Whom to Pray To

When recovering from spiritual delusion and mental illness, Orthodox Christians resort to the powers of the Lord Jesus Christ, His Saints and Angels: the Mother of God, Michael the Archangel, Saint Nicolas and other Saints, to the Grace of the Sacred Mysteries: Holy Communion, Confession and Unction. Also it is helpful to pray to the Saints that already helped the particular person in other situations. Also it is necessary to take the medications prescribed by the doctor. Often a natural mental disease originate from the passion of pride and is also accompanied by spiritual delusion. An example is the ancient king Nebuchadnezzar who got mad because of his pride.

To cure spiritual delusion and mental illness, it is especially helpful to address to the Saints that are known to have the special Grace to cure from different diseases including the mental ones or to the Saints that are known to have the power over the demons during their life because delusion and mental illness are often caused by the demons, or to the Saints that were heavily fighting with vainglory and pride taking the feat of a Fool-for-Christ. These Saints include Saints Cyprian and Justina, Tryphon Martyr, Konon Martyr, Panteleimon Martyr, Andrew the Fool-for-Christ and other Saints. Also, some icons of the Mother of God are known for the healing of mental illness before them.

Also some of the new elders are known to cure people from spiritual delusion: elder Paisios, Daniel Katounakiotis, Joseph Hesychast and others.

Canon of Repentance

Canon of Repentance

Canon of the Holy Cross

The Canon of the Holy Cross

of which the Acrostic is:

We all praise the Tree that should be worshipped.

A Composition by Joseph.

Ode 1. Tone 8.
The wonderworking rod of Moses.

Let us today with pure mind and devout intent worship the life-bearing Cross of the Lord; for it is set forth granting to those who approach it sanctification and salvation, illumination, glory and mercy.

The life-giving Cross set forth and contemplated sends out a beam of grace formed of light. Let us draw near and receive enlightenment of joy, salvation and forgiveness, as we bring praise to the Lord.

A strange sight is set forth for those who watch, the precious Cross; and like a source it pours out spiritual gifts of grace, brings sins to an end, abolishes diseases and strengthens the thoughts of those worship it sincerely.

A rod which parted the sea prefigured the trophy of the Cross, through which we by faith sail the troubled water of life undrowned, escape all the streams of sin and are filled with divine calm.


When I gave birth to you ineffably, my Child, I escaped the pangs of labour; how then am I now all filled with griefs? For I see you, who hung the earth without restraint, hanged like a malefactor on a Tree.

Icon of the Mother of God "Addition of Mind"

About icon "Addition of mind".

Commemorated on August 15 old style/ August 28 new style.

Icon 'Addition of Mind'Statue from Loreto

The icon "Addition of Mind" appears to be quite unusual among Orthodox icons of the Mother of God. The peculiarity of this rare iconography is that the Virgin Mary and Christ are depicted diapered with a liturgical vestment - phelonion. The iconography of "Addition of Mind" is complex and somewhat unusual. As unusual is the history of this icon.

Ilyin Chernigov and Chernigov Gethsemane Icons of the Mother of God

About the Ilyin-Chernigov and Chernigov-Gethsemane icons of the Mother of God.


Ilyin-Chernigov icon: April 16 old style/ April 29 new style.

Chernigov-Gethsemane icon: September 1 old style/ September 14 new style.

Many healings of mental illness and demonic possession happened from Chernigov icon. St. Ambrose of Optina suggests in one letter to bring a mad person to this icon.

The Ilyin-Chernigov Icon of the Mother of God was painted in the year 1658 by the iconographer Gregory Dubensky, (Gennadius in monasticism). Tears flowed from the icon for eight days in 1662, from April 16-24.

In this same year Tatars descended upon Chernigov and devastated it. At midnight they burst into the Trinity monastery, went into the church, overturned all the icons and grabbed all the utensils, but the wonderworking icon and its ornaments remained untouched.

An invisible power held back the impious from the holy icon. Previously, the Queen of Heaven had not permitted the enemy to enter the cave of St Anthony of the Caves, where the brethren of the monastery had hidden. The Tatars fled, as though terrified by a vision.

