• Gregory of Nyssa
  • Departure of Anba Theonas the 16th Pope of Alexandria
  • Martyrdom of Abba Callinicus, Bishop of Oseem

Gregory of Nyssa

Gregory the bishop of Nyssa (which is commonly called Nysi) was the brother of St. Basil the Great and lived in 374. He was glorious in words and a zealot of the Orthodox faith. That is why he served as a protector of the Church of Christ.

This blessed man was present in Constantinople together with the hundred and fifty bishops who gathered for the second council against those fighting against the Holy Spirit in 381. He was a champion of the Orthodox faith and an adversary to the impious heresy of those fighting the Holy Spirit. With Scriptural proof and with the power of his words he vanquished them. He ministered to his flock well and in holiness, and he departed to Christ full of holy years. In appearance he was like his brother Basil being different only in his white hair and in that he was a little bit more graceful than Basil was.

Departure of Anba Theonas the 16th Pope of Alexandria

On this day in the year 300 A.D., Anba Theonas the 16th Pope of Alexandria, departed. This saint was a righteous, meek scholar, gentle and loving to everyone. By the spirit of friendship and gentleness he was able to build a church in Alexandria, in the name of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. Until that time, the faithful were praying and having the services in homes and in caves for fear of the unbelievers, whom he dealt with wisely. He converted many of them to Christianity and baptized them.

In the first year of his papacy, he baptized St. Peter who succeeded him on the Apostolic throne as the 17th Pope of Alexandria. It was said that he ordained St. Peter as a reader at the age of five, then promoted him a deacon at the age of twelve, then as a priest at sixteen.

At the time of this saint, a man by the name of Sabilius was teaching that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one person. He excommunicated him and put an end to his heresy by convincing proofs.

When he completed his course, he departed in peace after he had been on the throne of St. Mark for 19 years.

Martyrdom of Abba Callinicus, Bishop of Oseem

Also on this day, we commemorate the martyrdom of Abba Callinicus, Bishop of Oseem. When Emperor Diocletian heard that St. Callinicus was teaching the people to stop worshipping idols, he sent envoys to arrest and torture him. When the saint heard about the envoys of the Emperor, he called the people of his diocese to the City of Oseem. He prayed the Divine Liturgy and administered the Body and the Blood of Christ and told them, "You will not see my face again." The people wept bitterly, but they could not prevent him from delivering himself to the Emperor`s envoys.

They captured him and delivered him to "Arianus," the Governor of "Ansena." He tortured him, but the Lord healed him and strengthened him. The Governor took him to "Edku," and there he tortured him again. When he got tired of torturing him, he ordered that his arm be cut off.

They then took him by ship to the city of "Toukh." While on the ship the saint felt that the time of his departure was drawing near, so he said to one of the sailors who was a believer, "If I die on this ship, when we arrive ashore cast my body on a hill".

When he departed, the sailor did as he was commanded. Some believers, through a command of God, came and took the body of the saint and swathed it for burial and hid it in their homes until the end of the persecution.

Glory be to God forever. Amen.