Martyr Boniface, at Tarsus in Cilicia (290) and Righteous Aglae (Aglaida) of Rome (ca. 303). Martyrs Elias, Probus, and Ares the Egyptians, in Cilicia (308). Martyrs Polyeuctus, at Caesarea in Cappadocia, and the deacon Timothy, at Mauretania (309). Hieromartyr Capito, bishop of Cherson (4th c.). St. Boniface the Merciful, bishop of Ferentino (6th c.). St. Gregory (Gregentius), archbishop of Omirits (552). Sts. George the Scribe and Sabbas, monks of Khakhuli (11th c.). St. Elias of Murom, wonderworker of the Kiev Caves (1188). St. Seraphim (Romantsov), schema-archimandrite of Sukhumi (Abkhazia), elder of Glinsk Monastery (1975). (Gr. Cal.: Martyrs Eutyches and Thessalonica, and with them 200 men and 70 women.) Repose of Hieromonk Hermogenes, founder of Kirensk and Albazin Monasteries in Siberia (1690).

The Holy Rule:

CHAPTER 63: Of the Order in the Monastery (cont)

Children are to be kept under discipline at all times and by everyone. Therefore, let the younger honor their elders, and the older love the younger.

In naming each other let no one be allowed to address another by his simple name; but let the older style the younger brethren, brothers; let the younger, however, call their elders, fathers, by which is implied the reverence due to a father. But because the Abbot is believed to hold the place of Christ, let him be styled Lord and Abbot, not only by assumption on his part, but out of love and reverence for Christ. Let him think of this and so show himself, that he be worthy of such an honor.

Wherever, then, the brethren meet each other, let the younger ask the blessing from the older; and when the older passeth by, let the younger rise and give him place to sit; and let the younger not presume to sit down with him unless his elder biddeth him to do so, that it may be done as it is written: "In honor preventing one another" (Rom 12:10).

Let children and boys take their places in the oratory and at table with all due discipline; outdoors, however, or wherever they may be, let them be under custody and discipline until they reach the age of understanding.




Forefeast of the Nativity of Christ.  Repose of Righteous John of Kronstadt (1908){ (Vespers: (1) Joel 2:12-27; (2) Joel 2:27-32; (3) I John 4:20-5:5. Matins: Luke 6:17-23. Liturgy: I John 4:7-11; Luke 6:31-36)}. Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-bearer, bishop of Antioch (107) (Heb. 4:14-5:6; Mark 9:33-41). St. Philogonius, bishop of Antioch (323). St. Daniel II, archbishop of Serbia (1338). St. Ignatius, archimandrite of the Kiev Caves (1435). New Martyr John of the island of Thasos, at Constantinople (1652). St. Anthony (Smirnitsky), archbishop of Voronezh (1846).

The Holy Rule:

CHAPTER 64: Of the Election of the Abbot

In the election of an Abbot let this always be observed as a rule, that he be placed in the position whom the whole community with one consent, in the fear of God, or even a small part, with sounder judgment, shall elect. But let him who is to be elected be chosen for the merit of his life and the wisdom of his doctrine, though he be the last in the community.

But even if the whole community should by mutual consent elect a man who agreeth to connive at their evil ways (which God forbid) and these irregularities in some come to the knowledge of the Bishop to whose diocese the place belongeth, or to neighboring Abbots, or Christian people, let them not permit the intrigue of the wicked to succeed, but let them appoint a worthy steward over the house of God, knowing that they shall receive a bountiful reward for this action, if they do it with a pure intention and godly zeal; whereas, on the other hand, they commit a sin if they neglect it.

But when the Abbot hath been elected let him bear in mind how great a burden he hath taken upon himself, and to whom he must give an account of his stewardship (cf Lk 16:2); and let him be convinced that it becometh him better to serve than to rule. He must, therefore, be versed in the divine law, that he may know whence "to bring forth new things and old" (Mt 13:52). Let him be chaste, sober, and merciful, and let him always exalt "mercy above judgment" (Jas 2:13), that he also may obtain mercy.




