1. The Holy Prophet Hosea.
The son of Beeri of the tribe of Issachar, he lived and prophesied more than eight hundred years before the birth of Christ. His inspired words are found in his book, which contains fourteen chapters. He strongly rebuked Israel and Judah for their idolatry, foretold God's punishment for their sin, the destruction of Samaria and Israel for their apostasy but the showing of God's mercy on the tribe of Judah. He foresaw the end of the sacrifices of the Old Covenant, and the coming of the Lord and the rich gifts that He would bring to earth. He lived to great old age, and entered peacefully into rest.
2. The Holy Martyrs Cosmas and Damian, the Unmercenaries.
There were three pairs of holy brothers called Cosmas and Damian. The first entered peacefully into rest on November 1st, the second were stoned to death in Rome on July 1st, and the third were Arabs - and it is of these that we are thinking today. They were doctors by trade and, when they embraced the Christian faith, they healed the sick in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, becoming known on all sides for their miraculous hearings. The wicked pagans seized them and took them before the governor, Lysias, in the town of Aegae. These holy brothers would not deny Christ at any price, so they were first thrown into the sea and then into fire, but God almighty saved them from drowning and from the flames, an angel of God appearing to them and saving them. The pagan governor ascribed this to some magical power of theirs, but they replied: 'We have no sort of magic, nor use any, but we have the power of Christ to save us and all who call upon His holy name.' They were then stoned, but the stones bounced off them, and they were finally beheaded with the sword. Ss Leontius, Anthimus and Euprepius also suffered with them and received wreaths of glory. They suffered in the time of Diocletian and Maximian, in the early fourth century. Many miracles were wrought by their holy relics, such as they had themselves also wrought while living on this earth.
3. Our Holy Father, the Martyr Andrew.
He was a Cretan by birth, and a Christian priest. At the time of the iconoclast persecution, he showed himself a great fighter for their veneration and went to Constantinople to denounce the wicked Emperor Copronymos for his iconoclasm. The Emperor was one day in the Church of the Holy Martyr Mamas. Andrew went into the church, stood before the Emperor and began to rebuke him openly, before all who were present: 'You would do better, 0 King, to look to the work of the army and the governing of the people, than to the persecuting of Christ and His servants.' For this he was harshly flogged and tortured, and dragged through the streets, where a heretic attacked him with an axe and killed him. Thus Andrew gave his holy soul into God's hands, in the year 767. His relics had healing power.
4. St Lazarus the Four-Days-Dead.
His chief feasts are on March 17th and Lazarus Saturday at the end of the Great Fast. Today we commemorate the translation of his relics from the island of Cyprus to Constantinople. The Emperor Leo the Wise built a church to St Lazarus in Constantinople, and translated his relics there in 890. When, after almost a thousand years, Lazarus's grave in the town of Kition on Cyprus was dug up, a marble tablet was found with the inscription still legible: 'Lazarus the Four-Days-Dead, the friend of Christ'.