Second Sunday of Pascha: Antipascha, St. Thomas Sunday.
Today is fast-free!
Matthew 28:16-20 (1st Matins Gospel)
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.
And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch. Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed. Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison. But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.
Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained. Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
|Hieromartyr Artemon , presbyter of Laodicea in Syria (303).
The PriestMartyr Artemon was born of Christian parents in Syrian Laodiceia in the first half of the III Century. From the time of his youthful years he dedicated himself to the service of the Church. At 16 years of age the saint was made a reader and in this position he laboured during the course of 12 years. For his zealousness in Divine Services, Sainted-bishop Sisinios ordained him to the dignity of deacon. Saint Artemon did also this service with fervour and diligence for 28 years, after which he was ordained to the priesthood. And in this dignity Saint Artemon served the Church of God for 33 years, preaching the Christian faith amongst pagans. When the emperor Diocletian (284-305) began a fierce persecution against christians, Saint Artemon was already old. The emperor issued an edict, that all christians were to offer sacrifice to idols. Saint Sisinios, knowing about the impending arrival in the Laodiceian district of the military-commander Patricius, went together with the priest Artemon into the pagan-temple of the goddess Artemis. There they smashed and burnt the idols. Afterwards, Saint Sisinios and Saint Artemon gathered the flock into the church and heatedly exhorted the christians to remain firm in the faith and not fear the threats of torturers. Having arrived in Laodiceia, Patricius made a five-day celebration in honour of the pagan gods, and then went off to the temple of Artemis to offer sacrifice. He learnt who it was that had destroyed the temple, and set off with a detachment of soldiers to the church where the christians were praying. Not yet having gotten in front of the church, Patricius suddenly felt a chill, and afterwards heat, such that it left him hardly alive, and they entered into the first house they found along the way. “The Christians have put a curse on me, and this their God tormenteth me”, , he said to those about him. The prayers of Patricius to the idols did not relieve his sufferings. He dispatched a messenger to Saint Sisinios and asked for his help, promising by way of thanks to make a gold statue of the bishop. The Saint answered: “Thy gold keep to thyself, but if thou wishest to be healed, believe in Christ”. Patricius was afraid of dying and he declared that he believed in Christ. Through the prayer of Saint Sisinios the affliction left him. But even a miracle having been worked did not alter the obdurate soul of the pagan. Although he did not touch Saint Sisinios, he however set off to enforce the imperial edict against other christians in the city of Caesarea. Along the way he encountered an old man, for whom there went in pairs six wild donkeys and two deer. This man was the priest Artemon. To Patricius’ query, how he was able to lead after him these wild beasts, Saint Artemon answered, that everything in the world confesses the Name of Christ and with true faith in Christ nothing is impossible. Patricius learned from the pagans that the old man he met along the way , was the same Artemon, who had destroyed the pagan temple of Artemis. He gave orders to seize him and take him to the city of Caesarea. Saint Artemon went along with the soldiers without fear, but he ordered the animals to go to Saint Sisinios. One of the donkeys received the gift of speech from God and told the sainted-bishop that he had come from Saint Artemon. The sainted-bishop sent him in Caesarea a blessing and prosphora by deacon. In Caesarea Patricius summoned Saint Artemon to trial and began to try to force him to offer sacrifice in the pagan temple of Asclepios. In this pagan temple there lived many poisonous vipers. The pagan priest never opened up the doors, nor previously carried in the sacrifice to the idol. But Saint Artemon, calling on the Name of Jesus Christ, went into the temple and let out from there the plethora of snakes. The pagans turned in flight, but the saint stopped them and by his breath killed the snakes. One of the pagan priests, Bitalios, believed in Christ and asked Saint Artemon to baptise him. Patricius thought that Saint Artemon killed the snakes by means of sorcery, and he again started to interrogate and torture him. At this point in time there arrived in Caesarea the donkey which had spoken with Saint Sisinios. The donkey lay down at the feet of the martyr, and afterwards again having received from God the gift of speech, it denounced Patricius, predicting for him an impending death in a boiling cauldron. Patricius was scared, that the miracles done by Saint Artemon would draw still more people to him, and he gave orders to execute him. The filled an enormous cauldron with boiling tar. Soldiers were needed to throw Saint Artemon therein. But when Patricius rode up on horseback to the kettle, wanting to be sure that the tar was indeed boiling, two Angels in the guise of eagles seized and threw him into the cauldron, but Saint Artemon remained alive. Through the prayer of the saint there issued from the ground a spring of water, in which he baptised the pagan priest Bitalios and many pagans, who had come to believe in Christ. On the following morning Saint Artemon communed the newly-baptised with the Holy Mysteries. The bishop of Caesarea went to visit with Saint Artemon. He cleared off the place where the martyr suffered, and afterwards was built a church there. Many of the baptised were ordained to the deaconate and priesthood, and Bitalios was made bishop of Palestine. The Priestmartyr Artemon, through a calling by the Divine Voice, went preaching the Gospel into Asia, to the settlement of Bulos. Along the way an Angel appeared to him and transported him openly in view of the villagers. He converted many there to faith in Christ. Pagans seized the saint and beheaded him (+ 303).
