The Vitae of the Monk Onuphrius the Great and of other hermits of the fourth century, asceticising in the inner Thebaid wilderness in Egypt (among them were the Monk Timothy the Wilderness-Dweller, and the Monks John, Andrew, Herakleimon (Heraklambonos), Theophilos and others) were written down by their contemporary and fellow monk of the Thebaid, the Monk Paphnutius.
One time the thought occurred to Saint Paphnutius to go off into the depths of the wilderness, in order to see for himself the fathers asceticising there and to hear from them, as to how they sought after salvation. He set out from his monastery and went into the wilderness. Over the span of four days the monk reached a cave and found in it the body of a long since dead elder. Having buried the hermit, the Monk Paphnutius went on further. After another four days he came across yet another cave and from the marks in the sand he realised, that the cave was inhabited. At sundown he saw an herd of buffalo and walking amidst them a man. This man was naked, but covered over literally as though by clothing by long hair. This was the Monk Timothy the Wilderness-Dweller. Catching sight of a fellow man, the Monk Timothy thought that he was seeing an apparition, and he began to pray. Saint Paphnutius finally convinced the hermit, that he was actually a live man and a fellow Christian. The Monk Timothy readied him a guest-place and related that he had been already asceticising in the wilderness for thirty years, and this was the first he had seen of another man. In his youth, the Monk Timothy had lived in a common-life monastery, but he was troubled by thoughts of being saved alone. The Monk Timothy left his monastery and went to live nearby a city, sustaining himself by the work of his own hands (he was a weaver). One time a woman came to him with an order and he fell into sin with her. Having come to his senses, the fallen monk went far off into the wilderness, where with patience he underwent tribulation and sickness as a merited chastisement from God. And when he was already at the point of dying from hunger, just then in a miraculous manner he received healing.
From that time the Monk Timothy had lived peacefully in complete solitude, eating dates from the trees, and quenching his thirst with water from a spring. The Monk Paphnutius besought the elder that he might remain with him in the wilderness. But he was told, that he would be unable to bear the demonic temptations which beset wilderness-dwellers, and instead he blessed him and supplied him on his way with dates and water.
Having rested up at the wilderness monastery, the Monk Paphnutius undertook a second journey into the depths of the wilderness. He went on for seventeen days. His supply of bread and water was exhausted, and the Monk Paphnutius twice collapsed from weakness. An Angel strengthened him. On the seventeenth day the Monk Paphnutius reached a hilly place and sat down to rest. Here he caught sight of a man approaching him, from head to foot covered with white hair and with a belt of leaves about the loins. The sight of the elder frightened Saint Paphnutius, and he jumped up and fled off towards the hill. The elder sat down at the foot of the hill. And when, lifting his head, he caught sight of the Monk Paphnutius, he called out to him to come over. This was the great wilderness-dweller - the Monk Onuphrius. At the request of Saint Paphnutius, he told him about himself.
The Monk Onuphrius had lived in complete isolation in the wilds of the wilderness for sixty years. In his youth he had been raised at the Erita Thebaid monastery. Having learned from the elders about the hardships and lofty life of the wilderness-dwellers, to whom the Lord dispatched help through His Angels, the Monk Onuphrius blazed up in his spirit to copy their exploits. By night he secretly left the monastery and saw before himself a ray of light. Saint Onuphrius became frightened and decided to go back, but the voice of his Guardian Angel urged him on upon his utmost path. In the depths of the wilderness the Monk Onuphrius came upon a wilderness dweller and he stayed with him to learn of the wilderness manner of life and the struggle with demonic temptations. When the elder was convinced, that Saint Onuphrius was strong enough in this terrible struggle, he then led him off to this bidden place of exploits and left him alone. Once a year the elder was wont to come to him, and after several years, having finally come to the Monk Onuphrius, he then died.
At the request of the Monk Paphnutius, the Monk Onuphrius told about his exploits and efforts and about how the Lord had cared for him: roundabout the cave where he lived, there grew a date-palm tree and a spring of pure water issued forth. Twelve different branches of the palm tree in succession bore fruit, and so the monk endured neither hunger nor thirst. The shade of the palm tree sheltered him from the noonday heat. An Angel brought the saint bread and each Saturday and Sunday communed him, as also with the other wilderness dwellers, with the Holy Mysteries.
