Saint Catherine the Great Martyr of Alexandria and those who believed in Christ through her and were martyred for His sake: the holy 150 Rhetoricians; the holy Empress, wife of the Emperor Maxentius; and Saint Porphyrius the Commander with 200 Soldiers.
Saint Great Martyr Mercurius of Caesarea, in Cappadocia.
Saint Peter the Hesychast.
Saints 670 Martyrs who were beheaded.
Icon of the Theotokos ‘Daugazpils, in Latvia
Commemorated on November 25
The holy and glorious Great-martyr Catherine of Alexandria
Anthony Bloom of Sourozh
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
We behold today three events. We are still basking in the radiance of the feast of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple. For mankind, this is one of the brightest, most wondrous feasts: One of us, the Virgin Mary, entered into the very depths of God’s mystery. Her Entry into the temple, her life in the Holy of Holies are an image of how from an early age she entered into Divine realms, into the very depths, the very treasure-house of relationships, communion of the human soul with the Living God in prayer: not into the saying of prayers, not into many words, but into the deepness if the sacred shrine which made her the Mother of God. On the day of the Entry into the Temple of the Most Pure Theotokos the greatness of man is revealed before us, for man is able to enter into these mysterious, wondrous depths and commune with God in His holy place.
We celebrate today also the day of St. Catherine of Alexandria. She was also young girl, eighteen years old, when she had to stand before human judges. Betrayed by her pagan parents for believing in Christ, she was abandoned by all her blood relatives, the closest people she had, and she was left to stand alone before the judge from whom she could expect no mercy, surrounded by a crowd from whom she could expect nothing but enmity.
And to her also occurred what we read today in the Gospel passage appointed for her commemoration day; about what will happen when the end of time approaches: There will be wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, people will rise up against people, nations against nations; hatred will possess thousands of people…
This hatred first of all crashes down upon those who believe in Christ, because we who believe in Christ—like the Mother of God, like the young, fragile and unconquerable Catherine—believe in the one Lord, the one King, and worship God alone, refusing to worship those idols, be they the authorities or others set up around us. We must be ready to be like Catherine and be brought to human judgment to witness, as Christ says; in order to stand before people, and while condemned to imprisonment, to torture, and death, we would triumphantly preach our love for God and our faithfulness to Him, and demonstrate our unfailing love not only for those who love us, but also for those who hate us, who wish us evil, and who do us evil. Then, we will not need to search for words of wisdom; then, we will not need to find convincing arguments—faithfulness, love, truth, and holiness can shine forth in that moment before people through each one of us far more convincingly than any words.
Therefore, when we see that the prophecies of Christ are now being fulfilled, and love truly is going cold, that there really are rumors noised about wars, kingdom is rising against kingdom, nation against nation, betrayal is increasing, and people of faith, people with pure hearts, even the closest relatives of persecutors and man-haters are giving themselves into their hands, we should remember Christ’s words: When you hear all this, look up, and lift your heads (Lk. 21:28), because it means that the time is nearing of the final freedom, the final victory of God, the triumph of love, the triumph of Christ…
Therefore let us learn from the Most Holy Virgin and the fragile and unconquerable Catherine, and from the innumerable witnesses of Christ, to live without fear in a terrifying world, to fearlessly await all that can happen, and be afraid of only one thing: that faith fade in our hearts, that love die in our hearts, that we would cease to be faithful to the end. In patience, in firm faith we will save our souls from destruction and decay, and then thousands will be saved around us; in the words of St. Seraphim of Sarov: “Acquire the spirit of peace, and thousands will be saved around you.” Amen.
From: Электронная библиотека «Митрополит Антоний Сурожский» http://www.mitras.ru/archive/031207.htm
Translation by OrthoChristian.com
”I am Mercurius of the Two Sabers… You should correct this mistake and then you will remain unharmed. ” a miracle of the Saint Great Martyr Mercurius in Cairo with Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak
Saint Great-martyr Mercurius of Caesarea, “Call Mercurius to me, that he go and put to death the enemy, Julian, of my Son!”
Apolytikion of Great Martyr Catherine
Plagal of the First Tone
Let us praise the most auspicious bride of Christ, the divine Katherine, protectress of Sinai, our aid and our help. For, she brilliantly silenced the eloquence of the impious by the sword of the spirit, and now, crowned as a martyr, she asks great mercy for all.
Apolytikion of Great Martyr Mercurius
Thy Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for Thee received the prize of the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since he possessed Thy strength, he cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons’ strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.
Kontakion of Great Martyr Catherine
O friends of martyrs, now divinely raise up a renewed chorus, praising the all-wise Katherine. For, she proclaimed Christ in the arena, trampled on the serpent, and spat upon the knowledge of the orators.