The miracle of the Mother of God and Her Chernigov Icon was described by St Demetrius of Rostov (October 28 and September 21) in his book, THE BEDEWED FLEECE [Runo Oroshennoe]. Later on, St John of Tobolsk (June 10) also wrote about the Chernigov Icon.

A wonderworking copy of the Chernigov Icon of the Mother of God, in the Gethsemane skete of the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra, was glorified in the year 1869 (September 1).

Images of Ilyin-Chernigov icon: http://pravicon.com/icon-134


24 miracles (by the number of hours in a day) from Ilyin-Chernigov icon of the Mother of God (based on the book of Saint Dimitry of Rostov “The bedewed fleece”).

Miracle 1.

In the reign of the Great Sovereign Tsar and Grand Duke Alexei Mikhailovich, Autocrat of All the Great and Small and White Russia, when the archbishop throne in Chernigov was held by the Right Reverend Father Lazarus Baranovich, the Orthodox Archbishop of Chernigov, Novgorod and the entire North,  in the year 1662 Anno Domini, in the month of April, in the monastery of Elijah the Prophet (the Ilyin monastery), under the hegumen Zosima, from the 16th day to the 24th, the icon of the Immaculate Blessed Virgin Mary was weeping in the church. All the people of the city of Chernigov watched this miracle with great horror.

Miracle 2.

Also in the year 1662, when the icon of the Mother of God was weeping, the Saracens (Muslims), by God's allowance for our sins, quietly crept up, captured many villages in the neighborhood of Chernigov. The monks of that Ilyin monastery, unaware of the barbarian invasion, sat in their monastery, and one night it was announced about the Tartars. Then they all went to the church and hid in the cave of our Saint Father Anthony.

At midnight, the Tatars attacked the monastery, and broke into the church, where there was a miracle-working icon of the Most Holy Mother of God, decorated with silver plates, according to the custom. The godless committed a lot of blasphemies: they threw down all the icons from their places to the ground, took all churchware...

But they did not touch the icon of the Mother of God which was standing at the local place of the iconostasis, nor the silver plates on it. Possibly as once for Prophet Elisha, so here the Lord God smote the heathens with blindness, so that being blind with their spiritual eyes, they would not sight with the bodily eyes either at the icon of the Mother of God, which we, looking at, see as the true Mother of God.

The power of God forbade them: let they not touch the Mental Kiot with unworthy hands.

And the heathens not only did not touch the icon, but also could not enter the cave where the monks were hiding, even though they attempted to do it so many times with lit splinter and drawn swords, however, they, being driven away, returned, as if thrown back by someone. It was the power of the Immaculate Virgin, protecting the monks, what prevented the Saracens from entering the cave.

Archangel Michael

Archangel Michael.

Commemorated on November 8 old style/ November 21 new style, September 6 old style/ September 19 new style (miracle at Colossae (Chonae).

The Synaxis of the Chief of the Heavenly Hosts, Archangel Michael and the Other Heavenly Bodiless Powers: Archangels Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Selaphiel, Jehudiel, Barachiel, and Jeremiel was established at the beginning of the fourth century at the Council of Laodicea, which met several years before the First Ecumenical Council. The 35th Canon of the Council of Laodicea condemned and denounced as heretical the worship of angels as gods and rulers of the world, but affirmed their proper veneration.

A Feastday was established in November, the ninth month after March (with which the year began in ancient times) since there are Nine Ranks of Angels. The eighth day of the month was chosen for the Synaxis of all the Bodiless Powers of Heaven since the Day of the Dread Last Judgment is called the Eighth Day by the holy Fathers. After the end of this age (characterized by its seven days of Creation) will come the Eighth Day, and then "the Son of Man shall come in His Glory and all the holy Angels with Him" (Mt. 25:31).

The Angelic Ranks are divided into three Hierarchies: highest, middle, and lowest.

The Highest Hierarchy includes: the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones.

The six-winged SERAPHIM (Flaming, Fiery) (Is 6:12) stand closest of all to the Most Holy Trinity. They blaze with love for God and kindle such love in others.

The many-eyed CHERUBIM (outpouring of wisdom, enlightenment) (Gen 3:24) stand before the Lord after the Seraphim. They are radiant with the light of knowledge of God, and knowledge of the mysteries of God. Through them wisdom is poured forth, and people's minds are enlightened so they may know God and behold His glory.

