The Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles is a feast established by the Church to commemorate the wider circle of the disciples of Christ, as opposed to the apostles of the twelve, Christ's closest followers, who were with Him at the time of His passions at the Garden of Gethsemane. Christ dispatched them in groups of two to towns and cities across the world to preach His word. He warned them to prepare themselves for material hardships and deprivation. Today, this feast is dedicated to all who have preached the Gospel and assisted in the establishment of Christian churches around the world.
The word "Apostle" is of Greek origin and refers to a person with a mission. It occurs in the New Testament over eighty times and refers to the people who received this title from Christ. Although the title of the feast refers to seventy apostles, their actual number is seventy-two, to include two individuals who received this title after the ascension of Christ when they saw Him in a vision. His famous words "The harvest is plentiful, but the reapers are few" refer to this group of His disciples. He instructed them to bring no purse, bag or shoes, to stay with people who would welcome them and eat whatever they were offered. He endowed them with the gift of healing and miracle-working and instructed them to heal people in His name. They trampled on snakes and scorpions and overcame the schemings of the demons, but Christ admonished them not to rejoice in their ability to overcome the enemy but that their names are written in heaven.
The feast of the apostles of the seventy was not established until the fourth century. In the Russian Orthodox Church, their memory is celebrated collectively and individually. They suffered many hardships and acts of malice from demons and people, but with their fervent love and loyalty to God, they overcame all temptations and inherited the Kingdom of Heaven.
Saint Seraphim’s life was marked by various signs and wonders testifying to his election from very early in life. At the age of seven Prokhor Moshnin (the birth name of the saint) fell from a tall bell tower but God delivered him unharmed.
On the 8th of July, the Orthodox Church celebrates a very special feast — the day of Saint Peter and Fevronia. These two saints from the 13th century are considered the patron saints of family, love, and fidelity.
On 28 October, the Orthodox Christians of Belarus commemorate 23 saints martyrs of the Minsk Diocese, glorified in 1999 as locally venerated saints. They suffered from 1917 to 1951, sharing the struggles of our Church in the 20th century.
We celebrate two Patron Saint days this month, the Holy Royal Martyrs on July 17 and the Convent’s Heavenly intercessor - Saint Elisabeth the New Martyr on July 18.
We are preparing to celebrate the memory of a saint who showed us beyond all doubt that sainthood is still a worthy goal to pursue, even in our hectic times. His name is Saint John of Shanghai and San-Francisco.
The Belarusian Orthodox Church is glorified by the names of many local saints. February 6 is the Feast day of not only the Blessed Xenia of St Petersburg, but also of another prominent saint, almost her contemporary, Blessed Eldress Valentina…
In 1923, the future martyr was only 26 years old. Seeing the unfolding persecution of the Church, he was ordained priest with the words, "We need to protect the faith". Priest Valerian Novitsky was arrested and executed in 1930.
As the sages of the East used to say, one would be cursed to live in a time of abrupt change. Saint Sergius of Radonezh lived in one of Russia's most troubled periods and left us some valuable insights that have survived his day.