The monks conversed until evening. At evening there appeared amidst the saints white bread, and they partook of it with water. The elders spent the night at prayer. After the singing of matins the Monk Paphnutius saw that the face of the Monk Onuphrius had become transformed, which frightened him. Saint Onuphrius was saying: "God, Merciful to all, hath sent thee to me, so that thou mightest give burial to my body. On this present day I shalt finish my earthly course and pass over to life unending, in rest eternal, going to my Christ." The Monk Onuphrius bid Saint Paphnutius that he should tell the account about him to his brother ascetics and to all Christians, for the sake of their salvation.
The Monk Paphnutius besought blessing to remain in the wilderness, but Saint Onuphrius said that this was not the will of God, and he ordered him to return to the monastery and relate to everyone about the lives of the Thebaid Wilderness-Dwellers. Having then blessed the Monk Paphnutius and made farewell, Saint Onuphrius prayed long with tears, and then he lay down upon the earth, uttering his final words: "Into Thine hands, my God, I commend my spirit," and he died.
The Monk Paphnutius with weeping tore off a portion of his garb and with it wrapped the body of the great wilderness dweller, which he placed in the crevice of a large rock, and in the semblance of a grave, he covered it over with a multitude of small stones. Then he began to pray, whether it was that the Lord had decided he should stay til his life's end at the place of the exploits of the Monk Onuphrius. Suddenly the cave fell in, the palm tree withered, and the water spring dried up.
Realising that he had not been given the blessing to remain, the Monk Paphnutius set out on his return journey.
After four days the Monk Paphnutius reached a cave, where he met a wilderness dweller, who was there in the wilderness for more than sixty years. Except for the two other elders, with whom he asceticised, this wilderness dweller had seen no one in that time. Each week these three had gone on their solitary paths into the wilderness, and on Saturday and Sunday they gathered for psalmody. They ate the bread which an Angel brought them. And since it was Saturday, they had gathered together. Having partaken of the bread from the Angel, they spent the whole night at prayer. In leaving, the Monk Paphnutius asked the names of the elders, but they said: "God, Who knoweth all, knoweth also our names. Remember us, that we be vouchsafed to see one another in God's habitations on high."
Continuing on his way, the Monk Paphnutius came upon an oasis, which impressed him with its beauty and abundance of fruit-bearing trees. And then the four youths inhabiting this place came to him from out of the wilderness. The youths told the Monk Paphnutius that in their childhood they had lived in the city of Oxyrhynchus (Upper Thebaid) and they had studied together. They had been ardent with the desire to devote their lives to God. Making their plans to go off into the wilderness, the youths left the city and after several days journey they reached this wilderness area. A man radiant with light met them and led them to a wilderness elder. "We are living here six years already," said the youths, "Our elder dwelt here one year and then he died. We live here at present alone, we eat of the fruit of the trees, and we have water from a spring." The youths gave him their names: they were Saints John, Andrew, Heraklambonos (Herakleimon), and Theophilos. The youths asceticised separately from one another the whole week long, but on Saturday and Sunday they gathered at the oasis and offered up common prayer. On these days an Angel would appear and commune them with the Holy Mysteries. This time however, because of the Monk Paphnutius, they did not go off into the wilderness, but spent the whole week together at prayer. On the following Saturday and Sunday Saint Paphnutius together with the youths was granted to commune the Holy Mysteries from the hands of the Angel and to hear the words of utterance of the Angel: "Receive ye the Food Imperishable, the Bliss Unending and Life Eternal, the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, our God."
The Monk Paphnutius made bold to ask of the Angel the permission to remain to the end of his days in the wilderness. The Angel answered, that God had decreed for him another path - to return to Egypt and to make report to all Christians about the life of the wilderness dwellers.
