St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints.

St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints. Nov. 14/Nov. 1

24th Week after Pentecost. Tone 6. No fast.

Holy Wonderworkers and Unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian, of Mesopotamia, and their mother, St. Theodota (3rd c.). Hieromartyrs John, bishop, and James, priest, in Persia (345). Martyrs Cyrenia and Juliana, in Cilicia (305-311). Martyr Hermeningilda the Goth, prince of Spain (586). Martyrs Caesarius, Dacius, Sabbas, Sabinian, Agrippa, Adrian, and Thomas, at Damascus (7th c.). New Hieromartyr Sergius (Zverev), archbishop of Elets and Melitopol (1937). Hieromartyr Benignus of Dijon, priest and apostle, of Burgundy (ca. 272). St. Stremonius (Austremoine), first bishop of Clermont and apostle of the Auvergne (3rd c.). St. Marcellus, bishop of Paris (ca. 430). New Virgin-martyr Helen of Sinope (18th c.). Repose of Elder Hilarion of Valaam and Sarov (1841).


Scriptures for Today:


1 Thessalonians 3:9-13

For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God, night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith? Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.

Luke 11:34-41

The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light. And as He spoke, a certain Pharisee asked Him to dine with him. So He went in and sat down to eat. When the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that He had not first washed before dinner. Then the Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness. Foolish ones! Did not He who made the outside make the inside also? But rather give alms of such things as you have; then indeed all things are clean to you.


St. Theophan the Recluse on Today’s Scriptures


Tuesday. [I Thess. 3:9-13; Luke 11:34-41]

The light of the body is the eye, while the light of the soul is the mind. When the eye of the body is undamaged we see everything around us in our external life, and we know how and where to go, and what to do. So also when the mind is sound, we see everthing in our inner life, in our relation to God and our neighbour, and in how we ought to behave. The mind, the higher side of the soul, combines a feeling of the Godhead, the demands of conscience, and aspirations for what is better than everything possessed by us and known to us. When the mind is sound, fear of God reigns in the soul, as well as good conscience and detachment from anything outward; but when it is unsound—God is forgotten, the conscience limps on both legs, and the soul wallows in what is visible and obtainable. Then it is a dark night for that person—concepts are confused, deeds are in disharmony, and the heart is constricted with hopelessness. Circumstances which he encounters push him and he is drawn after them like a wood chip in the current of a river. He does not know what has been done until now, what he is now, and how his path will end. On the hand, he whose mind is sound, fearing God, conducts his affairs with circumspection, listens only to the law of his conscience, which gives a uniform harmony to his entire life, and he does not plunge himself into things of the senses, taking wing through hope in future bliss. From this his view on the entire flow of life with all that it touches is clear, and for him all is full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give one light (cf. Luke 11:36).


Prologue of Ohrid:


1. Saints Cosmas and Damian 

Cosmas and Damian were unmercenaries and miracle-workers. They were brothers both in the flesh and in the spirit, born somewhere in Asia Minor of a pagan father and a Christian mother. After their father’s death, their mother Theodotia devoted all her time and effort to educating her sons and raising them as true Christians. God helped her, and her sons matured as sweet fruit and luminaries of the world. They were learned in the art of medicine and ministered to the sick without payment, not so much with medicine as by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. They were called “unmercenary physicians,” that is, unpaid physicians, for they healed freely and thus fulfilled the commandment of Christ: Freely ye have received, freely give (Matthew 10: 8). So careful were they in healing men free of charge that Cosmas became very angry with his brother Damian because he accepted three eggs from a woman, Palladia, and ordered that he not be buried alongside his brother Damian after his death. In fact, St. Damian did not accept these three eggs as a reward for healing the ailing Palladia, but rather because she adjured him in the name of the Most-holy Trinity to accept these three eggs. Nevertheless, after their death in the town of Fereman, they were buried together according to a revelation from God. The holy brothers were great miracle-workers both during their life and after their death. A snake crawled through the mouth and into the stomach of a certain farm laborer during his sleep, and the unfortunate man would have died in the greatest pain had he not, in the last moment, invoked the help of Saints Cosmas and Damian. Thus, the Lord glorified forever the miracle-working of those who glorified Him on earth by their faith, purity and mercy. Saints Cosmas and Damian (Menologion of Basil II, 11th c.) 


2. The Holy Martyr Hermenegild the Heir 

Hermenegild was the son of the Gothic King Leovigild who adhered to the Arian heresy. However, Hermenegild did not turn away from Orthodoxy in spite of all the flatteries and threats of his cruel heretical father. His father cast him into prison and, early on Pascha, sent a heretical bishop to administer Communion to him. But the God-pleaser refused to receive Communion at the hands of a heretic, and the heretical bishop informed the king about this. The king became angry and ordered the executioner to behead Hermenegild in the year 586. Leovigild later repented that he had killed his son; he renounced his heresy and returned to Orthodoxy. 


3. The Venerable Martyr James with his disciples 

James and Dionysius James was born in the Diocese of Castoria of parents named Martin and Parasceva. Working as a shepherd James became wealthy, and by this incurred the envy of his brother, who maligned him to the Turks as having found some treasure in the ground. James fled to Constantinople where he again became very wealthy. Once, James was the guest of a Turkish Bey. The Turks ate meat and James fasted. Then the Bey said: “Great is your Christian Faith!” And he related how his wife had been mentally ill and how he, after all the physicians and cures had failed, took her to the patriarch for prayers to be read over her. As soon as the patriarch opened the book to read, a heavenly light shone forth in the church. After the completion of the prayer, his wife was made whole. Hearing how the Turk extolled the Christian Faith, James distributed all his goods and went to the Holy Mountain, where he was tonsured a monk in the Monastery of Iveron. He lived a life of asceticism on the Holy Mountain and suffered for the Faith at the hands of the Turks in Jedrene on November 1, 1520. His miracle-working relics and those of his disciples, James and Dionysius, repose in the Monastery of St. Anastasia in Galakistou near Thessalonica. 



Saints Cosmas and Damian The Church glorifies the miracle-working physicians, Shining stars that shine with the Lord, St. Cosmas and St. Damian, Two Christians, wondrous giants. Theodotia was the mother of these sons; She nourished these giants. The glorious brothers fulfilled the law, And by their mercy pleased Christ. They pleased Christ, the Merciful One, The greatest Unmercenary Physician. They received the gift, and became physicians; They received the gift, but did not sell it. They gave the gifts of God to the poor, And in the name of Christ healed them. Time has not covered God’s saints with darkness; Thus it has always been, and thus it is now. Nor has it covered the wonderworking physicians; They shine today as they once did, And help the infirm and the unfortunate By mighty and willing prayers Before Christ’s heavenly throne. Honor and glory to the wondrous physicians!


St. Hilarion of Meglin fought a great battle against the Bogomils. At one time, the leaders of the Bogomils met with Hilarion and began to debate with him about faith. The Bogomils taught that God created the spiritual world and that the devil created the material world. To this, Hilarion replied to them that in Holy Scripture it is written: For God is the King of all the earth (Psalm 47: 7) and also: The earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness (Psalm 24: 1). The Bogomils claimed that the Old Testament is of the devil. To them, the saint replied: “If the Old Testament indeed proceeded from the devil would Christ have said, Search the Scriptures … and they are they which testify of Me (John 5: 39), and would He have acknowledged as the greatest commandments those about love toward God and one’s neighbor which, at one time, were given through Moses?” The Bogomils also claimed that the body of Christ was brought from heaven. To this, St. Hilarion replied to them that had it been so, then the body of Christ would have felt neither hunger nor thirst, nor weariness nor suffering, nor would it have been susceptible to death. The Bogomils then expressed their disapproval of the sign of the Cross which Orthodox Christians use. The saint replied to them: “And what will you do when the sign of the Son of Man, His Cross, appears in the heavens, and when all nations of the earth who do not believe in the Cross will weep?” And he also said to them: “How is it that you say that all evil is from evil material, and meanwhile you do not reverence that Wood by which the whole material world was sanctified?” 



Contemplate the wondrous power of the apostles’ words (Acts 16): 

1. How Paul and Silas spoke to the assembled women alongside the water at Philippi; 

2. How the Lord opened the heart of the woman Lydia, and she and her household were baptized. 


HOMILY on the call to all Christians to become saints

To the saints which are at Ephesus (Ephesians 1: 1) The Apostle calls the Christians in Ephesus saints. He does not call one or two of them saints, nor one group of them, but all of them. Is this not a wondrous miracle of God for people, not in the wilderness but in a city— and an idolatrous and corrupt city— to become saints? That married men who sire children, who trade and work, become saints! Indeed, such were the first Christians. Their dedication, fidelity and zeal in the Faith as well as their holiness and purity of life, completely justified their being called saints. If in latter times saints have become the exception, in those earlier times the unholy were the exception. Saints were the rule. Therefore, we must not wonder that the Apostle calls all baptized souls in Ephesus “saints” and that he has an even loftier name for all Christians, i.e., “sons,” the sons of God (Galatians 4: 6). Christ the Lord Himself gave us the right to call ourselves such when He taught us to address God as Our Father (Matthew 6: 9). O my brethren, do we not say to God every day: “Holy God?” Do we not call the angels holy? Do we not call the Mother of God holy? And the prophets, apostles, martyrs and the righteous? Do we not call heaven holy and the Kingdom of Heaven holy? Who then is able to enter into the holy Kingdom but the saints? Therefore, if we have hope for salvation, we also have hope for holiness. O Holy God, Who dwellest in the holy place and resteth among the saints and callest the holy to Thyself and showest mercy to them, help us also that we may become holy— in words, in thoughts and in deeds— to Thy glory and our salvation. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints.

St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints. Nov. 13/Oct. 31

24th Week after Pentecost. Tone 6. Fast-free period.

Apostles of the Seventy Stachys, Amplias, Urban, Narcissus, Apelles, and Aristobulus (1st c.). Martyr Epimachus of Pelusium, at Alexandria (ca. 250). St. Maura of Constantinople (436). Sts. Spyridon and Nicodemus the Prosphorabakers, of the Kiev Caves (12th c.). St. Anatolius, recluse of the Near Caves in Kiev (12th c.). 100,000 Martyrs of Tbilisi slain under Jalal al-Din (1227). New Hieromartyr John Kochurov, archpriest, of Chicago and St. Petersburg (1917). New Hieromartyr Leonid (Molchanov), abbot, of the Sovlvychegodsk Monastery (Vologda) (1918). New Hieromartyrs Euphrosynus (Antonov), hieromonk of the Seven Lakes Monastery (Kazan), Anatole (Botvinnikov), hieromonk, of Dubrovskoye (Tver), and Innocent (Mazurin), hierodeacon, of Buigorod (Volokolamsk) (1938). Martyr Quentin of Rome (3rd-4th c.). Martyrs Epimachus the Roman and his companion Gordian (361-363). St. James, bishop of Mygdonia (4th c.). Monk-martyr Foillan, Irish missionary, of Burgh Castle (East Anglia) and Fosse (Gaul) (655). New Martyr Nicholas of Chios (1754).

Scriptures for Today:

1 Thessalonians 2:20-3:8

For you are our glory and joy. Therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it good to be left in Athens alone, and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith, that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know. For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain. But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always have good remembrance of us, greatly desiring to see us, as we also to see you- therefore, brethren, in all our affliction and distress we were comforted concerning you by your faith. For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord.


Luke 11:29-33

And while the crowds were thickly gathered together, He began to say, "This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet.  For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation. The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light.


St. Theophan the Recluse on Today’s Scriptures:


Monday. [I Thess. 2:20-3:8; Luke 11:29-33]

The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgement with the men of this generation, and condemn them. For what? For indifference to the work accomplished by the Lord before their eyes. That queen, upon hearing about Solomon’s wisdom, came from afar to hear him, but these men, having before their face the Lord Himself, did not heed Him, although it was obvious that He was higher than Solomon, as the sky is higher than the earth. And the queen of the south condemns everyone who is indifferent to God’s works, because the Lord always, even among us, is as obviously present in the Gospel accounts as He was then. Reading the Gospels we have before our eyes the Lord with all of His marvellous works, for they are as doubtless as the testimony of one’s own eyes. Meanwhile, what is more attentive to the Lord as that which is impressed upon our souls? We have closed our eyes or turned them the other way; this is why we do not see; and not seeing, we do not devote ourselves to works of the Lord. However, this is no excuse, but rather the reason behind our unheedfulness, which is as criminal as what comes from it. The work of the Lord is our top priority—that is, the salvation of the soul. Furthermore, we should heed what comes from the Lord even if it is not directly related to us; ever more so should we heed what is directed at us for the accomplishment of our essential work, the significance of which extends throughout eternity. Judge for yourselves how criminal it is to disregard such a matter!


Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Saints:


The Holy Apostles Stachys, Amplias, Urban, Narcissus, Apelles and Aristobulus

1. They were all of the Seventy. Stachys was an assistant to St. Andrew the First-called. St. Andrew appointed him Bishop of Byzantium. He established the church in Argyropolis and governed his flock faithfully and zealously. After sixteen years as bishop, he entered peacefully into rest in the Lord. Amplias and Urban worked likewise with St. Andrew, and were ordained bishops by him— Amplias in Lydda of Odyssopolis in Judea, and Urban in Macedonia. Both died as martyrs for Christ the Lord. Narcissus was appointed Bishop of Athens by the Apostle Philip. St. Apelles was Bishop of Heraclea in Trachis. Aristobulus, brother of the Apostle Barnabas, preached the Christian Faith in Britain and reposed peacefully there.

2. The Holy Martyr Epimachus

He was born in Egypt and labored there in asceticism, ending his earthly life as a martyr. Imitating St. John the Baptist, he withdrew to the wilderness while still a youth. Because of his great love for God, the Spirit of God led him to every truth and, with no other teacher, taught him how to live a life of asceticism. Then, Epimachus learned that the unbelievers were torturing and killing Christians in Alexandria for the sake of Christ. All aflame with zeal for the Faith, he went to the city and smashed the idols. When the pagans tortured him for this, he cried out: “Smite me, spit on me, put a crown of thorns on my head, put a reed in my hand, give me gall to drink, crucify me on a cross, and pierce me with a spear! This is what my Lord endured, and I too want to endure it.” In the crowd of people who witnessed the torturing of St. Epimachus, there was a woman who was blind in one eye. She wept bitterly, watching the heartless torture of this God-pleaser. When the tormentors scraped the body of the holy martyr of Christ, blood spurted from him, and one drop of blood touched the blind eye of that woman. Suddenly, her blind eye regained vision, and was as whole as the other. Then she cried out: “Great is the God in whom this sufferer believes!” After this they beheaded St. Epimachus and his soul took up habitation in eternal joy, in about the year 250. St. Epimachus (fresco in St. John Monastery, Patmos, Greece, 12th c.)

3. The Holy Martyr Nicholas of Chios

Nicholas was a pious youth and a great zealot for the Christian Faith. He was born in the village of Karyes on the island of Chios, where he was tortured and beheaded by the Turks in the year 1754, and gave his righteous soul to God.

4. The Venerable Spyridon and Nicodemus

They were monks and prosphora-bakers in the Monastery of the Kiev Caves. Though illiterate, Spyridon knew the entire Psalter by heart and worked many miracles during his lifetime. He entered into rest in the year 1148. HYMN OF PRAISE The Holy Martyr Epimachus Epimachus, the saint of God, Felt no fear in his heart, Either of men or of devils, And even less of dead idols. Epimachus rejoiced in his torture; With his smile he whipped the judge. His body in torment, his mind in heaven, Epimachus was adorned with wounds. He wanted to suffer like Christ, To stand as a martyr before Christ— And what he desired, God gave him, And endowed him with wondrous power To heal the infirmities of the people, And to gladden men with grace. A knight of Christ with the sign of the Cross, A precious stone among precious stones, Epimachus shines like a star— A soul such as only Christ can raise. O Epimachus, wondrous martyr And glorious prisoner of the true Faith: Defend us from evil by your prayers, And protect the Church of God unto the end.


And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me, said the Lord (Matthew 10: 38). The holy and venerable Martyr Timothy of Esphigmenou (October 29) was at first a married man and had two daughters. Later, as a monk, he decided to suffer for the sake of Christ. Already prepared for the path of suffering, he begged the abbot for a blessing to stop by his village of Kessana to say farewell to his daughters. The abbot would not allow him to do that out of fear that a meeting with his two daughters would soften him, and turn him away from martyrdom for the Faith. But Kessana lay on the road to Propontis, where Timothy was headed. When he got to his village, he met a former neighbor, conversed with him and gave him a farewell message for his daughters. In vain, the neighbor begged him to stay and see his daughters, and rest. Timothy went hurriedly on his way. The daughters heard about their father from the neighbor and ran to see him. And now was seen a rare and majestic sight. The daughters raced to overtake and embrace their father, while the father fled from his daughters, so as not to transgress the command of his abbot. The daughters ran quickly but their father ran even faster. The daughters hurried to embrace their father, and Timothy, fleeing from them, hurried to embrace death. The daughters became weary and turned back in despair, and their father disappeared. Before his death Timothy begged his spiritual father, Germanus, to stop by his village and inform his daughters of his end by martyrdom. The Turks then beheaded Timothy and threw his body into a river. Germanus succeeded in retrieving just one garment from the martyr. He brought it to Kessana, found Timothy’s daughters and related their father’s heroic death to them, and showed them his garment.


Contemplate the miraculous guidance of the apostles by the Holy Spirit (Acts 16):

1. How Paul and Silas wanted to go from Mysia to Bithynia;

2. How the Spirit would not allow it;

3. How, in a vision at midnight, a Macedonian man appeared to Paul and summoned him to come to Macedonia.


on the certainty of the righteous one that he shall not die I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord (Psalm 117: 17) Who can say: I shall not die? He who cleaves to the Living Lord. Who can confirm with confidence: but [I shall] live? He who sees the Living Lord before him. Enoch and Elias did not die, but were taken into eternal life. The Lord took them in His mercy, and as proof to mankind of immortal life. Jesus Christ the Lord died and resurrected in accordance with His power, and as proof to mankind of the resurrection from the dead. The apostles and saints were slain, but many of them appeared from the other world in their love for mankind, and as proof to mankind of eternal life. Thus, those who were taken up to heaven in the flesh and those whose bodies reposed, live with the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ in the Immortal Kingdom. I shall not die, but live, said King David with great certainty, even though he lived on earth before the Resurrection of the Lord, and before the announcement of the General Resurrection of the righteous. With still more certainty, each of us Christians must speak this too: I shall not die, but live, for the resurrected Lord is the foundation of our Faith, and our eyes have seen and our ears have heard more— much more— than the eyes and ears of King David. After the Cross of Christ, the devil became as smoke; and after His Resurrection, death became like a mere fog through which one passes to the sunlit field of immortality. Blessed is he, brethren, who becomes worthy to live, and declare the works of the Lord. O Living Lord, enliven us and save us. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.


St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints.

St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints. Nov. 11/Oct. 29

23rd Week after Pentecost. Tone 5.  No fast. 

Virgin-martyr Anastasia of Rome (ca. 250). St. Abramius the Recluse and his niece St. Mary, of Mesopotamia (360). St. Abramius, archimandrite, of Rostov (1073-1077).

Martyrs Claudius, Asterius, Neon, and Theonilla, of Aegae in Cilicia (285). St. Anna (known as Euphemianus) of Mt. Olympus in Bithynia (826). St. Serapion of Zarzma, Georgia (900). St. Abramius the Recluse, of the Near Caves in Kiev (13th- 14th c.).

St. Ermelindis, anchoress, in Meldaert (Belgium) (ca. 592). St. Colman of Kilmacduagh (Ireland) (632). Glorification of Equal-tothe- Apostles Rostislav, prince of Greater Moravia (1994). New Martyr Athanasius of Sparta, at Mountania (1653). New Monk-martyr Timothy of Esphigmenou, Mt. Athos, at Adrianople (1820). Martyr Melitena of Marcionopolis.


Scriptures for the Day:


2 Corinthians 8:1-5

Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.  And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.


Luke 8:16-21

No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.  Then His mother and brothers came to Him, and could not approach Him because of the crowd.  And it was told Him by some, who said, "Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see You." But He answered and said to them, "My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it."


St. Theophan the Recluse on Today’s Scriptures:


Saturday. [II Cor. 8:1-5; Luke 8:16-21]

   Nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. Therefore, no matter how much we hide of our bad deeds, a record of them is made independently of us, which in its time will be presented. What is the parchment on which this record is written? Our conscience. We sometimes force it to be silent—and it is silent. But although it is silent, it does its work, keeps a most precise chronicle of our deeds. What is one to do if many bad things are written there? One must wipe out what is written there. With what? With tears of repentance. These tears will wash away everything and not a single trace will remain of these bad things written. If we do not wash them away, then at the judgement we ourselves will have to read everything written. But since then the truth will reign in our consciousness, we ourselves will pronounce our judgement, and the Lord will confirm it. Then there will be a decision which cannot be appealed, because each person will condemn himself, and will have nothing to do with anyone else. All of this will occur in the twinkling of an eye: you will look and see what you are. You will immediately hear from the Lord, Who is omnipresent, a confirmation of the judgement; and then it will be the end of everything.…


From the Prologue of Ohrid:


1. The Venerable Martyr Anastasia the Roman 

She was born in Rome of noble parents, and was left an orphan at the age of three. As an orphan, she was taken to a convent near Rome where the abbess was Sophia, a nun of the highest level of perfection. After seventeen years, Anastasia was well known— among the Christians as a great ascetic, and among the pagans as a rare beauty. Probus, the pagan governor, heard of Anastasia and sent his soldiers to bring her to him. For two hours, the good Abbess Sophia counseled Anastasia how to keep the Faith, how to resist flattering deceits, and how to endure torture. Anastasia said to her: “My heart is ready to suffer for Christ; my soul is ready to die for my Sweet Jesus.” Brought before the governor, Anastasia openly expressed her faith in Christ the Lord, and when the governor tried to turn her away from the Faith— first by promises and then by threats— the martyr said to him: “I am ready to die for my Lord not only once, but— oh, if it were only possible— a hundred times!” When they stripped her naked to humiliate her, she cried out to the servants: “Whip me, cut me up and tear me apart, cover my naked body with wounds and cover my shame with blood!” She was beaten, torn and cut up. On two occasions she felt a great thirst and asked for water, and a Christian, Cyril, gave her a drink, for which he was blessed by the martyr of Christ and beheaded by the pagans. Anastasia’s breasts and tongue were severed, but an angel of God appeared and sustained her. Finally, she was beheaded outside the city. Blessed Sophia found her body and buried it honorably. Anastasia was crowned with the wreath of martyrdom during the reign of Decius. The Venerable Martyr Anastasia the Roman (Menologion of Basil II, 11th c.) 


2. The Venerable Abramius the Recluse and his niece Mary 

Forced to do so by his parents, he married, but on the very day of his wedding he left his bride, his parents’ home and all that he possessed, and withdrew into solitude to live a life of strict asceticism. He labored thus for fifty years, and left his cell only twice during that time. The first time, he left at the order of his bishop to convert a pagan village to the Christian Faith. The second time he came out to save his licentious niece Mary. He entered peacefully into rest in the year 360, at the age of seventy. (See “Reflection” below.) 


