Saint Elizabeth the New Martyr - Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fyodorovna of Russia (Елизавета Фёдоровна), née Her Grand Ducal Highness Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Luise Alice of Hesse and by Rhine (February 24, 1864 - July 18, 1918), was the wife of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia, the fifth son of Emperor Alexander II of Russia and Maria Alexandrovna (née Princess Marie of Hesse-Darmstadt). After the assassination of her husband, she went on to found a convent dedicated to ministering to the poor. She was later martyred by the Bolsheviks, and more recently she has been glorified as a new martyr.
Of her conversion to Orthodoxy, Metropolitan Anastassy recalls: "The grand duchess, of her own volition decided to unite herself to the Orthodox Church. When she made the announcement to her spouse, according to the account of one of the servants, tears involuntarily poured from his eyes. The Emperor Alexander III himself was deeply touched by her decision. Her husband blessed her after Holy Chrismation with a precious icon of the Savior, "Not Made by Hands" (a copy of the miraculous icon in the Chapel of the Savior), which she treasured greatly throughout the remaining course of her life. Read more
Saint Mitrophan of the Boxer Rebellion - Tsi Chung was born into an Orthodox Christian family in China on 10 December, 1855. His father died when Tsi Chung was a child and he was raised by his grandmother Ekaterina and his mother Marina. Marina was a teacher at the Orthodox mission school for girls. The mission priest, charged his teacher Juren Long Yuan to take great care in educating Tsi Chung, in order to prepare him for the priesthood. Before reaching twenty years of age, he was appointed to the post of catechist for the Orthodox Mission. However he did not want to accept ordination, saying "how can a person with insufficient abilities and charity dare to accept this great responsibility?" But under the urging of his priest and the persuasion of his teacher, Tsi Chung obeyed and was ordained to the priesthood by St. Nikolai, bishop of Japan and he took the name Mitrophan.
As a priest, he assisted in translating and editing the Bible, the service books and writings of the Church Fathers into Chinese. For fifteen years, he tirelessly served God and the faithful entrusted to his care. Fr. Mitrophan had a reputation as a very humble, quiet and peaceful person. Read more
Saint Genevieve of Paris - Saint Genevieve (from the Celtic name Genovefa, which according to the Petits Bollandistes means either heavenly mouth or daughter of Heaven) was born in Nanterre of pious parents named Severus and Gerontia in the reign of Honorius (Roman Emperor of the West from 395 to 423) and Theodosius II (Emperor from 408 to 450) in the year 422 or 423. Though her parents were rich, according to custom she shepherded her parents’ flocks in her youth, and brought up by them in the fear of God, she showed signs of uncommon devotion and faith from her childhood.
When Saint Germanus of Auxerre and Saint Lupus of Troyes, on their way to Britain to fight the heresy of Pelagius, passed through Nanterre, Severus and Gerontia went with the faithful to meet them, accompanied by their young daughter. Saint Germanus’s gaze lit upon Genevieve; he called her to himself, and upon learning her name, foretold that she would be great before God. He asked her if she wished to dedicate herself to the service of Christ as a virgin. When she replied that this was the desire of her heart, he took her into church and stood through the service of Vespers in the sight of all with his hand resting on her head. Read more
Saint Nicholas, Enlightener of Japan, was born Ivan Dimitrievich Kasatkin on August 1, 1836 in the village of Berezovsk, Belsk district, Smolensk diocese, where his father served as deacon. At the age of five he lost his mother. He completed the Belsk religious school, and afterwards the Smolensk Theological Seminary. In 1857 Ivan Kasatkin entered the Saint Peterburg Theological Academy. On June 24, 1860, in the academy temple of the Twelve Apostles, Bishop Nectarius tonsured him with the name Nicholas.
On June 29, the Feast of the foremost Apostles Peter and Paul, the monk Nicholas was ordained deacon. The next day, on the altar feast of the academy church, he was ordained to the holy priesthood. Later, at his request, Father Nicholas was assigned to Japan as head of the consular church in the city of Hakodate.
