13 décembre (ancien calendrier) / 26 décembre (nouveau)
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December 13 (old calendar) / December 26 (new)

Nativity Fast

Repose of Ven. Herman of Alaska, Wonderworker of All America(1837). Martyrs Eustratius, Auxentius, Eugene, Mardarius, and Orestes, at Sebaste (4th c.). Virgin Martyr Lucia (Lucy) of Syracuse (304). Ven. Arkády (Arcadius) of Novotorsk (11th c.). Ven. Mardárii (Mardarius), Recluse, of the Kiev Caves (Far Caves—13th c.). Ven. Arsenius of Latros (8th-9th c.). Ven. Nicodemus (Romanian).

SAINTS AUXENTIUS, EUSTRATIUS, EUGENE, MARDARIUS, AND ORESTES

Saint Auxence - Orthodoxie.com

Saint Auxentius was one of the Five Companions who suffered for Christ under the emperor Diocletian (284-305) at Sebaste, in Armenia. Saints Eustratius, Mardarius, Eugene, and Orestes were the other four.

Among the first Christians imprisoned and undergoing torture at that time was Saint Auxentius, a presbyter of the Arabian Church. He was beheaded.

The Holy Martyrs Eustratius, Auxentius, Eugene, Mardarius, and Orestes (the Five Companions) suffered for Christ under the emperor Diocletian (284-305) at Sebaste, in Armenia.

Among the first Christians imprisoned and undergoing torture at that time was Saint Auxentius, a presbyter of the Arabian Church. One of those who witnessed the steadfastness of the Christians was the noble military commander Saint Eustratius, the city prefect of Satalios, and archivist of the province. He was secretly a Christian, and when he openly confessed his faith, he was subjected to torture. They beat him, and put iron sandals studded with sharp nails on his feet, then forced him to march to the city of Arabrak.

Witnessing the arrival of Saint Eustratius in Arabrak, one of the common people, Saint Mardarius, confessed that he was also a Christian like Saint Eustratius. He was arrested and cast into prison. Holes were drilled in his ankles, and ropes were passed them. He was suspended upside down, then heated nails were hammered into his body. He died a short time later. To him is attributed the prayer “O Master Lord God, Father Almighty …” (which is read at the end of the Third Hour).

As for Saint Eugene, they ripped out his tongue, they cut off his hands and feet, and then they beheaded him with a sword. Saint Auxentius was also arrested and beheaded. The young soldier Saint Orestes confessed himself a Christian and stood trial for this “crime.” He was sentenced to be stretched out upon a red-hot iron bed, and became frightened when he approached it. Encouraged by Saint Eustratius, he made the Sign of the Cross and got onto the heated bed, where he surrendered his soul to God.

Saint Eustratius was sentenced to be burned alive on December 13. As he was being led to his death, he prayed aloud (“I magnify Thee exceedingly, O Lord, for Thou hast regarded my lowliness…”). This prayer is still read at the Saturday Midnight Office.

Troparion of the saint, tone 4

Thy Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for Thee received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since they possessed Thy strength, they cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons’ strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.

Kontakion  of the saint, tone 2

Thou shonest as a most brilliant light for them that sat in the darkness of ignorance, O prizewinner. And armed with faith as with a spear, thou wast not frightened by the audacity of thine adversaries, O Eustratius, most eloquent of orators.

James 1:1-18 (Epistle)

1

James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.

2

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,

3

knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

4

But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

5

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

6

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.

7

For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;

8

he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

9

Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation,

10

but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away.

11

For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.

12

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

13

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.

14

But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.

15

Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

16

Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.

17

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

18

Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

Mark 8:30-34 (Gospel)

30

Then He strictly warned them that they should tell no one about Him.

31

And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

32

He spoke this word openly. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.

33

But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, “Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

34

When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

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About the Author

Emma Cazabonne

Emma Cazabonne

Emma Cazabonne was born and raised in France. She taught English before entering the Cistercian Order. She translated and published articles relevant to her interest in Cistercian spirituality, the Middle Ages, and Orthodoxy. She moved to the United States in 2001, converted to Orthodoxy in 2008, and married. Her husband is an Orthodox priest. She continued to publish articles, a Cistercian texts anthology, then finally launched her career in literary translation, while teaching French. If you are interested in having your book translated into French, she can be contacted here https://wordsandpeace.com/contact-me/

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