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Lord, most patient and most merciful, open our spiritual vision that we may see that which awaits us after this short-lived life and that we endeavor to fulfill Your law. Saint Nikolai Velimirovič – Saint Philip Metropolitan of Moscow

Θεοφάνεια_ Theophany_Богоявле́ние-Теофа́ния_Teofanía_ნათლისღება_Boboteaza Greek Byzantine Orthodox Icon0UAx4dERctkSynaxarion From the Menaion.
On January 9 we commemorate the holy Martyr Polyeuctus of Melitene in Armenia (259)
Martyr Antonina of Nicomedia, martyred at sea
Martyr Lawrence, martyred in the arena, by the pagans
On this day we also commemorate our righteous Father Eustratius the Wonderworker of the Monastery of Agaurus near Prusa. (821)
Venerable Basil and Gregory the Wonderworkers, uncles of Saint Eustratius (9th century)
We also commemorate the holy Neomartyr Parthena of Edessa who witnessed in Edessa, Macedonia in the year 1375.
Saint Peter, Bishop of Sebastia, brother of Saint Basil the Great.(c.395)
Martyred Holy Fathers who were slain by the Persians at the Lavra of Hozeva (614).
Holy Fathers Niketas (April 3, 824) and Nicephorus ((May 4, 813) abbot and founder, the Confessors and Athanasius, abbots of the Monastery of Medikion
Our righteous Father Finian, Bishop of Lindisfarne.
Our righteous Father Adrian, Abbot of Canterbury.
On this day we also commemorate our righteous Father Hieromartyr Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow and Wonderworker of all Russia (1569)
Saint Jonah (Miroshnichenko), (Peter in Schema), founder of Holy Trinity Monastery in Kiev, Wonderworker (1902)
Commemoration of the great earthquake at Constantinople (869)

Saint Philip Metropolitan of Moscow and Wonderworker

The great hierarchs, the pillars of the Orthodox Church, knew how to blend meekness and resoluteness into their character. Meekness toward the righteous and penitents and resoluteness toward the unrepentant criminals. One Sunday, following the Divine Liturgy, the Tsar Ivan the Terrible approached Metropolitan Philip to receive the metropolitan’s blessing. The metropolitan pretended not to see the Tsar and gazed at the icon of the Savior. The Tsar’s adjutant approached the metropolitan and said to him: “Your Eminence, the Ruler is before you, bless him.” The metropolitan looked at the Tsar and said: “O Tsar, fear the judgment of God. Here, we offer up the Unbloody Sacrifice to God and outside the sanctuary, the blood of Christians is being spilled. How many innocent suffer? You are lofty on the throne but, nevertheless, you are a man.” The enraged Tsar reminded the metropolitan to keep silent, but the metropolitan said to him: “Where is my faith, if I remain silent?” When the Tsar began to threaten the metropolitan he quietly replied: “I am a visitor and guest on earth and am ready to suffer for the truth!” After a period of time, the evil Tsar strangled the metropolitan but did not strangle the saint.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič for Old Calendar date May 19, and New Calendar date June 1.


About the visions of the invisible world
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovic

“We look not to what is seen but to what is unseen” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

Ιωάννης Πρόδρομος_St. John the Forerunner_св.Иоанна Предтечи_Greek Byzantine Orthodox Iconc_234214123We see this material and transient world, but we look to that spiritual and immortal world.

We see earthly joy, often interrupted by tears and sighs and, in the end, always concluded in death; but we look to spiritual joy among the angels and saints of God in the heavens, to joy uninterrupted and eternal.

We see sufferings and failures of the righteous in this life; but we look at their glory and celebration in that world.

We see many successes, glory and honor of the unrighteous in this life, but we see their defeat, condemnation and indescribable torment in eternity.

We see the Church of God often humiliated and persecuted in this world, but we look to the final victory of the Church over all of her enemies and adversaries both visible and invisible.

Brethren, we often see tyrants and abductors as rulers and wealthy men in this age, and we see saints as poor, dejected and forgotten, but we look at the other kingdom, the Kingdom of God, eternal, sinless and immortal in which the saints will reign without one, no, not one tyrant or abductor.

O Lord, most patient and most merciful, open our spiritual vision that we may see that which awaits us after this short-lived life and that we endeavor to fulfill Your law.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
Prologue from Ohrid by Saint Nikolai Velimirovic

Φίλιππος Μόσχας_Филипп Московский_Philip I of Moscow_756306792037104Hieromartyr Philip, metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia

St Philip (born Theodore) was a descendant of the noble Kolichev boyars. Theodore was the first-born son of the boyar Stepan Ivanovitch and his God-fearing wife Barbara. His hagiographer wrote that from an early age, Theodore with heartfelt love was attached to divinely-inspired books. He was noted for being staid and meek, and he avoided amusements. Because of his noble extraction, Theodore was often in the royal palace. His meekness and piety left a strong impression on the mind of Tsar Ivan, who was the same age as he.

