Departure of St. Theognosta
On this day also departed the blessed Theognosta. She lived in the days of the righteous Emperors Honorius and Arcadius.
One day an envoy came with gifts from the King of India to the two Emperors. On their way back they met a virgin named Theognosta holding a book which she was reading. They seized her and took her with them to their country and made her the head of the King's attendants and his wives. One day, the son of the King became very sick. She held him in her arms and made the sign of the Cross over him and he recovered at once. This news spread throughout that land and from that day she was set free.
It also happened that the King went to war. There came upon him and his army thick clouds and fog. Knowing of the sign of the Cross which Theognosta used to make, the King made the sign of the Cross over the winds and it became clear again, and with the sign of the Cross he vanquished his enemies.
When the King returned home from the war, he bowed down at the feet of the Saint, and asked her for the holy baptism for himself and for the people of his city. She told them that it was not for her to baptize. They sent to Emperor Honorius, informed him of their acceptance of the faith and asked him to send a priest to baptize them. He sent to them a priest who was a saintly anchorite, baptized them all and gave them the Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. The virgin rejoiced for his coming and they blessed each other. She built a convent for herself and for many virgins who desired to be nuns.
When the priest returned to the Emperor and related to him how the people of the city entered into the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Emperor rejoiced exceedingly. The Emperor then agreed with the Archbishop to promote the priest to a bishop and to send him back to them, and they rejoiced greatly.
There they had built a big church and they needed pillars. There was a temple for idols which had pillars so they took them to build the church. The rest of the people of the city joined the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The virgin St. Theognosta rejoiced for all that had happened and later departed in the convent.
The Monk Chariton the Confessor suffered at Iconium during the time of one of the persecutions against Christians under either the emperor Galerius (305-311), Maximian (305-311) or Licinius (311-324). The grace-bearing example of the holy First-Martyress Thekla (commemorated 24 September) encouraged him in his confessor's deed -- she being a native of his city, whose memory he in particular deeply venerated. Saint Chariton bravely denounced the pagan gods and staunchly confessed faith in the One True God -- Christ the Saviour. The holy Confessor underwent fierce tortures but, through the Providence of God, he remained alive. When the persecution abated, the saint was set free from imprisonment and he dedicated all his life to the service of the Lord. Journeying to Jerusalem on pilgrimage to the holy places, he fell into the hands of robbers. They tied him and threw him in a cave, intending later to kill him, and they themselves hastened off on business. In expectation of death the saint prayed heatedly, he gave thanks to God and entreated him to do with him according to His will. At this time a snake crawled into the cave and began to drink wine from a vessel setting there, poisoning it with its deadly venom. Having returned to the cave, the robbers drank the poisoned wine and they all perished. The Monk Chariton, giving thanks to God, began asceticising at the place of his miraculous rescue. The plundered gold of the robbers he distributed to the poor, and in the monastery -- in the robbers cave he built a church, around which in time there formed a monastery -- the reknown Tharan Laura in Palestine. The Monk Chariton compiled a strict ustav [rule] for his monastery. Yearning for solitude, the monk went farther into the wilderness, but there also he did not reject those who besought his spiritual guidance, and he founded yet two more monasteries -- the Jerichon and the Tree-branched, named the "Palm Laura". At the end of his life the Monk Chariton asceticised in a cave on an hill, nearby the Tree-branched monastery, but he did not cease guidance with all three of the monasteries founded by him. By tradition, the Monk Chariton compiled the office of taking monastic vows. The Monk Chariton the Confessor died in extreme old age and was buried, in accord with his last-wishes, in the Tharan monastery in the church, built on the spot of the robbers cave.
The Sobor [Assemblage] of Monastic Fathers, venerated in the Nearer Caves (of the Monk Antonii), is celebrated now on 28 September. This general commemoration previously was on the first Saturday after the Leave-taking of the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, i.e. after 21 September. The establishing of the celebration of the general commemoration of the Monastics, venerated in the Antoniev Cave -- on the Saturday after the Leave-taking of the feast of the Exaltation of the Venerable Cross -- dates to the year 1670. During the restoration of the Caves, damaged by an earthquake, some of the relics of the ancient ascetics were uncovered and a temple built in honour of the Exaltation of the Venerable Cross.
