Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
On the 25th of November, the Holy Orthodox Church commemorates
the holy and Glorious Great-Martyr KATHERINE of Alexandria.
Apolytikion Hymn (Dismissal) Hymn of Saint Katherine
LET us praise the all-lauded and noble bride of Christ, the godly
Katherine, the guardian of Sinai and its defence, who is also our
support and succour and our help; for with the Holy Spirit’s
sword she hath silenced brilliantly the clever among the godless;
and being crowned as a Martyr, she now doth ask great mercy
for us all.
Kontakion Hymn of Saint Katherine
ROUSE up now a choir, O ye that love the martyred Saints, august
and inspired, acclaiming the supremely-wise Martyr Katherine,
who hath proclaimed and preached of Christ in the stadium and
hath trampled the serpent down and spat on the knowledge of the
KATHERINE, the glorious Great-Martyr of Christ, came from the metropolis of Alexandria. She struggled during the reigns of the ungodly Emperors Maximian (A.D. 306-308), Maxentius (A.D. 308-312), and Maximinus (A.D. 308-314). The blessed one’s life and martyrdom is so marvelous, sweet, and compunctious that each soul who reads it with care and attention will greatly rejoice and be refreshed by the fruit generated therefrom.
The daughter of the ruler of Alexandria, Constas (Kestou), was tall in stature, incomparably beautiful, and exceedingly kind. She was instructed in the wisdom of the Greeks, learning all the works of the poets and philosophers, including Homer, Virgil, Aristotle, and Plato. She also knew the medical writings of Asklepios, Hippocrates, and Galen. She was a master of many languages, surpassing all others in rhetoric and logic. All who saw and heard Katherine marveled at her scholarship. Many of the wealthy and leading men of the Senate besought Katherine’s mother for her daughter’s hand in marriage.
Her mother was a Christian, but a secret one because of the great persecutions brought about by the followers of Maximian. Both the maiden’s relatives and mother counseled her to marry so that her father’s estate should not fall to another, thus cutting her off altogether. But Katherine cherished her virginity and protested, giving many excuses; for she had no wish to wed. However, when she saw that they troubled her greatly she proposed the following–actually to divert them so as not to further pressure her further. "Present unto me a young man who is like me in the four virtues in which you claim that I am peerless among women, and I will take him as my husband; for I will not condescend to be yoked to one who is unworthy or inferior. Therefore, search here and abroad for one who is equal to me in rank, wealth, and beauty–if such an individual exists. Yet, if he is deficient in any of these areas, he is unsuitable.
Now they knew that it would be quite impossible to find such a qualified suitor but Katherine persisted in her refusal to contract a marriage with an unlettered man. However, her mother had a most holy spiritual confessor who was in hiding outside the city limits. She took her daughter to visit the elder to seek his counsel. The ascetic perceiving Katherine’s modesty and proper deportment gave close attention to her judicious words. He resolved to bring her to the knowledge of Christ, the Heavenly King, and said: "I am acquainted with a unique Man Who incomparably transcends all those attributes thou has mentioned and countless others. His comeliness eclipses the radiance of the sun; His wisdom governs those things both perceptible by the senses and the intelligence; the world of His treasures is distributed to the ends of the earth, yet never diminishes, but rather increases; His nobility is indescribable, infinite, inconceivable, and incomprehensible!"
The maiden presumed all the while that he referred to an earthly prince; whereupon, her expression changed, and she questioned him in detail if all the commendations and praises were indeed true concerning this Man. He reinforced his praises further, extolling His other attributes. Katherine asked, "Whose Son is this Man Whom thou dost laud?" He asserted, "He has no father on earth; but He was born of a most noble and holy grace-filled virgin in a manner surpassing our understanding and transcending the nature of generation; she was deemed worthy by her sublime sanctity to abide both in soul and body, being taken up into the highest heavens, wherein our Lady is venerated by the holy Angels as Queen of all creation." Katherine continued, "Is it possible to see the Youth?" The old man responded, "If thou wilt do as I say, thou shalt be deemed worthy to behold the radiant splendor of His splendid countenance!" I am prepared to follow your instructions implicitly she replied. Then, the ascetic gave her an icon depicting the Most Holy Theotokos holding the Divine Child. He then called Katherine’s attention to it, and said, "This is the Ever-virgin Mother of the One Whose wonders I have extolled. Take this sacred image and close the door to thy bed-chamber; pray all night with profound reverence to her whose name is Mary. Implore he to condescend to reveal her Son; and, I believe, if thou wilt pray with faith, she will hear and show you Him Whom thy soul desires!" [Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church)
(To be continued)
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God