January 9

From the Prologue

Philip was born February 11, 1507 A.D. Once, while standing in church as a young boy, he heard the priest read from the Gospel: "No one can serve two masters" (St. Matthew 6:24). He became very frightened by these words, as though these words were exclusively spoken to him and at that same time became enlightened by them. He then withdrew to the Solovetsk Monastery where he, after a long and difficult period of probation [Novitiate], was tonsured a monk. In time, Philip became the abbot and shone as the sun and the whole of Russia heard of him. Hence, Emperor Ivan the Terrible summoned Philip to fill the vacant Metropolitan See of Moscow in the year 1566 A.D. However, this holy man could not endure with indifference the awful atrocities of the terrible tsar and, therefore, counseled him and rebuked him without fear. The tsar found some false witnesses against Philip, ousted him from office, and ordered that he be dressed in a simple and tattered monastic cassock and imprisoned him in Tver on December 23, 1569 A.D. Malyuta Skuratov, one of the tsar's confidants, came to Philip's cell and suffocated him with a pillow. Shortly afterwards, all those who were opposed to Philip died evil deaths. After several years, the body of the saint discovered whole, incorrupt, and fragrant, was translated to the Monastery of Solovetsk.



Nearchus and Polyeuctus, soldiers of Caesar,

Became soldiers of the Heavenly King,

One baptized with water, the other by his blood,

The second surpassed the other and became the first.

Oh, blessed be this competition,

This heroic rushing to Christ's' kingdom!

Polyeuctus rejected all by which the earth spoils

Everything, as a wind that comes; as the wind, passes,

And for these urgent sufferings, purchased the everlasting kingdom;

This trade, for him, turned out radiant:

For eternal life, let the grass be mowed!

For transitory suffering, eternal glory!

Pray for us, O soldier of Christ,

That, not one of your souls perish!

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