February Synaxarion

Days: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17
        18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29

This month has twenty-eight or twenty-nine days with eleven hours of day and thirteen hours of night.

February 1

Pre-festive Day of the Encounter of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ

Memory of the holy Martyr Tryphon (+251)

Saint Tryphon was born in the market town of Samosata in Phrygia, under Emperor Gordian (238-244). In his youth he watched over a flock of geese. He was so filled with the Holy Spirit that he could heal every sickness and expel demons. He cured Emperor Gordian's daughter who was possessed by an evil spirit. It is said that he made the devil appear visibly to bystanders under the form of a black dog, compelling him to acknowledge his bad actions. By this miracle he converted a large crowd to the Christian faith. Under Emperor Decius, the successor of Philip the Arab, he was denounced before Aquilin, the Governor of the East, for not worshipping the demons. Brought before the President in Nicaea, he courageously confessed Christ. He was struck by swords and was bound to horses and dragged through winding and impassable places in the heart of winter. Then, stripped of his clothes, he was dragged over iron spikes. Finally, after having been scourged and having his sides burned by white-hot torches, he was beheaded. He thusly surrendered his soul to God.

Fifth Class Feast.

Follow the general order for Pre-festive Days.

In occurrence with the Saturday of the Dead, the latter is transferred to the Saturday in the Week of the Prodical Son, on January 25. In this case, the feast of the Saint Gregory is celebrated on January 24 with Saint Xenia.

In occurrence with Cheese-fare Saturday, the Office of the Holy Ascetics can be omitted at the Liturgy, to give place to Saint Tryphon's Office which will be simplified, and the Pre-festive will be celebrated with a remembrance of the Holy Ascetics.

In occurrence with a Sunday in the period of the Triodion: Typika and Beatitudes. Isodikon of the Sunday. Troparia: of the Resurrection, of the Pre-festive Day, and of the Church Patron. Common Kondakion. Epistle and Gospel from the Triodion.

February 2

The Encounter of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ

Hypapante, or the Feast of the Encounter of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ, began in Jerusalem. We have knowledge of its celebration, such as was done in this city in the Fourth century, through the account of the pilgrimage from Etheria. From Jerusalem the feast spread to the whole Church. In the west the solemn procession and the blessing of candles, which was already done in Jerusalem in the Fourth century, has been retained to our day.

This feast, which closes the cycle of the Nativity according to the Flesh of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ, reminds us that on the fortieth day after the birth of her first-born Son, Mary carried Him to the Temple in accordance with the Mosaic Law to offer Him to the Lord, and to ransome Him by the sacrifice of a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons (Luke 2:22-37). "Today He who formerly gave the Law to Moses lowers Himself before the Law's precepts, becoming made like us for us in His love for men..." (Vespers). The divine Word lowers Himself because He is true man and in submitting to the law: "You who faithfully reproduce the imprint of Him who begot You before the ages, by compassion You clothed Yourself with the weakness of mortals" (Ode VI).

This lowering is also Jesus' first official encounter with His people in the person of Simeon. This is why the feast is called "Hypapante" (Encounter). "He who... the spirits beseech with trembling is received here below in the weak arms of Simeon, and he proclaims the Union of the divinity with men" (Great Vespers). It is not only an encounter, but also a manifestation. "Today the Holy Mother, higher in honor than the sanctuary, enters it to manifest Him to the world who gave the Law and fulfilled it" (Great Vespers). The Virgin today accompanies the Child in His first offering to the Father, but she will also accompany Him even to the realization of His sacrifice for humanity: "Simeon announced to the Theotokos, 'You, O Immaculate One, a sword will pierce your heart when you will see your Son on the cross'..." (Ode VII).

The hymnographers do not have expressions beautiful enough to praise the role of the Virgin who is thus connected in the work of her Son. "Adorn your bridal chamber, O Sion, and receive Christ the King. Welcome Mary, the gate of heaven, for she appeared as the throne of the Cherubim. She carries the King of Glory. The Virgin is a cloud of light carrying in her flesh her Son born before the morning star..." (Great Vespers).

She is indeed the gate of heaven, since she brings among us Him whom we cannot approach, and who liberates us. This is what the Church expresses through Simeon's mouth: "O my Creator, now I ask You for my release for I have seen You, O Christ, my light and my salvation" (Ode IX). The old man prophesies of joy to come: "I go to gladden Adam shut up in hell, and to announce the good news to Eve" (Ode VII).

