March Synaxarion

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

March 1

Memory of the holy Martyr Eudocia
(beginning of the Second century)

A native of Heliopolis in Phoenicia, Saint Eudocia lived in the times of Emperor Trajan (98-117). At first she led a licentious life, enticed a large number of men to evil by her rare beauty, and amassed riches of great value. Having heard a certain Germanus, a monk, speak on religion and repentance, she was converted to Christ and baptized by Bishop Theodotos, thus obeying celestial apparitions which were made to her. Enraptured in ecstasy one day, she saw herself led to heaven by an angel. The heavenly spirits rejoiced over her conversion but a black creature with a terrible glance moaned and cried out that it was unjust to deliver such a sinner. After having distributed her goods to the poor, the Saint retired to a monastery and there practiced all the ascetical exercises. She was brought before Emperor Adrian (117- 138), accused by the very ones whom she had formerly corrupted. Working miracles and curing the Emperor's son, she converted the latter to the Christian faith. Some time later she was again obliged to appear before Diogenes, the governor of Heliopolis, but her miracles gave her another release. Finally she was beheaded under Vicentius, Diogenes' successor.

Fifth Class Feast.

March 2

Memory of the Holy Hieromartyr Theodotos,
Bishop of Cyrene in Cyprus (+ca. 321)

Saint Theodotos lived under Emperor Licinius and Sibinus, the governor of Cyprus. Led before the governor for Christ's faith, he was cruelly beaten with ox ligaments. Then he was suspended and stretched across an iron bedstead heated in the fire. As he remained there unhurt, nails were driven into his feet and he was finally delivered when the persecution ended. He died two years later.

Fifth Class Feast.

March 3

Memory of the holy Martyrs Eutropios,
Cleonicos, and Basiliskos (?)

Natives of Cappadocia, these holy martyrs were comrades in arms and relatives of the holy martyr Theodore. They lived under Emperor Maximian (285-305). They were brought before President Asclepiodotus and beaten so cruelly that the executioners themselves were exhausted. Saint Eutropios was slapped on the mouth for having offended the President. These holy martyrs were cured of their wounds by an apparition of Our Lord and Saint Theodore. Amazed by such a miracle, a large number of pagans believed in Christ and were beheaded. Then, changing his method, the President tried to lead Saint Cleonicos to repudiate the Christian faith by flattery and promises. Far from allowing himself to be corrupted, the Saint drew himself up bravely and laughed at the President's stupidity and the idols' powerlessness. These holy martyrs turned over Artemis' statue by their prayers. Then they were plunged into three caldrons of boiling wax and pitch, but they were left unharmed. Finally, Saints Eutropios and Cleonicos were crucified. Saint Basiliskos was thrown into prison and died there a year later, on May 22.

Fifth Class Feast.

March 4

Memory of our venerable Father Gerasimos of Jordan (+475)

A native of Lycia, this holy father was consecrated to God from his infancy by his Christian parents. He was raised in the exercises of monastic life inside a coenobium. Becoming an adult, at first he withdrew to the most solitary places in his country. He went to Jerusalem around 451. After having venerated the Holy Places, he withdrew to Jordan and lived as an anchorite in the deserts near the Dead Sea. At the time of the Council of Chalcedon, he and the other anchorites in the desert adhered to the Aposchite sect. By Saint Euthymius' exhortations he adhered to the dogma defined by the holy Council. In 455 he founded a laura with a coenobium at its center in the desert of Jordan. He stipulated that beginners remain in the coenobium and that those more advanced live separately in cells, each one spending the first five weekdays in his cell but coming to the church on Saturdays and Sundays to receive Holy Communion and to partake in the common meal in the coenobium. He died on March 5, 475, at the beginning of Emperor Zeno's reign. His laura which had no less than seventy anchorites was destroyed around the Tenth century.

Fifth Class Feast.

March 5

Memory of the holy Martyr Conon the Isaurian (+275)

A native of Nazareth, Galilee, Saint Conon lived in the times of Emperor Decius (249-251). He went to Magydus in Pamphylia and lived in a place called Karmena where the peacefully cultivated his garden and plants, his only means of support. He was a very simple-mannered man. Those who came to seize him amused themselves in greeting him. The Saint replied simply to their greeting. When they informed him that President Publius asked for him, he answered: "What does he require of me who am a Christian? Let him call his co-religionists then!" He was seized and dragged before the President who ordered him to sacrifice to idols. The Saint sighed profoundly, answered the President sharply, and reaffirmed his wish to remain a Christian. Then iron nails were driven into his feet and he was compelled to run before a chariot. Growing weak before long, he fell on his knees and gave up his soul in prayer.

