The Holy Martyr Pelagia of Tarsus
Born in the town of Tarsus of pagan but noble and wealthy parents, she heard about Christ and the salvation of the soul from Christians, became inflamed with love for the Saviour and was a Christian in her soul. There was at that time a terrible persecution of Christians. It happened that the Emperor Diocletian himself stopped in Tarsus and that, during the time of his stay in the town, his son, the heir, fell deeply in love with Pelagia and wanted to make her his wife. Pelagia replied through her mother - a wicked woman - that she was already promised to her betrothed husband, Christ the Lord. Fleeing from the foul heir and her wicked mother, Pelagia sought and found Bishop Linus, a man renowned for his holiness. He instructed her in the Faith and baptised her. Then Pelagia gave away her luxurious clothing and great wealth, returned home and confessed to her mother that she was already baptised. Hearing of this, the Emperor's son, losing all hope of getting this holy maiden as his wife, ran himself through with a sword and died. Then the wicked mother denounced her daughter to the Emperor and she was taken for trial. The Emperor marvelled at the girl's beauty and, forgetting his son, burned with an impure passion for her. But when Pelagia remained unfaltering in her faith, the Emperor condemned her to be burned in a metal ox heated by fire. When they stripped the martyr, she signed herself with the sign of the Cross and, with prayers of thanksgiving to God on her lips, went into the ox, where, in the twinkling of an eye, she melted like wax. She suffered with honour in 287. Bishop Linus hunted for the remains of her bones and buried them on a hill under a stone. In the time of the Emperor Constantine Copronymos (741-775), a beautiful church was built on that site in honour of this holy virgin and martyr Pelagia, who was sacrificed for Christ to reign eternally with Him.
The Hieromartyr Silvanus, Bishop of Gaza
He was at first in military service, but later, urged by the strength of his faith, he transferred to spiritual service. Accused of bringing many pagans to Christianity, he was at first brutally tortured then beheaded with forty other soldiers in 31 1, and thus became a citizen of heaven.
Our Holy Father Nicephorus the Hesychast
He was at first a Catholic, but then became Orthodox. He lived in asceticism on the Holy Mountain as a monk, with the wise Theoleptus. He was a teacher of the famous Gregory Palamas, and wrote a work on mental prayer. He went peacefully to the Lord in the 14th century. He taught: 'Gather your mind and compel it to enter into your heart and remain there. When your mind is firmly in your heart, it must not remain empty, but must incessantly make the prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me!" And it must never fall silent. Through this the whole string of the virtues: love, joy, peace and the others, will make their abode in you, by which, then, every request of yours to God will be fulfilled.
Hieromartyr Albian (Olbian), bishop of Anaea in Asia Minor (304)
Saint Albian was bishop of the city of Aneium in the Aseian district, and suffered for Christ in about the year 304 in a persecution against Christians under the emperor Diocletian and his co-ruler Maximian. Saint Albian was ordered to offer sacrifice to idols under the threat of death, but the saint with firmness confessed his faith in Christ and refused to serve idols. They tortured him with red-hot iron and beat him mercilessly, but he remained unyielding. They tortured also together with him his student, who likewise remained faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ. Both of the holy martyrs were sentenced to death and thrown into a red-hot oven, in which they died, having won the crowns of martyrdom...
Venerable Hilary the Wonderworker of the desert
Hieromartyr Erasmus, bishop of Formia in Campania (303)
Saint Erasmus zealously served the Lord from the time of his youth. And in his mature years he was elevated to the dignity of bishop of the city of Formium (Italy). During the time of a persecution against Christians under the emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian Hercules (284-305), Saint Erasmus left his diocese and withdrew onto Mount Libanus, where he hid for seven years. One time however an Angel appeared to him and said: "Erasmus! No one vanquishes enemies, if he is asleep. Go into your own city, pursue it bravely and thou shalt vanquish thine enemies"...
St. Athanasius, bishop of Corinth (10th - 11th c.)
Venerable Nicephorus the Solitary of Mt. Athos(1340)
The Monk Nicephoroswas the teacher of Saint Gregory Palamas (Comm. 14 November). Saint Nicephoros pursued asceticism on Athos in the XIV Century and left after him the profound spiritual work "The Wise Method of the Jesus Prayer".
Venerables Aphrodisius, Leontius, Anthony, Valerian, Macrobius, and others, monks of Palestine
The Alfanov brothers: Venerables Nicetas, Cyril, Nicephorus, Clement, and Isaac of Novgorod,
The Monastic Brethren Nikita, Kirill, Nikiphor, Kliment, Isaakii – Alphanovi (Sokol'nitskie) lived during the XIV Century at Novgorod. They led a righteous life and founded the Sokol'nitsk monastery. As the chronicles relate: "On the Sokol' hill was erected a wooden church of Saint Nichola and a monastery organised" in 1389. The righteous Alphanovi were kinsmen according to the information of the chronicler Yakov Anphalov or Alphanov, who fled to the Dvina, saving himself from pursuit for dealings with Moscow, and the righteous ones were subject to misfortune because of their ties of kinship with Yakov, and by the grievous agony of innocent suffering cleansed themselves for eternal blessedness. In the "Tale" about the brothers is recorded a miracle, arising from their relics after death. The celebration of their memory is placed under 4 May and 17 June. As the result of a fire which destroyed the Sokol'nitsk monastery, the relics of the monastic brethren were transferred to the Antoniev monastery on 4 May 1775.
Translation of the relics of the Righteous Lazarus and Mary Magdalene, Equal-to-the-Apostles
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