Today, with the Church, "let us also to go encounter Christ and welcome Him with inspired hymns, in whom Simeon saw salvation" (Great Vespers).

Second Class Feast. Antiphons and Isodikon of the Feast. Troparion of the Feast (three times). Kondakion of the Feast. Epistle and Gospel of the Feast. Hirmos and Kinonikon of the Feast. After Communion, the ordinary verse: "We have seen the true light..." Dismissal: "...who has deigned to be carried in the arms of the just Simeon, for our salvation..."

In occurrence with the Saturday of the Dead, this latter is transferred to the Saturday in the week of the Prodigal Son (January 26).

In occurrence with a Sunday in the period of the Triodion: Antiphons with the response of the feast at the Second Antiphon. In the Isodikon, the verse of the feast, response of the Resurrection. Troparia: of the Resurrection (once), and of the Feast (twice). Kondakion of the Feast. Epistle of the Feast and Gospel of the Triodion. Hirmos and Kinonikon of the Feast.

In occurrence with the first Monday of Great Lent (Easter on March 22), the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom is celebrated with only the Office of the Feast.

The Closing Day of the Feast of the Encounter of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ is made on different days according to the occurrence of Easter. If Easter falls on March 22 or 23, the closing is on the same day at Vespers; if it falls on March 24 to 28, the closing is made on Cheese-fare Sunday; if it falls on March 29 or 30, the closing is on Cheese-fare Thursday; if it falls on March 31 to April 4, the closing is on Cheese-fare Tuesday; if it falls on April 5 to 8, the closing is on Meat-fare Thursday; on any other occurrences of Easter, the closing is made on February 9.

February 3

Second Day of the Feast of the Encounter of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ.

Memory of the Holy and Just Simeon who received God and Anna the Prophetess.

Forewarned by Holy Spirit that he would not die before having seen the Messiah, Saint Simeon, whose life was miraculously prolonged, received the Child Jesus into his arms. Inspired from on high, he predicted what would happen to Him. He then committed his soul to God according to his own wish.

The prophetess Anna, Phanuel's daughter of the tribe of Aser, lived with her husband for seven years. Becoming a widow, she withdrew to the Temple and spent her whole life there in fasting and prayer. Thus she merited to see the Lord carried into the Temple on the fortieth day by His Most Holy Mother and Saint Joseph. She praised God and spoke openly to all those who happened to be in the Temple, saying: this Child is the very Lord who made heaven and earth firm, He is the Christ that all the prophets have announced.

In celebrating the feast of these two just persons today, we proclaim the formidable and ineffable condescension of God in our behalf.

Fifth Class Feast.

Antiphons of the Feast. In the Isodikon, the ordinary verse, response of the feast (this is done until the Closing Day, except on Sunday). Troparia: of the Feast, and of the Church Patron. Kondakion of the Feast. Ordinary Hirmos. Kinonikon of the day.

In occurrence with the Saturday of the Dead, this latter is transferred to January 24.

In occurrence with the Saturday of the Dead, this latter is transferred to January 24.

In occurrence with Cheese-fare Saturday: Typika and Beatitudes. In the Isodikon, the ordinary verse, and response of the Feast. Troparia: of the Feast, of the Holy Ascetics, and of the Church Patron. Kondakion of the Feast. Epistle and Gospel from the Triodion. Ordinary Hirmos. Kinonikon of the Holy Ascetics.

In occurrence with a Sunday in the period of the Triodion during the post-festive Days: Typika and Beatitudes. Isodikon of the Sunday. Troparia: of the Resurrection, of the Feast, and of the Church Patron. Kondakion of the Feast.

February 4

Third Day of the Feast of the Encounter of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ

Memory of our venerable Father Isidore of Pelusium (+449?)

Saint Isidore was born in Alexandria, Egypt, around the middle of the Fourth century. He was trained in Sacred Scripture as well as in secular literature, and he abandoned his entire fortune and all the pleasures of the world to embrace monastic life. He went to Mount Pelusium. He became hegumen of his monastery and was ordained a priest. He was an ardent defender of Saint John Chrysostom against Theophilos of Alexandria, and was Saint Cyril the Great's cousellor against the heretic Nestorius. Thanks to his life of prayer, he instructed and illumined the entire world by his numerous letters, converting sinners, supporting the just, and clearly explaining passages from Holy Scripture to those who asked him. He probably died in 449 at a grand old age after a holy and agreeable life to God.

