The orthodox calendar celebrates the feast day of St. Elizabeth the Queen of the Scots, a saint commemorated today on March 12. Saint Elizabeth is depicted in a royal dress, with a crown, and with a cross in one hand. In some icons, her hand is raised, palm forward, in protest against worldly glory and evil. The cross is also represented on a wheel, while the sphere next to it represents intelligence.
St. Gregory Palamas
Archbishop of Thessalonica, Gregory Palamas was canonized by Patriarch Philotheos of Constantinople in 1368. The Patriarch wrote the Vita of Gregory Palamas and composed a service in his honor. The orthodox Church celebrates St. Gregory’s feast day on November 14, the anniversary of his death. Though his father hoped Gregory would dedicate his life to government work, he withdrew to Mount Athos and became a novice. His relics are preserved in the Church of Saint Gregory Palamas in Thessopolis.
Gregory had many followers, and after his death, many of his family members went into monastic life. He reposed on November 14, 1359, and was canonized a few years later. The second Sunday of Great Lent is dedicated to Gregory’s memory, and his memory is celebrated in the Orthodox Church and Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
Saint Trophimus was one of the Seventy Apostles, who were sent by the Lord Jesus Christ to preach the Gospel. He was born in Edessa and is mentioned in the Holy Apostles’ Acts and in Saint Paul’s second letter to Timothy. He was a disciple and companion of the Apostle Paul. This day also honors the Holy Women Martyrs, who lived in Rome and were converted by Saints Peter and Paul.
The Orthodox Church commemorates the lives of the saints each day. This practice includes the daily commemoration of the Great Feasts.
Today is the feast day of St. Sabbatius, a martyr of the Middle Ages. He was a member of the Orthodox Church. He was the son of the first High Priest, Aaron. His parents supported the Christian faith and he died on his mother’s lap. On September 27, 1764, he was awarded the victor’s wreath for his martyrdom.
As a child, Andrew and Hypatius were friends. In later life, the elder became a bishop of Ephesus while the younger was an itinerant preacher. During the reign of Leo the Isaurian (714-41) they were imprisoned and tortured. They were also burned alive and thrown to the dogs.
Nicholas is one of the orthodox saints celebrated today and his life was full of hardships. He was imprisoned during the last persecution, but continued to serve his flock and confirm their faith. He was zealous in driving away demons and destroying idolatrous temples.
His miracles and charity have made him a beloved Saint of the Orthodox. Today, we honor and celebrate him for his many gifts and kindness, as well as for his love of his flock. In one of his most memorable stories, he miraculously saved a debt-ridden man from having to sell his two daughters into slavery. He saved the day by dropping a purse containing 300 gold coins through his window.
In the ancient world, St. Menas is a Coptic saint. He was a Roman soldier who refused to renounce his faith in Christ and instead converted many pagans to Christianity. His feast day is on November 11 or November 24 on the Julian calendar.
The relics of these holy martyrs were found in the ninth century. Emperor Justinian also dedicated a church to them and commissioned Saint Joseph the Hymnographer to compose a Canon in their honour. The earliest known mention of St. Menas and St. Polycarp dates back to 320 A.D., who was born in Proluka, an area in the former Poltava governance. His baptismal name was Joachim.
St. Gregory the Theologian
Gregory the Theologian was born in the Cappadocia district. His father was a bishop in the town of Nazianzus. He had a number of relatives who entered monastic life. One day, he heard a voice saying, “Seek Gregory the hermit,” and decided to follow the call. After a long journey, Gregory arrived in the town. He and two of his brothers stayed in a monastery near Vatopedi, where he studied under the direction of Elder Nicodemus, who came from the Mount Auxentius monastic order. He made rapid progress in prayer, putting into practice the fundamental virtues he had learned as a child. He prayed to God to help him walk in the light.
Saint Gregory wrote several works on the Trinity. He died on November 14, 1359. He was similarly revered by the Church as Saint Stephen. Gregory’s life and work continue to make him an important figure in the Orthodox church. In addition to his role as an insightful writer on the Trinity, the Orthodox Church also honors him as a Protector of Thessalonica.
St. Gregory the Illuminator
St. Gregory the Illuminator, an Armenian saint, is also known as the apostle of the Armenian nation. In Armenia, three of his feast days are celebrated today. This is a time when Armenians gather to commemorate and celebrate the apostle.
Gregory was associated with the Christian church and is one of the earliest Christians to rule Armenia. He proclaimed Christianity the state religion and was revered for his pious works. He is commemorated along with his wife, Queen Ashken, and sister, Princess Khosroveetookhd.