions five categories of saints: Apostles, Martyrs, Prophets, Hierarchs, and Monastic Saints (PHILOKALIA [in English] Vol. 3, p.131). He is actually quoting from the OCTOECHOS, Tone 2 for Saturday Matins, kathisma after the first stichology.

Saint Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain (July 14) adds the Righteous to Saint Peter’s five categories. The list of Saint Nicodemus is found in his book THE FOURTEEN EPISTLES OF ST PAUL (Venice, 1819, p. 384) in his discussion of I Corinthians 12:28.

The hymnology for the feast of All Saints also lists six categories: “Rejoice, assembly of the Apostles, Prophets of the Lord, loyal choirs of the Martyrs, divine Hierarchs, Monastic Fathers, and the Righteous....”

Some of the saints are described as Confessors, a category which does not appear in the above lists. Since they are similar in spirit to the martyrs, they are regarded as belonging to the category of Martyrs. They were not put to death as the Martyrs were, but they boldly confessed Christ and came close to being executed for their faith. Saint Maximus the Confessor (January 21) is such a saint.

The order of these six types of saints seems to be based on their importance to the Church. The Apostles are listed first, because they were the first to spread the Gospel throughout the world.

The Martyrs come next because of their example of courage in professing their faith before the enemies and persecutors of the Church, which encouraged other Christians to remain faithful to Christ even unto death.

Although they come first chronologically, the Prophets are listed after the Apostles and Martyrs. This is because the Old Testament Prophets saw only the shadows of things to come, whereas the Apostles and Martyrs experienced them firsthand. The New Testament also takes precedence over the Old Testament.

The holy Hierarchs comprise the fourth category. They are the leaders of their flocks, teaching them by their word and their example.

The Monastic Saints are those who withdrew from this world to live in monasteries, or in seclusion. They did not do this out of hatred for the world, but in order to devote themselves to unceasing prayer, and to do battle against the power of the demons. Although some people erroneously believe that monks and nuns are useless and unproductive, Saint John Climacus had a high regard for them: “Angels are a light for monks, and the monastic life is a light for all men” (LADDER, Step 26:31).

The last category, the Righteous, are those who attained holiness of life while living “in the world.” Examples include Abraham and his wife Sarah, Job, Saints Joachim and Anna, Saint Joseph the Betrothed, Saint Juliana of Lazarevo, and others.

The feast of All Saints achieved great prominence in the ninth century, in the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Leo VI the Wise (886-911). His wife, the Holy Empress Theophano (December 16) lived in the world, but was not attached to worldly things. She was a great benefactor to the poor, and was generous to the monasteries. She was a true mother to her subjects, caring for widows and orphans, and consoling the sorrowful.

Even before the death of Saint Theophano in 893 or 894, her husband started to build a church, intending to dedicate it to Theophano, but she forbade him to do so. It was this emperor who decreed that the Sunday after Pentecost be dedicated to All Saints. Believing that his wife was one of the righteous, he knew that she would also be honored whenever the Feast of All Saints was celebrated.


Martyr Lucillian and those who suffered with him at Byzantium

Saint Lucillian was a pagan priest during the reign of the Roman emperor Aurelian (270-275). In his old age he became persuaded of the falseness of the pagan religion, and with all his heart he turned to the faith in Christ the Savior, and was baptized.

Under the influence of his preaching many pagans were converted to Christianity. Then certain Jews, seeing that he was spreading faith in Christ Whom they crucified, reported Lucillian to the Nicomedia prefect Silvanus, who urged the old man to return to idol-worship. When he refused, they smashed the saint’s jawbone, beat him with rods and suspended him head downward, and then they locked him in prison. Here he met four youths who were confessors of Christianity: Claudius, Hypatius, Paul and Dionysius. Saint Lucillian urged them to stand firm in the Faith, and to fear neither tortures nor death.

After a while they brought them to trial and then threw them into a red-hot furnace. Suddenly, rain fell and extinguished the flames, and the martyrs remained unharmed. The governor sentenced them to death, sending them to Byzantium to be executed. The holy youths were beheaded by the sword, and the holy martyr Lucillian was nailed to a cross with many nails.

