About an Orthodox youth who broke the law…

And though the news was rather sad,  we’ll I just had to pray…

I receive daily updates from a local news blog, trying to keep a finger on the pulse of the community. Sometimes I find articles that are useful to our parish community, other times I find information about local disturbances, arrests, and so on.

It is with great sorrow and grief of mind that I sometimes find the name of an acquaintance listed. If pondered without care this can open the door to temptations and damage us spiritually. On the otherhand, if we approach this soberly, we can benefit by praying for the individual and their family, knowing this situation  can be a great temptation to them and a source of shame. It is wise for us to refrain from judgement for we do not know what manner of difficulties our children may see.

This leads us to a very important point regarding our children – what are we doing now to prepare our tender youth to grow closer to Christ and to repel the attacks the evil one. As Orthodox parents, we have a great responsibility before our Lord to raise our children as members of the body of Christ. We understand from psychology that a child’s personality and manner is well formed by the time of adolescence, meaning that we must start to work with our children at a young age. Should we fail, the consequences are disastrous.

One of the greatest questions we must ask our children is if they love our Lord. This should immediately be followed by the question of how we love our Lord. With young children, love is so innocent and sweet as the children have no other reference aside from what they experience in the relationship with their parents. If we want to teach someone to love, we must show them how. We begin by showing love to our children by our actions, tone of voice, and the way we related to others. From this, other lessons become easier such as teaching a child to love their siblings and learning to share. This can indeed pose a challenge as some children seem to learn the word NO quite early and are not afraid to use it. With patience and persistence, the child will grow in their understanding.

The rearing of children might also  be viewed as a martyrdom as parents sacrifice so much for their children, very often putting their own needs and desires aside in favor of the needs of the children. It is with this in mind that brings us to great love and reverence for Saints Kyrikos and his mother Julitta.

Sts. Cyricus (Kyrikos, Quiricus) and Julita (Julitta, Ioulitta) the Martyrs of Tarsus – Commemorated on July 15

“The Holy Martyrs Cyricus and Julitta lived in the city of Iconium in the province of Lykaoneia in Asia Minor. St Julitta was descended from an illustrious family and was a Christian. Widowed early on, she raised her three-year old-son Cyricus (Quiricus). During the emperor Diocletian’s persecution of Christians, St Julitta departed the city with her son and two trustworthy servants, leaving behind her home, property, and servants.


con of Sts. Cyricus and Julita the Martyrs of Tarsus (Icon courtesy of www.eikonografos.com )

Concealing her noble rank, she hid out first at Seleucia, and then at Tarsus. There around the year 305 she was recognized, arrested and brought to trial before the governor, Alexander. Strengthened by the Lord, she fearlessly answered the judge’s questions, and firmly confessed her faith in Christ.
The governor gave orders to beat the saint with rods. During her torments St Julitta kept repeating, “I am a Christian, and will not offer sacrifice to demons.”

Fresco depicting the martyrdom of Sts. Cyricus and Julitta (http://pravicon.com/images/sv/s1098/s1098004.jpg)

The little boy Cyricus cried, seeing his mother being tortured, and wanted to go to her. The governor Alexander tried to sit him on his lap, but the boy broke free and shouted, “Let me go to my mother, I am a Christian.” The governor threw the boy down from the high tribunal and kicked him down the stone steps. The boy struck his head on the sharp edges and died.

Fresco showing the martyrdom of Sts. Cyricus and Julita, from Decani Monastery (taken from:http://www.srpskoblago.org/Archives/Decani/exhibits/Menologion/July/CX4K3235_l.html)
St Julitta, seeing her lacerated son, gave thanks to God that He had permitted her child to be perfected before her, and to receive the unfading crown of martyrdom. After many cruel tortures St Julitta was beheaded with a sword.

The relics of Sts Cyricus and Julitta were uncovered during the reign of St Constantine the Great (May 21). A monastery was built near Constantinople in honor of these holy martyrs, and a church was built not far from Jerusalem.
The faithful pray to Sts Cyricus and Julitta for help with family temptations and for the health of children

Icon of Sts. Cyricus and Julita(http://pravicon.com/images/sv/s1098/s1098001.jpg)

As evident from the wide range of icons from Greek, Russian and other traditions, Sts. Cyricus and Julitta are honored by many throughout the world, and their relics exist in numerous churches for the healing and support of the faithful. One example: in Siderokastro, Greece, there is a convent dedicated to Sts. Cyricus and Julitta, founded in 1968, an it currently has 55 nuns occupying it(http://www.ipaserres.gr/files/nomos/mones.htm).
Through the prayers of our holy fathers and Sts. Cyricus and Julitta, o Lord Jesus Christ our God,  have mercy on us and save us.

Another icon of Sts. Cyricus and Julita (taken from:http://www.christopherklitou.com/icon_15_july_julitta_cerycus.htm)

Apolytikion of Sts. Cyricus and Julitta in the Fourth Tone
Blessed Julitta, Christ God’s rational ewe-lamb, with holy Cyricus, her three-year-old offspring, stood at the judgment seat and with authority and great boldness they proclaimed the true Faith of the Christians. In no wise were they afraid of the threats of the tyrants; and now in Heaven, wearing precious crowns, they both rejoice as they stand before Christ our God.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
As the Martyr of Christ God, the chaste Julitta, in her arms bare Cyricus, she cried out in the stadium with manful courage and boundless joy: Thou art the strength of the Martyrs, O Christ my God.