318 Fathers of the Holy Ecumenical Synod of Nicea
2 November 2023
Council Fathers of Nicaea 325
Paris 146 and Vat. LXIX
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Mor Athanasius Poulose Kadavil, First bishop of Kottayam, Thrikkunnathu Seminary (+1907)
Kadavil Mor Athanasius Paulose was the first Metropolitan ordained for the diocese of Kottayam after its formation in 1876 as per the decision of the historic Mulanthuruthy Synod. From 1891 onwards he assumed the additional responsibility of Ankamali, the largest diocese in the Malankara church. His Grace was the senior most of the six Metropolitans ordained for the Malankara Archdiocese by the Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Pathros IV during his Apostolic visit to India from 1875 to '77.
Mor Athanasius, a profound Syriac scholar, had translated many religious books from Syriac to Malayalam including some chapters from the New Testament. His ardent efforts to uphold the faith and traditions of the church is applauded by all. It was the vision and the collective efforts of the three Metropolitans; Pulikottil Mor Dionysius, Chathuruthil Mor Gregorios and Kadavil Mor Athanasius, that helped in revamping the church in Malankara during a troublesome period.
Mor Augin (St. Eugene)
Saint Mor Awgen is the traditional founder of Syriac monasticism. He originated from Qluzma in Egypt, and started off as a pearl diver who gave pearls to the poor and needy. In mid-life he decided to become a monk at the monastery of St. Pachomius, and from there he and his brotherhood, the holy 70 ancestors, set off to Bethnahrin (Mesopotamia), settling in the region of Mount Izlo. The remains of the monastery dedicated to his name still stands on the slopes of Mount Izlo, overlooking the Mesopotamian plain. His name testifies his success and his glory because it is translated as “the good man” (Bar Hebreus, vol. 1, 1872-1877, p. 85ff).
As Mor Augin was a great and respectable monk, his word and achievement was known even in Byzantium (Constantinople) and by the Emperor Constantine. He said: “These three warriors are known in our kingdom: Antonius in Egypt, Illarion at the coast and Mor Augin who moved out of Egypt and come and settled down in your region and enlightened it. We plead and beg of him that he prays for us in front of Our Lord, so that we and our kingdom will be protected and safe.” (Tale of Saint Mor Augin).
He’s called “Second Christ” in the Syriac tradition owning to the miraculous deeds he did. This certainly does not mean an equality between the both of them, rather it expresses the particularly tight succession of Mor Augin.
Mor Augin and his companions filled and decorated the whole east with monasteries and churches, from Egypt to the border of Persia.
In 363, Saint Mor Augin passed away at a great age and advanced to the kingdom of heaven. “His body was buried in the cave underneath his monastery’s southern altar. His holy relics are kept till today in the monastery. May his prayers be with us” (P. Behnam, 1908, p- 18f).
Mor Augin Monastery https://morauginmonastery.wordpress.com/
Life of St. Augin: http://bit.ly/Awgen
St. Eudoxius of Sebaste +315
St. Gregorius of Parumala (+1902)
November 2nd is the commemoration of the dukhrono of St. Gregorios Geevarghese Chathuruthil of Parumala +1902 according to the Liturgical Calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
Mor Gregorios was born on June 15th 1848 to Mathew & Mary. He was baptized with the name Geevarghese but was fondly called Kochyppora. When he was 2 years old, his mother passed away & he was raised heavily by his eldest sister Mariam. Geevarghese was an ardent lover of Syriac, so his uncle Fr. Geevarghese malfono took him under his wing. He stayed under his tutelage until his uncle passed away in 1865 due to smallpox. His theological studies continued under Fr. Mathen Konat malfono & later under St. Coorilos Yuyakim the Reesh Episcopo & the Patriarchal Delegate to India. At the age of 10 he was ordained Quroyo by HG Mor Athanasius Matthews Palakkunnath at St. George Jacobite Syrian Church Karingachira. At the age of 18 he was ordained shamshono by St. Coorilos Yuyakim, followed by priestly & Cor-Episcopo ordinations. He was ordained as Raban by HG Mor Dionysius Joseph Pulikkottil II at Marthoman Church Mulanthuruthy (his home parish).
At this point in history, the Syriac Orthodox Church in Malankara was facing the onslaught of Protestant reformists infiltrating the Church, spreading unorthodox faith, deporting Syriac prelates, arresting priests & closing down churches. To deal with these problems & to reinvigorate the true faith, under the leadership of Raban Geevarghese, the grievances of the Malankara faithful were sent to the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, & his timely intervention was sought to protect the Church in India. The thrice blessed late Patriarch HH Moran Mor Ignatius Peter IV arrived in Malankara in June 1875 at the request of his faithful children. Raban Geevarghese who was well versed in Syriac was appointed as the interpreter to the Patriarch. The Patriarch greatly impressed with the young Raban, chose him also as his private secretary. When the historic Mulanthuruthy Padiyola was convened in the month of June 1876, the assistance of Raban Geevarghese was of much help to the Patriarch. Raban Geevarghese was also present during the Mouron (Holy Myron/Chrism) consecration.
On December 10th 1876, HH Mor Ignatius Peter IV consecrated Raban Geevarghese as Metropolitan with the title Gregorios at St. Thomas Church North Paravur. Mor Gregorios was only 28 years old at the time which is why he is fondly known as kochuthirumeni (young bishop). HH Mor Ignatius Peter IV used to call Mor Gregorios as Yuhannon, for he was the youngest of all the Metropolitans & the one whom HH loved the most. The Bull of HH written on 15 Makaram 1877 from Fort Kochi Church regarding the correct practices of sacraments & discipline was translated & published by Mor Gregorios. Mor Gregorios was appointed as the Metropolitan of Niranam diocese. HH would then return to the Patriarchate.
During his tenure, Mor Gregorios established various churches & was the motivator to establish schools in different parts of Malankara. Mor Gregorios was a man who grasped the value of education for the overall progress of the Church as well as society in general. In the late 1890's, many educational institutions were started by the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church under the initiative & guidance of Mor Gregorios Geevarghese & the Malankara Metropolitan Mor Dionysius Joseph Pulikkottil.
With the permission of HH Peter IV, Mor Gregorios ordained Fr. Alvares as Raban in 1889 (he would later be consecrated Metropolitan by Mor Athanasius Paulose). Later Mor Gregorios would consecrate Fr. Rene Vilate as Mor Timotheos at the church of Our Lady of Good Health, Sri Lanka in 1892.
Arikupurathu Korula Mathen executed a deed in favour of the Metropolitan who will be ever loyal to the Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius seated on the Holy Throne of Antioch & All the East. Thus began the first stage of constructing Parumala Seminary. The construction of the church was completed & it was consecrated with Holy Chrism on 15 Makaram 1895. Soon afterwards, Mor Gregorios left for his Holy Land pilgrimage. Accompanying Mor Gregorios were a number of clergy & deacons. Mor Gregorios celebrated the entire Passion Week at the various Syriac Orthodox chapels in the Holy Land. The travelogue written by Mor Gregorios about his pilgrimage to the Holy Land was the first in the history of the Malayalam language. On his return, he collected a certain amount from all the parishes in Malankara & sent a Silver Cross as offering to the Holy church in Jerusalem.
Even in the midst of all the busy schedules he gave utmost priority to prayers & fasting. He used to get up at 4am for prayer & strictly followed the Church practice of praying seven times a day. He faithfully observed all the Church Fasts, including the fast on Wednesdays & Fridays. He was a saintly figure throughout his tenure as Metropolitan.
The strict fasting sadly took its toll on him & he became seriously ill. Mor Gregorios received the Qandilo prayers & last Holy Qurbono. While the Metropolitans, priests & others were praying, Mor Gregorios uttered, "My Lord" & breathed his last. Kochu Thirumeni passed away on 2nd November, 1902 & his mortal remains were laid to rest the next day at St. Peter's Church Parumala.
As per the Apostolic Bull No. E 265/87 dated 20th October 1987 by HH Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, the Patriarch of Antioch; the name of Mor Gregorios Geevarghese Chathuruthil of Parumala was added to the 5th Thubden (Thubden d-Qadishe) recited during every Holy Qurbono.
Mor Gregorios Geevarghese Chathuruthil was the epitome of saintliness. He always showed love & care for the poor & suffering. He was very particular in following the path of righteousness. He took special interest in preaching the Holy Gospel of Our Lord among the backward communities & many accepted Christ. He also worked hard to uplift the marginalized people even against countless obstacles. Mor Gregorios was also a staunch Antiochian & stalwart son of the Syriac Orthodox Church & was steadfastly loyal to the Apostolic See of Antioch founded by St. Peter, the Chief of the Apostles & his rightful successor HH the Patriarch. Many miracles are attributed to St. Gregorios. Our Holy Church was blessed to have him in this world, & we are further blessed to have him interceding for us in the next.
Biography courtesy of, 'Martyrs, Saints and Prelates of the Syriac Orthodox Church' & Syriac Christianity.
Oh Mor Gregorios Geevarghese Chathuruthil of Parumala! Plead for us before God's throne of grace. Amen.
A comprehensive website dedicated to Parumala Thirumeni: http://parumalathirumeni.org/
Salmusa of St. Gregorios in Malayalam: https://tinyurl.com/bdfewazr
Salmusa in English: https://tinyurl.com/t3ty3mex
Parumala Thirumeni songs including huthomo: https://goo.gl/bFJzzM
Dedication of the Church of the martyr St. George in Lydia
3 November 2023
Pious Christians built a new church in honor of Saint George at Lydda during the reign of Saint Constantine (305-337). When the church was consecrated, the relics of the holy Great Martyr George (April 23) were transferred there, and many miracles took place before them.
Fathers of the Second Ecumenical Council in Constantinople
Patriarch Elias I of Antioch +723
Elias was born in 641 into a Greek Orthodox family, but later converted to Miaphysitism, the doctrine of the Syriac Orthodox Church, after reading the works of St. Severus of Antioch. He became a monk at the Monastery of Gubba Barraya, near Edessa, and was ordained as Bishop of Apamea in 691. Elias was consecrated as patriarch in 709 following the death of Julian III, and presented himself to Caliph Al-Walid I in the same year. He became the first non-Chalcedonian patriarch of Antioch to enter Antioch since the illegal removal of St. Severus the Great in 518 when, in the last year of his life, he consecrated a new church there. The patriarch financed and consecrated a new church in the city of Antioch in 721, and another church in Sarmada in 722.
Saints of Cappadocia
"according to (the reckoning of) the Greeks, – at Kaisareia in Cappadocia, Germanos, and Theophilos, and Kyrillos"
St. George the Martyr (Mor Gewargis Sahdo)
November 3rd is the commemoration of the dhukrono of St. George the Martyr +303 (Mor Gewargis Sahdo) according to the Liturgical Calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church. His feast is celebrated with great reverence by the faithful worldwide.
Wishing everyone a blessed Feast of St. George the Martyr (Mor Gewargis Sahdo) especially to all with the name or baptized with the name George (including Geevarghese, Gewargis, Varghese, Varkey etc)! Oh Mor Gewargis Sahdo, plead for us at God's throne of grace amen!
Biography: George (Gurgis/Jurjis) was born in Cappadocia, East Asia Minor in c. A. D. 283. His parents were of royal origin as describedby Meta Frastres (Moothedan, 2001). His Father is thought to be an army chief of Emperor Diocletian. George was also a high-ranking military officer in the army of Diocletian.There are several legendary and historical descriptions about St. George and it is difficult to distinguish between the two. However, most of the books refer to an incident which is described here.
