Questions about the August Menaion Vol 1

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The 7 Maccabees, their mother Solomonia, and their teacher, the priest Eleazar are commemorated on Aug 1. First, the priest Eleazar, an honorable 90 years old, was told to eat swine's flesh, which would be a sure sign of apostasy from the Law of God. He refused, and even refused when his misguided friends, who highly esteemed him, offered to give him another kind of meat to eat, and tell the king it was pork, so the appearances would be that he ate pork, but he would keep the law in a physical way. He refused, and was tortured and burned. The wicked king Antiochus, called by some "Epiphanes", then tried to force the seven athletes of God, all brothers, and noble offspring of Solomonia, to eat swine's flesh. They too were tortured in horrible ways terrible to contemplate, one at a time, with the rest looking on. Each had the skin flayed from his face, and was burned in a hot griddle. After their martyrdoms, all of which were encouraged by that true lover of God and true and wise mother, Solomonia, she threw herself into the flames and joined her sons to share in the rewards each so firmly believed in and deserved. The entire story of their martyrdoms is in 2 Maccabees, chapters 6 and 7.

All Christians, particularly those foolish ones who allow their belly to rule over them and break the holy fasts because of convenience and excuses, or carnal, downward looking desire, or shame should read carefully this tale of heroism of ones who followed the law of God without excuses or fear.

"6:18. Eleazar one of the chief of the scribes, a man advanced in years, and of a comely countenance, was pressed to open his mouth to eat swine's flesh. 6:19. But he, choosing rather a most glorious death than a hateful life, went forward voluntarily to the torment. 6:21. But they that stood by, being moved with wicked pity, for the old friendship they had with the man, taking him aside, desired that flesh might be brought which it was lawful for him to eat, that he might make as if he had eaten, as the king had commanded, of the flesh of the sacrifice: 6:23. But he began to consider the dignity of his age, and his ancient years, and the inbred honor of his grey head, and his good life and conversation from a child; and he answered without delay, according to the ordinances of the holy law made by God, saying, that he would rather be sent into the other world. 6:24. For it doth not become our age, said he, to dissemble: whereby many young persons might think that Eleazar, at the age of fourscore and ten years, was gone over to the life of the heathens: 6:25. And so they, through my dissimulation, and for a little time of a corruptible life, should be deceived, and hereby I should bring a stain and a curse upon my old age. 6:26. For though, for the present time, I should be delivered from the punishments of men, yet should I not escape the hand of the Almighty neither alive nor dead. 6:27. Wherefore, by departing manfully out of this life, I shall shew myself worthy of my old age: 6:28. And I shall leave an example of fortitude to young men, if with a ready mind and constancy I suffer an honorable death, for the most venerable and most holy laws. And having spoken thus, he was forthwith carried to execution.": (2 Maccabees)

"7:1. It came to pass also, that seven brethren, together with their mother, were apprehended, and compelled by the king to eat swine's flesh against the law, for which end they were tormented with whips and scourges. 7:3. Then the king being angry, commanded fryingpans and brazen caldrons to be made hot: which forthwith being heated, 7:4. He commanded to cut out the tongue of him that had spoken first: and the skin of his head being drawn off, to chop off also the extremities of his hands and feet, the rest of his brethren and his mother looking on. 7:6. And when he was now maimed in all parts, he commanded him, being yet alive, to be brought to the fire, and to be fried in the fryingpan: and while he was suffering therein long torments, the rest, together with the mother, exhorted one another to die manfully, 7:6. Saying: The Lord God will look upon the truth, and will take pleasure in us, as Moses declared in the profession of the canticle; And in his servants he will take pleasure. .... 7:13. And after he was thus dead, they tormented the fourth in the like manner. 7:14. And when he was now ready to die, he spoke thus: It is better, being put to death by men, to look for hope from God, to be raised up again by him; for, as to thee, thou shalt have no resurrection unto life. .... 7:20. Now the mother was to be admired above measure, and worthy to be remembered by good men, who beheld her seven sons slain in the space of one day, and bore it with a good courage, for the hope that she had in God: 7:21. And she bravely exhorted every one of them in her own language, being filled with wisdom; and joining a man's heart to a woman's thought, 7:22. She said to them: I know not how you were formed in my womb; for I neither gave you breath, nor soul, nor life, neither did I frame the limbs of every one of you. 7:23. But the Creator of the world, that formed the nativity of man, and that found out the origin of all, he will restore to you again, in his mercy, both breath and life, as now you despise yourselves for the sake of his laws. ..." (2 Maccabees)


The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus, Maximilian, Jamblicus, Martinian, John, Dionysius, Exacustodian (Constantine) and Antoninus, are commemorated on Aug 4. They were soldiers in the 4th century, and were in hiding in a cave , to escape persecution, when the cave was walled off and they were left for dead. They fell into a deep sleep, and awoke, nearly two centuries later, and helped quell doubts in the resurrection that had arisen in that area. See the entire story at:


The Procession of the Holy Cross is celebrated on Aug 1.


The Transfiguration of the Savior is celebrated with great solemnity on Aug 6.


The Holy Apostle Matthias is remembered on Aug 9.

"And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) {16} Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. {17} For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. {18} Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. {19} And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. {20} For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishopric let another take. {21} Wherefore of these men which have accompanied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, {22} Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. {23} And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. {24} And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two thou hast chosen, {25} That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. {26} And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles." (Acts 1:15-26)


The Holy Martyr and Archdeacon Laurence of Rome is remembered on Aug 10th, along with Pope Sixtus, and others with them. He was beaten about the face, and whipped with a metal chain with poisoned teeth before being roasted by fire, while on an iron grid. His zeal and bravery are a spectacle to angels and to men. The faithful Archdeacon to Pope Sixtus could not bear to see his Father and concelebrant go to his martyrdom and leave him alone in the world, and voluntarily and eagerly went to his martyrdom, and mocked the dull unbelief of the pagans.

His life and athletic feat of martyrdom may be found in Orthodox Life,, #4, 1980


St. Tikhon of Zadonsk is remembered Aug 13. He was made bishop of Vorenezh at a young age, and fulfilled his pastoral duties with zeal, all the while performing great feats of asceticism, for almost seven years, then retired to the monastery of Zadonsk. This light did not remain under a bushel even in retirement, and he continued to nourish the faithful with letters and beautiful, simple writings, among which the incomparable "Journey to Heaven" has been published in English. He lived in the 18th century.


The Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God is celebrated with great joy on Aug 15, being preceded by a fast of fourteen days.


The Holy Napkin is remembered on Aug 16. This icon "not made by hands" was given by the Lord, to an emissary for the Prince Abgar, who had sent his servant in the hope of convincing our Lord to visit him in Odessa, to teach him and cure his leprosy. In the event that the Lord would not come, his servant was commanded to paint his likeness, and bring it back. The Lord wiped his face with a napkin, and gave it to the servant, Ananias. Upon this napkin was the image of Jesus Christ. Jesus told Ananias to bring the napkin back to the Prince, and tell him that he would be healed, thought not entirely. Later, after the resurrection, the Holy Apostle Thaddeus evangelized Odessa, and baptized Prince Abgar, and all traces of his leprosy, which had been mostly healed by the icon, vanished.


The Holy martyrs Adrian and Natalia are remembered on Aug 26. This is the namesday of my daughter Natalie (who knows this story by heart), and if you would like to drop her a note on this day, by post or email ( ), you would make a seven year old very pleased!

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