Having made his farewell of the youths, the Monk Paphnutius after three days journey reached the edge of the wilderness. Here he found a small skete monastery, and the brethren received him fondly. The Monk Paphnutius related everything, that he had learned about the holy fathers, whom he had encountered in the depths of the wilderness. The brethren wrote down in detail the account of the Monk Paphnutius and spread it about through other sketes and monasteries. The Monk Paphnutius gave thanks to God, Who had granted him to learn about the lofty lives of the hermits of the Thebaid wilderness, and he returned to his own monastery.
The Holy Apostle Bartholomew was born at Cana of Galilee and was one of the Twelve Apostles of Christ. After the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, it fell by lot to the holy Apostles Bartholomew and Philip to preach the Gospel in Syria and Asia Minor. In their preaching they dispersed through various cities, and then met up together again. Accompanying the holy Apostle Philip was his sister, the holy virgin Saint Mariam. Traversing the cities of Syria and Myzia, they underwent much hardship and tribulations, they were stoned and they were locked up in prison. In one of the villages they met up with the Apostle John the Theologian, and together they set off to Phrygia. In the city of Hieropolis by the power of their prayers they destroyed an enormous viper, which the pagans worshipped as a god. The holy Apostles Bartholomew and Philip with his sister proved their preaching with many a miraculous sign.
At Hieropolis there lived a man by the name of Stakhios, who had been blind for forty years. When he received healing, he then believed in Christ and was baptised. News of this spread throughout the city, and a multitude of the people thronged to the house where the apostles were staying. The sick and those beset by demons were released from their infirmities, and many were baptised. The city governor gave orders to arrest the preachers and throw them in prison, and to burn down the house of Stakhios. At the trial pagan priests came forth with the complaint that the strangers were turning people away from the worship of the ancestral gods. Thinking that perhaps some sort of magic power was hidden away in the clothes of the apostles, the governor gave orders to strip them. But Saint Mariam began to seem like a fiery torch before their eyes, and none dared touch her. They sentenced the saints to crucifixion. The Apostle Philip was raised up on the cross upside down. But there then began an earthquake, and a fissure in the earth swallowed up the governor of the city, together with the pagan priests and many of the people. Others took fright and rushed to take down the apostles from the crosses. Since the Apostle Bartholomew had not been put up high, they managed to take him down quickly. The Apostle Philip however had died. Making Stakhios the bishop of Hieropolis, the Apostle Bartholomew and Blessed Mariam left the city and moved on.
Preaching the Word of God, Mariam arrived in Likaoneia, where she peacefully died. The Apostle Bartholomew set off to India, and there he translated from Hebrew the Gospel of Matthew, and he converted many pagans to Christ. He visited likewise Great Armenia (the country between the River Kura and the upper stretches of the Tigrus and Euphrates Rivers), where he worked many a miracle and healed the daughter of the emperor Polimios from the demons afflicting her. The emperor in gratitude sent gifts to the apostle, who however refused to accept them, saying that he sought only for the salvation of the souls of mankind. Then Polimios together with the empress, their healed daughter and many of those close to them accepted Baptism. And people from the ten cities of Great Armenia followed their example. But through the intrigues of the pagan priests, the Apostle Bartholomew was seized by the emperor brother Astiag in the city of Al'ban (now the city of Baku), and crucified upside down. But even from the cross he did not cease to proclaim the good news about Christ the Saviour. Finally, on orders from Astiag, they flayed the skin from the Apostle Bartholomew and cut off his head. Believers placed his remains in a pewter coffin and buried him.
In about the year 508 the holy relics of the Apostle Bartholomew were transferred to Mesopotamia, to the city of Dara. When the Persians seized the city in 574, Christians took the relics of the Apostle Bartholomew with them when they fled to the shores of the Black Sea. But since the enemy overtook them there, they were compelled to leave the coffin at the sea. By the power of God the coffin miraculously arrived on the island of Lipara. In the ninth century, after the taking of the island by the Arabs, the holy relics were transferred to the Neapolitan city of Beneventum in Italy, and in the tenth century part of the relics were transferred to Rome.
