August Synaxarion

This month has thirty-one days with thirteen hours of day and eleven hours of night.

August 1

Procession of the Venerable and Life-giving Cross

Memory of the Seven Machabee Brothers, with their Mother Salome,
and the Elder Eleazar (Second century B.C.)

Today begins the fast in preparation for the Holy Dormition of our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

To avert the illnesses which were most prevalent during the month of August from the most distant times, the practice in Constantinople was to carry the venerable Wood of the Holy Cross through the city's streets and public places in order to sanctify these places and to ward off illnesses. On the pre-festive day the Wood of the Holy Cross was carried from the Imperial Treasury Chamber and placed on the Holy Table of the Great Church, Holy Wisdom. From August 1 until the feast of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, it was carried about throughout the entire city, then it was exposed for the people's veneration. This is the origin of the Procession of the Venerable and Life-giving Cross that we commemorate today.

When the Syrian King Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164) of the Seleucid dynasty persecuted the Jewish nation, wishing to reduce it into slavery and to force all Jews to renounce their ancestral traditions and eat pork, the seven Machabee brothers, as well as the elder Eleazar, a doctor of the Law and a scribe, were accused of following their traditional prescriptions. This holy old man committed his soul in offering his blood and his death for the deliverance of his people. Eleazar's hands were tied behind his back and he was cruelly beaten. Then he was suffocated by foul vapors which he was constrained to inhale. The seven Machabee brothers were successively led before the King in order of age. They were condemned to the wheel, to catapults, and to fire. They died during these tortures thus receiving the crown of their steadfastness. Their mother, who saw them all die under her eyes, was put to death last. They are called the "Machabee brothers" not because they were of the Machabee family, but because they suffered in the epoch of the Machabees. Their martyrdom is reported to us in the second book of Machabees (II Machabees 6:18-7:41).

Fourth Class Feast. Typika and Beatitudes.

Ordinary Isodikon. Troparia: of the Venerable and Life-giving Cross, of the Seven Machabee Brothers, and of the Church Patron. Kondakion of the Venerable and Life-giving Cross (September 14). Instead of the Trisagion, the verse: "We adore Your Cross, O Master, and we glorify Your holy Resurrection." Epistle and Gospel from the Menologion. Kinonikon of the Venerable and Life-giving Cross.

In occurrence with a Sunday: Typika and Beatitudes. Isodikon of the Sunday. Troparia: of the Resurrection, of the Venerable and Life-giving Cross, of the Machabee Brothers, and of the Church Patron. Kondakion of the Holy Transfiguration of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ (August 6). Instead of the Trisagion, the verse: "We adore Your Cross, O Master, and we glorify Your holy Resurrection." Epistle and Gospel of the Sunday. Kinonikon of the Sunday.

Today begins the Virgin's Fast at the same time as the recitation of the Office of the Paraklisis at Compline in honor of the Holy Theotokos.

August 2

Translation of the relics of the holy Protomartyr and
Archdeacon Stephen (415)

After Saint Stephen was stoned to death, the holy martyr's teacher, Gamaliel, encouraged some Christians to come during the night to remove the Saint's body and bury it in his field. This field was twenty miles from Jerusalem and was called by its owner's name, Kaphargamala, that is, the village of Gamala, where he himself was buried some years later. A venerable priest named Lucian, attached to a church bordering on the field, thanks to a revelation from heaven, knew the place where the protomartyr was buried. This occurred in 415 under Emperor Theodosius the Younger. He immediately told it to John, the Bishop of Jerusalem. He went to the indicated place in company with Eutonius, the Bishop of Sebastea, and Eleutherios, the Bishop of Jericho. They dug away the soil and found a sarcophagus on which Stephen's name was written in Hebrew letters. They opened it, took out the precious relic, and solemnly transferred it to Jerusalem.

Fifth Class Feast.

August 3

Memory of our venerable Fathers Isaac, Dalmatios (+440),
and Faustos (+after 451)

Saint Isaac is commemorated in a more special manner on May 30.

Saint Dalmatios was originally a soldier of the Second Legion of the "Scholarii." For God's love, he separated from his wife and daughter, took his son Faustos with him and went to Saint Isaac to embrace the monastic life. He reached a high degree of perfection in monastic life. With Dalmatios' resources, Saint Isaac built a monastery. Dalmatios succeeded him as head of this monastery after the year 406. In 431, he attended, as a participant, the Third Ecumenical Council of Ephesus where he displayed his zeal for the Orthodox faith against Nestorius. He died around 440, leaving his own son Faustos to succeed him. Faustos died at an uncertain date, after the Fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451.

