Sts. Cosmas and Damian the Holy Unmercenaries of Asia Minor, and their mother St Theodota (c. 287)
Saint David of Evia (Euboea) (1589)
New Virgin-Martyr Helen of Sinope (18th century)
Martyrs Cyrenia and Juliana in Cilicia (305)
Hieromartyr John the Bishop and James the Presbyter of Persia (345)
Holy Martyr Hermeningilda, Prince of the Goths in Spain (+ 586)
Martyrs Caesarius, Dacius, Sabbas, Sabinian, Agrippa, Adrian, and Thomas at Damascus (7th century)
Saint Theolepte, martyr.
Venerable Jacob of Mount Athos and his two disciples Jacob the Deacon and Dionysius the Monk of Prodromou (1520)
Virgin-martyr Elizabeth Samovskoy (1937)
Repose of Elder Hilarion of Valaam and Sarov (1841)
commemorated on November 1
Saints Cosmas and Damian, the Unmercenaries of Asia Minor
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
Cosmas and Damian were unmercenaries and miracle-workers. They were brothers both in the flesh and in the spirit, born somewhere in Asia Minor of a pagan father and a Christian mother. After their father’s death, their mother Theodotia devoted all her time and effort to educating her sons and raising them as true Christians. God helped her, and her sons matured as sweet fruit and luminaries of the world. They were learned in the art of medicine and ministered to the sick without payment, not so much with medicine as by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. They were called “unmercenary physicians,” that is, unpaid physicians, for they healed freely and thus fulfilled the commandment of Christ: Freely ye have received, freely give (Matthew 10:8). So careful were they in healing men free of charge that Cosmas became very angry with his brother Damian because he accepted three eggs from a woman, Palladia, and ordered that he not be buried alongside his brother Damian after his death. In fact, St. Damian did not accept these three eggs as a reward for healing the ailing Palladia, but rather because she adjured him in the name of the Most-holy Trinity to accept these three eggs. Nevertheless, after their death in the town of Fereman, they were buried together according to a revelation from God. The holy brothers were great miracle-workers both during their life and after their death. A snake crawled through the mouth and into the stomach of a certain farm laborer during his sleep, and the unfortunate man would have died in the greatest pain had he not, in the last moment, invoked the help of Saints Cosmas and Damian. Thus, the Lord glorified forever the miracle-working of those who glorified Him on earth by their faith, purity and mercy.
Hymn of Praise
Saints Cosmas and Damian the Unmercenaries of Asia Minor
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
The Church glorifies the miracle-working physicians,
Shining stars that shine with the Lord,
St. Cosmas and St. Damian,
Two Christians, wondrous giants.
Theodotia was the mother of these sons;
She nourished these giants.
The glorious brothers fulfilled the law,
And by their mercy pleased Christ.
They pleased Christ, the Merciful One,
The greatest Unmercenary Physician.
They received the gift, and became physicians;
They received the gift, but did not sell it.
They gave the gifts of God to the poor,
And in the name of Christ healed them.
Time has not covered God’s saints with darkness;
Thus it has always been, and thus it is now.
Nor has it covered the wonderworking physicians;
They shine today as they once did,
And help the infirm and the unfortunate
By mighty and willing prayers
Before Christ’s heavenly throne.
Honor and glory to the wondrous physicians!
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič for Old Calendar date November 1, and New Calendar date November 14.
Saint David of Evia (Euboea) the Elder
Saint David was born between 1470 and 1480, in the village of Gardinitsa in the province of Locrida. The name of this village is nowadays Kyparissi. His father, Christodoulos, was a priest. He and his pious wife Theodora had four children, whom they raised “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”.
When little David was three years old, one evening he saw Saint John the Baptist in a vision. Saint John took his hand and they went together to a chapel dedi¬cated to his memory. There, Saint John went into his icon, while the child got down on his knees in front of it. Little Davids parents, as well as the whole village, were looking for him for six days and nights.
On the sixth day, which was Saturday, David’s father went with some villagers to that chapel to serve the Vespers and pray to the Saint for his child.
When they arrived, they were surprised to see little David on his knees in front of the icon of Saint John. His face was glowing with a celestial light and he didn’t look at all haggard. They then all understood that this child was not like the other children, he was special.
