Saint Prokopios came from the region of Decapolis in the Holy Land and lived in the eighth century. He accepted monastic tonsure as a young man. With his ascetic deeds, righteousness and piety he earned himself the respect of the fellow monks who viewed him as a man of virtue and a pure soul. But he performed the feat of his life by standing up fearlessly against the heresy of iconoclasm that became official policy in Byzantine during the reign of Emperor Leo the Isaurus.
Iconoclasts considered icons to be idols and denounced the veneration of icons as idolatry. Saint Prokopius joined the circle of true believers who fought against heresy. He articulated the main argument for icon veneration that became centuries later the decision of the Ecumenical Council against iconoclasts. He insisted that Christians do not worship icons, but worship them; that the object of the veneration is not the depiction, but the saint depicted on the icon, ‘the original prototype’. For upholding this position, he was arrested and suffered cruel torments. He was flogged, cut with iron claws and then thrown into a dungeon, where he remained until the death of the heretical emperor.
After the emperor’s death, he regained his freedom and continued his monastic pursuits until he died at an old age.
Sister Anastasia of St Elisabeth Convent tells a story of a miracle performed by St John of Shanghai and San Francisco that she not only witnessed but was also involved with.
Martyr Peter the Aleut († 1815) was a young Aleut who was born and raised on one of the islands of the Kodiak Archipelago. In 1815, as a young man, together with thirteen fellow Aleuts, fishermen and hunters, he sailed to the shores of California…
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.
"There is only one thing to say about this remarkable monastic: the sweetest of souls! One conversation with Father Silouan was enough to make anyone grow fond of him."
The example of the martyr saints shows how the grace of the holy spirit can empower us to reach untold levels of bravery and spiritual strength, despite our physical weakness.
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.
On the 11th of September, the Orthodox Christians that follow the Julian calendar commemorate Saint John the Forerunner by celebrating the feast day of his Martyrdom. John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus Christ.