Fifth Class Feast.

March 6

Memory of the Forty-two Holy Martyrs of Amorium (+848):
Theodore, Constantine, Callistos, Theophilos,
Bassoi and their companions.

These holy martyrs of noble birth were led as captives to Irenopolis (Baghdad), when Amorium, then the metropolis of Second Galatia, fell into the hands of Caliph al-Mutasim on September 24, 838. Under Iconoclast Emperor Theophilos they occupied the high positions of commanding officers and military leaders. Threats, promises, long tortures, and imprisonments were not able to lead them to betray Christ. Refusing with courage to disown the Christian faith, they were beheaded on March 6, 848, under Caliph al-Mutawakkil.

Fifth Class Feast.

March 7

Memory of the holy Hieromartyrs Ephrem, Basil,
Eugene, Agathodoros, Caption, Etherios,
and Elpidios, Bishops of Cherson (?)

In the times of Emperor Diocletian, two bishops were sent out by Hermon, the Bishop of Jerusalem, to preach the faith-Ephrem to Scythia and Basil to Cherson. When Basil had announced Christ, he was beaten and expelled from the territory. Having brought the son of the leader of that territory back to life, he was recalled and allowed to baptize the leader and a large number of his subjects. Nevertheless the infidels revolted, tying him up and dragging him by the feet until he expired. After him, Eugene, Agathodoros, Caption, and Elpidios came to announce Christ, but the pagans again revolted and massacred them. Then Saint Etherios was sent from Jerusalem. Upon seeing the savagery of these tribes, he went to Constantinople to ask Emperor Constantine's support. Thanks to him, he was able to expel the idolators from Cherson and build a church there. The Saint returned once more to Constantinople to thank the Emperor. He was very thrown by a violent wind into the mouth of the Danapris River and perished in it.

Fifth Class Feast.

March 8

Memory of our venerable Father and Confessor Theophylaktos,
Metropolitan of Nicomedia (+845).

Famous throughout the whole East, Saint Theophylaktos went to Constantinople and was put into the service of Saint Tarasios who was First Imperial Secretary at that time. Elected Patriarch in 787, Saint Tarasios built a monastery in Hieron at the entrance of Pontus Euxinus into which he admitted Theophylaktos and Michael of Synnada. He subsequently consecrated Michael, Metropolitan of Synnada, and Theophylaktos, Metropolitan of Nicomedia. Saint Tarasios died in 806. Becoming Emperor in 813, Leo the Armenian made war against the Holy Icons and in 815 exiled Theophylaktos to the island of Strobilus. He died there in 845, after thirty years of difficult sufferings. When the heresy ceased many years later during the patriarchate of Saint Methodius (843-847), the Saint's body was brought back from exile and buried in Nicomedia in a church which the Saint had built.

Fifth Class Feast.

March 9

Memory of the Forty Holy Martyrs who
Bore Witness in the City of Sebastea (+322 or 323).

Natives of different countries, but all serving in the same legion, these holy martyrs suffered in Sabastea, Armenia, under Emperor Licinius about 322-323. Having confessed the Christian faith, they were seized and subjected to interrogation. Upon their refusal to sacrifice to idols, they were put in chains, imprisoned, and sentenced by the head of the army to be exposed nude in the middle of a frozen lake near the city during a winter night. In the morning they were still alive.

Their legs were broken, and so they obtained their crown of martyrdom. Loaded then on chariots, they were thrown into a fire and their ashes were thrown into the river.

This Third Class Feast occurs from the Wednesday of the first week of Great Lent (Easter on April 25) until the Monday of Great Week (Easter on March 22).

In occurrence with fast days, the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is celebrated with the Vespers of March 10. Entrance with the Gospel Book. Epistle and Gospel of the Forty Holy Martyrs. Kinonikon of the Forty Holy Martyrs.

In occurrence with the first Saturday of Great Lent: Typika and Beatitudes. Troparia: of the Forty Holy Martyrs, of Saint Theodore, and of the Church Patron. Ordinary Kondakion. Epistle of the Forty Holy Martyrs, Gospel from the Triodion. Ordinary Hirmos. Kinonikon of the Forty Holy Martyrs.