In 1760 a stone church in honour of the Exaltation of the Venerable Cross was built over the Caves. In 1886 under the Kiev metropolitan Platon, the celebration of the memory of the Sobor [Assemblage] of the Nearer Caves was moved to 28 September, in conjunction with the celebrating on 28 August of the memory of the Assemblage [Sobor] of the Saints of the Farther Caves. Two canons to the Monastic Fathers, venerated in the Nearer Caves, are known: the first, compiled by the priest-monk Meletii the Orphan (inscribed in the Kiev Akathistnik of 1764). The second, found in the services to the Pechersk monastics, was compiled by Sainted Dimitrii of Rostov.
The Sobor [Assemblage] of the Monastic Fathers of the Nearer Caves includes (in parenthesis is given the day of individual memory, wherein also is located an account about the life of the saint):
The Monk Antonii (Anthony) the First-Founder (commemorated 10 July); the Monk Prokhor the Wonderworker, named the Weed-eater (commemorated 10 February); the Monk John the Faster (commemorated 7 December); the Monastic Juliania the Maiden, Princess of Ol'shansk (commemorated 6 July); the MonkMartyrs Vasilii (Basil) and Feodor (Theodore) (commemorated 11 August); the Monk Polykarp, Archmandrite of Pechersk (commemorated 24 July); the Monk Varlaam, Hegumen of Perchersk (commemorated 19 November); the Monk Damian the Presbyter and Healer (commemorated 5 October); the Monk Nikodom the Prosphora-maker (commemorated 31 October); the Monk Lavrentii [Lawrence] the Hermit, Bishop of Turov (commemorated 29 January); the Monk Afanasii (Athanasii) the Hermit (commemorated 2 December); the Monk Erasm the Black-Garbed (commemorated 24 February); the Monk Luke, Steward of Pechersk (commemorated 6 November); the Monk Agapit, Gratuitous Physician (commemorated 1 June); Monks Theophil the Exact-Sighted and John the God-pleasing, within a single Coffin (commemorated 29 December); the Monk Nektarii the Obedient (commemorated 29 November); the Monk Grigorii (Gregory) the Iconographer (commemorated 8 August); the PriestMartyr Kuksha, Enlightener of the Vyati (commemorated 27 August); Monk Aleksii (Alexei) the Hermit (commemorated 24 April); Monk Savva the God-pleasing (commemorated 24 April); Monk Sergei the Obedient (commemorated 7 October); the Monk Mekurii, Bishop of Smolensk (commemorated 7 August); the Monk Pimen the MuchSick (commemorated 7 August); the Monk Nestor the Chronicler (commemorated 27 October); the MonkMartyr Evstratii (commemorated 28 March); Monk Elladii the Hermit (commemorated 4 October); Monk Jeremiah the Perspicacious (commemorated 5 October); MonkMartyr Moisei (Moses) the Ugrian (Hungarian) (commemorated 26 July); Monk John the MuchSuffering (commemorated 18 July); Monk Mark the Grave-digger (commemorated 29 December); the Monk Nikola Svyatosha, Prince of Chernigov (commemorated 14 October); Martyr Grigorii (Gregory) the Wonderworker (commemorated 8 January); Monk Onysim the Hermit (commemorated 4 October and 21 July); Monk Matfei (Matthew) the Perspicacious (commemorated 5 October); Monk Isaiah the Wonderworker (commemorated 15 May); Monk Avramii (Abraham) the WorkLover (commemorated 21 August); Monk Nyphont, Bishop of Novgorod (commemorated 8 April); Monk Syl'vester the Wonderworker (commemorated 2 January); Monk Pimen the Faster (commemorated 27 August); the Monk Onuphrii the Silent (commemorated 21 July); Monk Anatolii the Hermit (commemorated 3 July); the Monk Alypii the Iconographer (commemorated 17 August); Monk Sisoi the Hermit (commemorated 24 October); Monk Theophil the Hermit (commemorated 24 October); Monk Aretha the Hermit (commemorated 24 October); Monk Spiridon the Prosphora-maker (commemorated 31 October); the Monk Onysiphor the Confessor (commemorated 9 November); Monk Simon, Bishop of Suzdal' (commemorated 10 May); the Monk Nikon, Hegumen of Pechersk (commemorated 23 March); Monk Theophan the Faster (commemorated 11 October); the Monk Makarii (commemorated 19 January); MonkMartyr Anastasii the Deacon (commemorated 22 January); Twelve Greek Master Architects of the Kievo-Pechersk Great Church in honour of the Uspenie (Dormition) of the MostHoly Mother of God (commemorated 14 February); Monk Avramii (Abraham) the Hermit (commemorated 29 October); Monk Isaakii (Isaac) the Hermit (commemorated 14 February); Martyr John the Infant (commemorated in common with the 14,000 Infants killed at Bethlehem by Herod on 29 December); Monk Ilya of Murom (commemorated 19 December); Monk Nikon the Lean (commemorated 11 December); Monk Ephrem, Bishop of Pereyaslavl' (commemorated 28 January); Monk Tito the PriestMonk (commemorated 27 February).
