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Orthodox icon of Apostle Philemon of the Seventy. Contemporary icon.
Commemorated November 22.
The Holy Apostle of the Seventy Philemon lived in the city of Colossa in Phrygia. After they were baptized by the holy Apostle Paul, they converted their house into a house of prayer, where all those who believed in Christ gathered and attended services. They devoted themselves to serving the sick and downcast.
Saint Philemon became bishop of the city of Gaza, and he preached the Word of God throughout Phrygia. The holy Apostle Paul continued to be his guide, and addressed to him his Epistle filled with love, and in which he sends blessings “to Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow laborer, and to our beloved Apphia, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in thy house” (Phil 1:1-3).
Saint Philemon received the crown of martyrdom during the persecution of Nero (54-68). During a pagan festival an enraged crowd rushed into the Christian church when services were going on. All fled in terror, and only Saints Philemon, Archippus and Apphia remained. They seized them and led them off to the city prefect. The crowd beat and stabbed Saint Archippus with knives, and he died on the way to the court. Saints Philemon and Apphia were stoned to death by order of the prefect.
Theotokos the "Liberator" icon (2)
Orthodox icon of the Most Holy Theotokos the "Liberator", "Ελευθερώτρια" (2)
Protector of pregnant wonen.
Resurrection icon (1)
Orthodox icon of the Resurrection of our Jesus Christ our Lord (1). Contemporary icon
Note: the sizes are not exact.
St. Isidore of Pelusium icon
Orthodox icon of tSaint Isidore of Pelusium Mountain (Isidoros). Contemporary icon
Commemorated February 4.
Saint Isidore of Pelusium lived during the fourth-fifth centuries. He was a native of Alexandria, and was raised among pious Christians. He was a relative of Theophilus, Archbishop of Alexandria, and of his successor, Saint Cyril (January 18). While still a youth he quit the world and withdrew to Egypt to Mount Pelusium, which became the site of his monastic efforts.
Saint Isidore’s spiritual wisdom and strict asceticism, combined with his broad learning and innate knowledge of the human soul, enabled him to win the respect and love of his fellow monks in a short time. They chose him as their head and had him ordained a priest (the earliest sources for his life, however, say nothing of him being an Abbot).
Following the example of Saint John Chrysostom, whom he had managed to see and hear during a trip to Constantinople, Saint Isidore devoted himself primarily to Christian preaching, that “practical wisdom” which, in his own words, is both “the foundation of the edifice and the edifice itself”, while logic is “its embellishment, and contemplation its crown”.
He was a teacher and a willingly provided counsel for anyone who turned to him for spiritual encouragement, whether it was a simple man, a dignitary, a bishop, the Patriarch of Alexandria, or even the emperor. He left behind about 10,000 letters, of which 2,090 have survived. A large portion of these letters reveal profound theological thought and contain morally edifying interpretations of Holy Scripture. Saint Photius (February 6) calls Isidore a model of priestly and ascetical life, and also a master of style.
Saint Isidore’s love for Saint John Chrysostom resulted in his support of Saint John when he was persecuted by the empress Eudoxia and Archbishop Theophilus. After the death of Saint John, Saint Isidore persuaded Theophilus’ successor Saint Cyril to inscribe the name of Saint John Chrysostom into the Church diptychs as a confessor. Through the initiative of Saint Isidore the Third Ecumenical Council was convened at Ephesus (431), at which the false teaching of Nestorius concerning the person of Jesus Christ was condemned.
Saint Isidore lived into old age and died around the year 436. The Church historian Evagrius (sixth century) writes of Saint Isidore, “his life seemed to everyone the life of an angel upon the earth.” Another historian, Nicephorus Callistus (ninth century), praises Saint Isidore thus: “He was a vital and inspired pillar of monastic rules and divine vision, and as such he presented a very lofty image of most fervent example and spiritual teaching.”
Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ, Theophany Icon (2)
Orthodox icon of the Baptism of our Lord (Theophany, also Epiphany) (2). Copy of a contemporary icon.
Commemorated January 6th.
This icon is about the Feast that reveals the Holy Trinity to the world through the Baptism of the Lord (Mt.3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22). God the Father spoke from Heaven about the Son, the Son was baptized by the St John the Forerunner, and the Holy Spirit descended upon the Son in the form of a dove. From ancient times this Feast was called the Day of Illumination and the Feast of Lights, since God is Light and has appeared to illumine those who sat in darkness, and in the region of the shadow of death (Mt.4:16), and to save the fallen race of mankind by grace. John is on the left baptizing Christ, His face turned toward heaven and beholding the miracle of the Theophany.
On the opposite bank to John the Baptist, angels wait invisibly to receive the newly baptized Christ and clothe Him. Despite being the one submerged in the Jordan, Christ is shown in the center of the icon standing up and staring at us. His body is depicted as strong and beautiful. At the bottom of the Icon, little creatures appear to be fleeing from the feet of Christ. This is a reflection of the words of the Psalmist regarding the Messiah (Christ): the sea saw and fled, the Jordan turned back (Psalm 114:3). At the top we see the representation of the Heavenly realm and the action of the Holy Spirit also symbolized by the dove.