Orthodox icon of Saint Seraphim the Wonderworker of Sarov with scenes of his life (2).
Commemorated January 2nd.
Saint Seraphim is a great ascetic and wonder worker of the Church. He spent most of his life alone in the wilderness where he befriended the wild animals. He was given a vision from the Mother of God to leave his life in solitude and to teach others. With the purest of heart he began to receive visitors and provide spiritual guidance and healing.
His teaching can be summarized by the following quotes: nAcquire the Spirit of Peace and a thousand souls around you will be saved.b"You cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of him who gives and kindles joy in the heart of him who receives." "All condemnation is from the devil.
Never condemn each other instead of condemning others, strive to reach inner peace." "Keep silent, refrain from judgment. This will raise you above the deadly arrows of slander, insult, and outrage and will shield your glowing hearts against all evil."
St. Seraphim of Sarov icon (3)
Orthodox icon of Saint Seraphim of Sarov (3).
Commemorated January 2.
St. Sergius of Randonezh icon
Orthodox icon of saint Sergius of Randonezh icon. Contemporary icon
Commemorated September 25.
St. Sergius the Martyr icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Sergius the Martyr of Syria.
Commemorated October 7th. u00a0
St. Silas the Apostle icon
Orthodox handmade icon of Apostle Silas of the Seventy.
Commemorated July 30th.
Saint Silas was a respected figure in the original Church at Jerusalem, one of the “chief men among the brethren” (Acts 15:22). The Council of the Apostles was convened at Jerusalem in the year 51 to deal with the question of whether Gentile Christian converts should be required to observe the Mosaic Law. The Apostles sent a message with Paul and Barnabas to the Christians of Antioch, giving the decision of the Council that Christians of Gentile origin did not have to observe the prescriptions of the Mosaic Law. Nonetheless, they were told that they must refrain from partaking of foods offered to idols, from things strangled and from blood, to refrain from fornication (Acts 15:20-29). Together with Sts Paul and Barnabas, the Council of the Apostles sent Sts Silas and Jude to explain the message in greater detail, since they both were filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit. St Jude was later sent back to Jerusalem, but St Silas remained at Antioch and zealously assisted St Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, on his missionary journeys preaching the Gospel. They visited Syria, Cilicia, Macedonia.
In the city of Philippi they were accused of inciting unrest among the people, and for this they were arrested, beaten with rods, and then thrown into prison. At midnight, when the saints were at prayer, suddenly there was a strong earthquake, their chains fell off from them and the doors of the prison opened. The prison guard, supposing that the prisoners had fled, wanted to kill himself, but was stopped by the Apostle Paul. Then, he fell down trembling at the feet of the saints, and with faith accepted their preaching about Christ. He then led them out of the prison and took them to his own home, where he washed their wounds, and was baptized together with all his household.
From Philippi Sts Paul and Silas proceeded on to the cities of Amphipolis, Apollonia and Thessalonica. In each city they made new converts to Christ and built up the Church.
At Corinth the holy Apostle Silas was consecrated as bishop, and worked many miracles and signs, and there he finished his life.
St. Silouan the Athonite icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Silouan of Mt. Athos or Silouan the Athonite.
Commemorated September 24.
Saint Silouan was a monk of the early twentieth century at the Monastery of St. Panteleimon and is known for his wise counsel. Saint Silouanu00a0was born Simeon Ivanovich Antonov in 1866 to Russian Orthodox parents who came from the village of Sovsk in Russia's Tambov region. At twenty-seven he left Russia and went to Mount Athos, where he became a monk given the name Silouan, the Russian version of the Biblical name Silvanus.
Saint Silouan received the grace of unceasing prayer and saw Christ in a vision. After long years of spiritual trial, he acquired great humility and inner stillness. St Silouan died on September 24, 1938. His writings were edited by his disciple and pupil, Archimandrite Sophrony who has written the life of the saint along with a record of St. Silouan's teachings in the book Saint Silouan the Athonite.
St. Simeon of Thessaloniki icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Simeon, Symeon, Bishop of Thessaloniki. Contemporary icon.
St. Simeon the God-Receiver icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Simeon the God Receiver, Symeon,
Commemorated February 3.
In this Orthodox icon He is show holding the infant Jesus. Saint Simeon the God-Receiver was a just and devout man. God promised him that he would not die until the promised Messiah, Christ the Lord, came into the world. When St Simeon saw their arrival in the temple when Jesus was brought for the traditional 40 day blessing, the Holy Spirit revealed to Simeon that the baby held by the Virgin Mary was the Promised Messiah, the Savior of the world.
