Martyr Ludmilla, Grandmother of St Wenceslaus

15 September 12

Also commemorated on 16 September:

Martyr Ludmilla the grandmother of St Wenceslaus the Prince of the Czechs

Martyr Ludmilla the grandmother of St Wenceslaus the Prince of the Czechs

The Holy Martyr Ludmilla, a Czech (Bohemian) princess, was married to the Czech prince Borivoy. Both spouses received holy Baptism from St Methodius, Archbishop of Moravia and Enlightener of the Slavs (Comm. 11 May).

As Christians, they showed concerned for the enlightening of their subjects with the light of the true Faith, they built churches and invited priests to celebrate the divine services. Prince Borivoy died early at age 36. St Ludmilla, as a widow, led an austere, pious life and continued to be concerned for the Church during the reign of her son Bratislav, which lasted for 33 years.

Bratislav was married to Dragomira, with whom he had a son, Vyacheslav. After the death of Bratislav, eighteen-year-old Vyacheslav came on the throne. Taking advantage of the inexperience and youth of her son, Dragomira began to introduce pagan manners and customs in the country.

St Ludmilla, of course, opposed this. Dragomira came to hate her mother-in-law and tried to destroy her. When St Ludmilla moved away to the city of Techin, Dragomira sent two boyars in secret to murder her. St Ludmilla was praying at the time, and the two assassins entered the house and carried out Dragomira’s orders.

The relics of the holy Martyr Ludmilla was buried in Techin in the city wall. Numerous healings occurred at her grave. Prince Vyacheslav transferred the body of St Ludmilla to the city of Prague and placed it in the church of St George.

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A Hymn to the Great Martyr Euphemia

15 September 12

This hymn is sung by the Nuns of Saint Paisius in Safford, Arizona. This is from their CD “A Treasury of Spiritual Songs” which I HIGHLY recommend.


[Purchase CD]


Saint EUPHEMIA the Great Martyr and All-Praised

15 September 12

Commemorated on 16 September

(NB: This saint is very special to me. We were going to give this saint’s name to Talia as a middle name. If we adopt a little girl in the future this will be her name, first or middle.)

Saint Euphemia the Great Maryr and All-Praised

Saint Euphemia the Great Maryr and All-Praised

The Holy Great Martyr Euphemia the All-Praised was the daughter of Christians, the senator Philophronos and Theodosia. She suffered for Christ in the year 304 in the city of Chalcedon, on the banks of the Bosphorus opposite Constantinople.

The Chalcedon governor Priscus circulated an order to all the inhabitants of Chalcedon and its surroundings to appear at a pagan festival to worship and offer sacrifice to an idol of Ares, threatening grave torments for anyone who failed to appear. During this impious festival, 49 Christians were hidden in one house, where they secretly attended services to the True God.

The young maiden Euphemia was also among those praying there. Soon the hiding place of the Christians was discovered, and they were brought before Priscus to answer for themselves. For nineteen days the martyrs were subjected to various tortures and torments, but none of them wavered in their faith nor consented to offer sacrifice to the idol. The governor, beside himself with rage and not knowing any other way of forcing the Christians to abandon their faith, sent them for trial to the emperor Diocletian. He kept the youngest, the virgin Euphemia, hoping that she would not remain strong if she were all alone.

St Euphemia, separated from her brethren in faith, fervently prayed the Lord Jesus Christ, that He strengthen her in her impending ordeal. Priscus at first urged the saint to recant, promising her earthly blessings, but then he gave the order to torture her.

The martyr was tied to a wheel with sharp knives, which cut her body. The saint prayed aloud, and as it happened, the wheel stopped by itself and would not move even with all the efforts of the executioners. An angel of the Lord, came down from Heaven, removed Euphemia from the wheel and healed her of her wounds. The saint gave thanks unto the Lord with gladness.