3. The Venerable Martyr Timothy of Esphigmenou 

He was from the village of Kessana in Thrace. He was married and had two daughters. His wife was seized by the Turks and became a Moslem. In order to save his wife from the harem, he pretended to become a Moslem. After rescuing his wife, he conducted her to a convent, while he went to the Great Lavra on Mount Athos and then to the Monastery of Esphigmenou. He desired martyrdom for Christ, like Agathangelus of Esphigmenou, and was beheaded in Jedrene on October 29, 1820. His body was thrown into a river, but his clothing was retrieved by Elder Germanus, the spiritual father of Esphigmenou. 



The Venerable Abramius the Recluse St. Abramius left his bride And dedicated his life to strict asceticism. By asceticism he worked out his salvation, And wisely directed others to salvation. Demonic power attacked the saint, But in the name of Christ he crushed it. The demon took on various, horrible guises, To scare and hinder the man of God. This man of God did not allow himself to fear, Or separate his mind from God, But shone on the world like a candle, Glorifying the One God, the Most-holy Trinity. Imprisoned, alone and not wanted by the world, Abramius became a prisoner for the sake of Christ For fifty years— fifty years! Of tears, fasting and struggle— all for the Son of God: For fifty years— fifty years! Established on Christ, the firm Foundation. Glory to Abramius, Christ’s soldier, That, on the mortal earth, he has shown us immortality! 



But he that endureth to the end shall be saved (Matthew 10: 22), said the Lord. Faith is the only light of endurance, for endurance in and of itself implies unbearable darkness. Faith is the shining star in this darkness; faith eases the sharpness of suffering; it bears on its wings all the weight of endurance. St. Abramius gives us a beautiful example of perseverance in endurance. The vexation that the devil caused him by a multitude of temptations and terrors would have driven lesser men to leave one place for another. But Abramius did not want to move, so as not to give the evil demon a cause to rejoice; he remained in his place and defeated the devil. The bishop of that region sent Abramius to a pagan village to convert the villagers to the Christian Faith. After long hesitation, Abramius set out, saying: “Let it be as God wills— I will go out of obedience.” He first built a church in that village. Then he smashed all the idols in plain sight of the villagers. They beat him and whipped him half to death, and drove him from their village. But he prayed to God with tears for them, that the Lord would open the eyes of their hearts to know the truth of Christ. And so the pagans continually beat and abused him over the course of three years, but he constantly prayed to God for them, and was not angered with them, enduring in the Faith as a firm rock. And only after three years of labor, tears, forgiveness and faith, was he rewarded. Suddenly, the consciences of the villagers were awakened and they all came together to Abramius, bowing before him, and receiving the Christian Faith from him. 



Contemplate the terrible punishment by which Paul punished the magician (Acts 13): 

1. How a certain Jewish magician held Sergius the deputy under his dark power; 

2. How Paul, by a word, blinded that magician; 

3. How the deputy saw that miracle, believed in Christ and was baptized. 


HOMILY on the glory of the name of God

And blessed be His glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen (Psalm 72: 19) From the grace-filled heart of the prophet flow words full of grace. The prophet speaks of the King and the King’s Son, the most unusual King Who has ever appeared on earth. May His name be blessed forever (Psalm 72: 17), the prophet said, and then, as if that were not enough, he said it again and added: His glorious name. The Church of Christ is the glory of Christ. Blessed is His Holy Church— the fruit of His labors, the wreath of His humiliation, the work of His hands, and the flower of His blood! Blessed is the very name of His Church— holy and salvific! And with His Church, that is, with His work and with His glory, the whole earth shall be filled. By the words, Forever and ever, the prophet foretold the immortal work of Christ, that is, His Church. She will be built in time and will be revealed in eternity. She will be built until the end of time, and will be revealed whole in eternity. O my brethren, let us strive that our souls may be built into Christ’s Church, into that living and immortal body whose life has no end, and whose beauty is indescribable. Let us strive that we are not rejected as unsuitable and useless stones, to be cast into the abyss of eternal darkness. O Lord Jesus Christ, King and Son of the King, write us also in the book of immortality, and remember us in Thy Heavenly Kingdom. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints.

St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints. Nov. 9/Oct. 27

Click here to see our icon of St. Theophan

Click here to see our icon of St. Theophan

23rd Week after Pentecost. Tone 5. No fast.

Martyr Nestor of Thessalonica (306). St. Nestor the Chronicler, of the Kiev Caves (1114). Martyrs Capitolina and Eroteis, of Cappadocia) (304). Uncovering of the relics, in Pereyaslavl-Zalessky, of St. Andrew, prince of Smolensk (1539). Martyrs Mark of the island of Thasos and those with him (304). New Hieromartyr Sergius (Chernukhin), abbot, of Danilov Monastery (Moscow) (1942). St. Claudia Procula, wife of Pontius Pilate (1st c.). St. Cyriacus, patriarch of Constantinople (1390). St. Demetrius of Basarabov (1685). Repose of Hieroschemamonk Antiochus of Svir, disciple of Elder Theodore of Svir (1832).

Scriptures for Today:

1 Thessalonians 2:9-14- For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans,

Luke 11:14-23 -  And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute. So it was, when the demon had gone out, that the mute spoke; and the multitudes marveled. But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons." Others, testing Him, sought from Him a sign from heaven.  But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls.  If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? Because you say I cast out demons by Beelzebub.  And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.  But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.

Thoughts for Each Day of the Year According to the Daily Church Readings from the Word of God By St. Theophan the Recluse

Thursday. [I Thess. 2:9-14; Luke 11:14-23]

   When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armor wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. This allegory explains how demonic power over souls is destroyed by the Lord. While a soul is in sin, its evil spirit possesses it, although it may not always clearly show it. The evil spirit is stronger than the soul; this is why it does not fear an uprising on the soul’s part, rules over and tyrannizes it without resistance. But when the Lord comes to a soul, attracted by faith and repentance, He tears apart all of satan’s bonds, casts out the demon and deprives it of all power over this person’s soul. And while this soul serves the Lord, demons cannot prevail over it, for the soul is strong through the Lord, stronger than they. When the soul takes a false step and roams away from the Lord, the demon again attacks and overcomes, and for the soul, the poor thing, the last state is worse than before. This is a universal, invisible order of phenomena in the spiritual world. If only the eyes of our mind would open, we would see a world-wide battle of spirits with souls: first one side, then the other side overcomes, depending upon whether the soul communicates with the Lord through faith, repentance and zeal for good deeds, or falls back from Him through carelessness, lack of concern and coolness toward good.

Prologue of Ohrid for Today:

1. The Holy Martyr Nestor 

In the time of the suffering of St. Demetrius the Myrrh-gusher, there was a young man of Thessalonica, Nestor, who learned the Christian Faith from St. Demetrius himself. At that time Christ’s enemy, Emperor Maximian, organized various games and amusements for the people. The emperor’s favorite in these games was a Vandal by the name of Lyaeus, a man of Goliath-like size and strength. As the emperor’s gladiator, Lyaeus challenged men every day to single combat and slew them. Thus, the bloodthirsty Lyaeus amused the bloodthirsty, idolatrous Maximian. The emperor built a special stage for Lyaeus’s battles, similar to a threshing floor on pillars. Spears, points upward, were planted beneath this platform. When Lyaeus defeated someone in wrestling, he would throw him from the platform onto the forest of spears. The emperor and his pagan subjects cheered as some poor wretch writhed in torment on the spears until he died. Among Lyaeus’s innocent victims were many Christians: when no one volunteered to duel with Lyaeus, by the emperor’s orders Christians were arrested and forced to duel with him. Seeing this horrifying amusement of the pagan world, Nestor’s heart was torn with pain, and he decided to come forward for a duel with the gigantic Lyaeus. But first, he went to prison to see St. Demetrius and sought a blessing from him to do this. St. Demetrius blessed him, signed him with the sign of the Cross on the forehead and on the chest and prophesied to him: “You will defeat Lyaeus, but you will suffer for Christ.” Thus, young Nestor went to duel with Lyaeus. Maximian was present with a multitude of people; everyone felt pity for the young Nestor, who would surely die, and tried to dissuade him from dueling with Lyaeus. Nestor crossed himself and said: “O God of Demetrius, help me!” and with God’s help, he overcame Lyaeus, knocked him down, and threw him onto the sharp spears, where the heavy giant soon found death. Then all the people cried out: “Great is the God of Demetrius!” But the emperor, shamed before the people and sorrowing for his favorite Lyaeus, was greatly angered at Nestor and Demetrius, and commanded that Nestor be beheaded and Demetrius run through with lances. Thus, the Christian hero Nestor ended his earthly life and took up his habitation in the Kingdom of his Lord in the year 306. The Holy Martyrs Nestor and Demetrius (icon in Hilandar Monastery, 17th c.) 

2. The Venerable Nestor the Chronicler 

At the age of seventeen, Nestor entered the Monastery of the Kiev Caves while St. Theodosius was still abbot. He wrote the first history of the Russian people, in which he intertwined the history of Russian asceticism. He was distinguished by unusual humility and meekness. In his literary work, he often referred to himself as unworthy, coarse, ignorant and full of every kind of sin. But God, Who knows the hearts of men, glorified this wonderful saint of His. When Nestor entered into rest on October 27, 1114, his relics performed many miracles. 3. Saint Andrew, Prince of Smolensk Out of love for Christ, Andrew abandoned the glory and honor of the world, hid himself in a monastery and there, disguised and unknown, served as a sacristan for thirty years. He peacefully entered into rest in the Lord in 1390; his miracle-working relics were found in 1540.*) HYMN OF PRAISE The Holy Martyr Nestor St. Nestor was outraged at evil And was zealous for the Christian Faith. The young disciple of St. Demetrius Seemed young and weak against the terrible Lyaeus, But he traced the sign of the Cross on himself And impaled the powerful Lyaeus on a spear. He had been given power from above, Like David against Goliath. “You will conquer, but you will be tortured, And will lay down your life for Christ.” Thus Demetrius prophesied to him, And as he said, so it came to pass. Nestor jubilantly went to torture, And wonderfully magnified the wondrous Christ With sweet words and sweet hymns, And fervent prayers for the Church. Great in spirit, small in years, He did not grieve over his young life; His blood strengthened the Church, And Nestor was eternally glorified. 


A miracle of St. Demetrius of Thessalonica: That the saints of God live, clothed in great glory and might in the heavens, Orthodox Christians know, not by their own reasoning, but by the true help and visitations of the saints. At times the saints appear so that men may see and hear them; at times, only to be either seen or heard; at times, though unseen and unheard, they influence our thoughts, our dispositions and our actions. Among the many miracles of St. Demetrius in Thessalonica the following is recorded: A young man named Onesiphorus was appointed to the service of sacristan in the Church of St. Demetrius of Thessalonica. His primary task was to keep an account of the candles and lampadas. This young man began to steal candles, take them home, and then resell them. St. Demetrius appeared to him and said: “Brother Onesiphorus, your action is not pleasing to me, for you are stealing candles. By this, you bring harm to others and especially to yourself. Cease doing this and repent!” Onesiphorus was frightened and ashamed and, for a time, stopped stealing candles. But he eventually forgot himself, and again began to steal candles. One morning, a distinguished man brought some large candles to the tomb of the saint, lit them, prayed and left. Onesiphorus approached the candles and stretched forth his hand with the intention of taking them, but at that moment a voice like thunder roared: “Are you doing that again?!” As though struck by lightning, Onesiphorus fell to the ground, unconscious. When someone came into the church he found him and lifted him up off the floor; he gradually came to himself and related all that had happened. Everyone was astonished, and glorified God. 


Contemplate Peter’s wondrous journey with the angel of God (Acts 12): 

1. How the angel led Peter out of prison and brought him to the city; 

2. How they invisibly passed by the first and second guards; 

3. How the locked gates of the city opened to them of their own accord. 


HOMILY on zeal for the house of God 

For the zeal of Thy house has eaten me up and the reproaches of those who reproach Thee have fallen on me (Psalm 69: 9) The heavens are the house of God. The Church of God is the house of God. The bodies of believing people are the house of God. Wherever God is, there is the house of God; and where the house of God is, there is holiness. Men dishonor the holiness of God’s house, and the royal prophet is provoked and burns with zeal. He takes upon himself all the offenses against the holy things of God, and they fall upon him like a fire that enkindles him with even more zeal. Men desecrate the heavens when they do not believe that which God Himself revealed to mankind for the sake of their salvation. When men oppose or pervert the truth, as do the heretics, or when, of their own free will, they conceive of Christ according to their corporeal understanding, or when they have doubts about angels and saints, the Judgment, and the Eternal Kingdom of Christ, and refuse to consider the eternal punishment of unrepentant sinners— in all this and more, men attack the house of God and desecrate its holiness like savage animals. This causes zeal against the opponents and the blasphemers of God to rise in the hearts of the righteous. In the same manner, men attack the house of God’s holiness when they behave unworthily toward the Church of God, when they are negligent concerning the Church’s ordinances, when they are slothful toward ecclesiastical commandments and malicious toward the servants of the Church. Again, zeal for the holiness of the house of God is inflamed in the hearts of the righteous and the devout. Finally, the corrupting of the human body, the surrendering to passions, the service of sin, abduction, murder, brutality, drunkenness and other wicked actions, are all attacks on the holiness of God’s house. It is all blasphemy against God and against man. Again, the fervor of the zealots of holiness rises up and shines as a heavenly flame before men. O my brethren, let us look at Christ’s zeal for the holiness of God’s house, and the zeal of the apostles and the Holy Fathers of our Orthodox Church. Let us have more zeal for our salvation than the devil has, day and night, for our destruction. O Lord Jesus Christ, the Model of our zeal for holiness, grant us a spark of Thy zeal that we may be like Thee in zeal, and be saved by Thee. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.





St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints

St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints. Nov. 8/Oct. 26

23rd Week after Pentecost. Tone 5. Fast Day

Holy and Glorious Great-martyr Demetrius the Myrrh-gusher, of Thessalonica (306). Commemoration of the Great Earthquake at Constantinople in 740 (740).Martyr Lupus, slave of St. Demetrius of Thessalonica (306). St. Athanasius of Medikion Monastery (814). St. Theophilus of the Kiev Caves, archbishop of Novgorod (1482). St. Demetrius of Basarabov in Bulgaria (1685). St. Anthony, bishop of Vologda (1588). St. Alexander (Okropiridze), bishop of Guria and Mingrelia, Georgia (1907). St. Cedd, bishop of Lastingham (664). St. Eata, bishop of Hexham and abbot of Lindisfarne (686). New Martyr Ioasaph, monk, of Mt. Athos, disciple of St. Niphon, patriarch of Constantinople (1536). Repose of Hieroschemamonk Nilus of Kryuchi (1924), Elder Ignatius the Bulgarian, of Mt. Athos (1927), and Matushka Olga (A’rrsamquq) Michael of Kwethluk, Alaska (1979).

Today’s Scriptures:

1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain. But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict. For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit. But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness-God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.

Luke 11:9-13

So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.  If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!


St. Theophan the Recluse on Today’s Scriptures:


Wednesday. [I Thess. 2:1-8; Luke 11:9-13]

   The Lord convinces us to pray with the promise of His hearing, explaining this promise as the soft-heartedness of a natural father, favourably disposed to the petitions of his children. But here He hints at the reason why sometimes our prayers and petitions are not heard or are not fulfilled. A father will not give His children a stone instead of bread, or a serpent instead of a fish. If a natural father does not do this, how much more will the Heavenly Father not do it? And yet our petitions not infrequently are similar to petitions for a serpent and a stone. It seems to us that we are asking for bread and fish; while the Heavenly Father sees that what is requested will be for us a serpent and a stone—and does not give us what we ask for. A father and mother pour out before God heartfelt prayers for their son, that He arrange for him what is best, but in addition they express what they consider to be better for their son, that is, that he be alive, healthy and happy. The Lord hears their prayer and arranges for their son what is best, not according to the understanding of those asking, but as it is in reality for their son: He sends a disease from which their son dies. Those who think that everything ends with the present life will feel that the Lord has not heard them, but rather did the opposite of what they asked, or left the person about whom they pray to his own fate. But those who believe that the current life is only a preparation for the other life have no doubt that the son for whom they prayed fell sick and died precisely because their prayer was heard and because it was better for him to leave here than to remain here. You will say: then why pray? No, you must pray; but in prayers for specific things you must always keep in mind the condition: “if, O Lord, Thou Thyself deem this to be saving.” Saint Isaac the Syrian advises to shorten all prayer to this: “Thou knowest, O Lord, what is needful for me: do unto me according to Thy will.”


Prologue of Ohrid:

1. The Holy Great-martyr Demetrius 

This glorious and wonderworking saint was born in Thessalonica of noble and devout parents. Implored of God by childless parents, Demetrius was their only son, and so was raised and educated with great care. Demetrius’s father was a commander in Thessalonica. When his father died, Emperor Maximian appointed Demetrius as commander in his place. As he appointed him, Maximian, an opponent of Christ, particularly recommended that he persecute and exterminate the Christians in Thessalonica. Demetrius not only disobeyed the emperor but openly confessed and preached the Lord Jesus Christ in the city of Thessalonica. When the emperor heard of this he became furious with Demetrius. Then, when he was returning from battle against the Sarmatians, Maximian stopped at Thessalonica to investigate the matter. The emperor summoned Demetrius and questioned him about his faith. Demetrius openly acknowledged his Christian Faith to the emperor and also denounced the emperor’s idolatry. Maximian cast Demetrius into prison. Knowing what was awaiting him, Demetrius gave all his goods to his faithful servant Lupus to distribute to the poor, and joyfully awaited his imminent suffering for Christ the Lord. An angel of God appeared to him in prison, saying: “Peace be to you, O sufferer of Christ; be brave and be strong!” After several days, the emperor sent soldiers to the prison to kill Demetrius. The soldiers found the saint of God at prayer and ran him through with lances. Christians secretly took his body and honorably buried it. Healing myrrh flowed from the body of the martyr of Christ, curing many of the sick. Soon, a small church was built over his relics. An Illyrian nobleman, Leontius, was afflicted with an incurable illness. He hastened, with prayer, to the relics of St. Demetrius and was completely healed. In thanksgiving, Leontius erected a much larger church on the site of the old church. The saint appeared to him on two occasions. When Emperor Justinian wanted to translate the relics of the saint from Thessalonica to Constantinople, flaming sparks sprang from the tomb and a voice was heard: “Stop, and do not touch!” And thus, the relics of St. Demetrius have remained for all time in Thessalonica. As the protector of Thessalonica, St. Demetrius has appeared many times, and on many occasions has saved Thessalonica from great calamity. His miracles are without number. The Russians considered St. Demetrius to be the protector of Siberia, which was conquered and annexed to Russia on October 26, 1581. The Holy Great-martyr Demetrius (icon in Hilandar Monastery, 1631-32) 

2. The Venerable Martyr Ioasaph 

Ioasaph was a disciple of St. Niphon, Patriarch of Constantinople, and labored in asceticism on the Holy Mountain. He had so great a love for Christ that all of his ascetic works seemed inadequate, and from love he desired to suffer for his Lord. For that reason he went to Constantinople, where he openly confessed to the Turks his faith in the Holy Trinity and the Son of God. The enraged Turks beheaded him on October 26, 1536. 


3. The Commemoration of the Great Earthquake of Constantinople 

In the year 740, during the reign of Emperor Leo the Isaurian, there was a terrifying and prolonged earthquake in Constantinople. The people considered this a punishment from God for their sins, and prayed with great repentance to the Most-holy Theotokos and St. Demetrius, until God showed mercy and the earthquake ceased. HYMN OF PRAISE The Holy Great-martyr Demetrius Thessalonica glorifies its wonderful saint— St. Demetrius, servant of the Most-high God. Demetrius, the commander, Servant of the Creator and Lord. St. Paul bedewed Thessalonica with tears, Demetrius watered it with his blood. Demetrius, the commander, Servant of the Creator and Lord. The tears of the apostle and the blood of the martyr Are the glory, salvation and pride of Thessalonica. Demetrius, the commander, Servant of the Creator and Lord. Let us also glorify Christ’s soldier, The myrrh-gushing saint and courageous martyr. Demetrius, the commander, Servant of the Creator and Lord. 


A miracle of St. Demetrius of Thessalonica: Demetrius was a commander of Thessalonica during his life and remained so after his repose. People have felt his presence in Thessalonica, especially in times of great calamities. He protects the city, wards off misfortunes, repels invaders, and helps all who invoke his name. Here is a wonderful example of his unusual aid to people in need. Once, the barbarians attacked Thessalonica and were unable to overtake it. Infuriated at this, they pillaged the countryside and bound and carried off two beautiful maidens whom they gave as a gift to their prince. These maidens knew how to embroider well. When the prince saw their handiwork, he said to them: “I hear that there is a great god in your land, Demetrius, and that he works great miracles. Embroider his face on this linen.” The maidens told him that St. Demetrius was not a god but rather God’s servant and the helper of Christians. At first, they refused to embroider the face of the saint, but when the prince threatened them with death, they carried out the command and completed the task by St. Demetrius’s Day. On the eve of the feast, they looked at their embroidery and wept sorrowfully, as they had to spend the feast day in slavery and had to give that embroidered image of their beloved saint to an impious barbarian. Both maidens prayed to St. Demetrius to forgive them. Then St. Demetrius appeared to them and took them both away, as an angel had once taken the Prophet Habakkuk. He brought them to Thessalonica and set them in his church. A solemn all-night vigil was being celebrated, and many people were there. When they learned of the miraculous rescue of these Christian maidens, all glorified God and St. Demetrius, His great servant and commander. 



Contemplate the miraculous deliverance of Peter from prison (Acts 12): 

1. How Peter was sleeping in the prison bound with two chains; 

2. How the faithful prayed to God for Peter; 

3. How a radiant angel appeared in the prison, freed the shackled Peter, and led him out. 


HOMILY on the heart ready for God

My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready (Psalm 57: 7) Brethren, blessed is he who is able to speak like this to his Lord! Blessed is he whose heart is completely ready to follow the will of God. The readiness of the heart of man lies in this: to joyfully follow the will of God and not be confused by one’s own thoughts and desires. At first, the repentant King David had followed his own sinful thoughts and desires, and was like a boat on a stormy sea. However, when he realized that the storm was going to drown him, he turned to God with great repentance and tears, and turned the boat of his life entirely over to God. My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready! he cried out with great peace of soul, for he knew that he had given his boat into the hands of the Most-skilled Helmsman. The storm still raged and the winds and waves still assaulted him, but he was not afraid, convinced that nothing could smash his boat, and that his boat would sail safely to a calm harbor. A “ready heart” means a heart cleansed of pride and humbled before the majestic power and wisdom of God. A “ready heart” means a heart emptied of all worldly desires and illusions, and filled with nothing but aspirations toward God and love for God. A “ready heart” means a heart that is healed of all restlessness, cares and fears, and is quieted and encouraged by the presence of God’s grace. I will sing and give praise in my glory (Psalm 57: 7), continues the Psalmist. This shows that his heart is truly ready— he is not proud of his royal glory but ascribes it to God. He humbled himself before God as nothing, and now his sole pleasure is to magnify and glorify God. His personal glory only gives him a reason for glorifying His All-glorious God. O my brethren, let us endeavor that our hearts be ready before God: ready to hear the word of God, ready to follow the will of God, ready to glorify the Living God. O Lord God, our immortal Creator, help us to ready our hearts, that they may be vessels of Thy life-giving grace. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints

St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints. Nov. 7/Oct. 25

Click here to see our icon of St. Theophan

Click here to see our icon of St. Theophan

3rd Week after Pentecost. Tone 5. No fast.