Fifth Class Feast.

August 4

Memory of the Seven Holy Children of Ephesus

The holy Martyr Eudocia

If the tradition is to be believed, the Seven Children of Ephesus, walled up alive in a grotto under Emperor Decius in 250 would have fallen asleep for one hundred and eighty-four years and would have been awakened during Theodosius the Younger's reign. By a divine order, they fell asleep again and died in 434. The Church also commemorates them on October 22.

As for the holy martyr Eudocia, she is also commemorated on March 1.

Fifth Class Feast.

August 5

Pre-festive Day of the Holy Transfiguration of Our Lord, God,
and Savior Jesus Christ

Memory of the holy Martyr Eusignios (+362)

A native of Antioch, Saint Eusignios suffered martyrdom in Antioch under Julian the Apostate around 362. For many years he had won fame while in the imperial armies. Led before the Emperor to be submitted to interrogation, he confounded his judge by recalling to him that he had betrayed his fathers' faith and given adoration to vain idols which is due only to God. He extolled Constantine the Great's virtues before him, saying how he had been led to Christ's faith following an apparition, and how he had been wise and expert in the affairs of state for many years. Emperor Julian mocked the martyr and had him beheaded. Saint Eusignios concluded his martyrdom in this manner.

Fifth Class Feast.

August 6

The Holy Transfiguration of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ

It is likely that this feast has its beginnings in the dedication of the churches built on Mount Thabor. It is found at the beginning of the Sixth century among the Nestorians and in the Seventh century among the West Syrians. Received by some western churches, it was introduced into the Roman calendar by Pope Callistus III in 1457 in thanksgiving for John Hunyadi's victory over the Turks.

Among the miraculous manifestations of the Lord's omnipotence, the Transfiguration holds an exceptional place in the series of progressive preparations by which Christ introduced His redeeming mission to His disciples. The Apostles' faith was to remain fragile until after the Resurrection. Knowing the weakness of the human heart, the Lord knew in advance at what point His passion and death would scandalize His disciples. According to a very human perspective, they unduly saw their Master's future reign as the realization of the temporal kingdom of the Jewish people. In such a mind, the complete failure of the mission on the political plane which they were attributing to the Savior would naturally end in a complete confusion of hearts. To fortify them, Jesus takes with Him on the mountain Peter, James, and John, the first among the Apostles and the foundation of the nascent community, and becomes transfigured before them. He shows them the resplendence of divine glory projecting from the human nature assumed by the Word: Glory which remains hidden to us, to we mortals, but which will become the joy of our eyes after the last resurrection when we will see God face to face.

For the three Apostles, the representatives of the new humanity, it is a particular Theophany, a personal demonstration of Christ's absolute supremacy which presents itself between Moses and Elia, the two great witnesses of the Law and the Promise. It affirms Christ's eternal reign over all time, over the beginning and the end.

Amidst this divine brilliance which today radiates in evidence of His visible body, the Lord converses with Moses and Elia. Saint Luke (Luke 9:31) tells us: "They spoke of His death which He was about to fulfill in Jerusalem." There is then a particular will of the Lord to show in His Person the bond between glory and Passion on the Cross. In the Byzantine Office the preparation for the feast of the Exaltation of the Venerable and Life-giving Cross (September 14) begins this very day by the reading of this feast's Katavasia at Matins. The office very unjustly then associates glory and the Cross. It is the meaning of today's feast. If the Word took a human nature and if, by His Incarnation, He marvelously transfigured this nature in Himself, it is to bring about our salvation in the Father's glory. He purchased this salvation for us by the Cross. A witness of the Transfiguration, Saint John, tells us that the Lord's glory shone with a particular brilliance on the day of His Passion on the Cross, because it is there that He accomplished the mission for which He had divinized human nature in Himself on the day of the Incarnation.

It is a paradox for human wisdom, but the light of intelligence for the sons of the Kingdom. It is the very brilliance of glory "as of the only-begotten of the Father" (John 1:14). If this glory shone thus through a human body, it is because this body had been assumed by God in order to conquer death and sin by His own death.