One day George was riding a horse in the province of Lybiain North Africa. He came upon a city named Sylene. Near the city was a marsh, in which lived a dragon. The people had attempted to kill it but were poisoned by the creature’s fetid breath. To placate the dragon, they offered it two sheep a day, but when they began to exhaust their supply of sheep, they were forced to substitute a human each day instead, casting lot to choose the victim. At the time of George’s arrival, the lot had just fallen to the King’s daughter Andromeda (Sophia?). No one volunteered to take her place, so she was dressed in bridal finery and sent to meet the dragon. Riding upon this scene on a (green) horse George attacked the dragon and speared it with his lance. He then fastened the princess’s girdle around its neck, and the girl led the dragon into the city. The people were frightened and started to run away, but George told them not to be afraid – that if they would believe in Jesus Christ and be baptized, he would slay the dragon.The King and the people agreed. George killed the dragon, and it was carried away on four ox carts (White, 1991). George accepted no reward for his service, but he asked the King to build churches, honour Priests, and to be compassionate towards the poor.
George was martyred duing the persecution of Diocletian at Nicomedia in the beginning of the 4th century.The persecution lasted for about seven years. During that period about seventy Kings were associated with Diocletian and historians mention different Kings in their account of the persecution.The persecution was as a result of George’s refusal to worship Appalon and Hoclis, the pagan Gods. George performed several miracles. Diocletian’s wife Alexandria and his daughter Valeria believed in Jesus Christ. This resulted in the beheading of Alexandria on April 8 at Diospolis in Palestine (now, Lod, Israel). St. George was beheaded at the same place on 23 April (Britannica, 2001; Encarta, 2001).The writings of two Syrian churches, which date back to A.D.494, suggest that George was martyred at Lydha (now, Lod, Israel).There were churches in the name of St. George during the time of Constantine, the Great, at Nicomedia, Ludia, and Thessalonica.
-Biography Courtesy of "Martyrs, Saints, and Prelates of the Syriac Orthodox Church"
Tone for feast of a Saint: 8
St. George in light of the Syriac tradition: https://goo.gl/VRXGWn
Acts of St. George: http://bit.ly/SyriacGeorge
Biography in Malayalam: https://goo.gl/SFsO83
Malayalam Hymns on YouTube: https://goo.gl/QwYx4a
Malayalam Hymns mp3: https://goo.gl/vTMmqz
St. King Constantine
November 3rd is the commemoration of the dukhrono of St. King Constantine the Great +337 and his mother St. Helena +328 according the Liturgical Calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
Mor Constantine the Great was the son of Flavius Constantius & Helena. He was brought up in Drepanum his mother’s birthplace.
With his Edict of Milan in A.D. 313, the three-centuries-long persecution came to an end. The external threat of the persecution by the Roman government ended However the internal threat of the Arian heresy sprung forth. Constantine convened the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea to combat the Arian heresy in 325AD. The council repudiated the Arian heresy and formulated the statement of faith known as "The Nicene Creed"
Constantine’s adherence to Christianity was closely associated with his rise to power. He fought the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (according to Eusebius, during the campaign against Maxentius) in the name of the Christian God, having received instructions in a dream to paint the Christian monogram (Cross) on his troops’ shields to invoke the help of Christ. In the Syriac Orthodox Church the prayers on the feast of the Holy Cross on 14 September allude to this event. In addition the Sh'himo prayers of Friday say, "May the cross of light that was shown to Constantine in the sky be a high wall to the churches and the monasteries."
He issued numerous laws relating to Christian practices. He extended several privileges to the clergy. Emperor Constantine died on 21 May A.D. 337 at Ancryona, Izmit, Turkey. Shortly before his death, he was baptised by Eusebius of Nicomedia. After his baptism he refused to wear the imperial purple and died wearing the white baptismal robe. He was entombed in the church of the Holy Apostles.
Biography courtesy "Martyrs, Saints and Prelates of The Syriac Orthodox Church"
Oh Mor Constantine plead for us before God's throne of grace! May the power of the true Holy Cross protect us from the evil one and all his forces. Amen
John bar Aphtonia +537
4 November 2023
In hagiography: John bar Aphtonia is commemorated as a saint born in Edessa and named after his mother, Aphtonia, who consecrated him to God. He joined the monastery of St. Thomas in Seleucia Pieria near Antioch. According to tradition, he was later chased out of the area by Chalcedonians (in the 530s) and founded the monastery of Qenneshrin on the Euphrates, across from Europos. He wrote a Life of Severus of Antioch which survives in several versions.
Metropolitan Consecration of H.E. Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury
H.E. Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Vicar of the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Damascus was consecrated on November 4th 2012 by the thrice blessed late Patriarch HH Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas of blessed memory.
Koodhosh Eetho (Sanctification) Sunday
5 November 2023
The Sanctification of the Church (Qudosh `Idto) according to the Liturgical Calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
The Sunday that comes on or after October 30th is called Koodhosh Eetho/Sanctification/Consecration Sunday. It is the beginning of the Syriac Church liturgical calendar. In the Syriac version of the Bible (Peshito), the name Qudosh Idto is the name given to the feast of the dedication of the Jerusalem temple (John 10:22). The early Christians celebrated this feast as the sanctification of all the altars in all Churches throughout the world. One of the earliest recorded evidence of this feast is given by Egeria during her pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The origins of this feast are quite Biblical in nature. The dedication of the places for worship in ancient Israel provided a reason for the ‘blessing’ of the churches. In fact the Old Testament refers to the dedication of the tabernacle (Ex.40:1-11); Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 8) and the Second temple under Zerubbabel (Ezra 6:6-17). The Temple and the altar were rebuilt & re-dedicated under the Maccabees (Mac.4; 2 Mac. 10).
Mor Mushe bar Kifo stated that through the consecration of the church, the faithful receive a blessing from God & they will all be spiritually renewed. By celebrating the consecration of the church (Qudosh ‘idto) every year, the Church is expected to renew & rededicate itself as a community bearing the beacon of light to the society around, which fumbles in the darkness of evil. It is the time though prayer & hard work that the community strive to be as good as Christ in rendering selfless service to fellow-being & to live a holy life to the glory of God & in tune with His statutes. Jesus Christ prayed to His Father to sanctify His disciples & His Church: “Sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth. As you did send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, and they also may be consecrated in truth” (Jn 17: 17-19). Thus in the Fenqitho, the evening prayer of the dedication of the church is as follows: "Make to cease in your churches rivalries & disunity, that peace & tranquillity may abound in them, in every place, Lord, & strengthen them by Your Cross, that in their assemblies they may praise you with joy." The liturgy of consecration informs us that the feast day is to be a reminder, to be a day of rest, to be an occasion of giving thanks, to be a time to repent, to be a day of reading the Scripture. On the consecration day, the clergy request the Lord to “protect her [the Church] communities & guard her children; widen her borders & establish her foundation with the supports of your firm knowledge.” Traditional theology says that the Church is the body of Christ & not merely an association or incorporation of people. Christ sanctified her by His sacrifice & continues with the sanctification process. On the Qudosh ‘Idto Sunday, the faithful work together by putting away their differences to glorify His Name through words & deeds with the help of His Holy Spirit. Sanctification is the process of becoming holier by taking divine properties of God. Man does not become divine, but, in Christ, he can partake in divine nature. It restores God's image in man. It is in close union with God that the image is restored.
The Gospel for the morning is from St. Matthew 16:13-23. Here we read Christ asks His Holy Apostles, "Whom do you say I am?" to which St. Peter the chief of the Apostles answers, "Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God". Our Lord blesses St. Peter for his admission of faith, which was "not revealed by flesh & blood, but by the Father in heaven." Christ then entrust to Peter the Holy Church saying, "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, & upon this rock I will build my church; & the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: & whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: & whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
As we begin a New Year in the Church let us allow our body & soul to be purified. May our Church community be strengthened & may we faithful Syriac Orthodox Christians be like St. Peter; ever willing to affirm the true faith that Christ is the Son of God.
Sources: 'A Brief Historical Introduction to the West Syrian Liturgical Calendar' by Fr. Biju M. Parekkattil, Hekamtho Journal Volume 2 November 2016' & 'The Rite of Consecration of the Church according to the Syrian Orthodox Tradition' doctoral thesis of HE Mor Silvanos Ayub
The Holy Bible readings from the Church Lectionary:
Evening:St. Matthew 16:13-23
Morning:St. John 21:15-22
Before Holy Qurbono:Exodus 33:5-11I Kings 6: 1-8Jeremiah 31:10-14, 22-26Ezekiel 9:1-10, 5:18-22
Holy Qurbono:Acts 7:44-53Hebrews 9:1-14St. Mark 8:27-33
For sermons/commentaries based on the Gospel: https://goo.gl/RM6cMS
Tone of the Day: 1 (5 for alternate days of the week)
Syriac Prayers: https://tinyurl.com/msjs4cmh
Surgodo, Studies on SOC Calendar (courtesy Hymonutho): https://bit.ly/HymonuthoSurgodo
St. John the Arab
In hagiography: John the Arab was a monk who originally was from a rich family in Ḥirta. He studied at Nisibis, went to Mount Sinjar, and became a shepherd. He found a place on Mount Izla, and he performed many miracles. Many fought over his relics after his death, and a monastery was built over his remains near the monastery of Mar Awgin.
November 5th is the dukhrono of St. John the Arab (Mor Yuhannon Tayoyo) according to the Liturgical Calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church. Mor Yuhannon Tayoyo was a 5th century monk and the third abbott of Dayro d-Mor Augin.
In his hagiography, there is a miracle in regards to transformation of water into wine. Once John was sent to the village by his abbot St. Andreas to buy wine for the Holy Qurbono. On arriving there, he gave away the money meant for the purchase of wine to a poor man begging at the village gate. As he had no money to buy the wine, Mor Yuhannon filled the barrels with water and returned, worried at what the abbot would say. He reported the matter to the abbot. On inspection, they found to their surprise that the water had miraculously turned into wine.
This miracle of St. John the Arab is commemorated in one of the Huthomo of the Syriac Orthodox Liturgy:
"Saint John who trans-formed water into superb wine, Ahudemeh - who restrained death - by his incense, Those cave dwellers - Matthew, Zachai - and Companions Abraham and – Daniel are – praying for us."
- General Huthomo I, (Tune of Mor Yac'ub) English text from JSC Publications English Huthomo book (Courtesy Qleedo+ app)
Life of St. John the Arab: https://bit.ly/LifeJohnArab
St. Linus Pope of Rome
Evangelist, among the Seventy Two (72) Disciples
St. Mary of Egypt +422 and Zosimus
November 5th is the commemoration of the dukhrono of St Mary of Egypt (+422) according to the liturgical calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
St Mary of Egypt is one of the most famous female Christian saints and is also a role model for repentance in the Lord.
Biography of the saint courtesy of "Martyrs, Saints & Prelates of the Syriac Orthodox Church"
St. Mary was an Egyptian, who left home at the age of twelve & went to live in Alexandria, where she lived the life of a prostitute for seventeen years.
There lived in Palestine a holy monk & priest named Zosimus. He was serving God for 53 years & was directed to leave the monastery for one near Jordan, where he might learn how to advance further on the path of holiness. One day Zosimus after travelling a twenty-day’s distance from monastery sat down at noon to say Psalms & to rest. Suddenly he noticed a person running away who seemed to be a hermit. Zosimus ran after him to receive his blessing but the person exclaimed: “Father Zosimus, I am a woman; throw your mantle to cover me that you may come near me.”
She confessed that she lived the life of a prostitute for seventeen years, not for money, but to gratify her lust. At the age of about twenty-eight,she joined (out of curiosity) a group of pilgrims going to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of the Holy Cross. While travelling with the pilgrims, she continued with her evil ways.Upon their arrival in Jerusalem she tried to enter the church but an invisible force held her back. After two or three ineffectual attempts, she withdrew to a corner of the outer court. Suddenly a full realization of her sinfulness swept over her. She raised her eyes to the icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, with tears. Thereafter, she was able to enter the church to venerate the cross. Then, she returned to the icon of St. Mary to give thanks. There she heard a voice which said, “Go over to Jordan & you shall find rest.”
