+++ St Sava, Archbishop of Serbia
The son of Stefan Nemanja, the great Serbian national leader, he was born in 1169. As a young man he yearned for the spiritual life, which led him to flee to the Holy Mountain, where he became a monk and with rare zeal followed all the ascetic practices. Nemanja followed his son"s example and himself went to the Holy Mountain, where he lived and ended his days as the monk Simeon. Sava obtained the independence of the Serbian Church from the Emperor and the Patriarch, and became its first archbishop. He, together, with his father, built the monastery of Hilandar and after that many other monasteries, churches and schools throughout the land of Serbia. He travelled to the Holy Land on two occasions, on pilgrimage to the holy places there. He made peace among his brothers, who were in conflict over their rights, and also between the Serbs and their neighbours. In creating the Serbian Church, he created the Serbian state and Serbian culture along with it. He brought peace to all the Balkan peoples, working for the good of all, for which he was venerated and loved by all on the Balkan peninsular. He gave a Christian soul to the people of Serbia, which survived the fall of the Serbian state. He died in Trnovo in the reign of King Asen, being taken ill after the Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Theophany in 1236. King Vladislav took his body to Milegeva, whence Sinan Pasha removed it, burning it at Vracar in Belgrade on April 27th, 1595.
Our Holy Fathers, the Martyrs of Sinai and Raithu
These holy fathers were killed by the Saracens, those of Sinai in the fourth century and the others in the fifth.
St Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers
An ardent fighter against Arianism in the West, he suffered greatly for his choice of Orthodoxy. Of his writings on many subjects, the most important are those on the Holy Trinity. He entered into rest in the Lord in the year 367.
St Nina, the Enlightener of Georgia
Hearing of the Georgian people, the maiden Nina desired from her early years to travel to Georgia and baptise the Georgians. The Mother of God appeared to her and promised her that she would take her to that land. When the Lord opened the path to her, the young Nina indeed went to Georgia, where she very quickly gained the love of the people. She baptised Mirian, King of Georgia, his wife Nana and their son Bakar, who then zealously aided Nina in her missionary efforts. Nina travelled throughout Georgia in the course of her life, and succeeded in bringing all the people to the Christian faith - and this during a time of fearful persecution of Christians by the Emperor Diocletian. She rested from her many labours and entered into peace in the Lord in the year 335. Her grave is in a church in Samtavro. She performed many miracles both during her lifetime and after her death.
Venerable Stephen the Abbot of Chenolaklos Monastery, Near Chalcedon
Saint Stephen lived during the eighth century. Impressed by the lives of the great ascetics, he made the rounds of many monasteries in Palestine, and in the wilderness visited also the great Fathers Euthymius the Great (January 20), Sava the Sanctified (December 5) and Theodosius the Great (January 11). Tonsured into monasticism, St Stephen founded his own monastery in Bithynia, near Mount Oxos near Chalcedon. Many monks gathered at the monastery near Moudania in Asia Minor, which was called “chenolakkos” [“by the goose-pond”]. The holy ascetic foresaw his own death, and certain of the brethren were granted to behold his glorious departure into Heaven with the angels.
Venerable Theodulus, son of the Venerable Nilus of Sinai
Saint Theodulus was the son of St Nilus the Faster (November 12), and he recorded the slaughter of the holy Fathers at Raithu in the fifth century. While still a child, St Theodulus left the world and went to Mount Sinai with his father. During a barbarian assault on the desert dwellers, the saint fell into the hands of brigands, who decided to offer the youth as a sacrifice to the morning dawn, which they worshipped in place of God. But the Lord saved the boy through the prayers of his father, St Nilus. The barbarians slept past sunrise, and giving up on the idea of making him a sacrificial offering, they took the youth with them. Brought by the brigands to the city of Eluza, St Theodulus was ransomed by the local bishop, in whose house he was later found by his grateful father. Blessed by the bishop and presbyters, Sts Theodulus and Nilus returned to Mount Sinai, where they served the Lord until the end of their days. Their incorrupt relics were transferred to Constantinople under Emperor Justin the Younger (565-578) and placed in the church of the holy Apostles at Orphanotrophia.
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