August 1/14 Procession of the Precious Wood of the Life-Giving Cross of the Lord. Holy Seven Maccabees: Martyrs Abimus, Antonius, Gurias, Eleazar, Eusebonus, Alimus, Marcellus with their mother Solomonia and their teacher Eleazar (166 BC)
This is the first of the three feasts of the Saviour or “Spasy” in August and is popularly called the “Honey Saviour/Spas” in Ukraine because during this time beekeepers harvest honey and hold honey markets – such as the famous one at the Kyiv Caves Lavra to this day. It marks the exact day on which St Volodymyr the Great officially baptized his people, receiving Orthodox Christianity in 988, even though today that event is commemorated by Ukraine on St Volodymyr’s day. On this day water is therefore blessed. The Cross is venerated marking the victory of the armies of Rus’ over the Volga Bulgars. The feast is also called that of “the Merciful Saviour and of the Most Pure Theotokos.”
Finally, the Holy Maccabean children are honoured. Their veneration has always been very popular in Ukraine and poppyseed or “mak,” with the connecting reference to the word “Mak-ovey in Ukrainian is blessed on this day and then kept for the kutya for Christmas and Theophany Eves.
The Ukrainian poet/bard Taras Shevchenko once wrote with respect to this very Ukrainian tradition “And on the feast of Makoviy, they didn’t even let us bless the herbs/poppyseed, those Liakhy (Poles) . . .”
St David, Prince of Chernihiv.
August 6/19 The Holy Transfiguration of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Venerable Schema-Nun St Olimpiada (Stryhaliv) of Kyiv (1828). St Theoctistus, Bishop of Chernihiv of the Kyiv Caves (1123). St Daniel Kushnir Mlievsky-Cherkasky, Martyr (1766).
This is the second feast of the Saviour or the “Fruit/Apple Spas” as fruits are brought to church to be blessed on this day.
August 7/20 St Pimen the Much-suffering of the Kyiv Caves (1110). St Pimen the Faster of the Kyiv Caves (1141). St Mercurius of the Kyiv Caves, Bishop of Smolensk (1239). Holy New Hieromartyr St Alexander Khotovitsky of New York City (1937). Holy New Hieromartyr St Serhij Bondarenko of Kyiv/Chornobyl (1937). Trihirska icon of the Mother of God at Zhitomir.
August 8/21 St Gregory the iconographer of the Kyiv Caves (12th c.). St Gregory the Wonderworker of the Kyiv Caves (14th c.). Sts Savvatij and Zossima of the Solovetsky Islands. The patrons of Ukrainian beekeepers, Savvatij and Zossima more than likely were tonsured at the Kyiv Caves Lavra before going to Solovki where they introduced beekeeping. Their icons are often placed in outdoor shrines among bee-hives together with those of St John the Baptist and St Alexius the Man of God.
August 9/22 St Philaret (Humilivsky) archbishop of Chernihiv (1866).
August 10/23 Holy Archdeacon St Laurence (258).
Ordered by the pagan Romans to surrender the riches of the Church, St Laurence brought the poor and sick saying, “These are the riches of the Church.” His cult has always been popular in Ukraine, especially among winemakers.
August 11/24 Venerable Martyrs Sts Basil and Theodore of the Kyiv Caves (1098). Venerable Martyr St Rafaela (Tertatska) Ihumenya (1926). St Theodore (in monasticism “Theodosius”) Ostrozhky of the Kyiv Caves (1483). Commemoration of Sampson (Syvers), Spiritual Director at Poltava's Monastery of the Exaltation of the Precious Cross (1979).
August 13/26 St Tikhon (Sokolovsky) Bishop of Voronezh, Wonderworker of Zadonsk (1783). St Tikhon of Zadonsk is most popular in the West today. He was not only a great spiritual writer and counselor, but a man of deep evangelical piety and holiness. He prayed the Jesus Prayer incessantly, read the Bible constantly and approached Holy Communion frequently. In his cell, he set up a life-size series of iconic representations of Christ carrying the Cross to Calvary, something very similar to a “Way of the Cross.”
Feast of the icon of the Mother of God of the Passion. This icon is perhaps the most popular icon of the Mother of God of all time and in both East and West. The tradition behind it is that when the Archangels St Michael and St Gabriel one day appeared to the Child Jesus holding the instruments of the Lord’s future Passion, He became frightened and ran to His Mother – jumping up onto her arms so quickly that one of his sandals became loosened. As the Child Jesus clutches His Mother’s outstretched hand (by which she indicates to us the Divine Saviour of the world), her eyes continue to “ponder all these things in her heart.”
Feast of the icons of the “Seven Arrows” and that of the “Softening of Evil Hearts.” Both of these icons represent the Mother of God with seven arrows piercing her soul/heart in fulfillment of St Simeon’s prophecy at the time of the Meeting of the Lord that “an arrow shall pierce your heart so that the thoughts of many may be laid bare.”
