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Orthodox Military Saints for September September 1, 2010

Posted by stgeorgeoma in Armed Forces, Armed Services, Eastern Orthodox, Memorial, Military, Networking, News, Orthodox, Religion, Religious, Saints, SGOMA News, Uncategorized.
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September 5 – The Holy Martyrs Juventius and Maximinus

Little is known about the life of these two holy men, but their suffering for Christ is known from a sermon by St. John Chrysostom praising them. They were soldiers during the rule of Emperor Julian the Apostate. In conversation with others during a military feast, they condemned the emperor for his persecution of Christians. Someone told the emperor of this, and he had them thrown into prison. Some of the emperor’s men visited them with the intention of turning them away from the true Faith. They told Juventius and Maximinus that many of their companions had denied Christ. To this, the two nobly replied: “Then we must stand bravely, and offer ourselves as a sacrifice for their apostasy.” They were beheaded with the sword in the dark of night, but their relics were found and were revealed to be miracle-working.

September 13 – The Holy Hieromartyr Cornelius the Centurion

Cornelius was a Roman and an officer in Caesarea of Palestine. As the result of a heavenly revelation, the Apostle Peter baptized him (Acts 10:1). He was the first among the pagans to enter God’s Church. Until then, some thought that the Church was only for the Jews and those who received the circumcision of the Jews. Having been baptized, Cornelius left everything and followed the apostle. Later, Peter consecrated him a bishop and sent him to the pagan town of Skep, where St. Cornelius endured much humiliation and torture for the sake of Christ. Even so, he destroyed the temple of Apollo there by the power of God, and baptized Prince Demetrius with 277 other pagans. Being forewarned by God of the day of his death, Cornelius summoned all the Christians together, counseled them, prayed to God for them, and peacefully presented himself to the Lord in honorable old age. In time, his grave site was neglected and forgotten, but the saint appeared to Silvanus the Bishop of Troas and revealed it to him, commanding that a church be built there. The bishop carried this out with the help of Eugenius, a wealthy citizen. Many miracles have been worked by the relics of St. Cornelius.

September 24 – The Holy Martyr Juvenaly, Protomartyr of America

The Holy Martyr Juvenaly, Protomartyr of America, was born in 1761 in Nerchinsk, Siberia. His secular name was John Feodorovich Hovorukhin, and he was trained as a mining engineer. In a Letter to Abbot Nazarius of Valaam (December 13, 1819), St. Herman says that St. Juvenaly “had been an assistant at our monastery and was a former officer.”

After his wife died in 1791, John entered a monastery at St. Petersburg (St. Herman’s Letter of December 13, 1819) and was tonsured with the name Juvenaly. Three years later, he went to Alaska as a missionary.

During 1794, the hieromonks Juvenaly and Macarius spent two months in the area around Kodiak teaching the inhabitants about Christ and baptizing them. They traveled in small boats of hide in all sorts of weather, dividing up the territory among themselves. St. Herman tells of a conversation he heard one day as he walked with the hieromonks to a small hill on the south side of the harbor. They sat down facing the sea, and spoke of various things. Soon they began to discuss where each of them should go to preach. Aflame with zeal and eager to set out on their journey, a friendly argument ensued between Fr. Macarius and Fr Juvenaly. Fr. Macarius said he intended to go north to the Aleutian Islands, and then make his way to the Alaskan mainland, where the inhabitants had invited him to visit. The monks had a map of Captain Cook’s which indicated that some Russians were living near a certain river in that particular area, and Fr. Macarius hoped to find them.

Fr. Juvenaly interrupted, saying that he believed that the Alaskan mainland was his territory. “I beg you to yield to me and not offend me in this,” he told Fr. Macarius, “since the ship is leaving for Yakutan. I shall begin preaching in the south, proceeding north along the ocean, cross the Kenai peninsula, then from the port there I shall cross to Alaska.”

Fr. Macarius became sorrowful and said, “No, Father. Do not restrict me in this way. You know the Aleutian chain of islands is joined to Alaska, therefore it belongs to me, and also the whole northern shore. As for you, the southern part of America is sufficient for your whole lifetime, if you please.”

As he listened to their apostolic fervor, St. Herman says he “went from joy to rapture” (Letter to Abbot Nazarius, May 19, 1795).

In 1795, Father Juvenaly baptized over 700 Chugatchi at Nushek, then he crossed Kenai Bay and baptized the local people there. In 1796, according to native oral tradition, St. Juvenaly came to the mouth of the Kuskokwim near the present village of Quinahgak, where he was killed by a hunting party (There is a forged diary attributed to Ivan Petroff which gives a slanderous version of Fr. Juvenaly’s death, and alleges that he was martyred at Lake Iliamna).

The precise reason for St. Juvenal’ys murder by the natives is not known. However, they later told St. Innocent something about his death. They said that St. Juvenaly did not try to defend himself when attacked, nor did he make any attempt to escape. After being struck from behind, he turned to face his attackers and begged them to spare the natives he had baptized.

The natives told St. Innocent that after they had killed St. Juvenaly, he got up and followed them, urging them to repent. The fell upon him again and gave him a savage beating. Once more, he got to his feet and called them to repentance. This happened several times, then finally the natives hacked him to pieces. Thus, the zealous Hieromonk Juvenaly became the first Orthodox Christian in America to receive the crown of martyrdom. His unnamed guide, possibly a Tanaina Indian convert, was also martyred at the same time.

It is said that a local shaman removed St. Juvenaly’s brass pectoral cross from his body and attempted to cast a spell. Unexpectedly, the shaman was lifted up off the ground. He made three more tries with the same result, then concluded that there was a greater power than his own at work here. Years later, a man showed up at the Nushagak Trading Post wearing a brass pectoral cross exactly like the one worn by St. Juvenaly.

A column of light arose from his holy relics and reached up to heaven. It is not known how long this phenomenon continued.

St. Juvenaly, in his tireless evangelization of the native peoples of Alaska, served the Church more than all the other missionaries combined.

St. Juvenaly, together with the Holy Martyr Peter the Aleut is commemorated on September 24.

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