(For both new and old calendars)
Learning about Orthodox Saints is a staple in our Sunday School lessons – for Orthodox Christians, the Saints are superheroes and role models who inspire and motivate. So now, in the Pebbles’ second year, we decided to start a ‘Saints of the Month’ series, beginning with November, a month especially rich in Saints greatly celebrated all over Greece. God willing, we plan to gradually create Saint pages for every month of the year.
For each month, we will be choosing our initial Saint lists on the basis of our Greek heritage: we will start with the most well-known and celebrated Saints in our home country. So for the month of November, we chose:
- Saints Cosmas and Damian, the Holy Unmercenary Physicians and Wonder-workers of Asia Minor
- The Assembly (or Synaxis) of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel and all the Heavenly Bodiless Angelic Powers
- Saint Nectarius, Metropolitan of Pentapolis, the Miracle-Worker and Protector of Aegina
- Saint Menas the Great Martyr and Wonder-Worker of Egypt
- Saint John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople
- Holy and All-Praised Apostle Philip
- Saint Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessaloniki and Wonder-Worker
- Saint Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist
- Saint Catherine, the All-Wise Bride of Christ and Great Martyr of Alexandria
- Venerable Stylianus the Monk of Paphlagonia
- The Holy and All-Praised Andrew, the First-called Apostle
PLEASE NOTE: On the background information of our web page, we are using the new calendar dates the Greek Orthodox Church follows; but in the printables, the dates have been intentionally left blank, so that the material can be used for both the new and the old calendars.
PLANNING THE LESSON
When teaching young children about Saints, we focus on the following:
- The Saints’ relationship with God: they are God’s special friends. Because of their great love for Him, His Grace was evident in their earthly lives and they are now close to Him in Paradise.
- Our own personal relationship with the Saints: we all have our own patron Saint; we try to imitate Saints and we pray to them – this means that we ask the Saints to pray to God for us.
- By examining the Saints’ lives, we get to explore a number of core Orthodox values: humility; selflessness; gratefulness; thankfulness; repentance; prayer; patience; faith; courage; forgiveness; charity – and more.
- By comparing the Saints’ lives, we also get to understand how there are many different ways one can get close to God, depending on one’s personality, interests, strengths and weaknesses.
For more details about the Orthodox approach to Saints, please refer to our overview material about Orthodox Saints, which can be found at our page “All About Saints”.
How to use the printables
The printable package we created is quite large, so here is a list of what can be found in it and how it could be used in a lesson:
- Small icons of the Saints of the month. They could be cut out and used to make a poster. They could also be used for games (see below for ideas).
- Saint cards to make a hanging Saint calendar. Very helpful for pointing out Saint feast days and reinforcing the personal relationship we develop with our patron Saint.
The cards look better when printed on card stock or premium printer paper (we prefer Epson Ultra Premium Presentation Paper Matte*, which gives the cards an almost-professionally printed look). Using paper clips and some ribbon for hanging, it can be assembled either horizontally or vertically – in which case it gets very long (about the height of a door!) so plan the space where you are going to be hanging it accordingly.
This calendar could be built gradually, as the weeks go by (each week the cards of the celebrated Saints can be added until the whole chain is complete at the end of the month).
Name tags are also provided. If there is someone in the class or family celebrating on a specific feast day, the name tags can be used to add his/her name on the card.
In our class, we make cards similar to those above to construct a patron Saint calendar for the whole year, which you can see in the photo below. Looking at it, one can immediately see which child has his/her name day at any given time. Hopefully we will gradually build our Orthodox Pebbles Saint collection to the point where such a yearly calendar can be created using our material. Until then, our cards can be used on a monthly basis. The blank card template in our printable package can be used to make your own additional Saint cards, or you could use plain index cards.
- Saint fact sheets to be filled in by the older children. They could either be used individually or compiled into a book.
In a classroom setting, each child could work on a different Saint and at the end of the lesson do a small presentation to the group followed by a discussion; or the whole class could work on the same Saint each time, over a series of lessons.
At home, this could be a long-term project, working on a different Saint each day. You could also choose to work on a specific Saint on the day of their feast.
We are additionally including a blank fact sheet, for children to work on their own Patron Saint.
- Cut-and-paste craft, great for younger children, focusing on what the Saints look like in icons.
- Guess Who? game to help the older children recognize the Saints of the month.
