Today’s 6th Hour reading is Isaiah 40:18-31
To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him? The workman molds an image, the goldsmith overspreads it with gold, and the silversmith casts silver chains. Whoever is too impoverished for such a contribution chooses a tree that will not rot; he seeks for himself a skillful workman to prepare a carved image that will not totter. Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless. Scarcely shall they be planted, scarcely shall they be sown, scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth, when He will also blow on them, and they will wither, and the whirlwind will take them away like stubble. “To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and see Who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing. Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel: “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my just claim is passed over by my God”? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
Today’s Vespers – 1st reading is Genesis 15:1-15
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” But Abram said, “Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness. Then He said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.” And he said, “Lord God, how shall I know that I will inherit it?” So He said to him, “Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. “And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. “Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age.
Today’s Vespers – 2nd reading is Proverbs 15:7-19
The lips of the wise disperse knowledge, but the heart of the fool does not do so. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is His delight. The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but He loves him who follows righteousness. Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way, and he who hates correction will die. Hell and Destruction are before the Lord; so how much more the hearts of the sons of men. A scoffer does not love one who corrects him, nor will he go to the wise. A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness. All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast. Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure with trouble. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred. A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays contention. The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns, but the way of the upright is a highway.
Today’s Vespers – 3rd reading – Saint is Composite 2
The memory of the righteous is with praise and the blessing of the Lord is upon his head. Blessed is the man who has found wisdom and the mortal who has understanding. For it is better to purchase her than treasuries of gold and silver. She is more precious than precious stones and all that is precious is unworthy of her. For length of days and years of life are in her right hand; and in her left hand are riches and glory. Out of her mouth proceeds righteousness and she bears law and mercy upon her tongue. Hear me, O child, for I will speak noble things. Blessed is the man who keeps my ways, for my ways are the ways of life, and in them is prepared favor from the Lord. Therefore, I pray thee, and utter my voice to the sons of men: For I, wisdom, have dwelt with counsel and knowledge and I have called upon understanding. Counsel and safety are mine, understanding and strength are mine. I love those who love me and those seeking me shall find grace. Understand craftiness, O you who are simple, and imbibe knowledge, you who are untaught. Hear me again, for I will speak noble things: I will open my mouth and from my lips shall come what is right. For my throat shall meditate truth; false lips are an abomination before me. All the words of my mouth are righteous; there is nothing in them that is twisted or perverse. They are all straight to him who understands and right to those who find knowledge. I shall instruct you in truth, so that your hope will be in the Lord and you shall be filled with the Spirit.
Today’s Vespers – 4th reading – Saint is Composite 3
The righteous man, though he die early, will be at rest. The righteous man who has died will judge the ungodly who are living. For they will see the end of the righteous, and will not understand what was said about him; for the Lord will cast down the ungodly speechless to the ground and shake them from the foundations; they shall become desolate to the end; they will be in sorrows, and their memory will perish. For they will come with fear at the thought of their sins, and their iniquities shall stand against them to convict them. Then the righteous man will stand with great boldness before those who have afflicted him, and those who have made of no account his labors. Having seen it, they shall be troubled with much fear and they will be amazed at his most-glorious salvation. They will say within themselves in repentance, in anguish of spirit they will groan and say: “This was he whom we had sometimes in derision and a proverb of reproach – we fools! We accounted his life as madness, and his end to be without honor. How is he numbered among the sons of God? And why is his lot among the Saints? “Therefore, we have erred from the way of truth, and the light of righteousness did not illumine us, nor did the sun shine on us. We took our fill of the paths of lawlessness and destruction, and we walked impassable pathways, but the way of the Lord we have not known.”
