Wednesday April 29, 2020
Today is Fast Free No fasting restrictions.
Acts 4:13-22 (Epistle)
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.” So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done. For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.
John 5:17-24 (Gospel)
But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
|Nine Martyrs at Cyzicus: Theognes, Rufus, Antipater, Theostichus, Artemas, Magnus, Theodotus, Thaumasius, and Philemon
The city of Cyzicus is in Asia Minor on the coast of the Dardenelles (Hellespont). Christianity already began to spread there through the preaching of Saint Paul (June 29). During the persecutions by the pagans, some of the Christians fled the city, while others kept their faith in Christ in secret. At the end of the third century Cyzicus was still basically a pagan city, although there was a Christian church there. The situation in the city distressed the Christians, who sought to uphold Christianity. The nine holy martyrs Thaumasius, Theognes, Rufus, Antipater, Theostichus, Artemas, Magnus, Theodotus, and Philemon were also from Cyzicus. They came from various places, and were of different ages: the young like Saint Antipater, and the very old like Saint Rufus. They came from various positions in society: some were soldiers, countryfolk, city people, and clergy. All of them declared their faith in Christ, and prayed for the spread of Christianity.The saints boldly confessed Christ and fearlessly denounced the pagan impiety. They were arrested and brought to trial before the ruler of the city. Over several days they were tortured, locked in prison and brought out again. They were promised their freedom if they renounced Christ. But the valiant martyrs of Christ continued to glorify the Lord. All nine martyrs were beheaded by the sword (+ ca. 286-299), and their bodies buried near the city.In the year 324, when the Eastern half of the Roman Empire was ruled by Saint Constantine the Great (May 21), and the persecutions against Christians ended, the Christians of Cyzicus removed the incorrupt bodies of the martyrs from the ground and placed them in a church built in their honor.Various miracles occurred from the holy relics: the sick were healed, and the mentally deranged were brought to their senses. The faith of Christ grew within the city through the intercession of the holy martyrs, and many of the pagans were converted to Christianity.When Julian the Apostate (361-363) came to rule, the pagans of Cyzicus complained to him that the Christians were destroying pagan temples. Julian gave orders to rebuild the pagan temples and to jail Bishop Eleusius. Bishop Eleusius was set free after Julian’s death, and the light of the Christian Faith shone anew through the assistance of the holy martyrs.In Russia, not far from the city of Kazan, a monastery was built in honor of the Nine Martyrs of Cyzicus. It was built by the hierodeacon Stephen, who brought part of the relics of the saints with him from Palestine. This monastery was built in the hope that through their intercession and prayers people would be delivered from various infirmities and ills, particularly a fever which raged through Kazan in 1687. Saint Demetrius of Rostov (September 21), who composed the service to the Nine Martyrs, writes, “through the intercession of these saints, abundant grace was given to dispel fevers and trembling sicknesses.” Saint Demetrius also described the sufferings of the holy martyrs and wrote a sermon for their Feast day.
|Venerable Memnon the Wonderworker
Saint Memnon the Wonderworker from his youth lived in the Egyptian desert. By his arduous ascetical efforts, he attained a victory of spirit over the flesh.As Igumen of one of the Egyptian monasteries, he wisely and carefully guided the brethren. Even while aiding them through prayer and counsel, the saint did not waver in his efforts in the struggle against temptation.He received the gift of clairvoyance through unceasing prayer and toil. At his prayer a spring of water gushed forth in the wilderness, locusts destroying the harvest perished, and the shipwrecked who called on his name were saved. After his death, the mere mention of his name dispelled a plague of locusts and undid the cunning wiles of evil spirits.
|Martyrs Diodorus and Rhodopianus—Deacons, at Aphrodisia in Anatolia
The Holy Martyrs, Deacons Diodorus and Rhodopianus suffered under the emperor Diocletian (284-305) in Aphrodisias, Caria. They were stoned to death for spreading the Christianity among the pagans.
