Traditions & NameDays

ST. MODESTOS Day - December 18

That feastday is more popular in the far southwest and southeast regions of Bulgaria. According to the folklore traditions, the women are supposed to give out votively baked round breads which will keep the cattle safe and the family healthy throughout the year.

That day the Orthodox Church celebrates the Day of St Modestos, Archbishop of Jerusalem, born into a Christian family in Cappadocian Sebasteia (Asia Minor). From his youth he had felt a strong attraction towards strict monastic life. St. Modestos accepted monastic tonsure. Afterwards, he became Head of the monastery of St. Theodosios 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. Modestos was entrusted to govern the Jerusalem Church temporarily as locum tenens of the patriarchal cathedral.
With the help of Patriarch John the Merciful of Alexandria (November 12), St. Modestos set about restoring devastated Christian shrines, among which the Sepulchre of the Lord. He reverently buried the murdered monks from the monastery of St. Sabbas the Sanctified.

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