In occurrence with a Sunday of Great Lent: Antiphons on the first and third Sundays; otherwise, Typika and Beatitudes. Troparia: of the Resurrection, of the Triodion, of the Forty Holy Martyrs, and of the Church Patron. Kondakion of March 25. Epistle of the Forty Holy Martyrs, Gospel from the Triodion. Kinonikon of the Sunday (on the third Sunday, the Kinonikon of the Cross is said). On the third Sunday, after Communion, the Troparion of the Cross.

In occurrence with a Saturday of Great Lent, only the Forty Holy Martyrs are commemorated.

In occurrence with Akathist Saturday: Typika and Beatitudes. Troparia: of the Akathist, of the Forty Holy Martyrs, and of the Church Patron. Kondakion of the Akathist. Epistle of the Forty Holy Martyrs, Gospel from the Triodion. Hirmos and Kinonikon of the Akathist.

March 10

Memory of the holy Martyr Quadratus of Corinth
and his companions (+258).

Natives of Corinth, these holy martyrs lived under Emperors Decius and Valerian, and Jason, the Governor of Greece.

Having lost his mother in childhood, Saint Quadratus was helped from on high...Perfect and virtuous, although a child, he helped his young companions who associated with him to sanctify themselves also. He surpassed them all and taught them truth. After some time, because of Christ's faith, they were accused and arrested by the idolaters. Cruelly beaten and tortured in every way, they were beheaded.

Fifth Class Feast.

March 11

Memory of our Father among the Saints Sophronios,
Archbishop of Jerusalem (550-638).

Saint Sophronios was born of pious and wise parents in Damascus, about 550. Gifted with good natural qualities, he was instructed in all the secular and religious literatures. Around 578, he went to Saint Theodosius' laura under Archimandrite George. From there he went to Alexandria, Egypt. Always aspiring for greater knowledge, he met the famous John Moschos and was able to thus realize his desire. The two friends mutually communicated their knowledge. Sophronios became a monk in Egypt in 580. He again went to Saint Theodosius' laura. Accompanied by John Moschus, he traveled all over Palestine and Syria from 600 to 606. At the time of the Persian invasion of Palestine in 606, he fled to Alexandria where he was healed of an eye disease by Saints Cyrus and John. To show his gratitude, he wrote down all the miracles worked by them. After the capture of the Holy City by the Persians in 614, he left for Rome with John Moschus who died there. In 619, Sophronios returned to Saint Theodosius' laura with the remains of his friend and teacher. When Palestine was delivered by Emperor Heraclius in 628, he left again for Alexandria with Saint John the Almsgiver. With Saint Maximos the Confessor, he courageously denounced the Monothelite heresy. He was elected Patriarch of Jerusalem in 634 for his knowledge and great virtue. After the flight of the Roman army, he tried in vain to save the Holy City. He had to surrender it to Caliph Omar I in 637. He wrote many works and governed his flock so well that he was regarded as the mouth of Christ. He died on March 11, 638.

Fifth Class Feast.

March 12

Memory of our venerable Father and
Confessor Theophanes of Sigriana (+817).

Saint Theophanes' parents, Isaac and Theodota, were as pious as they were rich. Upon her husband's death, Theodota undertook the education of her son. Married when he was twelve years old, Theophanes persuaded his wife to remain a virgin. He made her enter the monastery of Pringuipou. After distributing his goods to the poor, he embraced monastic life on Mount Sigriana in the Great Agros, on the Asiatic shore of the Bosphorus, now called Koursiounlou by the Turks. The Iconoclast Emperor Leo the Armenian, raised to the throne of Constantinople in 813, pursued the Saint. He summoned him to Constantinople and called upon him to join his heresy. Upon his refusal he was thrown into prison. He was exiled to Samothrace where he died some time after in 817.

Fifth Class Feast.

March 13

Translation of the relics of our Father among the Saints,
Nicephoros, Archbishop of Constantinople (847)

Saint Nicephoros is commemorated on June 2. The translation of his relics to the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople took place on March 13, 847, under Patriarch Saint Methodius, the pious Empress Theodora, and Emperor Michael III.

Fifth Class Feast.