Martyrs Marcian and Martyrius the Notaries, of Constantinople (355). St. Tabitha, the widow resurrected by Apostle Peter (1st c.). Martyr Anastasius the Fuller, at Salona in Dalmatia (3rd c.). St. Martyrius, deacon, and St. Martyrius, recluse, of the Kiev Caves (13th-14th c.). St. Matrona (Vlasova) the Confessor, of Diveyevo (1963).  St. Front, bishop of Perigueux (2nd c.). Martyr Miniatus of Florence (251). Sts. Crispinus and Crispinianus, Romans, martyred under Diocletian at Soissons (289). St. George, bishop of Amastris (ca. 805). St. Macarius, bishop of Paphos on Cyprus.


Scriptures for Today:


1 Thessalonians 1:6-10

And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.  For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.


Luke 11:1-10

Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples."  So He said to them, "When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread.  And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one." And He said to them, "Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves; 'for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him';  and he will answer from within and say, 'Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you'?  I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.  So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.


St. Theophan the Recluse on Today’s Scriptures:


Tuesday. [I Thess. 1:6-10; Luke 11:1-10]

   The Lord gave a common prayer for everyone, combining in it all of our needs, spiritual and bodily, inner and outer, eternal and temporal. But since it is impossible to include everything which one has to pray to God about in life in only one prayer, a rule is given after the common prayer for private requests about something: Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. So it is done in the Church of God: Christians pray in common about common needs, but each privately sets his own needs and requirements before the Lord. We pray in common in churches according to established rites, which are nothing other than the Lord’s Prayer which has been explained and presented in various ways; while privately, at home, everyone asks the Lord about his own things in whatever way he can. Even in church one can pray about one’s own concerns, and at home one can pray with a common prayer. We must concern ourselves about only one thing: that when we stand at prayer, at home or in church, we have true prayer in our soul, true turning and lifting up of our mind and heart to God. Let everyone do this as he is able. Do not stand like a statue, and do not mutter the prayers like a street organ wound up, playing songs. As long as you stand like that, and as long as you mumble the prayers, you are without prayer, the mind wandering and the heart full of vain feelings. If you already stand in prayer and are adjusted to it, is it difficult for you to draw your mind and heart there as well? Draw them there, even if they have become unyielding. Then true prayer will form and will attract God’s mercy, and God’s promise to prayer: ask and it will be given, it will be fulfilled. Often it is not given because there is no petition, but only a posture of petitioning.


Prologue of Ohrid for Today:


1. The Holy Martyrs Marcian and Martyrius 

These saints of God were clergymen under Paul, the Patriarch of Constantinople, during the reign of Emperor Constantius. With the death of the great Emperor Constantine, the Arian heresy, which until then had been suppressed, revived and gained momentum. Even Emperor Constantius himself leaned toward this heresy. There were two influential noblemen at the emperor’s court, Eusebius and Philip, both of whom were ardent Arians. Under their influence, Patriarch Paul was ousted from the patriarchal throne and banished to Armenia, where the Arians strangled him. Then the dishonorable Macedonius seized the patriarchal throne. At that time Orthodoxy had two bitter struggles: against the pagans and against the heretics. Marcian and Martyrius interceded with all their strength and determination on the side of Orthodoxy. Marcian was a reader and Martyrius was a subdeacon at the cathedral church of Hagia Sophia; under Patriarch Paul they had been patriarchal notaries (secretaries). The Arians at first tried to bribe them, but when these holy men rejected this with scorn, the heretics condemned them to death. When they were brought to the executioner, they raised their hands and prayed to God, giving Him thanks for a martyr’s end to their lives: “Lord, we rejoice that we depart from this life by such a death. Make us worthy to be partakers of eternal life. Thou art our life!” They placed their necks beneath the sword and were beheaded in the year 355. Later, St. John Chrysostom built a church in their name over their miracle-working relics. The Holy Martyrs Marcian and Martyrius (by N. Kacuros)


 2. The Holy Martyr Anastasius 

He was a cloth-maker and a zealous Christian. During Diocletian’s persecution of Christians, this man of God appeared before the judge in the Dalmatian town of Solin, and confessed his faith in Christ. He was inhumanly tortured and slain, and his body was thrown into the sea but was later found and honorably buried. 3. Saint Tabitha St. Tabitha (which means “gazelle”) was a disciple of the apostles and lived in Joppa. She was full of good works and almsdeeds (Acts 9: 36), but suddenly became weak and died. The Apostle Peter was then in the town of Lydda, and the grieving disciples sent for him, imploring him to comfort her kinsmen. Upon his arrival, the great Apostle of Christ told everyone to leave the room where the corpse lay, then knelt in prayer. Then, turning to the body, he said: Tabitha, arise (Acts 9: 40) and Tabitha opened her eyes and stood up. Many believed in the Lord Jesus Christ because of this wonderful miracle. 


HYMN OF PRAISE Saint Tabitha

Tabitha died, not that she might no longer live, But that the world might be astonished at the miracle which came to pass. Beside her deathbed Peter humbly knelt, And uttered fervent prayer unto the Lord. She was resurrected in body! And the unbelievers heard How the Lord hearkened to the apostle’s prayer And returned the living soul to the dead body. And Peter turned the unbelievers to the Faith. O wondrous miracle, of a kind unknown in the world! By the name of Christ, death was conquered. Death was conquered, and life rejoices. The young Tabitha rejoices in life; And, more than in her own life, She rejoices that she served as a wonder to the unbelieving world. She was resurrected in body! The unbelievers heard, And their own souls were raised from the dead. O great Peter, servant of Christ, Pray to our Savior for us; Resurrect our souls, buried in the mud— You, who revived Tabitha by the power of God. 



Among other mysterious perceptions from the world of spirits, the saints also had perceptions of sweet fragrances from good spirits and foul stenches from impure spirits. During every appearance of luminous, pure spirits, a life-giving and sweet fragrance wafted about; and during every appearance of dark and impure spirits, a suffocating, unbearable stench filled the air. The saints were able to discern which passion possessed a man by the kind of stench he emanated. Thus it was that St. Euthymius the Great recognized the stench of the passion of adultery in the monk Emilian of the Lavra of St. Theoctistus. Going to Matins one morning, Euthymius passed by Emilian’s cell and smelled the stench of the demon of adultery. Emilian had not committed any physical sin, but had adulterous thoughts that were being forced into his heart by the demon, and the saint already sensed it by its smell. The power of this perception once revealed itself even more wondrously in St. Hilarion the Great. A certain avaricious miser had sent some of his vegetables to Hilarion. When they were brought to Hilarion for a meal, the saint said: “Take these away from here. I cannot stand the stench that comes from these vegetables! Do you not smell how they reek of avarice?” When the brethren were amazed by these words, Hilarion told them to take the vegetables to the oxen, and they would see that not even the oxen would eat them. Indeed, the oxen merely sniffed at them, and turned their heads away in disgust. 



Contemplate God’s miraculous revelation to the Apostle Peter (Acts 11): 

1. How Peter saw the heavens open and a sheet full of all kinds of animals, beasts, creeping things and birds, being lowered to him; 

2. How he heard a voice: Arise, Peter; slay and eat! (Acts 11: 7); 

3. How this admonished him to attend even to the pagans and preach the Gospel to them. 


HOMILY on fleeing the world and dwelling in the wilderness

Lo, then would I flee afar off, and remain in the wilderness (Psalm 55: 7) Brethren, from whom did the prophet flee into the wilderness? From evil adversaries, from passions, and from vanity. Why did he flee into the wilderness? Because that is the way of victory over wicked adversaries, passions, and the vanity of the world. Very few choose the wilderness: that is why he fled into the wilderness. Men fight over cities and lands, over authority and wealth, but not over the wilderness. In the cities, the inner adversaries of man— the passions and diverse vanities— constantly are aroused with new fire, while in the wilderness they fade and vanish. Before he spoke of fleeing, the prophet said, And the terrors of death have fallen upon me (Psalm 55: 4); this is the reason to flee into the wilderness. One should prepare his soul for the other world, for the encounter with God. Not even a king can save himself from death or avoid judgment. Living in constant luxury and merriment, man is indeed as if lulled to sleep by the strong drink of this world. But then, in the midst of luxury and merriment, the thought of death tugs at him and awakens him. Oh, I must die! I must leave this world! I must come before God and before the angels! Where is my soul? Where are my deeds? With what shall I leave this world, and with what shall I enter into the next world? Thousands upon thousands of those who have been awakened from sinful sleep by such questions have fled to the wilderness and, day and night, they amend their souls and purify their hearts by repentance, prayer, fasting, vigils, labor and other proven means by which man kills the fear of death, and becomes adopted by God. O Lord Jesus Christ, our Most-wise and Most-gracious Teacher, Who Thyself at times withdrew from men into solitude, help us to be collected in soul and prepare ourselves for Thy Most-glorious Kingdom. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.


St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints.

St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints. Nov. 5/Oct. 23

22nd Sunday after Pentecost. Tone 5.

Holy Apostle James, the Brother of the Lord (63). Translation of the relics of Blessed James of Borovichi (Novgorod) (1544).  St. Ignatius, patriarch of Constantinople (877-878). St. Elisha of Lavrishevo, Belorussia (1250). New Hieromartyrs Eusebius (Rozhdestvensky), archbishop of Shadrinsk, and Vladimir Ambartsumov, priest, of Moscow (1937).  St. Petronius of Egypt, disciple of St. Pachomius the Great (346). St. Oda of Amay, foundress of churches (Neth.) (723). St. Nicephorus of Charsianos, Constantinople. St. Macarius the Roman, of Mesopotamia.

Scriptures for Today:

Galatians 6:11-18 - See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand! As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.  For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh.  But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.  And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.  From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.  Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Luke 16:19-31 - There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.  But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate,  desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.  So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.  And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.  Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.'  But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.  'And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.'  Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house,  for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.'  Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.'

St. Theophan on Today’s Scriptures:

Twenty-Second Sunday After Pentecost. [Gal. 6:11-18; Luke 16:19-31]

   The parable about the rich man and Lazarus shows that those who do not live as they should will suddenly wake up to reality, but they will no longer have the opportunity to correct their state. Their eyes will open and they will clearly see where the truth lies. Remembering that on the earth there are many who are blind as they were, they would like someone to be sent from the dead for the assurance that one must live and understand things only according to the indication of the Lord’s Revelation. But they will be denied even this, because for those who desire to know the truth, Revelation alone is a witness. But for those who do not desire it, and do not love the truth, even the resurrection of the dead will not be convincing. The feelings of the rich man in this parable are probably felt by everyone who departs this life. Consequently, according to the conviction of that world which will be the conviction of us all, the only guidance for us on the path of life is the Lord’s Revelation. But there, for many, this conviction will have come too late—it would have been more useful here, but not everyone had it. We will believe, at least, the testimony of those there, putting ourselves into their state. Those who are in torments do not lie; pitying us they want our eyes to be opened, that we not come to the place of their torment. We cannot say of this subject as we often do of current affairs, “Maybe somehow things will go all right.” No; it will not just go all right somehow. We must be fundamentally certain that we will not find ourselves in the place of the rich man.


Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Saints:

1. The Holy Apostle James, Brother of the Lord James is called the Lord’s brother because he was the son of the righteous Joseph, the betrothed of the Most-holy Theotokos. When the righteous Joseph was near death, he divided his estate among his sons, and wanted to leave a portion to the Lord Jesus, the son of the Most-holy Virgin, but all the other brothers opposed this, not regarding Jesus as their brother. James greatly loved Jesus and declared that he would include Jesus in his share. That is why he is called the Lord’s brother. From the beginning, James was devoted to the Lord Jesus. According to tradition, he traveled to Egypt with the Most-holy Virgin and Joseph, when Herod sought to slay the newborn King. Later, as soon as he heard Christ’s teaching, James lived by it. It is said of him that he never ate fat or oil, but lived on just bread and water, and was a virgin to the end of his life on earth. He often kept vigil at night and prayed to God. The Lord numbered him among His Seventy Apostles. Following His glorious Resurrection, the Lord appeared to him especially, as the Apostle Paul testifies (I Corinthians 15: 7). He was Bishop of Jerusalem for thirty years and zealously governed the Church of God. At the instruction of the Lord, James compiled the first Liturgy, which seemed very long for later Christians, and St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom shortened it. He converted many Jews and Greeks to the Christian Faith, and even the unbelieving Jews were amazed at his righteousness, referring to him as “James the Just.” When Ananias became High Priest, he and other Jewish elders determined to kill James for being a preacher of Christ. Once, during the feast of Passover, when many people had gathered in Jerusalem, the elders forced James to climb onto the roof of the Temple, and tried to make him speak against Christ. He climbed up and spoke to the people of Christ as the Son of God and the true Messiah, of His Resurrection and His eternal glory in the heavens. The infuriated priests and elders pushed him off the roof; he fell and was severely injured, but was still alive. Then, one man ran up and struck him on the head with a fuller’s club with such force that his brains spilled out. Thus, this most glorious apostle of Christ died a martyr’s death, and went to live eternally in the Kingdom of his Lord. James was sixty-six years old when he suffered for Christ. The Holy Apostle James, Brother of the Lord (icon in St.John Theologian Monastery, Patmos, Greece, 13th c.) 


2. Saint Ignatius, Patriarch of Constantinople - Ignatius was the son of Emperor Michael Rangabe. He became patriarch after St. Methodius in 846. Then Ignatius was deposed in 858 and exiled. Photius, the chief secretary to the emperor, was made patriarch in his place. However, when Emperor Basil the Macedonian ascended the throne, he re-instated Ignatius to the patriarchal throne. St. Ignatius governed the Church with great zeal and wisdom. He built the Monastery of the Holy Archangels in which he reposed in the Lord in the eighty-ninth year of his life. 


3. The Holy Martyr James of Borovichi - All that is known of this saint is what he revealed in a vision to people from the town of Borovichi after his repose. One day in 1540, his body floated down the river Meta, and washed ashore near Borovichi. Many miracles took place from his relics. 


HYMN OF PRAISE The Holy Apostle James, Brother of the Lord

James, the Brother of the Lord, a most beautiful righteous one, Explained the teaching of Christ with his life, And when they tortured him, he meekly knelt, And prayed to God for his enemies. In a most difficult place, at a most difficult time, He patiently bore the episcopal yoke. He governed the Church as a good shepherd, And glorified the Lord in word and deed. He taught men to love Jesus, And taught the faithful to pray to God. “Vainglorious man, what is faith alone? Faith without works is as empty straw. Whoever has hearing, let him hear the teaching: Faith without works is a body without spirit. Whence come wars, abhorrent to all? From the impure passions of your body. Men always war and have no peace, For their hearts desire evil, then shed blood. Whoever turns a sinner away from error Will receive the Lord’s gift of eternal life in reward.” The Jews slew the righteous James— But they have murdered themselves, and glorified him! O wonderful James, holy apostle, Help the faithful who pray to you. REFLECTION From God comes grace, but from us comes labor. Therefore, let no one even think that the holy apostles relied solely on the God-given grace, or that it was easy for them, or that they performed their great work in the world without effort. Does not the Apostle Paul say: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (I Corinthians 9: 27)? And still, in another place, does he not say that he spent his life in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren, in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness (II Corinthians 11: 26– 27)? St. James fed only on bread and that not to satisfaction. He slept very little, and spent his nights in prayer. He knelt so much in prayer that the skin on his knees became as hard as the skin on the knees of a camel. This brother of the Lord prayed with tears and sighs not only for the Church, which he governed, but also for the whole world. Even when he was pushed from the temple roof by the malicious Jews, and thus was completely broken, the holy apostle never forgot his debt to God and to men. Gathering his last strength, he raised himself to his knees, stretched forth his hands toward heaven and fervently prayed to God saying: “Lord, forgive them this sin, for they know not what they are doing.” While he was praying thus, wicked men struck him with stones from all sides. Seeing this, one of the sons of Rechab cried out: “Stop! What are you doing? The righteous one is praying to God for you, and you are killing him!” However, that shout of a compassionate soul could not deter the murderers, accustomed to evildoing, from killing the saint of God. So it was that the apostles did not rely on grace alone, but also put forth nearly superhuman effort to show themselves worthy of God’s grace. 



Contemplate the miraculous resurrection of Tabitha (Acts 9): 

1. How Tabitha lay dead on her bed; 

2. How the Apostle Peter prayed to God for her and said: Tabitha, arise; 

3. How Tabitha regained life, and arose. 


HOMILY on the beauty of the king’s daughter

The king’s daughter is all glorious within (Psalm 45: 13) The Church of God is the daughter of the King. However poor and unattractive to the physical eye it may seem on the outside, no matter how persecuted and humiliated, it is filled with royal radiance and beauty from within. The King, He Who is fairer than the sons of men (Psalm 45: 2), imparts beauty to His royal daughter. The Church of God is like a vesture for Christ; Christ lives in her. No outer beauty can be compared with inner beauty, that is, the beauty of Christ. The Most-holy Theotokos is the daughter of the King: Her vesture is woven with gold (Psalm 45: 13). This vesture is the virtue of her soul. That we understand “vesture” as virtue is clear in the parable of the marriage of the king’s son. The man who was not clothed in a wedding garment was driven from the king’s table and punished (cf. Matthew 22: 11– 13). True faith in God was the golden vesture of the Most-holy Virgin. Virginity, meekness, compassion, sanctity, piety, devotion to God’s will, and all other virtues, were like embroideries on this golden garment. However, her beauty was the work of the Lord Christ, hidden within her and born of her. The soul of every faithful Christian is like the daughter of the King. All the beauty of that soul is in Christ and of Christ, Who is within the soul. A soul without Christ the Sun of Righteousness is in darkness, without form and comeliness, as the universe would be without form and comeliness without the material sun. O great and gracious Lord, our true God and our man-loving Provider, help us to clothe ourselves in the garment of the virtues, that we may not be found naked at Thy Dread Judgment. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.


St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints

St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints. Nov. 4/Oct. 22

22nd Week after Pentecost. Tone 4. No fast.

The Kazan Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (commemorating the deliverance from the Poles in 1612).  Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Abercius, bishop and wonderworker, of Hierapolis (167).  The Holy Seven Youths (“Seven Sleepers”) of Ephesus (see August 4) (250 and ca. 446). Hieromartyr Alexander, bishop, and Martyrs Heraclius, Anna, Elizabeth, Theodota, and Glyceria, at Adrianople (2nd-3rd c.). Sts. Theodore and Paul, abbots, of Rostov (1409). New Hieromartyrs Seraphim (Samoilovich), archbishop of Uglich, Menas (Shelaev) and Herman (Polyansky), archimandrites, and Alexander Lebedev, Vladimir Sobolev, Basil Bogoyavlensky, and Alexander Andreyev, priests (1937). New Hieromartyr Gregory (Vorobiev), abbot, of Koprino (Yaroslavl) (1937).  Martyr Theodoret, at Antioch (362). Sts. Lot and Rufus, of Egypt (5th c.). St. George the New Confessor, of Drama (Greece) (1959).  Repose of Monk Joseph the Silent, of Kuban (1925), Metropolitan Nestor of Kamchatka and Petropavlovsk (1962), and Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky (1988).

Today's Scriptures:

2 Corinthians 5:1-10 - For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Luke 7:2-10 - And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving,  for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.  Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, "Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof.  Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed.  For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it.  When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, "I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!"  And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.

St. Theophan on Today’s Scriptures:

Saturday. [II Cor. 5:1-10; Luke 7:2-10]          What a bright person the centurion is! How did he reach such faith that he surpassed with it all Israelites, raised with revelation, prophesies and miracles? The Gospels do not indicate how, but only describe his faith and tell of how the Lord praised him. The path of faith is a secret, concealed path. Who can even explain within himself how the convictions of faith are composed in the heart [cf. Lk. 2:19]? Best of all, the holy Apostle resolved this by calling faith God’s gift. Faith truly is God’s gift, but unbelievers are not without responsibility, and, consequently, they themselves are at fault for the fact that this gift is not given them. If there is no recipient for this gift, it is not given, for there is nothing to receive it with; while in such a case to give is the same as to spend in vain. How a soul is made a worthy recipient of the gift of faith is difficult to determine. Extreme humility could be seen in the centurion, despite the fact that he was a man of power, virtuous and sensible. Is it not through humility in general that this great mercy, which gives faith, is attracted? This is not at all surprising. At the very least it is known to everyone that unbelievers always are of a proud spirit, and that faith most of all requires the submission of the mind beneath its yoke.


Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Saints:

1. Saint Abercius, Equal to the Apostles 

During the reigns of Emperor Antoninus and his son, Marcus Aurelius, St. Abercius was the bishop of the city of Hierapolis in Phrygia. The great majority in this city were pagans, and St. Abercius governed his sparse flock, sorrowing in his heart because of the great number of pagans and idolaters, and diligently praying to God that He would bring them to the light of truth. During a boisterous idolatrous festival, Abercius became inflamed with God’s zeal and entered the idolatrous temple, smashing all the idols. When the enraged pagans sought to kill him, three young madmen, foaming at the mouth and howling, fell down before this man of God, and he drove the demons from them. The young men became sane and calm. This turned the pagans’ anger into amazement at the wonderworker of Christ, and five hundred of them immediately desired baptism. Little by little, all of Hierapolis came to believe in Christ and were baptized. The proconsul of the province, Publius, had a mother who was blind. Abercius restored her sight by prayer, and Publius, his mother and many others believed in Christ. In old age, Abercius was summoned to Rome, where he healed the emperor’s daughter of insanity. The Lord Jesus Christ appeared several times to His faithful follower. People from near and far came to him for miraculous help when they suffered from incurable illnesses. The demons not only feared him, but also served him at his command. At the guidance of the Lord Himself, Abercius preached the Gospel throughout Syria and Mesopotamia. In great old age, St. Abercius presented himself to his beloved Lord in Hierapolis, at the end of the second century. Saint Abercius, Equal to the Apostles (Menologion of Basil II, 11th c.) 

2. The Venerable Lot 

Lot was a great Egyptian ascetic and a contemporary of St. Arsenius the Great and St. Agathon. He lived a life of asceticism in his monastery near a lake at the town of Arsinoe, and directed many brethren on the path to salvation. His close friend and advisor was Abba Joseph. Lot once said to Joseph: “Abba, I fast as much as I can, hold fast to prayer, keep silence and contemplate, and also, through abstinence, guard myself from impure thoughts. Therefore, what else can I do?” The elder stood up, raised his hands to heaven, and his ten fingers shone like ten flaming candles. He then replied: “If you desire, you can be all aflame!” Having pleased God and set many on the path to salvation, St. Lot entered peacefully into rest in the fifth century. 

3. Commemoration of the Miraculous Deliverance of Moscow from the Lithuanians with the help of the Most-holy Theotokos 

During the reign of Prince Basil Ivanovich, the Lithuanians occupied Moscow and the Russians were in great despair. Then St. Sergius of Radonezh appeared in a vision to the captured Bishop Arsenius, and promised him that Moscow would be cleansed of the Lithuanians the very next day, by the power and prayer of the Holy Most-pure One. Indeed, the Lithuanians fled the city, and the Russian army re-entered Moscow. The entire populace glorified God and the Most-holy Theotokos with tears of joy. HYMN OF PRAISE Saint Abercius, Equal to the Apostles St. Abercius, a model of meekness, Is a most beautiful example of Christian zeal. He zealously toppled the dumb idols And joyfully exposed himself to death. But God protects the servant who strives for Him, And shields him from evil with His right hand. Against the saint, demons and men rose up, But became shamefully silent before the power of the Cross. What the saint desired, the Lord granted, And though he was in much sorrow, he gladdened many. St. Abercius was as a fiery pillar, A light and an enlightener of men. He preached Christ to many peoples— From powerful emperors to the poor— And witnessed Christ through many miracles. He poured miracles out like living water; By the life-creating word he assuaged the thirsty, And with the teaching of Christ he fed the hungry. St. Abercius, a model of meekness, Gave himself to God in honorable old age, And was crowned with eternal youth in Paradise, Surrounded by the joy and glory of heaven. O wonderful holy one, strive yet a little more: Protect the remaining flock on earth, Implore Christ’s mercy on us through prayer, That the Church will boast in you to the end. 



