Martyrdom of Saints Onanius the Bishop and Andrew the Priest
On this day the righteous Saints Onanius and his brother Andrew were martyred. These saints were the sons of one of the elders of the City of Lydd. From their youth they had decided to become monks. They went to one of the monasteries in Syria and were ordained monks. Then they went to the holy and honourable Abba Macarius in Egypt, and became disciples of his and dwelt with him for three years. They lived with love and humility, fasted and prayed continually, and their report was heard everywhere.

They chose Onanius to be a bishop and Andrew a priest. The two brothers shepherded the flock of Christ with the best care. Emperor Julian the infidel heard about them and had them brought before him. He commanded them to deny the faith in Christ, and to adopt paganism. When they refused, he tortured them severely and they yielded up their spirits in the hand of the Lord Jesus and each one received three crowns; one for the monastic life they lead, one for priesthood and guarding of the flock against the devil and the third one for martyrdom and the shedding of their blood for the Christian faith.

Commemoration of the Martyr, St. Takla
This day also is the commemoration of the holy martyr, St. Takla the bride of Christ.

The PriestMartyr Hierotheos, Bishop of Athens, was a member of the Athenian Areopagia and was converted to Christ by the Apostle Paul together with Saint Dionysios the Areopagite (commemorated 3 October). The saint was consecrated by the Apostle Paul to the dignity of bishop. By tradition, Bishop Hierotheos was present together with Bishop Dionysios at the funeral of the MostHoly Mother of God. Saint Hierotheos died a martyr's death in the 1st Century.

Holy Nobleborn Prince Vladimir Yaroslavich, Novgorod Wonderworker, was the eldest son of GreatPrince Yaroslav the Wise, and was born in the year 1020. At age 14, his father made him administrator of Novgorod. The voevoda [military-commander] Vyshata and the holy Bishop Luke Zhidyata (commemorated 10 February) assisted in guiding the prince. When he matured, the prince became a brave defender of the land and a pious Christian. Saint Vladimir built at Novgorod the Sophia cathedral, which was started in the year 1045 and consecrated on 14 September 1052 by Bishop Luke. The holy prince was not only concerned about the strengthening of the princedom -- by his decree was built at Novgorod a stone fortress -- but he also zealously instructed himself in the law of the Lord. It thus is known, that in 1047 the prophetic books with explanations were copied out for him.

The holy prince died at age 32 on 4 October 1052 -- 20 days after the consecration of the Sophia temple, and his relics were placed in the church built by him. In the Novgorod Synodikon is mentioned his spouse, princess Alexandra. Commemoration of holy prince Vladimir was established in the year 1439 by Sainted Evphymii, Archbishop of Novgorod (commemorated 11 March).

The Monk Ammon, Hermit of Pechersk (XIII Century), was given the title Work-Lover. The saint went to Athos and to Jerusalem. Upon his return he became famed for his exploits, and he was an image of holy life for the brethren. He was buried in the Farther Caves. His memory is also 28 August and on the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent.

The Monk Ammon of Egypt was raised in Christian piety. Having entered into marriage at the demand of his parents, Ammon by agreement with his spouse preserved virginity and he began to live with her as brother with sister. The spiritual spouses pursued asceticism in fasting, prayer and conjoint effort for 20 years. Having matured in piety, the spouses then separately continued their ascetic deeds. The wife of Ammon remained home and founded at it a women's monastery. Ammon went out into the Nitreian wilderness, where he dwelt for 22 years and attained to high spiritual accomplishments, the gifts of wonderworking and perspicacity.

The Monk Ammon often came for blessing to the Monk Anthony the Great (commemorated 17 January). At the hour of death of the Monk Ammon, Saint Anthony beheld how Angels with joy lifted up to heaven the soul of the righteous one. The Monk Ammon died in the mid-IV Century.

The Monk Paul the Simple lived in the IV Century. He was called Simple for his simplicity of heart and gentleness. The monk had been married, but having learned about the infidelity of his spouse, he left her and set off into the wilderness to the Monk Anthony the Great (commemorated 17 January). Paul was already 60 years old, and Saint Anthony at first did not accept Paul, since he was unfit for harshness of the hermit's life. Paul stood at the cell of the ascetic for three days, saying that he would sooner die than go from there. Then the Monk Anthony settled Paul in with him, and long tested his endurance and humility by hard work, severe fasting, with nightly vigils, constant singing of psalms and with poklon-bowings to the ground. Finally the Monk Anthony decided to settle Paul into a separate cell.

For many years of ascetic exploits the Lord granted the Monk Paul both perspicacity, and the power to cast out demons. When they brought a possessed youth to the Monk Anthony, he guided the sick one to the Monk Paul with the words: "Those great in faith can cast out only small demons, but the humble like Paul the Simple, have power over the princes among demons."

The Monks Jona and Nektarii of Kazan -- in the world known as Ioann [John] and Nestor Zastol'sky. When Sainted Gurii (+1563, commemorated 5 December) was sent to the newly established Kazan diocese, the boyar Ioann Zastol'sky journeyed with him. Under the spiritual guidance of Sainted Gurii, Ioann led a virtuous and pious life. He shunned sin, loved truth, and was strictly honest. Ioann raised his son Nestor in the fear of God. The gentle youth from childhood was an ascetic: he wore an hair-shirt, and kept the fasts. He loved to pray in church. With the consent of his father, Nestor took monastic vows with the name Nektarii. He died at a youthful age. Nestor's father, Ioann, was tonsured into monasticism with the name Jona. Before death he gave final instructions to bury him alongside Sainted Gurii, near whose grave was buried Nektarii.

At the uncovering of the relics of Saints Gurii and Varsonophii in 1595 were uncovered also the undecayed bodies and clothing of the Monks Jona and Nektarii. They were left beneath a crypt in a chapel of the Kazan Saviour-Transfiguration monastery -- the chapel was built by Jona over the grave of Saint Gurii). The saints are mentioned in the service to Sainted Gurii: "Two monks having well asceticised to God, Jona and Nektarii, one born of the other, didst faithfully serve thee in the world and upon thy death keeping sincere faith with thee didst raise up over thine grave a chapel of stone. Herein alongside thee be buried these saints, honoured with much incorruption from God above. Pray thou with them, Sainted Gurii, unto Christ God, to grant us peace and great mercy."

Saint Stephen [Stefan] Schilyanovich was born into a pious Christian family in the Serbian city of Zhupa (south side of Zakholm'ya). During this time Serbia was often subjected to incursions by the Turks, who devastated the land. Saint Stephen defended his native-land, doing military service in the army of the Serbian ruler. When famine began in the country, the kindly Saint Stephen distributed his own bread to the hungry. The patriotic activity of the saintly soldier was indissolubly bound up with his truly Christian life. He "ever aceticised in virtues, to wit: charity, purity, prayer, the Orthodox faith and unhypocritical love towards neighbour." The saint expired to the Lord on 4 October 1515. After a certain while the Turks saw over his grave a light. Thinking, that here was hidden treasure, they broke open the grave and found the incorrupt body of Saint Stephen. Serbian monks ransomed the relics from the Turkish pasha and transferred them to the Shishatovets monastery on Mount Phrushtsk.

As a glorious righteous defender of his native-land, the Serbian Church prays thus to him: "Glory in the struggles, warrior Stefan Schilyanovich, great healer of those having recourse to thee in faith."