When Saint David was fifteen years old, he left his village with the blessing of his parents and followed the hieromonk Akakios, a virtuous and experienced spiritual father, whom he met due to the Providence of the Lord.
In the monastery of Elder Akakios Saint David lived as member of the brotherhood for five years.
His asceticism, obedience and humility were sterling. The prudence and the wisdom of the young novice were the reason his brothers in the monastery called him “David the Elder”.
Following Akakios, who had the desire to meet virtuous monks, they left the monastery and visited a lot of other monasteries and retreats. In a monastery in Ossa, where they stayed for a long time, Saint David was ordained deacon.
Their next destination was Mount Athos. After worshiping in the Holy Monasteries and meeting the holy ascetics, Elder Akakios left for Constantinople to receive the blessing of the Patriarch, while Saint David remained at the Great Lavra of Saint Athanasios the Athonite.
The Patriarch not only blessed Elder Akakios, but also convened a Synod and ordained him Metropolitan of the Holy Diocese, of Nafpaktos and Arta.
Akakios took Saint David with him to the Diocese, where he ordained him a priest.
The goodness of Saint David and his spiritual progress were obvious to everybody.
The Bishop and the lords of the area kindly requested, and finally persuaded, the Saint to become the hegumen of the Monastery of the Holy Mother of God in Varnakova. This position was difficult, because he had to deal all the time with the problems caused by the restive monks of the monastery.
During his new activity, Saint David shone with formidable patience.
One day, the Patriarch of Constantinople, Jeremias, accompanied by the orator Emmanuel, visited the Monastery of Varnakova. During the stay of the Patriarch in the monastery, Saint David celebrated the Holy Liturgy. When the orator Emmanuel came into the church he saw Saint David, surrounded with light during the Holy Office of Preparation. He was not standing on the ground and his face was shining like the sun. Emmanuel immediately ran to the Patriarch and called him to come and see for himself the miraculous scene he had witnessed.
When the Patriarch entered the church, he could only see the face of the Saint wet with tears.
The Patriarch admired him and asked the Saint to become a bishop, but he humbly refused.
As the Hegumen of Varnakova, he established the first Greek school, where very important learned priests from Mount Athos were teaching, as well as a “Secret School” in the Monastery, which was operating up to last century.
However, the problems caused by the fathers of the Monastery continued to exist. Because of the inappropriate behavior of some monks, who despite his advice did not reform, Saint David decided, reluctantly, to leave the Monastery.The Lord led him to Mount Steiri, in the area of Domvou. There he continued his ascetic struggle, accompanied by father Seraphim, who was also his spiritual child.
Nevertheless, the hateful devil found and took the opportunity to attack the Saint once more.
He was accused by local people as the one responsible for the escape of some slaves of a Hagarene lord from Livadia. For this reason, they arrested Saint David, imprisoned him and tortured him brutally.
Saint David suffered everything with patience. However, by the Providence of the Lord, some devout Christians appeared and paid the money to release the Saint.
When the Saint was released, he thought that it would not be good to return to his monastery. After some time, which he spent wandering in that area, without being able to find an appropriate place to rest, he decided to go to the island opposite, Euboea.
While he was on the coast of Atalanti, he saw a man with a boat and asked him kindly to take him to the island. The man saw the humble monk with the worn robe; he refused to transfer him and continued his work indifferently.
Saint David, without being upset by the man’s behavior, went some meters away, removed his worn robe, laid it on the water and after making the sign of the cross, stepped on his robe and started sailing quickly through the waves.
The man, surprised, saw the Saint on his robe sailing and leaving the coast behind him. He then understood that this monk was a saint and he started shouting and begging…
– Come father, come father with my boat. Come father…
Saint David blessed him from afar and continued his journey.
With his robe he arrived at the village of Rovies. When he stepped on the shore, he began climbing the green mountain, which rose behind the village.
He found there the almost ruined chapel of the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ our Savior, which he totally reconstructed, assisted by the local people.The holiness of Saint David was a powerful magnet attracting people who wanted to dedicate themselves to Jesus Christ. As a result, a small brotherhood quickly formed.
