Orthodox Christians honor a variety of saints and icons as patrons. Patron saints are believed to represent a place, class, or nation. The practice of designating patron saints dates back to the early years of Christianity. Today, the list of orthodox saints is vast. In addition to St. George and St. Catherine, there are hundreds of other popular saints.
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The story behind St. Nektarios is as interesting as it is miraculous. In his early life, Nektarios lived in a poor family in Selybria, Thrace, which was part of the Turkish Empire. He decided to go to Constantinople to seek a job, but had no money. Luckily for him, a wealthy local benefactor encouraged him to finish high school in Athens. After completing his education, he was appointed deacon and taught in an ecclesiastical school in Alexandria. His chief concern was the welfare of his flock and the guide of the youth.
Saint Nektarios was born on October 1, 1846 in the Greek village of Selymbria, which is now a district of Istanbul. He was educated by his parents and later ordained as a deacon. After leaving his hometown, Nektarios moved to the city of Istanbul to earn money. He studied the Bible and regularly attended church services. He later relocated to the island of Chios, where he was a respected monk.
St. Peter the Aleut
Saint Peter the Aleut, who died in California in 1815, is a hero of the Orthodox faith in Alaska. This native of the Kodiak Islands converted to Christianity after being baptized by missionaries of St. Herman’s in the north. Unfortunately, his piousness and courage were not rewarded. He was captured by Spanish soldiers near San Pedro and beaten by Roman Catholic priests, and finally killed in a mission.
Peter was a young man when he was martyred. His native name was Cungagnaq, but he was known as Peter in the church. In 1794, missionary monks began to serve the native people in Kodiak, Alaska. Archimandrite Joasaph (Bolotov) was the missionary leader. The native population was ready to accept baptism. During the early days of Russian colonization, the native people were known as the Aleuts.
According to legend, Saint George was a Christian who had been imprisoned by the Roman emperor Diocletian. The emperor was suspicious of Saint George’s powers and summoned a sorcerer, Athanasius, to help him. The sorcerer gave St. George two goblets of drugs to quell the emperor’s suspicions, but they had no effect. Instead, Saint George continued to preach the faith, denounce pagan superstitions, and glorify God.
The Coptic Orthodox Church calls George the “Prince of Martyrs. On the Coptic calendar, the martyrdom of George is commemorated on the 23rd of Paremhat, which is the first day of May. The Coptic Orthodox Church also celebrates the consecration of the first church dedicated to George on the seventh of Hatour, which is 17 November.
During the Middle Ages, St. Catherine was one of the most venerated orthodox saints, as she performed many miracles for the Church. She was also a popular figure in common people’s devotion. People would pray to her in times of trouble and seek her guidance. Today, her life and miracles are celebrated on November 25th, the feast day of St. Catherine of Alexandria.
Catherine was a highly educated philosopher, beautiful, and virtuous. Although she was executed for her Christian beliefs, her devotion is still strong among Orthodox Christians. In our modern age, pilgrimages to her Monastery in Mount Sinai have increased. Today, she is a patron saint of motherhood and childbirth. Those who visit the monastery are often given a ring to be worn in memory of the saint.
Patriarch Tikhon is one of Russia’s most popular orthodox saints. He is a famous saint who served the Russian Church in a very difficult time. He fought against bloody evil and was even threatened with assassination, but he never let this deter him. He cherished his service to the Church and knew that the Lord had placed him on earth as a lighthouse. Today, his circulars serve as patristic teachings for all believers.
Patriarch Tikhon was born on January 19, 1865. He was the son of a priest and an outstanding student in the Ecclesiastical Seminary in Pskov. He was tall and fair and exhibited a firm yet unaffected piety. He was so popular with his fellow students that they nicknamed him “the patriarch” in St. Petersburg. He was elected to the throne as Patriarch after serving the church for two hundred and seventy-seven years.
Saint Bartholomew is the patron saint of butchers, leatherworkers, and serenity. He was a skeptic of Jesus at first, but after meeting the Savior, his life was transformed. His story is a powerful example for those who have doubts or have not yet found faith. You can pray to him by offering him a Biblical Novena or a prayer for your intention.
The name Bartholomew comes from the Aramaic language and means ‘Son of Tolmai.’ Many people believe he was the same person as the biblical Nathanael. During his ministry, he and his companion Philip preached throughout Syria and Asia Minor. They were joined by their sister, the holy virgin Saint Mariamnnn.
The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the feast day of St. Sergius on July 14. The Greek Orthodox Church and the Episcopal Church in the United States also celebrate the feast of St. Sergius. He is also venerated in Eastern Catholic churches. Before he became a saint, Sergius founded 40 monasteries. He is credited with helping prevent four civil wars in his homeland.
According to orthodox tradition, Sergius of Radonezh was born around 1314. The exact date of his birth has been disputed, and different historical records mention different dates. However, his feast day is generally observed on 3 May 1314. Sergius’ life was influenced by an unusual event that occurred during his early childhood. He attended church school with his two brothers, but did not excel in his studies. After the event, however, Varfolomey’s life changed dramatically.