Saint Boniface the Martyr at Tarsus, in Cilicia(290) and Righteous Aglae (Aglais, Aglaida) of Rome (c. 303)
Martyrs Elias, Probus, and Ares the Egyptians, in Cilicia (308)
Martyrs Polyeuctus at Caesarea in Cappadocia, and the Deacon Timothy at Mauretania, by fire (309)
Saint Gregentios of Himyaritia Missionary Archbishop of Zafar (capital of the Himyarite tribal confederacy) (552)
Saints George the Scribe, and Sabbas, monks of Khakhuli Monastery (11th century)
Saint Seraphim (Romantsov), of Sukhumi, Abkhazia, Elder of Glinsk Monastery (1975)
Repose of Blessed Hieromonk Hermogenes, founder of Kirensk and Albazin Monasteries in Siberia (1690)
Commemorated on December 19
Hymn of Praise
The Holy Martyr Boniface
by St Nikolai Velimirovich
A sinful soul was in Boniface,
A sinful soul oppressed by sin.
He repented and, through Christ, began to shine,
And a hundred times he sighed.
He beheld the suffering of the holy martyrs;
He beheld the sufferings, and melted like wax.
He wept, and by his tears he was sanctified,
Repenting for all his sins.
What is life? It is intended for sacrifice:
Either to the devil or to the Creator.
The first sacrifice stinks like a dead corpse,
The second ascends to the Savior.
Repentance means restoration to life,
And it was restoration for Boniface.
For the salvation of his soul, he sacrificed his body;
He purchased the Kingdom with a sack of bones.
The distance from a sinner to a penitent,
And from a penitent to a martyr,
Is no further than one finger is from another,
Is no further than the earth is from the Cross.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by St Nikolai Velimirovich,
Saint Paisios of Mount Athos
– Geronda, what is it that God wants from us?
– God wants from us our good intentions, our good will, which will be expressed by even our limited but full of philotimo spiritual struggle, and the awareness of our sinfulness. Everything else is given by Him. One doesn’t need muscles in the spiritual life. We must struggle humbly, we must ask for God’s mercy and we must be grateful to Him for everything. He who abandons himself into the hands of God, without any plan of his own, will pass into God’s plan. As long as man is hooked onto himself, he remains behind; he does not progress spiritually because he obstructs God’s mercy. In order to grow spiritually he must place great trust in God.
At all times God caresses the hearts of all the people with His love
, but we are not aware of it because our hearts have gathered a crust. When man has cleansed his heart, he is deeply moved and madly excited, because he can then see the benefactions, the blessings of God, Who loves all people in the same way.
For those who are suffering, God is pained; for those who are living a spiritual life, He rejoices. When a philotimo-filled soul thinks of God’s blessings, it is enough to send it exploding towards Heaven, even more so if the soul also meditates on its many sins and God’s abundant mercy and compassion.
~ When man becomes aware of God’s providential care. and the eyes of his soul have been purified, he can experience and live the fullness of divine providence with his cleansed heart, which is then overwhelmed by a profound sense of gratitude and spiritual madness, in the good sense of the term.
For God’s blessings, when man is aware of them, create a crack in his heart, and break it. Then, as the hand of God caresses his philotimo-filled heart and touches the crack, man experiences an inner explosion that increases his gratitude toward God. All those who struggle and are aware of their sinfulness and God’s blessings, entrusting themselves to His abundant mercy, elevate their soul to Paradise with great certainty and less bodily effort. Saint Paisios of Mt. Athos – Spiritual Counsels, Vol. 2: Spiritual Awakening
God takes our sucks and makes them carpets for Paradise.
Let us not expect the spiritual spring if we don’t first pass through the spiritual winter during which the spiritual vermin die. We mustn’t expect the divine to blossom within us if the human hasn’t first died.
When we arrived at his cell, we sat at the guestroom and I asked him:
-Father, what made our saints, not only endure their martyrdom but also constantly feel joy about it, while we can’t even stand the bite of a mosquito?
– Everything has to do with having a correct thinking. If our thoughts are firmly secured in our faith, no one can ever take them away.
