On this day, we commemorate the martyrdom of St. Sarabamon, Bishop of Nakiyos. He was born in Jerusalem. His father's name was Abraham, the son of Levi, the son of Joseph. Simon was the uncle of Stephen the Archdeacon and first Christian martyr. He was from the tribe of Judah. He was originally called Simon after his uncle.

When his father died, Simon longed to become a Christian. The angel of the Lord appeared to him and commanded him to go to Abba John, Bishop of Jerusalem, who taught him the mystery of the Incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, he did not dare to baptize him in Jerusalem, for his fear of the Jews, and he was pondering what he should do.

The Virgin St. Mary appeared to Simon and told him to go to the City of Alexandria, to St. Theonas, the 16th Pope of Alexandria. He departed for Alexandria and an angel of the Lord was accompanying him on his journey in the form of a man until he arrived in Alexandria. He went to Pope Theonas, who rejoiced on seeing him, preached to him and baptized him. He then became a monk in El-Zogag Monastery, the monastery of Abba Severus, outside Alexandria.

When Pope Theonas departed and Abba Peter, "the seal of the martyrs" succeeded him, Abba Peter summoned Simon so that he could assist him in the work of the Patriarchate.

When the chair of the City of Nakiyos became vacant, Abba Peter ordained Simon bishop over it. His flock rejoiced greatly in him and the Lord performed many signs and wonders at his hands. There were temples for worshipping the idols close to his city and he pleaded to the Lord Jesus until they were destroyed and were flooded with water. Paganism was eradicated from his diocese. The heresy of Sibellius of Upper Egypt who taught that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one person, was also eradicated.

When Diocletian denied Christ, they told him that Sarabamon the Bishop had hindered the worship of idols with his teachings. Diocletian ordered Abba Sarabamon to be brought to him. When Abba Sarabamon arrived in Alexandria with the messengers, he spent the night in prison where Pope Peter and some clergy came to see him. When they greeted him, they saw his face as though it was that of an angel.

When Abba Sarabamon came before the Emperor, he tortured him with all kinds of torture, but the Lord helped him to endure without pain. When the Emperor saw that many people believed because of him, he sent him to Arianus, the Governor of Ansena, who tortured him and threatened to cut off his head if he did not change his mind. It happened that Arianus was in Alexandria so he took the saint with him in the ship. When they reached Nakiyos, his home city, the ship stopped and no one was able to let it move. They took the saint off the ship and to the northern part of the city, where they cut off his head and he received the crown of martyrdom. The people took his body to the church with great honor.

The Monk Nil of Stolobensk was born into a peasant family in a small village of the Novgorod diocese. In the year 1505 he took monastic vows at the monastery of the Monk Savva of Krypetsk near Pskov. After 10 years in ascetic life at the monastery he set out to the River Sereml,' on the side of the city of Ostashkova; here for 13 years he led a strict ascetic life in incessant struggle against the snares of the devil, who took on the appearance of apparitions -- reptiles and wild beasts. Many of the inhabitants of the surrounding area started coming to the monk for instruction, but this became burdensome for him and he prayed God to point out to him a place for deeds of quietude. One time after long prayer he heard a voice: "Nil! Go to Lake Seliger. There upon the island of Stolobensk thou canst be saved!" From people that came to him the Monk Nil learned the whereabouts of the island; when he arrived there, he was astonished at its beauty.

In the midst of the lake -- the island was covered over by dense forest; on it the monk found a small hill and dug out a cave, and after a certain while he built himself an hut, in which he lived for 26 years. Exploits of strict fasting and quietude [ie. hesychia] he accompanied with another and unique effort -- he never lay down to sleep, but permitted himself only a light nap, leaning on a prop set into the wall of the cell.

The pious life of the monk many a time roused the envy of the enemy of mankind, which evidenced itself through the spiteful action of the local inhabitants. One time someone set fire to the woods on the island where stood the hut of the monk, but the flames upon reaching the hill in miraculous manner went out. Another time robbers forced themselves into the hut. The monk said to them: "All my treasure is in the corner of the cell." In this corner stood an icon of the Mother of God, but the robbers began to search there for money and became blinded. Then with tears of repentance they begged the monk for forgiveness.

