On this day, we commemorate the departure of St. John, Bishop of El-Borolos who collected the Biographies of the Saints (the Synaxarium). He came from priestly ancestors and a noble family. His parents gave generously to the poor and when they died their son John took what they left for him and built with it a hostel for strangers. In it he accepted sick people and served them himself, offering them what they needed.

One day a monk visited him and when he saw his good deeds, he praised him. The monk also praised the monastic life showing him its reverence. The saint was attracted to this kind of life and had a deep desire for it.

The Saint immediately distributed his wealth among the poor and went to the wilderness of Scetis and became a monk at the hands of St. Daniel, the Priest of Scetis. St. John was known for his asceticism and for the fervor in his worship.

He lived a solitary life in a building and Satan and his troop envied him for what he did. They gathered and painfully beat him to the extent that he was sick for many days. But the Lord Jesus healed him and he regained his strength and overcame the devils.

God called him to be the Bishop of El-Borolos. At that time, some heresies existed and he made a great effort to eradicate them and was able to attract back the lost flock to the orthodox faith.

Also in his time a monk from Upper Egypt claimed that the Archangel Michael revealed to him many matters and that the monk was able to mislead many people by his deception. The saint saw that the monk's behavior was from the devil and commanded that the monk be beaten until he confessed his sin and he drove him out of the country.

Another person claimed that the Prophet Habakkuk appeared to him and revealed mysteries to him and therefore many people followed him. St. John exposed his deception, put an end to the use of many of his misleading books and drove him out of the country.

Every time this Saint went up to the altar to celebrate the Holy Eucharist his face and all his body were flushed red, as though he came out of a fiery furnace. Also his tears poured heavily for his cheeks because he was beholding the heavenly hosts on the altar. It happened three times as he placed his finger on the cup to sanctify the wine during the fraction prayer, that he found the cup was as hot as a burning fire.

Furthermore, in his days some heretics were partaking of the Holy Mysteries without having fasted. The saint rebuked them, but they did not abandon their habit. He excommunicated them and forbade them from the fellowship of the Church. When they ignored his order he asked God to have fire come down from heaven and the fire burned their leader. Fear fell upon the rest and they repented.

When the Lord wanted to give him rest from his labors in this world, He sent him St. Anthony and St. Macarius to inform him of the day of his departure. He called his people, gave them his advice and departed in peace.

The Holy 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia: At the beginning of the IV Century the emperor Maximian (284-305) gave orders to destroy Christian churches, to burn Divine-service books, and to deprive all Christians of rights and offices of citizenship. At this time the bishop of the city of Nicomedia was Saint Cyril, who by his preaching and life contributed to the spread of the Christian faith, such that many of the dignitaries of the emperor were themselves secretly Christian.

At the Nicomedia court of the emperor lived the pagan-priestess, Domna. In the absence of Maximian she read through the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles of the Apostle Paul. Her heart burned with the desire to become acquainted with the Christian teaching. With the help of some young Christian, Domna went secretly to the bishop, Cyril, in the company of a faithful servant, the eunuch Indysos. Saint Cyril catechised them, and afterwards both received holy Baptism. Domna began to help the poor: she distributed her valuables with the assistance of Indysos, and she distributed also food from the imperial kitchen. Having learned about the unusual manner of life of Domna and Indysos, the head of the eunuchs -- who was in charge of the imperial table, locked up both of them to exhaust them with hunger, but they received support from an Angel and did not suffer. In order to no longer live amidst the pagans, Saint Domna feigned insanity. Then she and Indysos managed to leave the court, and she went to the women's monastery of the hegumeness Agathia. The hegumeness quickly dressed her in men's clothing, cut her hair and sent her off from the monastery.

During this time the emperor happened to return and gave orders to seek out everywhere for the former pagan-priestess Domna. The soldiers dispatched for this purpose found the monastery and destroyed it. The sisters were thrown into prison, subjected to torture and abuse, but not one of them suffered violation. Sent off to a house of iniquity, Saint Theophila with the help of an Angel of the Lord there also preserved her virginity: the Angel removed her from the profligacy.

