Saint Isaac the Syrian, the Great Hesychast (6th century)
Ephraim the Syrian (373)
James the Ascetic, of Porphyreon (Porphyrianos) in Palestine.
Palladius the Hermit of Antioch, Wonderworker (4th century)
The holy Two Martyrs, a mother and her daughter.
Flavian, a deputy-prefect of Rome, martyred in Civita Vecchia in Italy under Diocletian (ca. 304)
George Ugryn the Martyr (1015), brother of Ephraim of Novotorzhok
Ephraim of Novotorzhok, Abbot and Wonderworker, founder of the Sts. Boris and Gleb Monastery (Novotorzhok) (1053)
Ephraim of the Kiev Caves, Bishop of Pereyaslavl (ca.1098)
Our righteous Father Theodosius of Totma.
“Sumorin Totma” Icon of the Mother of God (16th century)
Commemorated on January 28
As from a snare James left the flesh behind,
For by the flesh’s snares he was not caught.
Above all, love silence…”
Thirst after Jesus and He will satisfy you with His love
St. Abba Isaac the Syrian
Blessed Elder Ieronymos of Aegina wrote the following about the insight we can gain from Saint Isaac: “Isaac is the mirror. There you will behold yourself.”
“If anyone went to a psychiatric hospital and read to the patients Abba Isaac, all those who believed in God would get well, because they would recognize the deeper meaning of life.” St. Paisios of Mount Athos
St. Paisios of Mount Athos and Abba Isaac the Syrian, the Great Hesychast
One day, sitting at the bench outside of Stavronikita, the Elder was visiting with pilgrims, among whom was a high school teacher of theology. The theology teacher, repeating a popular Western error, claimed that Abba Isaac the Syrian was a Nestorian. Father Paisios tried to persuade him that Abba Isaac was not only Orthodox but also a saint, and that his Ascetical Homilies possess great grace and strength. But the Elder’s words were in vain: the theology teacher stubbornly insisted on his views. The Elder left for his hermitage, praying and so sad that he was in tears.
When he had come to a spot on the path near a large plane tree, something happened to him. These words, “something happened”, were the only description he gave us of the incident, not wanting to reveal the exact details. According to one testimony, he saw in a vision the choir of the holy fathers passing before him, and one of them, stopping, said to him, “I am Isaac the Syrian. I am completely Orthodox. The Nestorian heresy was indeed present in my region, but I fought against it.” We are not in a position to endorse or to reject the reliability of this witness. We know for certain only that the Elder experienced a supranatural occurence that confirmed with perfect clarity the holiness and total Orthodoxy of Abba Isaac.
Originally appeared in Elder Paisios of Mount Athos by Hieromonk Isaac p. 226, The Holy Monastery of Saint Arsenios the Cappadocian (2012).
Through divine revelation it was revealed to him that in fact St. Isaac was Orthodox and he wrote in his Menaion for January 28th the following words after the description of the feast of St. Ephraim the Syrian: “…and Isaac the Great Hesychast and much unjustly accused.”
In his book Ἐπιστολές (Letters) Saint Païsios writes: ‘Abba Isaac will help you greatly because he makes people understand the deeper meaning of life and if people believe in God, he helps them to dispel any complex, great or small, that they may have. Studying Abba Isaac even just a little alters the soul through the vitamins it provides’.
Writing about Papa-Tikhon in his book Αγιορείται Πατέρες και αγιορείτικα (Athonite Fathers and Athonite Matters), Saint Païsios says: ‘One day he asked me what books I read and I answered “Abba Isaac”. “Goodness gracious me, there’s a great saint. Abba Isaac wouldn’t hurt a fly”. He said this in order to point out the great spiritual sensitivity of the Saint’.
Saint Isaac the Syrian
“Be persecuted, but persecute not; Be crucified,but crucify not; Be wronged, but wrong not; Be slandered, but slander not. Have clemency, not zeal, with respect to evil. Lay hold of goodness, not legality. “
If a soul is feeble and lacks sufficient strength for enduring great temptations and therefore asks God not to be exposed to them, and God hears it — then know surely, that by whatever measure the soul lacks sufficient strength for great temptations, is the same measure it lacks sufficient strength to cope with big endowments. Because God does not grant big endowments without great temptations. God determines temptations commensurate to endowments.
The man who endures accusations against himself with humility has arrived at perfection, and he is marvelled at by the holy angels, for there is no other virtue so great and so hard to achieve.”
The path of God is a daily cross.
A man who is truly humble is not troubled when he is wronged and he says nothing to justify himself against the injustice, but he accepts slander as truth; he does not attempt to persuade men that he is calumniated, but he begs forgiveness.
Therefore one who lives in love receives from God the fruit of life. He breathes, even in this world, the air of resurrection… Love is the Kingdom… Such is the ‘wine to gladden the heart of man’ (Psalm 104.15). Blessed is he who drinks of this wine… the sick have drunk of it and become wise.
And what is a merciful heart?’ ‘It is the heart’s burning for the sake of the entire creation, for men, for birds, for animals, for demons, and for every created thing; and by the recollection and sight of them the eyes of a merciful man pour forth abundant tears. From the strong and vehement mercy which grips his heart and from his great compassion, his heart is humbled and he cannot bear to hear or to see any injury or slight sorrow in creation. . . .’
“As a handful of sand thrown into the great sea, so are the sins of all flesh in comparison with the mercy of God. And just as a strongly flowing spring is not obstructed by a handful of dust, so the mercy of the Creator is not stemmed by the vices of His creatures.”
Blessed is the man who knows his own weakness,
The commandments of God are greater than all the treasures of the world,
The person who lives in love reaps the fruit of life from God, and while yet in this world, even now breathes the air of the resurrection.
