Orthodox Calendar

Dec. 28, 2022
Wednesday of the 29th week after Pentecost

Nativity Fast


  • Hieromartyr Eleutherius of Illyria; St Stephen of Surozh
  • Holy Martyr Eleutherius the Cubicularius (4th c.)
  • Holy Martyr Bacchus the New (787)
  • Our Venerable Father Tryphon of Kola, apostle of Laponia (1583), and his disciple the Holy Martyr Jonah (1590)

Scripture Readings (KJV)

Hebrews 5.11-6.8 (Epistle)

11Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 12For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

1Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3And this will we do, if God permit. 4For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. 7For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 8But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

Mark 8.30-34 (Gospel)

30And he charged them that they should tell no man of him. 31And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. 33But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.

34And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Commemorations (abbamoses.com)

Holy Hieromartyr Eleutherius, Bishop of Illyria, and those with him (126)

His name is a form of the Greek word for “freedom.” He was a native of Rome whose father died at a young age, leaving him to be brought up by his mother Anthia, a Christian who reared him in the fear of God and the love of holiness. His virtue and ability were so evident that he was ordained a priest at the age of seventeen and at twenty was made Bishop of Illyria, a large see roughly comprising modern-day Serbia.

The young bishop’s pastoral and evangelistic work was so successful that many pagans were converted to the Faith through him. His growing reputation drew the attention of the Emperor Hadrian, who sent one of his senior officers named Felix to arrest the holy bishop. But when Felix saw and heard Eleutherius, he was captivated by his teaching, believed in Christ, and was baptized. He and the St Eleutherius returned and presented themselves together before the Emperor, fearlessly confessing their faith.

Eleutherius was subjected to brutal torture, during which the city prefect Coremonus, who had suggested some of the tortures, was enlightened through the Saint’s prayers for his enemies, and proclaimed Christ. He was baptized by Eleutherius and later beheaded. After a time, when it became clear that fire and torture would not move the holy bishop, he was taken to the amphitheater and beheaded. At the moment of his death, his mother Anthia rushed forward and took his body in her arms. There she also was beheaded by the executioners.

Pregnant women call on St Eleutherius that they may have a safe delivery.

Holy Martyr Eleutherius the Cubicularius (4th c.)

He was from a noble family in Constantinople, and rose to the rank of Cubicularius (Chamberlain). He was not only a counselor to, but a close friend of, the Emperor (probably Julian the Apostate). But Eleutherius was increasingly moved by a desire to become a Christian; so, obtaining a leave from the Imperial court, he moved to the countryside in Bithynia, where he was baptized. There he built a house that concealed an underground chapel.

When Eleutherius returned to court, some jealous courtiers denounced him to the Emperor, who visited Eleutherius’ country house and was furious to discover the underground church. When the Saint would not renounce his faith in Christ, the Emperor, ignoring all previous bonds of friendship, had him beheaded.

Holy Martyr Bacchus the New (787)

During the reign of Constantine VI and Irene, restorers of the holy icons, the Holy Land was under the control of the Muslim Arabs. Many Christians there apostatized, putting honors and security in this world above their eternal joy. One of these was the father of this Saint, who brought up seven children as Muslims. His wife however, never renounced her Faith and prayed constantly for the conversion of her husband and children. Upon the death of the father, her third son Dachak declared that he wished to become a Christian. He was baptized in the Monastery of St Sabas near Jerusalem, receiving the name Bacchus, and determined to be a monk. But the abbot, fearing reprisals against the Monastery, sent him back to his home in Jerusalem. His brothers, seeing his joy and boldness in confessing the Faith, decided to receive holy Baptism, except for one, who denounced Bacchus to the authorities. He was arrested and brought before the judge and, when he proved steadfast in his confession of Christ, was beheaded.

Our Venerable Father Tryphon of Kola, apostle of Laponia (1583), and his disciple the Holy Martyr Jonah (1590)

Saint Tryphon was the son of a priest from Novgorod. The Synaxarion records that, at the moment of his birth, the verse Blessed is the life of those who dwell in the desert was being sung in the Matins service. In 1525 he was moved by a divine revelation to flee to the far north of Russia and live as a hermit. He settled near the River Kola, where he devoted his nights to prayer, his days to proclaiming the Gospel of Christ to the native peoples there. The pagans were hostile at first, but his patience and humility won them over, and he baptized many. He built them a church with his own hands on the shores of Lake Ladoga, and later founded a monastery there. Saint Tryphon reposed in 1583. He predicted his own death and the coming destruction of the Monastery by the Swedes, which came to pass in 1590. All the monks were massacred. The first victim, Starets Jonah, worked many miracles at the Monastery after its restoration.