Christ the Savior-Holy Spirit Orthodox Church
Archpriest Steven C. Kostoff
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Scripture Readings for Today

All Scripture Readings
Feasts and Saints Commemorated Today

Glorification of the Priestmartyr Alexander Hotovitzky
Glorification of the Priestmartyr Alexander Hotovitzky

The New Martyr of Russia Alexander Hotovitzky was born on February 11, 1872 in the city of Kremenetz, into the pious family of Archpriest Alexander, who was Rector of the Volhynia Theological Seminary and would later be long remembered in the hearts of the Orthodox inhabitants of Volhynia as a good…

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Troparion & Kontakion
Greatmartyr Barbara and Martyr Juliana, at Heliopolis in Syria
Greatmartyr Barbara and Martyr Juliana, at Heliopolis in Syria

The Holy Great Martyr Barbara lived and suffered during the reign of the emperor Maximian (305-311). Her father, the pagan Dioscorus, was a rich and illustrious man in the Syrian city of Heliopolis. After the death of his wife, he devoted himself to his only daughter. Seeing Barbara’s…

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Troparion & Kontakion
Venerable John of Damascus
Venerable John of Damascus

Saint John of Damascus was born about the year 680 at Damascus, Syria into a Christian family. His father, Sergius Mansur, was a treasurer at the court of the Caliph. John had also a foster brother, the orphaned child Cosmas (October 14), whom Sergius had taken into his own home. When the children…

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Troparion & Kontakion
Saint John, Bishop of Polybotum

Saint John, Bishop of Polybotum (in Phrygia), was known as a denouncer of the heresy and impiety of Emperor Leo the Isaurian. Saint John opposed Leo for his iconoclasm, and taught his flock the Orthodox doctrine of the veneration of icons. The saint died at the beginning of the eighth century. The…

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Troparion & Kontakion
Saint Gennadius, Archbishop of Novgorod
Saint Gennadius, Archbishop of Novgorod

Saint Gennadius, Archbishop of Novgorod, was descended from the Gonzov family and was, in the testimony of contemporaries, “dignified, intelligent, virtuous and learned in the Holy Scripture.” He was made a monk at the Valaam monastery, under the spiritual guidance of Saint Sabbatius of…

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Troparion & Kontakion
Monastic Martyr, Hieromonk Seraphim, Bishop of the Phanar

The Hieromonk Seraphim, Bishop of the Phanar was from the village of Bezoula, Agrapha diocese in Greece. He lived in asceticism at first as a monk at the Monastery of the Most Holy Theotokos at Koronis, and later was chosen as bishop of the Phanar and Neochorion. For his refusal to accept Islam, he…

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Troparion & Kontakion
Icon of the Mother of God of Damascus

The Damascene Icon of the Mother of God, by ancient tradition, was painted by Saint John of Damascus in gratitude to the Theotokos for the miraculous healing of his right hand, cut off through the perfidy of Emperor Leo the Isaurian. This icon is also known as “Of the Three Hands” Icon…

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The Prologue of Ochrid

December 4th

1. The Holy Great-Martyr Barbara.

This glorious follower of Christ was betrothed to Christ from early childhood. Her father Dioscorus was a pagan and was renowned for his position and wealth in the city of Heliopolis in Egypt. Dioscorus locked up his only daughter Barbara, brilliant in mind and of beautiful countenance, in a high tower. He surrounded her with every comfort, gave her female servants, erected idols for worship, and built her a bathing room with two windows. Looking through the window at the earth below and the starry heavens above, Barbara's mind was opened by the grace of God. She recognized the One True God, the Creator, despite the fact that she did not have a human teacher to bring her to this knowledge. Once, while her father was away from the city, she came down from the tower and, according to God's providence, met some Christian women who revealed the true Faith of Christ to her. Barbara's heart became inflamed with love for Christ the Lord. She ordered that a third window be cut open in the bath so that the three windows would represent the Holy Trinity. On one wall she traced a Cross with her finger, and the Cross etched itself deep in the stone as if cut by a chisel. A pool of water sprang forth from her footprints on the floor of the bath, which later gave healing of diseases to many. Learning of his daughter's faith, Dioscorus beat her severely and drove her from the tower. He pursued her in order to kill her, but a cliff opened up and hid Barbara from her brutal father. When she appeared again, her father brought her to Martianus, the magistrate, who handed her over for torture. They stripped the innocent Barbara and flogged her until her entire body was covered with blood and wounds, but the Lord Himself appeared to her in prison with His angels and healed her. A certain woman, Juliana, upon seeing this, desired martyrdom for herself. Both women were severely tortured and with mockery were led through the city. Their breasts were cut off and much blood flowed from them. They were finally led to the place of execution, where Dioscorus himself slaughtered his daughter, and Juliana was slain by the soldiers. That same day, lightning struck the house of Dioscorus, killing him and Martianus. St. Barbara suffered in the year 306 A.D. Her miracle-working relics rest in Kiev. Glorified in the Kingdom of Christ, she has appeared many times even in our own day, sometimes alone and sometimes in the company of the Most-holy Theotokos.

2. Saint John Damascene.

John was first the chief minister to Caliph Abdul-Malik and later a monk in the Monastery of St. Sava the Sanctified. Because of his ardent defense of the veneration of icons during the reign of the iconoclastic Emperor Leo the Isaurian, John was maligned by the emperor to the Caliph, who cut off his right hand. John fell down in prayer before the icon of the Most-holy Theotokos, and his hand was rejoined and miraculously healed. Seeing this miracle the Caliph repented, but John no longer desired to remain with him as a nobleman. Instead, he withdrew to a monastery, where, from the beginning, he was a model to the monks in humility, obedience and all the prescribed rules of monastic asceticism. John composed the Funeral Hymns and compiled the Octoechos (The Book of Eight Tones), the Irmologion, the Menologion and the Paschal Canon, and he wrote many theological works of inspiration and profundity. A great monk, hymnographer, theologian and soldier for the truth of Christ, Damascene is numbered among the great Fathers of the Church. He entered peacefully into rest in about the year 776 A.D. at the age of 104.

3. Saint Gennadius, Archbishop Of Novgorod.

Gennadius was a distinguished writer, a champion of truth, and one who suffered for the truth of Christ. He gathered the various books of Sacred Scripture into one book and compiled the key for determining the date of Pascha (the Paschalion) for the next 532 years. He entered into rest in the Lord in the year 1505 A.D. His miracle-working relics rest in the Chudov Monastery in Moscow.