The August Menaion Icon

The Menaion Icon for August (Russia, 19th Century)

The Menaion Icon for August (Russia, 19th Century)

The word Menaion (Gr: Μηναίον; Slavonic: Минея) comes from the Greek word meaning “of the month”. It is used to describe a way of grouping together liturgical texts, prayers and stories based on the order of Saints’ days and other feast days in the Church calendar.

A Menaion Icon is similar in that it is a pictorial grouping together of Saints and feasts, usually in rows, according to their order in the Church calendar. Menaion icons started to appear in Byzantium around the time of emperor Basil II (963-1025).

The August Menaion Icon

The icon above is from Russia and dates to the 19th century. It shows in four rows the Saints and Feasts associated with the month of August (click on its image to see the full-sized picture). The Saints and Feasts shown are by no means comprehensive, but are chosen according to their importance to the parish who owned the icon; because of this different Menaion Icons will not be identical in their list of Saints.

The Saints and feasts depicted are inscribed on the icon in Slavonic, with Cyrillic numerals used to indicate the feast date, though the numerals appear very faded in the picture used.

Procession of the Holy Cross (Aug 1)First Row (left to right): Procession of the Life-Giving Cross; The Seven Holy Maccabee Martyrs (Aug 1); Protomartyr and Deacon Stephen; Fool-for-Christ Basil of Moscow (Aug 2); Venerable Isaac, Dalmatus, Faust, Cosmas, the Eunuch, and Anthony the Roman (all Aug 3); The Seven Holy Youths, “Sleepers of Ephesus” (Aug 4); Martyr Eusignius of Antioch (Aug 5); Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ (Aug 6).


Translation of the Image of Edessa (Aug 16)Second Row: The Venerable Martyr Dometius (Aug 7); Emilian the Confessor, Bishop of Cyzicus (Aug 8); Holy Apostle Matthias (Aug 9); Holy Martyr Lawrence, the Deacon (Aug 10); Holy Martyr Euplus (Aug 11); Holy Martyrs Photius and Anicetas (Aug 12); Maximus the Confessor (the translation of his relics is celebrated on Aug 13); The Holy Prophet Micah (Aug 14); The Dormition of the Most-Holy Theootkos (Aug 15); Translation of the Image “Not-Made-By-Hands” from Edessa to Constantinople (Aug 16)


Holy Prophet Samuel (Aug 20)Third Row: Holy Martyr Myron, the Presbyter (Aug 17); Holy Martyrs Florus and Laurus (Aug 18); Martyr Andrew, Stratelates (Aug 19); The Holy Prophet Samuel (Aug 20); Holy Apostle Thaddeus; Holy Female Martyr Bassa; Venerable Abraham of Smolensko (Aug 21); Holy Martyr Agathonicus of Nicomedia (Aug 22); Holy Martyr Lupus (Aug 23); The Priestly-Martyr Eutyches and St Peter, Metropolitan of All-Russia (translation of relics celebrated on Aug 24)


Placing of the Sash of the Most Holy Theotokos (Aug 31)Fourth Row: Holy Apostles Bartholomew and Titus (Aug 25); Holy Martyrs Adrian and Natalia (Aug 26); Venerable Pimen the Great (Aug 27); Venerable Moses the Black (Aug 28); The Beheading of St. John the Baptist (Aug 29); Either The Assembly of the Holy Serbian Enlighteners and Teachers (including King Stephen) or, more likely, Ss. Alexander, John and Paul, Patriarchs of Constantinople, with Ven. Alexander of Svir, surrounding Alexander Nevsky (translation of the latter’s relics celebrated on Aug 30); The Placing of the Sash of the Most Holy Theotokos (Aug 31)

In addition to the Saints above, the margins of the Menaion icon contains images of the Icons of the Theotokos celebrated during the month of August. Here is a full list of the feast days in August dedicated to the Mother of God.

Looking at an Orthodox calendar (see link below) along with an icon such as this, and remembering that the Saints are grouped roughly in date order, helps to identify who is who.

Cyrillic Numerals (used in Russian Icons to indicate dates and often the year an icon was painted)

List of Saints from the Prologue from Ochrid, including modern Menaion icons in English

More about the Menaion


This entry was posted in History, Icons of Christ, Icons of the Incarnation, The Saints, The Theotokos and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The August Menaion Icon

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