St Nicetas the Confessor
He was born in Bithynia, in the town of Caesarea. His father, Philaret, losing his wife, became a monk. Nicetas remained with his paternal grandmother. After he had grown up and finished his schooling, he went to a monastery in Midikion, where Nicephorus, the abbot, tonsured him as a monk. After seven years of toil and asceticism, he was ordained hieromonk by Patriarch Tarasius. After the deaths of Nicephorus and Nicetas's great friend, Athanasius, the brethren chose Nicetas as abbot, much against his will. St Nicetas was a holy example of life and asceticism to his brethren for many years. But when Leo V, the Armenian, came to the throne, following the devout Empress Irene and the pious Emperors Nicephorus and Michael, the iconoclast heresy sprang up again. The Emperor deposed Patriarch Nicephorus and sent him into exile, and in his place put a heretic, Theodotus Cassiteras, a man of impure life. Nicetas was imprisoned and tortured, but remained unwavering in his Orthodoxy. He was taken from prison to prison and tortured by hunger and thirst, by cold and heat and malice. But he remained utterly unwavering. A certain Nicolas pestered him particularly with his derision and malice. But one night the dead father of this Nicolas appeared to him in a dream and said: 'Leave that servant of God alone! 'From that moment Nicolas repented, and not only refrained from pestering him but prevented others doing likewise. When the Emperor Leo the Armenian had made an evil end, the throne passed to the Orthodox Emperor Michael Balbus, who freed all the Orthodox sufferers. Nicetas retired to a lonely place near Constantinople, where he spent the remaining days of his earthly life in prayer and thanksgiving to God. When he died, his body was taken to his monastery and, during that journey, many of the sick, on touching his body, were healed. His relics were placed close to the graves of his spiritual father, Nicephorus, and his friend Athanasius. This great hierarch entered into rest in 824.
St Paul the Wretched
A Russian by birth, he was enslaved by the Turks as a boy. Refusing to betray the Christian faith and embrace Islam, he was tortured and beheaded in Constantinople in 1683.
The Holy Martyr Ulphianus
A young man from the city of Tyre, he was tortured for Christ by the governor, Urban, the torturer of St Amphianus (April 2nd). He was finally sewn into a sack, together with a dog and a snake, and thrown into the sea. He suffered and was glorified in 306.
Venerable Illyricus of Mt. Myrsinon in the Peloponnesus
The Monk Illyrikos the Wonderworker asceticised on Mount Marsion in the Peloponessus. His date of life and deeds are unknown.
Martyrs Elpidephorus, Dius, Bithonius, and Galycus (3rd c.)
The Holy Martyrs Elpidiphoros, Dios, Bythonios and Galikos suffered for their confession of faith in Jesus Christ. They cut off the head of Saint Elpidiphoros with a sword. Saint Dios they stoned. Saint Bythonios was drowned in the sea, and the Martyr Galikos was sent for devouring by wild beasts.
Venerable Nectarius, abbot, of Bezhetsk (1492
The Monk Nektarii of Bezhetsk was a monastic of the Trinity-Sergiev monastery. In the mid XV Century he settled in a dense forest in the upper part of the Bezhetsk region, where he built himself a cell. The deeds and the spiritual wisdom of the monk attracted to him many, that wanted to live under his guidance. In a short while the monks built a church in honour of the Vvedenie-Entry into the Temple of the MostHoly Mother of God, and they enclosed it about with a fence. The new monastery was one of the poorest, and which in the expression of the chronicler, was built "with tears, fasting and vigil". By common accord of all the brethren of the monastery, its founder the Monk Nektarii was chosen as hegumen. The Monk Nektarii died on 3 April 1492.
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