The THRONES (Col 1:16) stand after the Cherubim, mysteriously and incomprehensibly bearing God through the grace given them for their service. They are ministers of God's justice, giving to tribunals, kings, etc. the capacity for righteous judgment.

Saint Sergius of Radonezh

Saint Sergius, Abbot and Wonderworker of Radonezh.

Commemorated on September 25 old style/ October 8 new style, July 5 old style/ July 18 new style.

Saint Sergius of Radonezh was born in the village of Varnitsa, near Rostov, on May 3, 1314. His parents were the pious and illustrious nobles Cyril and Maria (September 28). The Lord chose him while still in his mother's womb. In the Life of St Sergius it is reported that even before the birth of her son, St Maria and those praying heard the thrice-repeated cry of the infant at the Divine Liturgy: before the reading of the Holy Gospel, during the Cherubic hymn, and when the priest pronounced: "Holy Things are for the Holy."

God gave Cyril and Maria a son whom they named Bartholomew. From his very first days of life the infant amazed everyone by his fasting. On Wednesdays and Fridays he would not accept milk from his mother, and on other days, if Maria used oil in the food, the infant also refused the milk of his mother. Noticing this, Maria refrained altogether from food with oil.

At the age of seven, Bartholomew was sent to study together with his two brothers: his older brother Stephen, and his younger brother Peter. His brothers learned successfully, but Bartholomew fell behind in his studies, even though the teacher gave him much special attention. The parents scolded the child, the teacher chastised him, and his classmates made fun of his lack of comprehension. Finally, Bartholomew besought the Lord with tears to grant him the ability to read.

The Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon

The Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon.

Commemorated on July 27 old style/ August 9 new style.

The Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon was born in the city of Nicomedia into the family of the illustrious pagan Eustorgius, and he was named Pantoleon. His mother St Euboula (March 30) was a Christian. She wanted to raise her son in the Christian Faith, but she died when the future martyr was just a young child. His father sent Pantoleon to a pagan school, after which the young man studied medicine at Nicomedia under the renowned physician Euphrosynus. Pantoleon came to the attention of the emperor Maximian (284-305), who wished to appoint him as royal physician when he finished his schooling.

The hieromartyrs Hermolaus, Hermippus and Hermocrates, survivors of the massacre of 20,000 Christians in 303 (December 28), were living secretly in Nicomedia at that time. St Hermolaus saw Pantoleon time and again when he came to the house where they were hiding. Once, the priest invited the youth to the house and spoke about the Christian Faith. After this Pantoleon visited St Hermolaus every day.

One day the saint found a dead child on the street. He had been bitten by a great snake, which was still beside the child's body. Pantoleon began to pray to the Lord Jesus Christ to revive the dead child and to destroy the venomous reptile. He firmly resolved that if his prayer were fulfilled, he would become a follower of Christ and receive Baptism. The child rose up alive, and the snake died before Pantoleon's eyes.

After this miracle, Pantoleon was baptized by St Hermolaus with the name Panteleimon (meaning "all-merciful"). Speaking with Eustorgius, St Panteleimon prepared him to accept Christianity. When the father saw how his son healed a blind man by invoking Jesus Christ, he then believed in Christ and was baptized by St Hermolaus together with the man whose sight was restored.

Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk

Living of Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk, Bishop of Voronezh.

Commemorated on 13 August old style / 26 August new style.

Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk, Bishop of Voronezh (in the world Timothy), was born in the year 1724 in the village of Korotsk in the Novgorod diocese, into the family of the cantor Sabellius Kirillov. (A new family name, Sokolov, was given him afterwards by the head of the Novgorod seminary). His father died when Timothy was a young child, leaving the family in such poverty that his mother was barely able to make ends meet. She wanted to give him to be raised by a neighbor, a coachman, since there was nothing with which to feed the family, but his brother Peter would not permit this. Timothy often worked a whole day with the peasants for a single piece of black bread.