As much as the strictness of holy men toward themselves is a cause for amazement, so also is their compassion toward others. They have disinterest for themselves, and concern for others. St. Hilarion the Great, unable to pay his fare to Sicily, offered the owner of the ship his Gospel (which he, in his youth, had copied with his own hands). When he had cured a certain prince of an unclean spirit, the prince wanted to present him with ten liters of gold. The saint would not accept the gold, but showed him barley bread and said: “Those who feed on this kind of bread look upon gold as mud!” When men begged him to pray to God for rain, or to save them from floods or poisonous snakes, St. Hilarion helped them by his prayer. This is how St. Abercius acted as well. Seeing many people in pain and sickness, he knelt in a certain place and prayed to God that He would open up a spring of warm, healing water there, that the infirm might be healed and glorify God. God then opened a spring of warm water on that spot. When Abercius healed the emperor’s daughter of insanity, the emperor offered him gold, silver and other gifts, but St. Abercius said: “Riches are not needed for one who considers bread and water a royal meal.” Not seeking anything for himself, Abercius nevertheless begged the emperor to do two favors for his flock in Hierapolis: to build a bath over those healing waters, and to give sufficient wheat each year to the poor of Hierapolis. The emperor agreed and did according to the saint’s request. 



Contemplate the miraculous healing of Aeneas of Lydda (Acts 9): 

1. How Aeneas had lain paralyzed for eight years; 

2. How the Apostle Peter healed him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ; 

3. How Aeneas arose healthy. 


HOMILY on the beauty of Christ above all other beauty

Thou art fairer than the sons of men (Psalm 45: 2) Holy Scripture does not ascribe any particular value to physical beauty, and in general to anything transient. That is why everyone who reads Holy Scripture should take care to be sufficiently attentive and wise to transfer the praise of physical beauty to the soul and to spiritual values. Without a doubt, spiritual beauty gives a wondrous attractiveness to the most unattractive body, just as an ugly soul makes even the most attractive body repulsive. The Prophet David, pouring forth good words (Psalm 45: 1), says to his King, the Lord Jesus Christ: Thou art fairer than the sons of men. The Lord Himself created His bodily cloak as He wanted. Had He wanted to appear in the world as the physically fairest of men, He could have done so. But there is nothing in the Gospel to indicate that He drew followers to Himself or influenced men by His appearance. He Himself said: the flesh profiteth nothing (John 6: 63). Therefore, it is clear that David was not speaking of the physical beauty of Christ, but of His spiritual, divine beauty. This is clearly seen in the following words of the Psalmist: Grace is poured forth upon thy lips (Psalm 45: 2). So it is that the unsurpassed beauty of the Son of God is not in the form and shape of His lips, but rather in the stream of grace that flows from His mouth. Again, the Prophet Isaiah speaks of Christ: He had no form or comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him (Isaiah 53: 2-3). Do Isaiah and David agree? Perfectly well. David speaks of Christ’s inward beauty, and Isaiah speaks of Christ’s external abasement. Isaiah said that He would not be seen as a king or a rich man, but as a servant and sufferer. O Lord Jesus Christ, Thou art fairer to us than all men and angels: glory to Thine immortal and unending beauty. O gracious Lord, correct the ugliness of our souls, which are disfigured by sin, we pray Thee. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints.

St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints. Nov. 3/Oct. 21

22nd Week after Pentecost. Tone 4. Fast Day.

St. Hilarion the Great, of Gaza (371-372). Translation of the relics of St. Hilarion, bishop of Meglin, Bulgaria (1206). Martyrs Dasius, Gaius, and Zoticus, at Nicomedia (303). St. Hilarion, metropolitan of Kiev (ca. 1055). Sts. Theophilus and James, monks of Konevits, founders of Dormition Monastery at Omutch (Pskov) (ca. 1412). St. Hilarion, founder of Pskovoezersk Monastery (Gdov) (1476). New Hieromartyrs Paulinus (Kroshechkin), archbishop of Mogilev, and Arcadius (Yershov), bishop of Ekaterinburg, and with them Anatole Levitsky and Nicander Chernelevsky, priests, and New Martyr Cyprian Annikov (1937). New Hieromartyr Damian (Voskresensky), archbishop of Kursk (1937). New Hieromartyrs Constantine Chekalov, Sergius Smirnov, Basil Kozyrev, Theodore Belyaev, Vladimir Vvedensky, Nicholas Raevsky, John Kozyrev, Basil Nikolsky, Alexander Bogoyavlensky, Demetrius Troitsky, and Alexis Moskvin, priests, and Sergius Kazansky and John Melnitsky, deacons, all of the Tver diocese (1937). New Hieromartyr Alexis (Bui), bishop of Voronezh (1930). New Hieromartyrs Neophytus (Osipov), archimandrite, of Moscow, and Sophronius (Nesmeyanov), hieromonk, of Lozeva (Tver) (1937). Hieromartyr Socrates, priest, and Martyr Theodote, of Ancyra (ca. 230). St. Ursula and her companions, martyrs at Cologne (beg. of 4th c.). St. Fintan Munnu of Teachmunnu (Ireland) (635). The 63 Martyrs of Jerusalem: Pegasus, Neophytus, Acacius, Dorotheus, Stephen, Dometius, Herman, Dionysius, Epiphanius, Stratonicus, Leontius, Emmanuel, Theophilus, Elias, John, Samuel, Eulampius, Alexius, Photius, Eutrepius, Methodius, Chariton, Theophylactus, Anastasius, Andronicus, Symeon, Theoktistus, Romanus, Paul, Agathonicus, Minas, Athanasius, Jacob, Nicephorus, Porphyrius, Timothy, Irenarchus, Auxentius, Joseph, Gregory, Callinicus, Aaron, Cyriacus, Theodosius, Eustathius, Isaac, Alexander, Eleutherius, Adrian, Christophor, Antiochus, Isidore, Parthenius, Sergius, Euplus, Ignatius, Theophanes, Cyril, Zachariah, and Anthimus (724). St. Malathgeny of Cluain-Edneach (Ireland) (767). Translation of the relics of St. Christodulus the Wonderworker, of Patmos (1093). St. Philotheus of Neapolis and Mt. Athos (14th c.). Sts. Bessarion (Sarai), hieromonk (1745), and Sophronius of Ciorara, monk (ca. 1765), confessors, and St. Oprea of Salistie (18th c.), martyred by the Latins in Romania. New Martyr John of Monemvasia, at Larissa (1773). Hiero-confessors John of Gales, and Moses (Macinic), priests, of Sibiel (Transylvania) (18th c.). Repose of Schema-archimandrite Herman (Bogdanov) of New Valaam Monastery in Siberia (1938) and Schemanun Seraphima (Bobkova) of Shamordino Convent (1990).

Today's Scriptures:

Colossians 4:10-18 (Friday)

Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him), and Jesus who is called Justus. These are my only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are of the circumcision; they have proved to be a comfort to me.  Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.  For I bear him witness that he has a great zeal for you, and those who are in Laodicea, and those in Hierapolis.  Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you.  Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church that is in his house.  Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.  And say to Archippus, "Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it."  This salutation by my own hand-Paul. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Amen.


Luke 10:1-15

After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.  Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves.  Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road.  But whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this house.'  And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you.  And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house.  Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you.  And heal the sick there, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' But whatever city you enter, and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, The very dust of your city which clings to us we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near you.'  But I say to you that it will be more tolerable in that Day for Sodom than for that city.  Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.  But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you.  And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades.


St. Theophan the Recluse on Today’s Scriptures:


Friday. [Col. 4:10-18; Luke 10:1-15]- Will there be such indulgence in the other world toward those who do not accept the Lord as He showed toward those living on the earth? No, there will not be. Sending “the seventy” to preach, the Lord commanded them, that they when they are not received, they should say on the crossroads: Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding, be ye sure of this, that the Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. That is, we do not need anything of yours—not with self-interest do we walk and preach, but for the proclamation unto you of peace and the Kingdom of God. If you do not want to receive this good—as you like; we will go on. Thus it was commanded for the present time; but how will it be in the future? It shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. Therefore, it is useless for unbelievers to hope for the Lord’s indulgence. While on the earth they only do as they like; but as soon as death comes, the entire storm of God’s wrath will come down on them. It is great unhappiness to be as the unbelievers! They do not even have joy on the earth, because without God and the Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer, even here all is dismal and dreary; what will be there is impossible to describe in words or to imagine. It would be more tolerable to be destroyed, but even that will not be given to them.

Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Saints:


1. The Venerable Hilarion the Great 

Like a rose growing among thorns, this great saint was born of pagan parents in the village of Tabatha near Gaza in Palestine. His parents sent him to study in Alexandria, where the gifted youngster quickly assimilated both secular learning and spiritual wisdom. Coming to know the Lord Christ, he was baptized, and desired to dedicate himself completely to the service of the Lord. With this desire in his heart, Hilarion visited St. Anthony in the desert and became his disciple. Then he returned to his homeland and lived a life of asceticism near Maiuma, at Gaza. Demons tried to terrify him in various ways, but by prayer to God and the sign of the Cross he always overcame them and drove them away. Many lovers of the spiritual life gathered around him. Hilarion became for Palestine what St. Anthony was for Egypt. A divine teacher, a strict ascetic and a wonderful miracle-worker, Hilarion was revered not only by Christians but also by pagans. However, fearing the praise of men and tearfully lamenting, “Woe is me, I have received my reward on earth!” he fled from place to place, to hide from men and remain alone with his soul and with God. Thus, he traveled and lived in Egypt, Sicily, Dalmatia and finally in Cyprus, where his life of great labor came to an end in about the year 372, at the age of eighty. The miracle-working relics of St. Hilarion were translated to Palestine by his disciple Hesychius, and were placed in the monastery founded by him. St. Hilarion the Great (fresco in Staro Nagoričino, 1317-18) 


2. Saint Hilarion, Bishop of Meglin 

He was born of eminent and devout parents. His childless mother had long prayed to God that He grant her a child, and in accordance with her prayer, the Most-holy Theotokos appeared to her and comforted her with the words: “Do not grieve, you will give birth to a son and he will turn many to the light of truth.” When Hilarion was three years old, the hymn, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth!” was constantly on his lips. He was well-educated, was tonsured a monk at age eighteen, and founded a monastery based on the Rule of St. Pachomius. In 1134, he was consecrated Bishop of Meglin by Eustathius, Archbishop of Trnovo. St. Hilarion led a great, nearly lifelong struggle against the Bogomils and the Armenian heretics. However, by his spiritual learning and unequaled sanctity he put them all to shame, and drew many of them to Orthodoxy. He reposed peacefully, and took up his abode in the Kingdom of His Lord in the year 1164. 


3. The Venerable Philotheus 

He was born in Crysopolis in Macedonia. The Turks took him from his mother, a widow, and threw him and one of his brothers into prison. The Most-holy Theotokos miraculously saved them from prison and brought them to a monastery at Neapolis in Asia Minor. Later, their mother found both of her sons as monks, and she herself was tonsured a nun. Philotheus went to Mount Athos, where he lived a life of asceticism in the Monastery of Dionysiou, and later in the desert. He was a wondrous ascetic and a great conqueror of demonic powers. He reposed peacefully at the age of eighty-four. He willed that he not be buried, but that his body be thrown into the forest for the birds and wild beasts. Later, a fisherman saw a great light in the forest on a cold night and went to warm himself, thinking it was a fire. However, the light was not from a fire, but was emanating from the wonderworking relics of St. Philotheus. HYMN OF PRAISE The Venerable Hilarion the Great Holy Hilarion, like a brilliant comet, Fleeing from men, traveled half the world. But such a star hides in vain: Its own light reveals it to the world. Hilarion wished to escape earthly glory, But from glory the saint could not flee. Where God did not proclaim him, the demons did, Being terrified by the saint, who cast them out. Wherever he settled, Hilarion the Wonderful Worked miracles and healed the sick, Conquered his weakness and passions. A conqueror of the world, he subdued the demons. He hid in caves, yet was proclaimed by all. He shunned all, but was glorified by all. The Lord glorifies His glorifiers, And crowns victorious runners with wreaths. When the race of earthly life passes, The wreaths of everlasting life are given. The aged Hilarion, ever young in spirit, Now takes delight in the Lord face to face. Even now his prayers wage war for us, That in His compassion the Lord would have mercy on us. 



The All-seeing eye of God watches over all men and, in a wondrous manner, guides the faithful to salvation. That which seems to the faithful a great loss can show itself over time to be a great gain. The case of St. Philotheus and his brother, who were lost to their mother, is similar to the case of St. Xenophont (January 26), and the case of St. Eustathius and his wife and sons (September 20). When St. Philotheus and his brother were sitting in a Turkish prison in Macedonia, the Most-holy Theotokos appeared to them in the form of their mother and said, “Arise, my dear children, and follow me!” and suddenly the young men found themselves in a monastery in the town of Neapolis in Asia Minor. When the young men related to the abbot what had happened to them, he understood that this was from God, and he received the young men and tonsured them. A long time passed after this. Their mother grieved for them but overcame her loss. Finally, she decided to enter a convent and dedicate herself to God. God’s providence brought her near the monastery where her sons were. Once, during the patronal celebration of this monastery she came with the other nuns for the celebration. She saw her sons in church but did not recognize them. Just then, one of the brothers called the other by his secular name. The mother’s heart was touched by that name, which was dear to her, and she looked carefully into their faces. Then she recognized them and they recognized her. Their joy was exceedingly great, and they gave heartfelt thanks to God. Believing Christians should not despair over even the greatest loss. 



Contemplate the wondrous healing of the blind Saul by Ananias (Acts 9):

1. How Ananias placed his hands on Saul, mentioning the name of the Lord Jesus;

2. How the blindness departed from Saul like scales falling from his eyes, and he saw and was baptized, and became Paul.

HOMILY on the God-inspired heart and tongue

My heart will pour forth good words; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer (Psalm 45: 1) Behold the inspiration of the Spirit of God! The prophet wants to speak of Christ the Lord and his heart swells with power and wisdom. That is why the prophet does not say: “My heart will speak or will pronounce good words, but rather will pour forth as though a part of his own heart rushes out like a torrent of water from an overflowing well. A torrent of water is narrow underground, but when it reaches the opening of the spring, it bursts out in a large stream. Such is the heart of the prophet when he wants to speak of Christ. Such is the power of grace confined in the heart of man. If it does not manifest itself in powerful words or if it does not manifest itself in miraculous works, it will shine within man and work wonders. But when it comes out in words, the tongue of the prophet will become as a reed, as a pen of a ready writer. For such a man does not struggle to formulate his thoughts, nor does he struggle to clothe his thoughts in the garment of words, but grace itself pours out thoughts and words, already prepared, through his tongue. Where does such a power in man come from? From God the Holy Spirit. Why does such a power exist? The prophet wants to speak to the King about Himself: I speak of things which I have made touching the King (Psalm 45: 1). Actions and words here are identical, as it often happens in Holy Scripture. Where the Spirit speaks, He also acts; and where He acts, He also speaks. One speaks most powerfully through action. The prophet takes from Christ the King, and gives to Christ the King. He speaks enthusiastically of love for the Savior of the world; he speaks from a heart burning with the zeal of divine love. From the distance of time, he sees the Incarnate Son of God, and his heart dances with joy like a weary night-traveler when he sees the beautiful dawn in the east! O Lord God, the Holy Spirit, do not deny us Thy holy and powerful grace, that we may be cleansed from sins and made worthy of the Kingdom of Christ. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.



St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints.

St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints. Nov. 2/Oct. 20

22nd Week after Pentecost. Tone 4.  No fast.

Great-martyr Artemius, at Antioch (362). St. Artemius of Verkola (1545). St. Theodosius, hieromonk of Svyatogorsk Monastery (1850). St. Gabriel (Urgebadze), archimandrite, of Mtskheta (Georgia) (1995). New Hieromartyr Nicholas Lyubomudrov, priest, of Latskoye village, Yaroslavl (1918). New Hieromartyr Herman (Kokel), bishop of Alatyr (1937). Uncovering of the relics of New Hieromartyr Nikodim (Kononov), bishop of Belgorod (2012). Martyr Zebinas of Caesarea in Palestine (308). Martyrs Aborsam and Senoe, of Persia (ca. 341). St. Acca, bishop of Hexham (England) (ca. 740). St. Matrona of Chios (1462). Translation of the relics of New Monk-martyr Ignatius of Bulgaria and Mt. Athos from Constantinople to Mt. Athos (1814). Repose of Abbot Theodosius (Popov) of Optina Monastery (1903) and Metropolitan John (Snychev) of St. Petersburg (1995).

Today’s Scriptures:

Colossians 4:2-9 - Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.  Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.  Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts, with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here.

Luke 9:49-56 (Thursday) - Now John answered and said, "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us."  But Jesus said to him, "Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side."  Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem,  and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him.  But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.  And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?"  But He turned and rebuked them, and said, "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.   For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them. And they went to another village.

St. Theophan the Recluse on Today’s Scriptures:  

Thursday. [Col. 4:2-9; Luke 9:49-56]

How should one relate to unbelievers who do not confess the Lord? The same way as the Lord related to the village that did not receive Him. Youthful zeal, full of heat, would want to send down fire from heaven on them; but the Lord Himself restrains it: Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of… The Lord and Saviour did not do anything to those who did not receive Him, though receiving Him is what salvation itself consists of; but passing them by, He went to another village, leaving them to themselves. The same applies now: let unbelievers go their way, and believers go theirs. God exists, Who will sort everyone out in good time. It is necessary to pity and pray for them; one must desire that they know the truth and try to find opportunities to hint to them about it; but when they openly start attacking the truth, give them a rebuff which is loving and yet brings them to their senses—and that is enough.

Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Saints: 

1. The Holy Great-martyr Artemius 

This glorious saint was an Egyptian by birth and the chief commander under Emperor Constantine the Great. When the victorious Cross, surrounded by stars, appeared to Emperor Constantine, Artemius also saw that Cross, believed in the Lord Christ and was baptized. Later, during the reign of Emperor Constantius, this emperor sent him to Greece to remove the relics of St. Andrew from Patras and St. Luke from Thebes, and to take them to Constantinople. Commander Artemius carried this out with joy. After that, Artemius was appointed as augustalis****) and imperial prefect in Egypt. He remained in this position during the reign of Constantius, and for a period of time under Emperor Julian the Apostate. When the apostate emperor went to war against the Persians, he came through Antioch and commanded Artemius to come to Antioch with his army. Artemius came. Then the emperor subjected two Christian priests, Eugenius and Macarius, to torture. Seeing this, Artemius became greatly disturbed and, facing the emperor, said: “Why, O Emperor, why do you inhumanly torture these innocent and dedicated men of God, and why do you force them to renounce the Orthodox Faith?” Artemius continued, prophesying: “Your death is near.” The enraged emperor sent those two honorable priests into exile to Arabia, where they died shortly thereafter. He then stripped Commander Artemius of his military rank and ordered him to be flogged and torn asunder. Thoroughly wounded and bloodied, Artemius was thrown into prison, where the Lord Jesus Christ Himself appeared to him, and healed and comforted him. Then the emperor commanded that he be spread out on a stone, and that another heavy stone be placed upon him, so that his body would be smashed flat as a board. Finally, St. Artemius was beheaded. It was the year 362. Emperor Julian went out against the Persians and perished dishonorably, as St. Artemius had foretold. The Holy Great-martyr Artemius (frecso in Protat, Mount Athos, 14th c.) 

2. The Holy Righteous Artemius 

Artemius was born in 1532, the son of Russian peasants Cosmas and Apollinaria, from the village of Verkola in the region of Dvina. Even at the age of five, he differed from other children by his rare piety and meekness. When he was thirteen, the child walked with his father through a great forest in severe weather and reposed there. Unable to dig a grave, his grieving father covered his body with branches and departed. Twenty-eight years later, a man saw an unearthly light in the forest. Upon approaching the light, he found the body of Artemius intact and incorrupt. Many of the sick were healed of illnesses as soon as they touched the body of St. Artemius. His holy relics repose in a monastery near Pinega, in the Province of Archangelsk. 

3. The Venerable Gerasimus the New 

Gerasimus was from Trikala in the Peloponnese of the prominent Notaras family. He was born in 1509. He lived a life of asceticism on Mount Athos, and then in Palestine, where he fasted for forty days. After that, he settled on the island of Cephalonia, where he founded a convent. By his prayer he brought down rain, healed the sick, and foretold the future. He rested in the Lord on August 15, 1579. Gerasimus was a miracle-worker both during his life and after his repose. The Venerable Gerasimus the New (icon in his Monastery in Cephalonia, Greece) 

4. The Venerable New Martyr Ignatius 

Ignatius was from the Bulgarian region of Eski-Zagora. This is that glorious region of Zagora that has given the Church of God many holy ascetics and martyrs. He lived a life of asceticism in the Skete of St. John the Forerunner on Mount Athos. He willingly gave himself to the Turks to be tortured for Christ, and was hanged in Constantinople on October 8, 1814. His relics are miracle-working, and his head is honorably preserved in the Monastery of St. Panteleimon on Mount Athos. HYMN OF PRAISE The Holy Great-martyr Artemius St. Artemius the commander Did not hide his faith before the emperor, But proclaimed his faith with great courage And glorified Christ God before the emperor. This apostate emperor forgot God, And subjected his commander to torment. The saint dedicated his mind to God And little felt the cruel tortures, Since there is a greater suffering for the sinner who tortures Than for the righteous one being tortured! The emperor beheaded this glorious commander But the Lord glorified His servant And raised him up to the Heavenly Kingdom. He gave him power to drive out demons, Grace to heal every sickness and suffering— All by the power of God, without labor or word. Whoever loves and believes in Christ, Has a champion in St. Artemius. 


The compassionate God wonderfully guides those who give themselves over to His holy will and care. Just as a candle-maker makes whatever kind of candle he wants from soft wax, so the All-wise God makes immortal lights in the Heavenly Kingdom of His devoted servants. St. Ignatius the New Martyr was totally devoted to God, even as a child. He yearned to become a monk and to be a martyr for the Faith. During the Karageorge uprising, the Turkish army was conscripting men throughout Bulgaria to fight against the Serbs, and even came to the house of Ignatius’s father, George, to see if anyone there was fit for military service. Seeing that George was a well-built and strong man, they wanted to take him into the army. But George resolutely said: “I cannot fight against my fellow Christians.” The infuriated Turks killed him on the spot. The young Ignatius hid in a neighboring house, then fled to Romania, but his desire for monasticism took him to the Holy Mountain. Even so, he wanted something more than monasticism— he desired martyrdom. He prayed with tears one night before the icon of the Most-holy Theotokos, imploring her to grant him the path of martyrdom. He heard a sound in front of him, and opened his eyes to see the glowing halo detach itself from the icon and rest upon his head. Shortly after that, he suffered martyrdom at the hands of the Turks, and received the wreath of eternal glory. 


