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”.
On the 19th of December (6th of December), the Orthodox commemorate one of the most loved and revered saints in the world - Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker. Saint Nicholas means a lot to everyone here at St Elisabeth Convent.
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.
The courage of the Holy Royal Martyrs, their mercy, steadfast faith and readiness to entrust their fate to the Lord softened the hearts of many and showed the way of the Lord to the generations to come.
On the 7th of August, the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates the Dormition (or Falling Asleep) feast day of Saint Anna, the mother of Mary and the grandmother of Jesus Christ.
The Holy Prince Peter and Holy Princess Fevronia They take a special place in the communion of Orthodox saints by exemplifying a model of the relationship of love in a Christian marriage
May 23rd (June 5th) is the day when the Orthodox commemorate a very special Belarusian saint, St Euphrosinia of Polotsk. As you may know, the abbess of our Convent bears the saint’s name, which means that it is her name day as well.
The spiritual message of the icon revealed itself with time. It promises eventual forgiveness to the Russian people and the return of the supreme power from the Holy Theotokos after a long period of suffering and repentance.