She crossed River Jordan into the wilderness & remained there for 47 years. She had seen no human being & had lived on edible plants and on dates. She was notable to read & God himself had taught her the mysteries of faith. Mary requested Zosimus not to divulge what she had said. Zosimus promised to meet her again in Jordan on the Maundy Thursday of the following year to give her Holy Communion. The next year on the Maundy Thursday, Mary received communion from Zosimus.But when Zosimus went to meet her the year after that, Mary was found dead. Zosimus buried the body of St. Mary.
May the prayers of St. Mary of Egypt be with all those who are struggling with sin and carnal desires. May her intercession lead us close to God so that we may live in repentance amen.
The Syriac Life of St. Mary of Egypt: https://bit.ly/LifeMaryEgypt
St. Sophia of Edessa
Mother of St. Euphemia
Life of St. Sophia and her daughter St. Euphemia the martyr: https://bit.ly/VitaEuphemiaSophia
Sts. Patrobus, Hermas, Gaius, and Philologus
Among the Seventy Two (72) Disciples
Saints Patrobus, Hermes, Gaius, and Philologus, preached the Gospel in various cities, each enduring various hardships in their service as bishops.
Saint Patrobus (Rom 16:14) was Bishop of Neopolis (now Naples) and Puteoli in Italy.
Saint Hermes was bishop in the city of Philippoplis where he died a martyr. Called the Shepherd.
Saint Gaius (Rom 16:23), was Bishop of Ephesus after Saint Timothy.
The Apostle Andrew consecrated Saint Philologus (Rom 16:15) as bishop of the city of Sinope (in the Black Sea region).
Mor Gregorios Geevarghese (Vayaliparambil) 1966
6 November 2023
Fondly known as: The Iron man of Malankara
St. Paul the Confessor, Archbishop of Constantinople
Saint Paul the Confessor, Archbishop of Constantinople, was chosen to the patriarchal throne after the death of Patriarch Alexander (+ 340), when the Arian heresy had again flared up. Many of the Arians were present at the Council which selected the new Archbishop of Constantinople. They revolted in opposition to the choice of Saint Paul, but the Orthodox at the Council were in the majority.
33 Holy Martyrs of Melitene
7 November 2023
Michael the Syrian +1199
November 7th is the commemoration of the dukhrono of HH Mor Michael the Great +1199 according to the Liturgical Calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
Mor Mikhayel Rabo (ܡܝܟܐܝܠ ܪܒܐ) also known as Michael the Syrian ( ܡܝܟܐܝܠ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ) was Patriarch of Antioch and all the East from 1166-1199 AD. Michael was born in Melitine, his father was the pious priest Elia of the famous Qandasi family which produced many prelates in the Syriac Orthodox Church. Micheal became a monk at a young age, resided at the Monastery of Mor Barsawmo, later becoming a priest & finally the abbot. During his time he improved the conditions of the monastery including bringing running water.
The Patriarch Mor Athanasius VII bar Qutreh passed away & the Holy See became vacant. Subsequently, the Holy Synod unanimously elected Raban Michael to the Patriarchate of the Apostolic See of Antioch. Raban Michael was not willing to accept the exalted position for he considered himself unworthy. However, Mor Dionysius Yac'ub Bar Salibi of Amid (+1171) & another member of the Synod persuaded him to accept. On 18 October 1166, Raban Michael was consecrated Patriarch of Antioch at the monastery of Mor Barsawmo by the Maphryono Mor Yuhanon Sarugh & twelve other bishops. One of the first things he did was shift the Patriarchate to the Monastery of Mor Hananyo, also known as Kurkmo Dayro or Deir ez-Za`faran. On the day of his arrival at this Monastery & the celebration of his enthronement on the Patriarchal Seat in the new headquarters, Metropolitan Mor Dionysius Yac'ub Bar Salibi delivered a fascinating speech that began with "My beloved, today is the day of joy; today is the day of delight." In his speech he enumerated the praiseworthy virtues of Patriarch Michael. In 1168, Patriarch Michael visited the archdioceses of Jerusalem & Damascus. He consecrated the Holy Chrism at Monastery of Mary Magdalene near Damascus Gate. The Holy Land & Antioch were under Crusader control at the time; Mor Mikhayel established cordial relations with them to safeguard the Syriac community. Patriarch Michael always remained firm in the True Orthodox faith. When Byzantine Emperor Manuel I sent an envoy to the Syriac Church to broker a deal to unite the Church with the Chalcedonians, Mor Mikhayel Rabo simply replied with the Orthodox (Miaphysite) statement of faith as professed by all his predecessors.
He was a prolific scholar & historian. He wrote many treatises, homilies, & liturgical texts which have been incorporated in the Syriac Orthodox rite. He also hand copied many works especially Biblical manuscripts. It was the Syriac Holy Bible written during the time of Mor Mikhayel Rabo & which was kept in Malankara, that was presented to Dr. Buchanan during his visit to the Church in Malabar in 1807. This one is now preserved in the British library. However, Michael's magnum opus remains the 'Chronicle,' which is a history from the creation until his time. So great is his work that it is even used by modern scientists. His work has been used by NASA scientists because of his record of climatic changes, now known to be linked to volcano eruptions.
Patriarch Mor Mikhayel Rabo ordained 1 Maphryono & 54 bishops. He departed for the heavenly abode on 7 November 1199. The mortal remains were interred in the new church at the monastery of Mor Barsawmo. He is described as, “one of the greatest pontiffs of the Church of God, the finest of the Patriarchs of Antioch, a scholar, & famous chronicler of everlasting name, of graceful pursuit, & of uncommon qualities, of widely known virtues, & of good deeds.
Biography courtesy of, 'Martyrs, Saints and Prelates of the Syriac Orthodox Church'
Oh Mor Mikhayel Rabo! Plead for us before God's throne of grace. Amen.
St. Gregory of Nazianzus +390
November 7th is the commemoration of the dukhrono of St. Gregory of Nazianzus +390 according to the Liturgical Calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
Mor Gregorios was born in Arianzus near Cappadocia town. He is also referred to as "Gregory the Theologian" He was baptized by his own father in AD 360. He received Christian education & training from his mother from childhood. He was ordained a priest by his father in AD 362 & started rendering help to his father. In AD 372 Gregory was consecrated the Bishop of Sasima, a small town by Mor Baselios. He disliked the lack of independence imposed by administrative responsibilities. Moreover he preferred a solitary life which reduced his interest in being elevated to the rank of a bishop.
He spent a few years combating Arianism. The five speeches delivered by him in the church of Anastasia countering the heresy & defending the doctrine of the Trinity are famous. “The Father is the begetter & emitter, the Son is the begotten & the Holy Spirit is the emission. The begetting of the Son & the Procession of the Spirit are beyond time, so all three are co-eternal. While the Father may be greater than the Son in the sense that he is the cause, he is not greater by nature, for the two are of the same nature. The names, Father & the Son make known to us an intimate relation within the Godhead”
He spoke thus of the preparation of priests when he was a young priest: “We must begin by purifying ourselves before purifying others; we must be instructed to be able to instruct, become light to illuminate, draw close to God to bring Him close to others, be sanctified to sanctify, lead by the hand & counsel prudently. I know whose ministers we are, where we find ourselves and to where we strive. I know God’s greatness & man’s weakness, but also his potential. Who then is the priest? He is the defender of truth, who stands with angels, gives glory with archangels, causes sacrifices to rise to the altar on high, shares Christ’s priesthood, refashions creation, restores it in God’s image, recreates it for the world on high"
Due to the strong protest of the Arian mob & to avoid dissidence he resigned his position in AD 381 & retired to his native place, Arianzus. He spent his time in prayer & fasting until he fell asleep in the Lord.
Biography courtesy of, 'Martyrs, Saints and Prelates of the Syriac Orthodox Church'
Oh Mor Gregorios! Plead for us before God's throne of grace. Amen.
St. Gregory of Nyssa +395
St. Gregorios of Nyssa, was a great father of the church was virtuous and so were his brothers. He was very well versed in the art of discourse and in the Greek language. He was also strongly zealous in his Orthodox faith.
Aaron of Armenia
8 November 2023
Aaron is a presbyter from Armenia who is commemorated in the Lives of the Eastern Saints by John of Ephesus
Konat Mathen Malpan +1927
November 8th is the anniversary of the demise of the late Malankara Malpan Very Rev. Konat Korah Mathen Cor-Episcopo +1927.
Born to the prestigious Konat family, whose other members include late Mor Julius Geevarghese +1884 in Pampakuda. He served as the priest trustee of the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church during the early 20th century. One of the greatest works of Konat Mathen Malpan was the translation and editing of the Prayer book from Syriac to Malayalam used by the Malankara Syrian Church to the present day. This book, popularly known as 'Pampakuda Namaskaram' was first published in 1910 with the permission of the Patriarch of Antioch thrice blessed Mor Ignatius Abde d-Aloho II Sattuf.
Mathen was instrumental in guiding the Malankara Church following the events of the schism which began in 1911 and which was unfortunately cemented with the 1912 uncanonical consecration of a "Catholicate" by the deposed Abdul Messih II. Konat Mathen Malpan bravely stood along with the other prelates of Malankara, upholding the apostolic faith and traditions of the Syrian Orthodox Church during the tumultuous time.
Malankara Malpan Very Rev. Konat Korah Mathen Cor-Episcopo is the only Indian who is mentioned among the elite list of Syriac scholars in the book titled 'The Scattered Pearls: A History of Syriac Literature and Sciences' written by the thrice blessed late Patriarch of Antioch Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem I Barsoum. An excerpt from this book follows below.
"Chorepiscopus Konat was born at Pampakuda in Malabar, India, in 1860. He studied the Syriac language and religious sciences under some of his relatives. In 1883, he was ordained a priest and began teaching at the seminary in Kottayam. Then he established and operated a small seminary in his own village, from which a group of priests graduated. In 1926, he became a chorepiscopus and died in 1927. Chorepiscopus Konat wrote a book on church festivities and letters. He translated from Syriac into Malayalam, chapters from Bar Salibi's Scholia on the Gospel according to St. Matthew, the Nomocanon by Bar Hebraeus, the New Testament (except Revelation) which was published in 1936 and a selection of church rituals and hymns. Furthermore, he published the Shhimo (Regular Weekday Service Book of Prayers), some Anaphora, the service of deacons, the orders of baptism, marriage and funerals as well as the service book for principal feasts and the service book for the Week of the Passion.
Biography adapted from, "The Scattered Pearls, and Syriac Christianity website
Patriarch Julian II
Patriarch of Antioch Julian II the Roman (d. 708)
St. Eusebius the Martyr
Probably of Nicomedia
Synaxis of the Angels
9 November 2023
Prophet Elisha was born in one of the villages of Israel called Alamut. His father's name was Shaphat. Elisha was a servant to the holy prophet Elijah. When the Lord would take up Elijah the prophet into heaven, he went with him to the river Jordan. Elijah said to Elisha, "Ask what I shall do for you, before I be taken away from you." Elisha asked, "I pray you, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me," and it was as he asked. (2 Kings 2:1-18)
Elisha divided the river and passed through it. Then he went to Jericho and went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, "Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!" So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the LORD. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths. (2 Kings 2:23-24)
A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, "Your servant my husband is dead, and the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves." So Elisha said to her, "What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?" And she said, "Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil." Then he said, "Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors; empty vessels; do not gather just a few." With his prayers the Lord blessed the oil and all the vessels became full. The woman sold the oil and paid off her debt. (2 Kings 4:1-7) He also raised the son of the Shunammite woman from the dead.
When Naaman the Syrian came to him, he healed him from his leprosy. Naaman offered him much money and costly clothes, but he refused them. Nevertheless, when his servant Gehazi took them for himself, the prophet knew that by the spirit. Elisha became angry and told him, "Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and your descendants forever."
Elisha had performed many signs and miracles. He prophesied for about fifty years. When Elisha died, they buried him. And the raiding bands from Moab invaded the land in the spring of the year. So it was, as they were burying a man, a plundering band was seen, and they cast the man in the tomb of Elisha; and when the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, stood on his feet, and went back to his people. (2 Kings 13:20-21)
St. Drosis of Antioch
daughter of the Roman Emperor Trajan who saw Christian virgins burying their dead. She was inspired to help them, and then she became a Christian and martyr herself.