Saint Mary of Egypt
When Mary was only twelve years old, she left her parents and departed to Alexandria, where she lived a depraved life for seventeen years. Then, moved by curiosity, she went with many pilgrims to Jerusalem, that she might see the Exaltation of the venerable Cross. Even in the Holy City she gave herself over to every kind of licentiousness and drew many into the depth of perdition. Desiring to go into the church on the day of the Exaltation of the Cross, time and again she perceived a certain invisible power preventing her entrance, whereas the multitude of people about her entered unhindered. Therefore, wounded in heart by this, she decided to change her way of life and reconcile herself to God by means of repentance. Invoking our Lady the Theotokos as her protectress, she asked her to open the way for her to worship the Cross, and vowed that she would renounce the world. And thus, returning once again to the church, she entered easily. When she had worshipped the precious Wood, she departed that same day from Jerusalem and passed over the Jordan. Read more
Saint Moses the Ethiopian, who is also called Moses the Black, was a slave, but because of his evil life, his master cast him out, and he became a ruthless thief, dissolute in all his ways. Later, however, coming to repentance, he converted, and took up the monastic life under Saint Isidore of Scete. He gave himself over to prayer and the mortification of the carnal mind with such diligence that he later became a priest of exemplary virtue. He was revered by all for his lofty ascetical life and for his great humility. Once the Fathers in Scete asked Moses to come to an assembly to judge the fault of a certain brother, but he refused. When they insisted, he took a basket which had a hole in it, filled it with sand, and carried it on his shoulders. When the Fathers saw him coming they asked him what the basket might mean. He answered, “My sins run out behind me, and I do not see them, and I am come this day to judge failings which are not mine.” When a barbarian tribe was coming to Scete, Moses, conscious that he himself had slain other men when he was a thief, awaited them and was willingly slain by them with six other monks, at the end of the fourth century. He was a contemporary of Saint Arsenius the Great. Read more
Saint Nina (Nino) of Georgia, Equal to the Apostles, Enlightener of Georiga - The holy virgin Nina was from Cappadocia. According to some, her father Zabulon was a friend of the holy Great Martyr George, whose father was a Cappadocian. The conversion of Georgia by Saint Nina is reported in the Church histories of Rufinus, Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret; Rufinus, writing less than a hundred years after Saint Nina, said that he heard the history in Jerusalem from a Georgian Prince named Bacurius.
Saint Nina was taken captive by the Georgians (whom the Greek accounts call Iberians), and while in captivity she lived a very devout life of sobriety and virtue, praying unceasingly night and day; this drew the attention of the Georgians, and to all who asked her about her way of life, she preached the dispensation of Christ. When she healed by her prayer a certain woman’s sick child, whom no one else had been able to help, the report of her came to the ears of the Queen of Georgia, who was herself gravely afflicted with an incurable malady. She asked that the captive woman be brought to her, but Saint Nina declined out of modesty, so the Queen commanded them to carry her to Nina. Saint Nina healed her immediately, and the Queen returned home in joy. Read more
Saint Peter the Aleut
Saint Peter the Aleut is mentioned in the Life of Saint Herman of Alaska (December 13). Simeon Yanovsky (who ended his life as the schemamonk Sergius in the Saint Tikhon of Kaluga Monastery), has left the following account:
“On another occasion I was relating to him how the Spanish in California had imprisoned fourteen Aleuts, and how the Jesuits (actually Franciscans) were forcing all of them to accept the Catholic Faith. But the Aleuts would not agree under any circumstances, saying, ‘We are Christians.’ The Jesuits argued, ‘That’s not true, you are heretics and schismatics. If you do not agree to accept our faith then we will torture all of you to death.’ Read more
Saint Sebastian of Jackson & San Francisco - Our venerable father Sebastian Dabovich (now St. Sebastian of Jackson and San Francisco) was a prominent Serbian priest in the Russian Mission in America in the 1890s and early 1900s. He founded numerous churches and was the author of several books. He died in Serbia in 1940 and was glorified as a saint on May 29th, 2015. His feast day is commemorated on November 30.
Born John Dabovich (Jovan Dabović) in San Francisco, California on June 21, 1863, to Serbian immigrant parents from Sassovae, Serbia, Archimandrite Sebastian grew up with the church in San Francisco where his parents operated a store. After finishing high school he served his parish as a reader and teacher.
In 1884, he was assigned to assist at St. Michael's Cathedral in Sitka, Alaska before he was sent to Russia to prepare for a life as a missionary priest. After three years of study at the St. Petersburg and Kiev Theological Academies, John was tonsured a monk in 1887 with the name Sebastian and ordained a deacon. Following his ordination, Dn. Sebastian returned to San Francisco where he served as deacon at the San Francisco cathedral. He also taught at the pastoral school in San Francisco. Read more
Saint John (the Wonderworker) of Shanghai & San Francisco
Our father among the saints John (Maximovitch), Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco (1896-1966), was a diocesan bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) who served widely from China to France to the United States.
He departed this life on June 19 (O.S.) / July 2 (N.S.), 1966, and was officially glorified by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad on July 2, 1994. His glorification was later recognized for universal veneration by the Patriarchate of Moscow on July 2, 2008.
The future St. John was born on June 4, 1896, in the southern Russian village (current day Ukraine) of Adamovka in Kharkov province to pious aristocrats, Boris and Glafira Maximovitch. He was given the baptismal name of Michael, after the Holy Archangel Michael. In his youth, Michael was sickly and had a poor appetite, but he displayed an intense religious interest. He was educated at the Poltava Military School (1907-14), Kharkiv Imperial University, from which he received a law degree (in 1918), and the University of Belgrade (where he completed his theological education in 1925). Read more