|Martyr Thomais of Alexandria (476).
The Holy Martyress Thomaida was born into a Christian family in the city of Alexandria. In her childhood she was educated in piety and loved to read Holy Scripture. At 15 years of age the girl entered into marriage with a fisherman, , also a Christian. The young couple lived in the household of the husband’s family, where Saint Thomaida was loved for her mild and gentle disposition, and virtue and prudence. The father-in-law of Saint Thomaida, at the prompting of the devil, was captivated by her beauty. When his son went out at night for fishing, he began seeking to lead his daughter-in-law into sin. In vain did Saint Thomaida admonish the senseless old man, reminding him about the last Judgement and about the penalty for sin. Infuriated by the steadfastness of Saint Thomaida, he thoughtlessly seized a sword and began to threaten her with death. But Saint Thomaida answered resolutely: “Even if thou cut me in two, I shall not stray from the commandments of the Lord”. Overcome with passion, the father-in-law swung the sword and struck Saint Thomaida. The saint received a martyr’s death for her prudence and faith in the commandments of God in the year 476. Divine chastisement befell the murderer. He instantly became blinded and was not able to go out the door to flee. In the morning there arrived companions of the saint’s husband. They opened the doors and saw the body of the saint and the blood-stained blind old man. The murderer himself confessed his evil deed and asked to be condemned to death by execution. During this time there arrived in Alexandria from a wilderness skete the Monk Daniel. He bid the monks of the nearby Oktodecadia monastery to take the body of the martyress to bury in the monastery cemetery. Some of the monks were perplexed, how it should be possible to bury a woman with monks. The monk Daniel answered: “This girl , is a mother for me and you. She died for purity”. After a solemn funeral the Monk Daniel returned to his own skete. Soon one of the young monks began to complain to him, that fleshly passions tormented him. The monk Daniel ordered him to go and pray at the grave of the holy martyress Thomaida. The monk did the bidding of the elder. During the time of prayer at the grave he fell into a light sleep. Saint Thomaida then appeared to him and said: “Father, have my blessing and go in peace”. Having awakened, the monk felt at joy and peace in his soul. And after this the fleshly struggle no longer disturbed him. Abba Daniel explained to him: “The blessing , was the gift of the martyress’ prudence; the ascetic deeds of purity hold such power before God”. In later times many found at the grave of Saint Thomaida both spiritual joy and release from their passions. The relics of Saint Thomaida were transferred to Constantinople to one of the women’s monasteries. In the year 1420 the Russian pilgrim archdeacon Zosima viewed them.
|Martyr Crescens of Myra in Lycia.