Today’s Vespers – 5th reading – Saint is Composite 4
The mouth of the righteous bringeth forth wisdom; the lips of the wise man know grace. The mouth of the wise speaketh wisdom, and the truth delivereth them from death. If a righteous man dies, hope doth not, for the son of the righteous is born to life, and in his own good things he acquireth the fruit of righteousness. There is always light for the righteous and they obtain grace and glory from the Lord. The tongue of the wise is a good sister-in-law, and in their hearts resteth wisdom. The Lord loveth the hearts of the holy, and acceptable to Him are all the undefiled in the way. The wisdom of the Lord illumineth the faces of the wise. For she takes hold of those desiring her by making herself first known to them. She is easily seen by those who love her. He who rises early to seek her shall have no difficulty, and those keeping vigil for the sake of her shall quickly be without sorrows. For she goeth about seeking those worthy of her, and graciously revealeth herself in the pathways. Against wisdom evil doth not prevail. Therefore I was a lover of her beauty; I loved her and sought her out from my youth. I desired to make her my bride, and even the Master of All loved her. For she is an initiate in the knowledge of God, and a discoverer of His works. Her labors are virtues, for she teaches temperance and prudence, justice and courage; nothing in life is more necessary for men than these. And if anyone desireth much knowledge, she knoweth the things of old, and beholdeth things to come; she understandeth turns of speech and the solution of riddles; she has foreknowledge of signs and wonders and the outcome of times and seasons. She is a mediator of good things for all, for immortality is in her, and glory in the company of her words. Therefore I appealed to the Lord and prayed to Him, and said to Him with all my heart: “O God of my fathers and Lord of mercy, Who hast made all things by Thy word, and by Thy wisdom hast fashioned man that he should have dominion over the creatures made by Thee, that he should rule the world in holiness and righteousness: Give me wisdom that sits by Thy throne, and cast me not away from among Thy children, for I am Thy servant and the son of Thy handmaid. Send her forth from the heavens, from Thy holy abode, and from the throne of Thy glory, that she may be with me, and instruct me in what is pleasing to Thee. And she shall guide me in understanding, and preserve me in her glory. For the thoughts of mortals are miserable, and their intentions likely to fail.”
Today’s Matins Gospel – St. Innocent reading is John 10:1-9
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
Today’s Epistle – St. Innocent reading is Hebrews 7:26-8:2
For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever. Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.
Today’s Gospel – St. Innocent reading is John 10:9-16
I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
Saints and Feasts celebrated today
Repose of Saint Innocent, Metropolitan of Moscow, Enlightener of the Aleuts, Apostle to the Americas
Troparion — Tone 4
O holy father Innocent
in obedience to the will of God
you accepted dangers and tribulations
bringing many peoples to the knowledge of truth.
You showed us the way,
now by your prayers help lead us into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Troparion — Tone 2
You evangelized the northern people of America and Asia,
proclaiming the Gospel of Christ to the natives in their own tongues.
O holy hierarch father Innocent,
enlightener of Alaska and all America, whose ways were ordered by the Lord,
pray to Him for the salvation of our souls in His Heavenly Kingdom!
Kontakion — Tone 2
A true celebration of the providence and grace of God
is your life, O holy father Innocent, Apostle to our land.
In hardships and dangers you toiled for the Gospel’s sake
and God delivered and preserved you unharmed.
From obscurity He highly exalted you as an example
that the Lord truly guides a man in the way he should go.
Kontakion — Tone 2
Your life, O holy father Innocent, Apostle to our Land,
proclaims the dispensation and grace of God!
For laboring in dangers and hardships for the Gospel of Christ
you were kept unharmed and exalted in humility.
Pray that He may guide our steps in the way we should go.
Appearance of the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God
Kontakion — Tone 8
Although your holy Icon was cast into the sea by the widow
who could not save it from the enemy, O
it has been revealed as the guardian of Athos and the gatekeeper of Iveron Monastery,
frightening the enemy away, and delivering those who honor you from all misfortunes and afflictions.
Righteous Joseph the Patriarch
Kontakion — Tone 8
(Podoben: “As first-fruits of our nature” – Kontakion for Sunday of All Saints)
Jacob lamented the loss of Joseph,
but the noble one was seated in a chariot and honored as a king;
for when he refused to be enslaved by the desires of the Egyptian woman,
he was glorified by Him who beholds the hearts of men,
and bestows an incorruptible crown.
Additional Saints and Feasts (without hymns):
- Saint Hypatius the Wonderworker, Bishop of Gangra
- Repose of Saint Jonah, Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia
- Venerable Hypatius the Healer of the Kiev Caves
- Venerable Apollonius, Ascetic, of Egypt
- Hieromartyr Abdas, Bishop of Persia, and Martyr Benjamin the Deacon
- Venerable Hypatius, Abbot of Rufinus in Chalcedon
- Saint Acacius the Confessor
Today’s Fasting Guidelines
Strict Fast. Refrain from meat, fish, oil, wine, dairy, and eggs.