08-25Apostle Titus of the Seventy and Bishop of Crete
O yoke-mate of Paul, together with him, thou didst preach the tidings to us of saving grace bestowed of God, O Apostle Titus, blest and elect revealer of mysteries; for which cause we cry out to thee: Cease not to entreat Christ God for all of us.
Thou didst prove to be a citizen of the desert, an angel in the flesh, and a wonderworker, O Moses, our God-bearing Father. By fasting, vigil, and prayer thou didst obtain heavenly gifts, and thou healest the sick and the souls of them that have recourse to thee with faith. Glory to Him that hath given thee strength. Glory to Him that hath crowned thee. Glory to Him that worketh healings for all through thee.
08-29Beheading of the Holy and Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John
The memory of the just is celebrated with hymns of praise, but the Lord's testimony is sufficient for thee, O Forerunner; for thou hast proved to be truly even more venerable than the Prophets, since thou was granted to baptize in the running waters Him Whom they proclaimed. Wherefore, having contested for the truth, thou didst rejoice to announce the good tidings even to those in Hades: that God hath appeared in the flesh, taking away the sin of the world and granting us great mercy.
Destroying the might of error by thy firm resolve, and taking the crown of vict'ry through thy sufferings, O Nikitas, namesake of vict'ry, thou rejoicest with angel-kind, and with them, O glorious one, thou ceaselessly prayest Christ God for us all.
The Holy Martyrs Saint Sophia and her Daughters Faith, Hope and Love were born in Italy. Sophia was a pious Christian widow who named her daughters for the three Christian virtues. At the time of their martyrdom, Faith was twelve, Hope was ten, and Love was nine. St. Sophia raised them in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ, and they did not hide their faith, openly confessing it before everyone.
An official named Antiochus denounced them to Emperor Hadrian who ordered that they be brought to Rome. The holy virgins prayed fervently to the Lord asking that He give them the strength not to fear torture and death. When they appeared before the emperor, all those present were amazed at their composure. They looked as though they had been brought to some happy festival, rather than to torture. Summoning each of the sisters in turn, Hadrian urged them to offer sacrifice to the goddess Artemis, but the girls remained unyielding.
The emperor then ordered them to be tortured. They were burned over an iron grating, thrown into a red-hot oven, and finally into a cauldron with boiling tar, but the Lord preserved them. The youngest child, Love, was tied to a wheel and beat with rods until her body was covered with bloody welts. After undergoing unspeakable torments, the holy virgins glorified their Heavenly Bridegroom and remained steadfast in the Faith.
St. Sophia was subjected to another type of grievous torture: she was forced to watch the suffering of her daughters. She displayed adamant courage, and urged her daughters to endure their torments for the sake of the Heavenly Bridegroom. All three maidens were beheaded, and joyfully bent their necks beneath the sword.
In order to intensify St. Sophia’s suffering, the emperor permitted her to take the bodies of her daughters for burial. She placed their remains in coffins and loaded them on a wagon. She drove beyond the city and reverently buried them on a high hill. Sitting by their graves for three days, she gave up her soul to the Lord. Even though she did not suffer for Christ in the flesh, she was not deprived of a martyr’s crown. Instead, she suffered in her heart. Believers buried her body there beside her daughters. Their relics have rested at El’zasa, in the Church of Esho, since the year 777.
09-22Phocas the Martyr, Bishop of Sinope
Latinized form of the Greek name Φωκας (Phokas), which meant "a seal" from Greek φωκη (phoke).
This saint was known for the many miracles he worked and for his apostolic zeal in shepherding the flock of Sinope.