On January 16, Christians honor the memory of the Old Testament prophet Malachi, who around 400 BC. prophesied about the Baptist and Forerunner John. In addition, on this day, believers honor the martyr Gordius of Cappadocia, who lived in the late III – early IV centuries and suffered during the reign of Licinius.
The people called the holiday Gordeev Day, Gordiy or Malachy, and had a number of strict prohibitions. It was also believed that on this date, an evil spirits could attack and kill livestock, so the villagers performed special rituals to protect them from demons and witches, who could greatly spoil people through animals.
As church legends say, the small biblical prophet Malachi was an example of purity of life, kindness of soul and was known as a zealous champion of faith. For this, the Jewish people gave him the name Malachi – the Angel of the Lord, the messenger of God. The prophet denounced people for lack of zeal in sacrifices, and priests for deviating from the faith and various vices.
Martyr Gordius lived on the territory of modern Turkey. He was born into a Christian family in the city of Caesarea in Cappadocia. The young man chose a military career and, thanks to courage and courage, soon became a centurion in the Roman army. When the persecution of Christians began, Gordius left the service, abandoned his wealth and went into the wilderness, devoting himself to the Lord. Around 320, he openly spoke before the prefect of the city in defense of Christians, for which he was seized and, after terrible torture, was executed – the martyr’s head was beheaded in the circus.
According to old folk beliefs, on Gordeev’s day, January 16, hungry witches and evil spirits who wander around the world could attack cows in villages and milk them to death. To protect the barn from evil, people fed cattle with special oatmeal with milk, and tied a tallow candle above the gate – as a talisman. Some even turned to other representatives of the otherworldly force – to brownies – for help, also left them a piece of cake with milk and asked to look after the cattle.
An important ban on Gordia was bragging. Neither women nor men could praise their children, health, achievements, prosperity – they said that for such « bragging » the Lord could take away the object of pride.
It was believed that on this day you can be cured of various diseases and ward off the evil eye, for this you need to pray to the prophet Malachi, who was considered a reliable protector from evil spirits and capable of driving out demons from people.
Housewives on January 16 prepared dishes from cottage cheese – they believed that such food-amulets strengthened health in winter and attracted good luck to the house.