Orthodox Calendar

Dec. 28, 2023
Thursday of the 30th week after Pentecost

Nativity Fast — Wine and Oil are Allowed


  • 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 10.35-11.7 (Epistle)

35Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. 36For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. 37For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. 38Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2For by it the elders obtained a good report. 3Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. 4By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. 5By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 7By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

Mark 9.10-16 (Gospel)

10And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.

11And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? 12And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought. 13But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.

14And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them. 15And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him. 16And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them?


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.