The Transfiguration announces the Savior's Resurrection and His return in glory at the end of time. The Apostles did not understand Him on that very day. "For he (Peter) did not know what to say, for they were struck with fear" (Mark 9:5). The icon remained graven in their hearts, with the Father's words: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear Him" (Matthew 17:5).

This glorious manifestation is "the seal of the divine catechesis which, little by little, prepared the Apostles for their mission." The experience of trial and misgiving will still be necessary for them to see either denial or flight, in order to understand on Resurrection Day the significance of today's event. Purified in the Holy Spirit and strong in faith, it is at this time when they could drink of the same chalice of suffering as their Master and participate in His victory. "You shall devour the strength of nations on account of their riches, O beloved disciples, and you will be an object of admiration for you shall be filled with glory, when I will have appeared to you more brilliant than the sun..." (First Ode). Thus the divinization of human nature is realized in man redeemed by the Word's Incarnation. "On this day, on Mount Thabor, Christ transformed Adam's dark nature; having covered it with His brilliance, He divinized it" (Small Vespers).

First Class Feast, follow the general order of a First Class Feast.

August 7

Second Day of the Feast of the Holy Transfiguration of
Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ

Memory of the holy Hosiomartyr Dometios (+362)

Of Persian descent, Saint Dometios lived in the times of Emperor Constantine the Great. Initiated in the Christian faith by a certain Abarus, he went to Nisibis, a city situated on the borders of Persia and the Roman Empire. He entered one of the city's monasteries. Dometios received baptism and was clothed in the monastic habit. His piety and austerity aroused the monk's anger against him. Upon the devil's incitement the monks chased him from their monastery. Then he went to the monastery of Saints Sergius and Bacchus in Theodosiopolis (Erzeroum), and became Archimandrite Ourbel's disciple. Having tested him, Archimandrite Ourbel had him ordained a deacon, and was likewise going to elevate him to the dignity of the priesthood when the Saint, coming to know it, fled to Cyr. He withdrew to a mountain where he mortified himself in withstanding the heat, cold, and all the seasons' inclemencies. He then lived for some time in an artificial grotto where he welcomed in Christ's name all those who came to him and converted them from paganism to the Christian faith. While this was going on, Emperor Julian the Apostate, happening to pass through these regions, ordered that the Saint be stoned to death. The imperial emissaries found him in the company of two disciples busy singing divine praises at the third hour of day. They crushed the Saint and his two disciples under a shower of stones, in 362.

Fifth Class Feast.

August 8

Third Day of the Feast of the Holy Transfiguration of
Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ

Memory of the holy Aimilianos the Confessor,
Bishop of Cyzicus (+between 730 and 740)

Having suffered multiple tribulations and exiles from the ungodly Emperor Leo the Isaurian in defense of the Holy Icons, Saint Aimilianos obtained the confessor's palm and died in the Lord around 730-740.

Fifth Class Feast.

August 9

Fourth Day of the Feast of the Holy Transfiguration of
Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ

Memory of the holy Apostle Matthias (First century)

At first one of our Lord's Seventy Disciples, Saint Matthias was admitted as one of the Apostles to replace Judas Iscariot. Nothing certain can be affirmed concerning what he did after that.

Fifth Class Feast.

August 10

Fifth Day of the Feast of the Holy Transfiguration of
Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ

Memory of the holy Martyr and Archdeacon Laurence (+258)

Saint Laurence was archdeacon of the Roman Church. He guarded the church's vessels and distributed its goods to the poor. At the time of Emperor Valerian's terrible persecution, the Bishop of Rome, Saint Sixtus II, was beheaded in Callistus' cemetery. According to the witness of Pope Saint Damasus I (366-384) who extolled and rendered the martyrs' memory illustrious by his poetical inscriptions, Saint Laurence was also seized and cruelly beaten. His fingernails were pulled out. He was delivered over to the fire and was submitted to many other tortures. Thrown into prison, he triumphed over all by his faith and ended his martyrdom in 258.

Fifth Class Feast.

August 11

Sixth Day of the Feast of the Holy Transfiguration of
Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ

Memory of the holy Martyr Euplos (+304)

Saint Eupolos suffered martyrdom in Catana, Sicily under Emperors Diocletian and Maximian on August 12, 304. He was a plebian by birth. Euplos possessed a manuscript of the Holy Gospels. He spontaneously presented himself to Cabistianus, the "Corrector" or Prefect of Sicily, saying: "I wish to die. I am a Christian!" After having interrogated him, the Prefect put him in prison. Four months later, he interrogated him again concerning the holy books which he possessed against the Emperor's prohibition. Then he had him cruelly beaten and condemned him to death.