Besides these enumerated Saints, amidst the Pechersk Monastics are known 30 Saints of God, of whom were preserved myrh-bearing heads. In the Service to the Monastic Fathers of the Nearer Caves on 28 September are mentioned also: the Monk Ephrem the Priest (ode 9) -- about whom the priestmonk Afanasii Kal'pophyisky wrote in 1638, that his undecayed body, dressing in priestly vestments, lay opposite the relics of the Monk Ilya of Murom; and about the Monk Evstathii, formerly in the world a goldsmith (ode 8).
In the Canon of Meletii the Orphan also is mentioned: Sainted Dionisii, Archbishop of Suzdal' (commemorated 26 June and also 15 October). The sainted-hierarch was detained by the Lithuanian prince at Kiev upon his elevation by Constantinople to the dignity of Metropolitan of Moscow. He died on 15 October 1384 and was placed in the Antoniev Cave.
Besides the Monks mentioned in the Services, the priestmonk Afanasii Kal'pophyisky in hi Manuscript of 1638 indicated yet more Saints, whose uncovered relics they venerated: the Monk Ieronym, Hermit and Wonderworker; the Monk Meladii, holy Elder and Wonderworker; the Monk Pergii, holy Elder; the Monk Pavel (Paul) -- a monk of Wondrous Obedience.
In the old hand-written Kalendars are preserved the names of priests: the Monk Meletii, the Monk Serapion, the Monk Philaret, the Monk Peter.
In one of the branches of the Nearer Caves was discovered on 24 May 1853 an inscription on the crypts from the XI Century: "Lord, preserve as Thy servants Theodosii and Theophil, many years"; "Grave of the Cave-Dweller Ivan -- here lived and is now Ivan the sinner"; on an oak-board: "Ivan the Cave-Dweller." Thus were revealed names of the new Pechersk Fathers: Theophil, Theodosii and John.
There is also a commemoration in common of the Monastics of the Nearer Caves together with the Monastics of the Farther Caves -- on the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent, when there is celebrated the Sobor (Assemblage) of all the Monastic Fathers of Kievo-Pechersk. The Canon of the Priestmonk Meletii the Orphan enters into the Service of that feastday (the Service to the Pechersk Monastic Fathers and to all the Saints, illumined in Little Russia, inscribed from Akathists with a Canon. Kiev, in the typography of the Kievo-Pechersk Uspenie Lavra, 1866).
Without doubt, far from all the names of the Kievo-Pechersk Monastic Fathers are known. In the in-common Commemoration of the Sobor (Assemblage) are glorified all the Fathers, illumined by ascetic deeds in the Caves. In the ikos of the Service of 28 September it speaks thus about this: "The praises to all those, whomever do be Thy Saints, O Blessed One, do reckon them multiplied more than the very sands. But Thyself, O Master Christ, having counted out the stars and named all named, grant them our prayers..."
Monk Khariton of Syanzhemsk: On this day is celebrated the memory of the monk because of his same-name in common with the Monk Chariton the Confessor. The account about him is located under 11 April -- the day of his repose.
The Monk Irodion of Iloezersk and Novgorod, was a disciple of the Monk Kornilii of Komel'sk (+19 May 1537). After the death of his preceptor, he settled at Iloezersk -- 20 kilometers from Belozersk, and there on a peninsula he built himself a cell and established a church in honour of the Nativity of the MostHoly Mother of God, marking the beginning of the Iloezersk Ozadsk monastery. The monk was strict at fasting, he spent the nights at prayer and every Saturday he communed the Holy Mysteries. An Angel announced to the monk about the proximity of his end. He died a schema-monk on 28 September 1541 and was buried in the chapel built by him.
The first icon of the Monk Irodion was written after his appearance to a certain Sophonii. Sophonii, impiously having thrust his staff in at the grave of the monk, was struck blind, but by prayer to the saint he received back his sight.