There is mention about the holy Apostle Bartholomew in the Vita of Joseph the Melodist (+883). Having received from a certain man part of the relics of the Apostle Bartholomew, the Monk Joseph conveyed them to his own monastery near Constantinople, and he built a church in the name of the Apostle Bartholomew, placing therein part of the relics. The Monk Joseph ardently desired to compile a laudation in song in honour of the saint, and he fervently besought God to grant him the ability to do so. On the feastday in memory of the Apostle Bartholomew, the Monk Joseph caught sight of him at the altar. He beckoned to Joseph and took the holy Gospel from the altar-table and pressed it to his bosom with the words: "Bless thou the Lord, and let thy song delight the world." And from that time the Monk Joseph began to write hymns and canons and with them adorn not only the feastday of the Apostle Bartholomew, but also the feastdays of many other saints, compiling altogether about 300 canons. Saints John Chrysostom, Cyril of Alexandria, Epiphanios of Cyprus and certain other teachers of the Church regard the Apostle Bartholomew as being one and the same person as Nathanael (Jn. 1:45-51, 21:2).
The Holy Disciple Barnabas was born on the island of Cyprus into the family of rich Hebrews, and he was named Joseph. He received his education at Jerusalem, being raised with his friend and co-student Saul (the future Apostle Paul) under the renowned teacher of the law, Gamaliel. Joseph was pious, he frequented the Temple, he strictly observed the fasts and avoided youthful distractions. And during this time period our Lord Jesus Christ began His public ministry. Seeing the Lord and hearing His Divine Words, Joseph believed on Him as the Messiah, he was ardent with love for Him and followed Him. The Lord chose him to be among His Seventy Disciples. And it was amongst the followers of the Lord that Joseph received a second name - Barnabas - which in Hebrew means "son of consolation." After the Ascension of the Lord to Heaven, Barnabas sold land belonging to him near Jerusalem and he brought the money to the feet of the Apostles, leaving nothing for himself (Acts 4:36-37).
When Saul after his conversion arrived in Jerusalem and sought to join with the followers of Christ, everyone there was afraid of him as having been a persecutor but a short while before. Barnabas however came with him to the Apostles and reported, how the Lord had appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:26-28).
As entrusted him by the Apostles, Saint Barnabas went to Antioch to encourage the believers: "Having come and having seen the grace of God, he rejoiced and he urged all to cleave to the Lord with sincerity of heart." (Acts 11:23) Then the Disciple Barnabas went to Tarsis, and thereafter he brought the Apostle Paul to Antioch, where for about a year they taught the people in the Church. It was here that the disciples first began to be called Christians (Acts 11:26). With the onset of famine, and taking along generous alms, Paul and Barnabas returned to Jerusalem. When king Herod killed the Apostle James Zebedaeus, and to please the Jews had the Apostle Peter put under guard in prison, Saints Barnabas and Paul and Peter were led out of the prison by an Angel of the Lord, and they hid out at the house of Barnabas' aunt Maria. Later, when the persecution had quieted down, they returned to Antioch, taking with them Maria's son John, surnamed Mark. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the prophets and teachers there imposed hands upon Barnabas and Paul, and sent them off on matters to which the Lord had summoned them (Acts 13:2-3). Arriving in Seleucia, they sailed off to Cyprus and in the city of Salamis they preached the Word of God in the Jewish synagogues. On Paphos they came across a sorcerer and false-prophet named Barjesus, who was close with the proconsul Sergios. Wanting to hear the Word of God, the proconsul invited the saints to come to him. The sorcerer attempted to sway the proconsul from the faith, but the Apostle Paul denounced the sorcerer, who through his words suddenly fell blind. The proconsul believed in Christ (Acts 13:6-12). From Paphos Barnabas and Paul set sail for Pergamum Pamphylia, and then they preached to the Jews and the Gentiles at Pisidian Antioch and throughout all that region. The Jews made a riot and expelled Paul and Barnabas. The saints arrived in Iconium, but learning that the Jews wanted to stone them, they withdrew to Lystra and Derben. There the Apostle Paul healed a man, crippled in the legs from birth. The people assumed them to be the gods Zeus and Hermes and wanted to offer them sacrifice. The saints just barely persuaded them not to do this (Acts 14:8-18).
