St. John the Baptist Parish, A Parish of the Russian Orthodox Church, Canberra, Australia

28 September / 11 October

Our Holy Father Chariton the Confessor

An eminent and devout citizen of the city of Iconium. Imbued with the spirit of his compatriot, St Thecla, Chariton openly confessed the name of Christ. When a harsh persecution of Christians broke out under the Emperor Aurelian, Chariton was immediately brought to trial before the governor. The judge ordered him to worship false gods, to which Chariton replied: 'All your gods are furies, which were aforetime through pride cast out from heaven into the nethermost hell.' Chariton openly showed his faith in the one, living God, the Creator of all, and in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind. Then the governor ordered that Chariton be so beaten and tortured that his whole body became covered with wounds until it was like one great wound. After the evil death of Aurelian, whose evil-doing caught up with him in the end, Chariton was released from torture and imprisonment. He travelled to Jerusalem, but on the way was seized by robbers from whom he was freed by God's providence. He did not return to Iconium, but withdrew to the wilderness of Pharan, where he founded a community and gathered a group of monks together. Having given a rule to this community and desiring to escape the praise of men, he withdrew to another desert near Jericho where, in time, he founded another community, called after him. He finally founded another community, Souka, called in Greek the Old Lavra. He died at a great age and entered into the glory of his Lord on September 28th, 350, and his relics are preserved in his first monastery. The practice of tonsuring monks is attributed to St Chariton.

St. Machan

A Scottish saint trained in Ireland and consecrated bishop in Rome (Benedictines). St. Machan, who is commemorated in Ecelesmachan in Linlithgowshire, is said to have been a disciple of St. Cadoc of Llancarvan; if so, he was contemporary with Kentigern. We know almost nothing about him. In the Inquest of David I made about 1116 AD when he was Prince of Cumbrian, concerning the lands belonging to the Church of Glasgow a number of old churches can be recognised.....Among them is the name Mecheyn, i.e. Machan. 'When Cadoc quitted Scotland, on his way back to Wales, he left behind him an earnests worker to develop his mission among the Britons and the Picts. He was Machan , who had been trained in Ireland, but who now devoted the rest of his the Clyde Valley. One of his centres was Dalserf, a parish formerly known as Machanshire. In the north end of the parish there is a property still called Machan, or Auld Machan, while t he whole of the higher and bleaker lands to the south, between Auld Machan and Draffan in the parish of Lesmahagow, are still entitled Machanshire or Machanmuir.

St. Lioba, abbess of Bischofsheim

Born at Wimborne, Dorsetshire, England; died at Schornsheim (near Mainz), Germany, c. 779. Saint Lioba's mother, descended of an illustrious family and closely related to Saint Boniface (f.d. June 5), had been barren for a long time before the saint was born. Nevertheless, Ebba immediately offered her to God and raised her in piety. She received her first education at Minster-in-Thanet. While Lioba was still young, she was placed in the care of the king's sister Saint Tetta at the Benedictine convent in Wimborne (Winburn or "fountain of wine"). Lioba matured spiritually and emotionally under Tetta's tutelage, and eventually took the religious veil. Tetta also ensured that she had a good education. Letters to Boniface reveal that Lioba understood and wrote verse in Latin. She limited her reading, however, to books that would stir her spirit to love of God. She knew by heart the divine precepts of the Old and New Testaments, the principal canons of the Church, the holy maxims of the Fathers, and the rules of the monastic life. Boniface kept in touch with his young relative through frequent correspondence. Recognising her virtue and abilities, in 748, he requested of her bishop and abbess that she be sent to him with about 30 pious companions to undertake charitable work with women in Germany. Although Tetta regretted the loss of her protege, she could not refuse. Upon their arrival in Germany, Boniface settled the women religious at Tauberbischofsheim ("bishop's home," possibly his own previous residence). Lioba's zeal attracted so many vocations that her convent was populating many other foundations throughout the country. Lioba's convents were one of the most powerful factors in the conversion of Germany. The saint organised her convents in the true monastic tradition with a combination of manual labour (in scriptorium, kitchen, bakery, brewery, and garden), intellectual study (all had to learn Latin), community devotions, and leisure. No extreme austerities were permitted to interfere with the corporate life established by the Rule. Her love of God was so appealing. She was always ready to set her hand to any task she might ask of others and did it with cheer and modesty. It is said that she was beautiful, that her countenance was angelic, and that her nuns loved her. Perhaps this is so because Lioba took to heart Saint Paul advice: "Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves" (Philippians 2:3) and "anticipate one another in showing honour" (Romans 12:9b). Thus, Lioba often washed the feet of her sisters in emulation of her Lord. The corporal acts of mercy were her delight, especially extending hospitality to strangers and caring for the poor. She was always patient, kind, and accessible to all who needed her. Nevertheless, kings and princes honoured and respected her, especially Pepin the Short, Blessed Carloman (f.d. August 17) and Charlemagne. Charlemagne often called her to court at Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen) to seek her advice. His wife, Blessed Hildegard (f.d. April 30), loved her deeply and always heeded her advice, as did some of the bishops. Before his martyrdom, Saint Boniface commended Lioba and her community to the care of Saint Lullus (f.d. October 16) and his monks at Fulda, and requested that her bones be buried next to his at their deaths that they might be raised at the resurrection and spend eternity together. It is said that the tender affection uniting Boniface and Lioba forms one of the most charming episodes in church history. Following Boniface's death in 754, Lioba frequently visited Fulda. By special dispensation, she would be allowed with two elder sisters to join in the choir. Upon the advice of Lullus, Lioba resigned her offices in her old age and retired to the convent at Schornsheim, where she redoubled her prayer and penance. Occasionally she would answer Empress Hildegard's plea to visit her, but return to her cell as quickly as she could. On her last visit, she embraced the queen, kissed her on her garment, forehead, and mouth, then said: "Farewell, precious part of my soul; may Christ, our Creator and Redeemer, grant that we may see each other without confusion in the day of judgement." After her death, Lioba was interred at Fulda, on the north side of the high altar, near the tomb of Saint Boniface.

On the same day: The Holy Prophet Baruch; The Holy Martyr Mark the Shepherd; The Holy Martyr Vlacheslav (Wenceslas), King of the Czechs

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