Sts. Onesiphorus and Porphyrius of Ephesus
The Holy Martyrs Onesiphorus and Porphyrius of Ephesus suffered during the persecution against Christians by the emperor Diocletian (284-305). They beat them and burned them. After this, they tied the saints to wild horses, which dragged them over the stones, after which the Martyrs Onesiphorus and Porphyrius died. Believers gathered the remains of the saints and reverently buried them.
Victims of Edessan Flood
Commemoration of all the priests, monks, and others who perished during the flood of Edessa in ~303 when the Daisan river overflowed.
10 November 2023
Son of Emperor Theodosius, Co-augusti with Honorius
Son of Emperor Theodosius, Co-augusti with Arcadius
John of Qartmin +1000
In hagiography: John of Qartmin or John of Beth Sbirino was a noted paleograph who reestablished the use of estrangelo writing
Mari of Beth Sahde
Mor Cyrus the Archimandrite
In hagiography: Cyrus (Qura) the Abbot was a superior of the monastery of Qartmin. He was a disciple of Samuel of Qartmin.Probably this is Cyrus the Elder (healed bone of a camel) mentioned in the Life of Mor Samuel of Qartmin
Patriarch Demetrius of Antioch
Exiled and possibly martyred
St. Evodius, the Patriarch of Antioch +68
Mor Evodius was a pagan who converted to Christianity due to the apostolic work of Saint Peter. According to the Book of Acts, the first communities to receive evangelism werer the Jews and pagans of Antioch.
St. Evodius the successor of St. Peter, the Apostle, was one of the seventy two (72) disciples sent out by our Lord to preach. John Chrysostom counts Evodius contemporary with the Apostles and is also known as the first bishop of Antioch ordained by St. Peter. After the martyrdom of St. Peter at Rome in AD 67, Evodius became the Patriarch of the Holy See of Antioch. St. Evodius wrote several compositions. In one of them he writes that the Most Holy Virgin Mary gave birth to the Savior of the world.
St. Evodius was the bishop of Antioch until AD 68, and he was martyred under Emperor Nero
Biography Courtesy: "Martyrs, Saints, and Prelates of the Syriac Orthodox Church"
Sts. Olympas and Rodion, Evangelists and their companions
St. Olympus and St. Herodion (Herodian or Rhodion)
Pope Damian of Alexandria +605
11 November 2023
Originally from Syria, where his brother was a prefect in Edessa,
St. Mina the martyr & Wonder-worker +309
Mar Mennas from Egypt
12 November 2023
In hagiography: Cyriacus (Quryaqos) was a disciple of Mar Yareth.
Hoodhosh Eetho (Dedication) Sunday
St. Luke 9: 18-25
St. Mark 12: 41-44
St. John 10: 22-38
Before Holy Qurbana:
I Kings 6: 1-8
Jeremiah 31: 10-14, 22-26
Ezekiel 9: 1-10, 5: 18-22
St. Luke 19:47-20:8
St. Pope John IV of Alexandria
Nicknamed "the merciful" because of his charity during famine.
Note: An argument is made that this may be the Chalcedonian Patriarch John, also nicknamed "the merciful", but cannot be confirmed.
Miles, bishop of Sus and those with him
13 November 2023
In hagiography: Miles was a Bishop of Susa. He was born near Tehran and converted from Zoroastrianism. He went on a long pilgrimage and opposed the manner of leadership of Catholicos Papa. He was imprisoned with his son Narsai and beaten by the governor Hormizd. The priest Aboursam and the deacon Sinai died with him
Life of Mor Miles, Aboursam & Sinay: https://bit.ly/MilesSus
St. Edistos the Martyr
"at Perinthos, and the presbyter Hēdistos"
St. John Chrysostom (Mor Ivanios) 'Gold-Mouthed', Patriarch of Constantinople +407
This greatest and most beloved of all Christian orators was born in Antioch the Great in the year 344 or 347; his pious parents were called Secundus and Anthusa. After his mother was widowed at the age of twenty, she devoted herself to bringing up John and his elder sister in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
14 November 2023
Martyrs of Thrace
"in the same city, the presbyters and martyrs Theodotos and Dēmētrios."
Patriarch Flavian I of Antioch
St. Philip the Apostle
Martyrs of Antioch
15 November 2023
"at Antioch, Sekoundos and Orontios, from the ancient martyrs"
Metropolitan Consecration of H.G. Mor Thimotheos Mathews
H.G. Mor Thimotheos Mathews, Patriarchal Secretary for Indian (Malankara) affairs was consecrated on November 15th 2012 by the thrice blessed late Patriarch HH Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas of blessed memory.
Nativity Fast begins (ancient date)
Note: The inclusion of this event in the online calendar is for educational purposes, and solely to remind the faithful of the mercy of our Lord as shown through the Holy Synod in granting us a shortened fasting period. Please follow the fasting period as per Patriarchal Encyclicals and guidance from one's spiritual father. The historical development of the Christmas fast in the Syriac Orthodox liturgical tradition (as with the other Orthodox rites) is obscure.
At some point it used to last for 40 days. The canons of Mor John of Mardin (12th century) speaks about the three dominical fasts in honour of the Holy Trinity. According to him, the forty day fast of the birth of Christ is kept in honour of the Father.
However, in the Kthobo d-hudoye (nomocanon) the 13th century Maphrian-Catholicos Mor Gregorios bar Ebroyo says that, in his time, - depending on the region they lived in - laypeople fasted for either 25 (Maphrianate) or 15 days (Patriarchate); but all the ascetics still fast for 40 days. During the Chenganur Synod convened by Mor Ivanios Hidaythulla in 1686, the Nativity Fast was set from December 1st to 25th in Malankara.
As with all fasting periods, it is within the Apostolic authority of the Patriarch of Antioch and the Holy Synod to either lengthen or shorten the fasts. On December 7th 1946 the thrice blessed late Patriarch HH Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem I Barsoum limited the Nativity Fast to ten days starting on December 15th & ending on Christmas Day (Hido d'yaldo d'Moran), December 25th.
Although fasting from today's date is not compulsory; in consultation with one's spiritual father, it may be spiritually edifying to meditate on the importance of our Lord's Nativity and centering ourselves to focus upon this season of Suboro. Some examples of what you can do for the following weeks:
1. Set time aside to: - Pray and thank our Heavenly Father for the gift of His Son's incarnation - read through the text of the Nativity liturgy, these hymns and prayers are some of the most beautiful and deeply scriptural - read through the lectionary of the Nativity Liturgy; it's easy to miss out on properly hearing during the actual service, especially when scripture readings are often rushed by deacons - read patristic homilies or sermons about the Nativity and the Annunciation season- visit sister Oriental Orthodox parishes, they may have extra services and vigils during their 40 day fast this season
2. Think of ways you can help out in your parish & community such as: - consider saving a small portion of funds each day that you'd normally spend on snacks or other "guilty pleasures" and instead donate the final amount to your church and other charities on Christmas - if time permits, volunteer at your local foodbank, soup kitchen, or shelter. The Christmas season is usually one of the busiest and these organizations can certainly use all the help possible. - remember that for many, this season is not always joyous. For some people, Christmas further compounds burdenous thoughts of financial limitations, recent loss of loved ones, and other challenges which we may not always notice. Genuinely spread Christmas cheer to all you meet, the kind that is a reflection of Christ's love - if you live in a particular cold/snowy area, consider collecting any of your lightly used but unneeded winter clothes that can be donated for those in need - consider helping out the elderly in your neighbourhood with snow removal - In a world where Christmas has been commercialized, be a St. Nicholas and not merely a Santa Claus
St. Habib the Deacon
Mor Habib of Urhoy served as deacon in the village of Telzeha, Phoenicia. Under the persecution of Emperor Licinius, Deacon Habib went secretly into the churches of Telzeha, where he ministered, read the Scriptures, encouraged & strengthened many by his faith, admonishing the faithful to stand fast in the truth of their faith, not fearing their persecutors. As a result, Habib had to face brutal torture & persecution. But he was relentless in his faith. Finally, the soldiers tied him to a stake & burnt him alive. Thus Mor Habib attained the crown of martyrdom. His mother & other relatives took down his body but were astonished that it was unharmed.
Mor Jacob of Sarug has described the burning of Habib in his homily. “Habib the martyr adorned by flames called me from his pyre. I do not know if I can number him with Hanania. Who is more glorious Assariya or Habib? Habib fought against the sword & fire. His love was warmer than that of fire. Hence, he was not scared. Habib taught us to embrace death not fearing fire or sword"
Life of St. Habib of Urhoy: https://bit.ly/VitaHabibEdessa
To know more about the martyrs & read the homilies by Mor Yac'ub of Serugh: https://goo.gl/7MZHX9
Mor Shalito, an Aramaic name meaning “the One with Authority”, was born into a pagan family in Egypt in the 4th century. In that time, the Emperor Constantine I the Great (306-337) called on the gentiles to turn away from idols and to start worshipping the one living God. Shalito was 15 years old when he renounced the idols, left his father’s house and was baptized. He had been taught well in philosophical sciences. After his baptism, he began to study the Holy Scriptures day and night and pray the Psalms.
A Confessor Before Arian Rulers in Alexandria
At the age of twenty years he entered a monastery in Alexandria where he was instructed under the guidance of Pope Athanasius the Great (* 295; Pope: 328-373). When Shalito was 25 years old, Pope Athanasius was exiled by the Arians. St. Shalito encouraged and strengthened the faithful not to deviate from the true faith.
A certain judge in Alexandria called Lularianus gave the order to bring Shalito before him. He questioned him about his faith. Shalito confessed his faith in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one true God; Christ, the Son of God, is not a creature of God, but consubstantial with Him, born of the Virgin Mary Mother of God. Because Shalito confessed this faith and did not deny, the judge had him imprisoned to prevent him from convincing others of this faith. In prison, he was tortured and tormented, yet he remained true to the faith, although Lularianus promised him high ranks and honor on the Patriarchal See of Alexandria. At night, Shalito was strengthened by Christ, raised and comforted. Then he began to teach the fellow prisoners about the true faith and to warn them of the heresy of Arius who taught that Christ was a creature of God. When the judge received the report that Shalito preaches in prison, he exiled him from Alexandria. Throughout Egypt, the Saint made many disciples and converted many pagans to the true faith.
In the Monastery of St. Pachomius and Hermit
One day he came to a village of pagans outside of Alexandria, who mocked him when they realized that he was a Christian. Suddenly, one of them became afflicted by leprosy, so that all were filled with fear and asked Shalito to heal him. He anointed the body of the afflicted one with consecrated oil, and he was immediately healed. The villagers came to the true faith and were baptized, 532 in number. He instructed them in the history of salvation, whereupon they collected their gold in great love and built three churches from it. The Saint went around in that area, preached and baptized innumerable people.
He was simple and humble and a steadfast ascetic in fasting and prayer. In this asceticism he spent five years in the monastery of St. Pachomius. One day, he cast out a demon from a possessed to whom the brothers did not dare to approach and therefore asked Shalito for help. After this miracle they greatly honored him.
He, however, so as not to fall into pride, left the monastery and withdrew to a mountain where he lived for ten years in a crevice, without being seen by anybody. His food consisted of wild roots and shoots of dates. In that deserted place he had to go through many fights against the Evil One. Satan could not bring the Saint to fall with his illusions, because Shalito ashamed him by the sign of the cross. The hermit was often attacked and beaten by demons. But Christ never abandoned him, strengthening him through revelations and visions, by which he was encouraged.
One day he was concerned that the Arian heresy could spread in the world. Then he saw in the spirit a fire eating and destroying hay, thorns, and weed. He was given to understand that the thorns were the Arian and all the other heresies, and the fire is the true faith of the holy apostolic Church.