The small icons in our printable package could be used to play games. Here are some ideas:
- Saint scavenger hunt
Print and cut out a few copies of the small icons. You should print enough copies for the whole group. Hide the icons around the room (make sure the places where you are hiding the icons show appropriate respect for them). The children can race in two ways: 1. Each child gets one Saint icon for reference, and has to search the room to find all the other copies of the same icon. 2. Each child has to search the room to collect one copy of each Saint icon.
- Match the Saint to the name
Have small Saint icons ready, as many copies of each icon as you will have teams. Separate the kids into teams. Each team makes a chart on a large piece of poster board with all the Saint names. Hand out the icons. At GO! the teams race to match the icons to the names. At the end, they could glue the icons in place to make a poster.
You may want to complement the material on this page with our overview material about Orthodox Saints, which can be found at our page “All About Saints”.
Saints Cosmas and Damian, the Holy Unmercenary Physicians and Wonder-workers of Asia Minor
- Saints Cosmas and Damian were brothers and lived in Asia Minor in the beginning of the 3rd century AD. They were raised in the Orthodox faith by their mother Theodota, who is also a saint of the Church, commemorated on the same day.
- Cosmas and Damian lived a life of prayer and purity, studied medicine and became very skilled physicians. Through their faith and prayer they received the gift of healing the body and soul. They healed the most grave illnesses, and even healed animals. They had made a vow to not ever receive money or gifts from their patients and that is the reason they are called ‘unmercenaries’.
- Saints Cosmas and Damian the Holy Unmercenaries of Asia Minor are one of three pairs of Unmercenaries with the same names: there are also the Saints Cosmas and Damian of Arabia (October 17) and the Saints Cosmas and Damian of Rome (July 1).
- Saints Cosmas and Damian are the Patron Saints of physicians, and of married couples.
The Saints are usually wearing proper ancient Greek attire (tunic and cloak), and holding the objects of their profession: a medicine box with the left hand and a medical spoon or a surgical instrument with the right hand.
Physical characteristics: tall figures at the same height, short dark hair, moustache and beard. Both look alike. Cosmas may have a slightly bald forehead.
19th century icon from St. Paraskevi church, Thessaloniki, Greece, unknown artist – [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
Troparion – Tone Plagal 4
Holy unmercenaries and wonderworkers, Cosmas and Damian, / heal our infirmities. / Freely you have received; freely you give to us.
Kontakion — Tone 2
Having received the grace of healing, / you grant healing to those in need. / Glorious wonder workers and healers, Cosmas and Damian, / visit us and put down the insolence of our enemies, / and bring healing to the world through your miracles.
The Assembly of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel and all the Heavenly Bodiless Angelic Powers
- The angels belong to God’s Creation. They are spiritual beings; this means that they don’t have a body like ours. They are invisible, but able to take on a human form whenever God instructs them to communicate with us. The angels are continually praising God and helping Him in His plan for the world. One of their jobs is to announce God’s will to us. Angel, Angelos in Greek, is the herald, the messenger.
- There are nine orders of angels, grouped in 3 hierarchies or “angelic choirs”. The first angelic choir includes the orders of the Cherubim, the Seraphim and the Thrones. The second angelic choir includes the orders of the Dominions, the Powers and the Authorities. The third angelic choir includes the orders of the Principalities, the Archangels and the Angels. Of all nine orders, the angels are the closest to the people.
- Each one of us has their own guardian angel who leads us on the way to God. Every church and every nation also has a guardian angel.
- The Orthodox Church has dedicated Monday as the day to celebrate the angels; in addition, the Church has written special prayers to ask for their protection and assistance in our lives. Every evening, during the service of the Small Compline, we pray to our holy guardian Angel.
- Archangel Michael is the Chief Commander of all the angelic powers. It was Archangel Michael who cast down the arrogant Lucifer and his fallen angels when they rebelled against God. Archangel Michael is revealed in both the Old and the New Testaments. He is the protector of people against war and he is the escort of the departed soul to heaven.
- Archangel Gabriel is the principal messenger of God’s will to the people. Archangel Gabriel is mainly revealed in the New Testament; it is he who brings God’s will to Zechariah (father of St John the Forerunner) and to the Theotokos.