Fifth Class Feast.

August 12

Seventh Day of the Feast of the Holy Transfiguration of
Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ

Memory of the holy Martyrs Photios and Anicetos (+305)

It is believed that these holy martyrs suffered for the faith in Nicomedia of Bithynia under Emperor Diocletian around 305. Saint Photios was Saint Anicetos' nephew.

Fifth Class Feast.

Saint Maximos the Confessor's memory is also anticipated form August 13.

August 13

The Closing Day of the Feast of the Holy Transfiguration of
Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ

Translation of the relics of our venerable Father Maximos
the Confessor (after 680)

Saint Maximos the Confessor is commemorated on January 21. Today we commemorate the translation of his holy relics from Lazia to Constantinople, which took place after the Sixth Ecumenical Council of 680.

Follow the general order for the Closing Day of a First Class Feast.

August 14

Pre-festive Day of the Dormition of our
Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

Memory of the holy Prophet Michea (Eighth century B.C.)

The holy prophet Michea was born in Moreseth, near Eleutheropolis. He prophecied under Joatham, Achaz, and Ezechia, Kings of Juda (742-687). A contemporary of Isaia, he is considered as the sixth of the Minor Prophets.

Fifth Class Feast.

August 15

The Dormition of Our Most Holy Lady,
the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

Here is what the Church has received from ancient Patristic tradition concerning the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary. The time having come when it pleased Our Lord to take His holy Mother close to Him, her passage from this transitory life to eternal and blessed life was announced to her by an angel three days in advance. Having understood this, the Virgin hastened to ascend the Mount of Olives to pray there and thank God. She then returned home and made the necessary preparations fro her burial. Meanwhile, carried on clouds from the ends of the earth where they had scattered to preach the Gospel, the Apostles were gathered together at the Holy Virgin's home. She explained to them the reason for their unexpected gathering and consoled them in a motherly fashion. She raised her hands to heaven, prayed for world peace, blessed the Apostles, and, rising on her bed, took the posture that she wished and thusly committed her most holy soul into the hands of her Son and her God...

The Apostles carried her holy body and buried it in Gethsemani. Three days later during a gathering for consolation, where in accord with their custom, they raised bread in Jesus' name, the Virgin appeared to them in the sky and said to them: "Rejoice!" They knew by that that she had ascended into heaven with her body.

Today's feast has its origin in the anniversary of the dedication of a church of the Virgin located between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Built by the Roman woman Ikelia, this church perhaps commemorates a "station" where, according to tradition, tired from her trip the Virgin Mary rested before arriving in Bethlehem to give birth to the Child. As a matter of fact this place was named "Kathisma" (station).

It seems that the memory of Mary's Dormition was first solemnized among the Syrian Jacobites at the beginning of the Sixth century on January 15 in Antioch, whereas in the West, "Saint Mary's feast" or, simply, the Assumption, according to Gregory of Tours, was commemorated in the middle of the eleventh month (that is, January), either on the fifteenth or the eighteenth.

The feast of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary was extended to the whole Byzantine empire by Emperor Maurice between 588 and 602. It was introduced in Rome by Pope Theodore I (642-649), who came from Jerusalem's clergy.

Second Class Feast, follow the general order of a Second Class Feast.

August 16

Second Day of the Feast of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady,
the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

Translation from Edessa to Constantinople of the Icon
not painted by human hands of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
that is, of the Holy Shroud

Memory of the holy Martyr Diomedes
(beginning of the Fourth century)

It is believed that this Icon "not made by human hands" was transferred to Constantinople in 944. According to tradition, this famous icon was sent by Our Lord Himself to Abgar V, the King of Odessa.

Fifth Class Feast.

Troparia: of the Icon not painted by human hands of Our Lord Jesus Christ; of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary; and of the Church Patron. Kondakion of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary. Epistle and Gospel from the Menologion. Kinonikon of the Sunday.

In occurrence with a Sunday: Troparia: of the Resurrection; of the Icon not painted by human hands of Our Lord Jesus Christ; of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary; and of the Church Patron. Kondakion of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary. Epistle and Gospel of the Sunday.