March 14

Memory of our venerable Father Benedict (ca. 480-547)

Saint Benedict was born in Nursia, Italy, about 480. Around the year 500, he abandoned all his paternal riches and his parents to withdraw in solitude. At first he went to Enfida, then to Subiaco where, drawing nearer to God by virtue and ascetic exercises, he obtained from Him the gift of miracles and healing. His example gave rise to numerous imitators. This is why he built a monastery on Monte Cassino in Campania and inaugurated a new kind of monastic life for which he himself determined the rules and practices. He was thus called by the just title of Teacher and Patriarch of Western Monks. He died in peace about 547. Part of his body is found at Monte Cassino and another part in France.

Fifth Class Feast.

March 15

Memory of the holy Martyr Agapios and his seven companions (+304)

These holy martyrs lived under Emperors Diocletian and Maximian. Agapios' native land in unknown. Timolaos was from Pontus, and Dionysius was from Tripolis, Phoenicia. Romylos was a subdeacon of the Church of Diospolis. Two others, Paesis and Alexander, were Egyptians. As for the seventh, named Alexander, he was a native of Gaza. Chaining their souls to Christ's love, they spontaneously bound their hands with chains and presented themselves to Urban, the Governor of Palestine, publicly declaring themselves as Christians. After having tried in vain by all sorts of threats and promises to make them give up the Christian faith, the governor ordered that they be beheaded on March 24, 304.

Fifth Class Feast.

March 16

Memory of the holy Hieromartyr Sabinos the Egyptian (+303 or 304)

Saint Sabinos was a native of Egypt. Under the threat of persecution he had left his home, parents, riches, and all the goods of the world in order to hide with some other Christians outside of the city in a small retreat. The idolaters arrested many Christians, but they particularly looked for Sabinos and were grieved not being able to find him. A beggar, who had gone in search of food close by the Saint, presented himself and said to them: "What will you give me if I deliver Sabinos to you?" They gave him two coins, followed him, and were able to seize the Saint in his hiding place. They bound him and led him to the President, who asked him: "Why did you despise the order of the Emperors and great gods and adore an unknown God?" The Saint answered: "I rather announce a God that you yourself must confess." Then after many tortures the Saint was thrown into the river where he was drowned.

Fifth Class Feast.

March 17

Memory of our venerable Father Alexis, the Man of God (Fourth or Fifth century).

Saint Alexis was born in Rome of noble and wealthy parents, who had given him in marriage. At the time he was to meet his young spouse, he fled from his paternal home and went to Edessa. There he withdrew to the church dressed in rags and kept his name and origin from everyone. He lived in this manner, asking alms and passing the whole night to the dawn of the following day in prayer with his hands raised toward heaven. Questioned by the sacristan he revealed the whole truth to him with an oath. Sometime later the man of God, as he was called, fell sick and committed his soul to God in the city's poor house. He was buried with strangers. Informed by the sacristan, Rabboula (412-435), the Bishop of Edessa surrounded the holy relic with great honors. In the process of time the anonymous Saint was called Alexis. In 977, Sergius, the Metropolitan of Damascus, left his see and took refuge in Rome close to Pope Benedict VII. He received from him Saint Boniface's Church on Aventine Hill where he built a monastery in honor of Saints Boniface and Alexis. At that time it was told how Saint Alexis had returned from Edessa to Rome and how he had lived unknown in his father's home as Saint John the Hut-Dweller had done, as Saint Joseph the Hymnographer relates in today's canon.

Fifth Class Feast.

18) Memory of our Father among the Saints Cyril, Archbishop of Jerusalem (between 313 and 315-387).

Saint Cyril was born in Jerusalem, or the vicinity, around 313-315. He was instructed in secular and religious knowledge. Saint Maximos, the Bishop of Jerusalem, ordained him to the priesthood. In 348, he delivered his twenty-five catecheses, rightly regarded as the oldest and most methodical summary of Christian doctrine. In the same year he was elected to succeed Maximos in the see of Jerusalem and canonically received the imposition of hands from the bishops of his province. Around the year 357 or 358, owing to Akakios' intrigues, the Arian Metropolitan of Caesaresea, Palestine, he was exiled to Tarsus. He regained his see at the Synod of Seleucia in 359. After the Synod of Constantinople in 360, he was exiled again until 362. Finally, supported by Saint Meletios, the Archbishop of Antioch, he again returned to his episcopal city at the death of Arian Emperor Constantius. When Julian the Apostate "ordered Solomon's Temple to be hastily rebuilt at the expense of the public treasury, recalling the prophet Daniel's word, confirmed by Our Lord, the Saint publically announced that the time had come, according to our Savior's word, when stone would not remain upon stone of this Temple. Actually, an earthquake occurred during the night which threw the stones of the ancient foundations into the air and dispersed them as well as the surrounding dwellings." Saint Cyril was exiled a third time by the Arian Emperor Valens in 367. He regained his throne at the Emperor's death in 378. He was one of the holy fathers of the Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople in 381. He died in 387.