Fifth Class Feast.

February 5

Fourth Day of the Feast of the Encounter of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ

Memory of the holy Martyr Agatha (+251)

A native of Panhormus, Sicily, Saint Agatha was adorned with a remarkable beauty of body and soul, adding to the practice of chastity the nobility and wealth of her family. Under Emperor Decius, she was brought before President Quintianus, who entrusted her to a pagan woman named Aphrodisia with the intention of making her deny her faith. Since the Saint remained bravely attached to her religion and preferred death rather than lose it, she was shamefully outraged. Saint Peter the Apostle appeared to her and healed her in prison. Then she was dragged over sharp-pointed potsherds and exposed to fire. Finally, thrown into prison again, she committed her soul to God.

Fifth Class Feast.

February 6

Fifth Day of the Feast of the Encounter of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ

Memory of our venerable Father Bukolos, Bishop of Smyrna (?)

The holy Martyr Julian, a Physician of Emesa (+under Numerian, 283-284)

From his tender youth, Saint Bukolos was consecrated to God to be a receptable of the Holy Spirit. Tried by Saint John the Theologian and having been found worthy, he was elected Bishop of Smyrna. Enlightened by the Holy Spirit, he illumined those who were seated in darkness and by baptism made them sons of light, delivering them from the devil's tyranny. Before his death he established Saint Polycarp as the shepherd and doctor of the faithful in Symrna. Where his body was placed into the earth, God made a plant grow which heals all sickness, up to our times.

A pious young man from Emesa, Saint Julian was versed in medicine. He cared for bodily ills but in reality took better care of souls for he was a doctor of the body as well as the soul. Under Emperor Numerian (283-284), Bishop Silvan was seized by the pagans and condemned to the beasts at the same time as the deacon Luke and the lector Mokios. Amid those who led them to punishment, Saint Julian went to embrace them. Seized, he was beheaded immediately after the three martyrs' execution.

Fifth Class Feast.

February 7

Sixth Day of the Feast of the Encounter of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ

Memory of our venerable Father Parthenios, Bishop of Lampsacus (Fourth century)

The Venerable Luke of Stirion, in Greece (896-953)

Saint Parthenios lived under Emperor Constantine the Great. He was the son of Christodulus, a deacon of the Church of Melitopolis. A simple fisherman berift of all instruction, he was extremely ardent in the practice of virtue. Having acquired some training, he was ordained a priest and periodeuta or visitor by Philetus, the Bishop of Melitopolis. Then, he was consecrated Bishop of Lampsacus by Ascholios, the Metropolitan of Cyzicus. He converted his episcopal city to the Christian faith. He died on February 7, of a year which cannot be exactly determined.

Regarding Saint Luke, he was born and raised in Greece. His grandparents, Stephan and Euphrosina, were natives of the island of Egina. Not wishing to suffer the Arabic incursions any longer, they emigrated to Greece where Saint Luke was born about the summer of 896. "Two monks, returning from Rome, came to the market town where our Saint was born and were received by his mother. Upon seeing them, the desire of leading their kind of life was immediately born in the child's soul. The germ of this sacred passion grew in his heart as in well-prepared ground. As if to accompany his mother's prayers, he withdrew to a mountain in the vicinity named Joannitza where there was a temple of the two holy brothers, Cosmas and Damian. There, he practiced the exercises of ascetic life. He received the Great Habit of monasticism from the hands of two very old monks to whom he had charitably offered hospitality. The two monks proceeded to Rome, apparently charged with a mission in 910. After having spent seven years in the desert of Joannitza, the invasions into Greece of Simeon, the King of the Bulgars, forced him to take refuge in the Peloponnese until the peace settlement between the Byzantines and the Bulgars in 927. He then went to Stirion on Phocida and founded the monastery of Saint Luke, which still exists. After having spent seven years there, he knew the hour of his death and announced it to all. He died in peace on February 7, 953.

Fifth Class Feast.

February 8

Seventh Day of the Feast of the Encounter of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ

Memory of the holy Great martyr Theodore the Leader of Armies

The holy Prophet Zacharia (Sixth century B.C.)

Called the "Stratelate" or the Leader of Armies, Saint Theodore is none other than Saint Theodore of Tyre whom we commemorate on February 17.

