The Robber Barbarus, Martyred in Epirus 9th Century

The Holy Martyr Barbarus

Wednesday May 19, 2021 / May 6, 2021

Third Week of Pascha. Tone two.
Fast. Fish Allowed

Righteous Job the Long-suffering. Venerable Micah, disciple of St. Sergius of Radonezh (1385). Venerable Job, abbot and wonderworker of Pochaev (1651). Martyrs Barbarus the Soldier, BacchusCallimachus, and Dionysius, in Morea (362). Martyr Barbarus the former robber in Epirus (9th c.

The Scripture Readings

Acts 8:18-25
John 6:35-3

The Holy Martyr Barbaros

Commemorated on May 6

      The Holy Martyr Barbaros, formerly a brigand, lived in Greece and for a long time he committed robberies, extortions and murders. But the Lord, not desiring the death of a sinner, turned him also to repentance. One time, when Barbaros was sitting in a cave and gazing upon the multitude of his stolen possessions, the grace of God touched his heart. He thought about the inevitability of death, and about the Dread Last Judgement to come. Pondering over the multitude of his wicked deeds, he was distressed in his heart and he decided to make a start with his repentance, saying: “The Lord did not despise the prayer of the robber hanging alongside Him, and grant that He spare me through His ineffable mercy”. Barbaros left behind in the cave all his treasures and he went to the nearest church. He did not hide his wicked deeds from the priest and he asked to be accepted for repentance. The priest gave him a place in his own home, and Saint Barbaros followed after him, going about on his hands and knees like a four-legged animal, since he considered himself unworthy to be called a man. In the household of the priest he settled himself in amongst the cattle, eating with the animals and considering himself more wicked than any creature. Having received from the priest absolution from his sins, Barbaros went off into the woods and lived there for 12 years bare and without clothing, suffering the cold and heat, and his body became dirty and blackened all over. Finally, Saint Barbaros received news from on high, that his sins were forgiven and that he would die a martyr’s death. At the place where Saint Barbaros asceticised one time there came merchants. In the deep grass before them something was moving. Thinking that this was an animal, they let loose several arrows from their bows. Coming closer, they were terrified seeing that they had mortally wounded a man. But Saint Barbaros besought them not to sorrow, he told them about himself, and he asked that they relate what had happened to the priest, at the house of whom he earlier had lived. After this, Saint Barbaros yielded up his spirit to God. The priest, who had accepted the repentance of the former robber, located his body, shining with an Heavenly light. The priest gave burial to the body of Saint Barbaros at the spot where he was killed. Afterwards from the grave of the saint there began to issue forth a curative myrh, which did heal various maladies. His relics are located at the monastery of Kellios in Thessaly, near the city of Larissa.

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

HYMNS OF PRAISE

JOB THE SUFFERING SERVANT

Tell me, brother, what you are able to endure,

And I will tell you how much of a man you are.

Job the righteous, rich and all glorious,

Was thrown by Satan onto a dunghill,

And with festering and sores he was covered:

To both dogs and men, a horrifying sight!

Whatever he had, perished in a day,

Save for faith and patience.

But with the weapons of faith and patience

Job overcame terrible Satan.

God looked upon the uneven struggle,

And to the righteous one He imparted victory.

With victory He imparted all other riches,

And put the envious devil to shame.


REFLECTION

Abba Isaiah said of himself: “I see myself resembling a horse wandering around without a rider. Whoever finds him, sits on him and rides him to his content. When one rider dismounts the horse, another saddles him and does the same, likewise the third and so on.” This great ascetic, about whom everyone said with amazement that he had attained perfection, spoke this of himself either out of humility or from remembrance of his time of imperfection. The main thing is that these words are true in relation to every Christian who walks spiritually unbridled and unrestrained. Just as soon as one passion dismounts, another mounts him. Just as soon as one wearies him and leaves him in despair, another mounts him with the deluded hope that it will make him happy. Such a man does not have a rider who would direct him to the true path without digressing to the left or to the right. The only friendly rider that should be greeted with a welcome is the holy and powerful Christian spirit.

CONTEMPLATION

Contemplate the Ascension of the Lord Jesus:

1. How He first resurrected bodily and then ascended bodily;

2. How after death the souls of righteous men first ascend into heaven while the body awaits the general resurrection, general transfiguration and general ascension.

HOMILY

on the power that God gave to the words of the prophets

“Behold, I made My words in your mouth a fire. And this people is the wood that it shall devour!” (Jeremiah 5:14).

You see, brethren, that the effect of the word of God is different according to different people. The word of God is like fire in which the righteous one rejoices as one frozen in the cold of this world; and the word of God is like fire that burns the unrighteous one whom this material world has overly warmed. The experienced spiritual fathers have left us proof that only the name of Jesus–bringing power, joy and refreshment to the faithful–consumes evil spirits as a living fire. That is the way with every word of God. For some it creates comfort, for others irritation; for some it quiets anger, for others it increases anger; for some it causes deep respect, and for others scorn. To the healthy it is honey; to the unhealthy it is the honey of wormwood.

But why should the people be as wood that will be consumed? Are the people to be blamed if the godless elders and false prophets lead them astray?

The people are not to blame to as great a degree as their elders and false prophets, but nevertheless they are to blame to a certain extent. For God also gave the people to know the right path through conscience and through the preaching of God’s word. Thus, the people should not have blindly followed their blind leaders when they led them on false paths and distanced them from God and God’s law. Brethren, God is just and He knows the measure of everyone’s faults, and He will not permit the ignorant and the least to suffer as much as the learned and the great.

O All-seeing God, save us that we be neither blind leaders nor blind followers. Strengthen our hearts that, as leaders and as followers, we will always be Thy servants and only Thy servants.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

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