St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints Oct. 25/Oct 12
21st Week after Pentecost. Tone 3. Fast Day. Wine and oil allowed.
Saints for the Day:
Martyrs Probus, Tarachus, and Andronicus, at Tarsus in Cilicia (304). St. Cosmas the Hymnographer, bishop of Maiuma (ca. 787). Martyr Domnina of Anazarbus (286). St. Martin the Merciful, bishop of Tours (397). Sts. Amphilochius (1452), Macarius (1480), and Tarasius (1440), abbots, and Theodosius, monk (15th c.), of Glushitsa Monastery (Vologda), disciples of St. Dionysius of Glushitsa. St. Arsenius, archimandrite, of Svyatogorsk Monastery (1859). St. Euphrosyne (Mezenova) the Faster, schema-abbess, of Siberia (1918). Glorification of St. Philaret, archbishop of Chernigov (2009). New Hieromartyrs Juvenal (Maslovsky), archbishop of Ryazan (1937) and Lawrence (Levchenko), hieromonk, of Optina Monastery (1937). New Hiero-confessor Nicholas (Mogilevsky), metropolitan of Alma-Ata (1955). “Jerusalem” (48) and “Kaluga” (1748) Icons of the Most Holy Theotokos. Hieromartyr Maximilian, bishop of Noricum (284). St. Mobhi of Glasnevin (Ireland) (544). Martyr Edwin, king of Northumbria (633). St. Wilfrid, bishop of York (709). Translation of the relics of St. Sabbas the Sanctified from Rome to Jerusalem (1965). Virgin-martyr Anastasia of Rome (ca. 250). St. Theodotus, bishop of Ephesus. St. Jason, bishop of Damascus. St. Symeon the New Theologian [transferred from Great Lent, March 12] (1022). St. Theosebius the God-bearer, of Arsinoe on Cyprus.
Scriptures for the Day:
And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight- if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side of the lake." And they launched out. But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Master, Master, we are perishing!" Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. But He said to them, "Where is your faith?" And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, "Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!"
St. Theophan on Today’s Scriptures:
Wednesday. [Col. 1:18-23; Luke 8:22-25] When they got in the ship to sail to the other side of the lake, did the apostles think that they would meet with a tempest and expose their lives to danger? Meanwhile, a tempest suddenly arose and they did not expect to remain alive. Such is the path of our life! You do not know how or from where misfortune will sweep in, capable of destroying us. Air, water, fire, beasts, man, bird, house, in a word—everything around us could suddenly be transformed into a weapon for our death. From this comes a law: live in such a way that every minute you are ready to meet with death and fearlessly enter into its realm. This minute you are alive, but who knows whether you will be alive the next? Keep yourself according to this thought. Do everything you have to, according to the routines of your life, but in no way forget that you could immediately move to a country from which there is no return. Forgetting this will not postpone the determined hour, and intentional expulsion of this decisive upheaval from your thoughts will not lessen the eternal meaning of what will happen after it. Commit your life and all into the hands of God; spend hour after hour with the thought that each hour is the last. From this the number of empty pleasures will decrease; while at death this deprivation will be immeasurably recompensed with a joy to which there is nothing equal in the joys of life.
From the Prologue of Ohrid:
1. The Holy Martyrs Tarachus, Probus and Andronicus
Tarachus was born in Syrian Claudiopolis, Probus was from Perga of Pamphylia, and Andronicus was the son of an eminent citizen of Ephesus. All three were martyred together by the Proconsul Numerian Maximus, in Emperor Diocletian’s time. Tarachus was sixty-five years old when he was tortured. The proconsul asked him for his name, and he answered: “I am a Christian.” The proconsul asked thrice, and received the same answer each time. These martyrs were beaten with rods, then were cast into prison bloodied and wounded. After this, they were brought out again for torture. When the proconsul advised Probus to deny Christ, promising him imperial honors and his own friendship, holy Probus replied: “Neither the emperor’s honors do I desire, nor your friendship do I wish.” When Andronicus was threatened with even greater bodily tortures, the young martyr of Christ replied: “My body is before you, do with it what you will.” After prolonged tortures in various locales, the three holy martyrs were thrown into an arena with wild beasts. Other prisoners in the same arena were torn apart by the beasts, but they would not harm the saints; a bear and a ferocious lioness fawned around them. Seeing this, many believed in Christ the Lord and cried out against the proconsul. Crazed with anger, and more furious than the beasts, the proconsul ordered his soldiers to enter the arena and chop the soldiers of Christ into pieces with their swords. Their bodies were mingled with the dead bodies of other prisoners. Three Christians, Macarius, Felix and Berius, who were present at the slaying of the holy martyrs, came that night to remove their bodies. But as the bodies were heaped in confusion, and the night was very dark, they prayed to God to help them find the saints; and suddenly three candles were manifested over the bodies of the martyrs. Thus, they were able to remove the saints’ bodies and honorably bury them. St. Martyrs Tarachus Probus and Andronicus (Menologion of Basil II, 11th c.)