Forefeast of the Nativity of Christ.  Virgin- martyr Juliana of Nicomedia, and with her 500 men and 130 women (304). St. Peter, metropolitan of Kiev and Moscow (1326). Martyr Theomistocles of Myra in Lycia (251). St. Macarius the Faster, abbot of Khakhuli (11th c.). St. Juliana, princess of Vyazma (Novotorzhok) (1406). Blessed Procopius of Vyatka, fool-for-Christ (1627). St. Philaret (Theodosius in schema), metropolitan of Kiev (1857). New Hieromartyr Nicetas, bishop of Belev (1938). Finding of the relics (1950) of New Monk-martyr Ephraim of Nea Makri (1426). Repose of Blessed Peter “the Nose,” of Kama (ca. 1938), Schemamonk Michael of Harbin (1939), and Mother Stavritsa, missionary in Kenya (2000).

The Holy Rule:

CHAPTER 64: Of the Election of the Abbot (cont)

Let him hate vice, but love the brethren. And even in his corrections, let him act with prudence and not go to extremes, lest, while he aimeth to remove the rust too thoroughly, the vessel be broken. Let him always keep his own frailty in mind, and remember that "the bruised reed must not be broken" (Is 42:3). In this we are not saying that he should allow evils to take root, but that he cut them off with prudence and charity, as he shall see it is best for each one, as we have already said; and let him aim to be loved rather than feared.

Let him not be fussy or over-anxious, exacting, or headstrong; let him not be jealous or suspicious, because he will never have rest. In all his commands, whether they refer to things spiritual or temporal, let him be cautious and considerate. Let him be discerning and temperate in the tasks which he enjoineth, recalling the discretion of holy Jacob who saith: "If I should cause my flocks to be overdriven, they would all die in one day" (Gen 33:13). Keeping in view these and other dictates of discretion, the mother of virtues, let him so temper everything that the strong may still have something to desire and the weak may not draw back. Above all, let him take heed that he keep this Rule in all its detail; that when he hath served well he may hear from the Lord what the good servant heard who gave his fellow-servants bread in season: "Amen, I say to you," He saith, "he shall set him over all his goods" (Mt 24:47).




Forefeast of the Nativity of Christ.  Great-martyr Anastasia of Rome, Deliverer from Bonds, and her teacher Martyr Chrysogonus, and with them Martyrs Theodota, Evodias, Eutychianus, and others, who suffered under Diocletian (304) (Gal. 3:23-29; Luke 7:36-50).  Repose of Dositheus, hermit of the Roslavl Forests and Optina (1828).

The Holy Rule:

CHAPTER 65: Of the Prior of the Monastery

It often happeneth indeed, that grave scandals arise in monasteries out of the appointment of the Prior; since there are some who, puffed up with the wicked spirit of pride and thinking themselves to be second Abbots, set up a despotic rule, foster scandals, and excite quarrels in the community, and especially in those places where also the Prior is appointed by the same Bishop or the same Abbots who appointeth his Abbot. How foolish this is can easily be seen; because, from the very beginning of his appointment, matter for pride is furnished him, when his thoughts suggest to him that now he is exempt from the authority of the Abbot, because "thou too hast been appointed by those by whom the Abbot was appointed." From this source arise envy, discord, slander, quarrels, jealousy, and disorders. While the Abbot and the Prior are thus at variance with each other, it must follow that their souls are endangered by this discord and that those who are under them, as long as they humor the parties, go to ruin. The fault of this evil resteth on the heads of those who were the authors of such disorders.




Forefeast of the Nativity of Christ.  Holy Ten Martyrs of Crete: Theodulus, Saturninus, Euporus, Gelasius, Eunician, Zoticus, Pompeius, Agathopus, Basilides, and Evaristus (250) (Eph. 6:10-17; Luke 21:12-19). St. Paul, bishop of Neo-Caesarea (4th c.). St. Niphon, bishop of Constantia on Cyprus (4th c.). St. David of Echmiadzin in Armenia (693). St. Egbert of Rathmelsigi (Neth.) (729). St. Nahum of Ochrid, enlightener of the Bulgarians (910). St. Theoctistus, archbishop of Novgorod (1310).

