Χριστός ανέστη! Αληθώς ανέστη!
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
ХристосВоскрес! Воистину Воскрес!
«Χαίρετε»! «Ειρήνη υμίν»
Saint Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis and Metropolitan of Cyprus (403)
Saint Calliope (Callitropos), nun, sister of St. Epiphanius of Cyprus
Patriarch Germanus I of Constantinople (740)
Saint Domitilla the martyr (c. 81-96)
Saints Nereus and Achilleus the martyrs (100)
Saint Dracontius, Bishop of Nicaea (c. 1st to 3rd centuries)
Saint Polybius, Bishop of Cyprus, Wonderworker (5th century) and Saint Sabinus, Archbishop of Cyprus (successor of St. Epiphanius to the Cypriot cathedra) (5th century)
Saint Theophanes, Archbishop of Cyprus (7th century)
Venerable Theodore of Kythera, ascetic (922)
Martyr Pancratius of Rome (304) and Martyr Dionysius (Denis), uncle of St. Pancratius (304)
Saint Theophanes, Bishop of Solea (Solia), Cyprus, later a hermit in the Troodos Mountains; the Outpourer of Myrrh (1550)
New Martyr John of Wallachia, at Constantinople (1662)
Saint Nectarius (Tikhonov) of Optina (1928)
New Martyr Abbess Athanasia (Lepeshkina), of the Smolensk Hodigitria Convent near Moscow (1931) and Martyr Evdokia Martishkina (1938)
Discovery of the holy relics (1961) of Saint Irene of Lesvos the Virgin-martyr (1463)
Commemorated on May 12
St. Tsar Martyr Nicholas II of Russia
’I was born on the feast-day of St Job the Long-suffering…”
Tsar-Martyr Nicholas was born in St. Petersburg on May 6, 1868, the day upon which the Holy Church celebrates the memory of St. Job the Long-Suffering. And how prophetic this turned out to be – for Nicholas was destined to follow the example of this great Old Testament Saint both in circumstance and in faith. Just as the Lord allowed the Patriarch Job to suffer many things, trying him in the fire of calamity to test his faith, so was Nicholas tried and tempted, but he too never yielded and remained above all a man of God.
Tsar Nicholas himself used to say: “I was born the same day as righteous Job the Long-Suffering was celebrated and I am ready to accept the tribulations of God and to suffer the sufferings to the end.” And indeed all his life was a Golgotha (Calvary).
Not only the Tsar, but the whole of his blessed family, met their fate with truly Christian patience. Thus on March 13, 1917, the Tsarevich Alexis wrote to his sister Anastasia:
“I will pray fervently for you and Maria. With God everything will pass. Be patient and pray.”
And shortly after the abdication the Empress said: “Our sufferings are nothing. Look at the sufferings of the Saviour, how He suffered for us. If this is necessary for Russia, we are ready to sacrifice our lives and everything.”
Saint Tikhon Patriach of Moscow writes about the birthday of our Tsar-Martyr Nicholas:
We find out justification in the fact of our Sovereign’s birthday coinciding with the day which the Orthodox Church has consecrated to the memory fo the long-suffering Job. To man this coincidence will seem to be but mere chance. But in the eyes of a believer there can be no chance, and only the more so when the elected by the Lord Himself in the time of need (Ecclesiastes 10:4). Consequently it is no mere chance, but rather a mysterious coincidence, that the birth of our Sovereign and the memory of the long-suffering Job come on the same day…
By permission of God, dreadful clamities befall this righteous man, and shock after shock strike at him. One after the other messengers come to him bringing sad news about the loss of all his possessions. And when the preceding messsenger was still speaking,there came one more to tell him about the loss of all his children and servants. Then, in his own turn, he is stricken with a painful disease- leprosy. Was it easy for Job to bear all this? “Was this strength the strength of stones and was his flesh of brass?” (Job 6:12).”If his griefs were thoroughly weighed and his calmities laid in the balance together,” possibly they would have outweighed the sand of the sea (Job 6:1-2).