Following his father’s example Theodore entered military service, and would have enjoyed a bright future; however his heart was not inclined toward the riches of the world. In contrast to the common practice, he did not marry until the age of 30. While in church one Sunday, he was greatly affected by following words of the Savior: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other” (Matthew 6: 24). Hearing in those words his monastic calling, he put on peasant attire, secretly left Moscow, and went to the Solovetsky Monastery. There, over the course of 9 years, he humbly lived the difficult life of a novice, working as a simple peasant, at various times in the garden, in the blacksmith’s shop, and in the bakery. Finally, by consensus of the brethren, he was ordained a priest and appointed abbot.

In this rank, he zealously cared for the monastery’s welfare in both the material, and (more importantly) the moral sense. He had canals dug to connect the ponds, and drained the swampy areas so that they might be planted with hay, put roads through previously impassable places, began to raise cattle, renovated the pickling plant, built two great cathedrals (the Dormition and the Transfiguration Cathedrals), as well as other churches. He also built a hospital, and founded scetes and hermitages for those wanting [to live in] silence; at times he himself would escape to a deserted place known in pre-revolutionary times as “Philip’s Hermitage.” For the brotherhood, he composed a new ustav, which described a hard-working life, forbidding idleness.

Abbot Philip was summoned for spiritual counsel to Moscow, where during his first meeting with the Tsar, he learned that he was appointed Metropolitan [of Moscow]. He tearfully begged Ivan: “Do not separate me from my Hermitage; do not entrust to a little boat the burdens of a large one.” Unmoved, Ivan instructed the bishops and boyars to convince Philip to accept the rank of Metropolitan. Philip agreed, but demanded the disbanding of the Oprichnina. The bishops and boyars convinced Philip that, out of respect for the Tsar’s autocratic authority, he should not urgently press that demand, but instead should humbly accept the rank. Philip deferred to the will of the Tsar, seeing in it God’s Will.

During the initial years of Philip’s hierarchical service (1567-68) the terrors of the Oprichnina subsided, but not for long. Soon, looting and murder of peaceful citizens resumed. In several private conversations, Philip tried to enlighten the Tsar, but seeing that his arguments were not helping, decided to take action openly.

Before the beginning of the Liturgy for the Sunday of the Cross, March 21st, 1568, the Metropolitan was standing on the cathedra in the middle of the church. Suddenly Tsar Ivan, accompanied by a group of oprichniki, entered the church. They all wore tall black hats and black riassas, from within which shone knives and daggers. Ivan approached the Metropolitan from the side and three times bowed his head to receive his blessing. The Metropolitan stood still, his gaze directed at the icon of the Savior… Finally the boyars said: “Holy Master, the Tsar demands your blessing!” The Hierarch turned to Ivan, as if not recognizing him, and said: “In this strange apparel I do not recognize an Orthodox tsar; nor do I recognize him in matters of the realm. O pious one! Whose example do you follow, to so deform your magnificence in this way? At no time since the sun has shone upon the earth has it been heard that pious Tsars should incite their own kingdom to rebel… The Tartars and pagans have law and truth – but we have it not! We, my lord, offer the bloodless sacrifice up to God, while beyond the altar the innocent blood of Christians is being spilled. I do not sorrow for those, who by the spilling of their innocent blood are made worthy to join the Holy Martyrs; I grieve for your poor soul. Although graced with the Image of God, you are nonetheless an ordinary mortal, and the Lord will exact all from your hands.”

Ivan was seething with rage. He whispered threats, and banged his staff upon the stone of the cathedra. Finally he exclaimed: “Philip! Do you dare to oppose our authority? We will see if your strength be great!” “O Good Tsar,” the hierarch answered, “in vain do you try to frighten me. I am but a stranger on this earth, struggling for the truth, and no manner of suffering will silence me.” Terribly irritated, Ivan left the church, but hid his anger only for a time.

On July 28th, the Feastday of the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God, known as Odigitria [indicator of the path], St. Philip was serving in the Novodevichy Convent, and conducting the procession around the Convent. The Tsar, surrounded by oprichniki was also present. During the reading of the Gospel, the hierarch noticed that an oprichnik standing behind the Tsar was wearing a Tatar headdress, and pointed him out to Ivan. But the oprichnik managed to take off the hat and hide it. The oprichniki accused the Metropolitan of lying in order to humiliate the Tsar before the people. Ivan then ordered that Philip be judged. Several slanderers were found to make false accusations against the Metropolitan. The Metropolitan was not given the right to expose them as liars, and was condemned to lose his cathedra.

