Sunday, May 27, 2012

St. Modestos Bishop of Jerusalem

St. Modestos Bishop of Jerusalem - Commemorated on variably on December 16 or 18 (
Note: Thanks to information from Fr. Gregory, I have come to understand that there are two Saints Modestos, Bishops of Jerusalem that are honored by the Church. The first was born in Sebastea in 298AD, and the second reposed in the Lord in 634AD. The life of this second Saint Modestos is included below, along with the prayer to Christ for the health of animals, written through his voice (by St. Nikodemos).
Brief life of the Saint
Saint Modestus, Archbishop of Jerusalem, was born into a Christian family in Cappadocian Sebasteia (Asia Minor). From his youth he felt a strong attraction towards strict monastic life. St Modestus accepted monastic tonsure. Afterwards, he became head of the monastery of St Theodosius the Great in Palestine. At this time (the year 614), military forces of the Persian ruler Chosroes fell upon Syria and Palestine, killing ninety thousand Christians and destroying Christian churches. Patriarch Zacharias of Jerusalem and a multitude of Christians were taken into captivity, along with the Cross of the Lord. St Modestus was entrusted to govern the Jerusalem Church temporarily as locum tenens of the patriarchal cathedra.

With the help of Patriarch John the Merciful of Alexandria (November 12), St Modestus set about restoring devastated Christian shrines, among which was the Sepulchre of the Lord. He reverently buried the murdered monks from the monastery of St Sava the Sanctified.

After fourteen years, Patriarch Zacharias returned from captivity with the Cross of the Lord, and after his death St Modestus became Patriarch of Jerusalem. St Modestus died at age 97 in the year 634.

(Life of the Saint)
St. Modestos Patriarch of Jerusalem, a great Protector and Healer of Animals (source)
Protector and Healer of Animals (amateur translation)
Once, there was a poor widow who had five pairs of oxen, which were her only means of support, and which, unfortunately, at one point turned greatly sick. The woman was greatly worried, and mourned inconsolably. She took refuge in the Church, and entreated all of the Saints to help her in her time of need. Having not found any help, she called upon the Holy Unmercenaries Sts. Kosmas and Damian, to have mercy on her, the sinner, for because of her sins, her oxen were in danger of being lost. In her sleep, Sts. Kosmas and Damian appeared to her, and told her that to them was not granted the grace to heal animals, for this Grace was granted by God to the great Bishop of Jerusalem Modesos, and if she would go to him, her oxen would be healed. She awoke, and hastened straightaway, seeking St. Modesos, but did not find him, because he lived far from Jerusalem. She prayed with fervent faith for this Wonderworking physician to be revealed...

One night, the woman saw the Saint in a dream, who asked her why she was weeping so, and revealing to her that he was the Modestos that she was seeking, and that he had heard her prayer, and had come to heal her oxen! He advised her to cut off a portion of her iron tools, and to go to a place called "Lagenas", where there was a Church of the Archangel Michael. There, in front of the Church, there lived a good artist named Eustathios, and with her iron, he would make a cross that she should bring to her home. In the morning, when the priests would be serving liturgy, she should take the cross, dip it in some oil, and anoint her oxen straightaway in the name of Christ, and this supplication would heal them from their sickness.

The woman did as the Saint advised, and her oxen were healed, and again she was able to work without any problem, while all gave glory to God, Who gave such Wonderworking power to His servant Modestos. Since then, the art of the faithless and magicians could not affect the houses of faithful Christians, for they could not approach the wondrous power of that Cross. And even today, whoever celebrates the memory of Saint Modestos with faith, preparing a cross as mentioned above, his animals remain unharmed, through the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, from every diabolic energy and danger by men.

Note: The following prayer (similar to those of St. Mamas (also for animals) and St. Tryphon (for gardens) are said by the Priest following the Blessing of the Water service, specifically for those whose animals are sick or in any kind of danger. It is a beautiful prayer, and as I had mentioned previously, we can see the humility, faith and love of the Fathers, who would always take refuge in the Lord in every need or trial in their lives (and if livestock were one's means of sustenance, as was demonstrated above, then this truly becomes a great need indeed). May Christ heal all of His creation that suffer throughout the world, through the prayers of His Saints. Amen.
St. Modestos Patriarch of Jerusalem (source)
Prayer of Saint Modestos Bishop of Jerusalem, said in the case of every fatal sickness and danger  to oxen, horses, donkeys, mules, sheep, goats, bees, and any other animals. Written by St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain (amateur translation)
O Lord Jesus Christ my God, Who are merciful and All-good, Who in wisdom created every visible and invisible creature, Who pours out His compassions upon all that He has created, Who through Your all-good Providence foresees and troubles over for all Your creatures: bodiless, physical, rational, irrational, soul-bearing, soulless, from the first to the last. For nothing is not foreseen by You, neither is anything abandoned by You, the Creator and Foreseer of all. For You are He Who opens His hand, and fills all living things with goodness. You are He makes grass to grow for the cattle, and green herb for the service of men. You are He Who once, through the herd of Israel, preserved them from above from the fatal wound of the first-born of the Egyptians. You are He Who, through the compassion of Your incarnation, deposed he who had the might of death: that is, the devil, and by Your death, You put death to death.