Contemplate the Lord’s wondrous appearance to the Apostle Ananias and to Saul (Acts 9): 1. How the Lord appeared to Ananias and directed him to Saul in the street called Straight; 2. How, at that very moment, in a vision, Saul saw Ananias healing him of his blindness. HOMILY on old and new tales of God’s wonders We have heard with our ears, O God; Our fathers have told us, what work Thou didst in their days, in the times of old (Psalm 44: 1) Thus King David speaks in the name of his people, and enumerates several great works that God performed for Israel. We, brethren, have also heard of all these works, from Holy Scripture, and of many more works and kinds of works than those of which David had heard, for they took place after him! Have we not heard of incomparably more miraculous and greater works of God’s providence and God’s love for mankind than all that David heard? The Son of God became incarnate of the Most-pure Virgin and lived as a man among men, poured out wisdom, worked miracles, destroyed death, put the devil to shame, and gave power to His followers. David did not hear of these things, but we have heard, for they have been revealed to us by our spiritual Fathers: the apostles and evangelists, martyrs and righteous ones, and all the ranks of saints from ancient times to the present day. Not only did they reveal it to us, but the Holy Spirit reveals it to us every day through the Holy Church, through the grace-filled Mysteries and through countless miracles. Behold, here is a reason for great joy, but also for great fear, for much is given to us and much will be required of us. We have been given more spiritual riches than all those who lived before Christ— more wisdom and understanding, more of God’s glory and power, and more, many more examples of God’s love for man and man’s love for God. Ask yourselves, you richest of the rich, what have you given and what are you giving to God for all of this? You should strive to not be put to shame at God’s Judgment. As a dream soon slips away, so will all your days on earth soon slip away, and the sound of the angel’s trumpet will soon summon all nations and people to the Dread Judgment of God. Strive that you not then be ashamed, for you will not be able to excuse yourself with “We did not know,” or “We did not have!” You know, and you have had more revealed to you, than even David and Solomon had; and more will be required of you than of them. O Son of God, our great and wonderful Lord, God and Savior, remind us every day and every hour of Thy Precious Blood, shed for us, that we do not forget, O Lord, and that we not be eternally condemned. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints

St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints. Nov. 1/Oct. 19

22nd Week after Pentecost. Tone 4. Fast Day.    Wine and oil allowed.

Righteous John, Wonderworker of Kronstadt (1908).  Prophet Joel (800 b.c.). Martyrs Warus and seven others with him, in Egypt (ca. 307).  First translation of the relics of St. John, founder of Rila Monastery in Bulgaria (1187). Blessed Cleopatra (327) and her son John (320), in Egypt. Hieromartyr Sadoc (Sadoth), bishop of Persia, and 128 martyrs with him (342). St. Anthony (Abashidze), schema-archbishop, of the Kiev Caves Lavra (1942). New Hieromartyr Alexis Stavrovsky, priest, of Petrograd (1918).

St. Leontius the Philosopher, of St. Sabbas Monastery (624). St. Frideswide of Oxford, abbess (ca. 735). St. Prochorus, abbot, in the Vranski Desert on the river Pchinja in Bulgaria (10th c.). New Monk-martyr Nicholas Dvali of Jerusalem (1314). St. Gabriel, archimandrite, of St. Elias Skete, Mt. Athos (1901).

Today’s Scriptures:

Colossians 3:17-4:1

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.  Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.  Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.  Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.  Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God.  And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.  But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.  Masters, give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

Luke 9:44-50

Let these words sink down into your ears, for the Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men. But they did not understand this saying, and it was hidden from them so that they did not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this saying.  Then a dispute arose among them as to which of them would be greatest.  And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a little child and set him by Him,  and said to them, "Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great."  Now John answered and said, "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us."  But Jesus said to him, "Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side."


St. Theophan the Recluse on Today’s Scriptures:

Wednesday. [Col. 3:17-4:1; Luke 9:44-50]

           Whosoever shall receive Me, receiveth Him that sent Me, said the Lord, while He that sent Him is God. Consequently, whosoever confesses the Lord, confesses God; whereas whosoever does not confess Him, does not confess God. You will say: I confess Christ to be a great, most wise, universal teacher. No, confess Him as He Himself speaks of Himself, that He and the Father are one, persons of one Divine nature, separate, but one in honour and coreigning. If one does not confess thus, no matter how much he has honoured the Lord, it is the same as if he does not confess Him; while not being His confessor, he does not confess the Father either, he does not confess God. That is why, no matter what displays you make of honouring God, you do not honour Him if you do not confess the Lord Jesus Christ as the Only-Begotten Son of God, incarnate for our sake, and Who saved us through His death on the cross. It is not all the same which God one confesses as long as one confesses: those who worship the sun and stars, or invented creatures, are not called honourers of God, because they did not consider as God what is God. Thus, whosoever does not confess the Lord is not an honourer of God, because he does not confess the God who is the true God. The true God does not exist without the Son co-eternal and co-unoriginate. Therefore, once you cease to confess the Son, you no longer confess the true God. Only God will discern what your confession is worth; but since for us God is revealed as the true God, apart from this revelation one cannot have the true God.


Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Saints:

1. The Holy Prophet Joel 

Joel is second in the line of the minor prophets. St. Joel was the son of Phanuel, from the tribe of Reuben. He lived eight hundred years before Christ. Joel prophesied the misfortunes of the people of Israel, and the Babylonian Captivity because of the sins they had committed in the sight of God. He called the people to fasting and the priests to tearful penitential prayer, that God would have mercy on them: Sanctify ye a fast … and cry unto the Lord (Joel 1: 14); Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar (Joel 2: 17). Joel also foretold the Descent of the Spirit of God upon the apostles and the pouring out of the grace of the Spirit of God upon all Christians: Then afterward I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh (Joel 2: 28). He prophesied and described the Dread Judgment of God, and also prophesied the glory of God’s Holy Church. The Holy Prophet Joel (fresco in Ormilia Monastery, Halkidiki, Greece) 


2. The Holy Martyr Varus 

Varus was a Roman officer in Egypt and also secretly a Christian. When seven Christian teachers were cast into prison, Varus visited them, supplying them with necessities and ministering to them zealously. He was amazed at these martyrs and grieved that because of his fear he could not become a martyr for Christ. The men of God encouraged him, and Varus decided that he would go with them to be tortured. One of these men of God died in prison, so that when the wicked eparch had the martyrs brought before him, there were only six remaining. He inquired as to the seventh. Varus said to him: “I am the seventh.” The enraged governor tortured Varus first. He commanded that he be flogged with dry rods naked, and after that had him tied to a tree and sliced apart piece by piece until the saint gave his holy soul to God. His body was thrown on a dung heap. A Palestinian woman named Cleopatra, the widow of an officer, was there with her son John. She secretly took Varus’s holy relics from the dung heap and buried them in her house. Then she begged permission from the eparch to take the body of her deceased husband from Egypt to Palestine. As she was the wife of an officer, the eparch immediately gave his permission. However, the blessed Christian Cleopatra did not take the body of her husband but the relics of the Holy Martyr Varus instead. Thus, she brought the martyr’s relics to Edras (the village of her birth) near Mount Tabor, and buried them with honor there. Afterward, she built a church to St. Varus and he often appeared to her from the other world, resplendent as an angel of God. 


3. The Venerable Prochorus of Pchinja 

St. Prochorus was a contemporary and friend of Saints John of Rila and Gabriel of Lesnov. According to his prayer, God showed him the place where he would live a life of asceticism. This place was a wooded area near the River Pchinja. Here Prochorus labored in asceticism to his old age and repose. Only the One All-seeing God knows the extent of Prochorus’s labors and the temptations he endured in the course of his asceticism. But one can judge by his myrrh-gushing relics and his numberless miraculous healings— which have continued up to today— the greatness of his asceticism and the greatness of God’s grace which was given to him because of his great labors. St. Prochorus entered into rest and took up his abode in the Kingdom of God in the eleventh century. 



The Venerable Prochorus of Pchinja

From his early youth, holy Father Prochorus Hid from the world and from vanity, Diligently working with fasting and sweat, Until his soul was raised up and bound to God. His companions were beasts of the forest; Resplendent angels were his protection; The saints of God were astonished at him, For St. Prochorus attained all that they had attained. God gave him abundant grace: Great and powerful authority over demons, Power over infirmity and varied sufferings, Help for the sorrowing by his prayers. By labors, Prochorus seized heaven, And of the Heavenly Kingdom he became worthy. He made himself worthy, and helps others Who seek to enter into the Kingdom. The temporal he cast off; the eternal he embraced; And he paid a small price for the precious treasure. The wonderworker Prochorus is in Paradise— In heavenly splendor, now entirely aglow. And he helps those who pray to him, Those who believe in and love Christ our God. 



An appearance of the Holy Martyr Varus: When the devout widow Cleopatra built a church to him, she summoned the bishop and priests to consecrate it. A large number of Christians gathered for this celebration, for the entire countryside venerated St. Varus as a great healer and miracle-worker. Following the divine services, this pious benefactress went before the relics of St. Varus and prayed: “I beseech you— you who endured much suffering for Christ— implore God for that which is pleasing to Him; and for me and my only son, ask that which is beneficial.” Cleopatra’s son John was ready for the army. Just as she left the church, John became ill. He was seized with a burning fever that grew steadily worse until, around midnight, John died. The grief-stricken, furious mother came before the tomb of St. Varus and spoke sharply: “O saint of God! Is this the way you help me?” and she said much more in her bitter lamentation until, utterly exhausted, she fell into a light sleep. St. Varus appeared to her with her son John. Both were radiant as the sun in garments whiter than snow, bound with golden girdles, and had magnificent wreaths on their heads. God’s saint said to her: “Did you not pray to me to implore God for whatever was pleasing to Him, and beneficial to you and your son? I prayed to God and He, in His unspeakable goodness, took your son into His heavenly army. If you so desire, here he is: take him and place him in the army of the earthly king.” Hearing this, the young John embraced St. Varus and said: “No, my Lord, do not listen to my mother and do not send me back into the world— full of unrighteousness and iniquity— from which you have delivered me.” Awakening from the dream, Cleopatra felt great joy in her heart and left the church. She lived near the church for seven years, and St. Varus often appeared to her with John. 



Contemplate Saul’s wondrous conversion to the Christian Faith (Acts 9): 

1. How Saul set out to persecute Christians in Damascus; 

2. How a light shone down from heaven and He heard the voice of Christ. 


HOMILY on the soul’s thirst for God

My soul thirsts for God, for the Living God: When shall I come and appear before God? (Psalm 42: 2) When only a spark of love for God shines in the heart of man, he should not extinguish it but let it burn, and he will see a miracle. That spark will flare up into a torch of unseen radiance, and the light and its warmth will be very great. In the light of his love for God, a man will feel his life in this world to be as darkness; and from the warmth of his love for God, he will feel an unquenchable thirst for God, a thirst to be closer to God, a thirst for seeing God. David, the lover of God, compares this thirst to the thirst of a deer who races to springs of water. My soul thirsts for God, for the Living God. Is not everything around us infirm? Does not everything around us quickly decay? We grab at shadows, we embrace corpses. We pay today for tomorrow’s stench— we pay with gold and silver, sometimes with our honor and conscience, and at times even with our life— for the stench of tomorrow’s decay! This is not love but animal lust. A great soul seeks a subject worthy of love, seeks a subject not susceptible to destruction, decay, decomposition and the filth of transient bodies. That is why King David, the lover of God, emphasizes the Living God. For who, in truth, is mighty and alive save God? God endowed His angels and saints with strength and life: yet all of it is His, and from Him. When shall I come and appear before God? Here is the irresistible yearning of true love for God. Shame on all who say that they believe in God, and love God, while the very thought of death— of leaving this world— drives them wild with fear. O Lord our God, holy, mighty and living— the Source of holiness, the Source of strength, the Source of life— illumine us and warm us with love for Thee. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.





St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints

St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints. Oct. 31/18

 22nd Week after Pentecost. Tone 4.    No fast.

Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke (1st c.).  St. Joseph, founder of Volokolamsk (Volotsk) Monastery (1515). Martyr Marinus the Elder, at Anazarbus (4th c.). St. Julian the Hermit, of Mesopotamia (4th c.). St. David, abbot, of Serpukhov (1520). Hieromartyr Mnason, bishop of Cyprus (1st c.). Sts. Symeon, Theodore (monks), and Euphrosyne, who found the Icon of the Mother of God in the Great Cave of the Peloponnese (9th c.). New Martyrs Gabriel and Cirmidol, of Egypt (1522). St. Peter of Cetinje, metropolitan of Montenegro (1830).    Slaying of Jose Muñoz-Cortes (in monasticism Monk Ambrose), guardian of the myrrh-streaming “Montreal” Iveron Icon of the Theotokos (1997).


Scriptures of for Today:  

Colossians 2:20-3:3

Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations- Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle, which all concern things which perish with the using-according to the commandments and doctrines of men?  things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.  If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.  For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.


Luke 9:23-27

Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?  For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father's, and of the holy angels.  But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God.


St. Theophan the Recluse on Today’s Scriptures: 

Tuesday. [Col. 2:20-3:3; Luke 9:23-27]    Do not be ashamed to confess the Lord Jesus Christ as the incarnate Son of God who redeemed us through His death on the cross, who through His resurrection and ascension opened for us the entrance into the Kingdom of heaven. If you shall be ashamed, then He shall be ashamed of you, When he shall come in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy Angels. Now in society there is a trend to not talk at all about the Lord and about salvation, whereas in the beginning these dear subjects were all that people talked about. One’s talk more readily flows from the place where the heart abides. Can it really be that people’s hearts abide less with the Lord? Judging from the talk, this must be the case. Some do not know Him at all, others are cold towards Him. Fearing encounters with such people, even those who are warm towards the Lord do not direct the conversation towards Him, and the priesthood is silent. Now, talk about the Lord and Saviour and about our main concern—salvation—is excluded from the circle of talk acceptable in society. What, you say, are we really supposed to talk only about that? Why only about that? One can talk about anything, but in a way that is shaded by the spirit of Christ. Then it would be possible to guess whether the speaker is Christian or pagan. Now, however, it is impossible to guess what they are, neither by their talk, nor by their writings. Look through all the periodicals—what don’t they write there? But nobody wants to make Christian conversation. What a complicated time!


Prologue Ohrid for Today:


1. The Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke

Luke was born in Antioch. In his youth, he excelled in his studies of Greek philosophy, medicine and art. During the ministry of the Lord Jesus on earth, Luke came to Jerusalem, where he saw the Savior face to face, heard His saving teaching and was witness to His miraculous works. Coming to belief in the Lord, St. Luke was numbered among the Seventy Apostles, and was sent out to preach. With Cleopas, he saw the resurrected Lord on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24). After the descent of the Holy Spirit, Luke returned to Antioch and there became a fellow worker of the Apostle Paul and traveled to Rome with him, converting Jews and pagans to the Christian Faith. Luke, the beloved physician, … greets you, writes the Apostle Paul to the Colossians. (Colossians 4: 14). At the request of Christians, he wrote his Gospel in about the year 60. Following the martyrdom of the great Apostle Paul, St. Luke preached the Gospel throughout Italy, Dalmatia, Macedonia and other regions. He painted icons of the Most-holy Theotokos— not just one, but three— and icons of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. Hence, St. Luke is considered to be the founder of Christian iconography. In old age, he visited Libya and Upper Egypt. From Egypt he returned to Greece, where he continued to preach and convert many with great zeal despite his old age. In addition to his Gospel, St. Luke wrote the Acts and dedicated both works to Theophilus, the governor of Achaia. Luke was eighty-four years old when the wicked idolaters tortured him for the sake of Christ and hanged him from an olive tree in the town of Thebes, in Boethia. The miracle-working relics of this wonderful saint were transported to Constantinople in the reign of Emperor Constantius, the son of Constantine. The Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke (icon in Hilandar Monastery, 16th c.)


2. Saint Peter of Cetinje, Metropolitan of Montenegro

Peter was born on April 1, 1749, in the village of Njeguš. He entered the monastic order at the age of twelve. Following the death of Metropolitan Sava in 1782, Peter became the Metropolitan and ruler of Montenegro. This glorious man dedicated his entire holy life to his people. He worked with all his strength to reconcile the quarreling clans of Montenegro, and strove mightily to defend the land and people from greedy aggressors. He succeeded in both tasks. He is especially glorified for his victory over Napoleon’s army in Boka and Dalmatia. He was very strict with himself, and with everyone else he was just and condescending. Peter lived in a small cell like a simple monk even though he was a prince over the people. He reposed on October 18, 1830. His miracle-working relics repose, incorrupt, in the Monastery of Cetinje. The Lord glorified him in the heavens and on earth as His faithful and long-suffering servant.


3. Saints Julian and Didymus the Blind

St. Julian, called the “Hermit,” was a Persian and an unlearned peasant, but because of the purity of his heart he was a vessel of the grace of the Holy Spirit. He lived a life of asceticism beside the Euphrates River in Mesopotamia, and possessed the gift of clairvoyance. In the same moment that Julian the Apostate perished, St. Julian discerned this in the spirit, and declared it to his disciples. St. Didymus the Blind was his contemporary. He lived in Alexandria, and also perceived in the spirit the death of Julian. St. Didymus was at prayer during the night when a voice came to him from heaven, saying: “Today the Emperor Julian is no more, inform Patriarch Athanasius of this.” St. Anthony the Great greatly respected this wondrous blind saint who had the spirit of discernment. He stayed with him and prayed to God with him whenever he came to Alexandria from the desert. Both St. Julian and St. Didymus, wonderful servants of God, entered into rest some time after the year 362.



Saint Luke the Apostle and Evangelist The divine Luke, both wise and learned, Was tortured willingly for the Lord. He could have avoided mockery and torture, But the world would not have had the great Luke. The young Luke beheld God’s truth And surrendered his heart to the Son of God. He hearkened to the Teacher, beheld the Wonderworker, And in Him he recognized the Immortal Creator. He beheld the Resurrected One, and spoke with Him, And worked miracles in His name. Christ became his only joy, And Luke sacrificed his mind, wealth and youth to Him. When Luke became old, he was young in Christ, And gave to the world what he received from the Lord. And when he had given the world all he could give, Then the world, fulfilling the Scripture, repaid him with contempt. From an old olive tree the aged Luke hung, With a smile on his face and his arms folded crosswise. And the hand of Christ came down from heaven And received the soul of His Evangelist. Now, in radiant Paradise with the other apostles, St. Luke prays for the Holy Church.



Can a sinner repent of his sins in ten days? According to the immeasurable compassion of God he can. During the reign of Emperor Maurice, there was a well-known bandit in the vicinity of Constantinople. He inspired fear and trembling both within the capital and without. One day, the Emperor Maurice himself sent the robber a cross as a sign of faith that he would do him no harm if he surrendered. The robber took the cross and surrendered. Arriving in Constantinople, he fell before the feet of the emperor and begged for forgiveness. The emperor kept his word, had mercy on him and released him. Immediately after that, the robber became gravely ill and sensed that death was drawing near. He bitterly repented of all his sins and tearfully prayed to God that He forgive him, as the emperor had forgiven him. He shed so many tears at prayer that his handkerchief was completely soaked. After ten days of weeping and praying, the repentant man reposed. The same night he passed away, his physician saw a wondrous vision in a dream: when the robber had given up his soul, there gathered around him black, manlike demons with pieces of paper on which were written all his sins. Two radiant angels also appeared. The angels set a scale between them, and the joyful demons placed all those papers on it, weighing down their side of the scale; but the other side was empty. The angels held counsel: “What shall we place on it? Let us seek something good in his life!” And then that handkerchief soaked with tears of repentance appeared in the hands of one angel. The angels quickly placed it on their side of the scale and it outweighed all the demons’ papers. Then the black demons fled, howling sorrowfully, and the angels took the soul of the repentant thief and carried it to Paradise, glorifying the man-loving God.



Contemplate the miracle of the Apostle Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8):

1. How an angel guided Philip from Samaria to the road into Gaza;

2. How Philip saw the eunuch of Queen Candace, explained to him the prophecy of Isaiah, and baptized him;

3. How an angel made Philip invisible to the eunuch, and transported him instantly to the town of Azotus.


HOMILY on the sins of the tongue

I said, I will guard my ways, lest I sin with my tongue (Psalm 39: 1) The sin of the tongue is the most common and most frequent sin. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, says the Apostle James (James 3: 2). When a penitent sets out on God’s path— when he begins to live according to God’s commandments— he should first strive to avoid sin with the tongue. That was the rule that the penitent David laid down for himself. He vowed especially to remain silent before his adversaries: I will restrain my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked are before me (Psalm 39: 1). Behold a most wonderful rule for one who is being healed of sin. When he is accused, he does not reply; when he is slandered, he remains silent. In truth, what does it help to speak with an enraged, unrighteous man who does not love God more than himself? If you speak to him of evil, you will enrage him even more. If you speak to him of good, you will make him a mocker of holy things. Before Pilate Christ remained silent. Pilate said: Answerest Thou nothing? (Mark 15: 4). What can He reply to you, when you do not have ears to hear or a mind to understand? Behold, the silence of the righteous one before the unrighteous one can still have the best influence on the unrighteous one. Left to interpret the silence of the righteous one by himself, the unrighteous one can interpret it for the benefit of his soul; while any other answer, good or bad, will be interpreted for evil, to the condemnation of others and to the justification of himself. Blessed is he who learns to govern his tongue. O Lord Jesus Christ our God, Thou Who hast shown us by example how and when to speak, Thou hast shown us by example how and when we should be silent. Help us, by Thy Holy Spirit, that we not sin with the tongue. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.


St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints

St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints. Oct. 30/17  

22nd Week after Pentecost. Tone 4.    No fast.

Saints for Today:  

Prophet Hosea (Osee) (820 b.c.).  Monk-martyr Andrew of Crete (767). Holy Martyrs and Unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian, and their brothers Martyrs Leontius, Anthimus, and Eutropius in Cilicia (4th.c.). Translation to Constantinople of the relics of St. Lazarus “of the Four Days” (in the tomb), bishop of Kition on Cyprus (898). St. Anthony, founder of Leokhnov Monastery (Novgorod) (1611). St. Joseph the Wonderworker, catholicos of Georgia (1770). New Monk-martyrs Jacinthus and Callistus, of the St. Nicholas Monastery (Verkhoturye) (1918). New Hieromartyr Alexander (Shchukin), archbishop of Semipalatinsk (1937). Icon of the Mother of God the “Deliveress.” (ca. 1889) Martyr Queen Shushanik (Susanna) of Georgia (475). Martyrs Ethelred and Ethelbert, princes of Kent (ca. 640). Repose of Elder Athanasius (Zakharov) of Ploshchansk Hermitage (1825), disciple of St. Paisius (Velichkovsky), and Nun Alypia, fool-for-Christ, of Goloseyevo (Kiev) (1988).

Today’s Scriptures:

Colossians 2:13-20

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.  Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.  So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.  Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations-

Luke 9:18-22

And it happened, as He was alone praying, that His disciples joined Him, and He asked them, saying, "Who do the crowds say that I am?"  So they answered and said, "John the Baptist, but some say Elijah; and others say that one of the old prophets has risen again."  He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered and said, "The Christ of God."  And He strictly warned and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, "The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day."