When the question arose whether those converted from the Gentiles should accept circumcision, Barnabas and Paul set off to Jerusalem. There they were warmly received by the Apostles and elders. The preachers related, "what God had wrought with them and how He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles." (Acts 14:27) After long deliberations the Apostles collectively resolved not to impose upon Gentile-Christians any sort of burden beyond that necessary - to refrain from idol-sacrifice and its blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication, and not to do to others that which they themselves not do (Acts 15:19-20). Letters were dispatched with Barnabas and Paul, and they again evangelised at Antioch, and after a certain while they decided to visit the other cities, where earlier they had preached. The Disciple Barnabas wanted to take Mark along with him, but the Apostle Paul did not want to, since earlier he had gone off from them. A quarrel arose, and they separated. Paul took with him Silas and set off to Syria and Cilicia, and Barnabas took with him Mark to Cyprus (Acts 15:36-41).
Having multiplied the number of believers, the Disciple Barnabas set off to Rome, where he was perhaps the first to preach Christ.
The Disciple Barnabas founded the episcopal seat at Mediolanum (now Milan in Italy), and upon his return to Cyprus he continued to preach about Christ the Saviour. Thereupon the enraged Jews incited the pagans against Saint Barnabas, and they led him out beyond the city and stoned him, and then built a bonfire so as to burn the body. Later on, having come upon this spot, Mark took up the unharmed body of the Disciple Barnabas and buried it in a cave, placing upon the bosom of Saint Barnabas, in accord with his final wishes, the Gospel of Matthew copied out in his own hand.
The Disciple Barnabas died in about the year 62, at age 76. Over the course of time the place of burial of the Disciple Barnabas was forgotten. But numerous signs appeared at this place. In the year 448, during the time of the emperor Zeno, the Disciple Barnabas thrice appeared in a dream-vision to the Cyprus archbishop Anthymos and indicated the place of burial of his relics. Starting to dig at the indicated spot, Christians found the incorrupt body of the saint, and upon his chest was the Holy Gospel. It was from these times that the Cyprus Church began to be termed Apostolic in origin and received the right of autonomously choosing its head. And thus the Disciple Barnabas defended Cyprus against the pretensions of the opponent of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, the heretic surnamed Knapheios, who had usurped the patriarchal throne at Antioch and sought to gain dominion over the Cyprus Church.
The Hieromartyr Timothy, Bishop of Prussa (Bithynia), received from the Lord the gift of wonderworking because of his purity and sanctity of life. At Prussa he converted many pagans to the faith in Christ. The emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363), upon hearing about Saint Timothy had him locked up in prison, but even there also the saint continued to preach the Gospel. Julian forbade him to anymore teach about the Name of Jesus Christ, but the saint continued to spread about the Christian faith. Finally, the emperor gave orders to behead the saint. The holy relics of the saint were afterwards transferred to Constantinople.
Sainted Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria, a distinguished champion of Orthodoxy and a great teacher of the Church, came from an illustrious and pious Christian family. He studied the secular sciences, among which number also was philosophy, but most of all he strove to acquire knowledge of the Holy Scriptures and the truths of the Christian faith. In his youth Saint Cyril entered the monastery of Saint Makarios in the Nitreia hills, where he stayed for six years. The Patriarch of Alexandria Theophilos (385-412) ordained him to the dignity of deacon, numbered him among the clergy and, seeing his giftedness, entrusted him to preach.
Upon the death of Patriarch Theophilos, Saint Cyril was unanimously chosen to the patriarchal throne of the Alexandrian Church. He headed the struggle against the spread in Alexandria of the Novatian heresy, which taught that a Christian, having fallen away from the Church during time of persecution, is not able to be received back by it again.
Saint Cyril, seeing the futility of admonishing the heretics, sought their expulsion from Alexandria. The Jews appeared a greater danger for the Church, repeatedly making riots, accompanied by the brutal killing of Christians. The saint long contended with them. And to end with the remaining paganism, the saint cast out devils from an ancient pagan temple and built on the place a church. Into it were transferred the relics of the holy Unmercenaries Cyrus and John. Still more difficult a struggle awaited the saint with the emergence of the Nestorian heresy.
