Orthodox icon of Saint. Simon the Myrrh-streamer, or Myrrh-gusher, the founder of Simonopetra Monastery. Contemporary icon
Commemorated on December 28
"On December 28, shortly after the Feast of the Nativity, the Church celebrates the memory of St. Simon the Myrrh-gusher through whom the Lord wrought great wonders. A star, like that which led the Magi to Bethlehem, miraculously revealed to the saint the site upon which, by divine command, he was to found a monastery. The monastery was appropriately dedicated to the Feast of the Nativity and was named New Bethlehem. Today, seven centuries later, it is still one of the flourishing monasteries on Mt. Athos.
The life of the venerable Simon was arrayed with mighty ascetic feats and miracles not only during his lifetime, but even after his repose when there gushed forth from his relics are abundant fount of myrrh in a manner similar to that of the Great Martyr Demetrius of Thessalonica. Where he came from, who his parents were, and where he began his monastic labors, no one knows. Some time in the 13th century, he arrived on the Holy Mountaim Recalling the saying of the Fathers that without obedience one cannot be saved, the venerable Simon sought before all else to find a spiritual elder, one to whom he could entrust his soul without reserve, an elder who would be not only a faithful guide unto salvation and a radiant model of ascetic perfection, but also strict in bodily discipline.
After looking all over the Holy Mountain, he finally chose out of the multitude of monks leading virtuous lives, an unknown elder, perfect in all respects in the ascetic life. He labored in complete submission to his elder, fulfilling all his obediences with love and zeal and soon attained to such great spiritual heights that he became known all over the Holy Mountain for his irreproachable life. Finally. the time came when the elder was convinced that his period of trial was over. Casting aside his paternal kindness towards the venerable Simon, he decided to dwell with him. as with a brother and on several occasions he even asked for his advice and counsel.
But instead of rejoicing over the benevolence and honor bestowed upon him by his elder, Simon was utterly grieved. He decided to leave, seeking for himself total reclusion. Expressing his intention to his elder, he asked his blessing amidst a shower of tears, desiring with heartfelt sorrow that the elder would grant his consent. In this way, he took leave of his dear elder for whom he had already become not so much a disciple as another mighty co-struggler in the angelic life.
For a long time St. Simon searched all over the Holy Mountain for a secluded hermitage where no one would know of his existence and no one would find him. Finally, with God's help, he found a deserted mountainside with caves on the southern part of the Holy Mountain. Knowing that before him lay the relentless struggle of unseen warfare, the saint clothed himself with spiritual armor with the help of the Holy Spirit, taking the cross, prayer, faith, patience, fasting, and everything that could crush the wily schemes of the demons and raise a man to angelic purity and childlike simplicity. It is difficult to recount the fierce s c h e m e s and hidden traps with which satan tormented and tried to catch unawares Saint Simon. The holy ascetic, however, boldly trampled upon the brazen arrogance of his adversary and crushed all his plans. For many years St. Simon remained secluded within his cave where he manfully endured the constant battle with the unseen enemies of his soul. He lived in sorrows and utter deprivation, lacking even the assurance of his own salvation.
Meanwhile, hearing of the severity of his life and in particular of his spiritual discernment and insight, many monks on the Holy Mountain began to come to him and to receive great spiritual benefit from his soul-profiting counsel, thus fulfilling the word of God: "A city that is set on a hill cannot he hid" (Matt. 5:14). Together with those who came to him, Simon was accounted worthy to receive from the Lord the gift of foreknowledge. However, through his humility he grew weary of such earthly honor, and he sought refuge from the disturbance created by all those who came to him. He was burdened by the stream of visitors which, it seemed to him, only served as a hindrance to his desire for a life of seclusion. He yearned, therefore, to abandon his dwelling for a yet more isolated one. But God, desiring the well-being and salvation of each and every one, prevented the. realization of his desire in the following way:
One night, while persevering in prayer, the righteous one saw outside his cave, as if before his very eyes, the effulgence of a divine light; an ineffable fragrance spread all around him and he heard a loud voice: "Simon, Simon, thou faithful friend and servant of my Son! Do not go away from here. I shall glorify this place; you shall be its guiding light, and your name shall be glorified.'' Out of caution, Simon chose at first not to believe this vision, not desiring to fall into the nets of the evil one; for he knew, according to the word of the Apostle, that satan could transform himself into an angel of light. Neyertheless, he continued to ponder upon the actual source of the voice. This took place shortly before the Feast of the Nativity of Christ. Then, one night, walking outside his cave, he saw a strange apparition: a star descended from the heavens and came to rest just above the rocky cliffs where later the holy monastery was to be situated. This same vision repeated itself on the following evenings; but the venerable Simon was still fearful. Wasit possible that this was solely one of the consequences of his intense spiritual warfare? And he continued to distrust the vision.
