July 4: Orthodox saints: Martha, Andrew, Theodore

The Nun Martha, mother of Saint Simeon of the Wondrous-Mount, lived during the 6th Century and was a native of Antioch.

From her early years she yearned for monasticism, but her parents persuaded her to marry. Her husband, John, soon died, and Martha devoted herself to the raising of her son.

Every night rose up to pray. She particularly venerated John the Baptist, who was for her a protector frequently appearing to her in visions. She was charitable towards the poor, she fed and clothed them, she visited the convalescent and she attended to the sick, she buried the dead, and for those preparing to receive holy Baptism she with her own hands made the clothing.

Martha died in 551+, and her body was buried on the Wondrous-Mount, at the place of the ascetic deeds of her son, the Monk Simeon the Pillar-Dweller.



Andrew, Archbishop of Crete, was born in Damascus into a pious Christian family. At the age of seven, and after receiving Holy Communion, Andrew began to talk and to earnestly to study Holy Scripture and theology.

At fourteen, he went to Jerusalem and became a monk at the monastery of Saint Sava the Sanctified. Andrew led a strict and chaste life, he was meek and abstinent, such that all were amazed at his virtue and reasoning of mind. Eventually, he was appointed a secretary for the Patriarchate. In the year 680, along with other representatives, he attended the Sixth Ecumenical Council, where he spoke against heretical teachings. Shortly after the Council, he was summoned Constantinople (now Istanbul) and appointed archdeacon at the church of Saint Sophia.

He was ordained bishop of Gortineia on Crete, during the reign of the emperor Justinian II (685-695). As bishop, he was known as a great hierarch -- a theologian, teacher and hymnographer.

Of the canons composed by him the best known is the Great Penitential Canon, including within its 9 odes the 250 troparia recited during the Great Lent.

He died either in 712 or 726 on the island of Mytilene, while returning to Crete from Constantinople.








Saint Sophia


the ecceliastical residence of the patriarch (the head of Church)

a person who holds high priestly authority

a person who composes hymns
(see also Eastern Orthodox chant)


Sixth Ecumenical Council


Great Penitential Canon

Other reference:

Justinian II

The PriestMartyr Theodore, Bishop of Cyrenia, lived during the reign of the emperor Diocletian (284-305). Skilled at writing, he transcribed many a copy of books for the churches.

His son Leo denounced him to the district governor, Dignianus, saying that his father possessed Christian books and was turning people away from idol-worship, and instead drawing them to faith in Christ the Saviour.

Theodore was brought to trial. Many Christians followed after him, in which number were the women Lucy and Hieroa. He was ordered to surrender his books and renounce Christ, but he refused this demand, so he was executed along with Lucy and Hieroa.


Emperior Diocletian