August 17

Third Day of the Feast of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady,
the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

Memory of the holy Martyr Myron (+under Decius, 249-251)

Saint Myron suffered for the faith in Cyzicus, Propontis, under Emperor Decius (249-251). He was a priest with natural meekness, of a noble and wealthy family, loved by God and men. On the feast of the Nativity according to the Flesh of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ, Antipatras, the Governor of Achaia, entered the Church in order to seize Christians and submit them to tortures. Inflamed by a divine zeal, the Saint answered back bravely...After multiple tortures, he died by the sword in Cyzicus.

Fifth Class Feast.

August 18

Fourth Day of the Feast of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady,
the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

Memory of the holy Martyrs Floros and Lauros (?)

These holy martyrs suffered for the faith in Illyricum at an uncertain date. They were twin brothers and sculptors by profession. They had learned this art from Proclos and Maximos. When their teachers had suffered martyrdom, they left Byzantium and went to take up their abode in the city of Ulpiana in Dardania of Illycricum, where they found good marble to carry on their art... They died in prison for having destroyed the idols in a pagan temple.

Fifth Class Feast.

August 19

Fifth Day of the Feast of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady,
the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

Memory of the holy Martyr Andrew the Leader of Armies
and his companions (end of the Third century)

These holy martyrs suffered for the faith under Emperor Maximian around the end of the Third century. Saint Andrew fought on the eastern borders under the orders of Antiochus, the commanding general of the legion. He was sent by Antiochus, at the head of an army, to drive back the Persians who had penetrated far into Roman territory. Invoking Christ's name and persuading his companions to do likewise, he put the enemy armies to flight and chased them. By this unexpected victory, he converted his soldiers to Christ's faith, thanks to which they had escaped their enemies. Accused of being a Christian, Saint Andrew as well as his companions had to appear before Antiochus. After multiple tortures, they all perished by the sword.

Fifth Class Feast.

August 20

Sixth Day of the Feast of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady,
the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

Memory of the holy Prophet Samuel (+ca. 1010 B.C.)

Samuel was born in Ramathaim-sophim on Mount Ephraim. He was of the tribe of Levi. His father's name was Elcana and his mother's name was Anna. Elcana had two wives, Anna and Phenenna. Phenenna had some children, but Anna did not have any children. Elcana with his whole family went to adore God at Silo where there was a priest of the Lord, Heli, and his two sons, Ophni and Phinees. The Lord had made Anna sterile, and her rival afflicted her to embitter her. She prayed to God and God remember her. She gave birth to a son whom she named Samuel. She offered him to God in singing the third of the Old Testament's canticles: "My heart throbbed for joy in God..." The child grew in age and stature. He served God and became a great prophet. Having aroused God's anger, Heli and his two sons were destroyed by the Lord's wrath. Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life and never received gifts. He annointed Saul and David Kings of Israel, and died at a very old age at the end of Saul's reign, around the year 1010 before Our Lord.

Fifth Class Feast.

August 21

Seventh Day of the Feast of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady,
the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

Memory of the holy apostle Thaddeus

The holy Martyr Bassa (beginning of the Fourth century)

Saint Thaddeus, also called Lebbaios, does not seem to be distinct from Saint Jude who is commemorated on June 19.

Saint Bassa suffered martyrdom on the island of Halon in Hellespont, under Emperor Maximian around the beginning of the Fourth century.

Fifth Class Feast.

August 22

Eighth Day of the Feast of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady,
the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

Memory of the holy Martyr Agathonicos and his companions
Zotikos, Zeno, Theoprepes, Akindinos, and Severian (?)

At an uncertain date, perhaps under Emperor Maximian, Saint Agathonicos suffered martyrdom in Selybria on the northern bank of the Bosphorus. He was beheaded after multiple tortures. A prince whom he had converted and many other Christians were also beheaded.

Fifth Class Feast.

Anticipated from August 23, remembrance is also made of Saint Luppos. He does not have a special Troparion.

August 23

Closing Day of the Feast of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady,
the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

Memory of the holy Martyr Luppos (?)

At an uncertain date Saint Luppos suffered martyrdom in Nobes in Lesser Mysia. He seems to have been Saint Demetrius' disciple.

All is taken as on the day of the Feast, except the Epistle and Gospel which are of the day.