The holy prophet Zacharia was of the tribe of Levi. He was born in Chaldea and returned to Palestine in his youth, in 536 before our Lord. He began his prophetical mission in 520 before Our Lord. He began his prophetical mission in 520 and supported it with many miracles. He spoke of the pillage of Jerusalem, the end of Jerusalem, the end of Israel, the beginning and end of nations, the complete destruction of the Temple, the disappearance of the prophets and priests, the suppression of sabbaths, and finally, of the two-fold judgment. He died at an unknown date. His writings occupy the eleventh rank in the collection of the twelve minor prophets.

Fifth Class Feast.

February 9

Closing Day of the Feast of the Encounter of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ

Memory of the holy Martyr Nicephoros (?)

Saint Nicephoros lived under Emperor Valerian and Gallian (253-260). There were some disputes and manifest enmity between him, a simple layman, and the priest Sapricius. At the time of the persecution Sapricius was seized and subjected to many tortures. Seeing this, Saint Nicephoros entreated him by his title of martyr for Christ to forget their enmity. The priest refused to do so and for this was deprived of the grace of martyrdom. Being so close to the palm and crown of martyrdom, at the moment when he was led away to be beheaded, this unfortunate one deserted the fight and accepted to sacrifice to idols. Then Saint Nicephoros immediately offered himself to the executioner. After having courageously confessed Christ, he was beheaded by the tyrant's order.

All is taken as on the day of the Feast, except the Epistle and Gospel.

If the feast has been closed earlier, only Saint Nicephoros is commemorated today.

February 10

Memory of the holy Hieromartyr Charalampos (+202)

Saint Charalampos, a priest, lived in Magnesia under Emperor Septimus Severus (193-211) and President Lucian. Because he taught the true life, he was seized and stripped of his priestly robe. His skin was flayed. Irritated by the Saint's endurance, the President insisted on scraping his body with his own hands. On the spot, he had his hands cut off and thrown on the martyr's body. Then he implored the Saint to heal him, which he did. Upon seeing this, two men, Dauctus and Porphyrios, the executioners, repudiated the idols and believed in Christ, as well as did three women who were in the crowd. Although miraculously cured the President persisted in his impiety and had all of them seized. After many tortures, he cruelly ordered them to be beheaded.

Fifth Class Feast.

February 11

Memory of the holy Hieromartyr Blaise, Bishop of Sebastea in Armenia(?)

Saint Blaise, the Bishop of Sebastea, Armenia, lived under Emperor Licinius. He had retired to a grotto on a mountain side where he lived peacefully amidst savage beasts tamed by his blessing. Very skilled in medicine, he performed numerous healings. He received the gift of miracles from God. He was captured and brought before President Agricola. He confessed Christ's name and for this was cruelly struck with rods, then suspended and thrashed...Cast to the bottom of a pond, he was brought back to shore and beheaded at the same time as two children who were in prison with him.

Fifth Class Feast.

February 12

Memory of our Father among the Saints, Meletios, Archbishop of Antioch (+381)

Saint Meletios was born in Melitene, Minor Armenia. A blameless man, just, pious, sincere, and full of perseverence, he was elected Bishop of Sebastea in 357. Driven from his see he went to Beroea, Syria (Aleppo). Transferred to the see of Antioch in 360, shortly afterwards he was exiled by the Arian Emperor Constantius, the son of Constantine the Great. Called back to his see sometime later, he was exiled for a third time by Valens. Still alive at the time of the Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople in 381 under Theodosius the Great, he took part in it and became the object of admiration of the Emperor and all the bishops. Affected by an illness, he died shortly afterwards. All of the Council Fathers mourned for him as for their own father.

Fifth Class Feast.

February 13

Memory of our venerable Father Martinian (end of the Fourth century)

A native of Caesarea, Palestine, Saint Martinian was a monk and led the hermitic life in the mountains. After spending twenty-five years in asceticism, he was tried by the devil. Some perverse men hired a prostitute who, covered with rags, presented herself to him one night as if she had lost her way. She entreated him to allow her into his cell in order not to be devoured by savage beasts. When she had entered his cell, in the obscurity of the night, she dressed in prostitute's clothes which she carried with her. By some lewd words, she attempted to lead him into sin. Before deciding anything, the Saint pulled himself together and lit a fire. Staring into the middle of the flames, he said to himself: "Wretched Martinian, if you feel like suffering the fire of eternal punishment, commit the sin." Thus stopped by the fire, he brought the sinful one back to herself in the way of repentance and salvation. Then he fled and dwelt on a rock in the middle of the sea, but even there he was tempted. By means of these temptations and by these victories, he rendered his soul to God.

