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February 18th (III - 3 {LeapYear III-2})

Icon of the saint of the day.

Icon of St. Leo the Great, St. Agapitus the Confessor, and St. Cosmas of Yakhromsk

Sainted Leo, Pope of Rome (+ 461). Monk Kosma of Yakromsk (+ 1492). Sainted Agapitos the Confessor, Bishop of Synada (IV). Sainted Flavian the Confessor, Patriarch of Tsargrad (Constantinople) (+ 449). Martyrs Leo and Parigoreas of Lycian Patara. Martyr Puplios. Saint Basil the Bishop. Martyrs Victor, Dorotheos, Theodoulos and Agrippa (IV).

Sainted Leo I the Great, Pope of Rome (440-461), received an exceedingly fine and diverse education, which opened for him the possibility of an excellent worldly career. But his yearning was in the spiritual life, and so he chose the different path of becoming an archdeacon under holy Pope Sixtus III (432-440) -- after whose death Saint Leo in turn was chosen as Pope of the Roman Church, in September 440. These were difficult times for the Church, when heretics besieged the bulwarks of Orthodoxy with their tempting false-teachings. Saint Leo combined within himself a pastoral solicitude and goodness, together with an unshakable firmness in questions of the confession of the faith. He was in particular one of the basic defenders of Orthodoxy against the heresies of Eutykhios and Dioskoros -- who taught that there was only one nature in the Lord Jesus Christ, and he was a defender also against the heresy of Nestorius. He exerted all his influence to put an end to the unrest by the heretics in the Church, and by his missives to the holy Constantinople emperors Theodosius II (408-450) and Marcian (450-457) he actively promoted the convening of the Fourth OEcumenical Council, at Chalcedon in 451, for condemning the heresy of the Monophysites. At this OEcumenical Council at Chalcedon, at which 630 bishops were present, there was proclaimed a missive of Saint Leo to the then already deceased Sainted Flavian, Patriarch of Constantinople (447-449). Saint Flavian had suffered for Orthodoxy under the Ephesus "Robber Council" in the year 449. In the letter of Saint Leo was posited the Orthodox teaching about the two natures [the Divine and the human] in the Lord Jesus Christ. And with this teaching all the bishops present at the Council were in agreement. The heretics Eutykhios and Dioskoros were excommunicated from the Church.

Saint Leo was likewise a defender of his fatherland against the incursions of barbarians. In the year 452, by the persuasive power of his word, he stopped a pillaging of Italy by the dreadsome leader of the Huns, Attila. And again in the year 455, when the leader of the Vandals [a Germanic tribe], Henzerich, turned towards Rome, he boldly persuaded him not to pillage the city, burn buildings, nor spill blood. He knew about his death beforehand and he prepared himself by ardent prayer and good deeds, for the passing over from this world into eternity.

He died in the year 461 and was buried at Rome, in the Vatican cathedral. His literary and theological legacy is comprised of 96 sermons and 143 letters -- of which the best known is his missive to Saint Flavian.

The Monk Kosma of Yakhromsk was the servant of a certain boyar-noble, during whose prolonged illness he comforted, by reading him books. And so, in travelling from city to city, they happened to stop at the River Yakhroma. Here within the woods there appeared to Kosma an icon of the Uspenie (Dormition) of the MostHoly Mother of God, and from it he heard a voice, commanding him to be a monk and build a monastery. His sick master thereupon received healing from the icon, and Kosma set off to Kiev and in the Pechersk monastery he accepted tonsure. Then with the icon of the Mother of God, and on an inspiration from above, he again set off to the Yakhroma -- 40 versts distant from the city of Vladimir, constructing with the help of some good Christians a temple in honour of the Uspenie of the MostHoly Mother of God. Brethren began to gather around the monk, and a monastery was formed. The Monk Kosma was chosen hegumen. News about the monastic efforts of the monk during these times reached even the greatprince. The Monk Kosma died in advanced old age on 18 February 1492, and was buried in the monastery founded by him. His memory is celebrated also on 14 October -- on the day of the celebration of the Yakhromsk Icon of the Mother of God.

Sainted Agapitos the Confessor, Bishop of Synada, was born in Cappadocia during the reign of the emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian (284-305). His parents were Christians. From his youthful years he yearned for the monastic life and so he entered a monastery, where he asceticised in fasting, prayers and service to all the brethren of the monastery.

The Lord granted Saint Agapitos the gift of wonderworking. The then current emperor, Licinius (307-324), learned that the Monk Agapitos was endowed with great physical strength, and he commanded the saint against his wishes to be conscripted into military service.

During the time of persecution against the Christians, initiated by Licinius, Saint Agapitos was put together with the holy Martyrs Victor, Dorotheos, Theodoulos and Agrippa; he was wounded by a spear, but remained alive. After the death of the emperor Licinius, he obtained his freedom from military service in the following manner. It became known to the holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Emperor Constantine the Great (306-337), that through prayer Saint Agapitos had worked healings. The emperor sent him a sick servant, who likewise received healing. The emperor wanted to generously reward Saint Agapitos, who instead asked only that he be able to resign military service and return to his monastery. The permission was granted, and he joyfully returned to the monastery.

Soon after this, the Synada bishop summoned Saint Agapitos and ordained him to the dignity of presbyter. And after the death of the bishop, Saint Agapitos was unanimously chosen by the clergy and all the people to the cathedra-seat of bishop of Synada. The new hierarch wisely governed his flock, guiding it in the Orthodox faith and virtuous life. Through his prayers numerous miracles occurred. The saint died peacefully.

Sainted Flavian the Confessor, Patriarch of Tsar'grad (Constantinople), occupied the cathedra-seat under the holy Constantinople Emperor Theodosius the Younger (408-450) and his sister the holy nobleborn Empress Pulcheria (+ 453, Comm. 10 September). At first he was a presbyter and caretaker of church-vessels in the Cathedral church. He was elevated onto the Patriarchal throne after the death of holy Patriarch Proklos (+ 447, Comm. 20 November). During this period of history various disturbances and heresies lacerated church unity. In the year 448, Saint Flavian convened a Local Council at Constantinople for scrutinising the heresy of Eutykhios -- which asserted only one nature (the Divine) in the Lord Jesus Christ. Persisting in his error, the heretic Eutykhios was excommunicated from the Church and deprived of dignity. But the heretic Eutykhios had a powerful patron in the person of Chrysathios, an eunuch close to the emperor. By means of intrigues Chrysathios swayed over to the side of Eutykhios the bishop of Alexandria -- Dioskoros, and obtained permission from the emperor for the convening at Ephesus a church council, afterwards known as the "Robber Council". At the Robber Council, Dioskoros presided, gaining by means of threats and force an acquittal of Eutykhios and a condemnation of holy Patriarch Flavian. Saint Flavian during the sessions of this council was fiercely beaten up by impudent monks under the lead of a certain Barsumas. And even the impious president of the Robber Council, the heretic Dioskoros, took part in these beatings. After this heavy chains were put upon Saint Flavian, and he was sentenced to banishment at Ephesus. The Lord however put a stop to his further suffering, by sending him his death (+ August 449). The holy Empress Pulcheria withdrew from the imperial court. Soon the intrigues of Chrysathios were revealed. The emperor dismissed him, and restored again his sister Saint Pulcheria. By her efforts the relics of holy Patriarch Flavian were reverently transferred from Ephesus to Constantinople.

© 2000 by translator Fr. S. Janos

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