Venerable Eustratius the Wonderworker
Saint Eustratius was born in Bithynia of Asia Minor to pious and relatively well off parents. He was educated and at the age of twenty he left his home to be tonsured a monk. At this monastery, Eustratius served all the other monks with a humble heart and eagerness, never occupying his mind with the things of this world. He owned only one garment and a small bedding of sheep wool. His whole life, Saint Eustratius would never sleep lying down, but rather in either a standing or sitting position. Because of his asceticism, his virtue shone forth and he was elected Abbot of the monastery. During this time, Emperor Leo V the Armenian ruled and restored the heresy of Iconoclasm. For this reason, many Orthodox Christians fled to the wilderness to escape persecution. Eustratius did likewise and was thus befriended with Saint Joannicus the Great. Eustratius was compelled to travel to Constantinople to fight the heresy of Iconoclasm. For this reason, he was arrested however he was soon released shortly before the triumph of Orthodoxy and the restorations of the Holy Icons to the Churches. Saint Eustratius was known for his kind disposition and his charity to the poor, often giving away his own coat, his horse, or even the monastery’s ox to those in need. One moving story about the Saint was when he came across a man who was in despair because of his many sins and was preparing to hand himself. Saint Eustratius took the man’s hand, and placing it on his own neck said, “may the weight of your sins lie on me from now on, my child. On the day of Judgment, I myself will answer for them instead of you. All you have to do is throw away this rope and hope in God.” Such was the love of Saint Eustratius for his fellow man. For his virtuous life, he was granted the gift of performing many miracles and thus earning himself the title of wonderworker. At the age of 95, he peacefully reposed in the Lord.
Ήχος α΄. Της ερήμου πολίτης
Εν Ολύμπω Βιθυνίας τη ασκήσει διέλαμψας, και ειρηνικώς Θεορρήμον, προς Θεόν εξεδήμησας· τα βέλη τα πεπυρωμένα των Εικονομάχων εναπέσβεσας, και προστάτης ανεδείχθης, της ομωνύμου Νήσου, Θαυματουργέ Ευστράτιε. Χαίροις της εγκρατείας ο εσμός· χαίροις κρουνός ιάσεων· χαίροις ο αγιάσας το Λαδά τη εμφανίσει Σου.
Χαίροις των Οσίων ο κοινωνός, και Εικονομάχων, ο πολέμιος ο δεινός, χαίροις όστις πλάκας, εδέχθη γεγραμμένας, χειρί τη θεία όντως, ως Μωσής άλλοτε.