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1. The Deposition of the Vesture of the Most Holy Mother of God in the Blachernae Church in Constantinople.

In the time of the Emperor Leo the Great (457-474) and the Empress Verina and Patriarch Gennadius, two Constantinopolitan nobles, Galbius and Candidus, were travelling in the Holy Land to venerate the holy places there. In Nazareth, they stayed in the house of a Jewish girl who had the vesture of the Mother of God kept in a secret place. Many of the sick and wretched had received healing through prayer and the touching of this vesture. Galbius and Candidus took this holy relic to Constantinople and informed the Emperor and the Patriarch of its existence. It was the cause of great rejoicing in the imperial city. The vesture was ceremonially placed in the Blachernae church (a church built by the Emperor Marcian and Empress Pulcheria on the shore of a bay, and named 'Blachernae' after a General Blacheran from Scetis, who was killed there), and this commemorative feast was instituted.

2. St Juvenal, Patriarch of Jerusalem.

A contemporary of Euthymius, Theodosius, Gerasim, Simeon Stylites and other great lights of the Church, he took part in two Ecumenical Councils - the Third in Ephesus and the Fourth in Chalcedon, striving with great power and zeal against the blasphemous heretics - at Ephesus against Nestorius, who spoke of the Mother of God as Mother of Christ, denying that Christ is God and man in one Person, and at Chalcedon against Eutyches and Dioscorus, who taught that Christ has only one nature, divine but not human. After the victory of Orthodoxy at both these Councils, Juvenal returned to his see in Jerusalem. But, though the heresies were condemned, the heretics were not subdued. By the plots and violence of one Theodosius, a friend of Dioscorus, Juvenal was driven from his episcopal throne and Theodosius installed in his place. The Empress Eudocia, widow of the Emperor Theodosius the Younger, first gave her assistance to this heretic while she was staying in Jerusalem. The hesitant and meddlesome Empress went at length to St Simeon Stylites, to ask him where the truth lay. This saint of God denounced the heretical teaching and instructed the Empress to keep to Orthodox teaching as upheld by the Councils. The Empress obeyed him, repented and herself condemned the false Patriarch Theodosius. Marcian and Pulcheria were at that time on the throne in Constantinople. A letter was sent from the Emperor to the governor, instructing him to exile Theodosius and re-instate Juvenal, which the governor did without delay. Juvenal governed the Church in Jerusalem as its hierarch for thirty-eight years and went to the Lord in great old age, in 458, to receive at His hands the reward for the manifold sufferings he had endured for the truth's sake.

3. St Photius, Metropolitan of Moscow.

A Greek by birth, he governed the Russian Church wisely for twenty years, entering into rest in 1430. A week before his death, an angel of God appeared to him and revealed to him the precise time of his departure from this world.

From The Prologue From Ochrid by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
© 1985 Lazarica Press, Birmingham UK