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The Shepherd's Guild

Saints of October

A listing of a few saints commemorated in the month of October:

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St. John of Kronstadt

A 20th-Century Saint, 1829 - 1908

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Commemorated on October 19
 
      The Wonder-Working Father John Sergiev is another of the great elders and saints who were a part of the spiritual revival started by St. Paisius Velichkovsky. Widely venerated as a saint even during his lifetime, and the only married parish priest in the Russian calendar of saints, Father John is known for spiritual gifts of powerful prayer, healing, spiritual insight and great love for all people. He reawakened the Russian Orthodox Church to the Apostolic tradition of receiving Holy Communion at every Divine Liturgy. This is why he ismost commonly portrayed holding a Communion chalice, as he is in the Russian icon above.
     
       Born to poor, devout parents in a small in the far north of Russia, Father John experienced the power of prayer even as a child. While at the Theological Academy in St. Petersburg, he wanted to be a missionary where he was. Thus he married ans was ordained priest in 1855. He was assigned to the St. Andrew Cathedral on the Island of Kronstadt, in the bay near St. Petersburg. Kronstadt was filled with unspeakable squalor and misery, disease and starvation, crime and alcoholism. However, Father John remained there for 53 years as an urban missionary, putting into action Christ's command to love our neighbor, healing people's bodies and souls, and teaching children whom he especially loved. As his reputation as a healer and miracle-worker spread the many requests for his help that flowed in were accompanied by much money, which he used for extensive charitable works, including building a "House of Industry" that provided jobs, job-training, food, shelter and medical care for the poor.
 
     Father John managed to perfect his holiness, not in a peacful, remote monastery, but in a large, noisy, dirty, stressful, crime-ridden city, always surrounded by crowds of people everywhere, with time to himself. He received his strength from the overwhelming awareness of the Presence of God from reading the Bible, and from daily serving the Divine Litugy and receiving Holy Communion. Every day his cathedral was packed with 5,000 people for Matins and Litugy: it lasted from 4 am until noon, because there were so many requests for his prayers. After, he healed and prayed for those who asked his help, treating rich and poor equally, and rarely returned home before midnight. Despite his demanding schedule, he managed to maintain a spiritual diary of simple and practical Bible-based meditations, published as My Life in Christ. He teaches that the weapons in spiritual warfare are the traditional Orthodox armor: prayer, repentance, fasting, reading the Bible, and at least weekly Confession and Holy Communion. Father John was a simple parish priest who was endowed with an absolute faith in the power of prayer, a power that he used daily, and continues to use, to help people who request his aid.
 
     Although venerated as saint since before his repose, he was officially glorified/canonized 1988. St. John's relics are located in the crypt of the St. John of Rila Women's Monastery, which he founded in northeastern St. Petersburg. Today as even throughout the Communist era, flowers were regularly placed outside by the street, on the window ledge closest to his burial site in the crypt on the other side of the wall.
 
Source: Jane M. deVyver, M.Th., PH.D.
 
 
 

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St. James the Just
 
Commomorated on October 23 & December 26
 
Saint James the Just, also called James Adelphos and James the Brother of Our Lord (died AD 62), was the first Bishop or Patriarch of Jerusalem. According to the Protoevangelion of James, James was the son of Joseph—along with the other 'brethren of the Lord' mentioned in the scripture—from a marriage prior to his betrothal to Mary. He wrote an epistle which is part of the New Testament. St. James is commemorated on October 23; on December 26 and also on the first Sunday after the Nativity, along with David the King and St. Joseph; and on January 4 among the Seventy Apostles.
 
source: OrthodoxWki

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St. Arethas the Martyr

The Martyr Arethas and with him 4299 Martyrs suffered for the Lord Jesus Christ in the sixth century. Arethas was prefect of the Christian city of Negran in Arabia. The Arabian (or Omirite) king, Dunaan, who was Jewish, decided to eliminate Christianity from the land. He issued an edict that all followers of Christ were to be put to death.

Because the inhabitants of Negran remained faithful to the Lord, Dunaan came with a large army to destroy the city. At the city walls of Negran the king’s heralds announced that Dunaan would only spare those who renounced Christ and referred to His Cross as a “sign of malediction.”

Not daring to assault the Christian city by force, Dunaan resorted to a ruse. Dunaan swore an oath that he would not force the Christians into Judaism, but would merely collect a tribute from Negran. The inhabitants of the city would not heed the advice of St Arethas, and putting their trust in Dunaan, they opened the city gates.