Fifth Class Feast.

February 14

Memory of our venerable Father Auxentios (+before 473)

(Our venerable Father Maron the Hermit, the Wonderworker (+before 423))

Born in Syria around the end of the Fourth century, Saint Auxentios was enrolled in the Fourth Corps of the Imperial Guard. He embraced monastic life on a mountain opposite Oxia about 442-443. Very austere in his life and very orthodox in his doctrine, he applied himself to combating the heresies Eutyches and Nestorius spread. On the invitation of Emperor Marcian and Patriarch Anatolius, he accepted the holy Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon. He never again returned to the mountain of Oxia, but in 452 chose a steep hill, high and rocky, called Skopos. There he established his cell and dismissed his companions after having fortified them by his prayers. He died in old age, before 473, under Emperor Leo. He was buried in the chapel of the women's monastery which he founded, called Trichinaria.

(Saint Maron lived as an anchorite in the vicinity of Apamea in the Fifth century. Saint John Chrysostom probably wrote to him from Cucusus in 405. He died before 423. In the Sixth century the existence of a monastery which bore his name was discovered between Apamea and Emesa. This monastery distinguished itself by its attachment to the Council of Chalcedon and its struggles against the Nestorians and Monophysites. The Maronite Church also venerates the memory of Saint John Maron, hegumen of this monastery, who was elected Patriarch of Antioch by his community during this see's long deficiency, between 636 and 742.)

Fifth Class Feast.

Today is the extreme limit for the beginning of the period of the Triodion, when Easter falls on April 25.

February 15

Memory of the holy Apostle Onesimos

Saint Onesimos was Saint Philemon's slave, to whom the Apostle Saint Paul wrote a letter. He was a disciple of Saint Paul and helped him for some time. At the Apostle's death, he was seized and brought before President Tertullus, who sent him to Puteoli in Campania. Later, however, the President went to Puteoli and finding the Saint persevering in Christ's faith, ordered that he be cruelly beaten with rods and that his limbs be broken. He thus left this transitory life.

Fifth Class Feast.

February 16

Memory of the holy Martyr Pamphilos and his companions (+309)

Saint Pamphilos was born into a noble family in Beirut, Phoenicia, and received his primary education there. He then proceeded to Alexandria, Egypt, where he became a disciple of Pierius and the young Origen. Coming to Caesarea, Palestine, he was ordained a priest by Agapius, the Metropolitan of Caesarea. He founded a library, bringing together the works of Origen and other ecclesiastical writers, as well as the Sacred Scriptures. He transcribed the oldest copies, and above all Origen's Hexapla. He continued to copy and correct them with the greatest accuracy, even when he was in prison for Christ's sake and faith. Eusebius the historian was his disciple. He wrote the Saint's life and called himself, with his master's admiration and knowledge, "Pamphilos' son." In the sixth year of the persecution which took place under Diocletian and Maximin (307), he was put in prison by President Urban. After cruel tortures and having spent two entire years in prison, he was beheaded on February 16, 309 under President Firmilian, Urban's successor. Six other martyrs from different countries and five from Egypt suffered martyrdom the same day.

Fifth Class Feast.

February 17

Memory of the holy Great martyr Theodore the Tyre (beginning of the Fourth century)

Saint Theodore was a native of Anatolia and a soldier. He suffered martyrdom in Amasia in Pontus under Maximos, around the beginning of the Fourth century. His body was carried into the city of Euchaita, which Emperor John Tzimisces (969-976) later named Theodoropolis. He was surnamed in Latin the "Tyronian" because he had hardly been inscribed into the cohort of the "Tyrones," or young recruits, when he courageously confessed the Christian faith and suffered martyrdom. In the Ninth century Hagiographers and Hymnographers called him the "Stratelate" or the Leader of Armies.

Fifth Class Feast.