Nestorius, a presbyter of the Antiochian Church, was chosen in 428 to the Constantinople cathedra and therein got the chance to widely spread about his heretical teaching, directed against the dogma about the uncommingled union of two natures in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Nestorius called the Mother of God not the Theotokos or "Birth-giver of God," but rather Christotokos or "Birth‑giver of Christ," implying that she gave birth not to God, but only to the man Christ. The holy Patriarch Cyril repeatedly wrote to Nestorius and pointed out his error, but Nestorius continued to persevere in it. Then the saint sent out epistles against Nestorianism to the clergy of the Constantinople Church and to the holy nobleborn emperor Theodosius the Younger (408-450) - two treatises with a denunciation of the heresy. Saint Cyril wrote also to other Churches - to Pope Celestine and to the other Patriarchs, and even to monks of several monasteries, warning about the emergence of a dangerous heresy.
Nestorius started an open persecution against the Orthodox. In his presence one of his partisans, bishop Dorotheos, pronounced from the church cathedra an anathema for anyone who would call the Most Holy Virgin Mary the Theotokos.
Nestorius hated Saint Cyril and brought out against him every kind of slander and fabrication, calling him an heretic. The saint with all his powers continued to defend Orthodoxy. The situation became so aggravated that it became necessary to convene an Ecumenical Council, which opened in the year 431 in the city of Ephesus. At the Council arrived 200 bishops from all the Christian Churches. Nestorius, awaiting the arrival of the bishop of Antioch John and other Syrian bishops, did not agree to the opening of the Council. But the fathers of the Council began the sessions. The Alexandrian Patriarch Saint Cyril presided. Having examined the teaching of Nestorius, the Council condemned him as an heretic. Nestorius did not submit to the Council, and the arriving bishop John opened a "robber council," which decreed Saint Cyril an heretic. The unrest increased. By order of the emperor, Patriarch Cyril of Alexandria and Archbishop Memnon of Ephesus were locked in prison. And in this measure, Nestorius also was deposed.
Soon Saints Cyril and Memnon were freed, and the sessions of the Council continued. Nestorius, not submitting himself to the determinations of the Council, was deprived of priestly rank and by order of the emperor sent to the faraway place, Sasim in the Libean wilderness, where he died in grievous torments: his tongue, having blasphemed the Mother of God, was overtaken by punishment - in it there developed worms. Even Bishop John of Antioch and the remaining Syrian bishops signed the decretals of the Ephesus Council.
Saint Cyril guided the Alexandrian Church for 32 years: towards the end of his abundant activity the flock was cleansed of heretics. Gently and cautiously Saint Cyril approached towards anyone, who by their own simpleness and lack of knowledge fell into false wisdom. To a certain elder, an ascetic of profound life, who incorrectly considered the Old Testament Righteous High Priest Melchisedek to be the Son of God, Saint Cyril turned with a request to pray to the Lord so that He should reveal, correctly how to consider that righteous one. After three days the elder came to Saint Cyril and said, that the Lord revealed to him, that Melchisedek was high-priest and a mere man.
Saint Cyril learned to overcome his prejudice against the memory of the great Sainted hierarch John Chrysostomos (+ 407). The Patriarch of Alexandria Theophilos, by birth an uncle of the saint, was an antagonist of Sainted John, and presided in a council in judgement of him. Saint Cyril from his youthful years found himself thus in a circle antagonistic to John Chrysostom and involuntarily acquired prejudice against him. The Monk Isidoros Pelusiotes (+ c. 436-440) repeatedly wrote to Saint Cyril and urged him to include the name of the great father of the Church into the diptych-list of the saints, but Saint Cyril would not agree. But once in a dream he saw a wondrous temple, in which was present the Mother of God surrounded by an host of Angels and saints, in which number stood also Saint John Chrysostom. When Saint Cyril wanted to approach the Most Holy Lady and offer to Her veneration, Saint John Chrysostom would not let him. The Mother of God asked Saint John to forgive Saint Cyril for having sinned against him through ignorance. Seeing that Saint John hesitated, the Mother of God said: "Forgive him for Me, since he hath laboured much for My honour, and hath glorified Me among the people calling Me the Mother of God, the Theotokos." Saint John answered: "By Thine intercession, Lady, I do forgive him," and then with love he hugged and embraced Saint Cyril.