- The angels are depicted as young men with long dark hair and also with wings, which means that they can move instantly throughout the whole universe to go wherever they are needed. They have a ribbon tied to their hair to signify that their mind is set at doing God’s will at all times. They wear either the deacon’s liturgical vestments or proper ancient Greek attire.
- Archangel Michael is often depicted as a military officer of high rank holding a lance and a shield, or even a sword.
- In icons of the Assembly (or Synaxis) of the Bodiless Powers, the angels are shown standing around Christ the Pantocrator, Who blesses the world (depicted as a circle). In many icons there is a six-winged Seraphim below the circle with Christ.
Troparion – Tone 4
O Commanders of the Heavenly Host, we the unworthy beseech you, that through your entreaties you will fortify us, guarding us in the shelter of the wings of your ethereal glory, even as we fervently bow before you crying: “Deliver us from all danger, as Commanders of the Powers on high! “
Kontakion – Tone 2
Chief Commanders of God; ministers of divine glory; guides for men and leadership of the Incorporeal; as Chief Commanders of the Incorporeal, plead for our welfare and for great mercy.
Saint Nectarius, Metropolitan of Pentapolis, the Miracle-Worker and Protector of Aegina
- Saint Nectarius is among the newly canonized saints of the Orthodox Church. He was born in Sylivria, Thrace, in 1846 and reposed in Athens, Greece in 1920.
- He was born in a very poor but pious family. As a young boy he felt the calling to serve the Church, so he went to Constantinople and worked his way through his studies. He was tonsured monk and deacon in the island of Chios, later priest in Alexandria, Egypt, and finally Metropolitan of Pentapolis, Libya, while he was serving in the church of Saint Nicholas in Cairo, Egypt.
- Saint Nectarius loved Christ and the Church so much that he never complained of anything and anyone. On the contrary, the goodness of his heart and his holiness drew the envy and hatred of a number of hierarchs who were the cause of false accusations against Nectarius and persecution. Because of that, he ended up in Athens, Greece where he was appointed first as a simple preacher in the island of Evia and finally as the director of the Rizarios Ecclesiastical School in Athens. He never held any complaint against his accusers whom he whole-heartedly forgave.
- During his tenure in the Rizarios School, Saint Nectarius was blessed to establish a convent in Aegina, a small island close to Athens. The monastery is dedicated to the Holy Trinity and is a thriving monastic community until this day. Saint Nectarius spent the last years of his life there, as the spiritual father of not only the nuns, but also the people of Aegina and all the faithful who were flocking to the monastery year-round.
- Through his faith, humility, love and the power of prayer, Saint Nectarius worked many miracles while he was living; since his repose he has been working even more miracles to people suffering from illnesses, especially to those suffering from cancer.
- Saint Nectarius is the patron Saint of the island of Aegina. In Greece, there are more churches dedicated to Saint Nectarius than to any other modern Orthodox Saint.
As a hierarch, the Saint is wearing the bishop’s liturgical vestments and the archimandrite’s black hat with sash (kalymavki). In other icons, he is wearing his black monastic habit instead of the bishop’s vestments. He holds the Gospel book with the left hand and he blesses with the right hand. Physical characteristics: thin figure and face, long white moustache and beard.
Troparion – Tone 1
O faithful, let us honor Nectarius the divine servant of Christ, / offspring of Sylivria and guardian of Aegina, / who appeared in these last times as a true friend of virtue, / pouring forth all manner of healing upon those who reverently cry: / Glory to Him who gave you strength! / Glory to Him who granted you a crown! / Glory to Him who through you grants healing to all!
Kontakion — Tone Plagal 4
Let us sing praises with gladness of heart / to the newly-shining star of Orthodoxy, the newly-built rampart of the Church. / Being glorified by the power of the Spirit, he pours forth the abundant grace of healings upon those who cry: / “Rejoice, Father Nectarius.”
Saint Menas the Great Martyr and Wonder-Worker of Egypt
- Saint Menas was born in Egypt in the mid-third century AD. He became a Christian during his teenage years and followed a military career in the Roman Army in Phrygia, Asia Minor.
- During the reign of the Roman emperors Diocletian and Maximian (284-311 AD), Saint Menas witnessed the fiercest persecutions against Christians. The Saint withdrew from his rank and went to live in the mountains. There he led a solitary and ascetic life, praying and praising the Lord. His deep faith drew the Grace of the Holy Spirit and he was able to work many miracles.