When the Eve of the Nativity of Christ arrived, he saw in a dream a brilliant star and heard a divine voice: "Simon! you must build a monastic dwelling here. I myself shall help you. Cast aside your doubts, or you shall be punished for your unbelief." The same voice spoke to him three times. At that time (as he later related to his disciples) it seemed to him that he was in Bethlehem of Judea, in the very place where the shepherds were tending their flocks, and he heard the sweet sound of angelic singing: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men: fear not, for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people" (Luke2:l4, 10). After this, said the saint, all fear and uneasiness were dispelled from my soul and I rejoiced in spirit, and secretly beheld the scene in Bethlehem; there, before the manger, the Sovereign Lady stood before the Divine Child, lying in swaddling clothes.
Several days after the Feast of the Nativity, three rich men, brothers after the flesh, came to the venerable one. They confessed all their sins and began persuasively to entreat him to permit them to live in obedience under his direction. After a brief period of trial and testing, St. Simon revealed unto them, as to his own sons according to the spirit, the divine vision. More than once he related to them the v i s i o n concerning the building of a monastery on the neighboring cliffs, asking them not to speak of this to any, one while he was still alive until the proper time. Hearing all this, the brothers with love offered to the saintly elder all of their earthly wealth for the construction of the monastery, and in accordance with the saint's wish and blessing, they offered immediately to prepare everything necessary for such an important and God-pleasing labor.
All necessary preparations were made. They had yet to learn, however, of the exact site for the foundation upon which the monastery was to be built. When St. Simon directed the brothers to the location where the church and other buildings were to be constructed they w e r e horrified, seeing t h e sheer cliffs which, according to his orders, were to serve as the monastery's foundation. "Are you trying to fool us, Abba?" they asked the saint, 'or are you speaking the truth? How can this be the site, when that cliff might be quite dangerous for the workers and even more so for those that will dwell here. If this is your desire, we shall surely oppose you !"
The matter was left undecided. In the meantime, seeing that he could not convince them to proceed with the work, St. Simon ordered the trapeza meal to be served. While they were eating, one of the saint's disciples who was bringing wine to the table, lost his , balance ,through the prompting of a demon, and fell off the cliff into a great abyss; still holding in one hand a pitcher and in the other several glasses of wine. Stricken with horror at this sudden tragedy, the spokesman of the brothers strongly rebuked the venerable one: "Behold, Abba, what has already been wrought by these deadly crags before you have even begun your undertaking. How many similar incidents of such a frightful death will occur if we should agree to build the monastery here." The saint did not answer but secretly prayed to the Sovereign Lady Theotokos that he would not be put to shame in placing his trust in her intercession. "Who can tell of all thy miracles, O Sovereign Lady, and who can praise thy majesty?' What happened next was entirely unexpected: the brother who had fallen over the precipice suddenly appeared before them. Through the intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos he was not only perfectly whole and unscathed, but he even held the glasses and pitcher from which not a drop of wine had spilled! Such a miracle brought fear and trembling upon the laborers. They fell to their knees before the saint and beseeching forgiveness said: "Now we know, O father, that you are truly a man of God." With heartfelt sincerity they were all grateful to be numbered among the saint's disciples and were soon accounted worthy of the angelic habit. Then, under the immediate supervision of the venerable Simon himself, his disciples, formerly simple laborers, proceeded with the construction of the Monastery.
The situation, however, was such that before anything else it was necessary to lay the foundation. According to the instruction of the saint, they were to use a nearby stone of enormous size. The elder ordered them to move it, but they, forgetting about the miracle of the unspilled wine, were of the firm opinion that not only was it impossible for them with their combined efforts to move that massive weight, but that it could not even be budged. They stood there bewildered, not having the slightest idea what to do. Seeing this, the saint approached them and, making the sign of the life-giving Cross on the stone, he single-handedly lifted it upon his shoulder and carried it to the designated site. In this way he demonstrated in actual fact the truth of the word which the Lord spoke unto the Apostles: "Verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove" (Matt. 17120).
That such a man, whose body was weakened by fasting and ascetic labor, should lift such a weight far exceeding human strength, can only serve as a testimony of God's almighty power and His readiness to help those who turn to Him with faith.
Having established the monastery which he named New Bethlehem, and having spent his life in God-pleasing labors, St. Simon reposed on the 28th of December, 1287. On the morning of the next day, in the presence of the entire brotherhood, the face of the righteous one shone with a wondrous light. After his soul had ascended unto the choirs of the righteous, a fragrant myrrh issued forth from his holy relics through which St. Simon worked many miracles to the glory of God, for kings, monks, and laymen.