Among the Discipleship of St. Augin in Mesopotamia
Then he went to a monastery where many monks lived. After receiving a revelation that the great Saint Augin (+363) would come soon, he chose from among the brothers seventy and said that he would go with them under the direction of Augin to the East to Mesopotamia in order to stop deceptive heresies and to spread the Gospel of Christ. They all stood up with him and went forth to meet St. Augin. Also St. Augin himself explained to the 71 that he was about to move to the East to spread the Good News of the Lord over there. They all knelt, prayed and marched up to Nisibis, which lay on the border of the Roman and the Persian Empire. They settled down in the Izlo Mountains (now Bagok in the south-east Turkey) where they built cells for themselves.
After three years, the bubonic plague spread in Nisibis which St. Shalito caused to cease by his prayer. One of the most prestigious in Nisibis saw in a dream that it was Shalito who had caused it to cease by his prayer. They brought all their sick and afflicted to him, and he healed them of their various diseases, 1,023 people.
Together With St. Jacob Bishop of Nisibis
At that time the great Saint Mor Jacob was consecrated Bishop of Nisibis (+338). This Saint visited Augin and his disciples on the Izlo Mountains. Bishop Jacob revealed his project to St. Augin to have a church built in Nisibis, and he was strengthened and encouraged therein. Both took also Shalito and prayed at the place where the church should stand. Then an angel came from heaven to them who measured the church from one side, Bishop Jacob from another, Augin measured the third side, and Shalito the fourth. The holy bishop had this church built, and the Lord brought it to completion.
Raising a Dead
St. Jacob had another church built in the mountains of Qardu (Ararat-Mountains) where the ark of Noah had come to rest. For the consecration of that church he took Mor Augin, Mor Shalito and many other disciples to accompany him. On their way they came to a thick forest where Shalito went to do his prayer. A young man ran towards him, wailing and crying, because his brother had been eaten by a giant monster. Mor Shalito began to pray, caused the monster to spit out the child, cursed the monster, so that it died immediately. He anointed the child with holy oil, and brought his dead body back to life. His brother ran into his village and made this great miracle known to all the villagers, so that all ran to the Saint, and asked him and his companions for their blessing. Those pagan villagers asked also to be baptized. Jacob of Nisibis baptized them all, and they participated in the Holy Communion. Many of those accompanied St. Jacob to the consecration of the Church. And the boy which Mor Shalito had raised from the dead, accompanied him and became his disciple. Augin called him “Ahee-Moreh”, meaning “His Lord has Revived Him”.
The Ministry of the Hermit and Missionary by the Tigris
Since Shalito was being praised and honored among the disciples of Mor Augin more and more, he moved away one night to escape from vain glory. When he asked God in his prayer for a new place, the Holy Spirit said to him to move to Beth-Zabdai (now in the south-east Turkey), where he would remain until the end of his earthly life. When he reached at the Tigris-River, he made the sign of the cross on the river and crossed it on the water. He found a narrow cave on a mountain and dwelt there, where he suffered much from the cold, for it was snowing heavily there. Even the first two months he stayed without food.
When Satan saw that Mor Shalito never tired of doing good, he entered an idol statue that was being worshiped in the neighboring village, and spoke through the idol to the villagers that if they don’t beat up and drive away the man who lives on the mountain, a disciple of the Nazarene, he would destroy their village. So they all started on their way in anger and beat St. Shalito half-dead. After they walked away, the grace of God came down upon him and he recovered. That night the angel of the Lord struck the whole village with the bubonic plague. One of them saw in a dream that the reason of the disease was that they had committed an offense against the servant of God who had to pray for them that the plague may cease. That man revealed his dream to all the villagers, and full of repentance t
Sts. Gurias and Samona, Martyrs
"in the city of Edessa, the martyrs Shmuna and Guria."
November 15th is the commemoration of the dukhrono of Sts. Gurias & Samona according to the Liturgical Calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
Mor Gurias, the ascetic & his friend Mor Samona were two victims of the cruel persecutions during the reigns of Emperor Diocletian(A.D. 284 – 305) & Emperor Maximian (A.D. 305 – 311). These two saints were put through endless torments & were finally beheaded because of their faith in Christ (A.D. 299 – 306). Deacon Habib was the next saint to be martyred after them. They were all eventually entombed together.
Biography adapted from, 'Martyrs, Saints and Prelates of the Syriac Orthodox Church'
Oh Mor Gurias & Mor Samona! Plead for us before God's throne of grace. Amen.Life of St. Gurias and St. Samona: https://bit.ly/GuriasSamona
A Homily on Guria and Shamuna, Composed by Mar Jacob: https://bit.ly/HomilyGuriasSamonabyJacob
Biography of Mor Gurias & Samona in Malayalam by Fr. Greger R. Kollanoor: https://tinyurl.com/2p8mp87z
Mor Ignatius Noorono +107
16 November 2023
November 16th is the commemoration of the dukhrono of St. Ignatius of Antioch +107 according to the Liturgical Calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
Mor Ignatius Noorono was the third Patriarch of Antioch, the successor to St. Peter the chief of the Apostles. Church historian Eusebius of Caesarea writes that St. Ignatius succeeded St. Evodius, likewise St. John Chrysostom states St. Peter specifically chose St. Ignatius to be his successor. Ignatius is also called Theophorus in Greek which means 'God-Borne' because of the tradition that he was the child Christ held according to the Gospel of Matthew 18:2-3. Theophorus may also be interpreted as 'God-Bearer' because of the virtue practiced by Ignatius in witnessing God as is expected of every true believer. In Syriac he is given the title Noorono or 'Illuminator/fire-bearer'.
St. Ignatius wrote 7 letters to root out the heresies which were plaguing the early Church. The letters are addressed to Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians, Romans, Philadelphians, Smyrnaeans, & to his friend St. Polycarpos the bishop of Smyrna. He wrote these letters en route from Smyrna to Rome where he was to be executed. Some of the most important quotations from his writings against heresies include the following:
He stresses Christ’s true humanity & identifies it with the healing food of the Eucharist, calling the Body of Christ "medicine of immortality" Further, he describes: every time this mystery is celebrated, “the work of our redemption is carried on & we break the one bread that provides the antidote for death & the food that makes us live forever in Jesus Christ.Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, & see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God... They abstain from the Eucharist & from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins & which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes."
St. Ignatius was ordered to be executed by Roman Emperor Trajan. Bishop Polycarp welcomed St. Ignatius on his way to Rome (to be executed) under armed guard. Several Syrian Christian delegates from other churches at Smyrna received him. At Rome he was thrown into the amphitheater filled with voracious lions to be devoured on October 17th. It is said that only the toughest of his bones remained. Thus Mor Ignatius Noorono attained the crown of martyrdom. His relics were then taken to Antioch & venerated by the pious believers. Emperor Theodosius II later moved his relics to another church in the city on December 20th.
Oh Mor Ignatius Noorono! Plead for us before God's throne of grace. Amen.
St. Gregory Thaumaturgus
Gregory the wonderworker
St. Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist
November 16th is the commemoration of the dhukrono of St. Matthew the Apostle according to the liturgical calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church. Commemorated today for the sake of breastfeeding mothers.
St. Matthew, one of the twelve Apostles, is the author of the first Gospel. This has been the constant tradition of the Church and is confirmed by the Gospel itself. He was the son of Alpheus & was called to be an Apostle while sitting in the tax collector’s place at Capernaum. Before his conversation he was a publican, ie., a tax collector by profession. He is to be identified with the “Levi” in the Gospels of Mark and Luke.
St. Matthew can be considered as the prototype of a sinner saved by the grace of Christ. He was a tax collector, despised by the Jewish people for collaborating with the Roman Empire. Yet our Lord chose him to be among His Holy Apostles saying to those who questioned His choice, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Mark 2:17 KJV
The Holy Bible readings for the Feast of an Apostle according to Church Lectionary are as follows:
St. Matthew 9: 35 - 10: 10
St. Matthew 19: 27 - 30
Before Holy Qurbono:
Genesis 12 : 1 - 9
Daniel 1: 8 - 21
Isaiah 43: 1 - 7
Acts 1: 12 - 14
I Corinthians 12: 28 - 13: 10
St. Luke 6: 12 - 23
Martyrs of Nicomedia
17 November 2023
"at Nicomedia, Ammonios, and Diophilos, and the female martyr Matrōna."
St. Constans the Emperor
Son of Emperor St. Constantine. Defended and supported Nicene Christianity.
St. Matthew the Apostle
November 17th th is the commemoration of the dhukrono of St. Matthew the Apostle according to the liturgical calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church. Commemorated today for the sake of breastfeeding mothers.
Zacchaeus and Cleopas
Zacchaeus the tax collector became bishop of Caesarea
Cleopas is one among the Seventy Two (72) Disciples
Mor Abai of Hah, Abbot of Qartmin
18 November 2023
In hagiography: Abai of Ḥaḥ was a monk, miracle-worker, and disciple of Simeon of Qartmin. He became abbot of Qartmin and helped to end a plague through his prayers.
Abay (spoke with an angel on Mt. Sinai) mentioned in the Life of Mor Samuel of Qartmin
Mor Thomas of Amid
History of Syriac Literature and Sciences (1e): "Thomas was also a contemporary scholar of Jacob of Edessa, whom he mentioned after Rabban Aaron in his afore-mentioned letter, and even likened him around the year 680 unto the star which guided the Magians. Perhaps Thomas became the bishop of Amid and died around the year 700, for the historian of Zuqnin states that "Thomas III, bishop of Amid, was one of the illustrious bishops of that time."
Severus the Wonderworker +641
In hagiography: Severus, bishop of Samosata and known as a wonder-worker, was the brother of the Patriarch Athanasius the Camel-Driver. He accompanied his brother to meet Heraclius to return the cross of Jerusalem, and he endured persecution for his Miaphysite position. He lived much of the year as a solitary monk, and he was lame for much of his life after he broke his leg from falling off a horse. He was known for chasing away demons.
St. Romanus of Antioch +303
St. Severus the Great of Antioch Cathedral Homily #: 35
St. Simeon the Greek +410
In hagiography: Simon the Greek was a monk.
Mor Simeon the Greek (with a company of fifty) mentioned in the Life of Mor Samuel of Qartmin
Annunciation to Zachariah (Suboreh Dazkharyo) (Parents' day)
19 November 2023
The Sunday of the Annunciation to Zachariah (had'bshabo d'Suboreh Da'zkharyo) according to the Liturgical Calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
This is the first Sunday of the season of Annunciation or Suboro. Initially, there were only two Sundays, however by the 12th century this was increased to six Sundays before Christmas. The prayers of this season reflect the theology of fulfillment.
This Sunday is commemorated as the day when John the Baptist's birth was announced to Zachariah the priest by Archangel Gabriel. There are many examples in the Holy Bible & Church tradition of children being born to barren parents in waiting. From the patriarch Abraham & his wife Sarah to even the parents of St. Mary, we see many examples of God's miraculous grace being made manifest in those righteous faithful who continued to believe in Him. As we begin the season of Suboro, may we remain faithful that God will provide what we thought to be impossible.
Evening:St. Luke 1:1-17
Morning:St. Luke 1:18-25
Before Holy Qurbono:Genesis 17:15-22Numbers 8: 13-20I Samuel 1: 9-17Isaiah 41: 8-16
Holy Qurbono:II Peter 1: 1-15Romans 4: 13-25St. Luke 11:45-51
For sermons/commentaries based on the Gospel: https://goo.gl/DXNRN8
Tone of the Day: 3 (7 for alternate days of the week)
Syriac prayers: https://tinyurl.com/evk5px3m
Season of Suboro (Subbara)
This is the first Sunday of the Season of Annunciation, known as Suboro or Subbara in Syriac. There are six Sundays leading to the Nativity, and they are set in the sequential order of the Biblical narratives:
-Annunciation to St. Zachariah
-Annunciation to St. Mary
-Visitation of St. Mary to St. Elizabeth
-Birth of St. John the Baptist
-Revelation to St. Joseph the Righteous
-Sunday before Christmas
Unlike the Latin tradition, wherein Advent is centered around the theme of expectation, the theme of Subbara is the theology of fulfillment.
