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Orthodox icon of Saint Agatha of Palermo.
Commemorated February 5th.
This Martyr, who was from Panormus (that is, Palermo) or perhaps Catania of Sicily, was a most comely and chaste virgin. After many exceedingly harsh torments, she gave up her spirit in prison at Catania in 251, because she did not consent to the seductions of Quintian, the Governor of Sicily. At her burial, an Angel placed a stone tablet on her grave inscribed with the words, "A righteous mind, self-determining, honor from God, the deliverance of her father-land." The following year this was fulfilled when Mount Etna erupted, spewing forth violent fire from which Catania was manifestly saved by Saint Agatha's prayers. The holy Martyr Agatha, the protectress and chief patroness of Sicily, is, with perhaps the exception of Saint Agnes of Rome, the most highly venerated Virgin Martyr of the West. Saint Damasus, Pope of Rome, and Saint Ambrose of Milan both wrote in praise of her.
Abraham the Righteous Patriarch icon
Orthodox icon of Abraham the Righteous Patriarch.
Commemorated the Sunday of the Forefathers and always before Christmas.
The life of Abraham can be found in the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament, Chapters 12-25. His constant obedience to God has earned him the title of "Righteous" and is a wonderful example so that we may offer our own obedience and love to God.
Anna, the Prophetess icon
Orthodox icon of Prophetess Anna, Hannah, the mother of Prophet Samuel.
Commemorated December 9.
The Holy Prophetess Hannah dwelt in marriage with Elkanah, but she was childless. Elkanah took to himself another wife, Phennena, who bore him children. Hannah grieved strongly over her misfortune, and every day she prayed for an end to her barrenness, and vowed to dedicate her child to God.
Once, as she prayed fervently in the Temple, the priest Heli thought that she was drunk, and he began to reproach her. But the saint poured out her grief, and after she received a blessing, she returned home. After this Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son, whom she named Samuel (which means “Asked from God”).
When the child reached the age of boyhood, the mother herself presented him to the priest Heli, and Samuel remained with him to serve before the Tabernacle (1 Kings/1 Samuel 2: 1-21).
Apostles' Council Icon
Orthodox Icon of the Council (Synaxis) of the Twelve Apostles of Christ.
Commemorated on June 30.
The Synaxis of the Glorious and All-Praiseworthy Twelve Apostles of Christ appears to be an ancient Feast. The Church honors each of the Twelve Apostles on separate dates during the year, and has established a general commemoration for all of them on the day after the commemoration of the Glorious and First-Ranked among the Apostles Peter and Paul. SAINT PETER June 29 and January 16, SAINT ANDREW November 30, SAINT JAMES, THE SON OF ZEBEDEE April 30, SAINT JOHN THE THEOLOGIAN September 26 and May 8, SAINT PHILIP November 14, SAINT BARTHOLOMEW June 11 and August 25, SAINT THOMAS October 6, SAINT MATTHEW THE EVANGELIST November 16, SAINT JAMES, THE SON OF ALPHAEUS October 9, SAINT THADDEUS OR JUDE, THE BROTHER OF JAMES June 19, SAINT SIMON THE ZEALOT May 10, SAINT MATTHIAS August 9, SAINT PAUL June 29.
Here is how each of them died: St. Peter was crucified upside down.St. Andrew was crucified on an X-shaped cross.Saint James, the son of Zebedee was beheaded.Saint John the Theologian died in a miraculous manner.St. Philip was crucified.St. Bartholomew was crucified, scraped and beheaded.St. Thomas was pierced with five spears.Saint Matthew the Evangelist was burned alive.Saint James, the son of Alphaeus was crucified.Saint Thaddeus or Jude, the Brother of James was crucified.Saint Simon the Zealot was crucified.Saint Matthias was stoned and then was beheaded after death.Saint Paul was beheaded. Emperor Constantine the Great built a grand church in Constantinople in honor of the Twelve Apostles were their relics were collected. Most Emperors and many patriarchs and bishops were also buried in the church. The Church was looted during the Fourth Crusade in 1204. In 1461, following the fall of Constantinople to Mehmed, the church was taken over by the Ottomans who demolished it to make way for the Fatih Mosque.
Orthodox icon of the Holy Forefathers, Abraham, Isak and Jacob.