Many years after the saint's earthly departure, a pious Serbian king helped to greatly enlarge and rebuild the monastery in honor of its founder. Since that time it has been known as Simonopetra, or the "Rock of Simon". Today it is perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring architectural monuments in the world, a standing testimony to the power of faith and God's good will toward men."
Orthodox icon of the Crucifixion of our Lord (10). Copy of a contemporary icon.
Commemorated on Holy Thursday.
St. Elizabeth and Saint John the Baptist icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Elizabeth, Mother and Saint John the Baptist.
Commemorated September 5.
Protector Saint of : Older parents and couples that can not have babies
The name of the store in the icon is a watermark, your icon will not have it.
The Righteous Elizabeth was the mother of the holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord, John. She was descended from the lineage of Aaron, and St Elizabeth was the sister of St Anna, the mother of the Most Holy Theotokos. The righteous spouses, “walking in all the commandments of the Lord (Luke 1:6), suffered barrenness, which in those times was considered a punishment from God.
When Elizabeth gave birth to a son, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit she announced that his name was John, although no one in their family had this name.
They asked Zachariah (who had been rendered mute) what the child’s name was, and he wrote the name John down on a tablet. Immediately the gift of speech returned to him, and inspired by the Holy Spirit, he began to prophesy about his son as the Forerunner of the Lord.
When King Herod heard from the Magi about the birth of the Messiah, he decided to kill all the infants up to two years old at Bethlehem and the surrounding area, hoping that the new-born Messiah would be among them.
Herod knew about John’s unusual birth and he wanted to kill him, fearing that he was the foretold King of the Jews. But Elizabeth hid herself and the infant in the hills. The murderers searched everywhere for John. Elizabeth, when she saw her pursuers, began to implore God for their safety, and immediately the hill opened up and concealed her and the infant from their pursuers.
In these tragic days St Zachariah was taking his turn at the services in the Temple. Soldiers sent by Herod tried in vain to learn from him the whereabouts of his son. Then, by command of Herod, they murdered this holy prophet, having stabbed him between the temple and the altar (MT 23: 35). Elizabeth died forty days after her husband, and St John, preserved by the Lord, dwelt in the wilderness until the day of his appearance to the nation of Israel.
On the Greek calendar, Sts Zachariah and Elizabeth are also commemorated on June 24, the Feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist.
Jesus Christ "Blessing" icon (4)
Orthodox icon of our Savior Jesus Christ "Blessing" (4). Copy of a contemporary icon.
St. Joseph of Arimathea icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Joseph of Arimathea icon. Contemporary icon.
Commemorated July 31
Righteous Joseph of Arimathea was a secret disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ. As a member of the Sanhedrin he did not participate in the “counsel and deed” of the Jews in passing a death sentence for Jesus Christ. After the Crucifixion and Death of the Savior he made bold to go to Pilate and ask him for the Body of the Lord, to Which he gave burial with the help of Righteous Nicodemus, who was also a secret disciple of the Lord.
They took down the Body of the Savior from the Cross, wrapped it in a winding-cloth, and placed it in a new tomb, in which no one had ever been buried, in the Garden of Gethsemane, in the presence of the Mother of God and the holy Myrrh-Bearing Women (St Joseph had prepared this tomb for himself). Having rolled a heavy stone before the entrance of the tomb, they departed (John. 19: 37-42; Mt. 27: 57-61; Mark 15: 43-47; Luke. 24: 50-56).
St Joseph traveled around the world, proclaiming the Gospel of Christ. He died peacefully in England.
Crucifixion icon (11)
Orthodox icon of the Crucifixion of our Lord (11). Copy of an icon of 12 cent. Monastery of St. Catherine Sinai.
Commemorated on Holy Thursday
St. Patrick the Enlightener of Ireland icon (2)
Orthodox icon of Saint Patrick of Ireland (2). Contemporary icon.
Commemorated March 17.
NOTE: the name of the store in the icon is just a watermark. Your icon will NOT have it.
Saint Patrick, the Enlightener of Ireland was born around 385, the son of Calpurnius, a Roman decurion (an official responsible for collecting taxes). He lived in the village of Bannavem Taberniae, which may have been located at the mouth of the Severn River in Wales. The district was raided by pirates when Patrick was sixteen, and he was one of those taken captive. He was brought to Ireland and sold as a slave, and was put to work as a herder of swine on a mountain identified with Slemish in Co. Antrim. During his period of slavery, Patrick acquired a proficiency in the Irish language which was very useful to him in his later mission.
He prayed during his solitude on the mountain, and lived this way for six years. He had two visions. The first told him he would return to his home. The second told him his ship was ready. Setting off on foot, Patrick walked two hundred miles to the coast. There he succeeded in boarding a ship, and returned to his parents in Britain.