|Saint Basil, Bishop of Zakholmsk in Montenegro, Serbia
Saint Basil, Bishop of Zakholmsk, was born of pious parents in the sixteenth century in the Popov district of Herzegovina. At the age of maturity he left his parental home and settled in the Trebinsk monastery in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, and became a monk.For his virtuous life the saint was elevated to be Bishop of Zakholm and Skenderia. He occupied the bishop’s cathedra in the second half of the sixteenth century, a successor to Bishop Paul and predecessor of Bishop Nicodemus. Saint Basil was a good pastor of the flock of Christ, and the Lord strengthened his discourse with various miracles. For the sanctifying of soul with the wisdom of holy ascetic fathers, the saint journeyed to Athos. Saint Basil died peacefully and was buried in the city of Ostrog in Chernogoria on the border with Herzegovina.
|Martyrs of Lazeti
Lazeti is a region in southern Kolkheti (Colchis), the ancient kingdom located in what is now southwestern Georgia and northeastern Turkey. In ancient times, Lazeti was a center of Georgian culture. The holy Apostle Andrew began the conversion of the Georgian nation from this very region.After the fall of Byzantium in 1453, the Ottomans sought for three centuries to destroy the Christian-Georgian consciousness of the Laz people. At the same time, Rome increased its presence in the region by dispatching ever greater numbers of Catholic missionaries. The Laz, caught in the crossfire, boldly defended and preserved their Orthodox Faith. Those that were forcibly converted to Islam struggled to preserve their national culture, the memory of their ancestors, and the love of their homeland.As time progressed, however, some grew weak and converted to Catholicism (in word, if not in mind and heart) or allowed themselves to be won over by the Monophysite heresy.In our own time, with the blessing of Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II, people from several Georgian regions have reestablished lines of communication with the Laz who currently reside within Turkish borders.Further, many of the Laz currently residing within Georgian borders have converted from Islam back to the Orthodox Christianity of their ancestors. They have recounted to the Holy Synod of the Georgian Church stories of the martyrdom of their Christian ancestors at the hands of the Ottomans: the beheading of some three hundred Laz warriors on a single mountain between the years 1600 and 1620 and the martyrdom of the clergy at one local monastery. The martyrdoms took place on Mt. Dudikvati (“the place of beheading”) and on Mt. Papati (“the place of the clergy”) respectively.Based on the information provided by the martyrs’ descendants, the Holy Synod of the Georgian Church declared all the clergy and laymen martyred on Dudikvati and Papati and all the Laz martyred for Christ’s sake worthy to be numbered among the saints. They were canonized on September 18, 2003.
|Venerable Nectarius of Optina
Saint Nectarius was born in the city of Elets in the Orel province in 1853, the son of Basil and Elena Tikhonov. At his baptism, he was named Nicholas.Saint Nectarius completed the course of his earthly life on April 29, 1928.The Moscow Patriarchate authorized local veneration of the Optina Elders on June 13,1996, glorifying them for universal veneration on August 7, 2000.
|Saint Endellion, recluse of Cornwall
Nine Martyrs at Cyzicus: Theognes, Rufus, Antipater, Theostichus, Artemas, Magnus, Theodotus, Thaumasius, and Philemon – Troparion & Kontakion
Troparion — Tone 4
Your holy nine martyrs of Cyzicus, O Lord, for their sufferings
Have received incorruptible crowns from You, our God.
For strengthened by Your might,
They overthrew tyrants and destroyed the powerless boldness of demons.
Through their supplications save our souls.
Kontakion — Tone 1
Let us praise the nine-fold choir of martyrs:
Renowned Theognes, and Antipater, Magnus and Theostichus,
Artemas and Theodotus, Thaumasius, Philemon and Rufus;
For they exude divine grace for us from the well-spring of life, our Savior!
Readings and Feast Day Information provided by The Orthodox Church in America (OCA).
Fasting guidelines provided by The Greek American Orthodox Archdiocese (GOARCH).
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