Departure of St. Philip, One of the Seven Deacons
On this day we commemorate the departure of St. Philip, one of the Seven Deacons (Acts 6:5). He was from Caesarea, Palestine. When the Lord Jesus used to go through this area, this Saint used to hear Him teaching and he followed Him immediately. When the Lord chose the Seventy Disciples and sent them forth to preach and heal the sick, Philip was one of them. The Twelve Apostles chose him as one of the Seven Deacons which they appointed for the ministry.
Then Philip went down to the City of Samaria and preached Christ to them, he cast out unclean spirits, healed many who were paralysed and lame and he baptised many people. He also baptised Simon the sorcerer who perished when he tried to buy the gift of the Holy Spirit with money, but later repented (Acts 8:5-24).
An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, "Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza". This is desert. So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the Queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the Prophet. Then the Spirit said to Philip, "Go near and overtake this chariot". So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the Prophet Isaiah, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?" And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. The place in the Scripture which he read was this: "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before its shearer was silent, but He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His justice was taken away, and who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth".
So the eunuch answered Philip and said, "I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?" Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may". And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God". So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea" (Acts 8:26-40).
Philip went around the countries of Asia and preached there. He had four daughters who preached with him the word of God. He brought many of the Samaritans, the Jews and others to the faith and departed in peace.
The Holy Martyrs Marcian and Martyrios served in a Constantinople cathedral. Marcian was a reader, and Martyrios a sub-deacon. They both likewise performed duty in the capacity of notaries, i.e. secretaries, for the Patriarch Paul the Confessor (commemorated 6 November).
Arian heretics expelled and secretly executed the righteous Patriarch Paul, and his cathedra-chair was given over to the heretic Macedonios. The heretics attempted to entice Saints Marcian and Martyrios over to their side by flattery, they offered them gold and promised them cathedra-chairs as archbishops. But all the Arian efforts were in vain.
Then the impious threatened to slander them
before the emperor, and sought to intimidate them with torture
and death. But the saints steadfastly confessed Orthodoxy, as
handed down by the fathers of the Church. Marcian and Martyrios
were sentenced to death. Before death, the martyrs raised up to
the Lord a fervent prayer: "Lord God, Who hath invisibly
created our hearts, and directed all our deeds, accept with peace
the souls of Thy servants, since we do perish for Thee and art
considered as sheep for the slaughter (Ps 32:15; 43:23).
We do rejoice, that by such a death we shalt depart this life
for Thy Name. Grant us to be partakers of life eternal with Thee,
the Source of life." After their prayer, the martyrs with
quiet rejoicing bent their necks beneath the sword of the impious
(+c.335). Their holy bodies were reverently buried by Orthodox
Christians. Later on, by decree of the holy Bishop John Chrysostom,
the relics of the holy martyrs were transferred into an especially
built church. Believers here were healed of many infirmities through
the prayers of the saints, to the glory of the One Life-Originating
Monk Martyrii, Deacon of Pechersk, in the Farther Caves (XIII-XIV):
His holy name is remembered in the 7th ode of the Canon to the
Monks of the Farther Caves. Here are glorified his love of toil,
justness and ardent purity, and even the gift of expelling demons
and healing infirmities. His memory is noted also on 28 August
and on the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent.
Holy Martyr Anastasius lived during the III Century in
the city of Aquileia (northern Italy). Because of his missionary
activity in the city of Salona (Dalmatia), he was arrested and
brought to trial. Boldly and without wavering, the Martyr Anastasius
confessed Christ as the True God and Creator of all. By the decision
of the court he was sentenced to death by execution. The pagans
threw the body of Saint Anastasius into the sea. A righteous Christian,
the rich matron Ascalopia, found the body of the Martyr Anastasius
and reverently buried him in her estate church. The relics of
the holy martyr were glorified by many miracles.
The Righteous Saint Tabitha (I), a virtuous and kindly woman, belonged to the Christian community in Joppa. Being grievously ill, she happened to be dying. At the time not far from Joppa, the Apostle Peter was preaching at Lydda. Messengers were sent to him with an urgent request for help. When the apostle arrived at Joppa, Tabitha was already dead. On bended knee, the First-Ranked Apostle Peter made a fervent prayer to the Lord. Then he went to the bed and called out: "Tabitha, arise!" She got up completely healed (Acts 9:36).