Catechesis
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St. John's Byzantine Cathedral: a Cathedral in the Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh dedicated to St. John the Baptist Holy Prophet Jeremiah Holy Prophet Ezekiel Holy Prophet Daniel Holy Prophet Habbakuk Holy Prophet Zachariah Holy Prophet Malachi Holy Father Simeon Stylite Holy Father John of Damascus Holy Mother Mary of Egypt Holy Protomartyr Thekla Holy Protomartyr Stephen Holy Emperor Constantine the Great
 
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St. John's Byzantine Cathedral: a Cathedral in the Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh dedicated to St. John the Baptist Holy Prophet Moses Holy Prophet King David Holy Prophet King Solomon Holy Prophet Elijah Holy Prophet Elisha Holy Prophet Isaiah Holy Unmercanary Cosmas Holy Unmercanary Damian Holy Great Martyr Catherine Holy Martyr Anastasia of Rome Holy Great Martyr Theodore Holy Great Martyr Demetrius
 
Holy Great Martyr Demetrius
St. John's Byzantine Cathedral: a Cathedral in the Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh dedicated to St. John the BaptistFeast Day - October 22

St Demetrius of the Don smashed the military might of the Golden Horde at the Battle of Kulikovo Field on September 8, 1380 (the Feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos), set between the Rivers Don and Nepryadva. The Battle of Kulikovo, for which the nation calls him Demetrius of the Don, became the first Russian national deed, rallying the spiritual power of the Russian nation around Moscow. The "Zadonschina," an inspiring historic poem written by the priest Sophronius of Ryazem (1381), is devoted to this event.

Prince Demetrius of the Don was greatly devoted to the holy Great Martyr Demetrius. In 1380, on the eve of the Battle of Kulikovo, he solemnly transferred from Vladimir to Moscow the most holy object in the Dimitriev cathedral of Vladimir: the icon of the Great Martyr Demetrius of Thessalonica, painted on a piece of wood from the saint's grave. A chapel in honor of the Great Martyr Demetrius was built at Moscow's Dormition Cathedral.

The St Demetrius Memorial Saturday was established for the churchwide remembrance of the soldiers who fell in the Battle of Kulidovo. This memorial service was held for the first time at the Trinity-St Sergius monastery on October 20, 1380 by St Sergius of Radonezh, in the presence of Great Prince Demetrius of the Don . It is an annual remembrance of the heroes of the Battle of Kulikovo, among whom are the schemamonks Alexander (Peresvet) and Andrew (Oslyab).


Original Source: Orthodox Church in America - www.oca.org
 
Holy Great Martyr Theodore
Feast Day - February 17

The Holy Great Martyr Theodore the Recruit (Tyro) was a soldier in the city of Alasium of the Pontine district (northeast province of Asia Minor, stretching along the coast of the Euxine, i.e. the Black Sea), under the command of a certain Brincus. They commanded him to offer sacrifice to idols. St Theodore firmly confessed his faith in Christ the Savior in a loud voice. The commander gave him several days to think it over, during which time St Theodore prayed.

They charged him with setting a pagan temple on fire, and threw him into prison to be starved to death. The Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him there, comforting and encouraging him. Brought to the governor, St Theodore boldly and fearlessly confessed his faith, for which he was subjected to new torments and condemned to burning. The martyr Theodore climbed onto the fire without hesitation, and with prayer and gave up his holy soul to God.

This occurred in about the year 306 under the Roman emperor Galerius (305-311). Unharmed by the fire, the body of St Theodore was buried in the city of Euchaita, not far from Amasium. His relics were afterwards transferred to Constantinople, to a church dedicated to him. His head is in Italy, in the city of Gaeto.

Later on, fifty years after the death of St Theodore, the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363), wanting to commit an outrage upon the Christians, commanded the city-commander of Constantinople during the first week of Great Lent to sprinkle all the food provisions in the marketplaces with the blood offered to idols. St Theodore appeared in a dream to Archbishop Eudoxius, ordering him to inform all the Christians that no one should buy anything at the marketplaces, but rather to eat cooked wheat with honey (kolyva).

In memory of this occurrence, the Orthodox Church annually celebrates the holy Great Martyr Theodore the Recruit on the first Saturday of Great Lent. On Friday evening, at the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts following the prayer at the ambo, the Canon to the holy Great Martyr Theodore, composed by St John of Damascus, is sung. After this, kolyva is blessed and distributed to the faithful. The celebration of the Great Martyr Theodore on the first Saturday of Great Lent was set by the Patriarch Nectarius of Constantinople (381-397).

The Troparion to St Theodore is quite similar to the Troparion for the Prophet Daniel and the Three Holy Youths (December 17, Sunday Before Nativity). The Kontakion to St Theodore, who suffered martyrdom by fire, reminds us that he also had faith as his breastplate (see I Thessalonians 5:8).

We pray to St Theodore for the recovery of stolen articles.


Original Source: Orthodox Church in America - www.oca.org
 
Holy Martyr Anastasia of Rome
Feast Day - April 15

The Holy Women Martyrs Basilissa and Anastasia lived in Rome and were converted to Christianity by the holy Apostles Peter and Paul. They devoted themselves to the service of the Lord.

When the emperor Nero (54-68) persecuted Christians and gave them over to torture and execution, Sts Basilissa and Anastasia took the bodies of the holy martyrs and gave them reverent burial. Rumors of this reached Nero, so Sts Basilissa and Anastasia were locked up in prison. They subjected them to cruel tortures: they scourged them with whips, scraped their skin with hooks, and burned them with fire. The holy martyrs remained unyielding, however, and bravely confessed their faith in Christ the Savior. By Nero's command, they were beheaded with the sword (+ ca. 68).


Original Source: Orthodox Church in America - www.oca.org
 
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