Life & Faith

The Commemoration of the Miracles of the Holy Archangel Michael

September 19 / September 6

Near Hierapolis, in Phrygia, there was a place called Chonae (“plung- ing”), and in that place there was a spring of miraculous water. When Apostle John the Theologian, accompanied by Philip, preached the Gospel in Hierapolis, he looked upon that place and prophesied that a spring of miraculous water would open up there, from which many would receive healing, and that the great Archangel of God Michael would visit that place. Soon afterward, this prophecy was fulfilled: a spring of water burst forth and became widely known for its miraculous power. A pagan in Laodicea had a daughter who was mute, which caused him great sorrow. Archangel Michael appeared to him in a dream, and told him to take his daughter to the spring, where she would be cured. The father immediately obeyed, brought his daughter to the spring, and found many people there seeking deliverance from various infirmities. These people were all Christians. The man asked how he should seek healing, and the Christians told him: “You must pray to the Archangel Michael, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The man prayed in this way, gave his daughter a drink of this water, and the girl began to speak. The pagan, his daughter and his whole household were baptized. He also built a church over the spring dedicated to the Archangel Michael.

Later, a young man named Archippus settled there and lived a life of austerity, in fasting and prayer. The pagans did many malicious things to Archippus, for they did not like the fact that this Christian holy place emanated such spiritual power and attracted so many people to it. The pagans, in their wickedness, rerouted the nearest river in order to flood the church and the spring. By the prayers of Archippus, the holy Archangel Michael opened a fissure in the rock beside the church, and the river’s water plunged into it. This is how that place was saved and why it was called Chonae, or “of the plunging,” for the river’s water that plunged into the open fissure. St. Archippus labored in asceticism there until the age of seventy, and peacefully reposed in the Lord.

Petar (Zimonjic) of Dabar-Bosna

Our father among the saints, Hieromartyr Metropolitan Petar (Zimonjic) of Dabar-Bosna (Свети Свештеномученик Петар Дабробосански) was the Metropolitan of the diocese of Dabar-Bosnia in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia for twenty years until early in World War II. He was martyred during the Nazi occupation of Yugoslavia.

The future metropolitan Petar was the son of a nobleman ("vojvoda") and priest Bogdan Zimonjic (Богдан Зимоњић). He was born in Grahovo, on June 24, 1866. He attended the Theological Seminary in Reljevo between 1883 and 1887 and continued his education at the Orthodox Theological Faculty in Cernovice (today Ukraine) from 1887 until his graduation in 1893. In October 1893, Petar was appointed assistant professor at the Reljevo Theological Seminary, and a year later he was appointed professor.

St. Joannicius the first Patriarch of Serbia

Commemorated on September 16/3

Saint Joannicius, Patriarch of Serbia, was a native of the city of Prizren. At first, he was a secretary under king Karl (Charles) of Serbia, and later on from the year 1339, he guided the Church as Archbishop.

In the year 1346 a Council of all the Serbian archpastors, and including also the Patriarch of Bulgaria, at the wish of King Dushan, chose Archbishop Joannicius as Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Saint Joannicius reposed on September 3, 1349 and was buried in the Pech monastery.

The Beginning of the Church Year, or the Beginning of the Indiction SEPTEMBER 14 / SEPTEMBER 1

The First Ecumenical Council [Nicaea, 325] decreed that the Church year should begin on September 1. The month of September was, for the Hebrews, the beginning of the civil year (Exodus 23:16), the month of gather- ing the harvest and of the offering of thanks to God. It was on this feast that the Lord Jesus entered the synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4:16–21), opened the book of the Prophet Isaiah and read the words: The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn (Isaiah 61:1–2). 

The Feast of the Cincture of the Holy Theotokos

September 13/ August 31

After her Dormition, the Holy Theotokos gave her cincture to the Apostle Thomas. That cincture was later brought to Constantinople and kept in a sealed reliquary in the Church of the Mother of God at Blachernae, founded by Empress Pulcheria. This reliquary was not opened until the time of Emperor Leo the Wise (886–912). Leo’s wife, Empress Zoe, became mentally ill and, in accord with a heavenly vision, she desired that the cincture of the Most-holy Theotokos be placed on her. The emperor implored the patriarch, and the reliquary was opened. Then the cincture was removed and placed on the ailing empress. The empress was healed immediately. Today’s feast was instituted in commemoration of that miracle. Currently, one part of the cincture is to be found in Zugdidi, Georgia, because the daughter of Emperor Romanus was healed by the aid of this cincture—and when her father married her to the Georgian Emperor Abuchaz, she took part of the cincture with her. By order of the Russian Emperor Alexander I, a special church was built at Mingrelia, in Zugdidi, where that relic of the miracle-working garment of the Most-holy Theotokos is kept.