The Holy Rule:

CHAPTER 65: Of the Prior of the Monastery (cont)

We foresee, therefore, that for the preservation of peace and charity it is best that the government of the monastery should depend on the will of the Abbot; and if it can be done, let the affairs of the monastery (as we have explained before) be attended to by deans, as the Abbot shall dispose; so that, the same office being shared by many, no one may become proud.

 If, however, the place requires it, or the brotherhood reasonably and with humility make the request, and the Abbot shall deem it advisable, let the Abbot himself appoint as Prior whomever, with the advice of God-fearing brethren, he shall select. But let the Prior reverently do what his Abbot hath enjoined on him, doing nothing against the will or the direction of the Abbot; for the higher he is placed above others, the more careful should he be to obey the precepts of the Rule.

If the Prior be found disorderly or blinded by vainglory, or hath been proved to be a contemner of the Holy Rule, let him be admonished up to the fourth time; if he doth not amend, let the correction of the regular discipline be applied to him. But if he doth not amend even then, let him be deposed from the office of priorship, and another who is worthy be appointed in his stead. But if even afterward he be not quiet and submissive in the brotherhood, let him also be expelled from the monastery. Still, let the Abbot reflect that he must give an account to God for all his judgments, lest perhaps envy or jealousy should sear his conscience.




The Eve of the Nativity of Christ. The Royal Hours First Hour: Micah 5:2-4; Heb. 1:1-12; Matt. 1:18-25. Third Hour: Baruch 3:36-4:4; Gal. 3:23-29; Luke 2:1-20. Sixth Hour: Is. 7:10-16; 8:1-4, 8-10; Heb. 1:10-2:3; Matt. 2:1-12. Ninth Hour: Is. 9:6-7; Heb. 2:11-18; Matt. 2:13-23. Vespers: (1) Gen. 1:1-13; (2) Num. 24:2-3, 5-9, 17-18; (3) Micah 4:6-7; 5:2-4; (4) Is. 11:1-10; (5) Baruch 3:36-4:4; (6) Daniel 2:31-36; 44-45; (7) Is. 9:6-7; (8) Is. 7:10-16; 8:1-4, 8-10. Liturgy of St. Basil: Heb. 1:1-12; Luke 2:1-20.

Nun-martyr Eugenia of Rome, and with her Martyrs Philip her father, Protus, Hyacinth (Jacinth), Basilla, and Claudia (262). St. Vitimionus of Scetis (5th c.). St. Aphrodisius, monk of Palestine (6th c.). St. Antioch, monk of Palestine (635). St. Nicholas the Monk, of Bulgaria (9th c.). New Martyr Achmed (Ahmet) the Calligrapher, at Constantinople (1682).

The Holy Rule:

CHAPTER 66: Of the Porter of the Monastery

Let a wise old man be placed at the door of the monastery, one who knoweth how to take and give an answer, and whose mature age doth not permit him to stray about. The porter should have a cell near the door, that they who come may always find one present from whom they may obtain an answer. As soon as anyone knocketh or a poor person calleth, let him answer, "Thanks be to God," or invoke a blessing, and with the meekness of the fear of God let him return an answer speedily in the fervor of charity. If the porter hath need of assistance, let him have a younger brother.

If it can be done, the monastery should be so situated that all the necessaries, such as water, the mill, the garden, are enclosed, and the various arts may be plied inside of the monastery, so that there may be no need for the monks to go about outside, because it is not good for their souls. But we desire that this Rule be read quite often in the community, that none of the brethren may excuse himself of ignorance.



Commemorations: The Nativity according to the Flesh of Our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ - Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom: Gal. 4:4-7; Matt. 2:1-12.

The Adoration of the Magi: Melchior, Caspar, and Balthasar. Commemoration of the shepherds in Bethlehem who were watching their flocks and came to see the Lord. Massacre of Monk-martyr Jonah and with him 50 monks and 65 laymen, at St. Tryphon of Pechenga Monastery, by the Swedes (1590).

The Holy Rule:

CHAPTER 67: Of the Brethren Who Are Sent on a Journey

Let the brethren who are to be sent on a journey recommend themselves to the prayers of all the brotherhood and of the Abbot. And after the last prayer at the Work of God, let a commemoration always be made for the absent brethren. 

On the day that the brethren return from the journey, let them lie prostrate on the floor of the oratory at all the Canonical Hours, when the Work of God is finished, and ask the prayers of all on account of failings, for fear that the sight of evil or the sound of frivolous speech should have surprised them on the way.

And let no one presume to relate to another what he hath seen or heard outside of the monastery, because it is most hurtful. But if anyone presume to do so, let him undergo the penalty of the Rule. In like manner let him be punished who shall presume to go beyond the enclosure of the monastery, or anywhere else, or to do anything, however little, without the order of the Abbot.

Meditation by St. Theofon the Reclue: The Nativity of the Lord. [Gal. 4:4–7; Mt. 2:1–12]

Glory to Thee, O Lord! Once again we greet the awaited bright days of Christ’s Nativity. Let us be glad and rejoice. In order to raise our festivities to a higher level in these days, the Holy Church has intentionally instituted a preceding fast—a certain amount of difficulty, so that when we enter the festive period we might feel as though liberated. Nevertheless, the Church in no way desires that we should give ourselves over to purely sensual delights and fleshly pleasures. Since the Church has from olden times called these days sviatki, or the “holy days,” these days require that our very festivity be holy, as they are holy. So that those who rejoice might not forget themselves, the Church has placed a short song upon our lips to glorify the born Christ, by which the flesh is restrained and the soul is uplifted, showing the proper occupations for these days. It says, “Christ is Born, give ye glory,” and the rest. Glorify Christ; glorify Him, so that by this glorification the heart and soul would delight, and thereby silence any urge for various other deeds and occupations that might promise certain consolations. Glorifying Christ does not mean devising lengthy songs of praises to Christ. But if when contemplating or hearing about the birth of Christ the Savior you involuntary shout from the depths of your soul, “Glory to Thee, O Lord, that Christ is born!”—this is sufficient. This will be a quiet song of the heart, which nevertheless reaches the heavens and enters in to God Himself. Repeat a little more clearly to yourself what the Lord has wrought for us, and you will see how natural this exclamation now is. So that this might be easier for us, we shall compare it to the following incident.

A king promised freedom to a man who was imprisoned in a dungeon and bound with fetters. The prisoner waits a day, then another, then months, and years. He sees no fulfillment of the promise, but does not lose hope, and believes in the king’s words. Finally, he sees signs that it is coming soon, his attention increases—he hears a noise; some one is approaching with cheerful words. Now the locks fall and the liberator enters. “Glory to Thee, O Lord!” the prisoner involuntarily cries. “The end of my imprisonment has arrived, and soon I will see God’s world!” Or another incident: A sick man is covered with wounds and paralyzed in all his members. He has tried all medicines and various doctors. His endurance is exhausted, and he is ready to give himself over to despair. He is told, “There is one very skilled doctor who heals everyone from those very illnesses that you have. We have asked him to come, and he has promised to do so.” The patient believes them, cries out in hope, and waits for the promised one…. One hour passes, then another, and his soul is tormented with anxiety. Finally, at evening, someone arrives…. The door opens, and the desired one enters…. “Glory to Thee, O Lord!” the sick man shouts.

Here is another example. A thundercloud hangs over the sky, and the face of the earth covered with darkness. Thunder shakes the foundations of the mountains and lightening tears the sky from one end to the other. All are in fear, as if the end of the world had come. When the thunder passes and the sky clears, everyone breathes freely, saying, “Glory to Thee, O Lord!”

Bring these examples closer to yourself and you will see our whole history in them. The threatening clouds of God’s wrath were over us. The Lord has come—the peacemaker, and has dispersed that cloud. We were covered with wounds of sins and passions; the healer of souls and bodies has come and healed us. We were bound by the fetters of slavery; the liberator has come and released our fetters. Bring all of these examples closer to your heart and take them in with your senses, and you will not be able to refrain from exclaiming, “Glory to Thee, O Lord, that Christ is born!”

I will not try to convey this joy to you in words; it is unreachable by any words. The work that the Lord Who is born has wrought touches every one of us. Those who enter into communion with Him receive from Him freedom, healing, and peace; they possess all of this and taste of its sweetness. There is no reason to say “rejoice” to those who experience this within themselves, for they cannot help but rejoice; but to those who do not experience it, why say “rejoice”? They cannot rejoice. No matter how much you say “rejoice” to one bound hand and foot, he will not rejoice. From whence can the joy of healing come to one who is covered with the wounds of sins? How can one who is threatened by the thunder of God’s wrath breathe freely? You can only say to him, “Go to the Infant wrapped in swaddling clothes in the manger, and seek deliverance by Him from all the evils that encompass you, for this Infant, Christ, is the Savior of the world.”

I would like to see everyone rejoicing with this very joy, and not wanting to know any other joys; but not everything that comes from Israel is Israel. Festivities will now begin that are empty, wild, and inflaming of the passions: the lust of the eyes, smoking, costume-wearing.[1]My soul hateth … your solemnities: they are become troublesome to me, I am weary of bearing them (Is. 1:14)! Truly, many of our social festivities are really pagan abominations; that is, some of them are brought to us straight from the pagan world, while others, though they appeared later in time, are penetrated with the spirit of paganism. And they come out as if on purpose in great quantities for the feasts of Christmas and Pascha. By getting caught up in them we give the prince of this world, our tormentor, the enemy of God, an excuse to say to God, “What have You done for me with Your Nativity and Resurrection? They are all coming to me!” But let the words of the fiftieth Psalm be repeated more often in the depth of our hearts: That Thou mightest be justified in Thy words, and prevail when Thou art judged (Ps. 50:4). No matter how much you tell these people to stop, they only shut their ears and pay no heed; they bring these bright days of the feast to such an finale that the Lord is compelled to turn His eyes from us and say,

We are interested in enlightened Europe. Yes, the abominations of paganism that were cast out of the world were first restored there; they are passing from there to us. Having breathed in that hellish poison, we run around like madmen, forgetting our own selves. But let us remember the year of 1812—why did the French come to us then? God sent them to wipe out all the evil that we had learned from them. Russia repented then, and God had mercy on her. But now it seems that we have forgotten that lesson. If we come to our senses, of course, nothing will happen. But if we do not come to our senses, who knows? Perhaps the Lord will again send similar teachers, so that they would bring us to our senses and place us on the path of correction. Such is the law of God’s righteousness: to cure someone from sin with the thing that enticed him into it. These are not empty words, but a matter that has been confirmed by the voice of the Church. Know, ye Orthodox, that God will not be mocked; and know, ye who make glad and rejoice on these days with fear. Illumine the bright feast with bright deeds, occupations, and festivities, so that all who look upon us will say, “They have holy days, and not some wild games with the unrighteous revellers who do not know God.

[1St. Theophan coins the word oborotnichestvo, (from the word oborotni, meaning “werewolf”) here, which refers to a strange entertainment in Russia during the Christmas holidays that resembles American Halloween. Young people dress as ferocious animals like wolves and bears, and make pranks. The use of this word also implies that this practice is something from the realm of witches and sorcerers.



Commemorations: Second Day of the Feast of the Nativity.  Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos (Heb. 2:11-18; Matt. 2:13-23). St. Archelaus, bishop of Haran in northern Mesopotamia (ca. 280). St. Zeno, bishop of Maiuma in Palestine (4th c.). St. Jarlath, first bishop of Tuam, founder of the monastery of Cluain Fois (Ireland) (ca. 540). St. Constantine, monk, of Synnada (9th c.). St. Evaristus, monk of the Studion Monastery (825). Hieromartyr Euthymius, bishop of Sardis (840). St. Nicodemus of Tismana, Romania (1406). New Hieromartyr Constantius the Russian, priest of Constantinople (1743). New Hieromartyrs Leonid, bishop of Mariisk, and Isaac II (Bobrikov, the Younger), archimandrite of Optina (1937). Repose of Abbot Barlaam of Valaam and Optina (1849) and Archimandrite Irenarchus (Rosetti) of Mt. Tabor (1859).

The Holy Rule:

CHAPTER 68: If a Brother Is Commanded to Do Impossible Things

If, perchance, any difficult or impossible tasks be enjoined on a brother, let him nevertheless receive the order of him who commandeth with all meekness and obedience. If, however, he see that the gravity of the task is altogether beyond his strength, let him quietly and seasonably submit the reasons for his inability to his Superior, without pride, protest, or dissent. If, however, after his explanation the Superior still insisteth on his command, let the younger be convinced that so it is good for him; and let him obey from love, relying on the help of God.




Third Day of the Feast of the Nativity.  Protomartyr and Archdeacon Stephen (34) (Acts 6:8-7:5, 47-60; Matt. 21:33-42). St. Theodore  Graptus (“the Branded”), of Palestine and Bithynia, confessor (840). St. Maximus, bishop of Alexandria (282). St. Theodore, patriarch of Constantinople (686). St. Luke, monk, of Tryglia. New Hieromartyrs Tikhon, archbishop of Voronezh, and with him 160 martyred priests (1919). (Gr. Cal.: Martyrs Maurice and his son Photinus, with 70 soldiers, of Apamea [286-305].)  Repose of Nicholas Ilminsky, missionary to the Tatars (1891), Archimandrite Agathangelus of Svir and Valaam (1909), Helen Ivanovna Motovilova (1910), Abbot Athanasius of Grigoriou, Mt. Athos (1953), and Archimandrite Seraphim (Rozenberg) of the Pskov Caves Monastery (1993). 

The Holy Rule: CHAPTER 69: That in the Monastery No One Presume to Defend Another

Care must be taken that on no occasion one monk try to defend another in the monastery, or to take his part, even though they be closely related by ties of blood. Let it not be attempted by the monks in any way; because such conduct may give rise to very grave scandal. If anyone overstep this rule, let him be severely punished.



Commemorations: Afterfeast of the Nativity of Christ.  The 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia, including Hieromartyrs Glycerius, priest, and the deacons Theophilus and Migdonius, Martyrs Zeno, Dorotheus, Mardonius, Indes, Gorgonius, Peter, and Euthymius, Virgin-martyrs Agape, Domna, Theophila, and others (302) (Rom. 8:3-9; Luke 10:19-21). Apostle Nicanor the Deacon, of the Seventy (34). St. Simon the Myrrh-gusher, founder of Simonopetra, Mt. Athos (1287). St. Ignatius, monk, of Loma (Yaroslavl) (1591). St. Cornelius, monk of Krypetsk Monastery (Pskov) (1903). New Hieromartyrs Nikodim, bishop of Belgorod, and the deacon Arcadius (1918). Repose of Joseph the Hesychast (Romania) (1828).

The Holy Rule: CHAPTER 70: That No One Presume to Strike Another 

Let every occasion for presumption be avoided in the monastery. We decree that no one be permitted to excommunicate or to strike any one of his brethren, unless the Abbot hath given him the authority. But let those who transgress be taken to task in the presence of all, that the others may fear (cf 1 Tm 5:20). Let all, however, exercise diligent and watchful care over the discipline of children, until the age of fifteen; but even that, within due limits and with discretion. For if anyone should presume to chastise those of more advanced years, without the command of the Abbot, or should be unduly provoked with children, let him be subject to the discipline of the Rule; because it is written: "What thou dost not wish to be done to thee, do not thou to another" (Tb 4:16).




Afterfeast of the Nativity of Christ.  The 14,000 Infants (Holy Innocents) slain by Herod at Bethlehem (II Cor. 5:15-21; Matt. 2:13-23). St. Marcellus, abbot of the Monastery of the Unsleeping Ones, Constantinople (485). St. Trophimus, first bishop of Arles (3rd c.). St. Benjamin, monk, of Nitria in Egypt (392). St. Athenodorus, disciple of St. Pachomius the Great (4th c.). St. Evroult (Ebrulf), abbot, of Ouche in Normandy (596). St. Thaddeus, confessor, of the Studion (818). St. George, bishop of Nicomedia (9th c.). St. Mark the Grave-digger, of the Kiev Caves (11th c.). Sts. Theophilus and John, of the Kiev Caves (11th-12th c.). St. Theophilus, abbot, of Luga and Omutch (Pskov) (ca. 1412), disciple of St. Arsenius of Konevits. St. Basiliscus the Hesychast, of Turinsk (1824). Commemoration of all Orthodox Christians who have died from hunger, thirst, the sword, and freezing.

The Holy Rule: CHAPTER 71: That the Brethren Be Obedient to One Another

The brethren must render the service of obedience not only to the Abbot, but they must thus also obey one another, knowing that they shall go to God by this path of obedience. Hence, granted the command of the Abbot and of the Superiors who are appointed by him (to which we do not permit private commands to be preferred), in other respects let the younger brethren obey their elders with all charity and zeal. But if anyone is found to be obstinate, let him be punished.

And if a brother be punished in any way by the Abbot or by any of his Superiors for even a slight reason or if he perceive that the temper of any of his Superiors is but slightly ruffled or excited against him in the least, let him without delay cast himself down on the ground at his feet making satisfaction, until the agitation is quieted by a blessing. If anyone scorn to do this, either let him undergo corporal punishment, or, if he be obstinate, let him be expelled from the monastery.




Afterfeast of the Nativity of Christ.  Virgin- martyr Anysia at Thessalonica (298). Apostle Timon the Deacon, of the Seventy (1st c.). Martyr Philoterus of Nicomedia, and with him six soldiers and one count (311). Hieromartyr Zoticus the Priest, of Constantinople, feeder of orphans (ca. 340). Martyrs Magistrianus, Paulinus, Umbrius, Verus, Severus, Callistratus, Florentius, Arianus, Anthimus, Ubricius, Isidore, Euculus, Sampson, Studius, and Thespesius, who suffered under Julian the Apostate (361-363). St. Egwin, bishop of Worcester (717). St. Theodora, nun, of Constantinople (755). St. Tryphon, bishop of Rostov (1468). St. Macarius, metropolitan of Moscow (1563). Opening of the relics (1652) of St. Daniel, abbot, of Pereyaslavl-Zalesski (1540). New Monk-martyr Gideon of Karakallou, Mt. Athos, at Turnovo (1818).

The Holy Rule: CHAPTER 72: Of the Virtuous Zeal Which the Monks Ought to Have

As there is a harsh and evil zeal which separateth from God and leadeth to hell, so there is a virtuous zeal which separateth from vice and leadeth to God and life everlasting.

Let the monks, therefore, practice this zeal with most ardent love; namely, that in honor they forerun one another (cf Rom 12:10). Let them bear their infirmities, whether of body or mind, with the utmost patience; let them vie with one another in obedience. Let no one follow what he thinketh useful to himself, but rather to another. Let them practice fraternal charity with a chaste love. Let them fear God and love their Abbot with sincere and humble affection; let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may He lead us all together to life everlasting.




Apodosis of the Nativity of ChristSt. Melania the Younger, nun, of Rome (439). St. Anysius, bishop of Thessalonica (ca. 406). St. Gelasius, monk, of Palestine. St. Sabiana, abbess of Samtskhe (11th c.). St. Theophylactus, archbishop of Ochrid (ca. 1126). New Hiero-confessor Dositheus, metropolitan of Zagreb (1944). (Gr. Cal.: Ten Virgin-martyrs of Nicomedia. Hieromartyr Zoticus the Priest, of Constantinople, feeder of orphans [ca. 340].)  Repose of Metropolitan Peter (Mogila) of Kiev (1646).

The Holy Rule:

CHAPTER 73: Of This, that Not the Whole Observance of Righteousness Is Laid Down in this Rule

Now, we have written this Rule that, observing it in monasteries, we may show that we have acquired at least some moral righteousness, or a beginning of the monastic life.

On the other hand, he that hasteneth on to the perfection of the religious life, hath at hand the teachings of the holy Fathers, the observance of which leadeth a man to the height of perfection. For what page or what utterance of the divinely inspired books of the Old and the New Testament is not a most exact rule of human life? Or, what book of the holy Catholic Fathers doth not loudly proclaim how we may go straight to our Creator? So, too, the collations of the Fathers, and their institutes and lives, and the rule of our holy Father, Basil—what are they but the monuments of the virtues of exemplary and obedient monks? But for us slothful, disedifying, and negligent monks they are a source for shame and confusion.

Thou, therefore, who hastenest to the heavenly home, with the help of Christ fulfil this least rule written for a beginning; and then thou shalt with God's help attain at last to the greater heights of knowledge and virtue which we have mentioned above.

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