The Holy Martyr Criscentios was descended from an illustrious family and lived in Lycian Myra. One time, when a throng of city inhabitants were on the way to the pagan temple, he began to urge them to forsake paganism and come to Christ. This incident became known to the city governor. When the governor asked the saint about his parentage, the saint , not wishing to bring unpleasantness to his parents , said nothing except that he was a christian. The governor knew the father of Saint Criscentios and wanting to do him a favour, he suggested to Saint Criscentios to offer sacrifice to idols only in appearance, while in soul remaining a christian. To this the holy martyr boldly answered: “It would be impossible for the body not to do that which the soul thinks, since the soul governs and moves the body”. They beat the holy martyr Criscentios and gnashed at him with iron, and then burnt him in a flaming bon-fire. Sainted Andrew of Crete (+ 740, Comm. 4 July) mentions about the Martyr Criscentios in his Sermon on the day of memory of Sainted Nicholas the Wonderworker , 6 December , also of Lycian Myra.
|St. Martin the Confessor, pope of Rome (655) (Greek).
“Martin became Pope on July 5th, 649, at the time of a furious quarrel between the Orthodox and the Monothelite heretics. Constans the Second, Heraclius’ grandson, was on the throne at the time, and Paul was Patriarch of Constantinople. To restore peace in the Church, the Emperor himself wrote a dogmatic decree, the Typos, which leaned heavily towards heresy. Pope Martin summoned a Council of 105 bishops, at which the Emperor’s statement was condemned. At the same time, the Pope wrote a letter to Patriarch Paul, begging him to uphold the purity of the Orthodox faith and to counsel the Emperor to reject the theories of the heretics. This letter infuriated both the Patriarch and the Emperor. The Emperor sent one of his generals, Olympius, to take the Pope to Constantinople in bonds. The general did not dare to bind the Pope with his own hands, but instructed one of his soldiers to kill him with the sword in church. But, when the soldier entered the church with his sword concealed, he was instantly blinded. So, by the providence of God, Martin escaped death. At that time, the Saracens fell upon Sicily, and Olympius went off there, where he died. Then, by the intrigues of the heretic Patriarch Paul, the Emperor sent a second general, Theodore, to bind and take the Pope on the charge that he, the Pope, was in collusion with the Saracens and that he did not reverence the most holy Mother of God. [!!] When the general arrived in Rome and read the accusation against the Pope, he replied that it was a libel; that he had no contact of any sort with the Saracens, the opponents of Christianity, ‘and whoever does not confess the most holy Mother of God and do her reverence, let him be damned in this age and in that which is to come.’ But this did not affect the general’s decision. The Pope was bound and taken to Constantinople, where he lay long in prison in great sickness, tortured by both anxiety and hunger,until he was finally sentenced to exile in Cherson, where he lived for two years before his death. He gave his soul into the hands of the Lord, for whom he had suffered so greatly, in 655. The evil Patriarch, Paul, died two years before him and, when the Emperor visited him on his deathbed, he smote his head against the wall, confessing with tears that he had greatly sinned against Pope Martin and asking the Emperor to set Martin free.’ (Prologue) In some menaia he is commemorated on April 14.
|Additional Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today|
|“Sladkoe lobzanie” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (9th c.) (movable holiday on the Antipascha).|
|New Hieromartyr Stephen (Bekh) bishop of Izhevsk (1933).|
|Virgin-martyr Martha (1941).|
|Martyr Demetrius of the Peloponnesus who suffered at Tripoli (1803).|
|Martyr Eleutherius of Persia (4th c.).|
|Martyr Zoilus of Rome (4th c.).|
|Venerable Martins, abbot, of Clermont (Gaul).|
|Martyrs Maximus (286), Dada and Quinctilian at Dorostolum in Moesia.|
|St. Martyrius, archbishop of Jerusalem (486).|
|St. Guinoch of Buchan.|
St. Thomas Sunday, Troparion, Tone VII
When the tomb was sealed, Thou, the Life, O Christ our God, didst rise up
from the grave; and when the doors were closed, Thou, the Resurrection of all,
didst stand among the disciples, and through them renew a right spirit in us,
according to Thy mercy.
Kontakion, Tone VIII
With his inquisitive right hand, Thomas probed Thy life-giving side, O
Christ our God. For when Thou didst enter, the doors being shut, with the rest
of the Apostles he cried to Thee: Thou art my Lord and my God.
No Troparion is given in the Menaion.
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