St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today's Scriptures and Saints Oct. 4/Sept 21
18th Week after Pentecost. Tone 8.
Wine and oil allowed.
Apodosis of the Exaltation of the Cross.
Apostle Quadratus of the Seventy (ca. 117).
Uncovering of the relics of St. Demetrius, metropolitan of Rostov (1752).
Hieromartyr Hypatius, bishop of Ephesus, and his priest Andrew (730). St. Daniel, founder of Shuzhgorsk Monastery (Belozersk) (16th c). St. Joseph, founder of Zaonikiev Monastery (Vologda) (1612). Sts. Isaacius and Meletius, bishops of Cyprus. Martyrs Priscus of Phrygia, Eusebius, Nestabus, Zeno, and Nestor the Confessor, of Gaza (4th c.) Synaxis of the Saints of Uglich.
New Hieromartyrs Theophan (Tuliakov), metropolitan of Lipetsk and Belorussia, and Maurice (Poletaev), archimandrite, of Yuriev-Polsky (Vladimir) (1937).
Martyr Eusebius of Phoenicia (2nd c.). St. Jonah the Sabbaite (9th c.). Repose of Priest Dumitru Staniloae of Romania (1993).
Wednesday. [Eph. 5:25-33; Luke 4:1-15]
The devil approaches the God-man with temptations. Who among men is free of them? He who goes according to the will of the evil one does not experience attacks, but is simply turned more and more toward evil. As soon as one begins to come to himself and intends to begin a new life according to God’s will, immediately the entire satanic realm enters into action: they hasten to scatter good thoughts and the intentions of the repentant one in any way they can. If they do not manage to turn him aside, they attempt to hinder his good repentance and confession; if they do not manage to do that, they contrive to sow tares amidst the fruits of repentance and disrupt his labours of cleansing the heart. If they do not succeed in suggesting evil they attempt to distort the truth; if they are repulsed inwardly they attack outwardly, and so on until the end of one’s life. They do not even let one die in peace; even after death they pursue the soul, until it escapes the aerial space where they hover and congregate. You ask, “What should we do? It is hopeless and terrifying!” For a believer there is nothing terrifying here, because near a God-fearing man demons only busy themselves, but they do not have any power over him. A sober man of prayer shoots arrows against them, and they stay far away from him, not daring to approach, and fearing the defeat which they have already experienced. If they succeed in something, it is due to our blundering. We slacken our attention, or allow ourselves to be distracted by their phantoms, and they immediately come and disturb us more boldly. If you do not come to your senses in time they will whirl you about; but if a soul does come to its senses they again recoil and spy from afar to see whether it is possible to approach again somehow. So be sober, watch, and pray—and the enemies will do nothing to you.
Ephesians 5:25-33 (Wednesday)
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. And the devil said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." But Jesus answered him, saying, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.' " Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, "All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours. And Jesus answered and said to him, "Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.' " Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written:'He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,' and, 'In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.' " And Jesus answered and said to him, "It has been said, 'You shall not tempt the LORD your God.' " Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time. Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.
Hebrews 7:26-8:2 (St. Demetrius)
For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people's, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever. Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.
John 10:9-16 (St. Demetrius)
I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.
From the Prologue of Ohrid
1. The Holy Apostle Quadratus
Quadratus, one of the Seventy, was a disciple of the Great Apostles. He preached the Gospel in Athens and was at first bishop of Athens after St. Publius, and afterward bishop of Magnesia. Quadratus was highly educated in secular wisdom, and rich in the grace of the Holy Spirit. His biographer says of him: He was as the morning star among the clouds (Sirach 50: 6). The clouds were the darkness of Hellenic paganism, without the light of piety. The Holy Apostle Quadratus, through the word of God, shone upon the Hellenes as a great light, illuminating the darkness, destroying the foul sacrifices, crushing the idols, and destroying the demonic temples by his prayer. However, darkness always hates the light, and the pagans hated holy Quadratus. First they stoned him, as once the Jews did St. Stephen. Then they threw him into prison and gave him no bread until he gave up his holy soul, and went to dwell in the Kingdom of Christ, his God. St. Quadratus wrote an Apologia for Christianity and gave it to Emperor Hadrian. This Apologia had such an effect on the pagan emperor that he ordered that Christians not be persecuted without specific cause. St. Quadratus suffered in about the year 130. He is buried in the city of Magnesia, where he suffered. The Holy Apostle Quadratus (Menologion of Basil II, 11th c.)
2. The Hieromartyrs Hypatius, Bishop of Ephesus, and Andrew the Presbyter
Both Hypatius and Andrew were born in Lycia, and were friends from childhood. When they matured, both of them dedicated themselves wholeheartedly to the service of God— Hypatius as a strict monk and ascetic, and Andrew as a priest among the people and a preacher of God’s word. Because of their great virtues, Hypatius was consecrated bishop of Ephesus, and Andrew was ordained a presbyter. Both suffered martyrdom under the reign of the iconoclast Emperor Leo the Isaurian. After horrible tortures for holy Orthodoxy they were beheaded in 730, and passed from this transitory life to life eternal.