Yet Job bore manfully all this misfortunes that befell him, and “in all this did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 2:10), he did not murmur against God…
Now brethren, let us trun from the ancient times to our days, from the man who “was the greatest of all the men of the east” (Job 1:3) to our country and its Supreme Chief…
Our Tsar received,as Job did of yore, tiding after tiding, telling of failing crops, of devastating fires, of earthquakes, mountain landslides and inundations…
Like Job, misunderstood by his friends and suffering from this misunderstanding, the Russian people, with its crown bearing Chiefat its head, have failed to this day to receive a correct valuation from their neighbors. Their best intentions are met with mistrust and are suspected of insincerity. Monstrous scheming is ascribed to them. Their best endeavors are commented upon in an unfavourable way, are distorted and laughed at. All the good in them is passed by in silence and their failings are manified to a huge size and are announced to all the world…
Let us not continue the enumeration of those foolish accusations: all our compatriots who abroad know them well. “Judge them, O Lord,that do me inustice; war againstthem that war against me” (Psalm 34:1).
Grant unto our beloved Sovereignthe successfulness of Moses, the manliness of David and wisdom of Solomon, together with the patience of Job.
Help him, O Lord, and all the Russian people to believe in Christ’s truth and int he righteousness of his labors and to hold to the way of the Lord, as in the past, in spite of anything our ill-wishers may say. Thus the Lord shall not forsake us, but will strengthen us with the hand of His truth, and those who go against us shall be brought to shame (Isaiah 41:10-11).
“Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord” (St. James 5:11)….
Excerpt , A Sermon On The Occasion Of The Birthday Of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II By Saint Tikhon Patriach of Moscow
The Tsar, as a fervent lover of the Beatitudes of Christ, strove to emulate them all. He was truly meek, sought after righteousness, and was acknowledged by all who knew him as pure hearted. As desirous of peace, he made an unprecedented suggestion to the world early in his reign — that all nations come together and meet in order to cut down on their military forces and submit to general arbitration on international disputes. The result of his proposal, the Hague Peace Conference, was convened on May 18, 1899, and served as the precedent for the later League of Nations and United Nations. As a giver of mercy he was unparalleled in Russian history pardoning criminals, even revolutionaries; giving away vast quantities of his own land to alleviate the plight of the peasants; and countless other charitable deeds of which only God knows. And, of course, few mourned as he did, and few were persecuted unjustly as he was.
There soon began an endless succession of tragedies, even a small number of which would have broken a lesser man. But for the Tsar they only served to further refine the nobility of his soul.
In May, 1917, a Sarov archimandrite, who was sorrowing over the fate of the Royal Family, fell asleep during prayer and saw a vision of the Family together with St. Seraphim. And the saint told him not to sorrow, that God would not forsake his chosen ones, and that He had sent him, Seraphim, to comfort the Royal sufferers in the hour of their trial.
“Do you see the radiant light come from the faces of the Royal sufferers? This is a sign that they are under the special protection of God, as being righteous ones… Look at the face of the Empress and you will see that the light coming from it is brighter than the others. This is a sign that she will suffer more slander than any from the followers of the world’s slanderer.”
St. Tsar Martyr Nicholas II of Russia And His Family were murdered by the Bolshevik revolutionaries on 17 July 1918 in Yekaterinburg at the Ipatiev House.
The killing of Tsar Nicholas, opened the way to the destruction of Orthodox Russia and its transformation into Babylon.
Thus ended the life of the Christ-like Tsar, as a sacrifice for the Orthodox Faith and for the Russian people, both of whom he so fervently loved and believed in.
The Tsar, spiritually united at birth to the righteous and long-suffering Prophet Job laid down his life for his friends, and what’s more—even for his enemies, showing the greatest of love. Upon the Cross our Lord called out Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Lk. 23:34).
Saint Nectarius (Tikhonov) of Optina
In 1917 the elder Nectarius of Optina prophesied: “A hard time is coming. The number six has passed in the world, and the number seven has begun. Now begins the age of silence. Be silent, silent,” said batiushka, and tears flowed from his eyes. “And now his Majesty is not his own man, he is suffering such humiliation for his mistakes. 1918 will be still worse. His Majesty and all his family will be killed, tortured. And our tsar will stand before the throne of God wearing the crown of a great-martyr. Yes, this tsar will be a great-martyr.