Saint Cyril repented himself that he had maintained anger against the great saint of God. Having convened all the Egyptian bishops, he made a solemn festal celebration in honour of Sainted John Chrysostom.
Saint Cyril died in the year 444, leaving behind many works. In particular ought to be mentioned: Commentaries - On the Gospel of Luke, On the Gospel of John, On the Epistles of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians and to the Hebrews; also an Apologia in Defence of Christianity against the Emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363). Of vast significance are: Five Books against Nestorius; a work About the Most Holy Trinity; - under the title "Thesaurus", written against Arius and Eunomios; also two dogmatic compositions About the Most Holy Trinity, - distinguished by a precise exposition of the Orthodox teaching about the Procession of the Holy Spirit. Saint Cyril wrote a composition - Against Anthropomorphism, for several Egyptians, who through ignorance depicted God in human form. Amidst a number of works by Saint Cyril are also the "Discussions," among which is the moving and edifying "Discourse on the Exodus of the Soul," inserted in the Slavonic "Following Psalter".
The Holy Great Martyr Theodore Stratelates suffered for Christ in Herakleia on 8 February 319. At the time of his sufferings, Theodore ordered his servant Uaros to bury his body on the estate of his parents in Eukhaitos. The transfer of the relics of the Great Martyr Theodore was done on 8 June 319.
On this day also is remembered a miracle from an image of the Great Martyr Theodore in a church of his name, at a place called Karsata, near about Damascus. The Saracens had turned this church into a residence. One of the Saracens shot an arrow into the image of the great martyr. From the shoulder of the saint, where the arrow had stuck into the wall, blood flowed forth in front of the eyes of everyone. A short while later, the Saracens who had settled in the church killed each other. Accounts about this miracle are given by the holy Patriarch Anastasias of Antioch (+ 599) and the Monk John Damascene (+ c. 780).
The Holy Martyr Theodotus lived in Galatian Ancyra in the third century. He was distinguished by an especial kindliness and concern.
At the height of the persecution under Diocletian (284-305) he provided Christians all the necessities and gave them shelter in his home, where secretly they made Divine services. Saint Theodotus visited the Christian captives in prison, paid their bail, and reverently gave burial to the bodies of martyrs thrown for devouring by wild beasts. One time he dragged out of the water and gave burial to the bodies of seven holy martyresses, drowned in the sea. The enemies of the faith reported about this to the governor. Having refused to offer sacrifice to idols and having denounced the pagan folly, Saint Theodotus confessed the true faith in Christ, for which they subjected him to terrible tortures and beheaded him with the sword (+ 303). They wanted to burn up the body of the holy martyr, but a storm having arisen made it futile to attempt this, and they gave him over to a Christian for burial.
The Monk Bessarion, Wonderworker of Egypt, by descent an Egyptian, was baptised while still in his youth and he led a strict life, striving to preserve the grace given him during Baptism. Seeking to become more closely acquainted with the monastic life, he undertook a journey to the holy places. In Jerusalem he visited the Monk Gerasimos. In the Jordanian wilderness, he viewed other monastic wilderness-monasteries, and assimilated all the rules of monastic life. Upon his return, he accepted monastic tonsure and became a disciple of the Monk Isidor Pelusiotes. Saint Bessarion took upon himself a vow of silence, he partook of food only once a week, and sometimes he remained without food or drink for 40 days. There was an instance when the monk, immersed in prayer, stood motionless for 40 days and 40 nights without food or sleep.
The Monk Bessarion received from God the gift of wonderworking: when on a journey his disciple was strongly beset by thirst, he sweetened bitter water; by his prayer the Lord sent rain upon the earth, and he could as though on dry land cross a river; with but a single word he cast out devils, but he did this privately to avoid glory. His humility was so great, that when one time a priest ordered someone from the skete settlement to leave church for having fallen into sin, together with him went also the monk with the words: "I too am a sinner." The Monk Bessarion slept only standing or sitting. A large portion of the life of the saint was spent under the open sky in prayerful solitude. He peacefully expired to the Lord, having reached old age.