LIVES OF SAINTS

 

Antioch of Palestine. Antioch became a monk at the Lavra of St. Savvas in Palestine in the seventh century. He became well known for his virtue, saintliness and his writings. At the request of the abbot of another monastery, Antioch authored 130 chapters on the moral teachings of the Scriptures that contain the commandments of Jesus. They were called the Pandectes of the Scriptures, and Antioch came to be surnamed Pandectus. They were written for the benefit of monks in Galatia, who had been expelled by the Persians. Thse same Persians had also carried away the Holy Cross into their country, where it remained for fourteen years. Antioch once wrote that, "A proud monk is like a barren and rootless tree; he cannot withstand the force of the wind; and like a burst bubble, he vanishes. Thus, does the memory of a pround man disappear after death. As the prayer of a humble man appeases God, so does the entreaty of a proud one anger the Almighty."

 

Neo-Hieromartyr Constantius the Russian. Constantius was a Russian priest in eighteenth-century Constantinople before and after the Russo-Turkish War. He was the chaplain at the Russian Embassy and well known by both the Russians and teh Turks. His job was to create a stabilizing influence among the infighting statesmen. When armed conflict finally broke out, Constantius sought the spiritual refreshment of Mt. Athos rather than returning to Russia. The conflict ended several years later, and he was requested to return to his old post. However, Constantius had lost heart for his Russian countrymen, and he spent increasingly more time with the Turks. One day, Constantius went to the Sultan's palace and there in the presence of the Moslems renounced Christ and confessed Mohammed. Hew as regaled by the Turks and treated as an apostate by the Christians, but after several months, Constantius truly repented and pleaded with God through prayer and tears to forgive him. He reentered the palace as a Christian and declared his Christian faith. Without a trial, the Turks beheaded him in the palace square.

 

Niphon, Bishop of Cyprus. Niphon was raised in Constantinople in the court of a military commander. As a young man, Nihpon fell into such great sin and vice that he could not even pray. Through the mercy of the Theotokos, who appeared to him, he was brought back to the narrow path and became a monk. Seeing that they had lost one of their own, the demons waged a four-year war with Niphon, whispering to him continuously that there was no God. Jesus appeared to Niphon on an icon and gave him power over the demons, freeing him from these temptations, and he was given such insight that he saw angels and demons there to meet them; he talked with angels and argued with demons; he saw a sinner deeply repent at the last moment, and then saw how an angel defended the soul and carried it to heaven in the face of hostile demons; and he saw the soul of a person, who committed suicide, dragged into hell as its guardian angel cried. Niphon built a church dedicated to the Theotokos in Constantinople, and together with m any monks, saved many souls. The Archbishop of Alexandria, through divine revelation, appointed Niphon Bishop of Cyprus.

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