“In the last days,” he said, “the world will be encircled by paper and iron. Noah’s time is a figure of our own. The flood was approaching. Noah knew about it and told the people, but they did not believe him. He hired workers to build the ark, and they, while building the ark, did not believe, and so they only received the agreed pay for their work, but were not saved. Those days are a prefiguring of ours. The ark is the Church, only those who are in it will be saved.”
Once he advised: “Pray simply:” Lord, grant me your grace! ” A cloud of sorrows is falling on you, and you pray: “Lord, grant me your grace!” And the Lord will carry a thunderstorm past you. “
“Lord, grant me Thy grace,” the venerable elder Nectarios taught to pray and said: “And now a cloud is coming at you, and you pray: Give me grace, and the Lord will carry the cloud past.”
Valuable memories of Elder Nektarios can be found in Father Vasily Shustin, who visited him with his wife. “Father tells me,” says Fr. Vasily – …Now I will say that soon there will be a spiritual hunger for books. You won’t get spiritual books. It is good that he is collecting this spiritual treasure, it will be very useful. A hard time is coming now. The number six has passed in the world and the number seven begins, the century of silence. Shut up, shut up, says the priest, and tears flow from his eyes. The sovereign endures the humiliated for his mistakes. In 1918 it will be even harder. – The sovereign and the whole family will be killed, tortured. One pious girl had a dream: Jesus Christ is sitting on the throne, and there are 12 apostles near him, and terrible groans are heard from the ground. And the Apostle Peter asks Christ: When, Lord, will these torments end? – And Jesus Christ answers him: “I give the term until 1922. If people do not repent, do not come to their senses, then everyone will perish like that. ” Immediately before the Throne of God, our Sovereign is also in the crown of the Great Martyr. Yes, this Sovereign will be a great martyr. Recently, he redeemed his life, and if people do not turn to God, then not only Russia, but all of Europe will fail.
Archpriest Vasily Shustin told how the priest, without reading, went through the letters:
“On one of my visits to Optina Pustyn, I saw Father Nektariy read sealed letters. He came out to me with the received letters, of which there were about fifty, and, without printing, began to sort them. Some he postponed with the words: “Here you need to give an answer, but these thanks can be left unanswered.” He, without reading, saw their content. He blessed some of them, and even kissed some … “
The Monk Nektarios, being a seer, predicted in 1917: “Russia will rise and will not be rich in material, but it will be rich in spirit, and in Optina there will be seven more lamps, seven pillars.”
“If at least a few faithful Orthodox remain in Russia, God will have mercy on her,” Father Nectarius predicted in the early 1920s, who remained the only elder of Optina Pustyn after the death of Father Anatoly Jr. And he added with a smile: “But we have such righteous people.”. And the elder said: “In the last times the world will be girded with iron and paper”.
Here is what the Optina Elder Nektary answered to the nun Nektaria, who in 1924 asked the priest “about the end of the world”: « … it is not useful for people to know the time of the second coming. “Watch and Pray”, – said the Savior, it means that there is no need to foresee events, but in due time everything will be revealed to be true”.
“We need, leaving European customs, to love Holy Russia and repent of the past passion for them, to be firm in the Orthodox faith, to pray to God, to repent for the past”.
Once a young doctor Sergey Nikitin came to Kholmischi for advice, but instead of solving the visitor’s problems, father delivered a monologue about the flood, secretly exposing the current situation. “Imagine,” he said to the surprised guest, “it is now completely unreasonable to believe that the era experienced by the human race in the antediluvian time was bleak, wild and ignorant. In fact, the culture then was very high. People knew how to do a lot of things, extremely witty in design and magnificent in appearance. Only on this man-made property they spent all their strength and souls. They concentrated all the abilities of their primitive young nature in only one direction – the full satisfaction of bodily needs. Their trouble is that they “became flesh.” So the Lord decided to correct this one-sidedness of theirs. Through Noah, he announced the flood, and for a hundred years Noah called people to correction, preached repentance in the face of God’s wrath, and built an ark to prove the right words. And what do you think? It was very strange for the people of that time, accustomed to the elegant form of their civilization, to see how an old man who had gone out of his mind knocks together some kind of awkward box of enormous size in the age of magnificent culture, and even preaches on behalf of God about the coming flood … ” “In the days of Noah, it was like this,” said the elder Nadezhda A. Pavlovich another time, “the flood was approaching. Noah knew about him and told people, but they did not believe. He hired workers to build the ark, and while building it, they did not believe, and therefore received only payment, but were not saved. Those days are a prototype of our days. The ark is the church. Only those who are in it will be saved.” And again: “Noah called all the people, but only cattle came.”
Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is coming to judge the living and the dead, have mercy on us sinners, forgive the sins of our whole life, and with them weigh the fates hiding us from the face of the Antichrist in the hidden wilderness of Your salvation. Amen.
Conversion of an atheist.
Here is another testimony, received from Monk Ippolit of the Zosima Hermitage (near Moscow):
“Before my entrance into the Monastery, as I recall, I brought a portrait of Emperor Nicholas II and one of his wife, Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna, to my parents. Since they were taught during the Soviet period to think of the tsars as despotic, my parents were puzzled that there could be talk of glorification, and looked with alarm at these two portraits, hung in a prominent place. My mother, educated as a woman of letters, immediately recalled ‘Bloody Sunday’ in 1905, the shooting of workers by Lensky; but, being a God-fearing woman from childhood, she restrained herself from too many opinions and only posed the question, ‘How can this be?!’ to herself. My father, by his own admission an unbeliever, did not spare his opinions, but since he had a grudge against the Communists at that time, he expressed sympathy for the fate of the Royal Martyrs. The nervousness of our domestic atmosphere, with various comments directed at the Tsar, aggravated the critical situation of my parents or, to be more precise, of my father. He was threatened with prison since he, through his simplicity and ignorance, had fallen in with a crowd of swindlers. They had already been indicted for a criminal act, interrogations had already taken place, and a date for the trial had been appointed. Then my father had a dream at night. The Tsar himself stood there in an officer’s uniform of the royal army with shoulder straps — he was tall, blue-eyed and radiant. He stood half-turned towards my father, and someone dressed in black said, ‘Venerate him and he will help you’ — and my father bowed down before him. He further recalled that the Tsar was surrounded by his family. After this dream my father and mother went to a small village church dedicated to the Archangel of God, Michael, and all the Heavenly Bodiless Hosts, and had a moleben served to the Royal Martyrs, which the parish priest agreed to serve, after first hearing about the dream my father had had. And what happened? About three or four days later there was a coup in Moscow, the infamous shooting at the White House. Immediately thereafter there was a coup in the regional government; and the head of the local government, who hated my father and wanted in any way possible to convict him and send him to prison, was replaced. The change of officials gave hope for my father to be treated with leniency. After a while the trial took place. My father was given one year of probation. Later he was given amnesty, and they dismissed his conviction — and out of six people convicted, his was the only dismissal.
“After this incident my fathers attitude towards the Tsar changed and even became reverent. Now that he had felt real help — he who until then had disparaged all things holy — he ran again, when he encountered ordinary difficulties, to him from whom he had seen this help — to Tsar Nicholas II and all the Royal Martyrs, and that’s the way it was. My father, a farmer, once found himself with nothing to sow. There were no seeds for planting and this threatened him not only with being left without money, but with having to give away all his possessions to settle his debt. Again he, together with my mother, had a moleben served to Tsar-Martyr Nicholas and all the Royal Martyrs. Immediately after this, the superior of a nearby monastery came to see my father at home and told him that he had an acquaintance who wanted to give him seeds for planting. All the land was planted — 370 acres.”
Saint Irene of Lesvos the Virgin-martyr said, if you only knew the terrible pain that I had undergone… it is impossible to even imagine it… The Turks burnt me alive inside this clay pot.
The destiny of a true Orthodox ruler, St. Tsar Nicholas II of Russia
Apolytikion of Epiphanius, Bp. Of Cyprus in the Fourth Tone
O God of our Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Thy gentleness: take not Thy mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide our life in peace.
Troparion — Tone 8
By a flood of tears you made the desert fertile, / and your longing for God brought forth fruits in abundance. / By the radiance of miracles you illumined the whole universe! / O our holy father Nectarius, pray to Christ our God to save our souls!
