+ + +

Saint Joseph
Joseph is the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus of Nazareth in stories told in the Christian Bible's New Testament.

Joseph and Mary are introduced in the books of Luke (chapters 1 through 3) and Matthew (chapters 1 and 2) as an engaged couple living in the Galilean town of Nazareth. Mary becomes pregnant supernaturally through the work of God's spirit -- a development explained to her by the angel Gabriel but not to Joseph. "Unwilling to expose her to public disgrace," Joseph considers quietly breaking the engagement but then heeds instructions he receives in a dream to go through with the marriage and name the child Jesus. Joseph and Mary go to Bethlehem for the birth, flee to Egypt with the baby during a slaughter of infants ordered by Herod, and later return with the boy to Nazareth. Both parents are mentioned in the Bible's brief childhood descriptions of Jesus, but little else is said of Joseph. He is said to be a descendant of David and a carpenter. His death is not recorded, and Mary is the only parent named in accounts of Jesus' adult ministry.

Extra credit: Another Joseph, shared by Judaism and Christianity, appears in the Hebrew Bible (the Christian "Old Testament"). This son of Jacob is the subject of a long story in Genesis (chapters 37-50), filled with fratricidal and international intrigue, dream interpretation, and a famous colorful coat or robe... The New Testament genealogies of Jesus and Joseph (Matthew 1:17 and Luke 3:23-38) trace their male ancestors not only back to David, but also to, among others, Jacob, Isaac and Abraham -- and, in Luke, all the way to the first human, Adam... In an odd modern ritual of unknown origin, some people trying to sell a house will bury a miniature statue of Joseph on their property in hopes of improving chances of a sale.

Troparion of St Joseph: Tone 2

O Joseph, proclaim to David, the ancestor of Christ our God the great miracles you have witnessed. You have seen the virgin with a Child, given praise with the Shepherd, adored with the wise men, and the Angel of the Lord has appeared to you. Intercede with Christ God that he may save our souls.

+ + +


+ + +

Date: 25 November
Commemoration of Nikon, the Preacher of Repentence

Synaxarion of the Day (story of the feast or commemoration)

Saint Nikon Metanoeite (“the Preacher of Repentance”) was born at Pontus Polemoniacus at the beginning of the tenth century. He was the son of a wealthy landowner, and he was given the name Nicetas in Baptism.

Since he had no desire to take over the management of his family’s wealth and estates, Nicetas entered the monastery of Chrysopetro, where he shone forth in prayer and asceticism. When he received the monastic tonsure, he was given the new name Nikon. The new name symbolizes a new life in the Spirit (Romans 7:6), and the birth of the new man (Ephesians 4:24). A monk is expected to stop associating himself with the old personality connected to his former life in the world, and to devote himself entirely to God.

St Nikon had a remarkable gift for preaching. When he spoke of virtue and spiritual matters, his listeners were filled with heartfelt compunction and love for God. His words produced such spiritual fruit in those who heard him that he was asked to travel through the eastern regions to preach. He visited Armenia, Crete, Euboea, Aegina, and the Peloponnesus, proclaiming the Gospel of Christ.

“Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” This was the message of St John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2), and of Christ Himself (Matthew 4:17). This was also the message of St Nikon. Wherever he went, he would begin his sermons with “Repent,” hence he was called “Nikon Metanoeite,” or “Nikon, the Preacher of Repentance.”

At first, people paid little heed to his message. Then gradually he won their hearts through his preaching, his miracles, and his gentle, loving nature. He stressed the necessity for everyone to repent, warning that those who utter a few sighs and groans and think that they have achieved true repentance have deluded themselves. St Nikon told the people that true sorrow for one’s sins is cultivated by prayer, self-denial, almsgiving, ascetical efforts, and by confession to one’s spiritual Father.

After sowing the seeds of piety, St Nikon began to see them bear fruit. People started to change their lives, but he urged them to strengthen their souls in virtue and good works so that they would not be overwhelmed by the cares of this world.

Eventually, St Nikon settled in a cave outside Sparta. Soon he moved into the city, because so many people were coming to hear him. In the center of Sparta, he built a church dedicated to Christ the Savior. In time a monastery grew up around the church.

St Nikon never ceased to preach the Word of God, and to lead people back to the spiritual life of the Church. He also healed the sick, and performed many other miracles.

St Nikon fell asleep in the Lord in 998, and his memory was honored by the people around Sparta. During the Turkish occupation of Greece, however, he was all but forgotten, except in Sparta. After the Greek Revolution in 1821, a service to St Nikon was composed by Father Daniel Georgopoulos, and was based on the saint’s Life, which had been written by Igumen Gregory of St Nikon’s Monastery in 1142.

St Nikon was recognized as the patron saint of the diocese of Monemvasia and Lakedaimonia in 1893 when the cathedral church in Sparta was dedicated to St Nikon, the Preacher of Repentance.

Troparion: Tone

Class of Feast: 5

+ + +


+ + +

Date: 25 November
Commemoration of the our Venerable Fathers Alypios Sylite
Synaxarion of the Day (story of the feast or commemoration)

Saint Alypius the Stylite was born in the city of Adrianopolis in Paphlagonia. His mother, a Christian, was widowed early, and she sent her son to be educated by Bishop Theodore. She distributed her substance to the poor, then began to live an ascetic life near the church as a deaconess.

St Alypius, from his early years, wanted to devote his life to God and yearned for the solitary life, although Bishop Theodore would not give him permission to do so. Once, when St Alypius was accompanying his bishop to Constantinople, the holy Martyr Euphemia (September 16) appeared to him in a vision, summoning St Alypius to return to Adrianopolis and found a church in her name.

With contributions offered by believers in Adrianopolis, St Alypius did build a church in the name of the holy Martyr Euphemia, on the site of a dilapidated pagan temple infested by legions of devils. Beside the church, under the open sky, the saint erected a pillar over a pagan tomb. For fifty-three years St Alypius struggled upon the pillar, praying to God and teaching those who came to him.

The demons which infested the pagan cemetery fell upon the ascetic by night and pelted him with stones. St Alypius, wanted nothing to stand in the way of the attacks of the spirits of darkness, then even took down the boards that served him as a roof, protecting him from the rain and wind. In the face of the saint’s conquering steadfastness, the demons fled the place forever, which had been sanctified by his deed of voluntary martyrdom.

Fourteen years before his death, St Alypius was no longer able to stand. He was compelled to lie on his side because of the weakness of his legs, and endured grievous sufferings with humble gratitude. Around the saint’s pillar two monasteries sprang up: a men’s monastery on the one side, and a women’s monastery on the other. St Alypius introduced strict monastic rules for both monasteries and he directed both monasteries until his death. St Alypius reposed in the year 640, at age 118. The body of the venerable stylite was buried in the church he founded in honor of the holy Martyr Euphemia. The relics of the saint of God healed many of those who came in faith.

Troparion of Fathers Alypios : Tone 1

You were a pillar of patient endurance, having imitated the forefathers, O Venerable One: Job in suffering, and Joseph in temptations. You lived like the Bodiless Ones while yet in the flesh, O Alypius, our Father. Beseech Christ God that our souls may be saved.

Class of Feast: 5

+ + +

Return to Top