St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints. Nov. 18/Nov. 4
24th Week after Pentecost. Tone 6. No fast.
Martyrs Galacteon and his wife Episteme, at Emesa (253). St. Jonah, archbishop of Novgorod (1470). New Hiero-confessor Tikhon (Bellavin), patriarch of Moscow and all Russia. Apostles Patrobus, Hermas, Linus, Gaius, and Philologus, of the Seventy (1st c.). St. Gregory, patriarch of Alexandria (9th c.). St. Hilarion, recluse, of Troekurovo (1853). St. Dositheus, monk of Glinsk Hermitage (1874). Martyrs Domninus, Timothy, Theophilus, Theotimus, Dorotheus, Eupsychius, Carterius, and Pamphilius, of Palestine (307). St. Cybi, abbot, of Cornwall and Wales (550). St. Odrada, virgin, of Balen (Neth.) (8th c.). St. Gregory of Cassano, Calabria (1002).
Repose of Abbess Anna of Vrachevshnitsa Monastery (Serbia) (1975) and Hieromonk Raphael (Ogorodnikov) of Porkhov (Pskov) (1988).
2 Corinthians 11:1-6
Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly-and indeed you do bear with me. For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted-you may well put up with it! For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles. Even though I am untrained in speech, yet I am not in knowledge. But we have been thoroughly manifested among you in all things.
Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. And He said to them, "Take nothing for the journey, neither staffs nor bag nor bread nor money; and do not have two tunics apiece. Whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And whoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet as a testimony against them. So they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.
St. Theophan the Recluse on Today’s Scriptures:
Saturday. [II Cor. 11:1-6; Luke 9:1-6]
And he sent them (the holy apostles) to preach the Kingdom of God. Then only throughout Palestine, but later throughout the whole world. The preaching which was begun then has not ended to this day. Every day we hear what has been handed down by the holy Apostles from the the Lord, in the holy Gospels and the Apostolic writings. Time does not make a difference: we hear the holy Apostles and the Lord Himself as if they were before us, and the power which acted in them acts to this day in the Church of God. The Lord has not deprived any believers of anything: what the first ones had, the most recent ones have as well. Faith has always encompassed this, and still does. But false wisdom came and made a division between the present and what was originally. It seemed to this false wisdom that there was a great gulf between them; its head began to spin, its eyes grew dim, and for it, the Lord and holy Apostles were as if plunged into a seemingly impenetrable darkness. And it gets what it deserves: let it reap the fruits of what it has sown; only the downfall of the spirit is in it. It wallows in darkness and it does not see the light, and one can only acknowledge this consciousness as being sincere—but who is guilty? It has fogged itself over and continues to do so. To this day, it has not stated why one could not consider the words of New Testament Scripture to be the true word of the holy Apostles and of the Lord Himself. It only cries out tirelessly: “I do not see, I do not see.” We believe, we believe, that you do not see! But stop emitting your fog—the air around you will clear, and then perhaps God’s light will come in and you will see something. “But this is the same as me ceasing to be myself.” Too bad! Stop; others will have more peace. “No, I cannot. I am destined to exist until the end of the age, and very artful ones will arise. I began in the first creature’s mind, even before this visible world [came into being], and while the world still stands, I will rip like a whirlwind across the paths of truth to raise up a pillar of dust against it.” But, you see, you only fog yourself, while around you it is light. “No, I will dust at least someone’s eyes; and if not, let them know me as I am. I will not be silent, and you with your truth will never manage to bar my lips.” Who does not know this? Everyone knows that your first title is “pizma” (from the Greek)—obstinately insisting on your own way, regardless of all obviousness which unmasks your falseness. You are blasphemy against the Holy Spirit—so await the fulfilment of the sentence pronounced against you by the Lord.
Prologue of Ohird for Today:
1. The Venerable Ioannicius the Great
The great spiritual light Ioannicius was born in the village of Marycata in the province of Bithynia, of his father Myritricius and his mother Anastasia. As a youth, he was a shepherd. While tending his sheep, he would often retreat into solitude and remain in prayer the whole day, encircling his flock with the sign of the Cross so that the flock would not stray and scatter. Later, he was taken into the army and displayed marvelous courage, particularly in the wars with the Bulgarians. Following his military service, Ioannicius withdrew to Mount Olympus in Asia Minor, where he was tonsured a monk and dedicated himself completely to asceticism until his repose in great old age. He lived in asceticism for over fifty years in various places, and received from God a truly abundant gift of wonderworking. He healed all sicknesses and pains, drove out demons, and tamed wild beasts. He especially had power over snakes, could cross over water as on dry land, could be invisible to men when he so desired, and could foretell future events. He was distinguished by overwhelming humility and meekness. His outward appearance was that of a giant— massive and powerful. He took an active part in the destiny of God’s Church. During the iconoclast controversy, he was deceived at first, but later tore himself away from the iconoclast viewpoint and became an ardent champion of the veneration of icons. He had a great friendship with Patriarch Methodius of Constantinople. Ioannicius lived for ninety-four years and entered peacefully into rest in the Lord in the year 846. He was a great miracle-worker both during his life and after his death.