As a thirteen-year-old boy, he was sent to a clergy school near the Novgorod archbishop's home, and earned his keep by working with the vegetable gardeners. In 1740, he was accepted under a state grant set up for the Novgorod seminary. The youth excelled at his studies. Upon finishing seminary in 1754, he became a teacher there, first in Greek, and later in Rhetoric and Philosophy. In the year 1758, he was tonsured with the name Tikhon. In that same year they appointed him to be prefect of the seminary.

In 1759, they transferred him to Tver, elevating him to be archimandrite of the Zheltikov monastery. Later, they appointed him rector of the Tver seminary and, at the same time, head of the Otroch monastery.

His election as bishop was providential. Metropolitan Demetrius, the presiding member of the Holy Synod, had intended to transfer the young archimandrite to the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra. On the day of Pascha, at Peterburg, Archimandrite Tikhon was one of eight candidates being considered for selection as vicar-bishop for Novogorod. The lot fell on him three times.

On the same day, during the Cherubic Hymn, Bishop Athanasius of Tver, without realizing it, commemorated him as a bishop while cutting out particles from the prosphora at the Table of Oblation. On May 13, 1761 he was consecrated Bishop of Keksgolma and Ladoga (i.e., a vicar bishop of the Novgorod diocese).

Blessed Andrew the Fool-For-Christ

Living of Blessed Andrew the Fool-For-Christ at Constantinople.

Commemorated on October 2 old style/ October 15 new style.

Blessed Andrew, Fool-for-Christ, was a Slav and lived in the tenth century at Constantinople. From his early years, he loved God's Church and the Holy Scriptures. Once during a dream, the saint beheld a vision of two armies. In the one were men in radiant garb, in the other, black and fiercesome devils. An angel of God, who held wondrous crowns, said to Andrew, that these crowns were not adornments from the earthly world, but rather a celestial treasure, with which the Lord rewards His warriors, victorious over the dark hordes. "Proceed with this good deed," the angel said to Andrew. "Be a fool for My sake and you will receive much in the day of My Kingdom."

The saint perceived that it was the Lord Himself summoning him to this deed. From that time Andrew began to go about the streets in rags, as though his mind had become muddled. For many years the saint endured mockery and insults. With indifference he underwent beatings, hunger and thirst, cold and heat, begging alms and giving them away to the poor. For his great forebearance and humility the saint received from the Lord the gift of prophecy and wisdom, saving many from spiritual perils, and he unmasked the impiety of many.

While praying at the Blachernae church, St Andrew beheld the Most Holy Mother of God, holding her veil over those praying under her Protection (October 1). Blessed Andrew died in the year 936.


Saints Macarius the Great and Macarius of Alexandria

Living of Saint Macarius the Great of Egypt.

Commemorated on January 19 old style / February 1 new style.

Saint Macarius the Great of Egypt was born around 331 in the village of Ptinapor in Egypt. At the wish of his parents he entered into marriage, but was soon widowed. After he buried his wife, Macarius told himself, "Take heed, Macarius, and have care for your soul. It is fitting that you forsake worldly life."

The Lord rewarded the saint with a long life, but from that time the memory of death was constantly with him, impelling him to ascetic deeds of prayer and penitence. He began to visit the church of God more frequently and to be more deeply absorbed in Holy Scripture, but he did not leave his aged parents, thus fulfilling the commandment to honor one's parents.

Until his parents died, St Macarius used his remaining substance to help them and he began to pray fervently that the Lord might show him a guide on the way to salvation. The Lord sent him an experienced Elder, who lived in the desert not far from the village. The Elder accepted the youth with love, guided him in the spiritual science of watchfulness, fasting and prayer, and taught him the handicraft of weaving baskets. After building a separate cell not far from his own, the Elder settled his disciple in it.

The local bishop arrived one day at Ptinapor and, knowing of the saint's virtuous life, ordained him against his will. St Macarius was overwhelmed by this disturbance of his silence, and so he went secretly to another place. The Enemy of our salvation began a tenacious struggle with the ascetic, trying to terrify him, shaking his cell and suggesting sinful thoughts. St Macarius repelled the attacks of the devil, defending himself with prayer and the Sign of the Cross.

Evil people slandered the saint, accusing him of seducing a woman from a nearby village. They dragged him out of his cell and jeered at him. St Macarius endured the temptation with great humility. Without a murmur, he sent the money that he got for his baskets for the support of the pregnant woman.