Fifth Class Feast.

March 19

Memory of the holy Martyrs Chrysanthos and Daria (+283)

These holy martyrs suffered in Rome under Emperor Valerian in 283. Their bodies were discovered a long time afterwards by Pope Saint Damascus I (366-384). One of his successors Stephen VI (885-891), deposited their holy relics in the Church of the Holy Apostles Philip and James in the Lateran near the Forum of Trajan.

Fifth Class Feast.

March 20

Memory of our Venerable Fathers Massacred
in the Laura of Saints Sabbas (+796)

These holy monks were serving God in a holy manner in the laura of Saint Sabbas when the Arabs attacked them hoping for rich booty in 796. Finding nothing in the laura, they turned their rage against the monks, beheading some, cutting others to pieces, piercing them with their spears, scattering their entrails, and killing them by other different tortures.

Fifth Class Feast.

March 21

Memory of our venerable Father James the Confessor,
Bishop of Catana (+under Leo the Armenian, 813-820)

Saint James embraced monastic life in early childhood and sanctified himself by fasting and other austerities. Becoming Bishop of Catana, he had to suffer numerous persecutions from the Iconoclasts whom he fought. He died of starvation after generously suffering for the faith under Leo the Armenian (813-820).

Fifth Class Feast.

March 22

Memory of the holy Hieromartyr Basil,
Priest of the Church of Ancyra (+363)

Saint Basil suffered martyrdom in 363 under Julian the Apostate and Saturninus, the Governor of Ancyra. He was denounced to the governor and made to appear before him. After questioning, he was suspended from a pole and his sides were rasped. He was thrown into prison. Before long he was taken out and tortured still more violently. Bound in chains, he was then again locked up in prison. When Julian the Apostate passed through Ancyra some days later, the Saint was brought before him and submitted to another interrogation. Then the Emperor delivered him over to which he did at once...The Saint committed his soul to God in the midst of the tortures.

Fifth Class Feast.

March 23

Memory of the holy Hosiomartyr Nikon and his disciples (+273)

Born of a Christian mother and a pagan father in the region of Naples, Saint Nikon lived in the time of President Quintianus. He had a very handsome appearance and extraordinarily beautiful eyes. Enlisted in the army, one day he found himself in great danger. He cried out: "Jesus Christ, my mother's God, come to my assistance." Having made the sign of the Cross, he rushed forward toward the enemy, wounding some of them with his sword and pushing others back with his lance. He did not stop until he had defeated them and put all the enemies to flight. He returned home amidst general admiration. He revealed his plan to his mother and embarked in the direction of Constantinople. Arriving at the island of Chio, he withdrew to a hill and remained there seven days in fasting and prayer, after which an angel told him to go down to the shore with the staff which he gave him. The Saint obeyed. He found there a boat which in the course of two days took him to Mount Ganos. He accidentally met the bishop of the place, dressed as a monk, who led him by the hand to the grotto where he lived. He instructed him in the belief of the Holy Trinity, baptized him, and conferred the Sacraments upon him. After three years, he ordained him a priest and then consecrated him a bishop. The Saint undertook the direction of all the monks gathered around him. He led them all to Melitene, having learned by a revelation that Mount Ganos was going to be invaded and ravaged by pagans. This actually happened. He returned from Melitene to Italy where he was able to see his mother and to pay his last respects. After this he set out for Sicily and lived on Mount Tauromenius with nine other monks. The President, having heard of him, made him come with his companions. After having been questioned, his companions were stretched out on the ground and died during the beating. As for Saint Nikon, he was stretched out by four men, burned with white-hot torches, attached to four beasts of burden and dragged on the ground, thrown from the top of a precipice, struck on the mouth with stones, and finally beheaded.

