Apostle Ananias Anoints Apostle Paul (October 1st)
This Icon is has been called the Baptism of Paul, but it looks more like the Chrismation. Inscription is in Greek, with additional writing in Arabic. It is 14th century Syrian.
Life of the Saint
Apostle Ananias certainly was faced with great difficulty in understanding a command given to him by God. He was one of the 70 disciples sent out by Christ to spread His Gospel - a task he performed zealously. The early Church suffered severe persecution soon after its inception, and one the greatest persecutors of the church was a man named Saul. His very name struck fear in the hearts of Christians. It was no wonder, then, that Ananias was taken aback when he heard the voice of God speaking these puzzling words: "Arise and go to the street called Straight and inquire at the house of Judas for the one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold he is praying." (Acts 9:11) When Ananias showed some hesitation in approaching this feared persecutor of the Church, the Lord assured him that this dreaded man was His "chosen vessel" who would take the Gospel out to the Gentiles.
Obediently, Ananias arose and did as he was told. He baptized the man who would later be known as the Apostle Paul, the greatest of all Christian missionaries! It was Ananias, together with other Christians in Damascus, who saved the life of the newly-baptized Paul.
As his enemies watched the gates of the city day and night to slay him, Paul was put in a basket and lowered over the city wall, thus escaping with his life. Refusing to offer sacrifices to idols would later result in martyrdom for Apostle Ananias.
Acts 9:8-18: And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
Troparion (Tone 4)
Filled with grace through the Threefold Sun thou didst illumine Christ's chosen vessel. When thou hadst preached the faith thou wast strengthened in grace by thy contests, O Apostle Ananias. Grant the prayers of those who hymn thee.