At this time the emperor set up in the city square an offering of sacrifice to the pagan gods. When they began sprinkling the crowd with the blood of the sacrificial animals, Christians started to leave the square. Seeing this, the emperor became enraged, but he did not give vent to his anger, since suddenly the earth quaked. A certain while later Maximian having located the church entered it and demanded a renunciation of Christ from all; for refusal he promised to burn the church and kill its Christians. The Christian presbyter Glykerios answered him, that Christians never renounce their faith, even under the threat of torture. Hiding his anger, the emperor exited the church, and after a certain while commanded the presbyter Glykerios be arrested for trial. The executioners tortured the martyr, who ceased not to pray and to call on the Name of the Lord. Not being able to wring a renunciation of Christ out of Saint Glykerios, Maximian ordered him to be burned to death.

On the feastday of the Nativity of Christ in the year 302, when about 20,000 Christians had assembled at the Nicomedia cathedral church, the emperor sent into the church an herald -- who proclaimed the emperor's command to exit the church and offer sacrifice to idols; otherwise, he threatened to burn the church together with those praying in it. But all those present refused to worship idols. While the tormentors prepared to set fire to the church, Bishop Anthymos (commemorated 3 September; a related account is under this day), having completed Divine-services, baptised all the catechumens and communed all with the Holy Mysteries. All 20,000 of those praying died in the fire. Among them were the hegumeness Agathia and Saint Theophila who had been saved by a miracle from the den of iniquity. Bishop Anthymos however managed to escape the fire.

Maximian reckoned that he had finished off all the Christians of Nicomedia. But he soon learned that there were many more, and that they all as before would confess their faith and were prepared to die for Christ. The emperor pondered over how to deal with them. By his command they arrested the regimental-commander Zinon, who openly before the people was criticising the emperor for impiety and cruelty. Zinon was fiercely beaten and finally beheaded. They locked up in prison the eunuch Indysos, formerly a priest to idols, for his refusal to participate in a pagan feastday.

Amidst all this, Saint Domna concealed herself within a cave and nourished herself eating plants. The persecution against Christians continued. In the locale elsewhere, in Italy, there were thrown into prison Dorotheus, Mardonius, Migdonius the Deacon and some dignitaries. Bishop Anthymos encouraged them, sending epistles to them. One of the messengers, the deacon Theophilos, was captured. Interrogating him about the bishop, they subjected him to torture, but the holy martyr endured all the tortures, revealing nothing. Then together with him they executed those, whom the bishop had addressed in his letter.

When Saint Domna returned to the city, she cried for a long time at the burnt-out ruins, regretting that she was not found worthy to die with her sisters. Then she went along the sea shore. At that moment fishermen pulled out of the water with their nets the bodies of the martyrs Indysos, Gorgonios and Peter. Saint Domna was still dressed in men's clothing, and she helped the fishermen to draw in their nets. They left her the bodies of the martyrs. With reverence she looked after the holy remains; in particular, she was gladdened that she saw the body of her spiritual friend -- the Martyr Indysos. After the burial, she did not depart these graves so dear to her heart, but daily made incensing before them. When the emperor was told about an unknown youth who paid respects at the graves of executed Christians, he gave orders to behead the youth. Together with Domna was executed also the Martyr Euthymios.

The Monk Ignatii of Lomsk and Yaroslavsk: The circumstances of his life while still in the world are unknown. He started his ascetic path at the Saviour Prilutsk monastery at Vologda, and he took monastic vows at the Kirillo-Beloezersk monastery. The Monk Ignatii then departed to the environs of the city of Lom and there founded a wilderness monastery, which gradually attracted disciples, after which he withdrew to a forested skete and there pursued asceticism in quietude. He earned his livelihood (just like the Monk Joakim, who lived three versts from him) by the plaiting of bast-shoes, which he left along the roadside. Passers-by took the bast-shoes in exchange for bread. In this locale the Monk Ignatii constructed a temple in honour of the Pokrov [Protection] of the MostHoly Mother of God, alongside which was founded the Vadoissk Mother of God wilderness monastery. In the XVIII Century it became deserted, and there remained only the church of the Saviour at Lom, in which rested the relics of the Monk Ignatii, glorified by wonderworking. The holy ascetic died in 1591.

The Monk Simon the Myrh-bearing pursued asceticism on Athos in exploits of ascetic life, and was glorified by many miracles. He was the founder of the New-Bethlehem monastery, now called the Simon-Peter. Having reached old age, he reposed in the year 1287. The holy relics of the monk exude myrh.