The Elder Simeon took the Child in his arms and said, Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people, a light to enlighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel (Luke 2:29-32). Simeon blessed the All-Pure Virgin and St Joseph, and turning to the Mother of God he said, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be spoken against. Yea, a sword shall pierce through your own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed (Luke 2:34-35). The holy righteous Simeon the God-Receiver died at a very old age (Tradition says he was 360). His holy relics were transferred to Constantinople in the sixth century.
St. Simeon the new Theologian icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Symeon, Simeon the new Theologian.
Commemorated October 12th.
Saint Simeon the New Theologian was born in the year 949 in the city of Galatea (Paphlagonia), and he was educated at Constantinople. His father prepared him for a career at court, and for a certain while the youth occupied a high position at the imperial court. When he was fourteen, he met the renowned Elder Simeon the Pious at the Studion Monastery, who would be a major influence in his spiritual development. He remained in the world for several years preparing himself for the monastic life under the Elder's guidance, and finally entered the monastery at the age of twenty-seven.
St Simeon the Pious recommended to the young man the writings of St Mark the Ascetic (March 5) and other spiritual writers. He read these books attentively and tried to put into practice what he read. Three points made by St Mark in his work On the Spiritual Law (see Vol. I of the English PHILOKALIA) particularly impressed him. First, you should listen to your conscience and do what it tells you if you wish your soul to be healed (PHILOKALIA, p. 115). Second, only by fulfilling the commandments can one obtain the activity of the Holy Spirit.
Thirdly, one who prays only with the body and without spiritual knowledge is like the blind man who cried out, Son of David, have mercy upon me (Luke 18:38) (PHILOKALIA, p. 111). When the blind man received his sight, however, he called Christ the Son of God (John 9:38). St Simeon was wounded with a love for spiritual beauty, and tried to acquire it. In addition to the Rule given him by his Elder, his conscience told him to add a few more Psalms and prostrations, and to repeat constantly, Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me. Naturally, he heeded his conscience.
During the day, he cared for the needs of people living in the palace of Patricius. At night, his prayers grew longer and he remained praying until midnight. Once, as he was praying in this way, a most brilliant divine radiance descended upon him and filled the room. He saw nothing but light all around him, and he was not even aware of the ground beneath his feet. It seemed to him that he himself became light. Then his mind rose upward to the heavens, and he saw a second light brighter than the light which surrounded him.
Then, on the edge of this second light, he seemed to see St Simeon the Pious, who had given him St Mark the Ascetic to read. Seven years after this vision, St Simeon entered the monastery. There he increased his fasting and vigilance, and learned to renounce his own will. The Enemy of our salvation stirred up the brethren of the monastery against St Simeon, who was indifferent to the praises or reproaches of others. Because of the increased discontent in the monastery, St Simeon was sent to the Monastery of St Mamas in Constantinople.
There he was tonsured into the monastic schema, and increased his spiritual struggles. He attained to a high spiritual level, and increased his knowledge of spiritual things through reading the Holy Scriptures and the writings of the Fathers, as well as in conversation with holy Elders. Around the year 980, St Simeon was made igumen of the monastery of St Mamas and continued in this office for twenty-five years. He repaired and restored the monastery, which had suffered from neglect, and also brought order to the life of the monks. The strict monastic discipline, for which St Simeon strove, led to great dissatisfaction among the brethren.
Once, after Liturgy, some of the monks attacked him and nearly killed him. When the Patriarch of Constantinople expelled them from the monastery and wanted to hand them over to the civil authorities, St Simeon asked that they be treated with leniency and be permitted to live in the world. About the year 1005, St Simeon resigned his position as igumen in favor of Arsenius, while he himself settled near the monastery in peace. There he composed his theological works, portions of which appear in the PHILOKALIA. The chief theme of his works is the hidden activity of spiritual perfection, and the struggle against the passions and sinful thoughts.
He wrote instructions for monks: Theological and Practical Chapters, A Treatise on the Three Methods of Prayer, (in Vol. IV of the English PHILOKALIA) and A Treatise on Faith. Moreover, St Simeon was an outstanding church poet. He also wrote Hymns of Divine Love, about seventy poems filled with profound prayerful meditations. The sublime teachings of St Simeon about the mysteries of mental prayer and spiritual struggle have earned him the title the New Theologian. These teachings were not the invention of St Simeon, but they had merely been forgotten over time. Some of these teachings seemed unacceptable and strange to his contemporaries.