Then, he brought the Old Testament and told me that section 4 in the Book of Maccabes explains very clearly how positive thoughts can help us disregard pain and torture. He began reading the text and explaining it to me. When he finished, he told me:
– This text from the Old Testament clearly indicates that man is free and with his good thoughts, he can overcome his passions and desires and whatever else derives from them.
“We must have positive thoughts, otherwise none of the spiritual fathers- not even the saints- can help us. When Jesus was on the Cross and all the terrible events were taking place, two thieves were also being crucified with Him. “And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour” (Mk 15:33). “…And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split; the tombs were also opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs, after his resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” (Mt 27:51-53). Each one of them had a different attitude towards Him, even though they were both placed next to the same God; a God who had never been blamed for, or accused by anyone for the slightest sin. On the contrary, many people were benefited by Him: some had cured of a specific disease, others had been resurrected and all these miracles took place in public. Now, even nature was reacting against the injustice done to Him.
The thief placed on the left cross had created inside his mind a “factory”, which produced only negative thoughts. “…One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying ‘Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us’.” (Lk 23:39). Although he could see what was going on around him, he never questioned himself about it. The one on the right, who had a positive way of thinking, reacted as follows: “But the other rebuked him saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.’
And he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom’.” (Lk 23:40-42). Both thieves had the same almighty God placed between them who could help them. The negative thinking of the one on the left prevented God from helping him, whereas the one on the right- who had committed terrible crimes and was legitimately being punished- was able to “move” Jesus with his positive attitude. And He said to him: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Lk 23:43). We should keep in mind that God “cannot” help us, even if He really wants to, unless we acquire a positive way of thinking. Concerning the spiritual progress of a disciple monk, it is more important for him to develop good thoughts than to be guided by a spiritual father who is considered a living saint…”
Looking at this subject from a different point of view, Elder Paisios stressed and greatly emphasised the specific characteristic of love, that is, that “love is not irritable or resentful” (1Cor 13:4). He used to say that “we should never, even under the worst circumstances, allow a negative thought to penetrate our soul. The person, who, under all circumstances, is inclined to have positive thoughts, will always be a winner; his life will be a constant festivity, since it is constantly based on his positive thinking.
Priestmonk Christodoulos (1998) “Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain”Holy Mountain
God loves us, but we often do not understand it.
God gives us opportunities to know Him, if only we take hold of the messages. He finds a thousand ways to make us come to know Him. St. Basil says somewhere, ‘Make weakness material for virtue.’ No matter what evil comes upon us, if we have patience, it is possible that what we see as evil, will guide us to virtue. The greatest evil is to become estranged from God.
Let us entrust our life to God, and may it be done as He wishes. Whatever the outcome may be for us, that’s the one that is for our good. For God does not want the perdition of man, but his salvation. There is no need for despair, rather we should have courage and hope in God. Despair is disbelief. He who sincerely believes in God never despairs. You despair because you don’t believe in the power of God, Who governs all things. (Elder Ieronymos of Aegina)
Completely have trust in God, leave everything in His hands, and believe that His love will act for your own benefit. Then God will take care of everything, because there is nothing He cannot do; everything is easy for Him. The difficult thing is for man to decide to humble himself and leave everything to God’s providence and love. St. Paisios of the Holy Mountain (Athos)
May St. Boniface pray for us that our repentance may lead us to holier lives.
Apolytikion of Martyr Boniface & Companions in the Fourth Tone
Thy Martyr, 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.
Kontakion of Martyr Boniface & Companions in the Fourth Tone
Thou didst offer up thyself of thine own choosing as a spotless sacrifice to Him that for thy sake, O Saint, shall soon be born of a Virgin Maid, O all-renowned and wise crown-bearer Boniface.
in Tone IV:
Spec. Mel.: “Thou hast given a sign …”:
Sending thee, her manservant, before her, O Boniface, * Aglais acquired a divine master * who tamed the passions, * attained mastery over tyrants, * cast down the enemy, * and was arrayed in a crown of victory. * Wherefore, having constructed for thee a holy temple all-adorned, * she enshrined thee therein, praising thee in sanctity.