My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ,


On the 24th of April, Our Holy Orthodox Church commemorates Our Righteous
Mother ELISABETH the Wonderworker.

Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. Plagal of Fourth Tone

In thee the image was preserved with exactness, O Mother; for taking
up thy cross, thou didst follow Christ, and by the deeds, thou didst
teach us to overlook the flesh, for it passeth away, but to attend to the
soul since it is immortal. Wherefore, O Righteous Elisabeth, thy spirit
rejoiceth with the Angels.

Kontakion Hymn. Plagal of Fourth Tone

As a fair house of virtues and a temple of virginity, thou makest
miracles pour forth abundantly as an unfailing fount of grace,
and thou purgest all sickness from the body and soul, O Mother
Elisabeth, for them that praise the Maker while crying out:


Saint Elisabeth, the Wonderworker and our Venerable Mother was famed for her asceticism and miracles. From her birth, Elisabeth was revealed by God to be an elect vessel. Now that "many daughters have wrought mightily, and many have obtained wealth" was spoken of in prophecy by the most wise Solomon. By this he was saying that, at sundry times, not only men but also women would shine forth radiantly with the comely gifts of the Divine Spirit, thereby working, in a marvelous manner, mysterious and extraordinary prodigies, and signs in all the inhabited world. For the Holy Scripture also presents myriads of women, without number, both during the law and after with the advent of grace, exchanging weakness for manly courage. Furthermore, by means of self-control, continence, and ascetic toil and pangs, they have valiantly put down our foremother Eve’s ancient supplanter, who strikes at the heel and WHO IS THE UNIVERSAL ENEMY OF OUR RACE. Such a woman was Elisabeth, who wrought such things by the power of the Most High, so that she was crowned with the splendid trophies of victory.

The Ever-memorable and Wondrous Elisabeth was indeed distinguished as one of these women. Elisabeth hailed from the great Thracian city of Herakleia. Her parents were not obscure and insignificant. Much rather they were wellborn and possessed of lofty virtue. The Saint’s father, named Evnomianos, the namesake of law-abiding and virtuous action, held the title of DISHYPATOS, the title was often conferred on judges. Her mother’s name was Ephemia, whose Greek name bespoke to her good repute. Both parents lived up to their names, distinguished for God-loving and God-pleasing lives. They abided faithful in their meditation on the law of God, for which virtue they became notable and celebrated in every quarter. They made their home nearby the aforementioned city, in a village called–from days of old–Thrakokreme but lately known as Abydenoi. The godly couple, resembling the Righteous Job in godly reverence, were blameless and lived beyond reproach. Much like Patriarch Abraham, they zealously emulated his hospitality and were openhanded toward the entreaties of the needy. Evnomianos and Ephemia received, as a result of their vow, the fruit of the womb–a fruit worthy of their own comeliness and good works.

Now hear to how they came to produce such an offspring as our Elisabeth. For, after 16 years of marriage, their union remained childless. They were, as a result of having no progeny, naturally, mournful and sorrowful. In their sore distress, they uninterruptedly supplicated God. Who knows the heart, to dissolve their grief of childlessness and to grant them a child, so as to obtain an heir of their lineage and wealth. The Lord, Who does the will of those fearing Him, heard their supplication. He did not look askance at their entreaty but hearkened favorably.

Now there was a custom of old in that place. The natives would come together every year for the commemoration of the gloriously victorious Martyr Glykeria, the Patroness of Herakleia. The festivities lasted a full week for all who dwelt in those parts. The second-century Martyr Glykeria, who suffered under Antoninus Pius, is commemorated by the Holy Church on the 13th of May. Elisabeth’s venerable parents also attended and participated in processions and the night vigils of hymns of glorification to the Saint. After Evnomianos and Ephemia venerated the Martyrs and rejoiced together with the rest of the faithful, they also engaged in their procession. The faithful walked throughout the city, bearing aloft the sacred relics of Saint Glykeria’s head. She had been beheaded for the sake of Christ. The divine mystagogy was also conducted by the then hierarch of the city, Leo. The Divine Liturgy was conducted in the church called Thesavros, meaning "Treasure." which sacred precinct was dedicated to the Mother of God. Now Evnomianos gazed at the holy relic of the Venerable Martyr Glykeria. He perceived that sometimes she appeared cheerful and smiled, whereas other times she looked sullen. He considered this to be a vivid symbol of his trust in the Martyr, which divided his soul with both joy and sorrow.

Evnomianos together with his spouse Ephemia fervently entreated the contestant of Christ, Glykeria, to release them from the bond of barrenness. Though past all hope of human remedy, nevertheless, they prayed that they might be granted a child. They kept constant in prayer into the night, but at midnight they lay down on the floor of the church for a little nap. Then–O the ineffable and awesome mysteries of God–that most sweet Martyr, the namesake of sweetness, Glykeria, stood before the husband and uttered these words to him: "Why, O man, dost thou render me toils? Why dost thou seek from me what only God is able to give? Nonetheless, if thou will promise me in truth that thou shall acquire in thyself a contrite heart and humble spirit, and not be lifted in thy heart above thy neighbors, then the generous Lord shall speedily grant to thee a female child. Thou shall call her name ELISABETH, for she shall be of like habit with the mother of the Forerunner and Baptist John." Evnomianos vowed to struggle as he was bidden. The Saint then made the Sign of the Cross over him and departed from his presence. Evnomianos, immediately, awakened from his slumber, recounted to Ephemia the vision he had seen. She also confirmed that she beheld the same vision. Then the God-loving Archbishop, who was accounted worthy of the gift of CLAIRVOYANCE, concurred with the words of the Martyr of Christ. He then exhorted the couple. Now after the feast day of the Martyr, the Prelate offered them hospitality for three days. He then blessed them and dismissed them to return to their own home in peace.

Ephemia quickly conceived a child. After she completed her term of ninth months, she gave birth to a girl, in accordance with the true prophecy of the Martyr. When forty days elapsed, the time arrived for the churching of the mother and newborn. Evnomianos, thereupon, took the child with her mother to the city. They entered the church of the unforgettable Martyr and drew near to her august icon, which was placed on the right side: Evnomianos prostrated himself to the floor before the holy icon, tearfully offering his thanks to the Martyr with a heart full of joy. He expressed gratitude fittingly, as he gazed upon that sacred countenance of Saint Glykeria. It was then that he beheld a sight both strange and extraordinary. The Saint’s face shone brilliantly like the sun. Her lips then moved gently as she uttered, "The time is come, O Evnomianos, for thee to pay thy vows to God." (Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church)

(To be continued)

"Glory Be To GOD

All Things!"
– Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +

With sincere agape in His Holy and Glorious Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

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