The innocence of St Macarius was manifested when the woman, who suffered torment for many days, was not able to give birth. She confessed that she had slandered the hermit, and revealed the name of the real father. When her parents found out the truth, they were astonished and intended to go to the saint to ask forgiveness. Though St Macarius willingly accepted dishonor, he shunned the praise of men. He fled from that place by night and settled on Mt. Nitria in the Pharan desert.

Thus human wickedness contributed to the prospering of the righteous. Having dwelt in the desert for three years, he went to St Anthony the Great, the Father of Egyptian monasticism, for he had heard that he was still alive in the world, and he longed to see him. Abba Anthony received him with love, and Macarius became his devoted disciple and follower. St Macarius lived with him for a long time and then, on the advice of the saintly abba, he went off to the Skete monastery (in the northwest part of Egypt). He so shone forth in asceticism that he came to be called "a young Elder," because he had distinguished himself as an experienced and mature monk, even though he was not quite thirty years old.

Saint Luke of Hellas

Life of Venerable Luke of Hellas.

Commemorated on February 7 old style/ February 20 new style.

Saint Luke of Hellas was a native of the Greek village of Kastorion. The son of poor farmers, the saint from childhood had toiled much, working in the fields and shepherding the sheep. He was very obedient to his parents and very temperate in eating. He often gave his own food and clothing to the poor, for which he suffered reproach from his parents. He once gave away almost all the seed which was needed for planting in the fields. The Lord rewarded him for his charity, and the harvest gathered was greater than ever before.

As a child, he prayed fervently and often. His mother saw him more than once standing not on the ground, but in the air while he prayed.

After the death of his father, he left his mother and went to Athens, where he entered a monastery. But through the prayers of his mother, who was very concerned about him, the Lord returned him to his parental home in a miraculous manner. He spent four months there, then with his mother's blessing he went to a solitary place on a mountain called Ioannou (or Ioannitsa). Here there was a church dedicated to the holy Unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian, where he lived an ascetical life in constant prayer and fasting. He was tonsured there by some Elders who were on pilgrimage. After this, St Luke redoubled his ascetic efforts, for which the Lord granted him the gift of foresight.

After a seven years on Ioannou, the saint moved to Corinth because of an invasion of the Bulgarian armies. Hearing about the exploits of a certain stylite at Patras, he went to see him, and remained for ten years to serve the ascetic with humility and obedience. Afterwards, the saint returned again to his native land and again began to pursue asceticism on Mount Ioannou.

The throngs of people flocking there disturbed his quietude, so with the blessing of his Elder Theophylactus, St Luke went with his disciple to a still more remote place at Kalamion. After three years, he settled on the desolate and arid island of Ampelon because of an invasion of the Turks. Steiris was another place of his ascetic efforts. Here brethren gathered to the monk, and a small monastery grew up, the church of which was dedicated to the Great Martyr Barbara. Dwelling in the monastery, the saint performed many miracles, healing sicknesses of soul and of body.

Foreseeing his end, the saint confined himself in a cell and for three months prepared for his departure. When asked where he was to be buried, the monk replied, "Throw my body into a ravine to be eaten by wild beasts." When the brethren begged him to change these instructions, he commanded them to bury his body on the spot where he lay. Raising his eyes to heaven, he said, "Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit!"

St Luke fell asleep in the Lord on February 7, 946. Later, a church was built over his tomb. Myrrh flowed from his holy relics, and many healings occurred.


Saints Cyprian and Justina Help to Cure Spiritual Delusion and Mental Illness

The Lives of Saints Cyprian and Justina.

Commemorated on October 2 old style/ October 15 new style.

Christianity vs. Sorcery. THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, which began with the presumption of imagining itself the most enlightened of all ages, has in reality proceeded of imagining some of the blackest years of all human history. Symptomatic of this truly dark age is the revival in recent decades of interest and active participation in witchcraft and sorcery. Much of this interest is on the level of dilettantism and crude amateurism, but more and more often it produces real results, leads to an actual contact with demonic powers, and causes the eternal damnation of souls caught in the web of nets far more subtle and deadly than the beginning occultist imagines.

