Commemorated on January 22
The Holy Venerable-Martyr Anastasius the Persian (628)
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
Anastasius was a Persian by birth. His pagan name was Magundat. When Emperor Heraclius warred with the Persians, Magundat deserted to the Christians, went to Jerusalem where he was baptized and received the name Anastasius. It was not enough for him to be baptized, but, in order to give himself completely to serving the Lord he was also tonsured a monk. Among his other mortifications, Anastasius joyfully read the hagiography of the holy martyrs and in reading them he moistened the book with his tears and ardently yearned for martyrdom. The Lord finally crowned him with the martyr’s wreath. In prison for a long time, he was cruelly tortured, until Emperor Chozroes pronounced the death sentence. After that death sentence, Anastasius was suffocated under water and after being removed from the water, the executioner beheaded him and sent his head to the emperor. He suffered on January 22, 628 A.D., in the town of Bethsaloe near Nineveh.
About God’s omniscience and providence
“Even all the hairs of your head are counted” (St. Matthew 10:30).
Brethren, “the hairs of your head are counted” much less the days of your life! Do not be afraid, therefore, that you will die before your appointed time nor yet hope that you will somehow be able to extend your life for one day against the will of Him Who counts and measures. Let this knowledge teach you meekness and fear of God.
“The hairs of your head are counted” much less your sufferings on earth! Do not be afraid, therefore, that you will suffer more beyond measure. Fear even less that your sufferings will remain forgotten and unaccounted for by Him Who sees all. This knowledge will teach you patience and confidence toward your Creator and Provider.
“The hairs of your head are counted” much less your friends and enemies on earth! Do not be afraid, therefore, that you will have either too many friends or too many enemies. Neither be afraid that your enemies will overcome you nor be assured that your friends will defend you. Concern yourself only that you have God for a friend and do not be afraid of anything. Behold, He is your only friend Who loves you without change.
O Good Lord, Wise Provider Who knows the number, measure and time of all, banish from us every fear, except the fear of You. That through fear of You, we may arrive to the pure and holy love toward You, our Creator and Benefactor.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
Apolytikion of Martyr Anastasius the Persian
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.