If you cannot be merciful, at least speak as though you are a sinner. If you are not a peacemaker, at least do not be a troublemaker. If you cannot be assiduous, at least in your thought be like a sluggard. If you are not victorious, do not exalt yourself over the vanquished. If you cannot close the mouth of a man who disparages his companion,m at least refrain from joining him in this.
In all respects belittle yourself before all men, and you will be raised above the princes of this age.
Abba Isaac’s book is worth as much as an entire library of the fathers… Abba Isaac will help you greatly because he makes people understand the deeper meaning of life. Studying Abba Isaac even just a little alters the soul through the vitamins it provides’. St. Paisios of Mount Athos
The mouth, which is continuously giving thanks, receives blessing from God. St. Abba Isaac the Syrian
The man who hungers and thirsts for God’s sake, God will make drunk with His good things. St. Isaac of Syria
The ladder of the Kingdom is within you, hidden in your soul. St. Isaac the Syrian the Great Hesychast
The pains of Love… Saint Isaac the Syrian
Troparion, in Tone V:
Illumined by rays of the virtues, O God-bearer Isaac, in spirit thou wast shown to be an all-radiant beacon of the life which is in Christ; and by thy divinely inspired teachings, O father, thou dost guide safely to the way of salvation those who bless thee as a godly servant of Christ. (Twice)
Apolytikion of Isaac the Syrian in the Plagal of the First Tone
He that thundered on Sinai with saving laws for man hath also given thy writings as guides in prayer unto monks, O revealer of unfathomable mysteries; for having gone up in the mount of the vision of the Lord, thou wast shown the many mansions. Wherefore, O God-bearing Isaac, entreat the Saviour for all praising thee.
Aposticha stichera, in Tone V:
Spec. Mel.: “Rejoice …”:
Rejoice, O sacred Isaac, emulator of the angels in thy manner of life! For, undertaking their way of life, with understanding thou didst please God in righteousness. Wherefore, thou didst suppress the uprisings of the passions and didst acquire the radiance of dispassion, wherewith thou didst shine forth as a heavenly luminary. For this cause we bless thee as a divine teacher of the way of Christ and a most excellent judge of the contest, who asketh for all cleansing, salvation and mercy divine.
Stichos: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.
Rejoice, O sacred Isaac, divinely wise preacher of hesychia! For, exercising thyself in asceticism, thou didst cleanse thyself of all dross; wherefore, thou didst avoid all earthly stumbling-blocks, and wast shown to be most exalted in heart, ineffably receiving the immaterial light, for in body thou didst pass through the darkness which surpasseth light, and in purity didst with a perfect mind hold converse with the Creator. Intercede with Him, O father, that we also may be given the light of grace divine.
Stichos: Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord; in His commandments
shall he greatly delight.
Rejoice, O sacred Isaac, instructor and paragon of monastics, model of abstinence and noetic prayer, and of every form of life sublime! For having done as our Savior hath said, O venerable one, thou didst instruct men well in purity, in modesty and perfection of life. Wherefore, do thou ever send down upon us strength from on high, O father, that we may be well-pleasing unto our God, that we may at last inherit the kingdom of Christ.
Kontakion, in Tone VIII: Spec. Mel.: “To thee, the champion leader …”
By thine angelic way of life thou wast shown to be a divine instrument of
the Comforter, and a model for monastics in all things, O blessed Isaac. As the habitation of grace divine, ask grace and heavenly light for us who cry out to thee: Rejoice, O divinely wise father!
Ikos: An angel in ascetic labor wast thou shown to be in the flesh, O Godbearing Isaac, and by thine angelic voice hast thou set before us the words of salvation, whereby guided to a higher life, we cry out to thee: Rejoice, star out of Syria; rejoice, lamp of stillness! Rejoice, thou who art more sublime than earthly thoughts; rejoice, partaker of heavenly enlightenment! Rejoice, divinely inscribed pillar of hesychasts; rejoice, mouth flowing with the honey of spiritual teachings! Rejoice, for thou wast filled with God-given wisdom; rejoice, for thou deliverest from the evil of the passions! Rejoice, most fervent of the servants of Christ; rejoice, our godly teacher! Rejoice, wise God-bearer Isaac; rejoice, our instructor, guided by God! Rejoice, O divinely wise father!
Spec. Mel.: “O all-glorious wonder …”:
O divinely eloquent father Isaac, denying thyself, by great inner stillness
thou didst furnish thy mind with wings to soar aloft toward heavenly love, and by divine visions and deeds thou dost lead us toward perfection; wherefore, we honor thee as a wise teacher and guide, celebrating thy holy memory.
A Prayer to Our Lord Jesus Christ
Lord Christ our God, Who hast healed my passions through Thy Passion, and hast cured my wounds through Thy wounds, grant me who have sinned greatly against Thee tears of compunction. Transform my body with the fragrance of Thy life-giving Body, and sweeten my soul with Thy Holy Blood from the bitterness with which the foe has fed me.
Lift up my downward looking mind to Thee, and take it out of the pit of perdition, for I have no repentance, I have no compunction, I have no consoling tears, which uplift children to their heritage. My mind has been darkened through earthly passions, I cannot look up to Thee in pain. I cannot warm myself with tears of love for Thee.
But, O Lord Jesus Christ, Treasury of good gifts, give me thorough repentance and a diligent heart to seek Thee; grant me Thy grace, and renew in me the lineaments of Thy image. I have forsaken Thee – do not forsake me! Come out to seek me; lead me up to Thy pasturage and number me among the lambs of Thy chosen flock. Nourish me with them on the grass of Thy Holy Mysteries, by the prayers of Thy Most Pure Mother and all Thy saints. Amen.
Through the prayers of St Isaac the Syrian, of all the ascetic Fathers and all the saints, O Lord of compassion and hope, have mercy on us and save us!