The holy virgin Paula witnessed the contest of the holy martyrs. She had dedicated herself to the service of those suffering for Christ. She provided food to Christian prisoners, washed their wounds, brought medications, and also buried the bodies of martyrs. After the death of Saint Lucillian and the four young men, she returned to Nicomedia and continued with her holy service. The holy virgin was arrested and cast into a furnace, but by the power of God she remained unharmed. Then they sent her off to Byzantium, where the holy martyr was beheaded.


Translation of the relics of slain Crown Prince Demetrius of Moscow

The Tsarevich Saint Demetrius, murdered on May 15, 1591, was glorified in the year 1606 “to stop lying lips and blind unbelieving eyes from saying that the Tsarevich had escaped alive from the hands of the murderers” after the appearance of a pretender, who declared himself to be the Tsarevich Demetrius.

The holy relics were solemnly transferred and placed in the Arkhangelsk cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin, “in the side altar of John the Forerunner, where his father and his brothers were buried.”

After numerous miracles of healing from the holy relics, three feastdays for the Tsarevich Demetrius were established during this same year of 1606, his birthday (October 19), his murder (May 15), and the transfer of his relics to Moscow (June 3).”


Martyr Claudius and those who suffered with him at Byzantium

The Holy Martyrs Claudius, Lucillian, the youths Paul, Hypatius, Dionysius, and Paula the Virgin suffered for Christ in the reign of the Roman emperor Aurelian (270-275).

Many pagans were converted to Christianity through the preaching of Saint Lucillian. Then certain Jews, seeing that he was spreading faith in Christ Whom they crucified, reported Lucillian to the Nicomedian prefect Silvanus, who urged the old man to return to idol-worship. When he refused, they smashed the saint’s jawbone, beat him with rods and suspended him head downward, and then they locked him in prison. Here he met four youths who were confessors of Christianity, Claudius, Hypatius, Paul and Dionysius. Saint Lucillian urged them to stand firm in the Faith, and to fear neither tortures nor death.

After a while they brought them to trial and then threw them into a red-hot furnace. Suddenly, rain fell and extinguished the flames, and the martyrs remained unharmed. The governor sentenced them to death, sending them to Byzantium to be executed. The holy youths were beheaded by the sword, and the holy martyr Lucillian was nailed to a cross with many nails.


Martyr Hypatius and those who suffered with him at Byzantium

The Holy Martyrs Hypatius, Lucillian, the youths Claudius, Paul, Dionysius, and Paula the Virgin suffered for Christ in the reign of the Roman emperor Aurelian (270-275).

Many pagans were converted to Christianity through the preaching of Saint Lucillian. Then certain Jews, seeing that he was spreading faith in Christ Whom they crucified, reported Lucillian to the Nicomedian prefect Silvanus, who urged the old man to return to idol-worship. When he refused, they smashed the saint’s jawbone, beat him with rods and suspended him head downward, and then they locked him in prison. Here he met four youths who were confessors of Christianity, Claudius, Hypatius, Paul and Dionysius. Saint Lucillian urged them to stand firm in the Faith, and to fear neither tortures nor death.

After a while they brought them to trial and then threw them into a red-hot furnace. Suddenly, rain fell and extinguished the flames, and the martyrs remained unharmed. The governor sentenced them to death, sending them to Byzantium to be executed. The holy youths were beheaded by the sword, and the holy martyr Lucillian was nailed to a cross with many nails.


Martyr Paul and those who suffered with him at Byzantium

The Holy Martyrs Paul, Lucillian, the youths Claudius, Dionysius, Hypatius, and Paula the Virgin suffered for Christ in the reign of the Roman emperor Aurelian (270-275).

Many pagans were converted to Christianity through the preaching of Saint Lucillian. Then certain Jews, seeing that he was spreading faith in Christ Whom they crucified, reported Lucillian to the Nicomedian prefect Silvanus, who urged the old man to return to idol-worship. When he refused, they smashed the saint’s jawbone, beat him with rods and suspended him head downward, and then they locked him in prison. Here he met four youths who were confessors of Christianity, Claudius, Hypatius, Paul and Dionysius. Saint Lucillian urged them to stand firm in the Faith, and to fear neither tortures nor death.

After a while they brought them to trial and then threw them into a red-hot furnace. Suddenly, rain fell and extinguished the flames, and the martyrs remained unharmed. The governor sentenced them to death, sending them to Byzantium to be executed. The holy youths were beheaded by the sword, and the holy martyr Lucillian was nailed to a cross with many nails.