Fifth Class Feast.

March 24

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

(Our venerable Father Zacharia, the Recluse (?))

It cannot be exactly determined who it is among the numerous Saints who bear the name of Zachary that the Byzantine Church commemorates today. It is believed that he lived in a monastery in Constantinople situated near the gate of Charsia.)

Fifth Class Feast.

This Pre-festive Day occurs from the Thursday of the third week of Great Lent (Easter on April 25) to Easter Tuesday (Easter on March 22).

In occurrence with fast days: Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.

In occurrence with the third or fourth Saturdays of Great Lent: Typika and Beatitudes. Troparia: of the Pre-festive Day, and of the Church Patron. Kondakion of the Pre-festive Day. Epistle and Gospel of the day.

In occurrence with the third Sunday of Great Lent, the Pre-festive Day is neglected.

In occurrence with the fourth or fifth Sunday of Great Lent: Typika and Beatitudes. Troparia: of the Resurrection, of the Pre-festive Day, and of the Church Patron. Kondakion of the Pre-festive Day. Epistle and Gospel from the Triodion and the remainder from the Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great.

In occurrence with Akathist Saturday: Typika and Beatitudes. Ordinary Isodikon. Troparia: of Akathist Saturday, of the Pre-festive Day, and of the Church Patron. Kondakion of the Pre-festive Day. Epistle and Gospel of Akathist Saturday. Hirmos and Kinonikon of Akathist Saturday.

In occurrence with Lazarus Saturday: Typika and Beatitudes. Isodikon of the Sunday. Troparia: of Lazarus Saturday (twice), and of the Pre-festive Day. Kondakion of Lazarus Saturday. The remainder of the Liturgy is from Lazarus Saturday. The remainder of the Liturgy is from Lazarus Saturday.

In occurrence with Palm Sunday, and in all other occurrences, nothing is taken from the Pre-festive Day.

March 25

The Annunciation of our Most Holy Lady,
the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

This feast recalls to us the Incarnation of the Divine Word in the womb of the Virgin Mary. This mystery merits for Mary her most beautiful name, Theotokos or Mother of God. It is this title which merited for her all her graces. This is why the Angel greeted her on this day: "Rejoice, Full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among all women."

In becoming the mother of the New Adam, Mary became by the same fact the Mother of the whole redeemed human race. By her voluntary acceptance ("let it be done to me according to your word"), she-the only creature-actively participated in the realization of this grandiose mystery by which humanity would be saved. "All generations will call me blessed," she cried out in her enthusiasm. This is why the Church, in the name of the entire human race, today renders to the Virgin Theotokos the altogether exceptional honors to which she has a right.

The date of March 25 was chosen in terms of December 25. Originally, the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary was included in the cycle of the Nativity according to the Flesh of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ. The Syrian tradition still consecrates to it the two Sundays which preceed the Feast of the Nativity according to the Flesh of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ. In the West, it is found today in the Ambrosian rite under the name of the "Sunday of the Incarnation," whereas the Mozarabic rite fixed it on December 18, which is perhaps the first feast of the Theotokos in the East and West. It is due to Constantinople's influence that the date of March 25 owes its universal extension. It is found already in 692 in the Acts of the Council "In Trullo." It had been introduced into the West by Pope Saint Leo II (681-683), who was a Sicilian of Greek culture.

This Second Class Feast has its occurrence from the Friday of the third week of Great Lent (Easter on April 25) until Easter Wednesday (Easter on March 22).

In general, in occurrence with a fast day, all is taken from the Feast with the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom. Antiphons and Isodikon of the Feast. Troparion of the Feast (three times). Epistle, Gospel, Hirmos, and Kinonikon of the Feast.

In occurrence with the third Sunday of Great Lent: Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom. Antiphons of the Feast. At the second Antiphon, response of the Feast. In the Isodikon, the verse of the Feast and the response of the Sunday. Troparia: of the Resurrection, of the Cross, and of the Annunciation. Kondakion of the Annunciation. Instead of the Trisagion, the verse: "We adore Your Cross, O Master, and we glorify Your holy Resurrection." Epistle and Gospel from the Triodion and of the Annunciation. Hirmos of the Annunciation. Kinonikon of the Cross and of the Annunciation. After Communion, Troparion of the Cross.

