Holy Great Martyr James the Persian (421)
“This Saint was from the city of Bythlaba and was of noble birth; he was the closest and most honoured friend of Isdiger (or Yazdegerd) I, King of Persia (reigned 399-420). Though a Christian from his youth, James renounced Christ because he was allured by the King’s friendship and flatteries. When his mother and his wife learned of this, they declared to him by letter that they would have nothing more to do with him, since he had preferred a glory that is temporal to the love of Christ. Wounded in soul by these words and coming to himself, the Saint wept over his error, and repudiated the worship of the idols. Therefore, becoming exceedingly wroth, the King — this was Bahram (or Varahran) V (reigned 421-438), Isdiger’s son and successor — condemned him to a most bitter death, the likes of which not even a brute beast was ever condemned to: that is, his body was dismembered at every joint of his arms and legs. And so, when he had been cut asunder limb by limb to his very hips and shoulders, the courageous Martyr was finally beheaded, in the year 421.” (Great Horologion)
Repose of Archimandrite Lazarus (Moore) (1992) (Nov. 14 OC)
Though he has not been glorified by the Church, Fr Lazarus was a pioneer and exemplar of Orthodoxy in the West.
He was born in England in 1902. In his early manhood he moved to western Canada, where he worked as a farm laborer for several years. While working in Alberta, he sensed a call to become a missionary and went to an English missionary college for five years.
Sad to say, our sources are unclear about how he came to the Orthodox faith from this unlikely beginning. But in 1934 he spent seven weeks on Mt Athos, then lived as a monk in Yugoslavia. He was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Theophan (Russian Orthodox Church Abroad), then sent to Palestine to serve the Russian Mission in Jerusalem.
In 1948, the new State of Israel gave the Mission’s property to the Soviet Union and the mission was left dispossessed. Fr Lazarus served as priest to the Russian Convent in Aïn Karim and Transjordan, then was sent to India in 1952, where he helped in Orthodox missionary work for twenty years. Several of his books and translations, such as his biography/study of St Seraphim of Sarov, were written while he lived in India. While there, he met Mother Gavrilia of Greece, whose beautiful biography Ascetic of Love includes good descriptions of him during his life in India. Though very strict in his Orthodoxy, he was flexible in externals: in India he wore a white rather than a black cassock, because black clothing had offensive connotations to the Indian people.
In 1972 Fr Lazarus was called to Greece, then in 1974 to Australia, where he served for nine years. In 1983 he moved to California in answer to call from Fr Peter Gillquist to assist members of the former ‘Evangelical Orthodox Church’ in their move to Orthodoxy. In 1989 he moved to Alaska, where he continued this work. He reposed in Eagle River, Alaska in 1992. Following is an excerpt from an account of his last days by members of his community in Eagle River:
“Father always signed his name with TWA, “Traveling With Angels”. A few days before his death, after battling cancer many years, faithfully using the Jesus Prayer as the medicine for his affliction, the Archangel Michael appeared to help him. His final journey homeward had begun, TWA… ‘the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.’ (2 Timothy 4: 6-8).”