Martyr Dionysius and those who suffered with him at Byzantium

The Holy Martyrs Dionysius, Lucillian, the youths Claudius, Paul, Hypatius, and Paula the Virgin suffered for Christ in the reign of the Roman emperor Aurelian (270-275).

Many pagans were converted to Christianity through the preaching of Saint Lucillian. Then certain Jews, seeing that he was spreading faith in Christ Whom they crucified, reported Lucillian to the Nicomedian prefect Silvanus, who urged the old man to return to idol-worship. When he refused, they smashed the saint’s jawbone, beat him with rods and suspended him head downward, and then they locked him in prison. Here he met four youths who were confessors of Christianity, Claudius, Hypatius, Paul and Dionysius. Saint Lucillian urged them to stand firm in the Faith, and to fear neither tortures nor death.

After a while they brought them to trial and then threw them into a red-hot furnace. Suddenly, rain fell and extinguished the flames, and the martyrs remained unharmed. The governor sentenced them to death, sending them to Byzantium to be executed. The holy youths were beheaded by the sword, and the holy martyr Lucillian was nailed to a cross with many nails.


Martyr Paula and those who suffered with her at Byzantium

Saint Paula lived in the third century, and was martyred during the reign of the Roman emperor Aurelian (270-275).

The holy virgin Paula witnessed the contest of the holy martyrs Lucillian, the youths Claudius, Hypatius, and Dionysius. She had dedicated herself to the service of those suffering for Christ. She brought food to Christian prisoners, washed their wounds, gave them medicine, and also buried the bodies of martyrs.

After the death of Saint Lucillian and the four young men, Saint Paula returned to Nicomedia and continued with her holy service. The holy virgin was arrested and cast into a furnace, but by the power of God she remained unharmed. Then they sent her to Byzantium, where she was beheaded.


Hieromartyr Lucian the Bishop at Beauvais in France

The Hieromartyr Lucian lived in Rome, and his pagan name was Lucius. He was converted to Christ by the Apostle Peter, and was baptized. After Saint Peter’s death, Saint Lucian preached the Gospel in Italy. Saint Dionysius the Areopagite (October 3), a disciple of Saint Paul, arrived in Rome at this time. At the request of Saint Clement, Pope of Rome (November 25), he agreed to preach the Gospel in the West, and gathered companions and helpers for this task. Saint Clement consecrated Saint Lucian a bishop, then sent him off with Saint Dionysius, Saints Marcellinus and Saturninus, the Presbyter Maximian, and the Deacon Julian.

The holy preachers sailed from Italy to Gaul (modern France). Saint Marcellinus and those accompanying him continued on to Spain. Saint Saturninus went to Gaul, and Saint Dionysius and the others went to the region of Paris. From there Saint Lucian went to Belgium with Maximian and Julian.

Saint Lucian’s preaching was very successful. By the power of his words and the example of his life, he converted a large number of pagans to Christianity. Saint Lucian was a strict ascetic, and all day long he ate only a morsel of bread and some water. Towards the converted he was kindly, always joyful and cheerful of face. Soon almost all the settlements of Belgium were converted to Christ.

During this period, the Roman emperor Dometian (81-96) initiated a second persecution against Christians (after that of Nero, 54-68), and he issued an edict prescribing torture and execution for anyone who refused to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods.

Three officials were sent to Belgium to carry out the edict. The Lord revealed to Saint Lucian the ordeal facing him. He gathered the flock together, urging them not to fear threats, tortures or death, and then he gave thanks to God for granting him the possibility of joining the company of the holy martyrs. After praying, Saint Lucian and the priest Maximian and Deacon Julian withdrew to the summit of a hill, where he continued to teach the people who came with him.

Here the soldiers of the emperor came upon the saints and led them away for trial. Saints Maximian and Julian were urged to renounce Christ and offer sacrifice to idols, but both refused and were beheaded.

Then the judge began to interrogate Saint Lucian, accusing him of sorcery and disobedience to the emperor and Senate. The saint replied that he was not a sorcerer, but rather a servant of the true God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he refused to offer sacrifice to idols made by human hands.

