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Conception of the Honorable Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John
Conception of the Honorable Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John

The Conception of the Venerable Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord, John: The holy Prophet Malachi prophesied that before the Messiah’s birth His Forerunner would appear, and would indicate His coming. The Jews therefore in awaiting the Messiah also awaited the appearance of His…

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Troparion & Kontakion
Saints Polyxene and Xanthippe, disciples of the Apostles, who died in Spain
Saints Polyxene and Xanthippe, disciples of the Apostles, who died in Spain

The Monastic Women Xanthippe and Polyxene were sisters by birth and they lived in Spain in the time of the holy Apostles. They were among the first to hear the divine teaching of Christ the Savior from the holy Apostle Paul, when he preached in their land. Saint Xanthippe and her husband Probus…

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Virgin Martyr Irais (Rhais) of Alexandria
Virgin Martyr Irais (Rhais) of Alexandria

The Holy Martyr Iraida lived at Alexandria. Once, she went to a well to draw water and saw a ship at the shore. On board were a large number of men, women, clergy and monks, all fettered in chains for their confession of the Christian Faith. Casting aside her water pitcher, the saint voluntarily…

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Troparion & Kontakion
Martyrs Andrew, John, and John’s children: Peter and Antonius, of Syracuse, martyred in Africa

The Holy Martyrs Andrew and John, and John’s children Peter and Antoninus, suffered in the ninth century in the time of the cruel African ruler Ibrahim. After the capture and destruction of the Sicilian city of Syracuse, Ibrahim captured and brought to Africa Saint John and his two children,…

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Troparion & Kontakion
Icon of the Mother of God of Slovenka

The Slovenka Icon of the Mother of God manifested itself on September 23, 1635 at the village of Slovenka, Kostroma district. A certain hunter while hunting by chance discovered a small rickety church, overgrown with moss. He went inside and saw that all the church utensils had rotted with time,…

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Prologue of Orchid
The Prologue of Ochrid: September 23rd

1. The Conception of St John the Baptist.

On this day are celebrated God's mercy, His wondrous act and His wisdom: His mercy towards the devout and righteous parents of St John, the aged Zacharias and Elisabeth, who had all their lives begged a child of God; the wonder of the conception of John in Elisabeth's more-than-aged womb; and the wisdom of the dispensation of man's salvation. For John, God had a specially great plan: that he should be a prophet and the forerunner of Christ the Lord, the Saviour of the world. Through His angels, God revealed the birth of Isaac to the childless Sarah, and of Samson to the childless Manoah and his wife, and of John the Baptist to the childless Zacharias and Elisabeth. Through His angels, God revealed the birth of those for whom He had a special plan. How could children be born of aged parents? If someone is curious to find out, let him not ask men, for men do not know, nor does natural law (it being beyond natural law), but let him turn his gaze to the power of almighty God, who made the whole world from nothing and who, for the creation of Adam, the first man, used no parents, either young or old. Instead of being curious, let us thank God that He often reveals to us His power and mercy and wisdom beyond the natural law, by which we would otherwise be fettered and, without these special wonders of God, would fall into despair and forgetfulness of Him.

2. The Holy Martyr Iraida.

She is sometimes called Ra?s or Raida. A maiden from an Egyptian town called Batan, she was therefore probably an Egyptian. Iraida went out one day to draw water from a well near the sea, and saw a ship laden with bound Christians: priests, deacons, monks, women and maidens. Enquiring, she learned that pagan torturers were taking all this crowd to torture and death for the name of Christ the Lord. In the heart of the young Iraida, the desire flared up to suffer for the Lord. She left her pots by the well, went onto the ship and confessed that she was a Christian. She was immediately bound and taken with the others t the Egyptian town of Antinopolis. After divers tortures, Iraida was the first to be beheaded, followed by the others. She suffered with honour and was glorified at the beginning of the fourth century.

3. The Holy New Martyr Nicolas Pantopoles (The Grocer).

He suffered for the Christian faith as a young man at the hands of the Turks in Constantinople in 1672; his father, a grocer, having moved there from Thessaly. He took the name of his father's trade (in Greek, pantopoles). After great pressure to become a Turk, and torture because he refused, he was beheaded and entered into the Kingdom of God. His relics are preserved in the monastery of Xeropotamou on the Holy Mountain.

4. The Holy New Martyr John.

Born in a place called Konitsa in Albania, he was a Moslem of Moslem parents. Later, seeing the wonderful power of the Christian faith in various places and events, he was baptised. He was arrested for this and brought before the Turkish judge. Tortured for the Christian faith in Aetolia and beheaded in 1814, he cried out at the time of his death: 'Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom!'

 

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