Saint Epiphanios was born a Jew in Palestine, but he and his sister came to faith in Christ and were baptized together. Epiphanios gave all his possessions to the poor and became a monk. He knew St Hilarion the great (October 31), and traveled among the monks of Egypt to learn their ways and wisdom. The fame of his virtue spread so widely that several attempts were made to make him bishop, first in Egypt, then in Cyprus. Whenever Epiphanios heard of these plans, he fled the area. He was finally made bishop by means of a storm: told to go to Cyprus, he took ship instead for Gaza, but a contrary wind blew his ship directly to Cyprus, where "Epiphanios fell into the hands of bishops who had come together to elect a successor to the newly-departed Bishop of Constantia, and the venerable Epiphanios was at last constrained to be consecrated, about the year 367." (Great Horologion). He guarded his flock faithfully for the remainder of his life, working many miracles, defending the Church against the Arian heresy, and composing several books, of which the best-loved is the Panarion (from the Latin for 'bread-box'), an exposition of the Faith and an examination of eighty heresies. He was sometimes called the 'Five-tongued' because he was fluent in Hebrew, Egyptian, Syriac, Greek, and Latin. Saint Germanos was the son of a prominent family, in Constantinople. He became Metropolitan of Cyzicus, then was elevated to the throne at Constantinople in 715. It was he who baptized the infant Constantine, who for his whole life was nicknamed "Copronymos" because he defecated in the baptismal font (though he was neither the first nor the last infant to do so). At this incident, Patriarch Germanos is said to have prophesied that the child would one day bring some foul heresy upon the Church, which he did, becoming a notorious iconoclast as emperor. Germanos openly opposed the decree of the Emperor Leo the Isaurian which began the persecution of the holy icons. For this he was deposed and driven into exile in 730. He lived the rest of his life in peace. Saint Germanos is the composer of many of the Church's hymns, notably those for the Feast of the Meeting in the Temple. These two Saints are always commemorated together.
The two saints were brothers, born in Thessalonica. St Methodius, the elder brother, served as a soldier for ten years before becoming a monk. Cyril was librarian at the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople; then he too became a monk. Their first missionary work was not among the Slavs: When the king of the Khazars (a Mongol people who then inhabited much of what is now Russia) petitioned the Emperor Michael to sent teachers to instruct his people, the Emperor chose Cyril and Methodius as his emissaries. They converted the Khazar king to the Christian faith, along with many of his nobles and commoners. When King Rostislav of Moravia likewise sought teachers of the Christian faith, Cyril and Methodius were again sent forth. This time they devised an alphabet for the Slavic language and used it to translate many of the Greek service books into the language of the people. (In theory, the Orthodox people have always been privileged to hear the Church's services in their own tongue, though often attachment to dead languages has prevented this ideal from becoming reality.) Both brothers were repeatedly attacked by Germanic priests of the region, who opposed the use of the common tongue in the liturgy. At different times, both brothers were forced to appeal for exoneration and protection to the Pope of Rome, who supported them warmly each time. After the two Saints reposed, attacks on their work continued, and their disciples were eventually driven from Moravia. The disciples, fleeing southward, found a warmer welcome among the southern Slavic peoples, and their work bore much fruit in Bulgaria (including modern-day Serbia) and other countries. And, of course, the alphabet that they devised, called Cyrillic after St Cyril, remains the standard alphabet of both the Slavonic service books of the Church and the Slavic languages of today.
They were brothers living in southern Italy, of noble family and devout faith in Christ. (They were the sons of Vitalius, a pagan governor.) Arrested for their confession of Christ, they were taken before a series of judges, subjected to torture each time. Finally they were taken to Sicily and tortured to death there, during the reign of Licinius. Their incorrupt relics were found in 1517. They once appeared in a vision to St Euthalia (March 2).
In 1087 the Saint's relics were taken from Myra in Lycia (on the southern coast of present-day Turkey) to the town of Bari in Italy. This was done due to a Muslim attack on Lycia. At that time Bari was Orthodox and under the administration of the Patriarch of Constantinople. The Saint's relics now lie in a Roman Catholic church in Bari; each year the casket containing the relics is opened by a Roman Catholic and Orthodox bishop together, and quantities of fragrant myrrh are removed, for the healing and encouragement of the faithful.
Job 21; Psalm 106:15·30; Proverbs 23:24·27; Jn 2
Acts 4:13-22 John 5:17-24
Job 20; Psalm 106:1·14; Proverbs 23:19·23; Jn 1:29·51
Acts 4:1-10 John 3:16-21