1. On this day the church celebrates and commemorates the pure Virgin St. Mary, the Mother of God, the Word Who was incarnated from her, for the salvation of Adam and his offspring.
Her intercession be for us. Amen.
2. Also on this day, in the year 270 A.D., St. Gregory the wonder worker, departed. He was the bishop of Neocaesarea, in the province of Pontos, where he was born to rich pagan parents. He learned philosophy and wisdom at an early age and surpassed many of his colleagues. Then he went to Beirut, where he studied the Greek and Latin subjects. From there he went to Caesarea, Palestine, where the erudite Origen was, who taught him Christian philosophy. He also learned Theology and the interpretations of the holy books. In the year 235 A.D., he went to the city of Alexandria, the cultural center of the world at that time, to complete his studies.
He returned to his town in the year 237 A.D. In the year 239 A.D., he was baptized in the holy baptism and became a Christian, for he realized the vanity of this world and chose the way of the everlasting kingdom of heaven. He directed all his attention to the salvation of his soul. When he knew that the Bishop of his town was seeking him to assist him in the bishopric duties, he escaped to the wilderness. He devoted himself to prayers and ardent worship, forsaking the world and the futility of its glories.
When the Bishop of his town departed, they sought him in order to make him the new bishop but they did not know where to find him. It happened while the people were gathered with St. Gregory, the Theologian, that they heard a voice say, "Seek Gregory the hermit and set him a Bishop over you." They sent a party to search for him in the wilderness and in the mountains. When they did not find him, they decided to take a Bible and pray the prayer of ordination over it, as though he were present. They called him Gregory even though his given name was Theodore. St. Gregory, the Theologian, presided over this service.
The angel of the Lord appeared to St. Gregory in the wilderness and said to him, "Rise up and go to your town, for they have made you the bishop over it and refuse not, for it is the Will of God." He did not hesitate, rose up immediately and descended from the mountain and went to his town. The people went forth to meet him with great honor, and they completed his ordination in the year 244 A.D.
The Lord performed many signs and wonders at his hands, so that he was called the wonder worker. For example, two brothers who owned a lake from which they made a good living by catching large amounts of fish had a falling out because of it, for each one of them claimed his ownership of it. When they were unable to reach an agreement, they sought the wisdom of St. Gregory to help them settle their differences. He ordered that they should divide the yield of the lake equally between themselves. When they did not heed his judgement, he entreated God and the waters of the lake dried up and it became a farmland, which they divided between them. Reports of the signs and wonders which he made were heard throughout the land. Finally, when he completed his strife, he departed in peace.
His prayers be with us. Amen.
3. Also on this day, in the year 809 A.D., St. Cosma II, 54th Pope of Alexandria, departed. He was born in Samanoud and became a monk in the monastery of St. Macarius. When the papal chair became vacant, the bishops and the people, with one accord, agreed to choose this father. He was ordained Patriarch and he experienced great tribulations. The believers also experienced tribulations and great afflictions; however, some wonders appeared during his patriarchate.
Among them, blood flowed from the icon of St. Mary in the church of St. Severus, in the desert of Scete (the Holy desert). Also, many of the icons in the churches in Egypt became wet with tears. This unusual phenomenon was believed to be a result of the afflictions and sorrows that befell the Patriarch and the believers.
In spite of all the afflictions that he experienced, the Patriarch continued teaching the believers and strengthening them diligently and with great zeal. He stayed on the Chair of St. Mark for seven years and six months, then departed in peace.
His prayers be with us. Amen.
4. This day also marks the commemoration of the martyrs Saints Alphaeus, Zacchaeus, Romanus and John. Also the commemoration of Saints Thomas, Victor and Isaac of the city of Ashmonen.
Their prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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