3. Saint Dimitri, Bishop of Rostov
St. Dimitri’s life is celebrated on October 28, but today we commemorate the finding of his miracle-working relics in 1752.
4. The Synaxis of the Saints of the Monastery of the Kiev Caves
The blessed work of asceticism begun by the industrious and great God-pleaser Anthony grew throughout the centuries like a fruitful olive tree. The numerous saints who shone as stars in Anthony’s Caves are each celebrated on their own day. Today, however, the whole assembly of them is commemorated together and called upon by the faithful for aid. HYMN OF PRAISE The Holy Apostle Quadratus St. Quadratus, like the morning star, Shone forth the light of the Holy Gospel, Shone forth rays through the thick darkness, And grace upon empty hearts. Quadratus dispelled the confusion of men’s thoughts, Illumining the forebodings in men’s hearts, Illumining them with the light of Christ, And enlightening the world with Christ’s wisdom. Unbelievers converted to the Most-high God, And received cruel wounds for Christ. To Hadrian, the persecutor of the Cross, Quadratus wrote a great defense With the eloquence and the skill of the Hellenes And the simplicity of Christian truth. Quadratus succeeded: the emperor was persuaded To protect the Holy Church from evil. O Quadratus, Christ’s disciple, Wise defender of the Holy Church, In word and deed, you were God’s servant— With unfading glory, you are now crowned! To you, we Christians pray fervently: Help us, O holy Apostle! Help us to overcome misfortunes, And to endure all sufferings for Christ.
If only we begin with the firm intention to live according to God’s law, we need not be afraid of any assaults by unreasonable men. For he who truly begins to live according to God’s law finds that all things done to him by men happen for his benefit, and to the glory of God. One especially need not fear being compelled to move from a place that he loves to a place that he doesn’t care for. Instead of empty fear and fruitless lamentation, it is better to seek out God’s intention for us. What harm did the evil actions of Joseph’s brothers do to him? Did not his involuntary departure to Egypt glorify him, save his brothers from famine, and create the necessary conditions for all the wondrous things God worked through Moses in Egypt and in the wilderness? The pagans and heretics often drove Orthodox Christians into barbarian regions. What did they accomplish by that? Did they destroy Orthodoxy? No— rather, they strengthened it even more in the souls of the persecuted, and spread it among the barbarian peoples. The evil heretic Lucius exiled the glorious Macarius, with several Tabennisiot ascetics, from Egypt to a barbarian island, where the entire population worshiped idols. But by the teachings and example of these holy men, the entire populace of the island was soon baptized. That island was later renamed the “Island of Repentance.”
Contemplate God’s miraculous saving of Jerusalem because of the righteousness of Jehoshaphat (II Chronicles 20):
1. How a multitude of Moabites and Ammonites set off against Jerusalem;
2. How King Jehoshaphat prayed to God, and it was revealed to him through the prophet that the battle is not yours, but God’s (II Chronicles 20: 15);
3. How the Moabites and the Ammonites fought among themselves, and perished to the last man.
HOMILY on the divinity of the Son and His unity of Essence with the Father
He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father (John 14: 9) Philip saith unto Him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us (John 14: 8). To these words, the Lord Jesus replied: Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father (John 14: 9). Thus replied the Lord to His disciple. Philip wanted to see God with his bodily eyes. Yet, for three years he looked upon Christ, and did not recognize Him as God. Why? Because, before the descent of the Holy Spirit, Philip looked with the body at the body. In other words, he perceived with bodily eyes, and saw the Lord Jesus Christ as a man. He still had not seen the divinity in the Son of God Incarnate, and yet he sought to see God the Father! He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father. By this the Lord did not want to say that He was God the Father, but that He and the Father are of one Essence. Insofar as God could reveal Himself to men, He revealed Himself through the Son, who appeared to men as a man. God the Father did not become incarnate; God the Holy Spirit did not become incarnate; but God the Son did become incarnate. How then, could He show His Father to the bodily eyes of a mortal man? This is precisely why the Son became incarnate, to reveal Himself to men— Himself, the Father, and the Holy Spirit: consubstantial unity, in three Persons. He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father. Here, the Lord speaks of His divine nature. In that, he is completely equal and of one Essence with the Father. So it is that, had Philip perceived the divine nature of Christ, he would not have made the request: Show us the Father. Naturally, he could not have seen the divine nature, as it is spiritual and invisible; but he could see— and see clearly— the great works of Christ as a manifestation of His divine nature. Brethren, even today, some men say: “Show us God and we will believe!” We should say to them: “Behold, we show you the Lord Jesus— believe!” “I have been with you for nineteen centuries, O men, and have you not recognized Me?” Nineteen centuries filled with His glory, miracles, power, grace, mercy, saints and martyrs! And there are still imbeciles who ask: “Where is God?” O Lord Christ our God, open the spiritual eyes of those who still do not see, that they may see the majesty of Thy glory. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.