August 24

Memory of the holy Hieromartyr Eutyches (?)

Filled with divine grace, Saint Eutyches met the Apostle John and was baptized by him. He traveled through the country preaching the Gospel. Having overturned some pagan idols and temples, he was put in chains, beaten, and then thrown into prison where he received bread descended from heaven. Taken out of prison, he was thrown into a fiery furnace and handed over to wild beasts as fodder. Remaining unscathed in the midst of all these tortures, he returned to Sebastea, his birthplace, guided and fortified by an angel. There he committed his soul to God in old age.

Fifth Class Feast.

From this day forward, on Sundays and Major Feasts, the Kondakion is that of the Nativity of our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary (September 8).

August 25

Translation of the relics of the holy Apostle Bartholomew

Memory of the holy Apostle Titus (First century)

A pagan of Greek descent, Saint Titus believed in Christ through Saint Paul's instrumentality. He became Saint Paul's disciple. He followed him especially during his third voyage and was a great help to him in preaching the Gospel. After his first captivity in Rome, the Apostle proceeded to Crete, preached the faith there, and, when departing, left his disciple Titus "in order to complete that which remained to be done and to appoint priests in each city" (Titus 1:5). Later Paul directed the epistle to him which still bears his name. It is not known what subsequently became of Saint Titus. Honored for some time at Gortyna in Crete, his holy relics were transferred to Venice where they were preserved in the magnificent church of Saint Mark the Apostle. Pope Paul VI returned Saint Titus' relics to Crete on August 22, 1965.

Fifth Class Feast.

August 26

Memory of the holy Martyrs Adrian and Natalia
(end of the Third century)

Saint Adrian and his wife Saint Natalia were natives of Nicomedia. Under Emperor Maximian twenty-three Christians who were hiding in caves were seized and subjected to all kinds of tortures. Before concluding their martyrdom Adrian asked them: "For what reason do you suffer these agonies and all these unbearable tortures?" They answered: "In order to merit the delights reserved by God for those who suffer for Him, delights which neither ear can hear nor speech express." Moved by divine grace, Adrian immediately told the scribe to enter his name among those of the Christians. He said: "I am happy to die with them..." After multiple tortures, he died during a beating.

Fifth Class Feast.

August 27

Memory of our venerable Father Poemen (Fourth century)

Saint Poemen was born in Egypt. He withdrew to the desert and became a monk with his brothers. He reached such a high degree of perfection that he was like the father, director, and educator of all the anchorites of Egypt and Thebais. He died at a very old age sometime during the Fourth century.

Fifth Class Feast.

August 28

Memory of our venerable Father Moses the Ethiopian (Fourth century)

(Our holy Father Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (+430))

Saint Moses was a slave of Ethiopian descent. His master had expelled him from his home for his difficult disposition and in consequence of murder and theft. For some time he became the leader of some brigands. Moved by grace in a weighty circumstance of his life, he gave himself up to a monastery and did penance there in order to bring his old companions back to Christ's faith. He lived in a saintly manner in the desert of Skete and received priestly ordination. He died sometime during the Fourth century at the age of seventy-five, leaving seventy disciples after him.

(Saint Augustine was born on November 13, 354 in Tagaste, Numidia. His father Patricius was a pagan and his mother Monica was a Christian. After brilliant studies in Tagaste, Madaura, and Carthage, during which he led a dissolute life, he became united to the Manichean sect. He taught for some time in Carthage, then in Rome and Milan. In Milan he met Saint Ambrose and was converted to the true faith and finally started in the ways of sanctity (386), as he later related in his famous "Confessions." As early as 391 he was elevated to the priesthood in Hippo. He became Bishop of Hippo in 396. During his thirty-four year episcopate he instructed his people and composed numerous treatises on various questions, particularly upon the defense of the Orthodox faith against the Manichean, Donatist, and Pelagian heretics. He died on August 28, 430, at the time when the Vandals were besieging his episcopal city.)

Fifth Class Feast.

August 29

Beheading of the Honored and Glorious Prophet,
Precursor and Baptist John

A fast day whatever its occurrence

Around the Feast of Passover, Herod Antipas had the holy Precursor's head cut off. Today's date, however, is the anniversary of the dedication of a church in Sebastea (Samaria), where the tombs of the Precursor and the Prophet Elia are venerated. Later on this feast spread to the whole Church.

