Greatmartyr Euphemia the All-praised (451). Bl. Olga (in Baptism Elena), Princess of Russia (969). Hieromartyr Cindeus, Presbyter, of Pamphylia (3rd-4th c.).
The Miracle of Saint Euphemia the All-Praised: The holy Great Martyr Euphemia (September 16) suffered martyrdom in the city of Chalcedon in the year 304, during the time of the persecution against Christians by the emperor Diocletian (284-305). One and a half centuries later, at a time when the Christian Church had become victorious within the Roman Empire, God deigned that Euphemia the All-Praised should again be a witness and confessor of the purity of the Orthodox teaching.
In the year 451 in the city of Chalcedon, in the very church where the glorified relics of the holy Great Martyr Euphemia rested, the sessions of the Fourth Ecumenical Council (July 16) took place. The Council was convened for determining the precise dogmatic formulae of the Orthodox Church concerning the nature of the God-Man Jesus Christ. This was necessary because of the widespread heresy of the Monophysites [“mono-physis” meaning “one nature”], who opposed the Orthodox teaching of the two natures in Jesus Christ, the Divine and the Human natures (in one Divine Person). The Monophysites falsely affirmed that in Christ was only one nature, the Divine [i.e. that Jesus is God but not man, by nature], causing discord and unrest within the Church. At the Council were present 630 representatives from all the local Christian Churches. On the Orthodox side Anatolius, Patriarch of Constantinople (July 3), Juvenal, Patriarch of Jerusalem (July 2), and representatives of Saint Leo, Pope of Rome (February 18) participated in the conciliar deliberations. The Monophysites were present in large numbers, headed by Dioscorus, the Patriarch of Alexandria, and the Constantinople archimandrite Eutychius.
After prolonged discussions the two sides could not come to a decisive agreement.
The holy Patriarch Anatolius of Constantinople proposed that the Council submit the decision of the Church dispute to the Holy Spirit, through His undoubted bearer Saint Euphemia the All-Praised, whose wonderworking relics had been discovered during the Council’s discussions. The Orthodox hierarchs and their opponents wrote down their confessions of faith on separate scrolls and sealed them with their seals. They opened the tomb of the holy Great Martyr Euphemia and placed both scrolls upon her bosom. Then, in the presence of the emperor Marcian (450-457), the participants of the Council sealed the tomb, putting on it the imperial seal and setting a guard to watch over it for three days. During these days both sides imposed upon themselves strict fast and made intense prayer. After three days the patriarch and the emperor in the presence of the Council opened the tomb with its relics: the scroll with the Orthodox confession was held by Saint Euphemia in her right hand, and the scroll of the heretics lay at her feet. Saint Euphemia, as though alive, raised her hand and gave the scroll to the patriarch. After this miracle many of the hesitant accepted the Orthodox confession, while those remaining obstinant in the heresy were consigned to the Council’s condemnation and excommunication.
After an invasion by the Persians during the seventh century, the relics of Saint Euphemia were transferred from Chalcedon to Constantinople, into a newly built church dedicated to her. Many years later, during the period of the Iconoclast heresy, the reliquary with the relics of the saint was cast into the sea by order of the Iconoclast emperor Leo the Isaurian (716-741). The reliquary was rescued from the sea by the ship-owning brothers Sergius and Sergonos, who gave it over to the local bishop. The holy bishop ordered that the relics be preserved in secret, beneath a crypt, since the Iconoclast heresy was continuing to rage. A small church was built over the relics, and over the reliquary was put a board with an inscription stating whose relics rested within. When the Iconoclast heresy was finally condemned at the holy Seventh Ecumenical Council (in the year 787), during the time of Saint Tarasius, Patriarch of Constantinople (784-806) and the emperor Constantine VI (780-797) and his mother Saint Irene (797-802), the relics of the holy Great Martyr Euphemia were once again solemnly transferred to Constantinople.
Troparion of the saint, tone 3
You brought joy to the Orthodox / and shame to the defenders of heresy, / for you confirmed what the Fathers of the Fourth Council had correctly taught. / Glorious martyr Euphemia, fair virgin of Christ, / entreat Christ God to grant us His great mercy.
Kontakion of the saint, tone 2
For the sake of Christ your Bridegroom / you underwent struggles in both martyrdom and faith. / Now intercede with the Mother of God / that heresies and the insolent enemies of the Orthodox be placed underfoot. / You received and guarded that which was defined by the six hundred and thirty God-bearing Fathers, / all-praised Euphemia.
Romans 11:13-24 (Epistle)
- For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry,
- if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them.
- For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
- For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.
- And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree,
- do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.
- You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.”
- Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear.
- For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.
- Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.
- And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
- For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
Matthew 11:27-30 (Gospel)
- All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
- Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
- Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
- For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”