All this is not new to Orthodox Christians. In the history of the world's religions there is a whole tradition of sorcery—the service of the pagan gods, which are demons (Psalm 95:5). This is the religious tradition which Christianity replaced in all lands that accepted the Gospel, and which now comes back in power to destroy Christianity and to conduct mankind to Antichrist.

The Life of Sts. Cyprian and Justina gives one of the fullest accounts in Christian literature of sorcery and its power over men—and its final defeat by the power of Christ. It is not the product of someone's imagination, but is based on the first-hand testimony of one who was a leading servant of the demons himself.

Let Orthodox Christians read and become sober, and resolve with the more firmness and determination to work out their salvation against the powers of darkness in fear and trembling. And let him who has in his heart even a spark of repentance take courage and hope, for this Life is also the surest proof that God's mercy is stretched out even to the most lost of souls. If the sorcerer Cyprian could be saved and become a mighty intercessor for the demon possessed, then there is hope for those also who even now have fallen into the darkest and most unnatural sins of our dark age.

Alexis the Man of God

Life of Venerable Alexis the Man of God.

Commemorated on March 17 old style/ March 30 new style.

St Alexis was born at Rome into the family of the pious and poverty-loving Euphemianus and Aglais. The couple was childless for a long time and constantly prayed the Lord to grant them a child. And the Lord consoled the couple with the birth of their son Alexis.

At six years of age the child began to read and successfully studied the mundane sciences, but it was with particular diligence that he read Holy Scripture. When he was a young man, he began to imitate his parents: he fasted strictly, distributed alms and beneath his fine clothing he secretly wore a hair shirt. Early on there burned within him the desire to leave the world and serve God. His parents, however, had arranged for Alexis to marry a beautiful and virtuous bride.

On his wedding night, Alexis gave her his ring and his belt (which were very valuable) and said, "Keep these things, Beloved, and may the Lord be with us until His grace provides us with something better." Secretly leaving his home, he boarded a ship sailing for Mesopotamia.

Saint Parthenius the Bishop of Lampsacus

Saint Parthenius the Bishop of Lampsacus on the Hellespont.

Commemorated on February 7 old style/ February 20 new style.

Saint Parthenius, Bishop of Lampsacus, was a native of the city of Melitoupolis (in northwestern Asia Minor), where his father Christopher served as deacon. The youth did not receive adequate schooling, but he learned the Holy Scripture by attending church services. He had a good heart, and distributed to the poor the money he earned working as a fisherman.

Filled with the grace of God, St Parthenius from age eighteen healed the sick in the name of Christ, cast out demons and worked other miracles. Learning of the young man's virtuous life, Bishop Philetus of Melitoupolis educated him and ordained him presbyter.

In 325, during the reign of Constantine the Great, Archbishop Achilles of Cyzicus made him bishop of the city of Lampsacus (Asia Minor). In the city were many pagans, and the saint fervently began to spread the faith in Christ, confirming it through many miracles and by healing the sick.

The people began to turn from their pagan beliefs, and the saint went to the emperor Constantine the Great seeking permission to tear down the pagan temple and build a Christian church in its place. The emperor received the saint with honor, gave him a decree authorizing the destruction of the pagan temple, and provided him with the means to build a church. Returning to Lampsacus, St Parthenius had the pagan temple torn down, and built a beautiful church of God in the city.

In one of the razed temples, he found a large marble slab which he thought would be very suitable as an altar. The saint ordered work to begin on the stone, and to move it to the church. Through the malice of the devil, who became enraged at the removal of the stone from the pagan temple, the cart overturned and killed the driver Eutychian. St Parthenius restored him to life by his prayer and shamed the devil, who wanted to frustrate the work of God.

Holy Martyr Tryphon

The Martyr Tryphon.

Commemorated on February 1 old style/ February 14 new style.

The Martyr Tryphon was born in Phrygia, one of the districts of Asia Minor, in the village of Lampsacus. From his early years the Lord granted him the power to cast out demons and to heal various maladies. He once saved the inhabitants of his native city from starvation. St Tryphon, by the power of his prayer, turned back a plague of locusts that were devouring the grain and devastating the fields.

