St Paulinus the Merciful the Bishop of Nola (431)
Commemorated on January 23 and 22 June
Saint Salamanes the Silent (Salamanes the Hesychast), of the Euphrates (ca. 400)
Saint Clement, Bishop of Ancyra (ca. 312), and St Martyr Agathangelus disciple of St Clement (296)
St. Mausimas the Syrian, monk priest, near Cyrrhus (4th c.).
Commemoration of the Sixth Ecumenical Council. (680-681).
St. Dionysius of Olympus (1541)
Repose of Archimandrite John (Krestiankin) of the Pskov Caves Monastery (2006)
Commemorated on January 23
Saint Augustine wrote, “Go to Campania- there study Paulinus, that choice servant of God. With what generosity, with what still greater humility, he has flung from him the burden of this world’s grandeurs to take on him the yoke of Christ, and in His service how serene and unobtrusive his life!”
Saint Ambrose of Milan said of him that “Christians should follow and imitate Paulinus,” and that the greatest good fortune of the century in which they were living was to be “witness to the life of so rare and admirable a man.”
Saint Paulinus the Merciful, Bishop of Nola, was descended from an aristocratic and wealthy family of Bordeaux (France). Paulinus was a kinsman of Saint Melania the Elder. By virtue of his extensive education and upbringing, the twenty-year-old youth was chosen to become a Roman senator, later he became consul and finally, governor of the region of Campania in Italy.
At twenty-five years of age, was there that he converted to Christianity, after seeing several sick people healed at the tomb of the patron saint of Campania, St. Felix, and St. Martin of Tours healed St. Paulinus diseased eye by touching it lightly with a fine paintbrush. He may also have been influenced by his Spanish wife, a Christian named Teresa, and the sermons of St. Ambrose. He followed the example of his friend St. Ambrose of Milan and baptized c. 389 by Bishop Saint Delphinus of Bordeaux. After this he completely changed his manner of life. He disposed of all his property, and distributed the money to the needy, for which he endured the scorn of his friends and servants.
Not having children of their own, the pious couple adopted poor orphans and raised them in the fear of God. In his searchings for a secluded life, St Paulinus went to the Spanish city of Barcelona.
News of his ascetic life spread about, and in 393 they asked him to be ordained as a priest. Soon he left Spain and went on to the city of Nola in Italy, where he was elected bishop.
Already during his governorship Paulinus had developed a fondness for the 3rd-century martyr, St. Felix of Nola. Paulinus rebuilt the complex, constructing a brand new basilica to Felix and gathering to him a small monastic community. Paulinus wrote an annual hymn (natalicium) in honor of St. Felix for the feast day when processions of pilgrims were at their peak. In these hymns we can understand the personal relationship Paulinus felt between himself and Felix, his advocate in heaven.
Saint Gregory the Great recounts a popular story that: When the Vandal barbarians invaded Italy and carried off many people to Africa in captivity, St Paulinus used church funds to ransom the captives. However, he did not have enough money to ransom the son of a certain poor widow from slavery in the household of the Prince of the Vandals. So, he volunteered to take his place. Dressed as a slave, St Paulinus began to serve the Vandal prince as a gardener.
Soon his identity was revealed to the ruler, King Riga, in a dream. Not only did he receive his own freedom, but he also won the release of all the other prisoners from Campania, and returned home with them.
As bishop of Nola, St Paulinus is traditionally credited with the introduction of the use of bells in church services. One form of medieval handbell was known as the nola and medieval steeple bells were known as campanas from this origin.
St Paulinus is known both as a builder of churches and as a Christian poet. Among his many virtues, his love for mankind and his compassion for the poor and needy deserve special mention. He was held up as an example by many of his contemporaries—including SS Augustine of Hippo, Jerome, Martin of Tours, and Ambrose of Milan—and he was subsequently venerated as a saint. He died at seventy-eight years of age on June 22, 431. Thirty-two of his poems and fifty-one of his letters survive. They contain various moral discourses filled with deep piety.
His relics are in Rome, in the church of the holy Apostle Bartholomew.
On 23 January celebrates a holy Hesychast from Syria, the Venerable Salamanes the Hesychast (Salamanes the Silent), of the Euphrates, monk (ca. 400)
By Theodoretus, bishop of Cyrus
There is a village on the western bank of the river Euphrates called Capersana, where he was born. In embracing a life of silence he found a small dwelling with no door or windows near the village on the other side of the river, where he shut himself up. He dug his garden once a year, from which he obtained a year’s supply of food, but spoke to nobody. He persevered in this not just for a brief period but for many years. When the bishop of the city within whose jurisdiction the village lay heard about him he visited him with the intention of bestowing upon him the gift of priesthood. He entered the little house by making a gap in the bank, laid his hands upon him and said the prayers, and explained to him several times over the meaning of the grace that had been bestowed on him. He got no word in reply from Salamanus, before he went away leaving Salamanus to build up the ditch and bank again.
Not much later people who lived in the village from which he came crossed over the river by night, came into his house and carried him back to his own village. He made no protest or resistance. They built him a little house like the one on the eastern bank and forthwith installed him it. And still he kept complete silence in all their doings with him. After a few days the people of the village on the opposite bank came by night, entered his house and carried him off without his making any objection, or contention that he should stay where he was. But nor did he go back eagerly and happily, either. The point is that he had decided that he was completely dead to the world, illustrating what the Apostle had said: ‘I am crucified with Christ. I live, but not I, it is Christ who lives in me. And the life that I now live in Christ, is lived in the living faith in the son of God who loves me and gave himself for me’ (Galatians 2.20). That is what he was like. And that should be enough to show what the whole course of his life was like.
And now, in the hope of a blessing from him, I shall pass on to someone else.
De Vitis Patrum, Book IX, By Theodoretus, bishop of Cyrus, Translated into Latin by Gentianus Hervetus
“Religious History” of Theodoret, bishop of Cyrrhus(P.G., LXXXII- 83, Chapter XIX,1283-1496)St Paulinus Bishop of Nola, the Merciful, O Lord, most rich, soften our hearts …
Troparion St Paulinus the Merciful the Bishop of Nola— Tone 8
By endurance you gained your reward, venerable Father; you persevered in prayer unceasingly; you loved the poor and provided for them in all things. Blessed Paulinus of Nola, intercede with Christ God that our souls may be saved.
At the Aposticha, In Tone VIII:
Stichos: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.
O Hierarch Paulinus, * having received from God great power, * by thy prayer thou dost expel the attacks of multitudes of evil spirits, * from all those who in faith have recourse unto thee.
Irmos: There is none holy as Thou, * O Lord my God
The sepulchre, wherein lieth thy precious body, likened unto a Godly paradise, sheds forth fragrant aromas filling the faithful with a sweet fragrance, O most glorious and all-honored Hierarch Paulinus.