February 18

Memory of our Father among the Saints Leo, Pope of Rome (+461)

Born in Tyrrhenia (Tuscany) around the end of the Fourth century, Saint Leo at first was an archdeacon of the Roman Church. After Pope Saint Sixtus III's death, he was elected to succeed him in 440 by reason of his eminent qualities and the purity and integrity of his life. In 451 when the Fourth Ecumenical Council was gathered in Chalcedon, Saint Leo, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote on the then debated questions, clearing professing a double energy and a double will in Christ. He sent a letter on this subject in 449. When the Fathers received it, they saw it as a pillar of faith and an inspired writing from the very mouth of God. In common they cried out in agreement: "This is the faith of the Fathers, this is the faith of the Apostles. We all believe likewise. Anathema to anyone who does not believe this. Peter has spoken through Leo." Saint Leo composed numerous works in Latin. He died on November 10, 461, and was buried in the Church of Saint Peter. His holy body was rediscovered in 1607.

Fifth Class Feast.

February 19

Memory of the holy Apostle Archippos

It is believed that Saint Archippos was the son of Philemon, Onesimos' master. With his father and mother, Apphia, he became a disciple of Saint Paul the Apostle. While Artemis' feast was being celebrated in Colossae, a city in Phrygia, all three were gathered with other Christians to sing God's praises. While the other Christians were fleeing, the pagans captured them and led them before Androcles. Since he refused to sacrifice to idols, Saint Archippos was beaten with rods, thrown into a pit, and buried up to his waist. Then children tormented him by picking him with needles. Finally he was stoned to death.

Fifth Class Feast.

February 20

Memory of our Father among the Saints Leo, Bishop of Catana (Eighth century)

Saint Leo was born of pious rich parents in Ravenna

Thanks to the sanctity and purity of his life he successively passed through all the steps of the hierarchy and was elected Bishop of the metropolis of Catana, Sicily. As brave as a lion, as his name indicates, and as brilliant as a star, he illuminated the entire world, occupying himself with his flock, helping widows, and aiding the poor. By prayer alone he overthrew an idol. He had his architects reconstruct the vast church of the great martyr Saint Lucy. He reduced the magician Heliodorus to ashes as this unfortunate one had troubled all the inhabitants by his false marvels and trickery. Because he even attacked the Church one day the Saint seized him strongly, laid his epitrachilion on him by force, and ordered that a large pyre be lit in the middle of the city. He revealed all his double-dealing and, dragging him by the shoulder, entered into the middle of the pyre with him. He did not come out before this wretch had been completely reduced to ashes. This amazed all the bystanders. Not only was the Saint not burned, but the fire had not even touched his priestly vestments. This miracle became known throughout the entire world. Emperor Leo IV (775-780) and Constantine VI (780-797) summoned the Saint to them, and throwing themselves at his feet begged him to pray for them.

Fifth Class Feast.

February 21

Memory of our venerable Father Timothy the Symbolite (Eighth century?)

Memory of our venerable Father Eustathios, Archbishop of Antioch (+ca. 330)

Saint Timothy led the monastic life at an unknown time and place, perhaps in Olympus of Bithynia in the Eighth century

Saint Eustathios was born in Side, Pamphylia. He was at first the Bishop of Beroea, Syria. By the unanimous consent of the bishops, clergy, and people of First Syria he was transferred to the see of Antioch. He attended the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325, fighting and refuting those who affirmed the creation of the Son. By his holy frankness and generous zeal for the Orthodox faith, he excited the hatred of Eusebius of Nicomedia, Theognis of Nicaea, Eusebius of Caesarea, and in general all Arians against himself. They gathered in Antioch in 330, deposed him, and obtained the Saint's exile from Emperor Constantine. He was sent to Traianopolis. He died at an unknown date while passing through Thrace. His holy body was at first transferred to Phillippi. Some time later under Emperor Zeno and Patriarch Calendion (482-485), it was taken to Antioch. All the people of Antioch came out to encounter him eighteen miles from the city and received him with hymns, lights, and incense. Saint John Chrysostom gave his panegryic.

Fifth Class Feast.

February 22

Finding of the precious relics of the Holy Martyrs in Eugenios (Fourth or Seventh century)

According to some, this finding of the relics took place under Emperor Arcadius (395-408), and according to others, under Thomas (607-610), the Patriarch of Constantinople, in the district of Eugenios in the eastern part of Constantinople. The relics were found underground and collected with great veneration by the Bishop in the middle of a large crowd of people. On this occasion expelled from the bodies of the possessed. Many years after this event, a celestial apparition informed a certain Nicholas, a cleric and calligrapher, that among these relics were the relics of the holy apostles Andronicos and Junia whom Saint Paul mentions in his letter to the Romans.

