Saturday May 16, 2020
Today is Fast Free No fasting restrictions.
Acts 12:1-11 (Epistle)
Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover. Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands. Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.” So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.”
John 8:31-42 (Gospel)
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.” They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father – God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.
Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
|Venerable Theodore the Sanctified, disciple of Venerable Pachomius the Great
Saint Theodore was called “Sanctified” because he was the first in his monastery ordained to the priesthood.Saint Theodore came from Egypt and was the son of rich and illustrious Christian parents. The yearning for monastic life appeared early in him. Once there was a large party at the house of his parents during the feast of Theophany. The boy did not want to take part in the festivities, grieving that because of earthly joys he might be deprived of joys in the life to come. He secretly left home when he was fourteen and entered one of the monasteries.Hearing about Pachomius the Great, he burned with the desire to see the ascetic. Saint Pachomius received the young man with love, having been informed by God beforehand about his coming. Remaining at the monastery, Saint Theodore quickly succeeded in all his monastic tasks, particularly in the full obedience to his guide, and in his compassion towards the other brethren. Theodore’s mother, learning that he was at the Tabennisi monastery, came to Saint Pachomius with a letter from the bishop, asking to see her son. Saint Theodore did not wish to break his vow to renounce the world, so he refused to meet with his mother.Seeing Saint Theodore’s strength of mind and ability, Saint Pachomius once told him to instruct the brethren on Holy Scripture. Saint Theodore was then only twenty years old. He obeyed and began to speak, but some of the older brethren took offense that a new monk should teach them, and they departed. Saint Pachomius said to them, “You have given in to the devil and because of your conceit, your efforts will come to naught. You have not rejected Theodore, but rather the Word of God, and have deprived yourselves of the Holy Spirit.”Saint Pachomius appointed Saint Theodore as overseer of the Tabennisi monastery, and withdrew to a more solitary monastery. Saint Theodore with filial love continued to concern himself over his instructor, and he looked after Saint Pachomius in his final illness, and when the great abba reposed in the Lord, he closed his eyes. After the death of Saint Pachomius, Saint Theodore directed the Tabennisi monastery, and later on he was at the head of all the Thebaid monasteries. Saint Theodore the Sanctified was famed for his holiness of life and a great gift of wonderworking, and he was well known to Saint Athanasius, Patriarch of Alexandria. Saint Theodore reposed in his old age in the year 368.
|Martyrs Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia, at Lucania
The Holy Martyrs Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia suffered for Christ during the reign of Emperor Diocletian (284-305). Saint Vitus was the son of an illustrious Sicilian dignitary, the pagan Gelas. Gelas tried to turn his son from Christianity, but failed. Paternal love then turned to hatred, and he decided to kill Vitus. In order to save the boy, his tutor Saint Modestus and his governess Saint Crescentia, who were Christians, secretly took him from his parental home. They saw a boat at the river, and an angel entered the boat with them. They reached the Italian district of Lucanium, where the saints lived quietly, hiding from those who would persecute them. The holy youth continued to heal the sick and convert pagans to Christianity. His fame soon spread throughout the region. Saints Vitus and Modestus went to present themselves before Diocletian, and were thrown into prison. Then the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to the prisoners, strengthening them for their contest. He helped them, and the fetters fell from their hands. Ascribing the miracle to magic, Diocletian ordered that Saint Vitus be thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil. The saint stood in it as if in cool water, and remained unharmed. Then a fierce lion was set loose. The young man made the Sign of the Cross, and the beast laid at his feet and began to lick them. They tied the holy martyrs to pillars and began to scrape them with iron claws. Saint Crescentia came out of the crowd of spectators, confessed herself a Christian and reproached the emperor for his cruelty. He also sentenced her to torture. Saint Vitus called out to God, “O God, save us by Thy power and deliver us.” Then an earthquake struck, and many pagans perished beneath the collapsed buildings. Diocletian fled to his chambers in fear. An angel released the martyrs from the pillars and took them to Lucanium. Saint Vitus prayed that God would accept their souls in peace and not deprive those who kept their memory of His benefaction. A Voice came from Heaven, “Thy prayer is heard.” Then the saints joyfully surrendered their souls to God.The holy martyrs Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia suffered for Christ in the year 303. These saints are also commemorated on June 15. The relics of Saint Vitus were transferred to Prague. The Holy Prince Vyacheslav (Wenceslaus) of the Czechs (September 28) built a church in honor of Saint Vitus, in which he was afterwards buried.
|Blessed Child Musa of Rome
Saint Musa lived during the fifth century. She was distinguished for her pure life. Saint Gregory Dialogus included her story in his Dialogues, saying that he had heard these things from Musa’s brother Probus.The Most Holy Theotokos once appeared to Musa in a dream, surrounded by girls dressed in white. She asked her, “Do you wish to live together with these maidens in my court?” “Yes, I do,” the girl replied.“Do not do anything silly, as little girls often do. Avoid frivolity and joking. In thirty days I shall come for you and you will be with us.” From that moment, Musa’s character was changed. She began to pray earnestly and lived a strict life. In answer to the questions of her astonished parents, Saint Musa told them about the vision.On the twenty-fifth day the maiden developed a fever, and on the thirtieth day she again saw the Mother of God coming to her with the same girls as before. The blessed child reposed with the words, “I am coming, I am coming to you, my Lady!” Saint Musa departed this earthly life and was gathered into the heavenly Kingdom, where she glorifies the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit unto ages of ages.