St. Theophan the Recluse on Today’s Scriptures:

Monday. [Col. 2:13-20; Luke 9:18-22]

   Whom say the people that I am? the Lord asked. In answer to this the Apostles related the current opinions among the people concerning Him, formed according to the nature of people’s views at that time. Some said that He was John the Baptist, others that He was Elias, others that he was one of the ancient prophets resurrected. How do they answer today? Also in various ways, each according to his own way of thinking. What sort of answers could be given by materialists, atheists, and the soulless who believe we are descended from the apes, when they have neither God nor a soul? Spiritualists, like the Arians, have the same response that was denounced at the first ecumenical council. Deists see God as being very far from the world, and since they do cannot contain in their system the mystery of the incarnation, they answer like the Ebionites,[1] Socinians[2]. You will hear similar answers in Russian society, for the aforesaid three types of identities exist and are multiplying among us. But thanks to the Lord, we still have a boundlessly predominating number of sincere believers and those who strictly maintain the apostolic confession that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only-begotten Son of God incarnate, the Saviour and Redeemer of the human race who even in paradise was promised to our forefathers. Which party will overcome is known only to God. Let us pray that we preserve within us the light of Christ, and that darkness of false teachings be driven away. We have a weakness for bad things; that is why it is not surprising that a lie comes out on top. Now it is already walking the streets of town openly, while in the past it cautiously hid from the gaze of Christian believers.

[1] An early Judaizing, heretical sect of Jewish Christians originating in Palestine, who did not believe in the virginal birth of Christ, or that He is the Son of God.

[2] An antitrinitarian Protestant sect begun by Lelio Sozzini (1525-62) and his nephew Fausto Sozzini.


Prologue of Ohrid:

Saints for Today:

1. The Holy Prophet Hosea 

Hosea was the son of Beeri of the tribe of Issachar. Hosea lived and prophesied more than eight hundred years before the birth of Christ. His divinely inspired words are found in his book, which contains fourteen chapters. He strongly rebuked Israel and Judah for their idolatry and also foretold God’s punishment for their sins, the destruction of Samaria and Israel for their apostasy, and God’s mercy on the tribe of Judah. He foretold the abolition and the end of the sacrifices of the Old Testament. He foretold the coming of the Lord, and the richness of gifts that He would bring with Him to earth. He lived to a very old age and entered peacefully into rest. The Holy Prophet Hosea (fresco in Dečani Monastery, 14th c.) 

2. The Holy Martyrs Cosmas and Damian, the Unmercenaries 

There are three pairs of holy physicians by the name of Cosmas and Damian. The first entered into rest peacefully on November 1, the second pair was stoned in Rome on July 1, and the third was from Arabia; and it is these that we speak of under today’s date. They were physicians by profession, and when they received the Christian Faith, they healed the sick in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. They became widely known for their miraculous healings. The malicious pagans seized them, and took them before Governor Lysias in the town of Aegea. Since neither of these brothers would renounce Christ at any cost, they were cast into the sea, then into fire, but the omnipotent God saved them from both the water and the fire. An angel of the Lord appeared to them and saved them. The pagan governor ascribed this to their alleged sorcery but they answered: “We know nothing of sorcery nor do we need sorcery, but we possess the power of Christ— which saves us and all who invoke His Most-holy Name.” The pagans struck them with stones but the stones bounced off them; they shot them with arrows, but the arrows rebounded as well. Finally, they were beheaded with the sword. Saints Leontius, Anthimus and Eutropius also suffered with them, and received heavenly wreaths of glory. They suffered in the time of Diocletian and Maximian. Many miracles were manifested from their holy relics, even as miracles abounded from them during their life. 

3. The Venerable Martyr Andrew 

St. Andrew was a Cretan by birth and a Christian priest. In the time of the iconoclastic persecution, he showed himself to be a great defender of the veneration of icons. Andrew went to Constantinople to denounce the wicked Emperor Copronymus. As the emperor stood in the Church of the Holy Martyr Mamas, Andrew entered the church, stood before him, and openly rebuked him before all. “It would be better for you, O Emperor, to attend to military matters and to govern the people, than to persecute Christ and His servants.” For this, St. Andrew was beaten severely, tortured and dragged through the streets, where a heretic struck him with an axe and killed him. Thus, Andrew rendered his holy soul to God in the year 767. His relics gave healing to the sick. 

4. Saint Lazarus the Four-days-dead 

Lazarus’s principle feasts are on March 17 and Lazarus Saturday during Great Lent. Under today’s date is commemorated the translation of his relics from the island of Cyprus to Constantinople. This occurred when Emperor Leo the Wise built the Church of St. Lazarus in Constantinople, and translated Lazarus’s relics there in the year 890. When, after almost a thousand years, Lazarus’s grave in the town of Kition on Cyprus was unearthed, a marble tablet was found with the inscription: “Lazarus of the Four Days, the friend of Christ.” 


The Holy Prophet Hosea

The discerning Prophet Hosea cried out And prophesied tribulation to the sinful nation: “The Lord, the Lord saith: Mercy is dear to Me, But sacrifices, filthy and rotten, are not dear. Ye transgress the Law, as did Adam of old, Ye worship lies, and a falsehood is lord over you. Your sacrifices are finished; I will not accept them. Now I shall prepare the greatest sacrifice for Myself. Ye have planted godlessness; iniquity have ye reaped. Ye have sown wind, and harvested a storm. But if ye now plant righteousness, ye will reap mercy— And to Me, ye will be a holy people again. But ye are ashamed of Me and love idols. Ye encourage adultery, ye encourage sin! That is why ye shall wander throughout the world, And every nation shall be more powerful than you. And I will raise up a New Israel: A new Kingdom— a Kingdom of saints. It will be as the dew and as a blossoming lily, And its most wondrous fragrance shall fill the world. I am the Lord, the Lord; whatever I desire I can do! Blessed are those who worship Me, the Living God.” 



The second appearance of the Holy Martyr Longinus: When Longinus appeared to the blind widow whose son had died, he promised to restore her sight and to reveal her son in great glory. Finding the relics of the holy martyr and touching them with her hands, the widow immediately regained her sight, and thus, one promise was fulfilled. The following night, St. Longinus appeared to the widow in radiant attire, holding her son by the hand, who was also clothed resplendently. Caressing the child like a father, Longinus said: “Woman, behold your son for whom you weep so much! Look at the honor and glory given him; look and be comforted. God has numbered him among the heavenly ranks who live in His Kingdom. I have now brought him from the Savior, and he will never be parted from me. Take my head and your son’s body, and bury them together in one coffin. Mourn your son no longer, and let not your heart be troubled, for great glory, joy, and endless rejoicing is given him from God.” Seeing and hearing all this, the woman was filled with great joy, and she returned to her home, saying to herself: “I asked for bodily eyes and I found spiritual eyes. I was saddened at the death of my son, and now I have him in heaven, where he remains in glory with the prophets and rejoices with them unceasingly.” 



Contemplate the wondrous vision of St. Stephen the Archdeacon and Protomartyr (Acts 7):

1. How Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, saw the heavens opened;

2. How he said: Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God (Acts 7: 56);

3. How the Jews stoned him.

HOMILY on the festering wounds of sin

My wounds are foul and festering because of my foolishness (Psalm 38: 5) The prophet speaks of the wounds of sins that he himself committed, and from which he sensed in himself the stench of sin. As much as this acknowledgment reveals the impurity of previous sins, so is the subsequent purity of the repentant one also shown. For as long as man follows the corrupt path of sin, he does not sense its suffocating stench; but when he withdraws from this path and sets off on the pure path of righteousness, he senses the inexpressible difference between purity and impurity, between the path of virtue and the path of vice. Imagine a man who has spent the night in a stinking tavern and finds himself in a garden of roses the next morning. In the former there was stench, poison, debasement of soul and body, anger, discord, and the tormenting of himself and others. In the latter is God’s great sun overhead, beautiful flowers everywhere, fresh air, wondrous fragrance, serenity and health. Imagine this, and understand that there is an even greater difference between the path of sin and the path of God. My wounds are foul and festering. Thus the great king describes the fruits of his sinful past. Nothing is as foul as sin, nothing festers as much and nothing spreads as much as sin. The stench of bodily wounds suggests, in only a small way, the unbearable stench of a sinful soul. That is why every holy thing distances itself from such a soul. The pure heavenly spirits hide from such a one, and the impure spirits of hades seek its company. Every new sin is a fresh wound on the soul; every sin is corruption and stench. How does sin arise? From my foolishness explains the prophet. A mind derailed from its divine track leads man to sin. Until the mind is cleansed, man cannot be cleansed. But we have the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2: 16), says the Apostle. In other words, we have a mind put back on track, as was Adam’s mind before the sinful stench. Hence brethren, all Orthodox teaching on asceticism concentrates on one main point: on the mind of man; on the cleansing and correcting of the mind. O Lord Jesus Christ, Purity and eternal Source of purity, help us to reject our foolishness; help us to reason according to Thy mind. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.



St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints

St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints Oct. 29/Oct 16

21st Sunday after Pentecost. Tone 4.    Fast-free period.  

Saints for Today:

Martyr Longinus the Centurion, who stood at the Cross of the Lord (1st c.). St. Longinus the Gate-keeper, of the Kiev Caves (13th c.-14th c.). Sts. John and Longinus of Yarenga, monks of Solovki (1561). St. Eupraxia, abbess, in the world Princess Euphrosyne, of Pskov (1243). St. Domna, fool-for-Christ, of Tomsk (1872). Martyrs Isaurus and Aphrodisius, who suffered with St. Longinus (1st c.). St. Gall, monk of Bangor Monastery and enlightener of Switzerland (ca. 646).  Repose of Patriarch Adrian of Moscow (1700) and Abbot Neonil of Neamts, Romania (1853).


Scriptures for Today:

Galatians 2:16-20 (Epistle)

knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. But if, while we seek to be justi fied by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not!  For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.  For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.  I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.


Luke 8:5-15 (Gospel)

A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it.  Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture.  And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it.  But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold. When He had said these things He cried, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"  Then His disciples asked Him, saying, "What does this parable mean?"  And He said, "To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that 'Seeing they may not see, And hearing they may not understand.'  Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.  Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.  But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.  Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.  But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.



St. Theophan on Today’s Scriptures:

The Twenty-First Sunday After Pentecost. [Gal. 2:16-20; Luke 8:5-15]

   The thorns and thistles which choke the word of Divine truth, in addition to being riches, pleasures and cares of this life, at the current time must also be understood to be various false teachings, spread by scholars who have lost the truth and have been knocked off the path to it. Among us such theories differ much: some publicly and openly go against the truth; others do so by oblique hints that are nevertheless understood by those toward whom they are directed. In essence they act like carbon monoxide poisoning—they enter unnoticeably, and cloud the head, leading to a loss of clear consciousness of everything around. He who gets this carbon monoxide poisoning begins to rave like one who is asleep, for everything already appears to him entirely not as it is, not as it appears to one who is in his right mind. When you meet such a person you see that not only is all truth is suppressed in him, but any feeling for the truth is also stifled, and a lie has penetrated all the components of his mind. How should one be? Do not listen to these ravings or read them; and when they are unwillingly heard or read, throw them out of your head. When they are not thrown out—submit them to reason, and they all will scatter like smoke.


From the Prologue of Ohrid:

1. The Holy Martyr Longinus 

The divine Matthew the Evangelist, in describing the passion of the Lord Jesus Christ, says: Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God (Matthew 27: 54). That centurion was this blessed Longinus, who with two other of his soldiers came to believe in Jesus, the Son of God. Longinus was chief of the soldiers who were present at the Crucifixion of the Lord on Golgotha, and was also the chief of the watch that guarded the tomb. When the Jewish elders learned of the Resurrection of Christ, they bribed the soldiers to spread the false news that Christ did not resurrect, but rather that His disciples stole His body. The Jews also tried to bribe Longinus, but he did not allow himself to be bribed. Then the Jews resorted to their usual strategy: they decided to kill Longinus. Learning of this, Longinus removed his military belt, was baptized with his two companions by an apostle, secretly left Jerusalem and moved to Cappadocia with his companions. There, he devoted himself to fasting and prayer and, as a living witness of Christ’s Resurrection, converted many pagans to the true Faith by his witness. After that, he withdrew to a village on the estate of his father. Even there, however, the malice of the Jews did not leave him in peace. Due to the calumnies of the Jews, Pilate dispatched soldiers to behead Longinus. St. Longinus foresaw in the spirit the approach of his executioners and went out to meet them. He brought them to his home, not telling them who he was. He was a good host to the soldiers, and soon they lay down to sleep. But St. Longinus stood up to pray, and prayed all night long, preparing himself for death. In the morning, he called his two companions to him, clothed himself in white burial clothes, and instructed the other members of his household to bury him on a particular small hill. He then went to the soldiers and told them that he was that Longinus whom they were seeking. The soldiers were perplexed and ashamed, and could not even contemplate beheading Longinus, but he insisted that they fulfill the order of their superior. Thus, Longinus and his two companions were beheaded. The soldiers took Longinus’s head to Pilate, and he turned it over to the Jews. They threw it on a dung heap outside the city. The Holy Martyr Longinus (fresco in Studenica Monastery, Serbia, 1208-9) 


2. The Venerable Longinus, the Lover of Labor 

Longinus was a monk of the Monastery of the Kiev Caves in the fourteenth century. He was the gatekeeper of the monastery, and had such a pure and grace-filled heart that he always knew the thoughts of those who were entering the monastery and of those who were leaving the monastery. The miracle-working relics of Longinus repose in the Cave of St. Theodosius. 



The Holy Martyr Longinus St. Longinus stood beneath the Cross When, on the Cross, Christ breathed His last. Longinus beheld the wrath of the mild sky, Witnessed the earth as it shook, And the bright sun as it lost its rays And clothed the whole world in darkness. The tombs of many were opened, And many of the dead appeared alive. Brave Longinus was filled with fear, And exclaimed with a remorseful sigh: “This Man was the Son of God! Sinful men have crucified the Innocent One!” Next to him, two other soldiers Echoed the exclamation of their centurion. Longinus was a witness of the Resurrection, And he could attest to His humiliation as well. An eyewitness, a true witness, Longinus desired to not conceal the truth, But proclaimed it everywhere he went, And glorified the resurrected Christ God! To his death he remained Christ’s soldier; And for Christ, Longinus gave his head. 



The first appearance of the Holy Martyr Longinus was as follows: Much time had passed since his martyrdom when it happened that a widow in Cappadocia became blind. The doctors were unable to do anything at all for her. Suddenly, the thought came to her to go to Jerusalem and venerate the holy places there, hoping that she might find help. She had an only son, a boy, who served as her guide, but as soon as they arrived in Jerusalem, her son died of an illness. Oh, how immeasurable was her sorrow! Having lost her eyes, she now lost her only son, whose eyes had guided her. But in her pain and sorrow, St. Longinus appeared to her and comforted her with the promise that he would restore her sight and reveal to her the heavenly glory in which her son now dwelt. Longinus told her everything about himself, and told her to go outside the city walls to the dung heap, and there to dig up his head, and that she herself would see what would happen next. The woman arose and, stumbling, somehow managed to get out of the city. She cried out for someone to lead her to the dung heap and to leave her there. When she was led to the dung heap, she bent down and began to dig with her hands, having a strong faith that she would find that for which the saint asked. As she was digging, she touched the holy martyr’s buried head, and her eyes were opened, and she saw a man’s head beneath her hands. Filled with gratitude to God and great joy, she took the head of St. Longinus, washed it, censed it, and placed it in her home as the most precious treasure on earth. 



Contemplate the courage of St. Stephen the Archdeacon in confessing Christ (Acts 7): 

1. How St. Stephen enumerated the miracles and mercies of God toward the people of Israel throughout the ages; 

2. How he denounced the opposition to God and the evil doings of the Jewish elders; 

3. How he called them betrayers and murderers of Christ. 


HOMILY on the mountains and depths of God

Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; Thy judgments are a great deep (Psalm 36: 6) The mountains of God’s righteousness cut through all the distances of time and space, rising up from earth to heaven; and from the clouds of time they ascend to the clearness of eternity. Are not the saints the bearers of God’s righteousness? See how they cut through time and space! Born in time, they now rejoice in eternity. Living in eternity, they come down to us in time, and help us like strong brothers help their weaker brothers. They lived on earth in a finite space and now the whole universe glorifies them. On all five continents of the world, churches are built in honor of the apostles, martyrs, and the rest of God’s righteous ones. Such are the mountains of God’s righteousness: you cannot limit them, you cannot encompass them, and you cannot measure them with any measure in this world. What other mountains can compare with the mountains of God? What other men can compare with the men of God? What other glory can compare with the glory of those whom God glorifies? O my brethren, let us rejoice in the righteousness of God and let us make glad in the lofty mountains of God’s righteousness! Thy judgments are a great deep. That is, the judgments of Thy providence are as unfathomable as a great deep. Thou didst cast Job upon a dung heap in order to glorify him; Thou didst raise Saul on the throne, that he might plunge himself into destruction; Thou hast mercy on the sinner, and Thou givest him abundance and health, that he may repent; Thou chastenest the righteous, in order to strengthen him in faith and hope! Thy Holy Church is the greatest mountain of Thy righteousness, the source of many mountains. Thy Holy Church, O God, searches Thy judgments and Thy ways, and her wisdom is great and as sweet as a honeycomb filled with honey. O Lord, disperse the clouds of malice from our hearts, that we may know Thy judgments and see Thy ways. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.


St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints

St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints Oct. 28/Oct 15

21st Week after Pentecost. Demetrius’ Saturday. Commemoration of the Dead. Tone 3.    Fast-free period.


Saints for the Day:

St. Euthymius the New, of Thessalonica, confessor (889).  Hieromartyr Lucian, priest, of Antioch (312).  New Hiero-confessor Athanasius (Sakharov), bishop of Kovrov (1962).Martyrs Sarbelus (Thathuil) and his sister Bebaia, of Edessa (98-138). St.  Sabinus, bishop of Catania (760). Hieromartyr Lucian, hieromonk of the Kiev Caves (1243). St. John, bishop of Suzdal (1373). St. Dionysius, archbishop of Suzdal (1385). New Hieromartyr Valerian Novitsky, priest, of Telyadovich (1930). Synaxis of New Hieromartyrs of Belorussia: Archimandrite Seraphim, Priests Vladimir (5), Basil, Sergius, Michael (2), Porphyrius, Dimitry (2), John (3), Leonid, Alexander, Matthew, Peter, Valerian, Nicholas, and Deacon Nicholas. Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos “She Who Ripens the Grain.” (19th c.) St. Barses the Confessor, bishop of Edessa (378). St. Aurelia of Strasbourg (Alsace, Gaul) (ca. 383). St. Thecla, abbess, of Ochsenfurt (Germany) (ca. 790).


Today’s Scriptures:

2 Corinthians 3:12-18

Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech- unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Luke 6:1-10

Now it happened on the second Sabbath after the first that He went through the grainfields. And His disciples plucked the heads of grain and ate them, rubbing them in their hands. And some of the Pharisees said to them, "Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?" But Jesus answering them said, "Have you not even read this, what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him:  how he went into the house of God, took and ate the showbread, and also gave some to those with him, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat?  And He said to them, "The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath." Now it happened on another Sabbath, also, that He entered the synagogue and taught. And a man was there whose right hand was withered.  So the scribes and Pharisees watched Him closely, whether He would heal on the Sabbath, that they might find an accusation against Him.  But He knew their thoughts, and said to the man who had the withered hand, "Arise and stand here." And he arose and stood.  Then Jesus said to them, "I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?"  And when He had looked around at them all, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he did so, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.


St. Theophan on Today’s Scriptures:

Saturday. [II Cor. 3:12-18; Luke 6:1-10]

   The Lord’s disciples pluck the ears of grain, rub them in their hands and eat them on the Sabbath—a deed very unimportant both in appearance and in essence; meanwhile the Pharisees could not restrain themselves and rebuked them. What made them raise this issue? In appearance—unreasoning zeal, but in essence—the spirit of judgmentalness. This sticks to everything and presents all in a sombre form of unlawfulness and destructiveness. This infirmity, to a greater or lesser degree, is common to almost all people who do not watch themselves. Not everyone will express judgmental thoughts in word, but it is rare for a person to refrain from them. Someone sits beside the heart and stirs up judgmentalness—it pours forth. But at the same time the judge himself is prepared to do deeds which are not good, as long as nobody sees, and he is unfailingly in a state that is not so good in some way. It is as though he judges and condemns for that very reason—in order to satisfy his inwardly insulted and suppressed feeling of righteousness with attacks on others, groundless as they may be. He who loves righteousness and stands in it, knowing how difficult it is to attain correctness in deeds and even more so in feelings, will never judge; he is ready sooner to cover with leniency not only small, but also great transgressions of others. The Lord does not judge the judging Pharisees, but indulgently explains to them that the disciples did something that anyone would excuse if they thought about it rightly. And it almost always is this way: think reasonably about your neighbor’s actions and you will find that it does not at all have that serious, ghastly character which you saw at first.aught. And a man was there whose right hand was withered.  So the scribes and Pharisees watched Him closely, whether He would heal on the Sabbath, that they might find an accusation against Him.  But He knew their thoughts, and said to the man who had the withered hand, "Arise and stand here." And he arose and stood.  Then Jesus said to them, "I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?"  And when He had looked around at them all, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he did so, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.


From the Prologue of Ohrid:

1. The Venerable Martyr Lucian, Presbyter of Antioch 

Lucian was born of noble parents in the Syrian city of Samosata. In his youth, he acquired a very broad education, both secular and spiritual. He was a man distinguished in learning, as well as in the austerity of his ascetic life. Having distributed his goods to the poor, Lucian supported himself by compiling instructive works, and thus fed himself by the work of his hands. He performed a great service to the Church in that he corrected many Hebrew texts in Holy Scripture (that heretics, in accordance with their own false teaching, had distorted). Because of his learning and spirituality, he was ordained a presbyter in Antioch. During Maximian’s persecution, when St. Anthimus of Nicomedia and St. Peter of Alexandria were tortured, St. Lucian was on the list of those the emperor wanted to kill. Lucian fled the city and hid, but an envious heretical priest, Pancratius, reported him. The persecution was horrible and not even young children were spared. Two boys who did not want to eat food sacrificed to idols were thrown into a boiling bath, where in torments they gave up their holy souls to God. A disciple of Lucian named Pelagia (October 8) preserved her virginal purity from dissolute attackers by praying to God on her roof-top: she gave up her soul to Him, and her body fell from the roof. Lucian was brought to Nicomedia before the emperor. Along the way, his counsels converted forty soldiers to the Christian Faith, and all died a martyr’s death. Following interrogation and flogging, St. Lucian was cast into prison where he suffered starvation. St. John Chrysostom writes of St. Lucian: “He scorned hunger: let us also scorn luxury and destroy the power of the stomach that we may, when the time that requires such courage comes for us, be prepared in advance by the help of a lesser ascesis, to show ourselves glorious at the time of battle.” He received Holy Communion in prison on the Feast of Theophany, and on the following day rendered his soul to God. St. Lucian suffered on January 7, 311. St. Martyr Lucian (Menologion of Basil II, 11th c.) 

2. The Venerable Euthymius the New Euthymius was born in Ancyra in 824 of righteous parents, Epiphanius and Anna. He served in the army, married and had one daughter, Anastasia. He lived a strict and long ascetic life in monasteries on Mount Olympus and Mount Athos. For a time he also lived as a stylite near Thessalonica. He founded a monastery for men and a convent for women, near Thessalonica. He entered into rest on an island near the Holy Mountain toward the end of the ninth century. His holy and miracle-working relics repose in Thessalonica. 



