Among the Holy Fathers of our Church, the great figure of St. Alexander is prominent. Born in the year 239 AD to Christian parents, he had the distinction of serving as the first Archbishop of Constantinople. He lived during the great persecutions against Christians ordered by the Roman emperors Decius, Diocletian, Galerius, and Licinius. During those difficult years, St. Alexander tried to protect Christians who were being terrorized, and provide proper burial to the holy relics of the martyrs, with honor and respect. Despite the danger to himself, he continued in this work and the Lord protected him.

It is with the most beautiful praises that the Church today honors "the ever blessed and all-blameless Mother of God" and the loving Mother of us all, as she ascends to the heavenly realm.

On Mount Tabor, to the amazement of His three Disciples, Jesus "was transfigured before them; His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light" (Matthew 17:2). His disciples were accustomed to seeing their Master as a simple man, and for the first time they see Him radiating a bright, supernatural light like the sun. To add to the surprise, the prophets Moses and Elijah appeared to Jesus, talking to Him. In this way, they confirmed that Jesus was the Messiah, whose coming into the world as Savior had been foretold centuries earlier. The awe of the Disciples was complete when, through a bright cloud that covered them, they heard the voice of God the Father say to them, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am pleased; hear Him" (Matthew 17:5).

It is quite amazing to read about the martyrdom of the Seven Maccabee brothers, their mother Solomone, and their teacher Eleazar. The Church celebrates their memory on August 1st, and the account of their martyrdom is written in the Old Testament, in 2 Maccabees 6:18-7:40 and 4 Maccabees 15-18. Even though they lived in the 2nd century before Christ, their faith in the true God was admired by the great Fathers and Teachers of the Church. St. Ambrose, St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian, and St. John Chrysostom all wrote in praise of these great martyrs. They are called Maccabees, because they belonged to the segment of the Jewish people in Jerusalem who remained faithful to the true God. They struggled to protect the Temple from being defiled by conquerors who worshipped idols, and they fought for the freedom of their people.

St. Panteleimon is a Saint well-known for miraculous healings, including people with incurable diseases. He came from Nicomedia in Bithynia, located in Asia Minor (now the city of Izmit, Turkey). It was here that the cruel Roman emperor Diocletian established his seat to rule the Eastern part of the Empire, and where countless Christians suffered horrific martyrdom by his order. Among those we honor are the 20,000 Holy Martyrs of Nicomedia (December 28th), who were burned during the persecutions. St. Panteleimon’s mother was a devout Christian named Euboula. From an early age, she took great care in giving a Christian education to her child, whose birth name was Pantoleon. She reposed early in the Saint’s life, and has also been declared a saint, commemorated on March 30th. Pantoleon’s father was Eustorgios, a pagan, senator and counselor of Diocletian. Seeing his son's inclination towards medical science, Eustorgios instructed the local medical teacher, Efrosynos, a palace physician, to teach Pantoleon in medical studies. Pantoleon distinguished himself among his peers, and began his career in medical studies with great success.


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