On this day in 1812, an earthquake measuring 8.2 on the Richter scale struck New Madrid, Missouri, causing the Mississippi River to flow backwards for a time. Fortunately it had normalified before Samuel Clemens was born, or we might know him today as Twain Mark.
Today Orthodoxen celebrate Parthenius of Lampsacus (fl. 325), bishop and wonderworker. Born in Melitopolis to a deacon (and we presume to a mother, although she’s not mentioned at all), Parthenius was a fisherman who gave his proceeds to the poor. When he turned 18, he received the ability to heal people miraculously (I had no idea there were age restrictions on this sort of thing). Eventually he was bishopified and sent to Lampsacus, a veritable hornet’s nest of pagans and demons and things that go bump in the night. He had his work cut out. But he got right to it, healing the sick, casting out demons, and converting pagans with a will. One day he met a man who had been possessed from childhood with an evil spirit. Parthenius ordered the spirit out, but it begged to be given some other person to enter into. Parthenius agreed, and it came out. “Okay where is he?” it asked. “Me,” the bishop said, opening his mouth to allow the spirit to enter. “How can I enter the House of God?” it shrieked, and fled to “deserted and impassible places.”
When it came time to build a church, Parthenius got permission and a construction budget from Constantine the Great to tear down a pagan temple and rebuild on its site. In the rubble of the temple he found a slab of marble he wanted to use for an altar, but when it was being moved, Satan pushed the cart over and it killed the driver. Parthenius healed the driver and blew a raspberry at Satan (I’m paraphrasing a little here), and the hornéd one fled. The good bishop healed so many people (always free of charge, of course) that he put the doctors in town out of business. Sadly they were not unionized, and our sources don’t say what happened to them. Parthenius died peacefully and was buried in a small chapel that he himself had built.
Today Catholici celebrate Luke the Younger (896 – 953). Luke was a giver. He often went hungry after giving his food to the poor, and more than once came home naked after giving away his clothes. He drove his parents to distraction by planting more of their seed on the poor neighbors’ fields than on their own. We are told his parents’ crops grew back double, so presumably this only bugged them the first year. When his father died, Luke told his family he wanted to join a monastery. When they said no, he ran away from home. I’ll bet you saw that coming.
He was caught and thrown into prison as a runaway slave, but he wasn’t there long. He convinced his captors of his identity, and he was allowed to return home, but he wasn’t there long. Two passing monks convinced his family to let him go to a monastery in Athens, but he wasn’t there long. Luke’s mother begged the abbot in a dream to send him home, but he wasn’t there long. His mother became convinced of his monastic calling, and allowed him to go.
So, when he turned 18, he built himself a hermitage near Corinth. There he worked many miracles, and sprouted disciples. When the Magyars attacked the area he fled with the local villagers to a desert island. He stayed on after they went back, but was eventually persuaded by his disciples to return to the mainland. A monastery grew up (go figure), Hosios Loukas, the largest surviving byzantine monastery in Greece and a UNESCO world heritage site. When he knew he was dying, he instructed his disciples to throw his body into a ravine for scavengers. “We don’t think so,” they said. He relented, and his tomb can still be visited at the famous monastery.
This Day in History for 7th February (History Orb)
1812 New Madrid earthquake (Wikipedia)
St Parthenius the Bishop of Lampsacus on the Hellespont (OCA) — Main source
Parthenius, bishop of Lampsacus on the Hellespont (St. John the Baptist ROC)
Luke the Younger (Orthodox Wiki) — Main source
Luke the Younger (St Patrick’s DC)
Hosios Loukas (Wikipedia)
Copyright © 2013 Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.