Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Abercius, bishop and wonderworker of Hierapolis (167).
7 Holy Youths (“7 Sleepers”) of Ephesus: Maximilian, Jamblichus, Martinian, Dionysius, Antoninus, Constantine (Hexakustodianos), and John (250).
Martyrs Alexander the bishop, Heraclius, Anna, Elizabeth, Theodota and Glyceria, at Adrianopolis (2nd-3rd c.).
Venerable Lot of Egypt (5th c.).
Venerable Rufus of the Paradise
New Hieromartyrs Seraphim archbishop of Uglich and with him German archimandrite, Vladimir, Alexander, Basil, Alexander priests and Martyrs Herman and Menas (1937).
New Hieromartyrs Nicholas, Nicholas priests and Martyr Gregory (1937).
Commemorated on October 22
Lot was a great Egyptian ascetic and a contemporary of St. Arsenius the Great and St. Agathon. He lived a life of asceticism in his monastery near a lake at the town of Arsinoe, and directed many brethren on the path to salvation. His close friend and advisor was Abba Joseph. Having pleased God and set many on the path to salvation, St. Lot entered peacefully into rest in the fifth century.
Abba Joseph said to Abba Lot, ‘You cannot be a monk unless you become like a consuming fire.’
Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him, Abba, as far as I can I say my little office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace and as far as I can, I purify my thoughts. What else can I do?’ Then the old man stood up and stretched his hands towards heaven. His fingers became like ten lamps of fire and he said to him, If you will, you can become all flame.’
A brother said to Abba Peter, the disciple of Abba Lot, ‘When I am in my cell, my soul is at peace, but if a brother comes to see Peter the Pionite me and speaks to me of external things, my soul is disturbed.’ Abba Peter told him that Abba Lot used to say, ‘Your key opens my door.’ The brother said to him, ‘What does that mean?’ The old man said, ‘When someone comes to see you, you say to him, “How are you? Where have you come from? How are the brethren? Did they welcome you or not?” Then you have opened the brother’s door and you will hear a great deal that you would rather not have heard.’ The brother said to him, ‘That is so. What should a man do, then, when a brother comes to see him?’ The old man said, ‘Compunction is absolute master. One cannot protect oneself where there is no compunction.’ The brother said, ‘When I am in my cell, compunction is with me, but if someone comes to see me or I go out of my cell, I do not have it any more.’ The old man said, ‘That means that you do not really have compunction at all yet. It is merely that you practise it sometimes. It is written in the Law: “When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years and in the seventh he shall go free, for nothing. If you give him a wife and she brings forth sons in your house and he does not wish to go because of his wife and children, you shall lead him to the door of the house and you shall pierce his ear with an awl and he shall become your slave for ever.” ‘ (cf. Ex. 21.2-6) The brother said, ‘What does that mean?’ The old man said, ‘If a man works as hard as he can at anything, at the moment when he seeks what he needs, he will find it.’ The brother said, ‘Please explain this to me.’ The old man said, ‘The bastard will not remain in anyone’s service; it is the legitimate son who will not leave his father.’
As much as the strictness of holy men toward themselves is a cause for amazement, so also is their compassion toward others. They have disinterest for themselves, and concern for others. St. Hilarion the Great, unable to pay his fare to Sicily, offered the owner of the ship his Gospel (which he, in his youth, had copied with his own hands). When he had cured a certain prince of an unclean spirit, the prince wanted to present him with ten liters of gold. The saint would not accept the gold, but showed him barley bread and said: “Those who feed on this kind of bread look upon gold as mud!” When men begged him to pray to God for rain, or to save them from floods or poisonous snakes, St. Hilarion helped them by his prayer. This is how St. Abercius acted as well. Seeing many people in pain and sickness, he knelt in a certain place and prayed to God that He would open up a spring of warm, healing water there, that the infirm might be healed and glorify God. God then opened a spring of warm water on that spot. When Abercius healed the emperor’s daughter of insanity, the emperor offered him gold, silver and other gifts, but St. Abercius said: “Riches are not needed for one who considers bread and water a royal meal.” Not seeking anything for himself, Abercius nevertheless begged the emperor to do two favors for his flock in Hierapolis: to build a bath over those healing waters, and to give sufficient wheat each year to the poor of Hierapolis. The emperor agreed and did according to the saint’s request.
A brother asked Abba Rufus, ‘What is interior peace, and what use is it?’ The old man said, ‘Interior peace means to remain sitting in one’s cell with fear and knowledge of God, holding far off the remembrance of wrongs suffered and pride of spirit. Such interior peace brings forth all the virtues, preserves the monk from the burning darts of the enemy, and does not allow him to be wounded by them. Yes, brother, acquire it. Keep in mind your future death, remembering that you do not know at what hour the thief will come. Likewise be watchful over your soul.’
Hymn of Praise
Saint Abercius, Equal to the Apostles
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
St. Abercius, a model of meekness,
Is a most beautiful example of Christian zeal.
He zealously toppled the dumb idols
And joyfully exposed himself to death.
But God protects the servant who strives for Him,
And shields him from evil with His right hand.
Against the saint, demons and men rose up,
But became shamefully silent before the power of the Cross.
What the saint desired, the Lord granted,
And though he was in much sorrow, he gladdened many.
St. Abercius was as a fiery pillar,
A light and an enlightener of men.
He preached Christ to many peoples-
From powerful emperors to the poor-
And witnessed Christ through many miracles.
He poured miracles out like living water;
By the life-creating word he assuaged the thirsty,
And with the teaching of Christ he fed the hungry.
St. Abercius, a model of meekness,
Gave himself to God in honorable old age,
And was crowned with eternal youth in Paradise,
Surrounded by the joy and glory of heaven.
O wonderful holy one, strive yet a little more:
Protect the remaining flock on earth,
Implore Christ’s mercy on us through prayer,
That the Church will boast in you to the end.
Troparion — Tone 4
You appeared to your flock as a rule of faith, / An Image of humility and a teacher of abstinence. / Because of your lowliness, Heaven was opened to you, / Because of your poverty, riches were granted to you. / O Holy Bishop Abercius, pray to Christ our God to save our souls!