The saint was subjected to fierce beatings, during which he repeated, “Never will I cease to praise Christ, the Son of God, in my heart, and with my lips.” Then the holy martyr was beheaded. A heavenly light shone over his body, and the Voice of the Savior was heard, summoning the valiant sufferer into the heavenly Kingdom to receive the martyr’s crown. By the power of God the saint stood up, picked up his severed head, and crossed over the river. Reaching the burial spot he had chosen, he lay down upon the ground and reposed in peace.

Because of this great miracle about 500 pagans were converted to Christ. Later, a church was built over Saint Lucian’s grave, to which the relics of the martyrs Maximian and Julian were transferred.


Hieromartyr Maximian the Presbyter at Beauvais in France

Saint Maximian the priest was one of the companions of Saint Lucian, and assisted him in proclaiming the Gospel in the West.

The holy preachers sailed from Italy to Gaul (modern France). Saint Marcellinus and those accompanying him continued on to Spain. Saint Saturninus went to Gaul, and Saint Dionysius and the others went to the region of Paris. From there Saint Lucian went to Belgium with Maximian and Julian.

Saint Lucian’s preaching was very successful. By the power of his words and the example of his life, he converted a large number of pagans to Christianity. Soon almost all the settlements of Belgium were converted to Christ.

During this period, the Roman emperor Dometian (81-96) initiated a second persecution against Christians (after that of Nero, 54-68), and he issued an edict prescribing torture and execution for anyone who refused to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods.

The Lord revealed to Saint Lucian the ordeal facing him. He gathered the flock together, urging them not to fear threats, tortures or death, and then he gave thanks to God for granting him the possibility of joining the company of the holy martyrs. After praying, Saint Lucian and the presbyter Maximian and Deacon Julian withdrew to the summit of a hill, where he continued to teach the people who came with him.

Here the soldiers of the emperor came upon the saints and led them away for trial. Saints Maximian and Julian were urged to renounce Christ and offer sacrifice to idols, but both refused and were beheaded.

Afterwards, a church was built over the grave of Saint Lucian, to which the relics of the martyrs Maximian and Julian were transferred.


Martyr Julian the Deacon at Beauvais in France

Saint Julian the deacon was one of the companions of Saint Lucian, and assisted him in proclaiming the Gospel in the West.

The holy preachers sailed from Italy to Gaul (modern France). Saint Marcellinus and those accompanying him continued on to Spain. Saint Saturninus went to Gaul, and Saint Dionysius and the others went to the region of Paris. From there Saint Lucian went to Belgium with Maximian and Julian.

Saint Lucian’s preaching was very successful. By the power of his words and the example of his life, he converted a large number of pagans to Christianity. Soon almost all the settlements of Belgium were converted to Christ.

During this period, the Roman emperor Dometian (81-96) initiated a second persecution against Christians (after that of Nero, 54-68), and he issued an edict prescribing torture and execution for anyone who refused to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods.

The Lord revealed to Saint Lucian the ordeal facing him. He gathered the flock together, urging them not to fear threats, tortures or death, and then he gave thanks to God for granting him the possibility of joining the company of the holy martyrs. After praying, Saint Lucian and the presbyter Maximian and Deacon Julian withdrew to the summit of a hill, where he continued to teach the people who came with him.

Here the soldiers of the emperor came upon the saints and led them away for trial. Saints Maximian and Julian were urged to renounce Christ and offer sacrifice to idols, but both refused and were beheaded.

Afterwards, a church was built over the grave of Saint Lucian, to which the relics of the martyrs Maximian and Julian were transferred.


Martyr Marcellinus at Beauvais in France

Saint Marcellinus was one of the companions of Saint Lucian, and assisted him in proclaiming the Gospel in the West.

The holy preachers sailed from Italy to Gaul (modern France). Saint Marcellinus and those accompanying him continued on to Spain. Saint Saturninus went to Gaul, and Saint Dionysius and the others went to the region of Paris. From there Saint Lucian went to Belgium with Maximian and Julian.


Hieromartyr Saturninus at Beauvais in France

Saint Saturninus was one of the companions of Saint Lucian, and assisted him in proclaiming the Gospel in the West.

The holy preachers sailed from Italy to Gaul (modern France). Saint Marcellinus and those accompanying him continued on to Spain. Saint Saturninus was active in Gaul, and Saint Dionysius and the others went to the region of Paris. From there Saint Lucian went to Belgium with Maximian and Julian.