Life & Faith

New Martyr Chryse (Zlata) of Meglena, Bulgaria

New Martyr Zlata (Chryse) This “golden vessel of virginity and undefiled bride of Christ,” was born in the village of Slatena, Meglena diocese, on the border of Bulgaria and Serbia, while Bulgaria was under the Turkish Yoke.

From her youth Zlata displayed an unusually strong character, a firm faith in Christ, and was both chaste and beautiful. A certain Turk was obsessed with her, and seized her one day as she was gathering wood. He carried her off to his house, and repeatedly tried to seduce the maiden and force her to accept Islam. Since persuasion did not work, he began to threaten her with grievous tortures.

Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council

Commemorated the Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council (787)

The Seventh Ecumenical Council, convoked by the Empress Irene and met at Nicaea from September 24 to October 13, 787. Patriarch Tarasios (commemorated February 25) presided. The council ended almost fifty years of iconoclast persecution and established the veneration of the holy icons as basic to the belief and spirituality of Christ's Church. As the Synaxarion says, "It was not simply the veneration of the holy images that the Fathers defended in these terms but, in fact, the very reality of the Incarnation of the Son of God.

The Holy Apostle Philip of the Seventy, one of the seven deacons

(OCTOBER 24 / OCTOBER 11)

Philip was born in Palestinian Caesarea. He was married and had four daughters. All four were endowed by God with the gift of prophecy, and all four were vowed virgins for the sake of Christ. When the holy apostles chose deacons, Philip was chosen with Stephen and the others. He served the needy and widows with great diligence. When the persecution of Christians began in Jerusalem, Apostle Philip found refuge in Samaria, and there preached the Gospel and gave witness by many miracles: driving out demons, healing the sick, and so forth. Seeing the miracles of the holy apostle, Simon the Magician was baptized. St. Philip also baptized the eunuch of Queen Candace. After that, an angel of God suddenly and invisibly translated him to Azotus, where he taught, preached and converted many to Christ. Philip was appointed Bishop of Tralles. He reposed peacefully in deep old age, and took up his habitation in the joy of his Lord.

The Holy Apostle James, son of Alphaeus

 (October 22 / October 9)

James, the son of Alphaeus, was one of the Twelve Apostles. He was the blood-brother of the Apostle and Evangelist Matthew. He was a witness of the true words and miracles of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and a witness of His suffering, Resurrection and Ascension.

After the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the lot fell to James to preach the Gospel of Christ in Eleutheropolis and the surrounding areas, and then in Egypt, where he suffered for his Savior. With great power in word and in deed, James disseminated the saving news of the incarnate Word of God, destroying idolatry, driving demons out of men, and healing every infirmity and disease in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. His labor and zeal were crowned with great success. Many pagans came to believe in Christ, churches were built and organized, and priests and bishops were ordained. James suffered in the Egyptian town of Ostracina, being crucified by the pagans. Thus, this great and wonderful apostle of Christ took up his abode in the Heavenly Kingdom, to reign eternally with the King of Glory.

The Holy Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus, in Syria (290-303)

These holy and wonderful martyrs and heroes of the Christian Faith were at first noblemen at the court of Emperor Maximian. The emperor himself esteemed them greatly because of their courage, wisdom and fidelity. But when the emperor heard that his two noblemen were Christians, his love for them turned into rage. Once, when there was a great sacrificial offering to idols, the emperor demanded that Sergius and Bacchus offer sacrifices with him, but they openly refused to obey the emperor in this. Beside himself with rage, the emperor commanded that their military garments, rings and emblems be stripped from them and that they be dressed in women’s clothing. He then placed iron hoops around their necks and paraded them through the streets of the city of Rome, to be mocked by everyone. Afterward, he sent them to Antiochus, his deputy in Asia, for torture. Antiochus had risen to his position with Sergius and Bacchus’s help, as they had at one time recommended him to the emperor. When Antiochus implored them to deny Christ and save themselves from dis- honorable suffering and death, these saints replied: “Both honor and dishonor, both life and death—all are the same to him who seeks the Heavenly Kingdom.” Antiochus cast Sergius into prison and ordered that Bacchusbe tortured first. His minions took turns beating the holy Bacchus until his whole body was broken. Bacchus’s holy soul departed his broken and bloodied body, and in the hands of angels was borne to the Lord. St. Bacchus suffered in the town of Barbalissos. Then St. Sergius was led out and shod in iron shoes with inward-protruding nails. He was driven, on foot, to the town of Rozapha, in Syria, and was beheaded there with the sword. His soul went to Paradise where, together with his friend Bacchus, he received a crown of immortal glory from Christ, his King and Lord. These two wondrous knights of the Christian Faith suffered in about the year 303.