The very next day Dunaan gave orders to light an immense fire and throw all the clergy of the city into it in order to frighten the rest of the Christians. 427 men were burned. He also threw the prefect Arethas and the other chief men into prison. Then the oppressor sent his messengers through the city to convert the Christians to Judaism. Dunaan himself conversed with those inhabitants brought from the prisons, saying, “I do not demand that you should renounce the God of heaven and earth, nor do I want you to worship idols, I want merely that you do not believe in Jesus Christ, since the Crucified One was a man, and not God.”

The holy martyrs replied that Jesus is God the Word, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, Who for the salvation of mankind was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. Those suffering said, “We shall not abjure Christ, since He is Life for us. To die for Him is to find Life.”

More than four thousand Christians, men, women, both the aged and children, from the city of Negran and surrounding villages suffered martyrdom for Christ.

source:OCA

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St. Luke the Evangelist
 
Commemorated on October 18


The Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke, was a native of Syrian Antioch, a companion of the holy Apostle Paul (Phil.1:24, 2 Tim. 4:10-11), and a physician enlightened in the Greek medical arts. Hearing about Christ, Luke arrived in Palestine and fervently accepted the preaching of salvation from the Lord Himself. As one of the Seventy Apostles, St Luke was sent by the Lord with the others to preach the Kingdom of Heaven during the Savior’s earthly life (Luke 10:1-3). After the Resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Sts Luke and Cleopas on the road to Emmaus.

Luke accompanied St Paul on his second missionary journey, and from that time they were inseparable. When Paul’s coworkers had forsaken him, only Luke remained to assist him in his ministry (2 Tim. 4:10-11). After the martyric death of the First-Ranked Apostles Peter and Paul, St Luke left Rome to preach in Achaia, Libya, Egypt and the Thebaid. He ended his life by suffering martyrdom in the city of Thebes.

Tradition credits St Luke with painting the first icons of the Mother of God. “Let the grace of Him Who was born of Me and My mercy be with these Icons,” said the All-Pure Virgin after seeing the icons. St Luke also painted icons of the First-Ranked Apostles Peter and Paul. St Luke’s Gospel was written in the years 62-63 at Rome, under the guidance of the Apostle Paul. In the preliminary verses (1:1-3), St Luke precisely sets forth the purpose of his work. He proposes to record, in chronological order, everything known by Christians about Jesus Christ and His teachings. By doing this, he provided a firmer historical basis for Christian teaching (1:4). He carefully investigated the facts, and made generous use of the oral tradition of the Church and of what the All-Pure Virgin Mary Herself had told him (2:19, 51).

In St Luke’s Gospel, the message of the salvation made possible by the Lord Jesus Christ, and the preaching of the Gospel, are of primary importance.

St Luke also wrote the Acts of the Holy Apostles at Rome around 62-63 A.D. The Book of Acts, which is a continuation of the four Gospels, speaks about the works and the fruits of the holy Apostles after the Ascension of the Savior. At the center of the narrative is the Council of the holy Apostles at Jerusalem in the year 51, a Church event of great significance, which resulted in the separation of Christianity from Judaism and its independent dissemination into the world (Acts 15:6-29). The theological focus of the Book of Acts is the coming of the Holy Spirit, Who will guide the Church “into all truth” John 16:13) until the Second Coming of Christ.

The holy relics of St Luke were taken from Constantinople and brought to Padua, Italy at some point in history. Perhaps this was during the infamous Crusade of 1204. In 1992, Metropolitan Hieronymus (Jerome) of Thebes requested the Roman Catholic bishop in Thebes to obtain a portion of St Luke’s relics for the saint’s empty sepulchre in the Orthodox cathedral in Thebes.

The Roman Catholic bishop Antonio Mattiazzo of Padua, noting that Orthodox pilgrims came to Padua to venerate the relics while many Catholics did not even know that the relics were there, appointed a committee to investigate the relics in Padua, and the skull of St Luke in the Catholic Cathedral of St Vico in Prague.

The skeleton was determined to be that of an elderly man of strong build. In 2001, a tooth found in the coffin was judged to be consistent with the DNA of Syrians living near the area of Antioch dating from 72-416 A.D. The skull in Prague perfectly fit the neck bone of the skelton. The tooth found in the coffin in Padua was also found to fit the jawbone of the skull.

Bishop Mattiazzo sent a rib from the relics to Metropolitan Hieronymus to be venerated in St Luke’s original tomb in the Orthodox cathedral at Thebes.

source: OCA

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St. Gerasimus of Cephalonia

Feastday: October 20

Saint Gerasimus was from the Peloponnesus, the son of Demetrius and Kale, of the family of Notaras. He was reared in piety by them and studied the Sacred writings. He left his country and went throughout various lands, and finally came to Cephalonia, where he restored a certain old church and built a convent around it, where it stands to this day at the place called Omala. He finished the course of his life there in asceticism in the year 1570. His sacred relics, which remain incorrupt, are kept there for the sanctification of the faithful. (source: GOArch.)