A Short Life of the Monk Irodion was written by the archimandrite Mitrophan of Belozersk monastery, who in 1653, with the blessing of the Novgorod metropolitan (afterwards patriarch) Nikon, witnessed to a miracle worked from the relics of the Monk Irodion. There was then established a celebration to his memory. At the place of the chapel of the Monk Irodion was erected a church in honour of the Nativity of the MostHoly Mother of God together with a chapel in the name of the Monk Irodion of Iloezersk.
The Holy Prophet Baruch was an inseparable companion, disciple, friend and scribe of the great Prophet Jeremiah (commemorated 1 May). He wrote down an entire scroll of his prophetic sayings and read them to the people in the Jerusalem Temple. Together with his teacher, Saint Baruch grievously bewailed the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnessar, and he taught and censured the Jews, and he suffered from them spite and vexation. He was a witness of how they killed the holy Prophet Jeremiah with stones, and gave over his body to burial.
After the martyr's death of the Prophet Jeremiah, Saint Baruch lived a short while and died in Egypt, in the VI Century before the Birth of Christ. The holy Prophet Baruch prophesied about the return of the Jews from the Babylonian Captivity and about the desolation of Babylon. He clearly prophesied about the coming into the world of the Son of God, Who would "dwell with mankind". His prophecy begins with the words: "This is our God, and naught else doth compare with Him" (Bar 3:36-38, 4:1-5).
The Book of the Prophet Baruch is regarded as uncanonical and is annexed to the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah. On the eve of the Nativity of Christ from it are read paroemi [Old Testament readings], expressed as prophecy from Jeremiah.
The Holy Martyrs Alexander, Altheos, Zosima, Mark the Shepherd, Nikon, Neonos, Iliodoros and others suffered for the confession of the Christian faith in various places of Asia Minor during the reign of Diocletian (284-305). Saint Mark, a shepherd, was arrested for his open confession of the Christian faith in the surroundings of Pisidian Antioch. The 30 soldiers guarding him were converted by Saint Mark, and they were beheaded at Nicea, but Saint Mark was sentenced to tortures. For the preparation of the instruments of torture they summoned three brother blacksmiths from the settlement of Katalitea, or Kalitea -- Alexander, Altheos and Zosima, but the iron did not melt down and fuse, and the hands of the blacksmiths grew numb. Hearing a voice, summoning them to suffer together with Saint Mark, the brothers believed in Christ. After fierce torture they poured in their throats molten tin (+28 September). After torture they beheaded Saint Mark at Claudiopolis. When they carried the head of the holy martyr into the pagan temple of Artemis, all the idols fell down and smashed. The witnesses of this miracle -- Nikon, Neonos, Iliodoros, maidens and lads -- believed in Christ, confessed their faith and died martyrs at Maromilium.
The Holy Nobleborn Prince Vyacheslav of the Czechs was a grandson of the holy Martyress and Princess Liudmila (commemorated 16 September), and he was raised by her in deep piety. He began to rule at age 18 after the death of his father prince Bratislav (+920). In spite of his youthful age, he ruled wisely and justly and concerned himself much about the Christian enlightenment of the people. The holy prince was a widely educated man, and he studied in the Latin and Greek languages. Saint Vyacheslav was peace-loving. He built and embellished churches, and in the Czech capital Prague he raised up a magnificent church in the name of Saint Vitus, and he had respect for the clergy. Envious nobles decided to murder the saint and at first to incite his mother against him, and later to urge his younger brother, Boleslav, to occupy the princely throne. Boleslav invited his brother to the dedication of a church, and then asked him to tarry and stay for still another day. In spite of the warnings of his servants, the holy prince refused to believe in a conspiracy and exposed his life to the will of God. On the following day, 28 September 935, when the nobleborn Vyacheslav went to matins, he was wickedly murdered at the doors of the church by his own brother by birth and that one's servants. His body was stabbed and thrown down without burial. The mother, hearing about the murder of her son, found and placed him in a recently consecrated church at the princely court. They were not able to wash off the blood splashed on the church doors, but after 3 days it disappeared by itself. Repenting himself, the perpetrator of the fratricide transferred the relics of Saint Vyacheslav to Prague, where they were placed in the church of Saint Vitus, which the martyr himself had constructed (the transfer of the relics of Saint Vyacheslav is celebrated on 4 March). The memory of the Nobleborn Prince Vyacheslav is honoured from of old in the Russian Orthodox Church. (There exists conjecture, that the death of the saint occurred instead in the year 929).