January 23 
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January 23 

Fast

Hieromartyr Clement, Bishop of Ancyra, and Martyr Agathangelus (312). Ven. Gennádii of Kostromá (1565). Translation of the relics of St. Theóctist, Archbishop of Novgorod (1786). Ven. Mausimas the Syrian (4th c.). Ven. Salamanes the Silent of the Euphrates (ca. 400). St. Paulinus the Merciful, Bishop of Nola (431). Commemoration of the Sixth Ecumenical Council (680-681).

SAINT CLEMENT OF ANCYRA

23 janvier

The Hieromartyr Clement was born in the Galatian city of Ancyra in the year 258, of a pagan father and a Christian mother. He lost his father when he was an infant, and his mother when he was twelve. She predicted a martyr’s death for him because of his belief in Christ.

A woman named Sophia adopted him and raised him in the fear of God. During a terrible famine in Galatia several pagans turned out their own children, not having the means to feed them. Sophia took in these unfortunates, and fed and clothed them. Saint Clement assisted her in this. He taught the children and prepared them for Baptism. Many of them died as martyrs for Christ.

Saint Clement was made a reader, and later a deacon. When he was eighteen he was ordained to the holy priesthood, and at age twenty he was consecrated Bishop of Ancyra. Soon afterwards the persecution against Christians under Diocletian (284-305) broke out.

Bishop Clement was denounced as a Christian and arrested. Dometian, the governor of Galatia, tried to make the saint worship the pagan gods, but Saint Clement firmly confessed his faith and valiantly withstood all the tortures.

They suspended him on a tree, and raked his body with sharp iron instruments so that his entrails could be seen. They smashed his mouth with stones, and they turned him on a wheel and burned him over a low fire. The Lord preserved His sufferer and healed his lacerated body.

Then Dometian sent the saint to Rome to the emperor Diocletian himself, with a report that Bishop Clement had been fiercely tortured, but had proven unyielding. Diocletian, seeing the martyr completely healthy, did not believe the report and subjected him to even crueler tortures, and then had him locked up in prison.

Many of the pagans, seeing the bravery of the saint and the miraculous healing of his wounds, believed in Christ. People flocked to Saint Clement in prison for guidance, healing and Baptism, so that the prison was literally transformed into a church. When word of this reached the emperor, many of these new Christians were executed.

Diocletian, struck by the amazing endurance of Saint Clement, sent him to Nicomedia to his co-emperor Maximian. On the ship, the saint was joined by his disciple Agathangelus, who had avoided being executed with the other confessors, and who now wanted to suffer and die for Christ with Bishop Clement.

The emperor Maximian in turn sent Saints Clement and Agathangelus to the governor Agrippina, who subjected them to such inhuman torments, that even the pagan on-lookers felt pity for the martyrs and they began to pelt the torturers with stones.

Having been set free, the saints healed an inhabitant of the city through the laying on of hands and they baptized and instructed people, thronging to them in multitudes. Arrested again on orders of Maximian, they were sent home to Ancyra, where the ruler Cyrenius had them tortured. Then they were sent to the city of Amasea to the proconsul Dometius, known for his great cruelty.

In Amasea, the martyrs were thrown into hot lime. They spent a whole day in it and remained unharmed. They flayed them, beat them with iron rods, set them on red-hot beds, and poured sulfur on their bodies. All this failed to harm the saints, and they were sent to Tarsus for new tortures. In the wilderness along the way Saint Clement had a revelation that he would suffer a total of twenty-eight years for Christ. Then having endured a multitude of tortures, the saints were locked up in prison.

Saint Agathangelus was beheaded with the sword on November 5. The Christians of Ancyra freed Saint Clement from prison and took him to a cave church. There, after celebrating Liturgy, the saint announced to the faithful the impending end of the persecution and his own martyrdom. On January 23, the holy hierarch was killed by soldiers from the city, who stormed the church. The saint was beheaded as he stood before the altar and offered the Bloodless Sacrifice. Two deacons, Christopher and Chariton, were beheaded with him, but no one else was harmed.

Troparion of the saint, tone 4

You sprang up, most holy one, / as a branch and stem of holiness, / a most sacred flower of the contest of martyrdom / and as a most sweet fruit given by God to the faithful. / But as one who shared the struggle of the martyrs / and the throne of hierarchs, / intercede with Christ God that our souls may be saved.

Kontakion of the saint, tone 4

You have become an honored branch of the vine of Christ, / revealed as one of many many struggles, / all-praised Clement, / with your fellow champion you cried out: / “Christ is the shining joy of martyrs.”

Hebrews 10:1-18 (Epistle)

1
For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.
2
For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins.
3
But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.
4
For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.
5
Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me.
6
In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure.
7
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come – in the volume of the book it is written of Me – to do Your will, O God.’”
8
Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law),
9
then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second.
10
By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11
And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
12
But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,
13
from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.
14
For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
15
But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,
16
This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,
17
then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
18
Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

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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