Kosmas and Damian
These brothers from Rome both became doctors. They grew up as Christians and their parents taught them to live piously so they didn’t take money for healing people. They are called unmercenaries because mercenaries take money for fighting so these brothers are the opposite, they healed for free. It is said that God granted them with the gift of healing many illnesses as well as leading many people to Christianity with their examples of a strong spiritual path.
St John Maximovitch
of Shanghai and San Francisco
St John was born in a village in southern Russia at that time (Ukraine now). His body was frail as a child but his mind and heart were strong and drew him towards God. He followed the wishes of his parents, and got a law degree. But while there he read everything he could about the lives of saints; while keeping up with his classes.
War was coming and he and his family escaped to Belgrade (Serbia). Here the boy called Micheal was tonsured a monk (after St John of Tobolsk…a relative) and studied theology, preparing him to become a hieromonk (priest-monk). He worked as a teacher until he was sent to China as a Bishop.
In Shanghai, he worked to unify the communities, built orphanages, and hospitals. He would often go into patients rooms and spend hours in prayer. He would give his own sandals to poor people he saw while out walking, and so he would be barefoot in the streets. He made connections again with young people. One altar boy (now a priest) said that St John was strict but everyone loved him. He even tried to copy him, as a boy, one lent and his parents were so worried that he stopped eating, that they brought him before St John. St John reminded the boy that he must honor his parents above his own will. So the boy, started eating again… But war was coming again. As Archbishop of China, he shepherded 5,000 Orthodox believers to safety in the Philipines and eventually to the US. St John was then sent to a cathedral in Paris. Here his love of study was nourished as he learned the lives of Western Saints, even creating a list for the Synod to consider adopting officially into the Orthodox Church.
Then Archbishop Tikhon fell ill in the USA and St John was sent to San Fransisco, back to many of the faithful from his community in China. He connected with the children here through small acts of silliness. Like his habit of spraying holy water in their faces instead of on top of their heads.
St Morwenna of Morwenstow
Morwenna was an Irish princess who became a monk but decided to live in Wales atop a cliff in Cornwall. She carried stones from the bottom of the cliff to the top to build a church for the nearby village. A spring under the cliff marks the place she quarried her stones!
Take a virtual tour of Morwenstow!
Our Lady of Sitka
This is a special icon of the Theotokos at a church in Alaska! It is said that the gaze of the Holy Mother in this icon can heal. It is a Russian style icon by Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky in the Church of Archangel Michael.
Synaxis of Archangel Gabriel
Please enjoy coloring your own Angel Gabriel.
Gabriel is an Archangel that means he commands other angels in God’s host. He wears blue and gold. He carries a ball that represents the Earth.
We often remember Gabriel during the Annunciation, when he talked with Mary, the Theotokos, about having baby Jesus.
We sing to Gabriel-
O Commanders of the Heavenly Host, we the unworthy beseech you, that through your entreaties you will fortify us, guarding us in the shelter of the wings of your ethereal glory, even as we fervently bow before you crying: “Deliver us from all danger, as Commanders of the Powers on high! “
St Mary of Paris
St Mary was a married wormen who lived during Russian revolution and World War II. She srtuggled at times with her faith, and for a while stopped believing. Her marriage fell apart, she lost a child, war made life very hard. In the end, Christ drew her near. She worked tirelessly for her faith. She was a social worker, turned nun. She is famous for saving hundreds of children from the Nazis in Paris, smuggling them our of a soccer arena where the Jews were being housed.
St Christina of Tyre
Christina was a pretty girl from a wealthy family. An angel visited her and taught her about the True God. She became a Christian but her father was not. He wanted her to be a priestess in a pagan temple. She would not and she even broke her father’s idols. When he discovered that she had broken the statues he worshiped as gods he was furious. She was beaten, tied to a wheel and beaten more. The angel came back and healed her wounds and fed her. When her father saw she was healthy he said it must be witchcraft. He refused to believe that God had saved her. She was killed.
Anna lived a very long time ago with her husband Joachim. They were married for a long time without having any children. They prayed to God often to bless them with a baby. God surprised her with the blessing of a baby girl. We call that girl the Theotokos, to remember that she was Jesus’ Mom.
Anna and Joachim were so grateful to God for blessing them with a child that they made sure to raise her as God’s beloved handmaiden. They taught her God’s rules, to pray and love .
Please enjoy coloring your icon of Jesus with his Mom and grandma! Baby Jesus often wears yellow, his mom and grandma wear red and blue.
St Jacob Netsetov, Enlightener of Alaska
Saint Jacob was born on the Aleutian Islands. His dad worked for the Russian Trading company and his mother was a native Alaskan. They raised their four kids in the Orthodox faith. They spoke both Unangen and Russian. When they got older, the boys went to Russia to finish their education. St John chose seminary, married, and returned to the Aleutian Islands as a missionary priest. He cared for the communiteis along the entire chain of islands.
Eventually, with the help of Fr. John Veniaminov, built a parish church on Akta Island. They used the building for a school as well, and it is still active almost 200 years later!
As an older man, St Jacob moved to the Yukon where he continued to travel by sled dog to serve his community. Here, he created an alphabet and translated services and Gospel readings into Yupik.
Finally St Jacob moved to the community on Sitka. He no longer traveled, but ministered at a chapel.
For a longer lesson with some geography download here
St Irene of Chrysovalantou
St Irene lived as a monk. We know she was from Cappadocia in the 9th century. Her family was wealthy and when Empress Theodora was looking for prospective wives for her son, Emperor Micheal, Irene was in the group of virtuous young women. She followed God on another path. She lived as a Bride of Christ. God guided her and she lead people through wisdom and prophecy (she was given the gift of clairvoyance). She became the Abbess at the Convent of Chrysovalantou. Other nuns saw her perform miracles, read the lived of saints, and seek God’s guidance in prayer.
One miracle that St Irene is known for is that she received apples from “John in Paradise”. A sailor brought them to her. He said that an old man walked across the waves to bring them to his boat. Specifically for St Irene.
It is also said that an angel told her the day she would repose, so she fasted extra the week before in preparation for meeting her Lord and God!
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