|Translation of the relics of Venerable Ephraim, Abbot of Perekop, Novgorod
The Transfer of the Relics of Saint Ephraim of Perekop occurred on May 16, 1545. This celebration was established at a Moscow Council of the year 1549. Saint Ephraim of Perekop reposed on September 26, 1492. The Life of the saint is found under September 26 .
|Venerable Cassian, Abbot of Komel (Vologda)
Saint Cassian of Komel and Vologda was a disciple of Saint Cornelius of Komel (May 19) and he guided the Komel monastery after Saint Cornelius went to Lake Sura. Chosen by the brethren with the blessing of Saint Cornelius, he strove to imitate his teacher in everything, and he strictly observed his monastic Rule.Saint Cassian instructed the monks in the fear of God to spend their time at prayer, to be concerned about inner activity, and to banish all worldly thoughts, to be sober in thought, to be vigilant in soul and contrite in heart (Chapter 1 of the Rule “On Church Decorum and Communal Prayer”).Upon the return of Saint Cornelius to the monastery, Saint Cassian joyfully met his teacher, and resigned as igumen, wanting to remain in obedience to the holy Elder as before. Saint Cassian reposed in the year 1537.
|Venerable Laurence, Abbot of Komel
Saint Laurence of Komel was a disciple of Saint Cornelius of Komel. In the year 1538, on the recommendation of Saint Cornelius, he was unanimously chosen by the brethren as igumen of the monastery, and he made use of the spiritual counsels and instructions of his teacher.Learning of the approach of Tatars towards the monastery, and on the advice of Saint Cornelius, igumen Laurence led all the brethren away to a safe place. Later, when the danger had passed, the monks returned to the monastery. Upon the repose of his teacher, Saint Laurence guided the holy monastery for ten years, devoting himself to its welfare. Seeing the zeal and the love for the Lord in Saint Laurence as head of the Korniliev monastery, the Elder Alexius placed the Koptevo monastery, which he directed, under the Korniliev monastery in 1547. Even with his many cares, Saint Laurence did not forsake his beloved work of copying books. Saint Laurence reposed in the Lord on May 16, 1548.
|Saint Alexander, Archbishop of Jerusalem
The Hieromartyr Alexander, Bishop of Jerusalem, was a disciple of the great teacher and writer of the Church, Clement of Alexandria. At the beginning of the third century he was chosen bishop of Flavia, Cappadocia. He was arrested during the reign of the emperor Septimus Severus (193-211) and spent three years in prison.After his release from prison he went to Jerusalem to venerate the holy places, and was told to remain there through a divine revelation. In 212 he was chosen as coadministrator with the elderly Patriarch Narcissus, an unusually rare occurrence in the ancient Church. Following the death of Saint Narcissus (August 7), Saint Alexander succeeded him and governed the Church of Jerusalem for thirty-eight years, working for the enlightenment of Christians. He also established the first library of Christian theological works at Jerusalem. Saint Alexander was arrested during the persecution of the Church under the emperor Decius (249-251). The holy martyr was sent to Cappadocia, where he suffered many tortures. He was condemned to be eaten by wild beasts, but they did not harm him. Saint Alexander was cast into prison, where he surrendered his soul to God in the year 251.The hieromartyr Alexander is also commemorated on December 12.
|Saint George, Bishop of Mitylene
Saint George was made Bishop of Mytilene in the years 820-829, during the Iconoclast controversy. He died in 842 at Mytilene. In the twelfth century his holy relics were seen by the Russian igumen Daniel, who was journeying through the East and recording what he saw on his journey.
|Venerable Monastic Martyrs of Saint Sava Lavra
Forty-four monks of the Saint Sava Lavra received the unfading crown of martyrdom about 614, during the reign of the emperor Heraclius (610-641). The monastery was attacked by Arabs in search of plunder. When they were unable to find the treasure they expected, they became angry and murdered the defenseless Fathers. Some were beheaded, while others were hacked to pieces.Saint Antiochus (December 24) has preserved an account of the martyrs in his “107th Homily.” Dositheus also mentions them in his Dodekabiblos.The saints commemorated today should not be confused with other martyrs of the Saint Sava Lavra, who suffered in 796 (March 20). The two dates reflect separate attacks on the monastery at different times. History tells us that barbarians raided the Saint Sava Lavra on several occasions.
|New Martyr Vukasin of Klepci, Serbia
|Additional Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today|
|Saint Theodore of Vrsac, Serbia|
Venerable Theodore the Sanctified, disciple of Venerable Pachomius the Great – Troparion & Kontakion
Troparion — Tone 1
Dweller of the desert and angel in the body,
you were shown to be a wonder-worker, our God-bearing Father Theodore.
You received heavenly gifts through fasting, vigil, and prayer:
healing the sick and the souls of those drawn to you by faith.
Glory to Him who gave you strength!
Glory to Him who granted you a crown!
Glory to Him who through you grants healing to all!
Kontakion — Tone 2
You flourished like a palm tree in the house of God,
bringing forth the fruit of virtues for the Lord through your ascetic efforts.
Therefore, you are called blest, venerable Father Theodore,
for you are equal to the bodiless ones!
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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