The Venerable Martyr Lucian Lucian the most wise ascetic and scribe Boldly walked on the path of Christ. Against heretics and idolatrous darkness Lucian the victor waged a bitter struggle. Planted firmly on the foundation of the Most-holy Trinity— The Father without beginning, with the Spirit and the Son— Lucian glorified God in word and deed, And he confirmed this by his innocent blood. Savage Rome collapsed, the heresies died; Works immoral and shameful perished; The Church raised martyrs up to heaven; And the Church, great and glorious, outlived all. This is the Kingdom of saints, the Kingdom without end That Daniel foretold and Christ founded— O desired Kingdom, of earthly origin, With golden domes atop the heavenly roofs! And holy Lucian, a builder of that Kingdom, Labored much, and gave all for it. He now gloriously reigns beside his Jesus, Borne by God to the angelic flock. 



The saints of God place great importance on receiving Holy Communion before their death. Even though they were sacrificing their lives for Christ the Lord and washing away all their sins by the blood of martyrdom, the martyrs longingly received the Holy Mysteries whenever it was possible. St. Lucian was in prison with several of his disciples and other Christians. On the eve of Theophany, Lucian longed, on such a great Christian feast, to partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, for he knew that his death was imminent. Seeing the sincere desire of His sufferer, God Almighty arranged that some Christians pass bread and wine into the prison. When the Feast of Theophany dawned, Lucian called all the Christian prisoners to stand in a circle around him and said to them: “Surround me and be the Church.” He had no table, chair, stone or wood in the prison upon which to celebrate the Divine Liturgy. “Holy Father, where shall we place the bread and wine?” they asked Lucian. He lay down in their midst and said: “Place them on my chest, let it be a living altar for the Living God!” And thus the Liturgy was celebrated correctly and prayerfully on the chest of the martyr, and all received Holy Communion. The next day, the emperor sent soldiers to bring Lucian out for torture. When the soldiers opened the door of the prison, St. Lucian cried out three times: “I am a Christian! I am a Christian! I am a Christian!” and with that, he gave up his soul to his God. 



Contemplate the wondrous freeing of the apostles from prison (Acts 5): 

1. How the elders of the Jews cast the apostles into prison; 

2. How an angel of God appeared at night, opened the prison, led the apostles out and ordered them to enter the temple and preach the Gospel. 


HOMILY on how the Lord watches over the bones of the righteous

He watches over all his bones; not one of them shall be broken (Psalm 34: 20) Let not the righteous be afraid. The All-seeing God watches over them. Can the All-seeing lose or forget something? On the Day of Resurrection, He shall gather all their bodily parts and gloriously resurrect them. The persecutors hurled the bodies of the martyrs into the sea, buried them in deep pits, or left them in fields for the birds to devour. But the Lord, by His divine providence, so guided events that these holy relics came into the hands of the faithful. They were laid honorably in costly reliquaries, churches were built over them, and wonderworking power emanated from them. God wanted to show the faithful by this that He watches over the bones of the righteous, and that He has glorified them in the Heavenly Kingdom. And the Church on earth has affirmed this through the miraculous power of their glorified bodies. Wonderworking relics are like forerunners of the general and glorious resurrection of the righteous. But what if some of the bones of the righteous are burned or ground up— could that be an obstacle to the almighty power of God? Can He not, in the Day of Resurrection, reassemble and enliven them from the scattered ashes? There shall not an hair of your head perish (Luke 21: 18), assures the Lord. Nevertheless, if you want to understand “bones” as “works,” know then that the works of the unrighteous are as smoke, and the works of the righteous are powerful and as lasting as hard bones. Not even one righteous deed will fade away or disappear in the course of time. God knows them and God watches over them, so that He may reveal them like precious pearls before the assembly of angels and men on that Day. O All-seeing Lord, Master and Protector of the righteous, multiply our righteous deeds by Thy Holy Spirit, without whom nothing good can be done; and save us by Thy mercy, not according to our deeds. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.


St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints

St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints Oct. 27/Oct 14

1st Week after Pentecost. Tone 3. Fast Day. Wine and oil allowed.


Saints for the Day:

Martyrs Nazarius, Gervasius, Protasius, and Celsus, of Milan (54-68).  St. Parasceva (Petka) of Epibatima, Thrace, whose relics are in Iasi, Romania (11th c.). Hieromartyr Silvanus, priest, of Gaza, and with him 40 martyrs (311). St. Nikola Sviatosha, prince of Chernigov and wonderworker, of the Kiev Caves (1143). St. Cosmas, founder of Yakhromsk Monastery (Vladimir) (1492). Yakhromsk Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (15th c.). Martyr Peter Apselamus of Eleutheropolis in Palestine (309). St. Burchard, first bishop of Wurzburg, English missionary to Germany (754). St. Ignatius, metropolitan of Mithymna (1566). St. Cosmas the Hymnographer, bishop of Maiuma (787).

Scriptures for Today:

Colossian 2:1-7

For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words.  For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.  As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.


Luke 9:12-18

When the day began to wear away, the twelve came and said to Him, "Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place here." But He said to them, "You give them something to eat." And they said, "We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people."  For there were about five thousand men. Then He said to His disciples, "Make them sit down in groups of fifty."And they did so, and made them all sit down. Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude.  So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them.  And it happened, as He was alone praying, that His disciples joined Him, and He asked them, saying, "Who do the crowds say that I am?"


St. Theophan the Recluse on Today’s Scriptures:

Friday. [Col. 2:1-7; Luke 9:12-18]       The miraculous filling of the multitude in the desert is an image of the filling of the faithful in holy communion with the Most Pure Body and Most Pure Blood of the Lord. The Lord is sitting apart; the multitude is made to sit in groups; the apostles are intermediaries—they receive the bread and give it out. So it is now: believers are all divided into groups—small individual churches in which the Lord, invisibly present, gives out His Body and Blood through the apostolic successors. As He did to the apostles then, so now to their successors does He say, Give ye them to eat. As then, so now do the believing multitudes stand steadfastly before the Lord in fasting, hearing the word, and a prayerful desire be healed from sins as they prepare to approach the Divine Mysteries. Thus the mystery begun by the Lord’s appearance continues until now and will continue until the end of the world. And in the world to come there will be a communion of its own sort, for the Lord promises to give to eat of the hidden manna and of the tree of life (Rev. 2:7,17). Our forefathers’ own mystical communion was also arranged in the earthly paradise—eating from the tree of life. In the Old Testament Church its image is the eating of the paschal lamb. Thus, mystical communion began with the human race, was and will be with it until eternal ages, in various forms, but in the one meaning of the most true communion with the Lord; for In Him was life; and the life was the light of men (John 1:4). It is fitting for those who are created according to the image of God to be in such communion with Him, Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person (Heb. 1:3).


From the Prologue of Ohrid:

1. The Venerable Parasceva [Petka] 

This glorious saint was of Serbian descent, and was born in the town of Epivat between Selymbria and Constantinople. St. Parasceva’s parents were wealthy, devout Christians. They also had a son, Euthymius, who was tonsured a monk during his parents’ lifetime, and later became the famous Bishop of Madytos. The virgin Parasceva always yearned for the ascetic life for the sake of Christ. After her parents’ repose, she left her home and went first to Constantinople, then to the wilderness of Jordan, where she lived the ascetic life until old age. Who can express all the labors, sufferings and demonic temptations that St. Parasceva endured in the course of her many years? In her old age, an angel of God once appeared to her and said: “Leave the wilderness and return to your homeland; it is necessary that you render your body to the earth there, and your soul to the habitation of the Lord.” St. Parasceva obeyed, and returned to Epivat. There she lived for two years in ceaseless fasting and prayer, then gave up her soul to God and took up her abode in Paradise. St. Parasceva entered into rest in the eleventh century. Over the course of time her relics were translated to Constantinople, to Trnovo, again to Constantinople, and then to Belgrade. Her relics now repose in Romania, in the town of Iasi. In Belgrade, the well of St. Petka miraculously heals the sick who draw near with faith in God and love for this saint.***) The Venerable Parasceva [Petka] (icon in Hilandar Monastery, 1631-32) 


2. The Holy Martyrs Nazarius, Gervasius and Protasius 

Nazarius was born in Rome of a Jewish father and a Christian mother. His mother, Perpetua, was baptized by the Apostle Peter himself. Confessing his mother’s Faith, Nazarius sincerely fulfilled all the precepts of the Church. Fearlessly preaching the Gospel, Nazarius went to Milan. There, he found the Christians Gervasius and Protasius in prison, and ministered to them with great love. Learning of this, the local eparch ordered Nazarius to be beaten and driven from the city. His mother came to him in a vision and told him to go to Gaul, and to preach the Gospel there; and this is what Nazarius did. After several years, Nazarius returned to Milan— this time with a disciple, the young man Celsus, whom he had baptized in Gaul. There he found the brothers Gervasius and Protasius still in prison, and he was soon thrown in with them by the governor Anulinus. Christ’s martyrs rejoiced because of this reunion brought about by God’s providence. Emperor Nero ordered Nazarius slain, and the governor brought Nazarius and Celsus out of prison and beheaded them. Soon after that, General Astazius, passing through Milan en route to battle against the Moravians, beheaded St. Gervasius along with St. Protasius. He had heard that these two brothers would not sacrifice to idols, and fearing that he might lose the battle by losing favor with his false gods, he commanded that they be executed immediately. Gervasius and Protasius were twins, born of the blessed parents Vitalius and Valeria, who were also martyred for the Faith. The relics of St. Nazarius were translated by St. Ambrose from a garden outside the city to the Church of the Holy Apostles. The relics of St. Gervasius and St. Protasius were revealed to him in a miraculous vision. 


HYMN OF PRAISE The Venerable Parasceva— Saint Petka

“The Lord desires a pure heart”: Thus says the Gospel. A pure virgin you remained, And you gave your pure heart to God— O most wonderful saint, Saint Parasceva, our ideal! The Lord seeks a most pure mind, Without fancy and without falsehood; And you presented Him your most pure mind, Like that of an angel, of the same kind. O most wonderful saint, O Saint Parasceva, hearken to our petitions! The Lord seeks a pure soul, As a heavenly shrine; You perfected such a soul, And now shine in heaven. O most wonderful saint, Parasceva, help us! By your prayers, help us In the misfortunes of life. Through the clouds of earthly sorrow Bring us light, like a rainbow— O chaste virgin, most wonderful, Holy Mother Parasceva! 



Examples of how the saints themselves reveal their hidden relics to men justify the honor rendered to the relics of the saints— not to mention the miraculous action of these relics, which doubly justifies them. For a long, long time, no one could locate the grave of St. Parasceva. Then it happened that a sailor died, and his body was carelessly laid in the proximity of the saint’s grave. When the body turned into carrion and began to emit an unbearable stench, a monk who lived nearby summoned the peasants to help him bury the corpse. It happened that they buried him in St. Parasceva’s own grave. That night, St. Parasceva appeared in a dream to one of those peasants (George by name) who had buried the corpse. She appeared as a beautiful and exquisitely-adorned queen, surrounded by many glorious soldiers. She said: “George, exhume my relics at once, and lay them in another place; for I can no longer endure the stench from that corpse.” Then she told him who she was, and where she was from. The same night a local peasant woman named Euphemia had the same dream. The next day, the peasants began to dig and in fact found the relics of St. Parasceva. They were extraordinarily fragrant, and soon proved to be miracle-working. Concerning the relics of St. Gervasius and St. Protasius, St. Ambrose relates how their relics were discovered in a similar manner. One night, two handsome youths and an old man appeared to Ambrose, who was awake. He thought that the old man was the Apostle Paul. While the young men remained silent, the old man spoke to Ambrose concerning them, saying that they were Christ’s martyrs, and that their relics lay in the very place where Ambrose was praying to God at that time. He went on to say that everything else concerning them would be revealed in a book that Ambrose would find in their grave. The following day, Ambrose recounted his vision and began to dig, and found the relics of both men. From the book that he found he learned that their names were Gervasius and Protasius. In the presence of St. Ambrose, a certain blind man named Severus touched these holy relics and immediately received his sight. 



Contemplate the wondrous healings worked by the holy apostles (Acts 5): 

1. How many signs and miracles were performed through the hands of the apostles; 

2. How many of the sick were healed just by the shadow of the Apostle Peter. 


HOMILY on how the angels do battle for the righteous

The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him and delivers them (Psalm 34: 7) The angel of the Lord will do battle for those who fear God. This has been clearly shown many times, as has been recorded; and it has occurred numberless times that have not been recorded. The Archangel Michael took up arms for Joshua, the Son of Nun. An angel did battle for the righteous King Hezekiah and, in one night, destroyed the army of the Chaldeans. How many times have angels visited the Christian apostles and martyrs in prison, strengthened them, and caused them to rejoice? The consolation of the righteous one comes from knowing that God is All-seeing, and sees his misfortune; that God is Omnipotent, and has power to save him from misfortune; that God is All-merciful, and will save him from misfortune. God will send His radiant angel to the aid of the righteous. The righteous one will not have to struggle against his tyrant, for the angel of God will do battle in his place. When God’s angel takes up arms, what army dares confront him? What empire will wage war against him? In an earlier Psalm, the Prophet David says: No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain hope for safety (Psalm 33: 16– 17). Hence, it does not help at all if the unjust, the worldly, are allies. When God’s angel takes up arms— all will burst as a bubble of water. Even when he was king, David remembered how, as a mere shepherd boy, he killed Goliath, a giant who was armed to the teeth, with a slingshot. On many occasions, David sensed the assistance of God’s angel. That is why he could with confidence console the oppressed but righteous ones with these words of comfort and strength: the angel of the Lord encamps around all who fear the Lord, and who serve Him, and an angel of God will deliver them. O my brethren, let us not doubt these words, but carefully consider, on a daily basis, how the angel of God leaves us in sorrow when we sin, and how he hastens to our assistance with joy and unspeakable power when we repent and implore God’s mercy. O Lord God, our Creator, the King of myriads of angels: forgive us, and save us, and protect us by Thy holy angels. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.


St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints

St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints Oct. 26/Oct 13

21st Week after Pentecost. Tone 3. Fast-free period.

Saints for Today:  

Translation to Moscow of the Iveron Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos.  Hieromartyrs Carpus, bishop of Thyateira, and Papylus, deacon, and Martyrs Agathadorus and Agathonica, at Pergamus (251).Martyr Florentius of Thessalonica (1st c.-2nd c.). Hieromartyr   Benjamin, deacon, of Persia (421-424). St. Nicetas the Confessor, of Paphlagonia (ca. 838). St. Benjamin of the Kiev Caves (14th c.). New Martyr Zlata (Chryse) of Meglin, Bulgaria (1795). St. Anthony, metropolitan of Chkondidi, Georgia (1815), and his disciple James the Elder, hieromonk. Kazan Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos “Of the Seven Lakes” (17th c.).  St. Venantius, abbot, of the monastery of St. Martin in Tours (Gaul) (400). St. Luke of Demena, Sicily (984). Monk-martyr Jacob of Hamatoura Monastery (Lebanon) (late 13th. c.).    Repose of Monk Athanasius of Valaam (1852).



Scriptures for Today:

Colossian 1:24-29

I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.  To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.


Luke 9:7-11

Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by Him; and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had risen from the dead, and by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the old prophets had risen again.  Herod said, "John I have beheaded, but who is this of whom I hear such things?" So he sought to see Him.  And the apostles, when they had returned, told Him all that they had done. Then He took them and went aside privately into a deserted place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.  But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing.


St. Theophan on Today’s Scriptures:

Thursday. [Col. 1:24-29; Luke 9:7-11]       Hearing about the works of Christ the Saviour, Herod said, “John I beheaded; but who is This?”—and he desired to see Him. He desired to see Him and sought an opportunity for this, but was not made worthy, because he sought not unto faith and salvation, but out of empty curiosity. Inquisitiveness is the tickling of the mind; truth is not the road to it, but news, especially sensational news. That is why it is not satisfied with the truth itself, seeks something extraordinary in it. When it has contrived something extraordinary, it stops there and attracts other people to it. In our days, it is the German mind that does this. The Germans are obsessed with contriving things. They covered the whole realm of the truth of God with their contrivances as with a fog. Take dogma, ethics, history, the word of God—all are so overloaded with contrivances that you cannot get to the truth of God. Meanwhile, these things interest them and those who have the same mindset. The truth of God is simple; need a proud mind be occupied with it? It would be better off contriving its own things. This is sensational, although empty and weak like a spider’s web. To see that it is so, look at the current theories of the creation of the world: they are like a somnambulistic or drunken delirium. And yet how good they seem to those who thought of them! How much energy and time are wasted on this—and all in vain! The deed was accomplished simply: He spake and it came to be. He commanded and it was created. Nobody can think up anything better than this solution.


From the Prologue of Ohrid:


1. The Holy Martyrs Carpus and Papylus 

Carpus was Bishop of Thyateira and Papylus was a deacon. They were born in Pergamum where they finally suffered for the Christian Faith at the hands of the evil proconsul Valerius, during the reign of Decius. Valerius tied them to horses and dragged them to Sardis, where he subjected them to harsh tortures. Then an angel of God appeared to them, healed them of their wounds and encouraged them. Carpus’s servant, Agathadorus, followed his master with great sorrow. Valerius then condemned him to torture as well. The saints were again tied to horses, and were dragged from Sardis to Pergamum. They tied holy Carpus to a tree and flogged him so that his body was covered with wounds, and his blood flowed like a stream, soaking the ground; but Carpus smiled in the midst of these horrible tortures. When they asked him why he was smiling, the holy martyr replied that he saw the heavens opened and the Lord seated on His throne, surrounded by Cherubim and Seraphim. As Papylus was being tortured, by prayer he healed a man blind in one eye, and many who witnessed this came to believe in Christ the Lord. Thrown to wild beasts, the martyrs remained unharmed. Then they were thrown into a fiery furnace. Agathonica, Carpus’s sister, also leaped into the fire, but the fire did not consume them. Finally, they were all beheaded with the sword, in the year 251. Thus, after their righteous endeavors, they received a wreath of glory in the Kingdom of Christ. The Holy Martyrs Carpus and Papylus (Menologion of Basil II, 11th c.) 


2. The Hieromartyr Benjamin the Deacon 

This soldier of Christ was a Persian who zealously preached the Gospel and brought many pagans, both Persians and Greeks, to the Christian Faith. He suffered during the reign of the Persian King Yezdegeherd, circa 412. When he was cast into prison, one of the king’s nobles defended him to the king. The king then released him, under the condition that he no longer preach Christ to the people. Benjamin boldly said: “This I can never give up. For he who hides the talent given him will be given over to great suffering,” and he continued to spread the Christian Faith. The emperor had him seized, and commanded that thorns be driven under his nails, and he was further tortured until he rendered his spirit to God. 


3. The Holy Great-martyr Zlata of Meglin 

Zlata was born of poor peasant parents (who also had three other daughters) in the village of Slatina, in the province of Meglin. She was a meek and devout girl, wise in the wisdom of Christ and golden, not only in name**) but also in her God-fearing heart. Once when Zlata went out to get water, some shameless Turks seized her and took her to their home. When one of them urged her to become a Moslem and be his wife, Zlata fearlessly replied: “I believe in Christ and Him alone do I know as my Bridegroom. I will never deny Him, even though you subject me to a thousand tortures and cut me into pieces.” When her parents and sisters found her, her parents said to her: “O daughter, have mercy on yourself and on us, your parents and sisters; deny Christ in words only, so that we can all be happy, for Christ is merciful. He would forgive such a sin, committed due to the necessities of life.” Her poor parents, sisters and relatives wept bitterly. However, the noble soul of St. Zlata resisted such diabolical snares. She answered them: “When you counsel me to deny Christ the true God, you are no longer my parents or my sisters. I have the Lord Jesus Christ as my father, the Theotokos as my mother, and the saints as my brothers and sisters.” The Turks then cast her into prison for three months, flogging her every day until her blood soaked the ground. Finally, they suspended her upside down and lit a fire, to suffocate her with the smoke; but God was with Zlata, and gave her strength in suffering. At last they hanged her from a tree and cut her into small pieces. Thus, this brave virgin gave her soul up to God, and went to dwell in Paradise in the year 1796. Pieces of her relics were taken by Christians to their homes for a blessing. 


HYMN OF PRAISE The Holy Great-martyr Zlata of Meglin

The Turks tortured St. Zlata of golden heart, Tormented her to death for Christ the Living God. Golden Zlata wept not, nor did she waver, But surrendered her whole heart to the Lord of Heaven. The tears of parents and sisters were in vain: Zlata sought delight through sufferings, true delight— The delight that Christ prepares for wise virgins, The joy that the Bridegroom bestows upon faithful brides. The cage of the body of Zlata the Golden was destroyed, And her soul was freed from its fragile prison. Zlata rose up to Paradise, joyful in soul, Taking her place among the royal, holy angels. St. Zlata, once a poor peasant girl, Is now glorified in Paradise as a queen. 



There is nothing more wretched than a man who, in the hour of misfortune, abandons hope in God and resorts to a means of salvation contrary to the Law of God. Not only does such a man not succeed in righting his outward situation, but he also loses his soul. Such was the case with Emperor Michael Palaeologus. In order to save his kingdom— threatened by the Bulgars and Serbs— he sought help from the pope, and agreed to an uncanonical union. What did he gain by this? He did not save the kingdom, but did commit numerous evil crimes. Soon after, he died miserably in a military campaign against John Ducas, Prince of Epirus. The Orthodox people were so resentful toward him that his son, Andronicus, dared not bury him publicly, but buried him at night without a funeral or prayer. He was cut off from the Orthodox Church, and he was not received by the Roman Church. Michael Palaeologus died outside the Church of God. Following Michael’s death, his widow, the empress, issued the following decree: “My majesty abhors and regards as loathsome this action [the Union] that has recently occurred in the Church and created discord in it…. And, as the Holy Church of God has determined not to sanction any official commemoration of my deceased spouse, our lord and king, because of the aforementioned deed and discord, My Majesty also, submitting all things to the fear of God and obedience to the Holy Church, approve and accept this, the Church’s decision, and never will I dare to perform a memorial service for my lord and spouse.” 



Contemplate the wondrous punishment by which the Apostle Peter punished Ananias (Acts 5): 

1. How Ananias, and then his wife Sapphira, lied and concealed part of the money; 

2. How the Apostle Peter denounced them, and they fell down and died one after the other. 


HOMILY on the burden of sin and deliverance from sin

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered (Psalm 32: 1) Fear, confusion, weakness, infirmity and darkening of the mind are born of sin. By sin, a man provokes others against himself, confuses his own conscience, attracts demons to himself, and gives them weapons against himself. By sin, a man separates himself from God, estranges himself from his guardian angel, and walls himself off from the source of all good. The committing of sin signifies a declaration of war against God and all godly powers. This is more preposterous than if a withered autumn leaf were to declare war on the wind. And, indeed, the most preposterous thing of all occurs: a man declares war on God! This declaration alone guarantees ruin and destruction for a man if he does not quickly come to himself, repent and flee to God for mercy. The great King David was well aware of the terrible predicament of the sinner, and he himself experienced it. He felt inexpressible fear, confusion, weakness and loneliness; he felt the arrows of men and the arrows of demons. But, realizing his horrible situation, David acknowledged his sin, prostrated himself in ashes before God, soaked the ground with tears of repentance and words of anguish that burned like fire, and prayed to the merciful God to forgive him. And, when all was forgiven him, he felt inexpressible blessedness. This blessedness of the forgiven soul he could not express in words. He could only declare, confirm and assure us of the condition of sinfulness and the condition of forgiveness from God, based on his direct experience of both conditions: Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered (Psalm 32: 1). What is this blessing? Freedom, courage, indescribable joy, power, strength, clarity of thought, peace of conscience, hope in God, hymnody to God, love for one’s neighbors, and meaning to one’s life! In other words: light, joy and strength are the blessing. This is the blessing that one who is forgiven of sin feels here on earth. If this is so, then what is the blessing that awaits him in heaven, that eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man (I Corinthians 2: 9)? O Lord our God, forgive us our transgressions by Thine infinite mercy, and cover our sins! To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.