- During his middle-age years, Saint Menas felt the need to contest for his faith. When he heard of a big pagan festival in the nearby town, he left his hut and proclaimed Christ to the pagans. He was arrested and terribly tortured, but he never complained; instead he endured his tortures with a fervent and prayerful heart. In the end, Saint Menas was beheaded.
- His relics were gathered up by the Christians. When the persecutions ended, they were brought to his homeland in Egypt and interred outside Alexandria. Saint Constantine the Great had a church built above the Saint’s tomb, which later expanded into a large monastery.
- By the Grace of God, Saint Menas works many miracles and delivers the faithful from many illnesses, demonic possession, and war.
- Saint Menas is the protector of the city of Heraklion in Greece.
- In 1942, during World War II, Saint Menas is known to have worked a great miracle in the area of El Alamein in Egypt: he appeared leading a caravan of camels inside the German barracks – the German army lost their morale and after a few days following a great victory of the Greek and Allied forces, the German army withdrew from Egypt.
Saint Menas is a warrior Saint. He is depicted as a mature military officer in full armor, holding a lance in one hand and a shield in the other hand. In some versions of the icon, he is also holding a cross, which reveals his martyrdom for Christ. Another sign of the Saint’s martyrdom is his red cape. In other icons, Saint Menas is riding a red or white horse or a camel. Physical characteristics: tall and strong figure, thin face, short grey hair, moustache and beard.
17th century icon by Emmanuel Lambardos, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Troparion – Tone 4
Your holy martyrs, O Lord, / Through their sufferings have received incorruptible crowns from You, our God. / For having Your strength, they laid low their adversaries, / And shattered the powerless boldness of demons. / Through their intercessions, save our souls!
Kontakion – Tone Plagal 4
Today the church honors those who fought the good fight and died for their faith: / The victorious Menas, the noble Victor and the ascetic Vincent. / The church glorifies their divine struggle and cries out with love: / Glory to You, O Christ, the lover of mankind.
Saint John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople
- Saint John Chrysostom is among the greatest and most beloved Fathers of the Church. He is one of the Three Holy Hierarchs, along with Saint Basil the Great and Saint Gregory the Great Theologian – all Three Hierarchs are celebrated on January 30.
- He was an excellent writer and a fervent preacher, moving the faithful to tears with his homilies, and thus he received the nickname Chrysostom, which means ‘golden-mouthed’.
- Saint John Chrysostom was born in Antioch, Syria (now in southern Turkey) in 347 AD, in a wealthy family, and raised in the Orthodox Faith by his pious mother, Anthousa, who is also a Saint of the Church. He received an excellent education. During his teenage years he felt the calling of God; after being baptized at the age of 18 he withdrew to a monastic community. From that time on, he led a strict ascetic life, eating just enough to survive, sleeping very little, praying ceaselessly, and writing continuously.
- He was ordained Archbishop of Constantinople in 397 AD at the age of 50. As a Patriarch, he dedicated his life to living by Christ’s commands, spreading the Orthodox Faith, tending to those in need, comforting those who suffered, and challenging the un-Christian way of life. Among the offenders he challenged was Empress Evdoxia who became his arch-enemy and twice had him deposed and sent to exile.
- Saint John Chrysostom reposed in the town of Comana, Armenia on September 14, 407 AD, on his way to exile for the second time. On September 14, the Church celebrates the great feast of the Elevation of the Holy Cross, so the Saint’s commemoration was moved to November 13, together with the commemoration of his saintly mother.
- Saint John Chrysostom wrote numerous works to help explain Holy Scripture. He is also the author of the Divine Liturgy service which we celebrate for most of the year. Additionally, Saint John has written the very moving ‘Catechetical Homily’ that is read during the Divine Liturgy of the Resurrection on Pascha Sunday.
The Saint is wearing the bishop’s liturgical vestments and is either holding an open scroll with a phrase of the Saint’s own writings or a Gospel book. Physical characteristics: very thin figure, large forehead, short dark hair around a bald crown with a tuft of hair in the center; thin moustache and short, thin beard.
16th century icon by Dionisius and his studio, from the iconostasis of the Church of the Nativity of the Mother of God in Ferapontov Monastery, Russia, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg – [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Troparion – Tone Plagal 4
Grace shining forth from your lips like a beacon has enlightened the universe. / It has shown to the world the riches of poverty; / it has revealed to us the heights of humility. / Teaching us by your words, O Father John Chrysostom, / intercede before the Word, Christ our God, to save our souls!