The pattern of Suboro emphasizes a typological orientation to salvation history. Prayers of this season are replete with Biblical allusions from the Old Testament, all of which point to Christ and His Incarnation; "blessed is He who came and fulfilled the mysteries and types and figures."
St. Azes of Isauria and 150 soldiers with him
The Holy Martyr Azes and with him 150 Soldiers suffered at Isauria, in Asia Minor, under the emperor Diocletian (284-305).
St. Dionysius the Areopagite
St. Platon of Ancyra
Sts. Maximus, Lucian and Carterius, Martyrs
"the chorepiscopus Maximos, and the presbyter Loukianos, and Karterios"
St. Agapius the Martyr
20 November 2023
Either the martyr of Palestine or of Cappadocia
St. Basil the Martyr
"from the ancient martyrs, the martyr Basileios"
Probably of Antioch
St. Jason the Evangelist
St. Proclus of Constantinople
Sts. Nerses and Joseph and many other men and women who suffered with them in Persia
Saint Nerses the bishop suffered for Christ in Persia with his disciple Joseph; Bishops John, Saverius, Isaac and Hypatius; the Martyrs Azades the Eunuch, Savonius, Thekla, Anna and many other men and women. They were executed in 343 during a persecution against Christians under the emperor Sapor II.
Saint Nerses and his disciple Joseph were beheaded; Saint John was stoned. This fate befell also Saints Isaac and Hypatius. Saint Saverius died in prison, and after death they cut off his head. A certain apostate presbyter strangled the Martyr Azades the Eunuch. The Martyrs Savonius, Thekla, Anna and many other men and women also underwent torture, suffering and death for Christ in 343.
Entrance of Virgin Mary into the Temple
21 November 2023
When the Virgin Mary was three years old her parents fulfilled their vows and presented her to the temple. During her stay in the temple her parents died knowing nothing of the future of their daughter. Church fathers have a different version stated in church liturgy. The payer read from the book of daily offices (Shehimo) on Friday morning reads:
” Mary became an orphan, for her parents passed away. She was left for the priests to take care of her. They took her to Jerusalem according to the command of Moses to be brought up there. The Lord of Prophets descended from high. He blessed and sanctified her. Hallelujah. May the prayer to her be a fence and protection to us”.
According to both versions we notice that the Virgin Mary was brought up in the temple from childhood and was consecrated to God. She worshiped God, Almighty serving in His temple with other elderly women worshipers such as Hanna the prophetess, daughter of Phenol, who served God…night and day (L. 2:37). The Virgin Mary studied the books of Divine inspiration and kept the law.
It has to be understood that the Virgin Mary did not take a vow of lifetime virginity because it was not the custom of the Jews to take such vows and because every Jewish girl was eager that she might give birth to Messiah. Every Jewish girl looked forward to her wedding day. This is manifested when the daughter of Jephtah knew about the vow taken by her father that “Whoever comes forth of the door of his house to meet him when he returns in victory he will offer it up for a burnt offering”. She was the first to come forth and receive him, and her father had to keep his vow in her. Although taking vows was considered against the law (Deut.12: 31), “she said unto her father, let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows” (Judg. 11:37).
Monasticism was known among pagans. It was introduced to Judaism as well, and was practiced by the Essens. This was, however, a violation of Jewish religious traditions and of the teachings of the Pentateuch which considers marriage a necessity in fulfillment of the Command of God, Almighty.
“Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28). Some prophets kept celibacy such as Elijah, John, the Baptist and others. This was, however, in fulfillment of a divine end. These celibates were considered as weird and never can weirdness be the norm.
The Holy Virgin Mary in the Syrian Orthodox Church by late HH Mor Ignatius Zakka I
St. Ananias the hermit
On MASOCNA Calendar
November 21st is the commemoration of the dukhrono of St. Ananias the Hermit +816 according to the Liturgical Calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
Mor Hananyo was the Metropolitan of Kfartuta. He was originally from the Dayro d-Mor Mattai Nineveh, he was appointed by the thrice blessed late HH Patriarch Quryaqos of Takrit, of blessed memory . He was instrumental in renovating the buildings of what is known as the Saffron Monastery (Kurkmo Dayro) after a period of decline due to damage inflicted by the Persians. The Monastery eventually became dedicated in his honour as Dayro d-Mor Hananyo. St. Ananias lived a pious life, always full of joy & displaying great affection to the faithful, ever thankful to God. After completing the work of the Monastery, Mor Hananyo finally entered the abode of the saints in 816AD.
The Monastery of Mor Hananyo, also known as Kurkmo Dayro (in Syriac) or Deir ez-Za`faran (in Arabic) meaning the "Saffron Monastery," is situated some five kilometers east of Mardin (in South eastern Turkey), in a shallow basin half-way up the side of the mountain ridge. This is one of the most famous & ancient structures of Upper Mesopotamia, & a prominent religious center of the Süryani Kadim (Syriac Orthodox Community). The origin of this imposing monastery goes back to the 5th century; mosaics remaining from that period are still present. It was originally built by Mor Sleymun (Solomon) in 493AD, but it suffered major damage at the hands of Persians prior to the repair work ordered by Mor Hananyo. From 1160 until 1932 it was the official seat of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East. Many scholars of the Church came from Saffron Monastery.
Oh Mor Hananyo! Plead for us before God's throne of grace. Amen.
To know more about Dayro d-Mor Hananyo: https://goo.gl/TEwZaz
Official website of Saffron Monastery: https://goo.gl/rMCMZp
Sts. Plotinus and Companions, Martyrs
"at Melitene, Plōtinos and forty-nine other martyrs"
Hwara, son of Theodore
22 November 2023
In hagiography: Hwara, son of Theodore lived in the fourth century. He met a monk, Mar Aḥa, who had been taken captive by a crypto-Christian soldier in the Persian army. Aḥa cured Hwara of being mute and in response Hwara became a monk. They established monasteries near Nisibis, where Hwara was the successor of Mar Aḥa.
Mor Zayna and Mort Sarah martyrs
In hagiography: Zayna bishop of Barumman and martyr, and his sister Sarah, were a brother and sister pair similar to Behnam and Sara. Their cult in Tagritwas a rival to that of Behnam andSara at Mar Mattai. Zayna was the son of Ator, a king. He became a monk and bishop. Their story was elaborate and involved dragons, healed kings, profitable caravans, and supernatural senses. The cult of Zayna and Sarah was very popular in Qaraqosh and other parts of the Maphrianate of the East
St. Peter and St. Paul
St. Philemon the Evangelist
Recipient of Epistle from St. Paul
St. Amphilochius, Bishop of Iconium +394
23 November 2023
St. Sisinnius the Martyr
Probably St. Sisinius of Cyzicus
24 November 2023
Mor Dionysius II (Pulikkottil Joseph I) +1816
Remembrance of the Persian Martyrs
St. Athanasius of Alexandria
November 24th is the commemoration of the dukhrono of St. Athanasius of Alexandria (St. Athanasius the Great) according to the Liturgical Calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
Mor Athanasius was born in AD295 to wealthy Christian parents. He studied Theology & Greek mythology. He lived some years with St. Antony in the deserts spending time in prayers & meditation. He has also written the biography of the saint.
He was ordained a deacon in AD 319 by Patriarch Alexander & he served him as his secretary. At the time Arius, an old priest in Alexandria, taught that Jesus was not fully divine but he was only similar to God & was created at the beginning of creation. In AD325 the Ecumenical Council held in Nicaea put Arius on trial & denounced him. The council confirmed the error of his teaching. The primary opponent was deacon Athanasius who worked as the secretary of Patriarch Alexander in this Council.
Upon the demise of Patriarch Alexander in AD328, Athanasius who was only 33 at that time ascended the throne. There were many allegations against him & he was banished five times. There were even attempts on his life. The Arius faction severed the arm of a dead man to be presented as a proof that it was the right arm of Episcopo Arsanios who was murdered by Athanasius. Their allegations were proved baseless when Arsanius himself was presented before them.
A Synod at Tyre excommunicated him. Two years later he returned to the diocese. Again in AD339, a synod with the connivance of Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia, banished him. He was given sanctuary by Mor Yulios of Rome. The Serdica synod in AD343 re-established him in his ecclesiastical rights & declared him the lawful Patriarch of Alexandria.
His episcopate lasted for forty five years till AD 373. Of these he had spent seventeen years in hiding, in deserts & in foreign countries. In spite of all the trials he succeeded in transferring true faith to the next generation.
Mor Athanasius is commemorated every Sunday in the Thubden d-Qadishe (5th Thubden/Dypthic) of the Syriac Orthodox Church Holy Qurbono.
Biography adapted from 'Martyrs, Saints & Prelates of the Syriac Orthodox Church'
Oh Mor Athanasius! Plead for the Holy Church, that her children and hierarchy remain steadfast in the true faith always! Amen.
St. Berenician the Martyr
"at Kaisareia in Cappadocia, Berenikianos"
St. Clement of Rome +100
November 24th is the commemoration of the dukhrono of St. Clement of Rome +100 according to the Liturgical Calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
Mor Clemis was born in Rome & accepted Christianity following the evangelization by St. Peter & St. Paul. He is recorded as the 3rd successor of St. Peter in Rome. During the rule of emperor Trajan, Clement was banished to Pontos & imprisoned. He was forced to work in the marble quarries under harsh conditions. Many around him accepted Christ due to his preaching.
His letter to the Church in Corinth is considered as the ideal model of an encyclical from a spiritual leader. This epistle is mainly intended to settle disputes & rifts among churches. It contains advice to the churches, which have shown disrespect to the traditions & teachings of the Apostles, as to how to regain their original prestige by practising noble qualities like obedience & humility. Additionally, there is a Holy Qurbono Thakso (Anaphora) composed by Mor Clemis. He has also written standardised special prayers to be used during the accession of the Patriarchs.
The emperor enraged at his constant preaching even under imprisonment, ordered him to be drowned in the Black Sea. Thus St. Clement attained the crown of martyrdom. Mor Clemis is commemorated every Sunday in the Thubden d-Qadishe (5th Thubden/Dypthic) of the Syriac Orthodox Church Holy Qurbono.
Oh Mor Clemis! Plead for us before God's throne of grace. Amen.
St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria +444
November 24th is the commemoration of the dukhrono of St. Cyril Patriarch of Alexandria +444 according to the Liturgical Calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
Mor Coorilos was born in 376 AD in Alexandria. He was consecrated bishop by his uncle. On 17 October, AD 412 he became the Patriarch of Alexandria.
Nestorius who ascended as the Patriarch of Constantinople in AD 421 started spreading heresies about Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. According to him Mary was mother only to the humanness of Christ, who earned His divinity only after His birth. Nestorius also indoctrinated that it was wrong to address Mary as the mother of God; instead she should be called only as the mother of Christ.
St. Cyril presided over the Council of Ephesus convened by Emperor Theodosyus II. The Council which commenced on 22 June, 431 AD was attended by one hundred and fifty-nine bishops. The Council of Ephesus analysed the heresies of Nestorius and declared that “in Jesus Christ the God head and man head have converged into one unity" and that Mary was the mother of God (Theotokos/Yoldath Aloho) The profound interpretations of St. Cyril earned him the title, “the Doctor of Incarnation” He also countered the opinions of Nestorius in a book titled, “The true faith about the Incarnation of Christ.”
St. Cyril is described in the fifth diptych (thubden) of the Holy Qurbono, as one who proved clearly the incarnation of Jesus Christ and as the tower of honesty. The glorious saint is also described as one who revealed the humanhood of the Word. He had learned theology from many eminent scholars but he encouraged instruction from none other than the very ancient teachers. It was a strong edict practiced by him. Mor Coorilos also wrote commentaries on the Gospels and other books of the Holy Bible.
