• From the website of St. Isaac of Syria Skete: The Holy Apostle Luke was of Greek origin and was born in Antioch, Syria. He studied philosophy, science, and art, as well as many languages, and was trained as a professional physician. He came to Israel and heard Christ preach, and then immediately left everything to follow him as one of the Seventy Apostles. St. Luke, along with St. Cleophas, met the Risen Lord on the road to Emmaus, and wrote of their hearts burning upon hearing Christ explain the Holy Scriptures to them. He wrote his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles and dedicated them to Theophilus, the governor of Acaia. St. Luke is the first iconographer and painted the Virgin Mary from life, and she was pleased with these icons. St. Luke traveled with St. Paul and was with him in Rome converting Jews and pagans. After St. Paul was martyred, he preached of the Divine Word in Italy, Dalmatia, Macedonia, Lybia, Upper Egypt, and Greece. When St. Luke was 84 years old, he was martyred in Greece at Thebes in Beothia in 84 a.d. by idolaters who tortured him and then hanged him from an olive tree. Healing myrrh, known for healing eye ailments, flowed from his relics.
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    St. Bessarion

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    Icon for the blind, hand-carved by a local nun.
    Approximately 10″ x 10″
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    This icon of St. Innocent is from the iconostasis of the Optina Elders Chapel in Holy Trinity Monastery.   St. Innocent (a.d. 1797-1879) was a gifted student at his church boarding school.  He married at the age of 20 and had six children.  After serving as a deacon in Siberian Irkutsk, he was sent as a missionary to Alaska in 1824, where he worked among the native tribes, especially the Aleut Indians.  Learning the Aleut tongue, he translated many Orthodox liturgical and spiritual books into their language.  When his wife died, St. Innocent took up the monastic life, and returned to America after being consecrated its first bishop.

    St. Innocent tirelessly labored among his flock, preaching the Gospel everywhere.  He encouraged services in the common language and Native Americans to enter the priesthood.  When he was called back to Russia to become the Metropolitan of Moscow, he still worked for the American mission, asking all clergy to be fluent in English, and encouraged everyone to make the Orthodox Faith their own.  He is called the Enlightener of the Aleut and Apostle to the Americas.  O Holy St. Innocent, pray to God for us!

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    St. Helen Icon


    St. Helen was the mother of the future Emperor Constantine I, the first Christian Roman Emperor.  She was born in about 250 a.d. in the city of Drepanum on the Gulf of Nicomedia.  She married the Roman Caesar Constantius Chloris I and gave birth to their son Constantine about 272.  Constantius divorced St. Helen around 289 to marry Theodora, the step-daughter of the Emperor Maximiam.

    When her son Constantine was declared Augustus, or Emperor of the Roman Empire in 306, St. Helen returned to a foremost position of honor.  She was given the means also in 325 to go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land and find the precious and holy things associated with Christ’s life that had been obscured by previous non-Christian emperors and their administrators.  St. Helen found the tomb of Christ, the place of His Crucifixion, the True Cross, the Nails that pierced His side, and a part of His tunic.  Churches were built on these holy places and also the site at the foot of Mt. Sinai where the Burning Bush still grew.  Pious and devout, St. Helen went to live with Christ Whom she loved in 330.

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    St. Mary Magdalene was so named because she came from the town of Magdala on the western shores of the Sea of Galilee.  Christ healed her of seven tormenting demons, a concept in the New Testament usually referred to as healing from illness, not for forgiveness of sins.  In the West, she is often confused with the sinful woman who wiped Christ’s feet with her hair, and also with the Mary from Bethany, who was the sister of Lazarus and Martha.  In the Eastern Church, it is not so confusing.

    St. Mary Magdalene was called the “Apostle to the Apostles” because she brought them news of Christ’s Resurrection.  She was one of the Myrrh-Bearing Women who came to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body with fragrant oils and spices, but found him gone and the grave clothes still lying there.  She met Jesus early that same day, but didn’t recognize Him, thinking He was just the gardener until He called her by name, Mary.  She presented an egg to the Roman Emperor Tiberius Caesar which turned red as a sign of Christ’s Resurrection from the dead.  She later lived near St. John the Theologian in Ephesus, helping him until she died.

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    Sizes are approximate
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    St. Herman


    In September of 1794, a group of eight monks from the Russian Monastery of Valaam in Lake Ladoga above St. Peters-burg arrived in Kodiak, Alaska, to help the Russian Mission there.   They planted the seeds of Orthodox Christian Faith which in time spread over the North American continent, as their mission reached out past the Russians to the Aleuts, a tribe of Native Americans.

    St. Herman was born about a.d. 1756 and at 16 entered  the Trinity-St. Sergius Hermitage near St. Petersburg.  As a novice, he fell ill with a throat abscess, but was healed by the Virgin Mary, who appeared to him in a dream.  He was later transferred to Valaam where he was tonsured a monk under the guidance of the abbot, St. Nazarius.  After the mission in Alaska was persecuted by the Russian Company, and some of the monks were martyred by  natives, those who were left returned to Russia except St. Herman.  He moved to Spruce Island in a.d. 1808, where he built a monastery called New Valaam.  Helping the natives in many ways, he was beloved of them.  St. Herman died in a.d 1837, was glorified in 1970, and is the patron saint of American Orthodoxy.

    Sizes are approximate

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    St. John the Theologian

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    3" x 2 1/2"
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    3" x 2 1/2"
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    3" x 2 1/2"
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    3" x 2 1/2"
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  • This icon is a part of a contemporary Greek set of the Holy Evangelists Matthew (S146), Mark (S166), Luke (SS143), and John (S141).   St. Matthew was the son of Alphaeus and brother of St. James the Apostle, but worked as a publican, a despised tax-collector for the hated Roman civil administration.  He was also called Levi.  When Christ passed by him sitting at the receipt of custom, He called Levi to follow Him, and St. Matthew immediately left everything and followed Him.

    St. Matthew wrote his Gospel in Aramaic some time after Pentecost and preached this Gospel of Christ Who has come among us to the Parthians and Medes, and then later in Ethiopia.  Baptizing the wife and son of an Ethiopian prince, this prince was enraged and sought to kill St. Matthew, but first his soldiers, then he himself, were blinded by the Heavenly light that shone from St. Matthew.  Still the prince’s heart was hardened and he tried to kill St. Matthew, who prayed, then died and went to Christ.  This prince later repented, was baptized with the name of Matthew, and became a bishop in the Church and successor of St. Matthew.

    Sizes are approximate.

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    The Deisis represents the Lord with His Holy Saints and Angels supplicating towards Him.  Their hands are outstretched and their heads are bowed towards Christ sitting on the Throne of His Kingdom which will never end.  This icon is a part of such a 20th century set from Monk Michael on Mount Athos.

    From his very birth (Luke 1), St. John became famous throughout Israel by virtue of the divine signs which attended him.  He proclaimed Jesus as Christ, saying that he was “Not fit to untie the thong of His sandals” (Luke 3:16. Mark 1:7, and John 6:36).

    St. John was killed because he reprimanded Herod and Herodias for their unlawful union, and because Herod was pleased at the dancing of Herodias’ daughter Salome.  He was a fiery and blazing torch of faith and repentance, calling many in Israel to the baptism of repentance before Christ would give the baptism of spirit later.  He is an icon of faith, of faithfulness, of repentance, and of love, and by Christ’s own words, “The greatest among those born of woman.”  He stands now at Christ’s left hand in His Kingdom that can know no end.  O Holy St. John, pray to God for us!

    Sizes are approximate.