Not perceiving the miracle that had occurred, the torturer ordered the soldiers Victor and Sosthenes to take the saint to a red-hot oven. But the soldiers, seeing two fearsome angels in the midst of the flames, refused to carry out the order of the governor and became believers in the God Whom Euphemia worshipped. Boldly proclaiming that they too were Christians, Victor and Sosthenes bravely went to suffering. They were sent to be eaten by wild beasts. During their execution, they cried out for mercy to God, asking that the Lord would receive them into the Heavenly Kingdom. A heavenly Voice answered their cries, and they entered into eternal life. The beasts, however, did not even touch their bodies.

St Euphemia, castinto the fire by other soldiers, remained unharmed. With the help of God she emerged unharmed after many other tortures and torments. Ascribing this to sorcery, the governor gave orders to dig out a new pit, and filling it with knives, he had it covered over with earth and grass, so that the martyr would not notice the preparation for her execution.

Here also St Euphemia remained safe, easily passing over the pit. Finally, they sentenced her to be devoured by wild beasts at the circus. Before execution the saint began to implore that the Lord deem her worthy to die a violent death. But none of the beasts, set loose at her in the arena, attacked her. Finally, one of the she-bears gave her a small wound on the leg, from which came blood, and immediately the holy Great Martyr Euphemia died. During this time there was an earthquake, and both the guards and the spectators ran in terror, so that the parents of the saint were able to take up her body and reverently bury it not far from Chalcedon.

A majestic church was afterwards built over the grave of the Great Martyr Euphemia. At this temple the sessions of the Fourth Ecumenical Council took place in the year 451. At that time, the holy Great Martyr Euphemia confirmed the Orthodox confession in a miraculous manner, and exposed the Monophysite heresy. Details of this miracle are related under July 11.

With the taking of Chalcedon by the Persians in the year 617, the relics of the holy Great Martyr Euphemia were transferred to Constantinople (in about the year 620). During the Iconoclast heresy, the reliquary with the relics of St Euphemia appears to have been thrown into the sea. Pious sailors recovered them. They were afterwards taken to the Island of Lemnos, and in the year 796 they were returned to Constantinople.

Troparion – Tone 4

Your lamb Euphemia calls out to You, O Jesus, in a loud voice:
“I love You, my Bridegroom, and in seeking You I endure suffering.
In baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You,
and I died so that I might live with You.
Accept me as a pure sacrifice,
for I have offered myself in love.”
Through her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful!

Kontakion – Tone 4

You completed your struggle well, all-praised Euphemia;
even after death, you pour out healing on us for our sanctification.
We stand beside your venerable relics
to honor your holy falling asleep,
that in faith we may be delivered from the weaknesses of our nature
and to obtain the grace of your miracles.


Life of Saint John the Theologian – Chapter 8

15 September 12

The Life and Struggles of the
Holy Apostle and Evangelist
John the Theologian

CHAPTER 8

BANISHMENT TO PATMOS

According to the account of Prochorus, “The soldiers laid hold of us, and Jon was tightly bound on irons and chains. They said to him: ‘This one is a magician and performeth terrible deeds.’ As for me, they rained down blows upon me and uttered many intimidating things, but they did not put me in fetters. They brought us down to a ship and set sail. Daily we were given approximately eight ounces of bread, a small cup of poor wine of about half a pint, and a little less than a quart of water, of which John partook very little, leaving most for me. They were not in a hurry to sail directly to Patmos, but tarried in one place a long time. t length, we departed, and, as we were sailing, the officers sat down to dine and, having a great quantity of food and drink, made merry. One of the junior officers hastened to the forepart of the ship to perform some duty and, out of carelessness, fell headlong into the sea. His father was present on the ship and grieved over his loss keenly. He would have cast himself into the sea, had others not restrained him. All on board were grief-stricken over the event. Some came over to where we were being kept, and one said to John: ‘O man, we all are in mourning over what hath taken place; how is it that not only thou mournest not, but art cheerful?’ John then asked him: ‘And what dost thou wish me to do?’ He answered: ‘Art thou able to help us?’ John then asked their leader: ‘Which deity dost thou worship?’ He replied: Apollo, Zeus, and Hercules.’ John then asked the second: ‘And whom dost thou revere?’ He answered: ‘Aesculapius, Hermes, and Hera.’ John continued to ask each in turn, and all confessed their deception. Then the Lord’s apostle aid unto them: ‘How many gods ye have and yet are not able to save one drowned man!’ They answered: ‘This is because we are sinners and do not purely serve them; and for this, the gods punish us.’

