1. The Venerable Alypius the Stylite
Alypius was born in Hadrianopolis, a city in Paphlagonia. From childhood, he was dedicated to the service of God. He served as a deacon with Bishop Theodore in the church in that city. But, desirous of a life of solitude, prayer and meditation, Alypius withdrew to a Greek cemetery outside the city. This was a cemetery from which people fled in terror, because of frequent demonic visions seen there. Alypius set up a cross in the cemetery and built a church in honor of St. Euphemia, who had appeared to him in a dream. Beside the church, he built a tall pillar, climbed on top of it, and spent fifty-three years there in fasting and prayer. Neither the mockery of men nor the evil of the demons was able to drive him away or cause him to waver in his intention. Alypius especially endured countless assaults from demons. Not only did the demons try to terrorize him with apparitions, but stoned him as well, and gave him no peace, day or night, for a long time. The courageous Alypius protected himself from the power of the demons by the sign of the Cross and the name of Jesus. Finally the demons were defeated and fled from him. Men began to revere him and come to him for prayer, consolation, instruction and healing. Two monasteries were built beside his pillar, one on one side for men and one on the other for women. His mother and sister lived in the women's monastery. St. Alypius guided the monks and nuns from his pillar, by example and words. He shone like the sun in the heavens for everyone, showing them the way to salvation. This God-pleaser had so much grace that he was often illuminated in heavenly light, and a pillar of this light extended to the heavens above him. St. Alypius was a wonderful and mighty miracle-worker in life, and also after his repose. He lived for one hundred years and entered into rest in the year 640, during the reign of Emperor Heraclius. His head is preserved in the Monastery of Koutloumousiou on the Holy Mountain.
2. THE VENERABLE JAMES THE SOLITARY
James was from Syria. He was a disciple of St. Maron (February 14) and a contemporary of St. Simeon the Stylite. He lived a life of asceticism under the open sky and ate soaked lentils. He performed great miracles, even raising the dead in the name of Christ. Emperor Leo asked him for his thoughts on the Council of Chalcedon . He entered peacefully into rest in the year 457.
3. THE VENERABLE STYLIANUS
Stylianus was from Paphlagonia and a fellow countryman and contemporary of St. Alypius. He had a great love for the Lord Jesus, and because of this love gave himself up to great ascetic struggle. He renounced everything in order to have an undivided love for his Lord. Before his repose, angels came to take his soul, and his face shone like the sun. Stylianus was a great miracle-worker before and after his death. He especially helps sick children and childless couples.
4. THE VENERABLE NICON, THE PREACHER OF REPENTANCE
Nicon was born in Armenia. Awakened by the words of the Lord, Every one that hath forsaken … father or mother … shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life (Matthew 19:29), Nicon indeed forsook all for the sake of Christ, and went to a monastery, where he was tonsured a monk. When he was perfected in all virtues, he left the monastery and went to preach the Gospel among the people. He ceaselessly cried out, ``Repent!'' for which he was also called the ``the Preacher of Repentance.'' As a preacher, he visited all of Anatolia and the Peloponnese. He worked miracles by prayer in the name of Christ and peacefully went to his beloved Lord. He reposed in Sparta in the year 998.
5. SAINT INNOCENT OF IRKUTSK, THE WONDERWORKER
He reposed in the year 1731, and his miracle-working relics were uncovered in 1804.
HYMN OF PRAISE THE VENERABLE ALYPIUS THE STYLITE
Loosed of all things, loosed from the world: From life's concerns and from the oppression of the passions. Complete devotion to prayer and divine contemplation Brought glory to St. Alypius. On a pillar tall, he raised himself: The farther from earth, the closer to God! Complete devotion to prayer and divine contemplation Brought glory to St. Alypius. Let thunders resound, they will not strike, The Lord directs and moves the lightning. Utter devotion to prayer and divine contemplation Brought glory to St. Alypius. In prayer, he shone as the bright sun, And his name, through the centuries, distinctly remains. His meditations on God have made him immortal: Wondrous Alypius the God-pleaser. Now in the heavens a great pillar shines, Which is the radiant soul of St. Alypius. And now he is wholly devoted to prayer for us- Alypius the Stylite, both yesterday and today. Even now, evil spirits flee him, And we rejoice in St. Alypius.
Many learned pagans entered the Church of Christ and were baptized precisely because the Church preached immortal life as a proven fact and not as a speculation of human reason. St. Clement of Rome had studied all of Greek philosophy, yet his soul remained unsatisfied and empty. As a young man of twenty-four, he desired to know with all his soul if there were another, better life than this. Philosophy gave him only the thoughts of various men, but no real proof. He mourned for his lost parents and brothers and was tormented constantly by not knowing if he would be able to see them in some other life. The All-seeing God directed his footsteps and he met a man who spoke to him of Christians, and of their belief in life beyond the grave. This so stirred the young Clement that he immediately moved from Rome to Judea so that there, in the cradle of the Christian Faith itself, he might come to uncontestable knowledge regarding life beyond the grave. When he heard the preaching of the Apostle Peter, based entirely on Christ's Resurrection from the dead, Clement despised the conjectures of philosophy and sincerely adopted the Christian Faith. He was baptized, and dedicated himself totally to the service of the Church of God. As it was then, so it is today-he who has a strong faith in the resurrected Christ, and a clear knowledge of life beyond death and judgment, easily decides to pay the price for entry into that life; that is, the fulfilling of all God's commandments.
Contemplate the wondrous creation of the world (Genesis 2): 1. How the Lord God created man, and woman from man; 2. How Adam and Eve were naked and were not ashamed, for they did not yet know sin.
HOMILY ON THE PURPOSE OF THE APPORTIONMENT OF GIFTS, MINISTRIES AND CALLINGS
… For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12).
This is why the Holy Spirit apportioned the gifts, and made some apostles, others prophets, others evangelists, and others pastors and teachers: that the saints, the faithful Christians, become perfected. As in a household, honor and service are apportioned, and there is honor and service appropriate to parents, honor and service appropriate to adult sons and daughters, and honor and service appropriate to young children and servants-yet all serve together for the benefit of one another; so it is in God's house, the Holy Church: with every honor is a corresponding service, and the services of each are beneficial to all. Thus the body of Christ, God's Holy Church, is gradually and wisely built. Each of the faithful, assisted by the others, grows and develops as a member of this body; grows and develops in holiness and purity, and in a corresponding measure and proportion to the whole great body. The whole body, from the beginning to the end of time-especially from the Incarnation of God the Word on earth until the Dread Judgment-is the Holy Church of God. The body is worthy of immortality, the building is worthy of God. The eye of man cannot see it from end to end, nor can the mind of man comprehend it. The building is of chosen materials: living stones, eyes and hearts, without roughness or ugliness, without corruption or change. Everything is in its place, everything is most beautiful in its entirety and in its parts. Here, brethren, is the goal of our journey! Here is the meaning of our burning in the furnace of suffering! Here is our life, better than all our plans and lovelier than all our desires. O Lord Jesus, our man-loving Lord, do not cast us away as inferior material, but polish us and build us into Thine immortal body. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.