They were all among the Seventy Apostles. The last three are also commemorated elsewhere: Herodion, April 8; Sosipater, April 28; and Tertius, October 30. Saints Olympas and Herodion were followers of the Apostle Peter and, when Peter suffered, they also suffered, for by order of Nero, they were beheaded. At first, Erastus was the econom (steward) of the church in Jerusalem and later became bishop of Paneas in Palestine. Quartus was bishop in Beirut; he suffered greatly, but converted many to the Faith of Christ. Sosipater was bishop in Iconium and Tertius was the second bishop in this same city. They waged spiritual warfare; they were victors and were crowned with the wreaths of glory.
Orestes was from the town of Tyana in Cappadocia. He was a Christian from birth and a physician by profession. He was harshly interrogated by the wicked governor Maximus during the reign of Diocletian. When, at first, the governor counseled him to deny Christ and worship the idols, Orestes replied: "If you knew the power of the Crucified One, you would reject idolatrous falsehoods and worship the true God." For this, he was beaten much, then scrapped and pulled apart, then burned with a red- hot iron and finally cast into prison to die of starvation. The young Orestes spent seven days without bread or water. On the eighth day, he was again brought before the governor who began to threaten him with frightening tortures. To this, Orestes replied: "I am prepared to endure every pain having the sign of my Lord Jesus Christ inscribed on my heart." The governor then ordered and they hammered twenty iron nails into his feet and tied him to a horse and dragged him over thorns and rocks until the martyr of God breathed his last. On that place where Orestes' body was thrown, a man, bright as the sun, appeared and gathered all the bones of Orestes and carried them to a hill near the town of Tyana and honorably buried them there. This wonderful saint appeared to St. Dimitri of Rostov and showed him all the wounds on his body.
Nonnus was renowned as a great ascetic in the Tabennisiot monastery in Egypt, because of which he was chosen bishop in 448 A.D. for the diocese of Edessa. Later, he was translated to the diocese of Heliopolis and there converted 30,000 Arabs to the Faith of Christ. After the death of Bishop Ibo, St. Nonnus, again returned to Edessa where he remained until his death in 471 A.D. Through his prayers, the infamous sinner Pelagia, who was later glorified for her holiness of life, was brought to the Faith of Christ (October 8).
THE HOLY MARTYR ORESTES
The young Orestes, his youth, did not spare,
Before the judge, of Christ, he boasted,
The living God, the one and holy,
For mankind, on the Cross, crucified.
Orestes holy, flogged on his back,
The lifeless idols, he mocked;
Wonderful Orestes, in the fire burned,
By the dew of God's Spirit, was cooled.
In his feet, nails they drove,
His whole body, by wounds, they covered;
Powerful by the Spirit, Orestes prayed,
Thanksgiving, to God he gave,
That from such sufferings, made him worthy,
Because, as a son He adopted him to Himself.
O, Orestes, God's chosen one,
And, for Christ, courageous martyr,
Help us until the last days,
By your prayers, help us
And, that we, honorably end our life,
Of Paradise with you, to be made worthy.
The all-wondrous paths of God's providence were shown in an exceptional and wondrous event in the monastery of Dochiarou at the time of the Blessed Neophytus, the nephew of St. Euthymius. When, after the death of Euthymius, Neophytus began to build a new and larger church to St. Nicholas the miracle-worker, his resources ran out and he to prayed to God for help and God helped him in a miraculous manner. Toward the monastery of Dochiarou lay a peninsula called Longos or Sika. On this peninsula, Neophytus had a small metoh [small parcel of land belonging to the monastery] near which there was a statue of a man made of stone. On this statue, the following words were inscribed: "He who strikes me on the head will find much gold." Many had struck the statue on the head but did not find anything. Neophytus sent Basil, the monastery's novice, on an errand. One day, Basil stood before the statue and wondered about the mystery of this inscription. At that moment, the sun came out and the statue threw its shadow toward the west. Basil took a stone and struck the head of the shadow and began to dig there and found a kettle full of gold coins. He immediately ran and told the Abbot Neophytus. The abbot ordered three honorable monks to go with Basil in the monastery's boat and bring back the gold. Thus, these monks set off, loaded the gold into the boat and started off for the return trip. However, while they were on the sea, the devil put the thought in their heads to pocket the gold for themselves. Those three honorable monks, deluded by the devil, bound Basil with a rope, tied a rock around his neck and tossed him into the sea. When Basil fell to the bottom of the sea, the Archangels Michael and Gabriel suddenly appeared as two resplendent youths, took him and translated him to the church at Dochiarou and placed him before the Royal Doors of the locked church. The next day when the monks entered the church, they found Basil lying bound before the sanctuary. The abbot questioned him and learned of the miraculous event that happened to him. Then, the other three monks arrived, who seeing Basil alive, were as though struck by thunder. The abbot punished them severely, took the gold and completed the church. He dedicated it, not to St. Nicholas, but rather to the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel. That is why Euthymius' old church at Dochiarou is called St. Nicholas and the new, however, is called the Church of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel.
To contemplate the wondrous salvation of Paul from the snake (Acts of the Apostles 28):
About the only Peace and the Peacemaker
"For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one" (Ephesians 2:14).
Between the Israelites and the pagans an abyss opened wide, which no mortal could fill in and level off. The Lord Christ alone is the one who could do that and He did it. That which had been estranged, He brought closer and joined. By what? By "His blood," i.e., by "His sacrifice" He replaced all other sacrifices. By this, He redeemed all of nature and replaced by Himself that which men brought and offered to God (in other words, to the gods) as a sacrifice. One sacrifice is sufficient both for the Israelites and for the pagans - that is, the sacrifice of Christ. Furthermore, the blood of animals separated the Israelites and the pagans, both in the places where they were offered and by the divinity to whom they were offered and by the kind of animal that was offered and by the manner how it was offered. And now, the Most Pure Blood of Christ has come in place of all that blood and this Blood of Christ unites and makes brothers of the Israelites and the pagans. The one and the other became blood brothers as even all of us faithful are blood-brothers because of the Blood of Christ, by which we are redeemed from the curse and by which we are now fed. "The middle wall of separation" (Ephesians 2:14), which divided and separated, He destroyed and joined the hands and the hearts of the Israelites and the pagans. By what? By "His Body," i.e., by the living truth, by the truth incarnates in Himself. The shadow of the law replaced truth for the Israelites and fables replaced truth for the pagans. He removed both of them and revealed the living truth in the Body and the world saw and rejoiced.
O, Lord Jesus Christ, our most blessed Redeemer, unite the hearts of us, Your faithful.
With prayers for the spiritual growth of
Grace Anne Bradford on her birthday
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.