THE PASSION OF THE HOLY MARTYR ANYSIA THE VIRGIN (December 30th)

My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Incarnate God,

CHRIST IS BORN! GLORIFY HIM! ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΓΕΝΝΑΤΑΙ! ΔΟΞΑΣΑΤΕ!

ON DECEMBER 30th OUR HOLY ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHURCH
COMMEMORATES THE HOL RIGHTEOUS MARTYR ANYSIA OF
THESSALONIKI.

Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn of Saint Anysia the Martyr. Fourth Tone

O LORD Jesus, unto Thee Thy lamb doth cry with a great voice:
O my Bridegroom, Thee I love, and seeking Thee, I now contest,
and with Thy baptism am crucified and buried. I suffer for Thy
sake, that I may reign with Thee; for Thy sake I die, that I may live
in Thee: accept me offered out of longing to Thee as a spotless
sacrifice. Lord, save our souls through her intercessions, since
Thou art great in mercy.

Kontakion Hymn of Saints Anysia and Melania. Third Tone

As doubly-shining lamp of truly mystical brightness do ye shine
upon the Church like a high-towering beacon: thou with beams
of martyr’s glory, O Anysia; thou with rays of great ascetic deeds,
O, Melania. Now together ye are honored by Christ your Bridegroom
for your travails in His Name.

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Saint Anysia was born in the renowned city of Thessaloniki, Greece during the reign of the persecutor Maximian. Her wealthy parents, who were believers, reared her in the fear of God. Suckled on the doctrines of piety, she grew more quickly in sanctity than in stature. The Spirit of God dwelt within her, causing her beautiful face to shine with angelic grace. Anysia’s parents saw to it that she received a proper education. Being an intelligent girl, she mastered her lessons easily and learned to conduct herself in a truly virtuous manner. The maiden never ceased calling upon Christ to preserve her from temptation, bending the knee in prayer and wetting the floor with tears.

When Anysia’s parents departed to the Lord, she inherited an enormous fortune consisting of gold and silver coins, vast estates, plentiful flocks, innumerable menservants and maidservants, expensive silken, gold-embroidered robes, golden vessels, pearls, andmagnificent jewels of every kind. Not delaying, the maiden sold everything she owned. Anysia distributed the proceeds of the sale to the poor: Making the rounds of the city’s dungerons, she gve alms (charity) to the needy, and imprisoned . She also visited the sick and provided for their needs.

Finally, Anysia sas left penniles, so shut herself in her room and applied herself to handiwork. She exercised herself in prayer and fasting, living like a bodiless angel and accustoming herself to hardship, and spiritual struggles. Her days were spent in toil and the reading of spiritual books, her nights in chanting the psalms, and praying. Having no bed, she slept on a rush mat, covered with an old rag of a quilt. She took very little rest, but reminded herself that it is dangerous to slumber while the enemy keeps watch. Such was her love for God, that when prostrate in private, it seemed to her that she lay at the Savior’s feet and was kissing them or wiping them free of dust with her hair.

The pagan Emperor Maximian, the merciless slayer of Christians came to the decision to permit anyone to kill a Christian without fear of punishment. Soon the faithful were being slaughtered in great numbers by day and night. Their corpses could be found in cities and villages, in the squares, on the roads, in their houses, and in the markets. Whoever came upon a believer would stab him with a knife or sword, or esle was at hand, as though he were an animal. Thus the Christians could say in the words of Holy Scripture, "For Thy sake we are slain all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter" (Psalm 43).

During those grievous days the holy virgin Anysia, her heart aflame wiht longing to die for Christ, was moved by the Spirit to come down from her room and visit the Lord’s temple. As she approached the Gate of Cassandra, she could hear the sound of the rabble celebrating the impious feast of the sun and offering contemptible sacrifices. She continued on her way and was met by a soldier. Seeing that she was beautiful, he became inflamed with demonic lust. "Stop," he commanded, "and tell me where you are going."

The licentious, diabolical look in his eyes did not escape Anysia, who openly traced the sign of the Cross upon herself. The brute felt no shame when the virgin answered with maidenly silence, but laid hold of her and demanded angrily that she tell him who she was and where she was bound. Hoping to escape his grasp and audacious glare, the Savior’s lamb now replied, "I am a servant of Christ and on my way to church."

The devil’s lackey said, "I will not let you go, but will take you to sacrifice to our gods. Today is a feasst of the sun." With this he snatched her veil, wishing to see her face entirely uncovered, but she fought him bravely, and would not letit go. Spitting on him, she cried, "My Lord Jesus Christ bans you, devil!"

Unable to endure the sound of Christ’s name, the soldier became infuriated and ran his sowrd through her ribs. The holy virgin fell to the ground in a pool of blood and surrendered her soul into the hands of Christ God, Whom she loved and for Whom, since childhood, she had longed to die. Presently, a crowd formed her body. Some of the people bemoaned the cruel end of one so young; others reviled the godless Emperor for issuing a decree resulting in the death of many innocent persons. Several of the faithful removed Saint Anysia’s body and buried it on theleft side of the road a mile or so outside the Gate of Cassandra. Later, a chapel was built over it. All these things took place while Maximian ruled on earth, and Christ Jesus our Lord, the Eternal King, reigned in heaven. To HIm be honor and glory, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen. [Source:  The Great Collection of The Lives of the Saints]

_____________

"Glory Be To GOD
For
All Things!"

– Saint John Chrysostomos

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With sincere agape in God’s Divine Incarnation,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

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