You are He Who, through myself Your unworthy servant, puts to death the serpent, that Your spring of water might not be corrupted. Those that drink from it, both the living and the dead, through Your life-giving power, you resurrect. And if a demon draws near to it, and prepares to make itself apparent, seize it, that it might never dare to approach the place in which, I the sinner, call upon Your name. To You, therefore, I pray, O All-good Master and Creator of all, and I entreat You, the cause of all life, hearken to this my entreaty, and drive away every fatal sickness and danger from the oxen, horses, donkeys, mules, sheep, goats, bees, and any other animals in true need to the life of Your servants who call upon You, the giver of every good, and of my name. And grant, O Lord, to all those who celebrate my name, and with faith hasten to my relics, permanent peace, multiplication of animals, uncorrupted wheat, wine and oil, and above all, remission of sins, health of bodies, and eternal salvation of souls.

Yes, O Lord Jesus Christ, for the descendants from Your very loins, grant compassion on the suffering animals, whose herd is being afflicted by the sickle of death. And not having any word besides bleating, and bitter and random noises, in Your mercy, take away their passion and suffering. For if You even call rational beings to this sympathy: "A righteous man has compassion upon his animals", as is written,  how much more do You show compassion on these, Who are their Creator and Foreseer? For You, O compassionate, preserved the animals in the Ark, as Your goodness and compassions won out. That by the wellness and multiplication of the oxen, and the remaining four-legged animals, the earth might be worked, and fruit might be harvested, and Your servants who call upon my name might be preserved without any corruption, and partake of their very harvest. And that these, having all things that are necessary, might be increased in every good work, and glorify You, Who grants every good thing. And grant me me also, Your servant and most-fervent entreater, the honor of Your all-governing Kingdom, for to You belong all glory, honor and worship, with Your beginningless Father, and Your All-Holy and good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
St. Modestos Patriarch of Jerusalem (
Apolytikion in the Third Tone (amateur translations below)
Through the demonstration of your divine works, you gladdened everyone, and you enriched holy Sion with the radiance of the Apostles, and you righteously served the Savior as a priest, and lived a radiant life as a hierarch. O Father Modestos, entreat Christ God, that He grant to us the great mercy.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
You were shown to be a Hierarch among the righteous, O Father, and you served Christ as a priest on Sion as an angel, therefore, you were glorified, O Modestos, adornment of Patriarchs.

Hail, O radiant star of the Church, and divine protector of holy Sion, hail, O God-bearing hierarch Modestos, our most-fervent intercessor towards the Master.
St. Modestos the Hieromartyr, protector of animals (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!


Fr. Gregory said...

According to my Greek source (, there are actually two saints named Modestos, Modestos I of Jerusalem (4th c.), and Modestos II of Jerusalem (7th c.), who are celebrated Dec. 18 and Dec. 16, respectively. According to this source, the details of their lives seem to have become jumbled together. Do you know anything about this? Thanks! Wonderful blog!

Agioi_Anargyroi said...

Thank you for your comment, Father. I have made a note above to hope to clear up this confusion.

Carrie said...

Can you tell me where you found the icon with the animals including the dog and cat? I would like to purchase one for my home but cannot find a source. Perhaps there is only one original and no reproductions available for veneration in the home?

Agioi_Anargyroi said...

I found that icon of St. Modestos and the link mentioned.

A similar icon of St. Modestos depicted as a protector of animals can be found here:

Unknown said...

Agioi_Anargyroi, where did you find the icon with the label "St. Modestos Patriarch of Jerusalem, a great Protector and Healer of Animals" with all the animals? My daughter (whose birthday is on the saint's feast day) has named her goat herd for this saint. I would love to get her a copy of this icon with all the animals. I have already purchased the one that you give the link to in your post to Carrie. Thank you!

Agioi_Anargyroi said...

As I said, I only found a digital version online. I'm not aware that the one that you mentioned can be purchased anywhere. It may be high enough resolution to print a small picture of and frame. Otherwise, you can purchase the one I linked to above.

Take care, and may the Saint bless her animals.

Alberto Nicelli said...

Hello all, may you kindly address me to any source reporting some info about S. Modestos I of Jerusalem (4th c.), born in Sebastea, who's story, following what has been reported by Fr. Gregory in this blog, has been confused with that of S. Modestos II ?

Thank you very much in advance!

Alberto A. Modesto Nicelli


Nick MS said...

Thank you for such a helpful website! My wife (who is Orthodox) and I (a humble Anglican) are working on a book that includes some animal and nature-facing prayers (we would like to use this one, plus those of St Tryphon and St Mamas). We were wondering if we could use your translations; will see if we can or need to update any of them but they are really helpful. So, would we be able to use them, and how should we credit you if so? Your work has been a real inspiration to us, thank you again. From Nick and Anna.

Ευθύμιος Αναγνωστόπουλος said...

Fr. Gregory here is an answer about yor question (18/12/2012)... Its true there are 2 christian bishops of Jerusalem thats also a Saints for Orthodoxy. But the first Archbishop Modestos A' (3-4st BC) is the protector of the animals (we celebrate him at 18 December). So, the Archbishop Modestos B' lives about three centuries later (6-7st BC)