Kontakion – Tone Plagal 3
Having received divine grace from heaven, / with your mouth you teach all men to worship one God in Trinity. / All-blest and venerable John Chrysostom, we worthily praise you, / for you are our teacher, revealing things divine!
- Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
- Orthodox Church in America
- Coffee with Sister Vassa, Episode #39, St John Chrysostom:
For more, visit CoffeeWithSisterVassa.com
Holy and All-Praised Apostle Philip
- Saint Philip is one of the Twelve Apostles. He was from Bethsaida of Galilee, as were Andrew and Peter. He was very knowledgeable in the Scriptures, especially the books of the Prophets, and was eagerly awaiting the Messiah. When he met Christ, he realized that He was the Messiah and followed Him, then he immediately invited his good friend Nathanael (or Bartholomew) to also become Christ’s Disciple (John 1:44-49).
- After Pentecost, Philip went on to preach the Gospel in Galilee, where by the Grace of God he worked numerous miracles; then he went to Greece, Asia Minor, and finally Hierapolis of Phrygia where he received the crown of martyrdom around the year 80 AD. In many of his travels, he had his sister Mariamne and his good friend Nathanael as companions. After the Apostle’s martyrdom, Mariamne interred his body and went on to preach the Gospel. The Church recognizes Mariamne as an Equal to the Apostles (February 17).
- Philip the Apostle is not to be confused with Philip the Deacon who was one of the Seventy Apostles, evangelized Samaria (Acts 8:4-13) and baptized the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-40), commemorated on October 11.
The Apostle Philip is depicted as a young man with short brown hair. As an Apostle, he is wearing a yellow ribbon on his shoulder, to symbolize the great mission he accomplished. He is usually holding a closed scroll, signifying his teaching.
Unknown Russian Orthodox icon painter (Private art collection, England) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Troparion – Tone 3
Holy Apostle Philip, / entreat the merciful God / to grant our souls forgiveness of transgressions.
Kontakion – Tone Plagal 4
Your disciple, friend and imitator of Your passion, / the God-preaching Philip, proclaimed You to the universe! / By his prayers deliver Your Church from her enemies; / through the Theotokos protect every city, most merciful Christ!
Saint Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessaloniki and Wonder-Worker
- Saint Gregory Palamas is one of the greatest theologians and preachers of the Orthodox Church.
- He was born in the year 1296 AD in Constantinople into a distinguished family. At a very young age, he was orphaned but since his late father was a high-ranked official, Gregory received exceptional education in the imperial court. One year before he finished his studies, Gregory felt the calling of God and left for Mount Athos to become a monastic. There he continued to study and write works on important theological topics.
- At the Holy Mountain, Saint Gregory joined the monastic movement of ‘Hesychasm’ (from the Greek word ‘ησυχία’, hesychia, which means quiet). The hesychasts silently prayed the Jesus Prayer (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”) and by the Grace of God were able to experience God as Uncreated Light. Saint Gregory devoted most of his time to stillness and prayer.
- Saint Gregory wrote exceptional works explaining the doctrines of the Orthodox Church and he was able to defend them and the hesychastic movement against the Roman-Catholic theologians Varlaam and Akindynos.
- Saint Gregory was ordained a priest in Thessaloniki, Greece, and later Archbishop of the city. He delivered beautiful and moving sermons and was loved by his flock. During his last three years of his life, he worked many miracles. He reposed on November 14, 1359 and less than 10 years later was canonized a Saint. Saint Gregory Palamas is also commemorated on the Second Sunday of Great Lent.
The Saint is depicted wearing the bishop’s liturgical vestments, holding the Gospel Book in the left hand, and blessing with the right hand. Physical characteristics: short brown hair, thin moustache and long beard, and, often, a shaved crown (tonsure of a monastic).
Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Troparion – Tone Plagal 4
You are a guide of Orthodoxy, a teacher of piety and modesty, a luminary of the world, the God inspired pride of monastics. O wise Gregory, you have enlightened everyone by your teachings. You are the harp of the Spirit. Intercede to Christ our God for the salvation of our souls.
Kontakion – Tone Plagal 4
Holy and divine instrument of wisdom, / joyful trumpet of theology, / together we sing your praises, O God-inspired Gregory. / Since you now stand before the Original Mind, guide our minds to Him, O Father, / so that we may sing to you: “Rejoice, preacher of grace.”