St Tryphon gained particular fame by casting out an evil spirit from the daughter of the Roman emperor Gordian (238-244). Helping everyone in distress, he asked only one thing from them: faith in Jesus Christ, by Whose grace he healed them.

When the emperor Decius (249-251) assumed the imperial throne, he began a fierce persecution of Christians. Someone reported to the commander Aquilinus that St Tryphon was boldly preaching faith in Christ, and that he led many to Baptism. The saint was arrested and subjected to interrogation, during which he fearlessly confessed his faith.

He was subjected to harsh tortures: they beat him with clubs, raked his body with iron hooks, they scorched his flesh with fire, and led him through the city, after iron nails were hammered into his feet. St Tryphon bravely endured all the torments without complaint.

Finally, he was condemned to beheading with a sword. The holy martyr prayed before his execution, thanking God for strengthening him in his sufferings. He also asked the Lord to bless those who should call upon his name for help. Just as the soldiers raised the sword over the head of the holy martyr, he surrendered his soul into the hands of God. This event occurred in the city of Nicea in the year 250.

Christians wrapped the holy body of the martyr in a clean shroud and wanted to bury him in the city of Nicea, where he suffered, but St Tryphon in a vision commanded them to take his body to his native land to the village of Lampsada. Later on, the relics of St Tryphon were transferred to Constantinople, and then to Rome.

Holy Martyr Conon of Isauria

Martyr Conon of Isauria.

Commemorated on March 5 old style/ March 18 new style.

The Holy Martyr Conon of Isauria was born in Bethany, a village near the Asia Minor city of Isauria, whose inhabitants had accepted Christianity from the Apostle Paul. From his youth, St Conon was accorded the special protection of the "Archistrategos" ("Leader of the Heavenly Hosts") Michael, who appeared to him and assisted him in many difficult circumstances in life.

At the insistence of his parents, Conon was betrothed to a maiden named Anna. He persuaded her to live with him in virginity after the wedding. The young couple lived as brother and sister, devoting themselves entirely to God. St Conon brought also his parents to the Christian Faith. His father, St Nestor, received a martyr's death for denouncing idol-worshippers.

After burying both his mother and wife, St Conon continued his service to God, devoting himself entirely to monastic works, fasting and prayer. In his declining years the holy ascetic was glorified with the gift of wonderworking. By virtue of his preaching and miracles many pagans were converted to Christ. It is said that even the evil spirits were forced to serve him.

When a persecution against Christians broke out in Isauria, one of the first to suffer was St Conon. He was subjected to fierce torments for his refusal to offer sacrifice to idols. When the people of Isauria learned of the tortures to which the saint was being subjected, they came forth bearing arms to defend the martyr. Frightened by the people's wrath, the torturers fled, and the Isaurians found the martyr wounded and bloodied at the place of torture.

St Conon wished to endure martyrdom for the Lord, but he lived two more years. St Conon died in the second century and was buried beside his parents and wife.

St. Gerasimos of Kefallonia and the Demon Possessed

Saint Gerasimos of Kefallonia.

Feast Day - August 16 and October 20.

St. Gerasimos of Kefallonia

St. Gerasimos the New Ascetic of Kefallonia (+1579) is known as a renowned healer of the demon possessed. The demon possessed and the mentally ill flock to his holy shrine which contain his incorrupt relics on a daily basis to receive healing. He became a grace-filled exorcist because of his great discipline for fasting and prayer.

The Saint lived as an ascetic on Mount Athos for five years in the Cell of St. Vasilios in the desolate place known as Kapsala. Throughout this time he survived only on boiled zucchini with no oil. It was here that he gained many spiritual experiences and received the monastic tonsure. The demons had no power over him, but rather he acquired the power to cast them out. His nickname became "Kapsalis" ("the burning one"), after the desolate place of Kapsala. The demons would cry out: "Kapsalis, you have burned us."

He acquired such power over the demons that later when he travelled to the Holy Land he desired to imitate the forty day fast of the Lord in the same wilderness that He faced the trials of the devil. For forty days he ate nothing in the wilderness and gave the devil his final blow. He would later go to Kefallonia and establish the monastery which today bears his name and has become a refuge for those battling and possessed by demons.