The cells, built to cover the needs of the brotherhood near the chapel, were not enough. Saint David decided to travel to faraway Russia to collect the money needed to build a new monastery. After surveying the area, he chose an appropriate high place on the mountain and, before leaving for his journey, gave instructions regarding the construction work to the craftsmen and artisans.
Saint David, assisted by the Greek community in Russia, which was flourishing during those years, collected a great amount of money. However, he was aware of the difficulties and the dangers of the long return journey. So he decided not to take the money with him, but to transfer it to the island by a different route.
He took a piece of wood, hollowed it out, and put all the money in it. Then he sealed the opening, made the sign of the Cross over it, and threw it into one of the rivers of Russia, while he began his return journey alone.
When the Saint arrived, after a long time, at the beach of Rovies, he saw the fishermen staring at a peculiar log and trying to break it into pieces with their axes. Their efforts were in vain, since after every stroke, the axes bent or broke.
Saint David came closer to them and told them that this log contained the money he had collected during his long journey and that it would open only by the Lord’s will at the appropriate time.
When Saint David arrived at the monastery, he saw that the craftsmen had not observed his instructions and instead of building the new monastery on the top of the mountain, they had started building it near the chapel of the Transfiguration.
Saint David became upset. He asked them why they had disobeyed and they answered that on the top of the mountain, where he wanted the new monastery to be built, there was no water.
Then Saint David took some workers and monks and climbed the mountain. When they arrived at the place he had suggested for the new monastery, he got down on his knees and prayed to the Holy Mother. As soon as he finished his prayer, he knocked with his staff at the root of a big tree. Forthwith, water came streaming out of it, flowing like a river to the foothills.
However, for reasons known only to the Lord, the Saint allowed the craftsmen to continue the construction at the point where the monastery has stood up to the present day.
Saint David was distressed and hurt to see the poverty and misery of the people who came to the door of the monastery He cared first for the spiritual welfare of the pilgrims and then for their material needs.
The believers called the monastery “The Monastery of Charity”.
When Saint David grew old he appointed another hegumen and withdrew to his retreat, which was a tiny cave formed by a complex of rocks in the forest. He stayed there in prayer during the whole week, eating only a piece of Antidoron and drinking only some holy water.
On Saturday afternoon Saint David would come to the monastery. On Sunday morning he served the Holy Liturgy, received Holy Communion and after advising and comforting the pilgrims to the Monastery, and educating and supporting the monks, he would leave late in the afternoon for his retreat.
When Saint David became even older, he foresaw his death in a divine revelation. Then he called the fathers of the monastery and announced to them that in three days he would pass away.
With fatherly love, he advised the monks accordingly. Shortly before rendering his holy soul into the hands of the Lord he said…
– Behold, my brothers, the Lord Jesus Christ is coming!
The monks of the monastery were desolate. With deep sadness and tears, they buried his body.
The miracles of Saint David have been numerous during the centuries, as have been the believers, who have become witnesses of his glory before the Lord’s throne.
People with physical, psychic and spiritual diseases are freed from the burden of their ailments by leaning down to venerate his holy skull. They depart healed and they thank the Saint, praising God.
Apolytikion of Unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian
Sainted Unmercenaries and Wonder Workers, regard our infirmities; freely you have received, freely share with us.
Apolytikion of St. David the Righteous of Euboea in the Third Tone (amateur translation)
A great boast of Euboea were you proved to be, the all-glorious, David the divine, as a holy descendent of virtue, and a most-true defender of Christ, and equal to all the Righteous. Therefore Righteous Father, entreat Christ God, to grant us great mercy.
Hymns to St Helen of Sinopi
The sweet smelling flower of purity and the boast of Sinopi, the divine blossom, the Virgin Martyr of Christ, Helen who is ever modest. She struggled fervently. She defeated the enemy with the power of faith. She constantly intercedes for us “have mercy on our souls.”
As a pure Virgin, you struck down with the power of Christ the crafty attacks of the enemy and took upon yourself martyrdom, widely proclaimed Virgin-Martyr Helen.
Hail delightful flower of Sinopi. Hail virgin, the honorable alabaster. Hail to you equal to the Martyrs. O Virgin Martyr, invincible in Christ.