1. THE HOLY AND GREAT MARTYR PANTALEON [PANTELEIMON]
Pantaleon was born in Nicomedia of a Christian mother and a pagan father. His mother was called Eubula and his father Eustorgius. As a young man he studied the science of medicine. The priest, Hermolaus, invited Pantaleon to be with him and taught him the Faith of Christ and baptized him. Pantaleon miraculously cured a blind man whom the other doctors treated in vain; he cured him by the power of Christ and baptized him. Out of envy the doctors accused Pantaleon of being a Christian and he went before the Emperor Maximian to stand trial. "He stood before the earthly king in body but in thought he stood before the heavenly King." Before the emperor, he freely declared that he was a Christian and, before the eyes of the emperor, he healed a paralytic of a long-standing illness. This miracle drew many pagans to the Faith of Christ. The emperor subjected him to torture but the Lord appeared to him on several occasions and delivered him whole and unharmed. Saint Hermolaus with Hermippas and Thermocrates were then martyred. Sentenced to death, Saint Pantaleon knelt for prayer. At that moment the executioner struck him on the neck with a sword and the sword broke as though it were made of wax. The executioner was unable to execute him until the saint completed his prayer and until Pantaleon told him to behead him. His relics possessed the ability to heal. Pantaleon was executed under an olive tree which, after that, became all adorned with fruit. PANTA LEON means, "all merciful" "all compassionate." The All-merciful God received his righteous soul and glorified him among His great saints. This wonderful martyr suffered honorably for Christ in his youth, on July 27, 304 A.D. Saint Pantaleon is invoked in prayers at the time of the "Blessing of Waters" and in the blessing of the holy oils used in the "The Sacrament of Holy Unction," together with Saint Hermolaus and the other unmercenary saints and wonder-workers. A most beautiful church dedicated to this saint is located on Holy Mount Athos.
2. SAINT CLEMENT, THE ARCHBISHOP OF OHRID
Clement was a disciple of Saints Methodius and Cyril. After the death of St. Methodius, Clement, under pressure by the Germans traveled from Moravia to the south. With Gorazd, Nahum, Sava, and Angelarius - together, they were called "The Numbers Five" - crossed the Danube river where they were guests of Emperor Boris Michael and following that came to the region of Ohrid. They first founded a monastery in Belica [Velitsa] where Clement's first episcopal see was located. Afterward, he settled in Ohrid and from there he developed his great arch-pastoral and illuminating work for the nearby and distant regions. In Ohrid, St. Clement erected a church to Saint Pantaleon. He had many disciples who copied books in the Slavonic script for the Slavic peoples. Saint Naum especially assisted him in this work. He worked miracles during his life and his relics manifeste a healing power until today. Following great labors and faithful service to God, he reposed peacefully in Ohrid in the year 916 A.D. His wonder-working relics repose in the former church dedicated to the Holy Birth-giver of God (The Theotokos) and later was renamed St. Clement.
3. BLESSED NICHOLAS, FOOL FOR CHRIST
Nicholas was from Novogrod and the son of wealthy parents. He left his wealth and as a "fool for Christ" ran throughout the streets and through his foolishness for Christ he instructed men. His companion, of the same mortification, was Blessed Theodore. Running one time in the presence of the people they both ran across the river on the surface of the water. Nicholas reposed in the Lord in the year 1392 A.D.
4. THE VENERABLE FEMALE ANTHUSA
After a long ascetical life of solitude, Anthusa founded a convent of ninety sisters. At the time of the Iconoclastic controversy, under Constantine Copronymos, all ninety nuns were slain and after that, the Venerable Anthusa herself died in the year 759 A.D.
5. THE ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-THREE MARTYRS DROWNED IN THE SEA IN THRACE
HYMN OF PRAISE
THE FIVE IN NUMBER
(ST. CLEMENT, ST. NAHUM, ST. ANGELARIUS,
ST. SAVA, ST. GORAZD)
The Five in Number, God's chosen ones,
Worthy bearers of the Evangelical honey,
Spread the Faith throughout the entire world
Until on the turquoise [sky blue] lake, they settled,
Yet with greater effort from there to labor
By the Lord to sweeten bitter human life.
Clement, hierarch, a true servant of God,
Who, much pain and ridicule endured,
He, from Ohrid, became Christ's banner,
With him, Saints Nahum, Angelarius, and Sava,
And Blessed Gorazd, five in number,
God's zealous laborers, all men of God.
In the heavens, for a thousand years they live,
For a thousand years, with them men are amazed.
The people they baptized, labor they did not regret,
With glory they were crowned, for God they loved.
The glory of the Five in Number, Ohrid preserves
The boast and glory of the Slavs, they are.
If you give alms to the poor, know that as much as you do good works for your fellow man so much you do for yourself and even more for yourself. St. Anthony says: "Both life and death comes to us from our fellow man." St. Peter Damaskin writes: "As the poor should give thanks to God and love the rich who do them good, so even more should the rich should give thanks to God and to love the poor because they are saved by the Providence of God both now and in the future ages [life to come] because of their alms [Charity]. For without the poor, they not only cannot gain salvation of their souls but they cannot avoid the temptations of wealth." Alms which are given out of vanity or with disdain do not benefit anything. In earlier times, the wealthy ones brought gold to the hermits and begged them to accept it. It is a rare occurrence that the hermits gladly accepted alms and, when they did accept it, they accepted it out of compassion toward the wealthy ones giving it. The most destitute of men received alms out of compassion!
To contemplate the miraculous deliverance of the Israelites from Sisera and his might (Judges 4):
1. How the Lord showed mercy on the cries of the enslaved Israelites and gave them victory over Sisera;
2. How the prophetess Deborah sent a small force to Mt. Tabor against Sisera, who had nine-hundred chariots of iron and an enormous army;
3. How the forces of Sisera were scattered and he was slain.
About the prophesied scoffers of holy things
"Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts" (2 Peter 3:3).
Does the mirror change and bend when the scoffer stands before it laughing and scoffing at it? No, the mirror does not change and bend but remains the same as it was. Brethren, neither does God change or bend when scoffers laugh and scoff at Him. The unchanging and All-pure God knows that the scoffer scoffs at himself. By his scoffing at the holy things of God, the scoffer bends himself and makes himself hideous and the holy things of God remain intact.
O, how already in our times, in our days, many scoffers are already here! Many, too many but their multitudes are weaker than the One and Only One. What is a lot of dust before a strong wind? You have only to wait, to wait armed with patience until a strong wind blows.
Many and too many scoffers are already here, who scoff at God's word. They offer their own words in place of God's word; they offer the unholy in place of the holy, the putrid in place of the healthy, death dealing in place of life creating. The word of God is like a strong wind and their words are as dust.
The scoffers are already here, many and too many that scoff at God's works and still many more will arrive. They praise their works above God's works and say that the works of their hands are better and more comprehensible that the works of God. Their works are thievery; for all the good that they built, they built from God's materials and according to the likeness of God's buildings; and all the evil that they have built, they built from the devil's materials, and according to the likeness of the devil's buildings. Therefore, of what will the dust boast? With what will the scoffers praise today or tomorrow, when wild asses trample over their graves with their hooves?
All-pure Lord, Holy and Powerful are Your words, as a strong wind and holy are Your works, and there is no number or measure of them. All-pure Lord, save our tongues from scoffing and save our lives from the scoffers.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
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