June 25

From the Prologue

Dionysius was the founder of the monastery of St. John (Dionysiat) on Mt. Athos. He was born in Koritza in Albania. His older brother Theodosius withdrew to Mt. Athos where, in time, he became the abbot of the monastery Philotheou. When St. Dionysius had matured he went to his brother in Philotheou and his brother tonsured him a monk. By divine providence, while in Constantinople on a work assignment for the monastery, Theodosius was chosen and consecrated as metropolitan of Trebizond. A wondrous light began to appear every night to Dionysius on the spot where he later built the monastery of St. John the Forerunner. Explaining the appearance of this light as a sign from heaven that he should build a monastery there, Dionysius traveled to Trebizond to seek help from his brother Theodosius and Emperor Alexius Comnenis. The emperor gave him both money and a royal charter, which is still preserved in the monastery. Dionysius founded the monastery of St. John the Forerunner in the year 1380 A.D. At one time, when pirates plundered the monastery, Dionysius again traveled to Trebizond and died there at the age of seventy-two. The monastery of Dionysiat still continues and flourishes even today. There is an icon of the All-holy Birth-giver of God in that monastery called "The Praise" which Emperor Alexius Comnenis donated to Dionysius. According to tradition, the Akathist to the Theotokos [Birth-giver of God] composed by Patriarch Sergius was read for the first time.



The virgin Febronia, confesses Christ

Before judgment standing, bloody and pale.

As a palm branch, the young Febronia.

From beautiful fruit, a branch became heavy,

And to Silenus she speaks: "A Bridegroom, have I,

And no type of honor, from you do I accept,

Christ is my glory, Christ is my pride,

O yes, the beautiful countenance of my Bridegroom!

Cut off, cut off my feet - paths they have traveled!

Cut off, cut off my hands - work they have completed!

Cut out, cut out my tongue - with my heart I will pray!

Smash, smash my mouth - with my heart, I will speak!

Whip, crush the body - why do I need the body?

A more beautiful garment, the Bridegroom has prepared,

Among many holy ones, in the heavens above,

Among the angels, in sweet Paradise.

Do not think Silenus, that when I depart,

That the fury of your life will die.

But hear me and remember: behold the same day

Before the Living God, together we will go:

You as a torturer and I, tortured by you,

Each, his deeds, will bring with him.

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas