Hebrews 8:7-13 Mark 8:11-21
He was born to a noble family in Constantinople in 580. (But, according to a recently-discovered account, he may have been born in Palestine.) He showed uncommon piety and depth of theological understanding from an early age, and wrote some of the Church's most profound theological works. He became the chief secretary of the Emperor Heraclius and his grandson Constans. But when the Monothelite heresy took hold in the royal court, Maximos could not bear to be surrounded by this error and left for the Monastery at Chrysopolis, where he later became abbot. From the monastery, he battled Monothelitism in homilies and treatises that exercised a considerable influence; so much so that the Emperor Constans ordered him either to accept Monothelite belief or keep silence. Maximos refused to do either, and he was arrested. His tongue was torn out, his right hand cut off, and he was sentenced to exile. He died of his wounds and torments while still in prison awaiting deportation, at the age of eighty-two, in the year 662. The Great Horologion comments that "at that time only he and his few disciples were Orthodox in the East." Nonetheless, his lonely and costly stand, whose fruit he did not see in his own lifetime, preserved the Orthodox Faith when emperors and patriarchs alike had fallen away. Saint Maximos' right hand is venerated today at the Monastery of St Paul on Mt Athos.
'This Saint, who was from Melitine in Armenia, was the son of pious parents named Paul and Dionysia. He was born about 377. Since his mother had been barren, he was named Euthymius which means "good cheer" or "joy" for this is what his parents experienced at his birth. He studied under Eutroius, the Bishop of Melitene, by whom he was ordained and entrusted with the care of the monasteries of Melitene. Then, after he had come to Palestine about the year 406, he became the leader of a multitude of monks. Through him, a great tribe of Arabs was turned to piety, when he healed the ailing son of their leader Aspebetos. Aspebetos was baptized with all his people; he took the Christian name of Peter, and was later consecrated Bishop for his tribe, being called the "Bishop of the Tents." Saint Euthymius also fought against the Nestorians, Eutychians, and Manichaeans. When Eudocia, the widow of Saint Theodosius the Younger, had made her dwelling in Palestine, and had fallen into the heresy of the Monophysites which was championed in Palestine by a certain Theodosius, she sent envoys to Saint Symeon the Stylite in Syria (see Sept.1), asking him his opinion of Eutyches and the Council of Chalcedon which had condemned him; Saint Symeon, praising the holiness and Orthodoxy of Saint Euthymius near whom she dwelt, sent her to him to be delivered from her error (the holy Empress Eudocia is commemorated Aug. 13). He became the divine oracle of the Church, or rather, "the vessel of divine utterance," as a certain historian writes. He was the instructor and elder of Saint Sabbas the Sanctified. Having lived for ninety-six years, he reposed in 473, on January 20.' (Great Horologion)
He was born around 300 in Egypt and in his youth was a camel driver. While still living in his village, he withdrew to a small cell to devote himself exclusively to ascesis and prayer. When the people there wanted to make him a priest, he fled to another village. There a young woman who was discovered to be pregnant falsely accused Macarius of being the father. Macarius was seized, reviled and beaten, but made no effort to defend himself; instead he took on more work in order to provide for the mother and her child. When his innocence was finally discovered, the townspeople came to ask his forgiveness; but he fled to the desert of Sketis (now called Wadi Natrun). He was then thirty years old, and for the rest of his life he dwelt in the desert. His humility and detachment from earthly things were so great that once, when he discovered a thief stealing his few possessions, he helped the man load them onto his camel, even pointing out to him the few things he had missed. Once a demon spoke to him thus: "Everything you do, I do too: you fast, but I never eat; you keep vigil, but I never sleep; you only exceed me in one way: your humility. Because of this I am helpless against you." The Saint said that the demons could be put in two categories: those who arouse passions such as anger, lust and greed; and others, much more dreadful, who deceive us by spiritual illusion, blasphemy and heresy. Saint Macarius soon became known throughout Egypt, and many visitors came to his isolated home. He welcomed all with joy, judging no one and providing hospitality for all. His compassion extended to all, and he prayed even for the damned. Once he found the skull of a pagan priest, which addressed him, saying, "Each time you have pity on us who are in torment, immersed in fire and darkness, we receive a measure of comfort and are allowed to see the faces of our fellow sufferers." Saint Macarius became a disciple of St Anthony the Great, and in his turn became the spiritual Father of many who came to live near him in the desert. He is considered the founder of the ancient and venerable monastic community at Sketis. At the age of forty he was ordained a priest at the urging of St Anthony, so that he and his brethren would not have to walk the forty miles of desert to Nitria to go to church. Knowing that he was soon to die, he visited his disciples one last time, saying to them with tears in his eyes, "Let us weep, brethren, so that our eyes flow ceaselessly with tears, before we go to where our tears will scald our bodies." Soon thereafter he reposed. His relics now rest in the Coptic monastery that bears his name. The collection of fifty Spiritual Homilies attributed to St Macarius is a treasury of Orthodox spirituality.