August 14/27 Translation of the relics in 1091 of St Theodosius of the Kyiv Caves (1074). Translation of the relics in 1798 of St Arcadius of Novotorzhok (1077). New Hieromartyr St Basil (Bohoyavlensky), archbishop of Chernihiv and with him the Monk-martyr St Matthew and the Martyr St Alexius (1918).
Commemoration of the disciples of St Tikhon of Zadonsk: Monks Theophanes, Aaron, Nicander, Cosmas and Metrophanes (18th-19th c.). Hieromartyr St Basil (Bohoyavlensky), Archbishop of Chernihiv (1918).
August 15/28 Dormition of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary.
This feast has been called the “patronal feast day of Ukraine.” In fact, the three great monasteries/lavras of Ukraine are dedicated to the Holy Dormition: the Pochaiv Lavra in the west, the Kyiv Caves Lavra and the Svyatohirska (“Holy Mountain”) Lavra in the east.
As during Holy Week, so too on this day a special Epitaphion/winding sheet in honour of the Most Holy Mother of God is brought out for public veneration. In accordance with what is a unique Ukrainian church tradition, the miraculous icon of the Dormition in the Kyiv Caves Lavra hangs above the main iconostasis and is lowered on major festal days. The miraculous icon of the Pochaiv Mother of God likewise hangs over the Royal Doors of the iconostasis and is lowered for public veneration.
Krekhiv Icon of the Theotokos. Zhydachiv Icon of the Theotokos.
Most Merciful Zahayetska icon of the Mother of God.
August 16/29 Translation of the Image Not-Made-by-Hands of our Lord Jesus Christ from Edessa to Constantinople (944).
This third Feast of the Saviour in August is in honour of the Holy Face of our Lord imprinted on a cloth. The tradition behind it is that King Abgar of Edessa, who lived in the time of our Lord’s sojourn on earth, was becoming progressively blind when he heard about the great miracle-worker of Israel.
He wrote a letter to our Lord inviting Him to come to live with him in Edessa. Our Lord wrote back to Abgar thanking him but declining his offer. Our Lord told the king that He would send him one of his disciples to cure him of his malady.
After our Lord’s Ascension into Heaven, St Thaddeus went to Edessa with the cloth on which was the Image of our Lord’s Face (by tradition made when Christ washed His Face and then wiped it with that cloth, miraculously transferring His Image onto it). When the cloth touched King (Saint) Abgar’s eyes, he received his full sight back and enshrined the cloth above the main gate of his city.
August 17/30 St Alypius the Iconographer of the Kyiv Caves (1114). Svinska Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos of the Kyiv Caves.
St Alypius is known for the famous miracle involving an Angel who came to help him finish an icon he had begun. A patron saint of iconographers, St Alypius’ work represents the best of Byzantine iconographic style where success is measured not in terms of artistic quality so much as the ability of the icon to reflect the spirituality and humility of the iconographer so as to inspire others to prayer and meditation.
August 18/31 Holy Martyrs Sts Florus and Laurus of Illyria (2nd c.) These are the patrons of farm animals and horses in particular. Farm animals could not be made to work on this day.
New Hieromartyrs Archimandrite St Augustine and Archpriest St Nicholas of Nizhni-Novhorod and 15 other New Martyrs (1918).
August 19/September 1 Miraculous icon of the Most Holy Mother of God of the Don.
August 21/September 3 St Abramius, Lover of Labour, of the Kyiv Caves. St Abramius, archimandrite, wonderworker of Smolensk (1220) and his disciple St Ephraim (1238). Commemoration of Hieromonk John (Kotlyarevsky) at Poltava (1951).
August 23/September 5 Hieromartyr St Paul of Odessa. Podilska icon of the Mother of God at Zhitomyr. Miraculous Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos of Podilia
August 24/6 Translation of the relics in 1479 of St Peter (Akerovych) Metropolitan of Kyiv (1326). New Hieromartyr St Maxim Sandovich, Priest, of Lemkivschyna (1914 – the patron of the Lemko people. Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos of St Peter (Petrivska – written by St Peter, Metropolitan of Kyiv in 1306).
August 27/September 9 Hieromartyr St Kuksha and St Pimen the Faster of the Kyiv Caves (1114). New Hieromartyrs St Michael with 28 others and St Stephen with 18 others of Nizhni-Novhorod (1918).
August 28/September 10 Uncovering of the Relics in 1659 of St Job, Ihumen and Wonderworker of Pochaiv (1651). St Amphilokhy of the Kyiv Caves, Bishop of Volodymyr in Volyn (1122). St Theodore (in monasticism Theodosius) of the Kyiv Caves, Ostrozhky of Volyn (1483). Synaxis of the Saints of the Kyiv Caves in the Far Caves of St Theodosius.
August 29/September 11 Beheading of the Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John.
August 30/September 12 Translation of the relics of St Alexander (in schema “Alexius”) Nevsky of Novhorod (1263).
August 31/September 13 Placing of the Cincture/sash of the Most Holy Theotokos (408). St John II, Metropolitan of Kyiv (1089).
Commemoration of Schema-Nun Havriila of the Holy Trinity Monastery in Kyiv (1992).