Fifth Class Feast.

February 23

Memory of the holy Hieromartyr Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna (+155)

A disciple of Saint John the Theologian, like Saint Ignatius the God-bearer, Saint Polycarp was consecrated Bishop of Smyrna. He made a voyage to Rome under Pope Anicetus (155-166) who invited him to celebrate the Holy Liturgy in his church and in his presence. When the persecution broke out under Antoninus the Pious, far from showing perturbation, he wished to remain in Smyrna. Finally he consented to withdraw to a small house in the country, a short distance from his city. One Friday around dinner time some soldiers and horsemen set out in search of him. Later that evening they found him at the dinner table. Learning of their arrival he went downstairs, spoke with them, and served them food and drink. He asked them to grant him one hour to pray freely. When the hour to depart had come, he was made to mount a donkey and was led into the city. At the proconsul's injunction, "Curse Christ," Polycarp answered: "I have served Him for eighty-six years, and He never has done me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King and my Savior? I am a Christian." The holy martyr had an overflow of courage and cheerfulness. Grace radiated on his face. The proconsul was confounded. Then the entire crowd, not able to restrain its fury, began to utter loud cries. They said: "There he is the Teacher of Asia, the Father of the Christians, the destroyer of our gods. Let Polycarp be burned alive." The fire having respected him, the ungodly ones ordered the "slayer" to pierce him with his dagger. Such a surge of blood escaped from the wound that the fire was put out. Then in view of the crowd's opposition, the centurion exposed the body of Polycarp to the eyes of all and burned it. The martyrdom of blessed Polycarp took place on February 23, 155, during the proconsulate of Statius Quadratus and the eternal reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ to whom belongs glory, honor, majesty, and the eternal throne from generation to generation. Amen. (Excerpts from the Acts of Saint Polycarp's Martyrdom).

Fifth Class Feast.

February 24

First and Second Finding of the precious Head of the Honored and Glorious Prophet, Precursor and Baptist John

After an apparition by the Precursor himself, the Precursor's venerable head was discovered in Herod's house by two pilgrim monks in Jerusalem. A potter took it from the two monks' hands and in appreciating its worth set about to honor it with a special veneration. Feeling himself close to death, he left the relic to his sister, recommending her not to move it or reveal it but only to honor it. After the woman's death, many people successively came into possession of this relic. The last one to have it was a heretical priest-monk named Eustathios. He was expelled by the orthodox from the grotto where he lived (because he indignantly exploited the cures worked through the relic for a lucrative end and attributed the cures to his Arian heresy). In accordance with Providence's designs, the Precursor's venerable head was left in his grotto. It remained hidden and unknown there until the time of Archimandrite Marcellus, under Emperors Valentinian and Marcian (450-457) and Uranius, the Bishop of Emesa. At this time, after several celestial manifestations took place concerning this relic, it was rediscovered in an urn and carried into the church by Bishop Uranius where it worked many miracles and healings.

Third Class Feast, follow the general order of a Third Class Feast.

In occurrence with the Saturday of the Dead (Easter on April 22), the feast of the Precursor is celebrated on February 23, with the remembrance of Saint Polycarp: Typika and Beatitudes. Troparia: of Saint John, of Saint Polycarp, and of the Church Patron. Common Kondakion. Epistle, Gospel, and Kinonikon of the Precursor.

In occurrence with Cheese-fare Saturday (Easter on April 15): Typika and Beatitudes. Ordinary Isodikon. Troparia: of Saint John, of the Holy Ascetics, and of the Church Patron. Ordinary Kondakion. Epistle of Saint John, Gospel from the Triodion. Kinonikon of Saint John.

In occurrence with the first Monday of Great Lent (Easter on April 13), the feast of the Precursor is celebrated on Cheese-fare Sunday.

On fast days in Great Lent, the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is celebrated with the Vespers of February 25. The entrance procession is made with the Gospel Book. Epistle and Gospel of the Precursor. Kinonikon of the Precursor.

In occurrence with the first Saturday of Great Lent (Easter on April 6), the order indicated for occurrence with Cheese-fare Saturday is followed. Epistle from the Triodion, Gospel of the Precursor.