St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints

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:


Colossians 1:18-23

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.

Luke 8:22-25

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. 



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.




St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints

St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints Oct. 24/Oct 11

21st Week after Pentecost. Tone 3. No fast.


Saints of the Day:

Holy Apostle Philip of the Seventy, one of the seven deacons (1st c.).  St. Theophanes Graptus (“the Branded”), confessor and hymnographer, bishop of Nicaea (850). Synaxis of the Elders of Optina: Sts. Leonid (repose) (1841), Macarius (1860), Moses (1862), Anthony (1865), Hilarion (1873), Ambrose (1891), Anatole I (1894), Isaac I (1894), Joseph (1911), Barsanuphius (1913), Anatole II (1922), Nektary (1928), New Hieroconfessor Nikon (1931), and New Hieromartyr Archimandrite Isaac II (1938). Martyrs Zenaida (Zenais) and Philonilla, of Tarsus in Cilicia (1st c.). St. Theophanes, faster, of the Kiev Caves (12th c.). Sts. Nectarius (397), Arsacius (405), and Sinisius (427), archbishops of Constantinople. St. Cainnech (Kenneth), abbot, of Aghaboe (Ireland), and missionary in Scotland (600). St. Ethelburga, foundress of the monastery of Barking (England) (ca. 676). St. Gommar, patron of Lier (Neth.) (775). Commemoration of the Miracle from the Icon of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Beirut of Phoenicia (7th c.).


Scriptures for the Day:


Colossians 1:1-2, 7-11

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. as you also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.  For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;


Luke 8:1-3

Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities-Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance.


St. Theophan on Today’s Scriptures:

Tuesday. [Col. 1:1-2, 7-11; Luke 8:1-3]       The Lord preaches, the women serve Him from their substance, and are thus as participants in his very preaching. It is not given to everyone to preach the Gospels, but everyone can help spread them, and be participants in this most important matter on the earth. There were many such participants, both men and women, at the time the holy apostles preached; and then at the time of their successors, and finally, throughout the entire history of the Church. Such participants exist to this day. Our apostles in the Caucasus and in various areas of Siberia labour zealously, suffering every need and deprivation. They continue the work of the Lord and the holy Apostles. Those men and women who send them help join the ranks of the women who served the Lord, and become worthy of equal recompense. The Lord said: He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth Me (John 13:20). This means that He equates Himself with the one who is sent to preach; it would follow that He equates the service rendered to his messengers with serving Him. According to the law of His goodness and truth, the way a person receives one determines the reward he will receive (Matt. 10:41). This would seem to be sufficient incentive to keep giving alms to help in the great work of preaching of the Gospels.


From the Prologues of Ohrid:


1. The Holy Apostle Philip 

Philip was born in Palestinian Caesarea. He was married and had four daughters. All four were endowed by God with the gift of prophecy, and all four were vowed virgins for the sake of Christ. When the holy apostles chose deacons, Philip was chosen with Stephen and the others. He served the needy and widows with great diligence. When the persecution of Christians began in Jerusalem, Apostle Philip found refuge in Samaria, and there preached the Gospel and gave witness by many miracles: driving out demons, healing the sick, and so forth. Seeing the miracles of the holy apostle, Simon the Magician was baptized. St. Philip also baptized the eunuch of Queen Candace. After that, an angel of God suddenly and invisibly translated him to Azotus, where he taught, preached and converted many to Christ. Philip was appointed Bishop of Tralles. He reposed peacefully in deep old age, and took up his habitation in the joy of his Lord. The Holy Apostle Philip (icon in Hilandar Monastery, 1620-22) 


2. The Commemoration of the Seventh Ecumenical Council 

The Seventh Ecumenical Council was held in 787 at Nicaea during the reign of the devout Empress Irene and her son, Constantine, in the time of Patriarch Tarasius. This Council finally confirmed the veneration of icons, justifying it by Holy Scripture, by the witness of the Holy Fathers, and by the undeniable example of miracles manifested through the holy icons. Adding to examples of miracles previously cited, Bishop Constantine of Cyprus recounted this: One day, a certain shepherd from the town of Constantia drove his flock to pasture, and there saw an icon of the Most-holy Theotokos, all decorated with flowers by the faithful. “Why render so much honor to a rock?” said the shepherd, who had obviously been brought up in iconoclasm. He struck the icon with his iron shepherd’s cane, and damaged the right eye of the image of the Mother of God. As soon as he turned away, he stumbled over that same cane and gouged out his own right eye. Thus injured, he returned to the city, crying out tearfully that the punishment of the Theotokos had befallen him. This Council also decreed that the holy relics of a martyr be placed, without fail, in the Antimension.*) Three hundred and sixty-seven Fathers participated in this Council. May the Lord also have mercy on us and save us by their prayers. The Holy Seventh Ecumenical Council in Nicea, 787 (fresco in Meteora Monastery, Greece, 16th c.) 


3. The Venerable Theophanes the Branded 

Theophanes was a confessor and writer of canons. He was born in Arabia of wealthy and pious parents. With his brother Theodore (December 27), he was tonsured a monk in the Monastery of St. Sava the Sanctified. As they were very educated monks, Patriarch Thomas of Jerusalem sent them to Emperor Leo the Armenian, to justify and defend the veneration of icons. The iniquitous emperor harshly tortured these holy brothers and cast them into prison. Later, the iconoclastic Emperor Theophilus resumed their torture and commanded that words of mockery be branded on their faces, to expose them to the ridicule of the world. When the iconoclastic controversy was resolved, Theophanes was freed, and shortly thereafter was consecrated a bishop. He died peacefully in the year 847, having suffered for the holy icons for a total of twenty-five years. He wrote 145 Canons. He entered into the eternal joy of his Lord. 


4. Saint Nectarius, Patriarch of Constantinople 

As a layman and a high-ranking court official, Nectarius was unanimously chosen as patriarch in 381, succeeding St. Gregory the Theologian. He was distinguished by profound understanding, tact and zeal for the Church. He reposed peacefully in the year 397. 


5. The Holy Martyrs Zinaida and Philonilla 

Zinaida and Philonilla were sisters by birth, and were born in Tarsus. They are called the kinswomen of St. Paul the Apostle. Remaining virgins, they renounced the world for the sake of Christ, and, withdrawing to a cave, lived the ascetic life. They were knowledgeable in medicine and healed many of the sick. Because of her great fasting, Philonilla especially was vouchsafed the gift of miracle-working. Certain unbelievers attacked them one night and stoned them to death. 



The Venerable Theophanes the Branded Theophanes of St. Sava’s, a great ascetic, Profound theologian and glorious hymnographer, A sufferer for Christ, a confessor of the Faith, An adornment of the Church, a Father of Orthodoxy: He left his cell for the sake of obedience, And from his silence, stepped out into the world once again, To persuade the evil emperor of the truth; And he witnessed that truth to the emperor. St. Theophanes traded a quarter century for true happiness, Though he passed this time in suffering most dire, And in the dank prison Wore the brand of suffering on his face. But, inspired by the Spirit, this saint of God Also infused these years with chants sublime, Glorifying the Lord and the saints of God With fervent hope, love and faith. 



Just as, by God’s providence, the power of miraculous healing is given to blessed water or sanctified oil, so this same power is also given to icons. St. Athanasius the Great cites one wonderful example of the miraculous power of holy icons: In the town of Beirut, there lived a Christian in a rented house. In moving out of the house, he forgot an icon of the Savior. Then a Jew moved into that house. There were many Jews in that town who were particularly embittered against the Christian Faith. Consequently, when the icon was found in the house, the Jews carried it to their gathering place and mocked it, as their ancestors had once mocked the living Savior. The Jews also did to the icon what their ancestors had done to the Savior: they pierced the hands and feet with nails, wiped vinegar on the lips of the image on the icon, and mocked the image of the Savior in every way possible. Finally, one of them took a spear and struck the divine image under the rib. But oh, the wonder— blood and water flowed from the image’s wound as they had from the living body of the crucified Lord. The Jews’ terror cannot be described. However, they brought a vessel to catch the blood, and brought many of the sick, blind, deaf, lame and insane to the icon. As soon as the Jews anointed the ailing with this blood, they were healed. The whole town gathered to see this miracle and all glorified Jesus Christ, the true God; and all the Jews in that town came to believe in the living and life-giving Lord Jesus Christ. 



Contemplate the numerous unrighteous acts of the people of Israel, and the numerous punishments that God visited upon them (II Kings 24): 

1. How the princes of the people often turned away from God, and did that which is evil in the sight of God;

2. How God punished the people in order to correct them; 

3. How finally, under the evil King Jehoiachin, the Israelites were taken into the Babylonian captivity. 


HOMILY on the voice of the Lord upon the waters

The voice of the Lord is upon the waters (Psalm 29: 3) The voice of the Lord was heard over Jordan, when St. John baptized the Savior. On the Sea of Galilee, when there were storms and winds, the voice of the Lord was heard, and the tempest was calmed and the winds ceased. The voice of the Lord was heard at the marriage feast at Cana of Galilee, and the water was changed into wine. The voice of the Lord was heard at the Red Sea, and the sea parted and a path was opened for the people of God. The voice of the Lord was heard in the wilderness, and water flowed from a dry rock. Given all this, what does the voice of the Lord is upon the waters mean? It means that the element, water, is the work of God; and through it, God works miracles when He wills, and how He wills. No less are the other elements the work of God: fire, air and earth. And God is Lord over them all, and through them He works miracles when He wills, and how He wills. God the Holy Spirit appeared in the form of fire at Pentecost. In the furnace at Babylon, the flames lost their power at the sound of the voice of the Lord, and did not harm the blessed children. Fire was sent down from heaven to consume the sacrifice of Gideon (Judges 6). Elias brought down fire from the heavens (II Kings 1: 10). The bush burned and was not consumed (Exodus 3). Fire from heaven came down and consumed Elias’s sacrifice to God (I Kings 18: 38). A fiery pillar went before the Israelites (Exodus 13, 14). All of this was according to the word of the Lord. The earth opened up and swallowed the unrighteous Korah, Dathan and Abiram (Numbers 16: 32). The earth opened and hid Elizabeth and the infant child John from the sword of Herod. The earth quaked when the Lord breathed His last on the Cross, and the graves opened up (Matthew 27: 51– 52). The Lord ascended into the heavens through the air (Luke 24: 51). The holy apostles were carried through the air to Jerusalem, from various parts of the world. An angel took the Prophet Habakkuk to Babylon through the air in an instant (Bel and the Dragon 1: 35). And all of this was in accord with the voice of the Lord: by the Lord’s command. When will men be as obedient to the voice of the Lord as the irrational elements of nature are? Then again, “the waters” is to be interpreted as meaning “men”— men who are obedient to the voice of the Lord— the apostles and the saints. Like water, they covered the earth with the preaching of Christ our God. Like water, they assuaged the thirsty world with the effusion of the fountain of eternal life, and the world was restored and blossomed. Upon them, just as upon ordinary water, numerous miracles were manifested; for they were submissive to the will of God, obedient to the voice of God, just like water. O Lord Jesus Christ, help us to be obedient to Thy voice. Help us to be ashamed before lifeless elements that obey Thee better than we do. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.


St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints

St. Theophan the Recluse and the Prologue of Ohrid on Today’s Scriptures and Saints Oct. 23/Oct 10

21st Week after Pentecost. Tone 3.    No fast.

Saints for the Day:

Martyrs Eulampius and Eulampia and 200 martyrs with them, at Nicomedia (303-311).  St. Ambrose, elder, of Optina Monastery (1891). St. Innocent, bishop of Penza (1819). Martyr Theotecnus of Antioch (3rd-4th c.). St. Bassian of Constantinople (ca. 458). St. Theophilus the Confessor, of Bulgaria (716). Blessed Andrew of Totma (Vologda), fool-for-Christ (1673). Synaxis of the Saints of Volhynia: Sts. Stephen (1094) and Amphilochius (1122), bishops of Vladimir in Volhynia; St. Yaropolk-Peter, prince of Vladimir in Volhynia (1086); St. Theodore (in monasticism Theodosius) of the Kiev Caves, prince of Ostrog in Volhynia (1483); St. Juliana, princess of Olshansk (ca. 1540); St. Job, abbot and wonderworker of Pochaev (1651); and Hieromartyr Macarius of Kanev, archimandrite, of Obruch and Pinsk (1678). New Hieromartyr Theodore (Pozdeyevsky), archbishop of Volokolamsk (1937). Zographou Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos “Of the Akathist.” St. Pinytus, bishop of Knossos on Crete (2nd c.). Martyrs of the Theban Legion, along the Rhine: Sts. Cassius and Florentius, at Bonn; Sts. Gereon and companions, at Cologne; and Sts. Victor and companions, at Xanten (Germany) (ca. 287). St. Paulinus, archbishop of York (644). Martyrdom of the 26 Martyrs of Zographou Monastery on Mt. Athos by the Latins: Abbot Thomas, Monks Barsanuphius, Cyril, Micah, Simon, Hilarion, Job, James, Cyprian, Sabbas, James, Martinian, Cosmas, Sergius, Paul, Menas, Ioasaph, Ioannicius, Anthony, Euthymius, Dometian, and Parthenius, and four laymen (1284).  Repose of Schemamonk Theodore, desert-dweller of Valaam (1834).


Scriptures for the Day: 

Philippians 4:10-23

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity.  Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:  I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only.  For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.  Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.  Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.  And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.  Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you.  All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar's household.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Luke 7:36-50

Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee's house, and sat down to eat. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.  Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, "This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner."  And Jesus answered and said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." So he said, "Teacher, say it." There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.  And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?  Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more." And He said to him, "You have rightly judged."  Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.  You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in.  You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.  Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.  Then He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."  And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"  Then He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."


St. Theophan on Today’s Scriptures:


Monday. [Phil. 4:10-23; Luke 7:36-50]       How could it be that although Simon the Pharisee reveres the Lord and invites Him over, he is scandalized when he sees that He shows favour toward a sinful woman and permits her to approach Him? Why does he think to himself, “If He were a prophet,” and so forth? Because he had busied himself with the entertaining, and therefore ignored a sensible understanding of how God does things. These two realms, worldly and spiritual, are completely completely different characteristics and laws. Our mind all the while judges its own preoccupations according to the laws of those preoccupations. According to worldly thinking, one must not have contact with an obviously sinful woman. Simon judges thus, forgetting that repentance makes everyone pure and puts sinners on one level with the righteous. He thinks that the sinful woman should not be there, and that if the Saviour does not chase her away, it is probably because He does not know who she is. Another thought immediately follows this one: If He does not know that she is sinful, then what kind of prophet is He? He did not say this in words, but only thought it, although there was no change in his appearance outwardly. But the Lord saw his heart and corrected him accordingly. He suggested to him that sinners also have a place beside Him, and that the sinful woman who united with Him in her heart, revered Him more than did Simon, who honoured Him with nothing but food. Externals lead a person to a feeling of self-righteousness unpleasant to the Lord, while inner things always preserve a feeling of unworthiness before the face of the omniscient Lord.


From the Prologue of Ohrid:


1. The Holy Martyrs Eulampius and Eulampia 

They were brother and sister from Nicomedia. During one of the terrible persecutions of Christians by Maximian some of the faithful fled Nicomedia and hid. The young Eulampius was sent into the city to buy bread. There he saw the imperial edict decreeing the persecution of Christians posted on a wall. He laughed at it, removed it, and tore it up. He was arrested and immediately brought before the judge. When the judge advised him to deny Christ, Eulampius counseled the judge to reject the false idols and to acknowledge Christ as the One Living God. The judge ordered that he be flogged for a long time until his blood flowed, and that he be tormented with other cruel tortures. Hearing of her brother’s suffering, the virgin Eulampia came running, and she, together with her brother, suffered for Christ. She was flogged until blood flowed from her nose and mouth. After that, they were thrown into boiling pitch, and then into a red-hot furnace, but by the power of the sign of the Cross and the name of Christ, they rendered the fire harmless. Finally Eulampius was beheaded, but Eulampia died before being beheaded. Two hundred other Christians were also slain, who had come to believe in Christ upon witnessing the power and miracles of St. Eulampius and his sister. All were crowned with martyrs’ wreaths, and passed over into their eternal heavenly homeland. The Holy Martyrs Eulampius and Eulampia (Menologion of Basil II, 11th c.) 


2. The Holy Martyrs of Zographou 

When Emperor Michael Palaeologus contracted the infamous Union of Lyons with the pope, in order to obtain help from the West against the Bulgarians and Serbs, the monks of the Holy Mountain sent a protest to the emperor against this Union, imploring him to reject it and return to Orthodoxy. The pope dispatched an army to help the emperor. The Latin army entered the Holy Mountain and committed such barbarism as the Turks had never committed in five hundred years. Having hanged the Protaton****), and having killed many monks in Vatopedi, Iveron and other monasteries, the Latins attacked Zographou. The blessed Abbot Thomas warned the brethren that whoever wished to be spared from the Latins should flee from the monastery, and that whoever desired a martyr’s death should remain. And so, twenty-six men remained: the abbot, twenty-one monks, and four laymen who served as laborers for the monastery. They all closed themselves in the monastery’s tower. When the Latins arrived, they set fire to the tower and these twenty-six heroes of Christ found a martyr’s death in the fire. While the tower was burning, they chanted the Psalms and the Akathist to the Most-holy Mother of God. They gave their holy souls to God on October 10, 1283. In December of the same year, the dishonorable Emperor Michael died in poverty, when the Serbian King Milutin rose up against him in defense of Orthodoxy. 


3. The Venerable Theophilus the Confessor 

Theophilus was a Macedonian Slav from somewhere near Strumica. He was tonsured a monk when still young, and founded his own monastery. He suffered much for the icons during the reign of Leo the Isaurian, and would have been slain on one occasion, had he not succeeded in convincing Governor Hypaticus, his judge, of the principle and need for the veneration of icons. The governor freed him. Theophilus returned to his monastery, where he reposed peacefully in the year 716, and entered into the joy of his Lord. 


4. The Holy Martyr Theotecnus 

He was a Roman officer in Antioch during the reign of Emperor Maximian. When the emperor urged him to sacrifice to the idols, he replied: “I believe in Christ God, and to Him will I offer myself as a sacrifice— a living sacrifice.” After cruel tortures, he was drowned by being thrown into the sea with a stone around his neck. He suffered honorably for Christ and was crowned with the wreath of martyrdom. 


5. The Venerable Bassian 

During the reign of the right-believing Emperor Marcian, this saint came to Constantinople from Anatolia in the year 450. Great was his asceticism, and great was the wonderworking power that God bestowed upon him. Bassian had about three hundred disciples. Among them was St. Matrona. Emperor Marcian built a church in Bassian’s name, which still exists today. HYMN OF PRAISE The Holy Martyrs of Zographou Heroes of Zographou, knights of truth, Sacrificed themselves for the Orthodox Faith, And shamed the proud, shameless Latins, As their souls rose up to the Kingdom of God. The tower’s flames mounted up to heaven, As the monks in the fire sent up praise to God! Heaven with its angels beheld that spectacle, As the criminals crawled about like worms below the tower. In the flames, Abbot Thomas, a true parent, Encouraged his brethren, and began the Psalms: He who glorifies the Lord does not fear death, And he who dies for God will not perish. The sacrifice is offered, and the altar of oblation remains: The bodies were burned, the souls flew off, And by that sacrifice, Zographou increased in glory With magnificence eternal and true. St. George the knight, cherishes his knights*****) As the Mother of God cherishes all heavenly citizens. In these knights of righteousness, the Church rejoices: They are her children, her fruitful branches. 



By God’s providence, the greatest number of miracles and heavenly manifestations occur during the martyrdom of His servants. On the day that the Latins set out for the Monastery of Zographou, an old monk had an obedience in a vineyard half an hour’s distance from the monastery. At the prescribed time, he read the Akathist before the icon of the Mother of God. However, when he began to pronounce the word “Rejoice!” a voice came to him from the icon: “Do thou also rejoice, O elder! Flee from here now, or misfortune will befall thee; go and tell the brethren of the monastery to lock themselves in, for the God-opposing Latins have attacked this, my chosen Mountain, and are already near.” The frightened elder fell to his knees and cried out in fear: “How can I leave thee here, my Queen and Intercessor?” At this he again heard the voice: “Do not worry about me, but go quickly!” The elder went to the monastery immediately. But when he reached the monastery gates he beheld that same icon of the Mother of God. In a miraculous manner, the icon had preceded him to the monastery. The amazed elder related all that had been revealed to him to the abbot and the brethren. At that, all of them glorified God and the Mother of God. Once, during the celebration of the Feast of the twenty-six martyrs of Zographou, on October 10, 1873, there was a great all-night vigil. It was a moonless night. In the middle of the night, while the monks were chanting and reading the lives of the holy martyrs in the church, a noise was suddenly heard, and over the church a fiery pillar appeared, extending from earth to heaven. It was so bright that things at a distance could be seen as though it were midday. This wondrous manifestation lasted for about a quarter of an hour and then disappeared. 



Contemplate God’s miraculous appearance to the Prophet Elias (I Kings 19):

1. How Elias, fatigued by the unrighteousness of the people, prayed to God to grant him death; 

2. How God comforted Elias by His appearing on Horeb; 

3. How there was a strong wind, then an earthquake, then fire, and finally a still, small voice— the voice of God. 


HOMILY on the sufferings of David and the prophecy of the sufferings of Christ

For many dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet (Psalm 22: 16) This is the mystical experience of the penitent David, and, at the same time, a clear prophecy of Christ’s sufferings. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (II Timothy 3: 12), says the Apostle Paul. When King David sinned, the devils did not appear to him nor did they disturb him; but when he began to repent and to direct his life on the path of God, then the devils surrounded him and tormented him. The words here are not about men but about demons, who sometimes attack the penitent directly, or torment him through other men. David would not have called God’s people, the crown of God’s creation, “dogs.” Rather, he called the demons “dogs,” who are perceived by righteous men as dogs, snakes, black men, lions, or in some other form. That he here means “dogs” as evil spirits can be proven by the written lives of the great ascetics, to whom the demons appeared in the form of dogs and other animals, to frighten them. We can also be convinced of this from the words of the Lord our Savior, that He spoke from the Cross: Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23: 34). This means that the Jews were not doing their own will but rather someone else’s: the demons’ will. For many dogs and the congregation of the wicked gathered to destroy Christ the Lord. When the devil— the tempter— could not defeat the Lord on the Mount of Temptation by his false promises, he began with all his might to destroy Him through men by a dishonorable death on the Cross. Brethren, see how clear the prophecy is! They pierced My hands and My feet. These words could not have pertained to anyone else, in the entire history of the world, but the crucified Savior. This prophecy continues in great detail: They divided My garments among them and for My vesture they cast lots (Psalm 22: 18). Everything happened as it was prophesied— everything! But the devil was deluded in his reckoning. He thought he could destroy the One mightier than death, by condemning Him to death. He thought to dishonor Him Who alone gives honor to all creation. By his glorious Resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ conquered and shamed the devil and his entire pack of dogs, and gave man power and authority over them. The whole pagan world was unable to exorcize even one single demon; but we, by the name of Christ and by the power of His Cross, are able to disperse legions of demons like smoke— for, after Christ’s victory, the demons became like whipped and frightened dogs. O Lord, Conqueror and Savior, to Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.