(Picture of St. Issac's Cathedral).
"Tradition says that he ran up to the emperor's horse and grabbed it by the reins."
One thing I did not know years ago was how riveting Saint Stories can be.
This one is full of adventure, courage and bravery.
"Valens had aided the Arians of Constantinople in their persecutions of the Orthodox, which included expelling Orthodox bishops and closing certain churches while giving others to the Arians. At the time of Isaac's visit, Valens and his army were on their way to fight an army of Goths which had marched down from the Danube toward Thrace. Receiving an audience with the emperor, Isaac said to him, "O Emperor, open the churches of the Orthodox, and God will bless your path." Ignoring Isaac's warning, Valens continued his journey to battle." (from here).
"When the emperor Valens was leaving the capital with his soldiers, St Isaac cried out, "Emperor, unlock the churches of the Orthodox, and then the Lord will aid you!" But the emperor, disdaining the words of the monk, confidently continued on his way. The saint repeated his request and prophecy three times. The angry emperor ordered St Isaac to be thrown into a deep ravine, filled with thorns and mud, from which it was impossible to escape.
St Isaac remained alive by God's help, and he emerged, overtook the emperor and said, "You wanted to destroy me, but three angels pulled me from the mire. Hear me, open up the churches for the Orthodox and you shall defeat the enemy. If, however, you do not heed me, then you shall not return. You will be captured and burned alive." The emperor was astonished at the saint's boldness and ordered his attendants Saturninus and Victor to take the monk and hold him in prison until his return.
St Isaac's prophecy was soon fulfilled. The Goths defeated and pursued the Greek army. The emperor and his Arian generals took refuge in a barn filled with straw, and the attackers set it afire. [When his surviving soldiers returned from the war, wishing to tempt the Saint, they came to [St. Isaac] and said, "Prepare to make thy defense before the Emperor, who is coming to fulfil what he spoke against thee." But the Saint answered, "It has already been seven days that I smelled the stink of his bones, which were burned in the fire." Thus the righteous one was released from prison. (http://goarch.org/chapel/saints_view?contentid=151)] After receiving news of the emperor's death, they released St Isaac and honored him as a prophet." (read more here; and here).
"An aristocrat, Saturninus by name, built a monastery for the Elder Issac where he lived a life of asceticism until his death, working many miracles. The monastery overflowed with monks and became a great monastery. Before his death, Isaac appointed Dalmatus, his disciple, as abbot after whom this monastery was later called. The god-pleasing Elder Isaac entered into eternity in the year 383 A.D., to find pleasure in gazing at the face of God." (from here).
We have so many heroic Saints to learn of,
to tell their stories to our children,
to be there as heroes for us,
to protect and pray for us.
Another one for this day (August 3/16) is:
St. Cosmas the Eunuch:
Cosmas was a monk from the Pharan Lavra. He was well versed in Holy Scripture. So much did he value the words of St. Athanasius the Great that he said to his disciples: "Whenever you hear any word from the books of St. Athanasius and, if you have no paper, write it down on your handkerchief." In his old age, Cosmas came to Antioch to Patriarch Gregory (+584 A.D.) and there ended his life. The patriarch ordered that the body of Cosmas be buried in the monastery of the partiarchate. A man frequently came to the grave of Cosmas, honoring the saint and prayed to God there. Asked why he did this, he revealed that he lay paralyzed for twelve years and that St. Cosmas had healed him.