The protector of True faith, St. Cyril, had to face much harassment from the disciples of Nestorius as he opposed their dissenting views. St. Cyril is presented as a quarrel monger by some historians but his stand was always clear, “peace is desirable but it should not be at the cost of faith”.
Biography courtesy, 'Martyrs, Saints and Prelates of the Syriac Orthodox Church'
Oh Mor Coorilos! Plead for us before God's throne of grace. Amen.
Gregory the Miracle-Worker
November 24th is the commemoration of the dukhrono of St. Gregory of Nazianzus +390 according to the Liturgical Calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
This greatest and most beloved of all Christian orators was born in Antioch the Great in the year 344 or 347; his pious parents were called Secundus and Anthusa. After his mother was widowed at the age of twenty, she devoted herself to bringing up John and his elder sister in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Saint Boctor Ebn Romanus
Dedication of church named after him in Antioch
The Seven Sleepers
Mentioned date by the thrice blessed late Patriarch HH Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas of blessed memory in his article on Islam.
"For the Syrians the Legend of the Cave was an event with which God proves that He, the creator, can bring back to life the dead on the day of the resurrection. It was handed down in the Syriac language in excellent style, verse and prose. It belongs to the Syrian tradition and was studied thoroughly also by the great chroniclers like Zachariah the Rhetor (+536), John of Ephesus (+587), the Monk of Zuqnin (+775) and others. We also have a poem, containing 74 verses in 7-syllable meter, by Mor Jacob of Serugh (+521). The church remembers these Seven Sleepers on November 24 every year. They have their own liturgical prayer in which the truth of their sleeping and awakening is documented and handed down." http://syriacchristianity.info/PZakka/ShortHisIslam.htm
St. Peter the Iberian
25 November 2023
In hagiography: Peter the Iberian was the son of the king of Georgia. He went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and became a monk. He became Bishop of Maiuma in Gaza and was exiled to Egypt in 455.
St. Pope Peter I of Alexandria
"at Alexandria the [gre]at, the [bish]op Petros, an [ancient]t martyr."
Annunciation to St. Mary, Mother of God (Suboreh Dabthulto)
26 November 2023
The Sunday of the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary the mother of God (had'bshabo d'Suboro da'bthulto Mariam Yoldath Aloho) according to the Liturgical Calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
Today we commemorate the archangel Gabriel's announcement of the incarnation of our Lord to St. Mary. We celebrate the Feast of Annunciation (Suboro) to St. Mary twice a year; on the 3rd Sunday after Qudosh Idto & on March 25th. Suboro is considered to be one of the most important feasts of the Church, so much so that the Holy Qurbono must be held on this day even if March 25th also happens to be Good Friday!
"So the holy thing which shall be born of the virgin shall be called Holy & the Son of God." (Luke 1:35). The event of Annunciation of Divine Conception marks the beginning of the two mysteries of Incarnation & Redemption. In the Syriac tradition, St. Mary is never a passive figure, nor is she credulous, which is clearly evident in the scriptures (Luke 1:34). She is often portrayed as questioning the angel closely in order to make sure he was not a messenger of Satan disguised as an angel of light. (II Cor 11:14) The moment Mary yielded to God’s Command, the Holy Ghost came upon her absolving her of sin & sanctifying her (Luke 1:35). Divinity dwelt in her womb & of her blood a full man was created initiating, thus the mystery of Divine Incarnation without the seed of a man “before they came together”(Matt 1:18). The Lord had the complete human nature of his mother, that is a real body with articulate human soul (Luke 23:46 Matt 26:38), resembling us, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15).
St. Mary is perpetually virgin. She conceived as a virgin, & brought forth her son without breaking the seal of virginity. (Matt 1:25) She remained unknown to man. In the Syriac tradition various names are given to Mary to symbolize said virginity:
-The Closed Door (thar'o dahid) -The Sealed Letter (egartho htimtho) -Unploughed Land (ar'o dlo ethpalhath) -Unpruned Vine (satho lo kashuh) -Thirsty Land (ar'o zahitho) -Gideon's Fleece (geztho d'Gideon)
Source: 'The Virgin Mary in the Syrian Orthodox Church', 'Bride of Light' & 'Mariological Thought of Mar Jacob of Serugh'
Evening:St. Luke 1:26-38
Morning:St. Mark 3:31-35
Before Holy Qurbono:Deuteronomy 26:16-27:10Judges 13:2-14Zechariah 2:10-13, 4:1-7, 8:3Isaiah 63:15-64:5
Holy Qurbono:1 John 3:2-17Hebrews 6:13-7:10St. Luke 1:26-38
For sermons/commentaries based on the Gospel reading: https://goo.gl/N0XC2r
Tone of the Day: 4 (8 for alternative days of the week)
Syriac Prayers: https://tinyurl.com/yckt7zvj Hymns: https://goo.gl/MsNi9E
St. Theodosius the bishop, martyred in a lime-kiln
In hagiography: Theodosius was a bishop, perhaps a monk from Qartmin mentioned in the Life of Mor Samuel of Qartmin.
who died in an oven along with those who were martyred with him.
The brothers who are watchers
Metropolitan Consecration of H.E. Mor Nicodemos Daoud Matti Sharaf
27 November 2023
H.E. Mor Nicodemos Daoud Matti Sharaf, Metropolitan of Mosul, Kurdistan & Environs was consecrated on November 27th 2011 by late HH Mor Ignatius Zakka I.
St. Isaiah of Scetis
Abba Isaiah of Scetes, author of the Asceticon (ascetic discourses)
St. Isaias of Skete a leader of the Palestinian Miaphysite movement, in the monastery in Maiuma.
St. Jacob, the dismembered/mutilated (Mor Yac'ub M’fasqo)
November 27th is the commemoration of the dukhrono of St. Jacob, the dismembered/mutilated +422 according to the Liturgical Calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
Mor Yac'ub M’fasqo (St. Jacob the Persian or St. Jacob Intercisus) who was a Persian, lived in the town of Lopoth with his parents. The king of the country, Guharon, had great appreciation for Yac'ub. On knowing that he was a Christian, the king tried to dissuade him from following his belief by tempting him with gifts. This caused Yac'ub to turn away from God. Mor Yac'ub's parents appealed to him through a letter not to give up the true faith, Christianity. He repented & returned to the Christian belief.
After the death of King Guharon, his son Yazdegerd was informed about his change of heart & the new king questioned Yac'ub about it. He informed the king, “Our Saviour has promised a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God” (John 16:2). Your feeling that you respect God is itself a folly. The king was furious listening to him & ordered his ministers to decide a punishment for him. This was the verdict, “He should not be killed all of a sudden. First his fingers, toes, then his hands, legs & hip should be severed. He should be beheaded after being dismembered thus”. Many believers were grieved to hear this verdict. They prayed, ”Oh God the mighty, strengthen him, this servant of yours to escape from this trial with success.”
Yac'ub requested some time for prayer before the callous punishment was implemented. He knelt down turning towards the east & prayed, "Oh God, please listen to this weak servant. Strengthen me at this moment. Bless me to be a friend & comforter to those who love you & receive persecution in your name.” The executioners then chopped off his fingers & toes. He kept on praying even while enduring severe pain. The tormentors slowly cut off his feet, then his lower limbs, followed by his hands and upper limbs. But St. Jacob was not dismayed instead he boldly exclaimed, "I will praise God till my last breath.” Finally, he was decapitated by the persecutors. Thus Mor Yac'ub M’fasqo attained the crown of martyrdom. Faithful Christian believers carried off his body & buried it while reciting Psalm 51.
Oh Mor Yac'ub M’fasqo! Plead for us before God's throne of grace. Amen.
Mor Dionysius Yac'ub Bar Salibi (+1171)
28 November 2023
November 28th is the commemoration of the dukhrono of Mor Dionysius Yac'ub Bar Salibi +1171 according to the Liturgical Calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
Mor Dionysius Yac'ub Bar Salibi was the best-known & most prolific writer of the Syriac Orthodox Church of the twelfth century. He was a towering figure amongst Church theologians. He was known to his contemporaries as 'the eloquent doctor', 'the star of his generation' & a philoponus (lover of work).
Bar Salibi was a native of Melitene on the upper Euphrates. In 1154 he was consecrated bishop of Mar'ash by Patriarch Mor Athanasius VII; a year later the diocese of Mabug was added to his charge. In 1166 Patriarch Mor Michael the Great transferred him to the metropolitan see of Amid (Diyabakir). At Amid, he restored the church of Yoldath Aloho (Mother of God)
The Thakso (Anaphora) of Bar Salibi is one of the most commonly used Anaphora, second only to the Anaphora of St. James in frequency of use.
After the Anaphora, among his writings probably the most important are his exhaustive commentaries on the text of the Old & New Testaments, in which he skillfully interwove & summarized the interpretations of previous writers such as Mor Aphrem Suryoyo, St. John Chrysostom, St. Cyril of Alexandria, Mor Mushe Bar Kifo & Mor Yuhannon of Dara, whom he mentions together in the preface to his commentary on St Matthew.
Among his other main works are a treatise against heretics, containing inter alia a polemic against the Jews & the Muslims; liturgical treatises, epistles, homilies. Bar Salibi’s commentary on the Holy Qurbono (Divine Liturgy) is an invaluable witness to the history of the Syriac version of the anaphora of St. James the Archbishop of Jerusalem.
He reposed in the Lord in 1171AD & was buried on the south side of the church next to two patriarchs.
Oh Mor Dionysius Yac'ub Bar Salibi! Plead for us before God's throne of grace. Amen.
Anaphora of Bar Salibi
St. Jacob Burdono +578
November 28th is the commemoration of the dukhrono of St. Jacob Baradaeus +578 according to the Liturgical Calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
Mor Yac'ub Burd’ono was born in Tella Mawzalt also known as Constantina (Viranşehir,Turkey) near Nisbis, to the Syriac Orthodox priest Theophilose bar Manu. His parents did not have children for a long time & in fulfillment of a vow made by his parents, he was dedicated to God. At the age of 2, Jacob was entrusted to the care of Eustathius, abbot of the Monastery (Reesh Dayroyo), in Phaselita. Here he learnt Greek, Syriac & the basics of asceticism. One day his mother visited the monastery wanting to take him with her. He was not willing to go home even for a visit saying, “I am fully dedicated to Christ, my mother has no share in me.” He distributed all the properties that he inherited from his parents among the poor, & reserved nothing for himself.
Jacob was ordained deacon & later Priest. He was known for working miracles; sick people came from far & wide to be healed by him. St. Jacob raised the dead, restored sight to the blind, gave rain, & even made the Sun stand still. His fame spread all over the East.
Mor Yac'ub lived during one of the harshest periods of the Syriac Church. After the Church refused the Chalcedonian formula of faith, it came under the oppression of the Byzantine emperors. The Syriac Orthodox Church did not accept the Chalcedonian definition, but along with the Copts accepted only the 3 Holy Ecumenical Synods. The Church affirms that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Incarnate Son of God, who took a perfect manhood without sin, & who bore the human sins on the cross & died for the sake of all humanity. Jesus made His Humanity one with His Divinity without mixing nor mingling nor changing. The teachings of St. Athanasius & St. Cyril of Alexandria & St. Severus of Antioch are very important in understanding the tenet of Christology of the Syriac Orthodox Church. This faith is known as Miaphysite, while the Chalcedonian faith is dyophysite & resembles the Nestorian heresy which was rejected previously.
Emperor Justinian had resolved to enforce the Chalcedonian decrees universally, & the Bishops, clergy & faithful who refused to accept the decrees were punished with imprisonment, deprivation, exile or death. As a result, the Orthodox were deprived of their spiritual leaders & for about ten years many churches had to forgo the sacraments. The faithful were not ready to accept the sacraments from the heretics. Chalcedonians were known as the Melchites/Melkites (from the Syriac Malkoye - the royal party or the Emperor’s men) since the emperor ardently supported them. The wife of Justinian was however a staunch Orthodox Christian, the daughter of a Syriac Orthodox priest. It is important to know that Empress Theodora was enthroned with equal rights & powers as her husband. St. Theodora requested Mor Yac'ub to visit Constantinople, however he didn't want to go. He later received a vision from Mor Severus & Mor John of Tella directing him & so he went. While the Emperor & the courts wished to persecute Jacob, he was welcomed with honour by the Empress. At the personal castle of Theodora, many Orthodox faithful & leaders sought refuge including Coptic Pope Theodosius I.