Φίλιππος Μόσχας_Филипп Московский_Philip I of Moscow_images (1)On November 8, the Feast of the Archangel Michael, the Holy Hierarch was serving for the last time in the Cathedral of the Dormition. He was standing on the cathedra, just as he had been when he denounced Tsar Ivan the Terrible. Suddenly the doors of the church opened and the boyar Basmanov entered with a host of oprichniki and ordered the reading of a document in which it was announced to the surprised faithful that the Metropolitan was being defrocked. The oprichniki immediately ripped the hierarch’s vestments from him. Clothing him in a torn monastic riassa, they led him out of the church. They sat him in a cart and, shouting expletives at him drove him to one of the Moscow monasteries. It was rumored that the Tsar wanted to burn the Confessor for Christ, and that only after intercession by the clergy was Philip condemned to incarceration for life. At the same time, the tsar executed many of Philip’s relatives. The Terrible one sent the Holy Hierarch the head of Ivan Borisovitch Kolichev, Philip’s most beloved nephew. Holy hierarch Philip received it reverently; after making a prostration before it, he kissed it and said: “Blessed is he whom Thou hast chosen and accepted, O Lord,” and returned it to the sender. From morning to night the faithful gathered around the monastery, wanting to at least catch a glimpse of the glorious hierarch’s shadow, and told many stories of his miracles. Then Ivan ordered that he be transferred to the Monastery of the Child in Tver.

A year later, the Tsar and his warriors went into battle against Novgorod and Pskov. The Tsar sent the oprichnik Maliuta Skuratov ahead of him to the Monastery of the Child. Three days earlier, St Philip had prophesied his own coming repose and had prepared for it by Communing of the Holy Gifts. With a false air of humility, Maliuta approached the Hierarch and asked a blessing for the Tsar. St Philip said: “Do not blaspheme, and do the deed for which you came.” Maliuta threw himself at the hierarch and strangled him to death. A grave was immediately dug and Maliuta witnessed the Hieromartyr being lowered into it on December 23, 1569. The relics of St Philip lay in the Moscow Cathedral of the Dormition, which had witnessed his enormous spiritual struggle.

Troparion of the holy hierarch, in Tone VIII—

O successor of the primates of Russia, pillar of Orthodoxy, champion of the Truth, new confessor, holy hierarch Philip, thou didst lay down thy life for thy flock: wherefore, as thou hast boldness before the Christ, pray thou for this city and the people who honor thy holy memory as is meet.

Apolytikion of ST PHILIP ― Plagal Tone 4

O successor of first prelates, pillar of Orthodoxy, champion of truth, new confessor, Saint Philip, thou didst lay down thy life for thy flock. Wherefore, since thou hast boldness with Christ, pray for the suffering Russian land and them that worthily honour thy holy memory.

Apolytikion of ST POLYEUCTOS — Tone 1

The light of godliness shines on thee from heaven, and thou didst become a noble soldier of Christ. When thou wast beheaded thou wast numbered with the choirs of martyrs, with whom, O noble Polyeuktos, ever pray for those who cry: Glory to Him Who has strengthened thee; glory to Him Who has crowned thee; glory to Him Who through thee works healings for all.

Apolytikion of ST POLYEUCTOS — Tone 4

Thy Martyr Polyeuktos, 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.

Troparion of ST POLYEUCTOS — Tone 4

Your holy martyr Polyeuctus, O Lord, / through his suffering has received an incorruptible crown from You, our God. / For having Your strength, he laid low his adversaries, / and shattered the powerless boldness of demons. / Through his intercessions, save our souls!

Troparion of ST POLYEUCTOS — Tone 4

In his suffering, O Lord,/ Thy martyr Polyeuctus received an imperishable crown from Thee our God;/ for, possessed of Thy might,/ he set at nought the tormentors and crushed the feeble audacity of the demons.// By his supplications save Thou our souls.

Apolytikion of ST EUSTRATIUS ― Tone 1

In Olympus of Bithynia you shined in asceticism, and you departed to God looking peaceful; the fiery arrows of the Iconoclasts you quenched, and showed yourself to be a protector of the island named after you, Wonderworker Eustratios. Rejoice, immeasurable in chastity; rejoice, spring of healings; rejoice, who sanctified Lada by your appearance.

Glory…, Now & ever…, the troparion of the feast, in Tone I—

When Thou wast baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest: for the voice of the Father bore witness unto Thee, calling Thee His beloved Son; and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of the word. O Christ God, Who hast appeared and enlightened the world, glory be to Thee!

stichera of the holy hierarch, in Tone V: Spec. Mel.: “Rejoice, O life-bearing Cross…”—

Rejoice, O mouth of lustrous gold, venerable and divinely melodious swallow, unshakable pillar of Orthodoxy, unassailable rampart of our city, refuge of the sorrowful, calm haven for the tempest-tossed, defender against misfortunes and tribulations for those who have recourse unto thee, thou who dost encourage us to chant hymns of divine beauty with zeal, emulator of the martyrs and confessors, who standest together with the holy angels, peer of the apostles!

Sessional hymn of the saint, in Tone VIII: Spec. Mel.: “Of the Wisdom…”—

As the namesake and emulator of a chosen apostle, O father, thou didst endure tribulation and persecution. And emulating the zeal of the Prophet Elijah and the Baptist, thou didst manfully rebuke the iniquitous, and didst govern well the see entrusted to thee, running the good race until the end. And thou hast left thy body behind like a mantle, emitting myrrh redolent of perfumes, and pourest forth the grace of the Spirit like rain, mystically watering the furrows of our hearts. O holy hierarch Philip, entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of sins unto those who with love honor thy holy memory. Twice


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