2. The Hieromartyrs Nicander, Bishop of Myra, and Hermas the Presbyter
Nicander and Hermas were both ordained by Apostle Titus. They were both distinguished by their great zeal for the Faith and their great labors in winning pagans for Christ the Lord. Because of this, they were accused before a certain judge, Libanus, who subjected them to bitter tortures. They were stoned and dragged over stones; they were imprisoned, suffered hunger and endured many other tortures that no mortal man could endure without God’s special help. The Lord appeared to them in various ways, and when they were thrown into a fiery furnace, the Lord sent His angel to cool the flames for them. Finally, they were buried alive by their cruel torturers. But in vain do men kill those whom the Lord gives life, and in vain do men dishonor those whom the Lord glorifies.
HYMN OF PRAISE
The Venerable Ioannicius the Great Ioannicius served the people, The people and the prince, with great zeal, And then withdrew from all and everything To serve the glory of the Heavenly King. Ioannicius was a great soldier For the holy Faith and for pure justice; With tears and labors for half a century He prayed and prayed to Christ. Glorious Ioannicius was a rich man, Rich and more than abundant with the power of heaven, Leading the struggle, and chanting Psalms, Against every dark and deceitful power. The wondrous saint, Ioannicius, Worked many wonderful miracles In the name of Christ and the power of the Cross, Mightily destroying the demons’ schemes. O Saint of God, Ioannicius, You found mercy in the Lord Jesus Christ: Beg mercy also for us sinners, And from the Holy Spirit, holy grace.
Mercy is the fruit of faith. Where there is true faith, there also is true mercy. St. Ioannicius was walking past a monastery one day. Among the many nuns, there were a mother and daughter. Evil spirits continually assaulted the young daughter with bodily temptations, and inflamed the passion of lust in her to such a degree that she wanted to leave the convent to marry. In vain did her mother counsel her to stay. Her daughter would not even hear of it. When the mother saw St. Ioannicius, she begged him to counsel her daughter to remain in the monastery and not expose her soul to perdition in the world. Ioannicius summoned the maiden and said: “Daughter, place your hand on my shoulder!” She did so. Then the compassionate saint prayed to God with a fervent heart that He deliver her from temptation, and that her bodily lust be transferred to him. Thus, it happened. The maiden was completely calmed and remained in the monastery, and the saint of God went on his way. But as he went, the passion of lust was inflamed in him, and his blood began to boil as though on fire. He desired to die rather than to give the passion its way and, seeing a large poisonous snake, ran to it so as to be bitten and to die. But the snake would not bite him. He provoked it to make it bite him, but as soon as he touched it the snake died. At that moment the flame of lust disappeared from Ioannicius.
Contemplate the Lord’s coming to Paul in a vision at night (Acts 18):
1. How the Lord came to Paul at Corinth, in a nighttime vision;
2. How He told him to fear not and to preach, for He said: I have much people in this city;
3. How Paul obeyed and remained there for a year and a half.
HOMILY on the heirs of the Kingdom through Christ the Lord In whom also we have obtained an inheritance (Ephesians 1: 11)
All is from the Lord Jesus Christ, all is through the Lord Jesus Christ, and all is of the Lord Jesus Christ. Without Him, we have no proper ties or normal relationships with God, with men or with other created beings. He is our head and our mind, and through Him we have obtained an inheritance. What do we inherit? The Kingdom of God. Why are Christians often called heirs in the New Testament? Inheritance is always associated with someone’s passing from this earth. One must die for his heir to inherit. Christians even become heirs while still in this life, for the old man in them dies and the new man comes in his place as heir. The one who outlives the other is the one who inherits. When the body dies, the soul outlives it; the soul therefore inherits all that a man has gathered while in the body, be it good works for salvation or evil works for condemnation. Through the Lord Jesus Christ the inheritance that the Lord Himself rejoiced in is opened to us: the Immortal Kingdom of God. We inherit that Kingdom when we leave the earthly kingdom— when we die to this earth, we will inherit heaven; when we break off the alliance with Satan, we will become fellow heirs in Christ. O my brethren, just think what a rich inheritance awaits us! But let us not sell it cheaply, as Esau sold his birthright! O Lord Jesus Christ, our God and our Savior, have mercy on us to the end, and save us. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.