In occurrence with the fourth or fifth Sunday of Great Lent, only the Resurrection and the Feast are commemorated. Antiphons of the Feast. In the Isodikon, verse of the Annunciation, response of the Resurrection. Troparia: of the Resurrection (once) and of the Annunciation (twice). Kondakion of the Annunciation. Epistle, Gospel, Hirmos, and Kinonikon of the Annunciation.

In occurrence with Akathist Saturday, only the Annunciation is commemorated.

In occurrence with Lazrus Saturday: Antiphons of the Annunciation. In the Isodikon, verse of the Annunciation, response of the Resurrection. Troparia: of the Annunciation (twice), and of Lazarus Saturday. Kondakion of the Annunciation. Instead of the Trisagion, the verse: "All of you who have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ. Alleluia." Epistle of the Annunciation, Gospel of Lazarus Saturday. Hirmos of the Annunciation. Kinonikon of the Annunciation and of Lazarus Saturday. After Communion, Troparion of Lazarus Saturday.

In occurrence with Palm Sunday (Easter on April 1): First and Second Antiphons of the Annunciation, Third Antiphon of Palm Sunday. Isodikon of the Annunciation. Troparion of the Annunciation (twice), and the first Troparion of Palm Sunday. Kondakion of the Annunciation. Epistle of the Annunciation, Gospel of Palm Sunday. Hirmos of the Annunciation. Kinonikon of the Annunciation and of Palm Sunday. After Communion, Troparion of Palm Sunday.

In occurrence with Great Thursday (Easter on March 28): Among the Melkites, the Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great joined to Vespers. Epistle and Gospel of Great Thursday.

In occurrence with Great Friday (Easter on March 27): the solemnity of the Annunciation is generally transferred to Easter Sunday. The same if it occurs with Great Saturday (Easter on March 26).

In occurrence with Easter Sunday, the following modifications are introduced into the Easter Liturgy: At the Isodikon, verse of the Annunciation, response of Easter. Troparia: of Easter (twice), and that of the Annunciation (once). Hypakoi and Kondakion of Easter. Epistle and Gospel of Easter and of the Annunciation. Hirmos of Easter. Kinonikon of Easter and of the Annunciation.

In occurrence with Easter Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, the same order is followed, but only the Epistle and Gospel of the Annunciation. Hirmos and Kinonikon of the Annunciation.

March 26

Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel

Faithful to its custom of celebrating, on the day following the feasts of Our Lord and Our Lady, the memory of the Saints who have closely participated in the mystery, the Byzantine Church today institutes a synaxis in honor of the Archangel Gabriel who was the God-bearer and God-chosen minister to announce the divine, supernatural, and ineffable mystery of the Incarnation of the Word to the Most Holy Virgin.

Fourth Class Feast.

Closing Day of the Annunciation of our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary. In occurrence with the third or fourth week of Great Lent: Antiphons of the Feast. In the Isodikon, ordinary verse, response of the Feast. Troparia: of the Annunciation, of Saint Gabriel, and of the Church Patron. Kondakion of the Annunciation. Epistle and Gospel of Saint Gabriel. Ordinary Hirmos. Kinonikon of the Holy Angels.

In occurrence with the third Sunday of Great Lent, nothing is taken from the Feast.

In occurrence with the fourth or fifth Sunday of Great Lent: Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great. Typika and Beatitudes. Isodikon of the Sunday. Troparia: of the Resurrection, of the Annunciation, and of the Church Patron. Kondakion of the Annunciation.

Epistle and Gospel from the Triodion, and the remainder from the Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great, without anything taken from the Feast, which is thus closed by the Troparia.

In occurrence with Akathist Saturday, nothing is taken from the Feast.

March 27

Memory of our venerable Mother Matrona of Thessalonica (?)

Saint Matrona was the maid-servant of a Jewish mistress named Pantila, the wife of a Thessalonian general. One day she accompanied her mistress to the synagogue, but instead of entering it, she proceeded toward the church. She was discovered, cruelly beaten, and thrown into prison, where she remained four days without anything to eat. Taken out of prison, she was beaten again and finally died in prison.

Fifth Class Feast.

