Julian the Apostate, who ascended to the throne of the Byzantine Empire, had vowed to turn it back into a Pagan state. He ordered the destruction of Christian temples and the prosecution of the Christian clergy and other faithful. In those years of darkness, Saint Mark was the bishop of Arethusa in his advanced years. A steadfast defender of the faith against the attacks of the heretics, a determined opponent of Paganism, he went into hiding to escape the prosecution. But when his enemies began to capture other Christians in his stead, he returned to the city and gave himself up to them.
His tormentors demanded from him a large sum of money for the rebuilding of the pagan temple destroyed during his bishophood. He refused and suffered unimaginable mockery and torture. They tore out his hair, beat him with lashes and cut stripes of his skin, and put him in a foot-press. Finally, they smeared him with honey and rotten fish and hung him out to be bitten by bees and hornets. Yet the saint did not seem to react to the pain, making his tormentors even more furious.
As they proceeded with the torture, however, they progressively lowered the amount they demanded from him. Finally, they stopped demanding any money. Many people present felt remorse and converted back to Christianity. Finally, his tormentors let him go. After his release, he dedicated the rest of his life to bringing Pagans to the Christian faith.
His great feat of courage is described by well-known church historians and confessors of the faith. Saint Gregory the Theologian lauded his steadfastness in his First Oration Against Julian. Theodorus of Currhus wrote about Saint Mark in his Church History. His contemporary, Saint Gregory Nazianzen thus summarised his virtues: “a remarkable old man and a very saintly old man”.
Recently, we had a unique opportunity to talk about the holy martyr Vladimir Pasternatsky with his granddaughters, Nina Fedorovna Chmyreva and Tatiana Romanovna Khmelevskaya. The sister told us about their saintly grandfather and his family
Prince Vladimir was the first to embrace and choose the Heavenly Kingdom together with the Russian people. He was the first to set out on the path of the Cross. For him, this could not have been but related to a big inner struggle.
Standing of St Mary of Egypt is another name for the long Matins service on Thursday of the 5th week of Great Lent. Why is this service called this and what is so special about it? We invite you to read further to find out.
As the feast day of Saint Vladimir the Great of Kiev is approaching, we are preparing to sing at the all-night vigil and the Divine Liturgy the hymns glorifying his great feat and his apostolic ministry in this part of the world.
St.John helps us no matter where we are in San Francisco, in Detroit or in Minsk. Sister Anstasia tells us a story about a miracle from her life that Saint John of Shanghai did for another person in Detroit, Michigan.
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.
Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker is one of the most well-known saints loved by Christians all around the world. People turn to him in prayer and often experience miracles because of his intercession.