This led to conflict with Constantinople's church authorities, and St Simeon was banished from the city. He withdrew across the Bosphorus and settled in the ancient monastery of St Makrina. The saint peacefully fell asleep in the Lord in the year 1021. During his life he received the gift of working miracles. Numerous miracles also took place after his death; one of them was the miraculous discovery of his icon. His Life was written by his cell-attendant and disciple, St Nicetas Stethatos. Since March 12 falls during Great Lent, St Simeon's Feast is transfer to October 12.
St. Simeon the Stylites icon (2)
Orthodox icon of Saint Simeon, Symeon the Stylites (2).
Commemorated September 1st.
Saint Simeon the Stylite was born in the Cappadocian village of Sisan of Christian parents, Sisotian and Martha. At thirteen years of age he began to tend his father's flock of sheep. He devoted himself attentively and with love to this, his first obedience. Once, after he heard the Beatitudes in church, he was struck by their profundity. Not trusting to his own immature judgment, he turned therefore with his questions to an experienced Elder. The Elder readily explained to the boy the meaning of what he had heard. The seed fell on good soil, and it strengthened his resolve to serve God.
When Simeon was eighteen, he received monastic tonsure and devoted himself to feats of the strictest abstinence and unceasing prayer. His zeal, beyond the strength of the other monastic brethren, so alarmed the igumen that he told Simeon that to either moderate his ascetic deeds or leave the monastery. St Simeon then withdrew from the monastery and lived in an empty well in the nearby mountains, where he was able to carry out his austere struggles unhindered. After some time, angels appeared in a dream to the igumen, who commanded him to bring back Simeon to the monastery. The monk, however, did not long remain at the monastery.
After a short while he settled into a stony cave, situated not far from the village of Galanissa, and he dwelt there for three years, all the while perfecting himself in monastic feats. Once, he decided to spent the entire forty days of Great Lent without food or drink. With the help of God, the monk endured this strict fast. From that time he abstained from food completely during the entire period of the Great Lent, even from bread and water. For twenty days he prayed while standing, and for twenty days while sitting, so as not to permit the corporeal powers to relax.
A whole crowd of people began to throng to the place of his efforts, wanting to receive healing from sickness and to hear a word of Christian edification. Shunning worldly glory and striving again to find his lost solitude, the monk chose a previously unknown mode of asceticism. He went up a pillar six to eight feet high, and settled upon it in a little cell, devoting himself to intense prayer and fasting. Reports of St Simeon reached the highest church hierarchy and the imperial court. Patriarch Domninos II (441-448) of Antioch visited the monk, celebrated Divine Liturgy on the pillar and communed the ascetic with the Holy Mysteries.
Elders living in the desert heard about St Simeon, who had chosen a new and strange form of ascetic striving. Wanting to test the new ascetic and determine whether his extreme ascetic feats were pleasing to God, they sent messengers to him, who in the name of these desert fathers were to bid St Simeon to come down from the pillar. In the case of disobedience they were to forcibly drag him to the ground. But if he was willing to submit, they were to leave him on his pillar. St Simeon displayed complete obedience and deep Christian humility.
The monks told him to stay where he was, asking God to be his helper. St Simeon endured many temptations, and he invariably gained the victory over them. He relied not on his own weak powers, but on the Lord Himself, Who always came to help him. The monk gradually increased the height of the pillar on which he stood. His final pillar was 80 feet in height. Around him a double wall was raised, which hindered the unruly crowd of people from coming too close and disturbing his prayerful concentration. Women, in general, were not permitted beyond the wall.
The saint did not make an exception even for his own mother, who after long and unsuccessful searches finally succeeded in finding her lost son. He would not see her, saying, If we are worthy, we shall see one another in the life to come. St Martha submitted to this, remaining at the foot of the pillar in silence and prayer, where she finally died. St Simeon asked that her coffin be brought to him. He reverently bid farewell to his dead mother, and a joyful smile appeared on her face.
St Simeon spent 80 years in arduous monastic feats, 47 years of which he stood upon the pillar. God granted him to accomplish in such unusual conditions an indeed apostolic service. Many pagans accepted Baptism, struck by the moral staunchness and bodily strength which the Lord bestowed upon His servant. The first one to learn of the death of the saint was his close disciple Anthony.
Concerned that his teacher had not appeared to the people for three days, he went up on the pillar and found the dead body stooped over at prayer. Patriarch Martyrius of Antioch performed the funeral before a huge throng of clergy and people. They buried him near his pillar. At the place of his ascetic deeds, Anthony established a monastery, upon which rested the special blessing of St Simeon.
St. Simon The Apostle icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Apostle Simeon the Zealot (Symeon).