- Orthodox Church in America
- Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
- Coffee with Sister Vassa, Episode #22:
For more, visit CoffeeWithSisterVassa.com.
Saint Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist
- Matthew is one of the Twelve Apostles, and one of the four Evangelists. In the New Testament, his Gospel book is the first in order.
- Matthew was the brother of the Apostle James, and both were sons of Alpheus. He lived in Capernaum of Galilee and he was initially a publican, a tax-collector. At the time, tax-collectors were very much hated because they often took advantage of the Jewish people. Matthew’s initial name was Levi. His story of becoming a disciple of Christ is recorded in Matthew 9:9-13.
- Matthew’s Gospel book was written in the Aramaic dialect, and later translated into Greek. It is the only Gospel account that records the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes (Matthew 5-7) and the parables of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 13), which constitute the essence of Christ’s teaching.
- Apostle Matthew preached the Gospel first in Palestine, then in Syria, Media, Persia, and Ethiopia. In Ethiopia he worked many miracles by the Grace of God, baptized thousands including the family of the ruler, and in the end received the crown of martyrdom.
Apostle Matthew is depicted as a mature man, with white hair and a long beard, holding his Gospel book. As an Apostle, he is wearing a yellow ribbon on his shoulder, to symbolize the great mission he accomplished. In the icons where the Apostle is writing his Gospel account, there is a smaller figure of a man in the corner: this is a symbol of Christ’s Incarnation.
Late 18th – early 19th century, St Mary Perivleptos Church, Ohrid Icon Gallery, by unknown author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Troparion – Tone 3
O Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew, intercede to our merciful God, that He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.
Kontakion – Tone 4
Casting aside the bonds of the custom house for the yoke of justice, / you were revealed as an excellent merchant, rich in wisdom from on high. / You proclaimed the word of truth / and roused the souls of the slothful / by writing of the hour of Judgment.
Saint Catherine, the All-Wise Bride of Christ and Great Martyr of Alexandria
- Saint Catherine lived in the late 3rd and early 4th century AD in Alexandria, Egypt. She was the daughter of the Roman governor, wealthy, beautiful and intelligent. She received an excellent education from the best teachers and philosophers.
- When Catherine reached the age of marriage, she declined all the proposals brought to her, insisting that she wanted a husband who would surpass her in wealth, beauty, and wisdom. Her mother, who was a secret Christian, sent her to her own spiritual father, who told her there was indeed such a Bridegroom: our Lord Jesus Christ. Catherine believed and was baptized. It is said that one night, after fervent prayer, she saw Christ giving her an engagement ring. This ring is still around her incorrupt finger.
- When Saint Catherine revealed that she was a Christian, the emperor had her contest in a debate with fifty of the wisest pagan philosophers and teachers. Saint Catherine won over all their arguments proving that our Lord is the One True God. As a result, all of the scholars believed in Christ, as did the emperor’s wife, her chief of court and two hundred soldiers; they were all martyred for the love of Christ.
- Saint Catherine received the crown of martyrdom in the year 305 AD. Her holy relics were carried to Mount Sinai, close to the monastery of Sinai. The monastics erected a great church upon her tomb and since then the monastery is known as Saint Catherine’s. The pilgrims venerate the Saint’s holy relics and receive a ring as a souvenir of their pilgrimage.
- Saint Catherine works many miracles by the Grace of God. She is the patron of women in labor and grants easy delivery.
- In the Greek tradition, Saint Catherine is commemorated on November 25, to coincide with the Apodosis of the Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple.
The Saint is depicted in royal clothes, dressed in red to signify her martyrdom. Her head is adorned with a crown, for she was from a noble family. In some icons she is holding a cross in one hand, while her other hand is raised, with the palm facing forward, like a policeman motioning a car to stop. This signifies denouncing evil and worldly glory in favor of the Heavenly Kingdom. In other icons the Saint is sitting on a throne, holding a cross and a wheel, symbols of her martyrdom for Christ. A sphere next to the wheel signifies her intelligence and wisdom.
17th century icon, Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens, Greece, photo by Tilemahos Efthimiadis from Athens, Greece [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
Troparion – Tone Plagal 1
Let us praise the most auspicious bride of Christ, the divine Katherine, protectress of Sinai, our aid and our help. For, she brilliantly silenced the eloquence of the impious by the sword of the spirit, and now, crowned as a martyr, she asks great mercy for all.
