The Holy Protomartyr Thecia (Thekla), Equal to the Apostles
Thecla was born in Iconium of eminent pagan parents. She was betrothed at the age of eighteen to a young man, at the time that the Apostle Paul came to Iconium with Bamabas to preach the Gospel. Listening to Paul for three days and nights, Thecla turned utterly to the Christian faith and vowed to live in virginity. Her mother, seeing that she shunned her betrothed and thought no more of marriage, first talked to her and then beat her and starved her. Finally, she gave her over to the judges and demanded, wicked mother that she was, that "Mecla be burned. The judge threw her into the flames, but God preserved her unharmed. Thecla then became a follower of the Apostle Paul, and went with him to Antioch. Attracted by Thecla"s beauty, an elder of the city attempted to take her by force, but Thecla tore herself out of his grasp. The elder denounced her to the governor as a Christian who was averse to marriage. The governor condemned her to death and threw her to the wild beasts, but the animals would not touch the body of this holy virgin. Amazed at this, the governor asked: "Who are you, and what is the power that you have in you, that nothing can do you harm?" Thecia replied: "I am a servant of the living God." Then the governor let her go free, and she began to preach the Gospel and succeeded in bringing many to the true Faith, among whom was an eminent and honoured widow, Tryphena. After this, St Thecla, with the blessing of the Apostle Paul, withdrew to a solitary place near Seleucia. She lived a long time there in asceticism, healing the sick with miraculous power and in this way bringing many to Christianity. The doctors in Seleucia were jealous of her and sent some young men to assault her, hoping that, in losing her virginity, she would lose also her miraculous power. Thecla fled from these insolent young men and, when she saw that they would catch her, prayed to God for help in front of a rock, and the rock opened and hid the holy maiden and bride of Christ. This rock was her hiding place and her tomb . St Chrysostom says of this wonderful Christian heroine and saint: "I seem to see this blessed virgin going to Christ with virginity in one hand and martyrdom in the other."
St Stephen, King of Serbia, the First-Crowned (Simon the Monk)
Crowned king at Zica, his foundation, by his brother and spiritual father, St Sava, he was a devout Christian and a wise and peaceloving ruler. Stephen, together with St Sava, raised Orthodoxy to great heights among his people. At his desire, St Sava made him a monk at the time of his death, giving him the name Simon. He entered into rest in the Lord on September 24th, 1224, and his relics are preserved at Studenica.
St David (formerly Prince Dimitrije)
Son of Vukan, Stephen's brother, he built the monastery at Lim, at which he himself became a monk.
The Holy Prince Vladislav
Son of King Stephen, he built the monastery of Mileseva, whither he took St Sava's relics from Trnovo. He was distinguished by a rare compassion for the poor. On the coinage of his time, he had inscribed: "The servant of God Vladislav".
Venerable Coprius of Palestine (530)
The Monk Koprios was found as a newborn infant by monks of the monastery of the Monk Theodosios in Palestine. He lay upon a dung-hill (in Greek "kopria"), where his mother left him, in fleeing pursuit during an invasion of the Hagarites (i.e. Arabs). The monks took up the infant, named him Koprios, fed him goat's milk and raised him in their monastery. Saint Koprios afterwards accepted monastic tonsure and spent his whole life in his native monastery. Having attained to an high degree of virtue and the gift of wonderworking, the Monk Koprios died peacefully at 90 years of age.
Venerable Nicander, hermit of Pskov (1581)
The Monk Nikandr of Pskov (at Baptism Nikon) was born on 24 July 1507 into the peasant family of Philip and Anastasia in the village of Videlebo in the Pskov lands. From childhood he dreamed of continuing the ascetic exploits of his fellow villager – the Monk Evphrosyn of Spasoeleazarsk, the original Pskov wilderness-dweller (Comm. 15 May). The first in Nikon's family to accept monasticism was his older brother Arsenii...
Icon of the Mother of God of 'The Myrtle Tree'
The Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos “Of the Myrtle Tree” (Myrtidiotissa) is in the monastery church of Myrtides on the Greek island of Kythera. It derives its name from the fact that it was found in a myrtle bush in the fourteenth century...
Venerable Abramius, abbot of Mirozh (Pskov) (1158)
The Monk Avraamii (Abraham) of Mirozhsk was the builder and first hegumen of the Pskov Saviour-Transfiguration monastery on the banks of the River Velika, at the confluence into it of the Rivulet Mirozha. The Mirozhsk monastery was founded in about the year 1156, during the princedom of Svyatopolk Mstislavich, by both the Monk Avraamii and by Sainted Nyphont, Bishop of Novgorod (tonsured at the Kievo-Pechersk monastery, Comm. 8 April), a brother by birth of holy Prince Vsevolod-Gavriil (Comm. 11 February)...
St. Galacteon, monk of Vologda (1612)
The MonkMartyr Galaktion of Vologda: Fearing the wrath of tsar Ivan the Terrible, kinsmen of the disgraced prince Ivan Ivanovich Bel'sky secretly conveyed his seven year old son Gavriil (Gabriel) to the city of Staritsa. In the years of his growing up, and seeing the malice of the tsar towards his family, the young prince withdrew to Vologda and settled in with a shoemaker, from whom he learned the cobbler's craft...
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