Commemorated May 10.
Saint Simeon is one of the twelve Apostles. He is believed to be the bridegroom at the wedding of Cana. Saint Simeon was from Cana in Galilee. After he saw the miracle at the wedding he became zealous for Christ and is give the name Zealot He traveled to many places from Britain to the Black Sea, proclaiming the Gospel of Christ. After winning many pagans to the Lord, St Simon suffered martyrdom by crucifixion. St Simon is also commemorated on June 30 with the other Apostles.
St. Sisoes the Great icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Sisoes the Great. Copy of an icon of 15th century.
Commemorated July 6th.
Saint Sisoes the Great (+ 429) was a solitary monk, pursuing asceticism in the Egyptian desert in a cave sanctified by the prayerful labors of his predecessor, St Anthony the Great (January 17). For his sixty years of labor in the desert, St Sisoes attained to sublime spiritual purity and he was granted the gift of wonderworking, so that by his prayers he once restored a dead child back to life. Extremely strict with himself, Abba Sisoes was very merciful and compassionate to others, and he received everyone with love. To those who visited him, the saint first of all always taught humility.
When one of the monks asked how he might attain to a constant remembrance of God, St Sisoes remarked, That is no great thing, my son, but it is a great thing to regard yourself as inferior to everyone else. This leads to the acquisition of humility. Asked by the monks whether one year is sufficient for repentance if a brother sins, Abba Sisoes said, I trust in the mercy of God that if such a man repents with all his heart, then God will accept his repentance in three days. When St Sisoes lay upon his deathbed, the disciples surrounding the Elder saw that his face shone like the sun.
They asked the dying man what he saw. Abba Sisoes replied that he saw St Anthony, the prophets, and the apostles. His face increased in brightness, and he spoke with someone. The monks asked, With whom are you speaking, Father? He said that angels had come for his soul, and he was entreating them to give him a little more time for repentance. The monks said, You have no need for repentance, Father St Sisoes said with great humility, I do not think that I have even begun to repent.
After these words the face of the holy abba shone so brightly that the brethren were not able to look upon him. St Sisoes told them that he saw the Lord Himself. Then there was a flash like lightning, and a fragrant odor, and Abba Sisoes departed to the Heavenly Kingdom.
St. Smaragdos the Martyr icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Smaragdos, Smaragdus. Contemporary icon.
Commemorated March 9.
St. Sophia and Daughters icon (1)
Orthodox Icon of Martyr Sophia and her three daughters at Rome, Faith (Pistis), Hope (Elpis) and Love (Agape).
Commemorated September 17.
Holy Martyrs Saint Sophia and her daughters Faith, Hope and Love. Sophia was a pious Christian who became a widow at a young age. She had three daughters and named them for the three Christian virtues. Faith was twelve, Hope was ten, and Love was nine. St Sophia raised them in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. St Sophia and her daughters did not hide their faith in Christ, but openly confessed it before everyone.
A Roman official named Antiochus denounced them to the emperor Hadrian (117-138) believing they were scorners of the Roman deities and disobedient to the imperial commands., Hadrian the Emperor (118-138) ordered that they be brought to Rome to the Court of Justice. The holy virgin prayed fervently to the Lord Jesus Christ, asking that He give them the strength not to fear torture and death. When they came before the emperor, everyone present was amazed at their composure.
They looked as though they had been brought to some happy festival, rather than to be tortured. Summoning each of the sisters in turn, Hadrian urged them to offer sacrifice to the goddess Artemis. The young girls remained unyielding. The Emperor tried to persuade Sophia to be obedient and to sacrifice to the pagan Gods but She refused and eloquently defended the True God Jesus Christ. The Judge seeing their resolve then separated them to bring them to be examined one at a time.
The words of the eldest daughter who was summoned first angered the judge and he began to torture her. But Pistis seemed glad at being treated in this way. He stripped her and beat her with rods. But there was not a mark on her body. He then ordered to sever her breasts. The tortures continued but in vain. He ordered that she be beheaded. Sophia and her sisters shouted their encouragement to stay true to Christ and that they would be reunited in His kingdom. Sophia showed admirable resolve at these horrible events. She entreated God that her other daughters should also be brought to slaughter as a blameless sacrifice.
Saint Sophia gathered up their remains and laid them in a Church. Sophia continued to live for only three days. Prostrated before the reliquary containing the relics of her daughters she said, "O divine offspring of my womb, receive thy mother where You now abide." She closed her eyes and surrendered her soul into the hands of God. Her relics were taken and put with those of her daughters.