2. Saint Martin of Tours
Martin was born of pagan parents in the Pannonian town of Sabaria in the year 316. His father was a Roman officer, and the young Martin was given over to military service against his will. By then, however, he was already a catechumen in the Christian Church. From early childhood he had loved the Church with all his heart. One winter, while traveling with his companions to the town of Amiens, he saw a beggar before the town gates, almost naked and shivering from the cold. Martin felt sorry for him, and fell behind his companions. He then removed his military cloak and cut it in two with his sword. He gave one half to the beggar and wrapped the other around himself, and left. That night, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him in a dream, wrapped in the other half of his cloak, and said to His angels: “Martin is only a catechumen, yet behold: he has clothed Me with his garment!” Leaving the army, Martin was immediately baptized, and then baptized his mother. He was then tonsured a monk in the diocese of St. Hilary of Poitiers and led a life of true asceticism. Martin was exceptionally humble, for which God endowed him with an abundant gift of working miracles, such that he raised the dead and drove out evil spirits. Martin was appointed Bishop of Tours against his will. After abundant labor in the vineyard of the Lord, and after a difficult struggle with pagans and Arian heretics, St. Martin gave his holy soul into the hands of his Lord in the year 397. St. Martin of Tours (by S. Skliris)
3. The Venerable Cosmas of Maiuma
He was born in Jerusalem. He was a friend of St. John Damascene, whose parents took him in as an orphan and raised him. As a monk, he assisted John in compiling the Octoechos, and he himself composed many canons to the saints. His canons on Lazarus Saturday, Palm Sunday and Passion Week are particularly distinguished by their beauty and profundity. He was Bishop of Maiuma, near Palestinian Gaza. He outlived St. John Damascene, and died in deep old age.
HYMN OF PRAISE
Saint Martin, Bishop of Tours St. Martin, a child of Pannonia, And the great illuminator of Gaul, Despised the earthly emperor’s honors, And became a servant of the heavenly King. The will of a powerful giant Was in Martin’s merciful heart. Martin sprinkled himself with ashes, And on the ashes this humble one slept, Out of love for his God— Crucified for sinful men. And Martin had crucified himself to the world Solely to reach the goal! Martin led the battle against demons, Yielding to none of their temptations, And led the battle against impudent men, Against dark, dishonorable heresies. Martin was a knight of Orthodoxy, And a victor, wondrous and glorious. With the battle won, the knight rests With the angels close to Christ the King: And yet even now he lifts up prayers, And comes to the aid of those in peril.
By what virtue have the saints been most exalted and glorified in the eyes of heaven and men? Primarily by their humility and service. Even before his baptism, while he was still an officer, St. Martin had a servant whom he considered more a brother than a servant. He often served this servant unashamedly; in fact, he even rejoiced in it. Again, when St. Hilary wanted to ordain him a priest, he refused this honor with tears, and begged the bishop to let him simply be a monk in some remote place. Once, St. Martin was traveling from France to Pannonia to visit his parents. While he was crossing over the Alps, murderous robbers captured him. When one of the robbers raised his sword to behead him, Martin showed no fear, and remained motionless; he did not beg for mercy but was completely at peace, as if nothing were happening. The robber, amazed at such behavior, lay aside his sword and asked Martin who he was. Martin replied that he was a Christian, and hence, he was not afraid— for he knew that God, according to His great mercy, is always close to men, especially in times of danger. The thieves were astonished at the rare virtue of this man of God, and he who had drawn his sword against Martin believed in Christ, was baptized, and later became a monk. When the episcopal throne in Tours became vacant, the people wanted Martin to be bishop, but Martin did not even want to hear of it. However, certain citizens of Tours craftily lured him from the monastery and carried him off. They came to the gate of Martin’s monastery and told Martin that a sick man was out there with them, and they begged him for a blessing. When Martin came out they seized him, took him to Tours, and had him consecrated bishop. In old age, he foresaw his approaching death. He told his brethren and they began to weep copiously, begging him not to leave them. The saint, seeking to comfort them, prayed to God in their presence and said: “Lord, if I am still needed by Thy people, I do not reject the labor. Let it be according to Thy holy will.”
Contemplate the wondrous work of the Apostles Peter and John (Acts 3):
1. How a beggar, lame from birth, asked them for alms;
2. How Peter told him they had no silver or gold;
3. How the apostle took him by the hand and said, In the name of Jesus Christ, rise up and walk! and the sick man was made whole.
HOMILY on weeping in the evening and joy in the morning
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30: 5) God rebukes, and God makes glad. Just one repentant thought eases the wrath of God; for God is not angry at men as an enemy is angry, but His anger toward men is as that of a father toward his children. His anger is momentary, and His mercy is infinite. If He rebukes you in the evening, He causes you to rejoice in the morning; men know Him best in His rebuking and in His mercy. O my brethren, if men constantly knew and recognized God as the Doer of good, they would never know Him as Rebuker and Judge. Behold, God rejoices more when we recognize Him by His mercy than by His anger. However, there are very ungrateful and thoughtless people who never remember God when He grants mercy, but remember Him only when He chastises and rebukes them through sickness, death in the family, failure and shame before men, fire, the sword, earthquake or flood, or numerous other punitive rods and sticks with which He chastens the unawakened, reminds the ungrateful, brings the errant to their senses, and reminds everyone that He is the Creator and Lord, the Giver of Gifts and the Judge. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. These words also mean that the night is for weeping and prayer, for repentance and divine contemplation. The night especially is for repentance, and there is no true repentance without tears. At night a man thinks without hindrance about his deeds, his words, and his thoughts, and repents for all that he has done contrary to God’s law. If a man weeps in repentance at night, then he will rejoice during the day. He will rejoice as a newborn, as one bathed, as one alleviated from the burden of sin. But, if he spends the night in sin and senseless revelry, a sorrowful and tearful day will dawn for him. O Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior and Teacher, rebuke us, but forgive us; chastise us, but save us. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.