March 28

Memory of the Venerable Stephen the Wonderworker
(+under Leo the Armenian, 813-820)

The Venerable Hilarion the Younger (end of the Eighth century)

Saint Stephen lived under Emperor Leo the Armenian (813-820). Early in life he embraced monastic life and became hegumen of the Monastery of Triglia. Summoned by the Emperor who persecuted those who venerated the Holy Icons and called to disown this practice, he energetically refused, dealing with the godlessness of those who were asking it of him. After many punishments, imprisonments, and exiles, he committed his soul to God.

Saint Hilarion was hegumen of the monastery of Peleceta in Brusa, around the end of the Eighth century.

Fifth Class Feast.

March 29

Memory of our venerable Father Mark, Bishop of Arethusa,
of Cyril, his deacon, and of the others who died
at the hands of Julian the Apostate (+362)

Mark, the Bishop of Arethusa in Second Syria, had destroyed a pagan temple in order to build a church in its place under Constantine the Great. Under Julian the Apostate, the pagans grew bold and sought to avenge the destruction of their temple. Having seized the Saint, they stripped him of his clothes, chained his feet, stretched him out on the ground and overpowered and beat him, and then threw him into a cesspool. Taking him out of it, he was then given over to the children who amused themselves by pricking him with their stilettos. Then rubbing him with honey and must, they suspended him and exposed him in the middle of summer to the stings of bees and wasps. The old Saint patiently endured all these tortures. Overcome by his steadfastness, the pagans put an end to these tortures by killing him in 362.

As for the other Christians put to death under Julian the Apostate, Theodoret (III:3) relates to us that one of them named Cyril was a deacon in Heliopolis, Lebanon. Inflamed with holy zeal he had broken many idols venerated in these regions under Emperor Constantine. Remembering what he had done, the pagans did not content themselves with simply killing him, but opened his stomach and pulled out his liver. At the same time the pagans of Ascalon and Gaza captured a large number of virgins, women, and nuns, as well as monks. Opening their stomachs and filling them with barley, they gave these Saints to pigs as fodder in 362.

Fifth Class Feast.

March 30

Memory of our venerable Father John Climacus,
who wrote "The Ladder of Virtues" (+ca. 649)

At the age of sixteen Saint John Climacus entered the monastery of Sinai where he had Anastasius, the future Patriarch of Antioch, for a teacher. Nineteen years later he entered the stage of contemplative life called Hesychasm. After forty years in this life, he became hegumen of the holy mountain of Sinai. Some years later he withdrew again into solitude. He composed a treatise on the virtues in thirty chapters, each chapter containing the exposition of a virtue. Starting with practical virtues, to arrive at theoretical or mystical virtues, this study made man climb up by so many degrees to the celestial heights. Thus the book has been called "Climax" or the "Ladder of Virtues." Saint John Climacus died around 649.

Fifth Class Feast.

In occurrence with the Monday of Saint Thomas (Easter on March 22): Troparia of Saint Thomas, of Saint John Climacus, and of the Church Patron. Kondakion of Saint Thomas.

March 31

Memory of the holy Hieromartyr and
Wonderworker Hypatios, Bishop of Gangra (Fourth century)

Saint Hypatios was one of the three hundred and eighteen Fathers at the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea. He was a native of Cilicia and died a martyr in Galatia. By his pious life he obtained the gift of miracles and converted many pagans to the Christian faith. He built an inn to receive strangers. By his word alone he made some harmful moles which ravaged the country disappear. When he moved about during the night, he was constantly accompanied by torches which lit his way. He made the waters of a salty and bitter spring sweet. Under Emperor Constantius, the son of Constantine the Great, an enormous serpent got into the Imperial Treasury Chamber and such fright followed that no one dared enter it. If anyone dared to enter the room, he was killed on the spot. The Emperor was dismayed about this. Having heard of the Saint, he sent for him. The Saint came, approached the treasury room alone, and opened the door with a staff surmounted by a cross. He struck the serpent and removed it like a fish, coiled on the staff. He lit a large pyre in the forum and burned the serpent there. To preserve his treasury from any future evil, the Emperor had an icon of the Saint placed at the entrance of the room. Saint Hypatios died under the attacks of the Novatian heretics who fought against him continually. They took up an ambush position in a narrow passage bordered by precipices, and when the old holy man went to pass through, they all jumped on him, men and women, and knocked him down under a shower of rocks. He fell half dead. Then a wicked woman, wholly imbued in the errors of her sect, grabbed a heavy rock and hit him in the temples. The Saint died at once and thus consumated him martyrdom.

Fifth Class Feast.