At present the head of Saint John the Baptist is venerated in the Church of Saint Silvester in Rome, on the Field of Mars. It was taken there from Homs (Syria).

Although this is a great feast, according to the classic discipline of the Byzantine Church, fast is in rigor today to indicate our horror at Herod's luxurious banquet and homicide.

Third Class Feast, follow the general order of a Third Class Feast.

August 30

Second Day of the Feast of the Beheading of the
Honored and Glorious Prophet,
Precursor and Baptist John

Memory of our Fathers among the Saints,
the Archbishop of Constantinople Alexander (238-337),
John II (+518), and Paul the Younger (+784)

Saint Alexander was born around 238. At first he was a priest of Saint Metrophanes, the Bishop of Byzantium, whom he succeeded in 314. Deceived by the ungodly Arius, Emperor Constantine vainly tried to make him receive this heretical bishop into ecclesiastical communion. Sustained by imperial power, Arius made his way towards the church when he suffered a stomach ache. His entrails poured out and he died in 337. After having wisely governed God's Church for twenty-three years, Saint Alexander died in peace around the year 337.

A native of Cappadocia, Saint John was a priest and synkellos of the Church of Constantinople. Upon Patriarch Timothy's death he was elected Archbishop of Constantinople by Emperor Anastasius on Easter Tuesday of the year 518. That very year Anastasius died and was replaced by the pious Emperor Justin. Saint John convoked two synods in Constantinople against the Monophysites. A man of great virtue, he slept in the Lord in 518, in the month of February.

Saint Paul the Younger was a native of Cyprus. In the hierarchy he held the rank of lector and excelled in word and deed. After a long vacancy caused by the Iconoclast heresy in the see of Constantinople, he was elected Patriarch of Constantinople against his will on the second Sunday of Great Lent in 780. At the time of his ordination he subscribed to a document for fear of the terrible Leo the Khazar in which he declared not to render veneration to Icons. Before long the Emperor died and the Patriarch who was sick, without Empress Irene's knowledge, left his throne and went to the monastery of Flauros to don the monastic habit. Calling together the patricians and eminent persons of he Senate, Empress Irene sent them to obtain the Saint's advice. Saint Paul told them: "If an Ecumenical Council is not gathered and if the error which is among you is not corrected, there is no salvation for you." The Saint died in peace in 784, leaving behind him a great sorrow in the hearts of the Empress and the pious men of the empire. Saint Paul was a very respectable man, charitable without measure, and worthy of all veneration. The empire and the Empress had great confidence in him. In this epoch, speaking openly of the veneration of Icons had already begun. His successor was Saint Tarasios, under whom the Seventh Ecumenical Council in 787 was held, the second of Nicaea, and the first reestablishment of the Holy Icons took place.

Fifth Class Feast.

Troparia: of the Beheading of the Honored and Glorious Prophet, Precursor and Baptist John (as on August 29): and of the holy Archbishops of Constantinople.

August 31

The Placing of the Precious Girdle of the
Most Holy Theotokos at Chalcoprateia (Sixth or Ninth century)

According to some the Holy Virgin's girdle was found in the see of Zela in Cappadocia under Emperor Justinian (527-565). According to others it was found under the Emperors Constantine and Roman Prophyrogenitus in 941, and placed in the holy reliquary at Chalcoprateia.

Fourth Class Feast. Typika and Beatitudes. Troparia: of the Placing of the Precious Girdle of the Most Holy Theotokos at Chalcoprateia, and of the Church Patron. Kondakion of the Placing of the Precious Girdle of the Most Holy Theotokos at Chalcoprateia, and of the Church Patron. Kondakion of the Placing of the Precious Girdle of the Most Holy Theotokos at Chalcoprateia. Epistle and Gospel from the Menologian. Kinonikon of the Placing of the Precious Girdle of the Most Holy Theotokos at Chalcoprateia.

In occurrence with a Sunday: Typika and Beatitudes. Isodikon of the Sunday. Troparia: of the Resurrection, of the Placing of the Precious Girdle of the Most Holy Theotokos at Chalcoprateia, and of the Church Patron. Kondakion of the Placing of the Precious Girdle of the Most Holy Theotokos at Chalcoprateia. Epistle of the Placing of the Precious Girdle of the Most Holy Theotokos at Chalcoprateia, Gospel of the Sunday.