Righteous Job the Long-suffering
This icon of patient endurance in the face of all that God sends us lived near Arabia about 2,000 years before Christ. He was a descendant of Abraham through Esau. His prosperity, his calamitous sufferings, his patient endurance, and his restoration to health and riches are told in detail in the Old Testament book that bears his name.
Some say that Job endured his sufferings for seven years before being restored to health and prosperity. Others say that all his sufferings occupied one year. The holy Fathers agree that Job for lived many years after his restoration, and died when he was more than 200 years old.
St Job, abbot and wonderworker of Pochaev (1651)
“Saint Job of Pochaev was born about 1551 in southwest Galicia of a pious Orthodox family. In his tenth year the Saint departed for the Ugornitsky Monastery of our Savior in the Carpathian Mountains. Tonsured after two years, he was ordained hieromonk about 1580. Renowned for his meekness and humility, Job was invited by the great zealot for Holy Orthodoxy in Carpatho-Russia, Prince Constantine Ostrozhky, to be Abbot of the Monastery of the Cross in Dubno. In his zeal for the preservation and propagation of the Orthodox Faith, and to counteract the propaganda of the Uniates, he printed and widely disseminated Orthodox spiritual and liturgical books. About 1600 he removed to the Mountain of Pochaev where at the insistence of the brethren, he became Abbot of the Monastery of the Dormition of the Theotokos, which he enlarged and made to flourish. Through his labours, a large printing works was founded at Pochaev and greatly assisted in the nurture of the Orthodox faithful in that region. His monastery became the center of the Orthodox Church in western Ukraine. The Saint reposed, having taken the schema with the name of John, in 1651, at the advanced age of one hundred.” (Great Horologion)
Holy Martyr Barbarus the Soldier, with Bacchus, Callimachus and Dionysius (362)
He was a soldier in the Roman army during the reign of Julian the Apostate. Like many soldiers, he was a secret Christian, serving under the Imperial commander Bacchus when his troops battled the Franks. A mighty Frankish soldier, like Goliath, challenged the Romans to send one of their company out to do single combat with him. The commander sent Barbarus, who prayed to the Lord and overcame the Frankish giant, after which the Frankish army was easily vanquished. The commander then ordered a triumph in celebration of victory, including a public sacrifice to the Roman idols. At the sacrifice, the commander noticed that Barbarus was standing aside and asked him why: Barbarus revealed that he was a Christian and could not make sacrifice to the idols. The commander reported this to the unbelieving Emperor, who ordered that Barbarus be put to torture. Barbarus endured many cruel torments with serenity and courage. During his tortures, many wonders were seen, and many of his fellow-soldiers embraced the Christian faith. Three of these were Bacchus, Barbarus’ commander; Callimachus; and Dionysius. All three were beheaded for confessing Christ, then Barbarus himself attained the Martyr’s crown through beheading.
St. Sophia the Righteous (1974)
This holy ascetic, newly glorified in 2011, was born as Sophia Saoulidi in 1883 in Trebizond, Turkey. In 1907 she married, but her husband disappeared seven years later, leaving her with a newborn son. Not long afterward her beloved only son also died. Turning from the world, she placed all her trust in God, spending her time in solitary prayer on a mountain near her town.
In 1919 she arrived in Greece as part of the “exchange of populations” between Turkey and Greece. Not long after her arrival the Most Holy Theotokos appeared to her in a vision and said “Come to my house.” When Sophia asked her where to find her house, the Virgin replied “I am in Kleisoura.” Heeding these holy instructions, Sophia moved to the Monastery of the Nativity of the Theotokos in Kleisoura in northern Greece, where she remained for the rest of her life.
She never took monastic tonsure, but lived in the monastery kitchen. She slept only two hours a night, giving over the rest of the night to prayer. She dressed in old, tattered clothes, but if anyone tried to give her better clothing she would give it away to the poor. Similarly, if anyone gave her money, she would hide it until she could give it to someone in need. She ate very little and showed no interest in food. Worldly people called her “Crazy Sophia,” but those with discernment saw her as a living saint. She was endowed with gifts of healing and prophecy: when visitors would come to her she would greet them by name even if she had never met them before, and would describe their family problems, offering counsel.
In 1967 she was healed of a painful, life-threatening illness through a vision of the Holy Theotokos, the Archangel Gabriel and St. George. She fell asleep in the Lord on May 6 (New Calendar) 1974, after a long life given over to prayer, asceticism and utter poverty. Her relics are enshrined in the monastery where she spent most of her life.