Bessarion was born and educated in Egypt. He dedicated himself to the spiritual life at an early age and "did not stain his spiritual garment in which he was clothed at baptism." He visited St. Gerasimus by the Jordan and learned from St. Isidore of Pelusium. He subdued his body through extreme fasting and vigils but he concealed his life of mortification from men as much as possible. At one time, he stood for forty days at prayer, neither eating nor sleeping. He wore one garment both in summer and winter. He possessed the great gift of miracle-working. He did not have a permanent dwelling place but lived in the mountains and forests until a ripe old age. He healed the sick and worked many other miracles for the benefit of the people and to the glory of God. He died peacefully in the year 466 A.D.
Venerable Hilarion, the New
Hilarion was the abbot of the Dalmatus monastery in Constantinople. He was a disciple of Gregory of Decapolis and an imitator of the life of Hilarion the Great whose name he took. Hilarion was powerful in prayer, persevering and courageous in suffering. He suffered much for the sake of icons at the time of the evil iconoclastic emperors, Leo the Armenian and others. Later, the Emperor Leo was slain by his own soldiers in the same church and on the same spot where he first ridiculed holy icons and from which he removed the first icon. St. Hilarion was then released from prison but only for a short time. Again, he was tortured and detained in prison until the reign of the right-believing Empress Theodora. Hilarion was clairvoyant and a discerner. He saw the angels of God as they were taking the soul of St. Theodore the Studite to heaven. Pleasing God, he fell asleep and entered the Kingdom of God in the year 845 A.D. in his seventieth year.
Venerable Martyrs Archelais, Thecla and Susanna
As pure and virginal nuns, Archelais, Thecla and Susanna lived a life of asceticism in an unknown monastery near Rome. When the persecution of Christians began under the evil Emperor Diocletian, they fled to Campania and settled near the town of Nola. They could not conceal their holy lives from the people and the people began to come to them from the surrounding settlements seeking advice, instruction and assistance for various difficulties and infirmities. They were finally captured by the pagans and brought to trial. They openly and freely confessed their faith in Christ. When Leontius, the judge, asked St. Archelais about the Faith of Christ she replied: "By the power of Christ I trample on the power of the devil, I teach the people with understanding that they may know the One True God and by the Name of the Lord, my Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God, through me, His handmaid, is given restoration of health to all who are sick." All three virgins were flogged, had boiling pitch poured over them, were exhausted by hunger in prison and finally beheaded. When they were led to the scaffold, an angel appeared to them whom some of the executioners saw and were so frightened that they could not raise their swords against the holy virgins. However, the holy virgins encouraged the executioners to carry out their duty. And thus as lambs, they were slain in the year 293 A.D. and entered the Kingdom of Christ that they may rest and receive delight in gazing upon the face of God in eternity.