The Heiromartyrs Basil, Ephraim, Elpidius, Agathodorus, Aetherius, and Caption carried the Gospel of Christ into the North Black Sea region from the Danube to the Dniper, including Crimea. They were bishops of Cherson at different times during the fourth century, and they sealed their apostolic activity with martyrdom. Only Aetherius died in peace. Long before the Baptism of Rus under St. Vladimir, the Christian Faith spread into the Crimea, which in antiquity was called Tauridia, and was ruled by the Roman Emperor. The beginning of the enlightenment of Tauridia is attributed to the holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called. At the beginning of the fourth century a bishop’s See was established at Cherson. This was a critical period when Cherson served as a base for the Roman armies which constantly passed through the area.
O God of our ancestors, You always deal with us according to your everlasting compassion, take not your mercy away from us; but through the prayers of our ancestors, guide our lives along the ways of peace.
The day of splendor of those brilliant bishops of Cherson has come today. We are singing for the feast of those shepherds who died for the sheep of Christ. O princes of shepherds and martyred priests, beg Christ to put us with the sheep at his right hand so that we may sing out to you: Rejoice, O priestly fathers who poured out your blood for Christ.
Then the Lord said to Noah: Go in the ark, you and all your household, for you alone in this generation have I found to be righteous before me. Of every clean animal, take with you seven pairs, a male and its mate; and of unclean animals, one pair, a male and its mate; likewise, every bird of the air, seven pairs, a male and a female, to keep their progeny alive over all the earth. For seven days from now I will bring rain down on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and so I will wipe out from the face of the earth every being that I have made. Noah complied, just as the Lord had commanded.
“Now, children, listen to me; happy are they who keep my ways.
Listen to instruction and grow wise, do not reject it!
Happy the one who listens to me, attending daily at my gates, keeping watch at my doorposts;
For whoever finds me finds life, and wins favor from the Lord;
But those who pass me by do violence to themselves; all who hate me love death.”
Wisdom has built her house, she has set up her seven columns;
She has prepared her meat, mixed her wine, yes, she has spread her table.
She has sent out her maidservants; she calls from from the heights out over the city:
“Let whoever is naïve turn in here; to any who lack sense I say,
Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed!
Forsake foolishness that you may live; advance in the way of understanding.”
Whoever corrects the arrogant earns insults; and whoever reproves the wicked incurs opprobrium.
Do not reprove the arrogant, lest they hate you; reprove the wise, and they will love you.
Instruct the wise, and they become still wiser; teach the just, and they advance in learning.
The beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
For by me your days will be multiplied and the years of your life increased.
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Monday, March 6 –