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St. Demetrius the Great Martyr

October 26

He was a Christian born of wealthy parents in Thessalonica. During the persecution of the Church. Demetruis was arrested and taken to be imprisoned. The emperor Maximian was going to Thessalonica that day and ordered the Christian detained until he could be investigated by him and tried. Maximain then went to the arena for the games to watch his favorite gladiator, the champion Lyaeus. The emperor offered a reward to any man who would defeat his favorite champion and one young man, an unknown named Nestor, jumped into the midst and accepted the offer. The emperor, knowing the gladiator Lyaeus to be much his superior, tried to dissuade the young man, but he insisted on fighting him. Much to everone's shock, Nestor killed the huge Lyaeus with one blow. Furious at losing his favorite champion, Maximian rose up in a huff and stormed out without giving Nestor the promised reward. When his officers met him and asked him what was to be done with the Christian Demetrius awaiting him, he angrily replied, "Run him through with your spears!" Thus Demetrius perished without trial , a martyr for the Lord. This happened in about 306. His relics were treasured in Thessalonica in a church built in his honor by Leontius, a Christian prefect of Illyria.

Source: "A Daily Clendar of Saints" by Rev. Lawrence R. Farley

St. Demetrius (Dimitri), Metropolitan of Rostov
 
Commemorated on October 28

Saint Demetrius, Metropolitan of Rostov (in the world Daniel Savvich Tuptalo), was born in December 1651 in the locale of Makarovo, not far from Kiev. He was born into a pious family and grew up a deeply believing Christian. In 1662, soon after his parents resettled to Kiev, Daniel was sent to the Kiev-Mogilyansk college, where the gifts and remarkable abilities of the youth were first discovered. He successfully learned the Greek and Latin languages and the entire series of classical sciences. On July 9,1668 Daniel accepted monastic tonsure with the name Demetrius, in honor of the Great Martyr Demetrius of Thessalonica. Prior to the spring of 1675 he progressed through the monastic obediences at Kiev's Kirillov monastery, where he began his literary and preaching activity.

The Archbishop of Chernigov Lazar (Baranovich) ordained Demetrius as hieromonk on May 23, 1675. For several years Hieromonk Demetrius lived as an ascetic and preached the Word of God at various monasteries and churches in the Ukraine, Lithuania and Belarus. It was while he was Igumen of the Maximov monastery,and later the Baturinsk Nikol'sk monastery, in 1684 he was summoned to the Kiev Caves Lavra. The Superior of the Lavra, Archimandrite Barlaam (Yasinsky), knowing the high spiritual disposition of his former disciple, his education, his proclivity for scientific work, and also his undoubted literary talent, entrusted the hieromonk Demetrius with organizing the MENAION, the Lives of the Saints for the whole year.

From this time, all the rest of St Demetrius's life was devoted to the fulfilling of this ascetic work, grandiose in its scope. The work demanded an enormous exertion of strength, since it necessitated the gathering and analizing of a multitude of various sources and to expound them in a fluent language, worthy of the lofty subject of exposition and at the same time accessible to all believers. Divine assistance did not abandon the saint for his twenty year labor.

According to the testimony of St Demetrius himself, his soul was filled with impressions of the saints, which strengthened him both in spirit and body, and they encouraged faith in the felicitous completion of his noble task. At this time, the venerable Demetrius was head of several monasteries (in succession).

The works of the ascetic brought him to the attention of Patriarch Adrian. In 1701, by decree of Tsar Peter I, Archimandrite Demetrius was summoned to Moscow, where on March 23 at the Dormition cathedral of the Kremlin he was consecrated as Metropolitan of the Siberian city of Tobolsk. But after a certain while, because of the importance of his scientific work and the frailty of his health, the saint received a new appointment to Rostov-Yaroslavl, and on March 1, 1702 assumed his duties as Metropolitan of Rostov.

Just as before, he continued to be concerned about the strengthening of the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church, weakened by the "Old Believers" schism.

From his inspired works and preachings many generations of Russian theologians drew spiritual strength for creativity and prayer. He remains an example of a saintly, ascetic, non-covetous life for all Orthodox Christians. Upon his death on October 28, 1709, it was discovered that he had few possessions, except for books and manuscripts.

The glorification of St Demetrius, Metropolitan of Rostov, took place on April 22, 1757. He is also remembered on September 21, the day of the uncovering of his holy relics.
 
Source: OCA