Kontakion – Tone 2
Let all of us who love to honor the martyrs / form a great choir in praise of the most wise Catherine, / for she preached Christ and trampled the serpent, / despising the knowledge of the orators!
Venerable Stylianus the Monk of Paphlagonia
- Saint Stylianus lived in the end of 6th century and beginning of 7th century AD. He was raised in a wealthy Christian family. After his parents reposed, he felt the calling of God, gave away his inheritance to the needy and joined a monastery.
- Saint Stylianus lived in prayer and fasting and the Grace of God was upon him; that made his monastic brothers envious, so the Saint withdrew to a cave in the wilderness. He worked many miracles by the power of his prayer, and many people traveled to his cave to receive comfort and healing.
- The Saint had a special affection for children and by the Grace of God worked many miracles on them: he healed the sick and even restored dead children to life. He is the protector of children, infants, and of women who try to conceive.
Saint Stylianus is depicted as an old man, with white hair, a large forehead and a long white beard. He wears his monastic habit and holds one or many infants in his arms. He may also hold a scroll that reads: “I was appointed as the guardian of children, the gift from God.”
Troparion – Tone 3
A living monument of self restraint, an immovable pillar of the Church you were shown to be, blessed Stylianos, for you were dedicated to God from your youth, and were seen as a dwelling place of the Spirit. Holy Father, entreat Christ our God, to grant us His great mercy.
Kontakion – Tone 4
You were sanctified from your mother’s womb as the divine Samuel, O God-bearer, and ascetically were glorified by Christ God. Therefore you were shown a treasury of healings, and a divine protector of children and infants. For Christ radiantly glorifies you, O Stylianos, who from childhood glorified Him.
The Holy and All-Praised Andrew, the First-called Apostle
- Andrew is one of the Twelve Apostles. He was the brother of the Apostle Peter. The two brothers worked as fishermen. Andrew remained single, having given his heart to finding God. When John the Forerunner and Baptist started his mission preaching repentance to the Jewish people, Andrew was the first to follow him. When our Lord Jesus Christ began his own mission, Andrew was again the first to go with Him when Christ called him, and thus Andrew is named “the First-Called”. Andrew also led his brother Peter and Philip to our Lord (John 1:35-42).
- After Pentecost, Saint Andrew went to preach in Asia Minor and Greece, then to the Rus of Crimaea and Kiev. At the small town of Byzantium, which later became Constantinople, the Queen City, Saint Andrew founded the Church which would be named the Ecumenical Patriarchate; the Ecumenical Patriarch, is, therefore, a direct successor of the Apostle Andrew.
- Saint Andrew earned the crown of martyrdom in the city of Patras, Greece by crucifixion. He refused to be crucified on a typical cross as was His Lord and Savior; instead, Andrew’s cross was in the shape of an X, the first letter of ‘Christ’, Χριστός, in Greek. The X-shaped cross is also a symbol of Apostle Andrew.
- Apostle Andrew is the protector of the city of Patras, and of the countries of Russia, Scotland, Romania, and Barbados islands.
Apostle Andrew is depicted as a middle-aged man, with gray hair and a long beard, holding a scroll in one hand, signifying his teachings, and blessing with the other hand. As an Apostle, he is wearing a yellow ribbon on his shoulder, to symbolize the great mission he accomplished. His hair is rough and unruly, resembling that of his first teacher, John the Forerunner.
14th century icon from North Macedonia, Greece, Walters Art Museum [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Troparion – Tone 4
Andrew, first-called of the Apostles / and brother of the foremost disciple, / entreat the Master of all / to grant peace to the world / and to our souls great mercy.
Kontakion – Tone 2
Let us praise Andrew, the herald of God, / the namesake of courage, / the first-called of the Savior’s disciples / and the brother of Peter. / As he once called to his brother, he now cries out to us: / “Come, for we have found the One whom the world desires!”
Special thanks to iconographer Julia Hayes (ikonographics.net and patreon.com/ikonographics) for allowing us to use her icon of St. Nectarius, and to Sister Vassa Larin (coffeewithsistervassa.com), for allowing us to embed her videos into our web page.
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Scrapbooking paper used in the illustrations: