37th week Pentecost. Voice of the fourth.
The transfer of the relics of St. John Chrysostom (438)
The Monk Ephraim Sirin, a teacher of repentance, was born at the beginning of the 4th century (the year of his birth is unknown) in the city of Nisibiya (Mesopotamia) in a Christian family of poor farmers. Parents raised their son in piety. But, differing from his childhood in a hot-tempered, irritable temper, in his youth he often quarreled, performed rash acts, even doubted the Providence of God, until he received the admonition from the Lord that set him on the path of repentance and salvation.
Once, he was unjustly accused of stealing sheep and put in prison. In it, he heard a voice in a dream, calling him to repent and correct life. He was acquitted and released. In Ephraim, deep repentance has awakened. The young man retired to the surrounding mountains and became a hermit. This kind of Christian asceticism was introduced in Nizibii by the disciple of Rev. Anthony the Great by the Egyptian hermit Eugene.
Among the hermits, the famous ascetic, a preacher of Christianity, and the Arian bishop, the Bishop of the Church of Nizib, Saint James, stood out in particular (the memory of January 13). The Monk Ephraim became one of his disciples. Under the gracious guidance of the saint, the Monk Ephraim gained Christian meekness, humility, and submission to the Providence of God, which gave the power to resist various temptations without resignation. Prelate Jacob knew the high virtues of his pupil and used them for the good of the Church — instructed him to read sermons, teach children in the school, took him with him to the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea (325). The Monk Ephraim, 14 years old, was in obedience to Saint Jacob, before his death.
After the capture of Nizibia by the Persians in 363, the Monk Ephraim left the desert and settled in a monastery near the city of Edessa. Here he saw many great devotees who spent their lives in prayer and psalmodya. The caves were their only refuge, they ate some plants. He became especially close to the ascetic Julian (Comm. 18 October), who was with him of a single penitent spirit. The Monk Ephraim combined with selfless labors unceasing study of the Word of God, drawing in him for his soul tenderness and wisdom. The Lord gave him the gift of teaching, people began to come to him, who were waiting to hear his teachings, which especially acted on the souls because he began to rebuke them. The monk both verbally and in writing taught everyone repentance, faith, and piety, denounced the Arian heresy, which then stirred Christian society. The pagans, listening to the monk’s sermons, converted to Christianity.
He also worked hard on the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures – the explanation of the Pentateuch of Moses. He has written many prayers and chants that have enriched the church service. Prayers to the Most Holy Trinity, the Son of God, the Most Holy Mother of God are known. He wrote for his Church chants on the days of the Great Seasons of the Lord’s feasts (Christmas, Baptism) Resurrection, funeral chants. His prayer of repentance "O Lord and Master of my belly. " read by Lent and calls on Christians for spiritual renewal. Since ancient times, the church has highly valued the works of St. Ephraim: his works were read in some churches at meetings of the faithful after the Holy Scriptures. And now, according to the Charter of the Church, some of his teachings are supposed to be read in the days of fasting.
Between the prophets, St. David is primarily a psalmist; between the holy fathers of the Church, the Monk Ephraim of Sirin is primarily a prayer book. Spiritual experience made him a mentor to the monks and assistant of the Udesh shepherds. The Monk Ephraim wrote in Syriac, but his works were very early translated into Greek and Armenian, and from Greek into Latin and Slavic.
In the numerous works of the monk there are complete pictures of the life of the Syrian ascetics, the main place in which was occupied by prayer and then work for the common brotherly benefit, obedience. Views on the meaning of life for all Syrian ascetics were the same. The monks considered the ultimate goal of their exploits to be communion with God and infuse Divine grace into the soul of the ascetic, real life was for them a time of weeping, fasting, and labors.
"If the Son of God is in you, then his kingdom is in you. Here the kingdom of God is within you, a sinner. Go into yourself, search harder and easily find it. Outside you is death, and the door to it is sin. Go into yourself, stay in your heart, for there is God". Constant spiritual sobriety, the development of good in the soul of a person gives him the opportunity to perceive work as bliss, and self-compulsion as holiness. The retribution is a precursor in the earthly life of a person, prepared by the degree of its spiritual perfection. The one who raised his wings on the earth, says the Monk Ephraim, he soars up into the hill; he who cleans his mind here will see the glory of God there; the extent to which everyone loves God will be filled to the extent with his love. A person who has cleansed himself and acquired the grace of the Holy Spirit is still here on earth, anticipating the Kingdom of Heaven. To conquer eternal life, according to the teachings of St. Ephraim, does not mean to move from one area of being to another, and therefore to gain "heavenly" spiritual state. Eternal life is not bestowed upon man by the one-sided arbitrariness of God, but, as a seed, gradually grows in him through feat, toil and struggle.
The pledge of deification in us is the baptism of Christ, the main engine of Christian life is repentance. Rev. Ephraim the Syrian was a great teacher of repentance. The forgiveness of sins in the sacrament of Repentance, according to his teaching, is not an external justification, not oblivion of sins, but the complete destruction of them. Tears of repentance wash away and burn sin. And yet – they are life-giving, transform the sinful nature, give strength "walk the way of the commandments of the Lord"strengthening in hope in God. In the fiery font of repentance, the Reverend wrote, "you yourself are melted down, sinner, you yourself are raised from the dead". Reverend Ephraim, in his humility considering himself lower and worse than all of them, at the end of his life went to Egypt to see the feats of the great desert men. He was received there as a welcome guest, and he himself received great comfort from communicating with them. On the way back, he visited Cappadocian St. Basil the Great in Caesarea (Comm. 1 January), who wished to consecrate him as a presbyter, but the monk found himself unworthy of priesthood and, at the insistence of the saint, he accepted only the rank of deacon, in which he remained until his death. Subsequently, St. Basil the Great invited Reverend Ephraim to the bishop’s department, but the saint presented himself as a holy fool in order to divert this honor from himself, in humility considering himself unworthy of it.
Upon returning to his Edessa desert, the Monk Ephraim wanted to spend the end of his life in solitude. But the Providence of God once again caused him to serve his neighbors. The inhabitants of Edessa suffered from a raging famine. With a strong word, the monk prompted the rich to help the poor. On the offerings of believers, he built a poorhouse for the poor and sick. Then the monk retired to a cave near Edessa, where he remained until the end of his life.
Venerable Theodosius of Totemsky (1568)
Rev. Theodosius Totemsky Sumorin was born in Vologda around 1530. From a young age he was brought up in the spirit of Christian piety and in the fear of God. At the insistence of his parents, he married, but his family life did not distract him from God. He diligently attended church and prayed a lot at home, especially at night. After the death of his parents and wife, he retired to the Prilutsky monastery near Vologda. In the monastery, Theodosius underwent various obediences: he carried water, chopped wood, ground flour, baked bread. Having traveled on behalf of the hegumen to Totma to look after the monastic salt flats, he asked for permission from Tsar Ivan Vasilyevich and the blessings of Archbishop Nikandr to establish a monastery near Totma. Theodosius was appointed rector of the newly built monastery, which, according to a diploma of 1554, was exempt from all taxes. The monk renewed the Totemskaya Efremova desert and established a brotherhood in it. Being the rector of the two monasteries, Theodosius continued to lead an ascetic life: he exhausted his body with chains and a cinnamon, and under an schemonic cuckoo he wore an iron cap. Loving spiritual reading, the abbot acquired many books for the monastery. The monk reposed in 1568 and was buried in the monastery founded by him. At his tomb miracles were performed. On September 2, 1796, during the restructuring of the Ascension Church, his relics were found incorruptible, their glorification took place on January 28, 1798, on the day of his repose.
Sumorinsko-Totemskoy Icon of the Mother of God (XVI)
The Sumorinsky-Totemsky icon of the Mother of God became famous for many miracles in the Spaso-Sumorinsky monastery of the city of Totma. When the inhabitants of the city turned to Tsar Ivan the Terrible for permission to build a monastery in their city, the Rostov Archbishop Nikandr in 1554 issued a letter to the Venerable Theodosius for construction. The hegumen of the Prilutsk monastery blessed the monk with the icon of the Mother of God for the successful construction of a new monastery. The icon was named Sumorinskaya-Totemskaya (Sumorinskaya – by the name of the Venerable Theodosius Sumorin). After the death of the monk, the miraculous icon was in the icon case in front of the holy shrine in the Ascension Church of the monastery.
It is noteworthy that the Reverend Theodosius was holding this icon in his hands to many sick people.
St. Theodore, Spanish Presbyter (1933). Schmchch. Ignatius, bishop Skopinsky, Vladimir Presbyter and prmch. Bartholomew, mts. Olha (1938). Prp. Leontius isp. (1972). Prp. Efrem Novotorzhsky (1053). Prp. Efrem Pechersky, Bishop Pereyaslavsky (app. 1098). Prp. Palladium of the Hermit of Syria (IV). Prp. Isaac Sirin, bis. Nineveh (VII). Prp. John Reomansky (Gall.). prp. Jacob of Porfirian (Gr.).