Many other miracles done by the monk are known of. He was wont to quietly refuse an offering if the conscience of the one offering it to him was impure, or if they were in bodily impurity.

In an awareness of his end, the Monk Nil prepared for himself a grave. And at the time of his death they came to him on the island an hegumen from one of the nearby monasteries and communed him with the Holy Mysteries. Before the departure of the hegumen, the Monk Nil for a last time made prayer and censed round the holy icons and the cell, and gave up to the Lord his immortal soul on 7 December 1554. The glorification of his holy relics (now venerated at the Znamenie Icon of the Mother of God church in the city of Ostashkova) was done in the year 1667, with feastdays established both on the day of his death and on 27 May.

The Monk Antonii of Siisk, in the world Andrei, was born i nto a family of rich farmers in the village of Kekhta near the North Dvina river. In childhood he received a fine education, read much and learned iconography. Bereaved of his parents, Andrei set off to Novgorod and for five years worked for a boyar [nobleman] there. He later married, but his wife died after a year. Then Andrei decided to dedicate himself to monasticism. He distributed his goods to the poor and as a wanderer came to the Pakhomiev wilderness-monastery at the River Kena. The Monk Pakhomii gave him monastic vows with the name Antonii. Soon they had him ordained to the dignity of priest-monk, and the monk by himself -- with the blessing of the hegumen, made the Divine-services. He went out together with the other monks of the monastery to work for the monastic needs in common. Out of love for solitude the Monk Antonii eventually left the Pakhomiev wilderness -- having chosen from the monastic brethren two companions, and he settled upon Mikhailov island, on the one side washed by the River Sii, and on the other, by encircling lakes. In this harsh frontier within the dense thickets a chapel was built by Antonii in 1520. But to clear the forest required difficult work, and the companions of Antonii began to grumble against him. And just then quite unexpectedly an unknown man began to furnish them the means of subsistence, offering even money for good measure. The Siisk monastery became reknown, and inhabitants of surrounding villages often visited it. And again the Monk Antonii, taking one disciple, withdrew to a still more remote place on Lake Palun. There, in a solitary cell, he dwelt for three years. When the hegumen Theoktist refused further to guide the Siisk monastery, the brethren tried to persuade the Monk Antonii to return to them. He finally acceded to the request of the monks, again became hegumen and piously guided the monastery until his death in the year 1556, when he was 79 years old.

The Holy Martyr Athenodoros, from Syrian Mesopotamia, led a monastic life from the time of his youthful years. Reported on, he was arrested and condemned to fierce tortures by the governor of the land, Eleusios. Miracles accompanied the martyrdom of the saint, which brought many of the pagans there present to the Christian faith. When they decided to behead the saint with a sword, the executioner died, and his head separated from its shoulders. The saint gave up his spirit to God in prayer.

The Monk Paul the Obedient -- when he lived is unknown. There is only a short life which says that he was the son of well-off parents. He left secular life upon reaching maturity. The appellation "Obedient" was bestowed upon the monk for the deep humility peculiar to him and for the complete renunciation of his own will. One time the monk moved by hand boiling resin-pitch, and received not the slightest burn from it. Some of the brethren regarded him as a God-bearing ascetic, but others became suspicious of him. Through prayers the monks received an unique vision proving that their brother -- was a true ascetic. By night they were all transported off to paradise and they conversed with the Monk Paul, who permitted them to take with them for the memory a flower or twig. Awakening from sleep, they detected in their hands the flowers and twigs from paradise. After this Blessed Paul set off to Jerusalem, and then to Cyprus. Having led a solitary life, he expired to God on Mount Paregoros [Mount Solace]. Before his death the voice of God said to him: "Ascend the mountain, Paul, and accept the end of life."

The Monk Gregory, born in Serbia, pursued asceticism on Athos. The monastery formed by him, and dedicated by him to Saint Nicholas, was termed in his honour the Gregoryite. In the Athos record-acts was discovered the signature of the monk from about 1405. By tradition, the relics of Saint Gregory were taken from Athos by Serbian monks.