Some time later, he went to Gaul and studied for the priesthood at Auxerre under Saint Germanus (July 31). Eventually, he was consecrated as a bishop, and was entrusted with the mission to Ireland, succeeding Saint Palladius (July 7). Saint Palladius did not achieve much success in Ireland. After about a year he went to Scotland, where he died in 432.
Patrick had a dream in which an angel came to him bearing many letters. Selecting one inscribed “The Voice of the Irish,” he heard the Irish entreating him to come back to them.
Although Saint Patrick achieved remarkable results in spreading the Gospel, he was not the first or only missionary in Ireland. He arrived around 432 (though this date is disputed), about a year after Saint Palladius began his mission to Ireland. There were also other missionaries who were active on the southeast coast, but it was Saint Patrick who had the greatest influence and success in preaching the Gospel of Christ. Therefore, he is known as “The Enlightener of Ireland.”
His autobiographical Confession tells of the many trials and disappointments he endured. Patrick had once confided to a friend that he was troubled by a certain sin he had committed before he was fifteen years old. The friend assured him of God’s mercy, and even supported Patrick’s nomination as bishop. Later, he turned against him and revealed what Patrick had told him in an attempt to prevent his consecration. Many years later, Patrick still grieved for his dear friend who had publicly shamed him.
Saint Patrick founded many churches and monasteries across Ireland, but the conversion of the Irish people was no easy task. There was much hostility, and he was assaulted several times. He faced danger, and insults, and he was reproached for being a foreigner and a former slave. There was also a very real possibility that the pagans would try to kill him. Despite many obstacles, he remained faithful to his calling, and he baptized many people into Christ.
The saint’s Epistle to Coroticus is also an authentic work. In it he denounces the attack of Coroticus’ men on one of his congregations. The Breastplate (Lorica) is also attributed to Saint Patrick. In his writings, we can see Saint Patrick’s awareness that he had been called by God, as well as his determination and modesty in undertaking his missionary work. He refers to himself as “a sinner,” “the most ignorant and of least account,” and as someone who was “despised by many.” He ascribes his success to God, rather than to his own talents: “I owe it to God’s grace that through me so many people should be born again to Him.”
By the time he established his episcopal See in Armargh in 444, Saint Patrick had other bishops to assist him, many native priests and deacons, and he encouraged the growth of monasticism.
Saint Patrick is often depicted holding a shamrock, or with snakes fleeing from him. He used the shamrock to illustrate the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Its three leaves growing out of a single stem helped him to explain the concept of one God in three Persons. Many people now regard the story of Saint Patrick driving all the snakes out of Ireland as having no historical basis.
Saint Patrick died on March 17, 461 (some say 492). There are various accounts of his last days, but they are mostly legendary. Muirchu says that no one knows the place where Saint Patrick is buried. Saint Columba of Iona (June 9) says that the Holy Spirit revealed to him that Patrick was buried at Saul, the site of his first church. A granite slab was placed at his traditional grave site in Downpatrick in 1899.
"Odegetria" icon (1)
Orthodox icon of The Most Holy Theotokos "Odegetria" icon (1). Contemporary icon.
NOTE: the name of the store in the icon is just a watermark. Your icon will NOT have it.
Orthodox icon of Saint Constantine (3). Contemporary icon.
Commemorated May 21
St. Menelaos icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Menelaos. Contemporary icon.
Commemorated July 22.
St. Emilia icon (2)
Orthodox icon of Saint Emilia (Emelia) (2) Amalia the mother of Saints Basil, Makrina, Nazarius and Gregory.
Commemorated May 30th.
Protector Saint of : Marriage
St. Elesbaan, King of Ethiopia icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Elesbaan or Caleb King of Ethiopia. Contemporary icon.
Commemorated October 24.
Saint Elesbaan, King of Ethiopia lived when Arabia was ruled by Dunaan, the oppressor of Christians. The pious Elesbaan was unable to look on indifferently as believers in Christ were being massacred. He declared war on Dunaan, but his military campaign was unsuccessful.
Wishing to learn the reason for his defeat, Elesbaan, with prompting from above, turned to a certain hermit. He revealed to the emperor that he had proceeded unrighteously in deciding to take revenge against Dunaan, since the Lord had said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay!” (Heb 10:30).
The hermit counseled Saint Elesbaan make a vow to devote his final days of life to God, to escape the wrath of God for his self-willed revenge, and then to defeat Dunaan. Saint Elesbaan made a vow to the Lord, and marching off with his army against the enemy, he defeated, captured and executed him. After the victory the saint resigned as emperor, secluded himself within a monastery and for fifteen years he dwelt in strict fasting and asceticism.
St. Dymphna the Virgin- Martyr icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Dymphna, the Virgin- Martyr. of Ireland. Contemporary icon.
Commemorated May 15.
St. Mary of Bethany icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Mary of Bethany, the sister of Saint Lazarus and Martha. Copy of a contemporary icon