Appearance of the "Kazan" icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (1579)
“In Kazan, in 1579, the nine-year old Matrona, whose parents’ home had burned down in a fire, had a dream in which she beheld an icon of the Theotokos and heard a voice commanding her to recover this icon from the ashes of the ruined house. The icon was found wrapped in an old piece of cloth under the stove, where it may have been hidden during the Tartar invasions. The icon was finally brought to the Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Theotokos, where it became renowned for the healings that the Mother of God wrought through it for the blind… The icon of Kazan is one of the most beloved icons of the Mother of God in Russia.” (Great Horologion)
Holy Great Martyr Prokopios (303)
“He was born in Jerusalem of a Christian father and a pagan mother, at first bearing the name Neanias. After his father’s death, his mother brought him up entirely in the spirit of Roman idolatry. When he had grown up, the Emperor Diocletian saw him at some time and was so pleased with him that he took him to court to serve in the army. When this wicked Emperor launched a persecution of Christians, he ordered Neanias to go with a detachment of soldiers to Alexandria and exterminate the Christians there. But, on the road, there happened to Neanias something similar to that which happened to Saul. At three o’clock in the morning there was a violent earthquake, the Lord Jesus appearing to him and saying: ‘Neanias, where are you going, and against whom are you rebelling?’ In great fear, Neanias replied: ‘Who are you, Lord? I cannot recognise You.’ Then a brilliant Cross, as of crystal, appeared in the sky and a voice came from the Cross: ‘I am Jesus, the crucified Son of God.’ The Lord went on: ‘By this sign that you have seen, overcome your enemies, and My peace will be with you.’ This event utterly changed Neanias’s life. He caused a cross such as he had seen to be made, and, instead of moving against the Christians, set off with his soldiers against the Agarians, who were attacking Jerusalem. He entered Jerusalem victorious and told his mother that he was a Christian. Brought to trial, he took off his army belt and sword and cast them before the judge, demonstrating by this that he was a soldier only of Christ the King. After harsh torture, he was thrown into prison. There Christ the Lord appeared to him again, baptising him and giving him the name Procopius. One day twelve women came to the window of his cell and said to him: ‘We also are the servants of Christ.’ Arrested for this, they were thrown into the same prison, where St Procopius instructed them in the Christian faith and carefully prepared them to receive the crown of martyrdom. These twelve women were then harshly tortured. Beholding their sufferings and courage, Procopius’s mother also came to faith in Christ, and then all thirteen were put to death. When St Procopius was led to the scaffold, he raised his hands towards the East and prayed to God for all the poor and needy, the destitute and the widowed, and especially for the holy Church, that it might grow and spread and that Orthodoxy might shine to the end of time. He was assured from heaven that his prayer was heard, after which he joyfully laid his head under the sword and went to his Lord, to eternal joy. St Procopius suffered with honour in Palestinian Caesarea, and was crowned with an eternal wreath of glory, on July 8th, 303.” (Prologue)
St Procopius, Fool for Christ (1303)
He was a prominent merchant of German origin. Visiting Novgorod on business, he was so moved by the beauty of Orthodoxy that he embraced the Orthodox faith. Seeking to follow Christ more fully, he gave away all his goods to the poor and lived as an indigent, giving his life to prayer and asceticism but feigning madness to avoid the praise of men. He was granted the gifts of prescience and of insight into the hearts of others: he would often speak to those who came to him of their secret sins, and several times he predicted natural disasters. Once he stopped a deadly hailstorm in town of Ustiug through his fervent prayers before the icon of the Mother of God. He was found dead on the road, covered with snow; a church was built over his relics, which worked many wonders.