With the support of the Ghassanid King al-Harith Ibn Jabalah al-Ghassani (The Ghassanids were an ethnic Arab Syriac Orthodox kingdom), Theodora managed to get Mor Yac'ub Burd'ono ordained as "universal bishop" "by Patriarch Theodosius I of Alexandria, Patriarch Anthimus I of Constantinople & another imprisoned metropolitan to spread the Orthodox faith & ordain clergy.
St. Jacob is known by the surname Baradaeus. The surname Baradaeus is derived from ‘baradai’ (clad in rags) or the ragged beggars garb, patched-up out of the old saddle-cloths which he used for his multiple swift & secret journeys across the land. He walked on foot through Asia minor, Syria, Mesopotamia, the adjacent provinces, the borders of Persia & into Alexandria. He both exhorted the faithful & sent encyclicals encouraging them to remain steadfast in the true Orthodox faith. He ordained 2 Patriarchs; Mor Sergius & Mor Paul II, at least 27 bishops & thousands of priests & deacons for the Orthodox Church. The Melchites were furious at the successful efforts of St. Jacob in protecting the true faith, even offering a reward for his capture. But by the grace of God almighty, Mor Yac'ub always eluded the persecutors. He also worked tirelessly to reconcile the Miaphysites & the Chalcedonians but extremism, misunderstanding & ecclesiastical politics hindered his efforts.
Mor Yac'ub wrote an anaphora in fifteen pages beginning with “O Lord, the most Holy Father of peace” & several letters, four of which were published in the Syriac Documents—3 addressed to John of Ephesus & others, & a general letter to the various clergy which is mentioned in his lengthy biography.
He continued his work for thirty-five years, tirelessly fighting the good fight for the Church of God, which he diligently supported in the time of great adversity until he died at the Monastery of Romanus or the Monastery of Cassian on July 30, 578AD. According to a short account by Mor Quryaqos, bishop of Mardin, the remains of Mor Yac'ub were kept at the Monastery of Cassian in the confines of Egypt until A. Gr. 933 (A.D. 622), when they were translated to the Monastery of Phaselita, near Tella Mouzalat by Mor Zakkai, bishop of Tella. A portion of the relics of Mor Yac'ub Burd’ono was interred at St. Stephen’s Bes-ania Church, Chelad, Kothamangalam by St. Gregorius Geevarghese Chathuruthil (Parumala Thirumeni).
Although the political & dynastic storms again the Holy Church swept that portion of the world, the efforts of St Jacob preserved the true undefiled Orthodox (Miaphysite) Faith. The Melchites (Chalcedonians, including current EO & Roman Catholics) derogatorily referred to all Miaphysites (including the Coptics, Armenians, Abbyssinians etc) as Jacobites. The term Jacobite was used to insinuate that the Miaphysite Orthodox broke away from the Melchites. The name Jacobite has been associated with the Orthodox Church since the 6th century, it was used by the Melchites to disgrace the noble Church. However, the Syriac Orthodox Church does not consider St. Jacob as the founder of the Church, but one of its greatest fathers. Mor Yac'ub Burd’ono did not introduce any new doctrines to the Church but fought to preserve its True Orthodox faith & Apostolic origins since the Holy Throne was established by St. Peter the chief of the Holy Apostles in AD 37.
All Orthodox faithful should gratefully remember St. Jacob Baradaeus as he is responsible for restoring the Church from extinction by his indomitable zeal & untiring activity, as the Church was threatened by the persecution of imperial power. He is one of the most illustrious Church Fathers, known for his godliness & piety; he attained the summit of religious & austere asceticism. Mor Yac'ub Burd’ono was arguably the greatest Apostolic fighter in support of the true Orthodox faith, unceasingly working to protect & promote Orthodoxy in the face of immense persecution. He is honored in the 5th Dypthic (Thubden d-Qadishe) every Sunday in the Syriac Orthodox Church as "...Our venerable and Holy Father Mor Jacob Baradaeus, the upholder of the Orthodox faith"
Biography courtesy of, 'Martyrs, Saints and Prelates of the Syriac Orthodox Church' and Syriac Orthodox Resources (SOR website).
Oh Mor Yac'ub Burd’ono! Plead for us before God's throne of grace. Amen.
To read the biography of Mor Yac'ub Burd’ono in Arabic: https://goo.gl/mBo4pX
St. James, first Archbishop of Jerusalem +62 AD
November 28th is the commemoration of the dukhrono of St. James the Just +62AD according to the Liturgical Calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
Mor Yac'ub was the first Archbishop of Jerusalem. He is the brother of Jesus by virtue of being born to a previous wife of Joseph. He was called 'James the Just' because he was a righteous man who was steadfast in prayer, frequently found alone in the church, praying on his knees so often that they became hard as camel.
He wrote the general Epistle in his name. Mor Yac'ub formulated the Divine Liturgy known as the Anaphora of St. James. This is the oldest form of worship in the history of Christianity. This form of worship is the 'Holy Qurbono' preserved & handed down through the centuries by the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch.
Persecutors of James demanded a denial of his faith in Jesus Christ in public. He instead affirmed his faith that Christ, our Lord & Saviour, is the Son of God. They threw him down from the top of the church. Even though he survived the fall, he was subsequently beaten to death with a fuller’s club. Thus Mor Yac'ub attained the crown of martyrdom.
St. John of Dara in his 'Commentary on the Eucharist' (quoting Sts. Basil, Epiphanius, & John Chrysostom) states that Christ himself entrusted the Qurobo to James on third day of the week of Pentecost; who then communicated St. John the Apostle who finally communicated St. Mary the mother of God. The Syriac Orthodox Church continues to use a part of the prior Qurobo in preparation of the next lahmo (Eucharist Bread) thereby maintaining the unbroken connection to the Holy Apostles for the last 2000 years.
Mor Yac'ub is commemorated every Sunday in the Thubden d-Qadishe (5th Thubden/Dypthic) of the Syriac Orthodox Church Holy Qurbono; describing him as, “Jacob, the first Archbishop of Jerusalem, the Apostle & martyr”.
Biography adapted from 'Martyrs, Saints and Prelates of the Syriac Orthodox Church'
Oh Mor Yac'ub! Plead for us before God's throne of grace. Amen.
Mor Yac'ub of Serugh
29 November 2023
November 29th is the commemoration of the dukhrono of St. Jacob of Serugh +521 according to the Liturgical Calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
Mor Yac'ub Srugoyo was one of the foremost Syriac poet-theologians among the Syriacs & at the same time one of most readable authors of his class. In the wealth of words & ease of expression he ranks next to St. Ephrem the Syrian. Where his predecessor Ephrem is known as the 'Harp of the Spirit', Jacob is known as the 'Flute of the Spirit'.
He was born the son of a priest in Serugh at the village of Kurtam near Edessa. A beautiful story of his childhood is recounted as follows; at the age of three, while in the church, the child got out of the hands of his mother & went up to the altar during the time of Epiclesis (during the invocation of Holy Spirit at the Holy Qurbono), at the altar the child was given a drink by an angel, he then returned to his mother joyfully.
He was a student at the famous school of Edessa. King Zeno later closed the school at Urhoy in AD 489. Jacob completed his education at the age of 22 & was ordained priest. He served the village Hawra near Urhoy as priest & Cor-Episcopo. He composed most of his poetry (memre) when he was a Cor-Episcopo. Bar Ebroyo recorded that he employed seventy amanuenses (copying secretaries) in writing his homiletic poems of which 760 exist. He was a voluminous writer. His writings include those about the great men of the Old Testament, about angels, the mysteries of the Son of God, two anaphoras, an order of Baptism & six homilies - on Nativity, Epiphany, Lent, Palm Sunday, The Passion & the Resurrection. Apart from these he has written the biographies of Mor Daniel & Mor Hananyo.
After the infamous Synod of Chalcedon, the faithful Orthodox believers had to suffer a lot. However, Mor Jacob of Serugh joined hands with Mor Severius, Patriarch of Antioch (AD 460-538) & Mor Philexinos of Mabbug (AD 450-523) to protect the true faith. Jacob was ordained Bishop of Batnae in c. AD 519 when he was 67 years old. His writings to the faithful always demonstrated attachment to the Miaphysite doctrine which he held steadfastly even in the face of adversity.
On 29 November 521, Mor Jacob departed for the heavenly abode in the midst of writing a poem on Mary & Golgotha. His mortal remains were interred at the church in Serugh. The plaque on the tomb reads: “The Syrian Mor Jacob of Serugh, the Consolidator of the true faith.” Mor Yac'ub of Serugh is commemorated every Sunday in the Thubden d-Qadishe (5th Thubden/Dypthic) of the Syriac Orthodox Church Holy Qurbono.
Translation of life prepared by Mor Philoxenus Yuhannon Dolbani: http://bit.ly/JacobSerugh
Oh Mor Yac'ub Srugoyo! Plead for us before God's throne of grace. Amen.
Lecture Series - St.Jacob of Serugh (courtesy Hymonutho): https://bit.ly/3aXMSqf
St. Palladius of Antioch +390
St. Andrew, the disciple
30 November 2023
November 30th is the commemoration of the dukhrono of St. Andrew the Holy Apostle +60 according to the Liturgical Calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
Mor Andrayos Sleeho, the brother of St. Peter, was a native of the town of Bethsaida in Galilee, & a fisherman by profession. Being first a disciple of St. John the Baptist, he later joined Jesus Christ, bringing to Him his elder brother Simon, with whom he became a member of the Holy Apostles.
Tradition states that he travelled in Jordan, Arabia, Phoenicia (modern Lebanon) Osreon (South eastern Turkey) & preached the Gospel among people who spoke Armenian language. Besides that he travelled across Cappodocia, Bithynia, Galatia around the Black sea & went to Acacia. It is even believed that he carried the Gospel as far as Russia & Poland, & that he preached at Byzantium.
He is said to have been martyred by crucifixion as he precipitated the anger of the Roman provincial Governor. When he reached Patras/Patrae in Achaia/Acaia, he heard the Governor’s wife Maxilla (Maximilla) was on her deathbed. As he arrived at their palace he found Aegeates, the Governor with a drawn sword ready to kill himself after the imminent death of his wife. As St. Andrew prayed she recovered & accepted Jesus Christ as her saviour. Her brother-in-law also accepted the Christian belief. The Governor was furious as his brother & wife converted to Christianity & consequently Andrew was imprisoned.
It is recorded that a debate ensued as St. Andrew spread the true faith & spoke against the worship of idols & during the trial he was condemned to be crucified. In prison he influenced other prisoners & many repented. The Governor on hearing about this, issued orders to crucify him.
When Andrew saw the cross made of olive wood in the shape of ‘X‘ (St. Andrew's Cross) he hugged it with great happiness. He prayed, “May Jesus who saved me through the Cross accept me now by the same cross.” He was not nailed but bound to the cross tightly & the cross was made to stand erect. He suffered hunger, thirst & intense pain for two days in the same posture. Even in the midst of his agony he was preaching the word of God. Half an hour before his ordeal came to an end his face lit up, then his soul departed for its heavenly abode. Thus Mor Andrayos attained the crown of martyrdom. He was entombed in Patras at the order of Maxilla. The relics of the saint was later taken to Constantinople in 357, & deposited in the church of the Holy Apostles, built by Constantine the Great.
Oh Mor Andrayos Sleeho! Plead for us before God's throne of grace. Amen.
St. Pishoy (anba Bishoy) +417
Tradition states he met and conversed with St. Ephrem the Syrian
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