In occurrence with a Sunday of Great Lent (Easter on April 7, March 24 or 31): On the first Sunday of Great Lent either the special Antiphons for this Sunday, or the Typika and Beatitudes are taken. Isodikon of the Sunday. Troparia: of the Resurrection, of the Triodion, of the Precursor, and of the Church Patron. Kinonikon of March 25. On the first Sunday of Great Lent, the Epistle and Gospel from the Triodion; of the other Sundays, the Epistle of the Precursor and the Gospel from the Triodion. Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great. Kinonikon of the Sunday. On the third Sunday of Great Lent, after Communion, the Troparion of the Cross is said.

February 25

Memory of our Father among the Saints Tarasios, Archbishop of Constantinople (+806)

Saint Tarasios was born and educated in Constantinople. The son of the one of the leading dignitaries in the capital, and himself the First Imperial Secretary, he was elected Patriarch of Constantinople in 784 for his knowledge and virtue by Empress Irene and her son Constantine VI Porphyrogenitus. He taught the veneration of the Holy Icons. Thanks to him the Emperors and the Empire returned to the holy traditions of the Fathers, and the Church of Constantinople returned to communion with the other Patriarchs at the Seventh Ecumenical Council held in Nicaea in 787. After having governed his Church for twenty-two years, he died in peace in the year 806.

Fifth Class Feast.

February 26

Memory of our Father among the Saints Porphyrios, Bishop of Gaza (347-420)

Saint Porphyrios was born of wealthy noble parents in Thessalonica around 347. He left his fatherland and proceeded to Egypt, then to the desert of Skete. There he spent five years in the exercises of monastic life. Then he proceeded to Palestine and shut himself up in a cave near the Jordan River. Five years later he went to Jerusalem where he illumined so many people by his word that John, the Bishop of Jerusalem, ordained him a priest in 392 and named him Stavrophylax. In 395, he was consecrated Bishop of Gaza by John, the Metropolitan of Caesarea, Palestine. With all his strength he applied himself to confirm believers in their faith and to lead infidels to knowledge of the true God. Seeing his faithful persecuted by the governors of that region, about the year 400 he went to Constantinople, accompanied by his Metropolitan John, and obtained edicts against the Manicheans and idolaters from Emperor Arcadius. Upon returning to his church, he expelled the heretics and burnt the temple of Marnas. On that spot in 407 he built a church for which Empress Eudoxia furnished the design. He died on February 26, 420.

Fifth Class Feast.

February 27

Memory of our venerable Father and Confessor Procopius the Decapolite (Eighth or Ninth century)

Saint Procopius lived in the times of the Iconoclast Emperors in the Eighth or Ninth century. At first he led the monastic life, subjected to all the ascetical exercises. He reached a great perfection. He courageously fought and confounded those who denied the Incarnation of the Word. Cruelly beaten and tortured in every way, he affirmed the truth. He showed himself to be a brave confessor of the faith, and, he worked numerous miracles.

Fifth Class Feast.

February 28

Memory of our venerable Father and Confessor Basil, companion of Saint Procopius

Saint Basil lived during the reign of the Iconoclast Emperor Leo (717-741). He left the world to become a monk. Having energetically resisted the adversaries of the Holy icons, he was seized, tortured, and thrown into prison. At the tyrant's death, he was freed and resumed his way of life. He died after having converted a great number of heretics to the Orthodox faith.

Fifth Class Feast.

February 29

Memory of our venerable Father Cassian the Roman (+ca. 435)

Cassian was born of noble and famous parents. His place of origin in unknown. In his youth he received a complete Greek education. He excelled in it and supplemented the splendor of it with a pure and chaste life. Having left his fatherland, he went to embrace monastic life in the desert of Skete. In 385, he left his retreat and visited all the monasteries of Egypt and Thebais, making exact examinations of their rules and way of life. In 401, he went to Constantinople where he became a disciple of Saint John Chrysostom and was ordained a deacon by him. In 405, he went to Rome to ask the help of Pope Saint Innocent in favor of his exiled teacher. Without doubt he was ordained a priest in Rome. He settled down in Marseille in 415, where he established two monasteries, one for men and the other for women. He died in peace around 435, leaving numerous treatises on monastic life which are well informed, very useful, and full of wisdom.

Fifth Class Feast.