“He then left them to their grief, and said to me: ‘Prochorus my child, rise up and give me thy hand.’ He said this because he was bound and unable to lift himself up. So I extended my hand, and he rose up and stood at the edge of the ship, his chains rattling, and he sighed with tears and said: ‘O God of the ages, Who hast created everything and with Thy gesture controllest all creation; O Thou Who alone art the almighty and King of all, Jesus Christ, Who for our sake, and in accordance with Thy dispensation, hast granted us to walk upon the waters as on dry land: O Master, I am instructed to entreat Thee on behalf of him (who drowned) by those who hope to receive abundantly. Quickly hearken unto me.’ No sooner did he complete his prayer, than suddenly great quantities of hot water erupted from the sea, and one wave, breaking over the ship, cast the young man, alive, at John’s feet. Seeing this, all were amazed and fell at John’s feet, exclaiming: ‘Of a truth, thy God is the God of heaven, the earth, , and the sea!’ Then they began to honor John and removed his iron shackles.

“We then put in t a place called Katikon and anchored the ship. All went ashore, save us and the guards. The sun was westering when the helmsman perceived that it was good to set sail thence. So when the others came back on board, we departed. At the fifth hour of the night, a great storm arose upon the sea, and the ship was imperilled. All began to cry out and awaited death. Then the commander of the soldiers approached and said to John: ‘Man of God, in a marvellous manner thou didst raise the dead man from the depths of the sea y thy prayer; therefore, supplicate thy God now to still the tempest, for we are in danger of sinking.’ John answered: ‘Be at peace, and let each sit down in his place.’ But because the tempest grew more violent, John arose and prayed. Then, straightway, the storm was quelled and a great calm reigned.

“Water grew scarce aboard the ship, and many, growing faint from thirst, found themselves near death. John then said to me: ‘Fill the vessels with seawater.’ When the vessels were filled, he said: ‘In the name of Jesus Christ, take and drink.’ And drawing forth the water, they found it sweet and, drinking it, were refreshed.

“We then dropped anchor at a place called Myron, because one of the officers suffered from dysentery, and because of this sickness he was nigh to death. We remained there for seven days. On the eighth day the commanding officers began to quarrel among themselves. Some said that t was not proper to delay carrying out the imperial order; others felt it was not right to leave one of their own behind; some even wanted to take the sick man with them, but he surely would have perished. Then John said to me: ‘Go, my child Prochorus, and say to the ailing man that John, the apostle of Christ,  saith to him: Come to me sound.’ I went and said this to the sick man, and, straightway, he arose without a trace of the sickness and followed me back to John, who said to him: “Tell thy companions that we should depart from this place.’ Immediately, he who had taken no food for seven days and had been in grave danger gladly urged the others to leave that place.

“When both the officers and their men beheld this miracle, they fell at the feet of the apostle, saying: ‘Behold the whole hat same day. earth is at your disposal, for thou hast proven that thou art a servant of the true God.’ John replied: ‘Nay my children, this is not proper; ye must take me where ye are commanded., that ye be not punished  by the emperor.’ And after he had catechized them, he baptized all of them that same day. Then we departed for Patmos. On arriving, we entered a city called Flora where, according to the emperor’s order, the officers put us in the governor’s charge, though they themselves did not want to leave us, but to remain with us. But John said to them: ‘My children, if ye are careful not to fall away from the grace ye have received, in no place shall ye be harmed.’ They tarried with us for ten days and were further instructed by John. Afterwards, he prayed and blessed them, and, bidding them depart in peace, committed them to the hands of God, in Whom they believed and to Whom is due glory for everlasting ages. Amen

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