Kontakion of 14 Elders of Optina Monastery
Plagal of the Fourth Tone
To Leo, Moses, Anatolius, and Anthony; to Barsanuphius, Macarius, Hilarion: to Isaacius and Nicon, the righteous Martyrs; to Nectarius and Joseph and Isaacius, Anatolius, and Ambrose, who outshineth all, let us cry with joy: Rejoice, O Elders of Optina
Apolytikion of Renewal Tues.
On Lesbos, ye strove in contest for the sake of Christ God; ye also have hallowed her with the discovery of your relics, O blessed ones. O God-bearer Raphael, with thee, we all honour Nicholas the deacon and Irene the chaste virgin, as our divine protectors, who now intercede with the Lord.
Tropar-Dismissal Hymn of the Royal Martyrs. First Tone
Most noble and sublime was your life and death, O Sovereigns;* wise Nicholas and blest Alexandra, we praise you,* acclaiming your piety, meekness, faith, and humility,* whereby ye attained to crowns of glory in Christ our God,* with your five renowned and godly children of blessed fame. * O passion-bearers decked in purple, intercede for us.
Glory…, in Tone VI —
Who can recount thy labors and sufferings? O great passion-bearer, martyred Tsar Nicholas, thou didst assume the grievous burden of authority, not for the sake of glory, but as a Christian king and servant of Christ, as one concerned for the good of his people, enduring a multitude of tribulations. All of these things did the Lord permit because of the sins of the people, and that He might reveal thy piety, showing the world thy longsuffering, which was like that of the much suffering Job, that thou mightest receive a glorious martyr’s crown in the heavens, like unto that of Abel. And now joining chorus there with the angels, thou dost intercede for us before God, praying for the salvation of our souls.
Having set me on the rock of faith, Thou have expanded my lips against my enemies. Make my spirit glad to sing continually: “No-one is as holy as our God, no-one is more righteous than Thee, O Lord.”
You exchanged the diadem of your perishable terrestrial kingdom for the imperishable crown of the Kingdom of Christ and instead of the scepter you have received a cross in your hand – you are rejoicing with the Tsarina and children.
In the day of much-afflicted Job you were born; much distress you endured: disdain, treachery, expulsion, brutal murder, and after-after the death-slander against your honest name; yet you received your reward not from the men, but from the Lord. Thereby, intercede for the salvation on behalf of the sons of Russia.
Aforementioned Job’s pleasant life had your life become identical to, holy Great-Martyr; not merely honor and glory, as well as Tsar’s crown, but also life itself Satan had desired to take away from you, yet he was overcome to you.
To The Virgin
Thou have been gracious to accept the scepter of the All-Russian kingdom from the hand of the holy Tsar, O Potent Lady. Do not cease covering holy Russia with thy glorious protection.
The Word of God came from God in unspeakable wisdom-to renew Adam, who utterly fell into corruption-from the Holy Virgin was inexplicably incarnated for our sake; the faithful ones extol Him single-mindedly.
It would be better for you not to be born, wicked tormentors, for it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the Day of Judgment than for the murderers of the Holy Tsar; by his prayers, Lord, strengthen the faith of the Orthodox ones.
You commanded us, Holy Tsar, not to avenge your murder, saying: “Lest evil be multiplied in the land of Russia, for evil will not defeat evil, but only love will.” Therefore, pray that we will amass love for God and our neighbors.
Prayer of the Optina Elders
Lord, give me peace of mind to meet everything that the coming day brings me. Let me completely surrender to Your holy will. For every hour of this day, instruct and support me in everything. Whatever news I receive during the day, teach me to accept it with a calm soul and firm conviction that everything is Thy holy will. In all my words and deeds guide my thoughts and feelings. In all unforeseen cases, do not let me forget that everything is sent down by You. Teach me to act directly and reasonably with each member of my family, without embarrassing or upsetting anyone. Lord, give me the strength to endure the fatigue of the coming day and all the events during the day. Guide my will and teach me to pray, believe, hope, endure, forgive and love. Amen.”
Both now. Of Pascha. Mode pl. 1.
It is the day of the Resurrection. Let us shine brightly for the festival, and also embrace one another. Brethren, let us say even to those who hate us, “Let us forgive everything for the Resurrection.” And thus let us cry aloud, “Christ is risen from the dead, by death trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs He has granted life.”