of the Miracle which God Performed to St. Athanasius the Apostolic,
the 20th Pope of Alexandria
On this day we commemorate the miracle which the Lord Jesus performed to Abba Athanasius the Apostolic, the 20th Pope of Alexandria.
When Emperor Constantius, the son of the righteous Emperor Constantine, adopted the teachings of Arius (who said that the Son was not equal to the Father), he sent a man called Gawargios to Alexandria. With him, he also sent five hundred horsemen and letters appointing Gawargios Patriarch of Alexandria instead of Athanasius the Apostolic. He ordered Gawargios to support the faith of Arius and slay all who would not be obedient to him.
When this man arrived in the city he preached the teachings of Arius, but only a few people accepted his teachings. He sought to kill a large number of people, but St. Athanasius hid himself for a period of six years.
After this time, he went to Constantinople and asked Emperor Constantius either to restore him to his See or to slay him to receive the crown of martyrdom. The Emperor ordered his men to place him in a small boat and to leave him in the sea with no food, water or guide. The Emperor wanted him to die of hunger or thirst or get drowned. In this way he hoped to get rid of the Saint and his admonition to him for his heresy and they did with the Saint as the Emperor had ordered them.
The boat sailed along smoothly and in peace with the Lord's will. St. Athanasius was surrounded and cared for by the Angels;
he arrived in Alexandria three days later. When the believers heard that their shepherd had arrived, they rejoiced and went out to greet him and received him with candles and songs of praise. Then they brought him into the church and expelled Gawargios and his followers. St. Athanasius dedicated that day as a great feast to the Lord to Whom are the glory and honor now and ever unto the end of the ages. Amen.
The Holy Disciple Philip from amongst the Seventy (not to be confused with Saint Philip the Apostle from amongst the Twelve, the Commemoration of whom is on 14 November), was born in Palestine. He was married and had children.
After the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the Twelve Apostles made him a deacon in the Jerusalem Church, and with the other six deacons they entrusted him to deal with the offerings of the faithful and attend to the concerns of the widowed, the orphaned and the needy. The eldest among the Seven First-Deacons was the holy Archdeacon Stephen. When a persecution began, and the Jews had stoned the First-Martyr Stephen, the Disciple Philip departed from Jerusalem. He settled in Samaria, and there he successfully preached Christianity. Among the converts of the disciple was the noted magician Simon who, "having been baptised, did not leave from Philip" (Acts 8: 9-13).
At the command of an Angel of the Lord the
disciple set out upon the road connecting Jerusalem with Gaza,
and there he met a dignitary of the empress of Ethiopia, whom
also he converted to Christianity (Acts 8: 26-39). The holy disciple
Philip tirelessly preached the Word of God in many of the lands
of the Near East adjoining Palestine. At Jerusalem the Apostles
ordained him to the dignity of bishop and sent him to Lydia, where
he baptised many. Saint Philip died in old age.
The Monk Theophanes the Confessor, Composer of Canons, Bishop of Nicea, was the younger brother of the Monk Theodore the Lettered-Upon (commemorated 27 December). The brothers received an excellent education, and were particularly involved in philosophy. Striving towards knowledge of God, they settled in the Laura monastery of Saint Sava. Here the Monk Theophanes was tonsured, and after a certain while became a presbyter.
The holy brothers were famed as advocates of icon-veneration. They boldly fulfilled the mission entrusted them by the Patriarch of Jerusalem and set off to Constantinople to denounce the iconoclast emperor Leo the Armenian (813-820). And afterwards they denounced also the iconoclast emperors Michael Balbos (820-829) and Theophilos (829-842).
The saints had to endure imprisonment, hunger,
even tortures. The emperor Theophilos gave orders to inscribe
upon their faces with red-hot needles a phrase insulting to the
glorious confessors (wherefore they are called "Lettered-Upon").
"Write whatever thou dost wish, but at the Last Judgement
thou shalt read thine writing" -- said the agonised brothers
to the emperor. They dispatched Theodore to prison, where also
he died (+ 833), but Theophanes they sent into exile. With the
restoration of Icon-veneration the Monk Theophanes was returned
from exile and ordained bishop of Nicea. The saint wrote about
150 canons, among which is a beautiful canon in defense of holy
icons. The monk died peacefully in about the year 850.
The Martyresses Zinaida and Philonilla were kinswomen of the holy Apostle Paul, and were natives of Tarsus. The saints left their home and settled in a cave near the city of Demitriada and they lived in constant prayer and work. They mastered the art of healing and they gladly treated everyone who turned to them for help, healing their souls by conversion to the True God. For their holy zeal in preaching about the Lord they received crowns of martyrdom: idol-worshippers stoned them.