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Orthodox icon of Saint Agnes, Virgin-martyr of Rome.
Commemorated January 21st.
The holy Virgin Martyr Agnes was born at Rome during the third century.When she refused to enter into marriage with the son of the city official Symphronius, one of his associates revealed to him that Agnes was a Christian. The wicked Eparch ordered that she be stripped and and sent to a brothel. But the Lord would not permit the saint to suffer shame. As soon as she was disrobed, long thick hair grew from her head covering her body. An angel was also appointed to guard her. Standing at the door of the brothel, he shone with a heavenly light which blinded anyone who came near her. The son of the Eparch also came to defile the virgin, but fell down dead before he could touch her. Through the fervent prayer of St Agnes, he was restored to life. After seeing this miracle, 160 men believed in God and were baptized, and then suffered martyrdom. St Agnes was given over to torture. They tried to burn her as a witch, but the saint remained unharmed in the fire, praying to God. After this they killed her by stabbing her in the throat. Through her death at the age of thirteen, St Agnes escaped everlasting death and inherited eternal life. The holy virgin martyr was buried by her parents in a field they owned outside of Rome. Many miracles occurred at the grave of St Agnes. Her holy and grace-filled relics rest in the church built in her honor, along the Via Nomentana.
Aaron the Prophet icon
Orthodox icon of Prophet Aaron. Icon of 16 cent. Mount Athos Monastery of Stavronikita.
Aaron was the first priest of Israel, according to the biblical book Leviticus. His story begins in Exodus, with Aaron as spokesperson for and assistant to his younger brother, Moses. Together they help lead the Hebrews out of slavery and through years of desert wandering. At key moments, Aaron wields a rod that becomes a serpent, brings plagues upon Egypt, and sprouts blossoms and almonds. While Moses is off receiving the Ten Commandments, Aaron commits idolatry by building a golden calf for the people to worship. He survives this sin and later is anointed chief priest over the Hebrews' new "tabernacle" form of worship. In Numbers, Aaron's death is decreed by God, for a sin he and Moses committed (its nature is unclear) in drawing water from a rock. God sends the two to Mt. Hor, where Aaron dies after Moses strips him of his priestly garments.
Abraham the Righteous Patriarch icon
Orthodox icon of Abraham the Righteous Patriarch.
Commemorated the Sunday of the Forefathers and always before Christmas.
The life of Abraham can be found in the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament, Chapters 12-25. His constant obedience to God has earned him the title of "Righteous" and is a wonderful example so that we may offer our own obedience and love to God.
Anna, the Prophetess icon
Orthodox icon of Prophetess Anna, Hannah, the mother of Prophet Samuel.
Commemorated December 9.
The Holy Prophetess Hannah dwelt in marriage with Elkanah, but she was childless. Elkanah took to himself another wife, Phennena, who bore him children. Hannah grieved strongly over her misfortune, and every day she prayed for an end to her barrenness, and vowed to dedicate her child to God.
Once, as she prayed fervently in the Temple, the priest Heli thought that she was drunk, and he began to reproach her. But the saint poured out her grief, and after she received a blessing, she returned home. After this Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son, whom she named Samuel (which means “Asked from God”).
When the child reached the age of boyhood, the mother herself presented him to the priest Heli, and Samuel remained with him to serve before the Tabernacle (1 Kings/1 Samuel 2: 1-21).
Apostles' Council Icon
Orthodox Icon of the Council (Synaxis) of the Twelve Apostles of Christ.
Commemorated on June 30.
The Synaxis of the Glorious and All-Praiseworthy Twelve Apostles of Christ appears to be an ancient Feast. The Church honors each of the Twelve Apostles on separate dates during the year, and has established a general commemoration for all of them on the day after the commemoration of the Glorious and First-Ranked among the Apostles Peter and Paul. SAINT PETER June 29 and January 16, SAINT ANDREW November 30, SAINT JAMES, THE SON OF ZEBEDEE April 30, SAINT JOHN THE THEOLOGIAN September 26 and May 8, SAINT PHILIP November 14, SAINT BARTHOLOMEW June 11 and August 25, SAINT THOMAS October 6, SAINT MATTHEW THE EVANGELIST November 16, SAINT JAMES, THE SON OF ALPHAEUS October 9, SAINT THADDEUS OR JUDE, THE BROTHER OF JAMES June 19, SAINT SIMON THE ZEALOT May 10, SAINT MATTHIAS August 9, SAINT PAUL June 29.
Here is how each of them died: St. Peter was crucified upside down.St. Andrew was crucified on an X-shaped cross.Saint James, the son of Zebedee was beheaded.Saint John the Theologian died in a miraculous manner.St. Philip was crucified.St. Bartholomew was crucified, scraped and beheaded.St. Thomas was pierced with five spears.Saint Matthew the Evangelist was burned alive.Saint James, the son of Alphaeus was crucified.Saint Thaddeus or Jude, the Brother of James was crucified.Saint Simon the Zealot was crucified.Saint Matthias was stoned and then was beheaded after death.Saint Paul was beheaded. Emperor Constantine the Great built a grand church in Constantinople in honor of the Twelve Apostles were their relics were collected. Most Emperors and many patriarchs and bishops were also buried in the church. The Church was looted during the Fourth Crusade in 1204. In 1461, following the fall of Constantinople to Mehmed, the church was taken over by the Ottomans who demolished it to make way for the Fatih Mosque.