Old Calendar Orthodox Daily Digest for 5/17/2020

Fasting Guidelines

Fifth Sunday of Pascha: The Samaritan Woman. Tone four.
Today is fast-free!

Scripture Readings

John 20:1-10 (7th Matins Gospel)
Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.

Acts 11:19-26, 29-30
Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea. This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

John 4:5-42
So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock? Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly. The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship. Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?” The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ? Then they went out of the city and came to Him. In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors. And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His own word. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”

Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today

Virgin-martyr Pelagia of Tarsus in Asia Minor (287).
Virgin-martyr  Pelagia  of Tarsus in Asia Minor (287). The Holy Virgin Pelagia lived during the III Century in the city of Tarsis in the Cilician district of Asia Minor. She was the daughter of illustrious pagans and when she heard preaching from her Christian acquaintances about Jesus Christ the Son of God, she believed in Him and desired to preserve her chastity, dedicating her whole life to the Lord. The heir of emperor Diocletian (a youth adopted by him), having seen the maiden Pelagia, was captivated by her beauty and wanted to take her to be his wife. But the holy virgin told the youth, that she was betrothed to the Immortal Bridegroom, , the Son of God, and therefore she had renounced earthly marriage. This answer of Pelagia caused great anger in the imperial youth, but he decided to leave her in peace for awhile, hoping, that she would change her frame of mind. This same while Pelagia convinced her mother to send her off to her nurse who had raised her in childhood , secretly hoping to locate the bishop of Tarsis Klinon, who had fled to a mountain during a time of persecution against Christians, and to accept Holy Baptism from him. In a dream vision there appeared the form of the bishop , Klinon, profoundly impressing itself upon her memory. Saint Pelagia set off to her nurse in a chariot, in rich clothes and accompanied by a whole retinue of servants, as her mother had desired her to. Along the way Saint Pelagia, through some particular ordering of events by God, met bishop Klinon. Pelagia immediately recognised the bishop, whose image had appeared to her in the dream. She fell at his feet, requesting baptism. At the prayer of the bishop there flowed from the ground a spring of water. Bishop Klinon made the sign of the cross over Saint Pelagia, and during the time of the mystery (sacrament) Angels appeared and covered the chosen one of God with a bright mantle. Having communed the pious virgin with the Holy Mysteries, bishop Klinon raised himself up in prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord together with her, and then sent her off to continue her journey. Having returned to the servants awaiting her, Saint Pelagia preached to them about Christ, and many of them were converted and believed. She tried to convert her own mother to faith in Christ, but the obdurate woman sent a message to the imperial youth, , that Pelagia was a Christian and did not wish to be his spouse. The youth comprehended that Pelagia was lost for him, and not wishing to give her over to torture, he fell upon his sword. Pelagia’s mother thereupon became fearful of the wrath of the emperor, tied her daughter and led her to the court of Diocletian as being a Christian and also the probable cause of the death of the heir to the throne. The emperor was captivated by the unusual beauty of the maiden and tried to sway her from her faith in Christ, promising her every earthly blessing and to make her his own wife. But the holy maiden refused the offer of the emperor with contempt and said: “Thou art insane, emperor, telling me such a speech. Know, that I wilt not do thine bidding, and I loathe thy vile marriage, since I have a Bridegroom , Christ, the King of Heaven. I desire not thy imperial, worldly, short-durationed crowns, since my Lord in the Heavenly Kingdom has prepared for me three imperishable crowns. The first for faith , since I have believed with all my heart in the True God; the second for purity , because I have entrusted to Him my virginity; the third for martyrdom , since I want to accept for Him every suffering and to offer up my soul because of my love for Him”. Diocletian thereupon sentenced Pelagia to be burnt in a glowing red-hot copper oven. Not permitting the executioners to touch her body, the holy martyress herself , signing herself with the sign of the cross, went with a prayer into the red-hot oven , in which her flesh melted like myrh, filling all the city with fragrance; the bones of Saint Pelagia remained unharmed and were removed by the pagans to outside the city. Four lions then came from out of the wilderness and sat around the bones , letting get at them neither bird nor wild beast. The lions protected the remains of the saint until such time as bishop Klinon came to that place. He gathered them up and buried them with honour. During the reign of emperor Constantine (306-337), when the persecutions against Christians had stopped, there was built a church at the place of burial of Saint Pelagia.
Icon of the Mother of God “Staro Rus” Old Russian (1570).
The Starorusskaya Icon of the Mother of God was titled such because for a long time it was located Stara Russa, whither it had been brought by the Greeks from Olviopolis during the very first period of Christianity in Russia. The icon was situated in Stara Russa until the XVII Century. In 1655 during the time of a plague it was revealed to a certain inhabitant of the city of Tikhvin that the pestilence would cease, if the wonderworking Starorusskaya Icon were transferred there, and the Tikhvin Icon sent to Stara Russa. After the transfer of the icons the plague ceased, but the Tikhvin people did not return the icon and only in the XVIII Century did they give permission to make a copy from the Starorusskaya Icon, which on 4 May 1768 was sent to Stara Russa. A feast was established in honour of this event. On 17 September 1888 the original was also returned to Stara Russa and a second festal date established.
The Alfanov brothers: Venerables Nicetas, Cyril, Nicephorus, Clement , and Isaac of Novgorod, founders of the Sokolnitzki Monastery (1389).
The Monastic Brethren Nikita, Kirill, Nikiphor, Kliment, Isaakii , Alphanovi (Sokol’nitskie) lived during the XIV Century at Novgorod. They led a righteous life and founded the Sokol’nitsk monastery. As the chronicles relate: “On the Sokol’ hill was erected a wooden church of Saint Nichola and a monastery organised” in 1389. The righteous Alphanovi were kinsmen according to the information of the chronicler Yakov Anphalov or Alphanov, who fled to the Dvina, saving himself from pursuit for dealings with Moscow, and the righteous ones were subject to misfortune because of their ties of kinship with Yakov, and by the grievous agony of innocent suffering cleansed themselves for eternal blessedness. In the “Tale” about the brothers is recorded a miracle, arising from their relics after death. The celebration of their memory is placed under 4 May and 17 June. As the result of a fire which destroyed the Sokol’nitsk monastery, the relics of the monastic brethren were transferred to the Antoniev monastery on 4 May 1775.
Hieromartyr Erasmus , bishop of Formia in Campania (303).
Saint Erasmus zealously served the Lord from the time of his youth. And in his mature years he was elevated to the dignity of bishop of the city of Formium (Italy). During the time of a persecution against Christians under the emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian Hercules (284-305), Saint Erasmus left his diocese and withdrew onto Mount Libanus, where he hid for seven years. One time however an Angel appeared to him and said: “Erasmus! No one vanquishes enemies, if he is asleep. Go into your own city, pursue it bravely and thou shalt vanquish thine enemies”. Heeding the voice of the Angel, Saint Erasmus left his seclusion. The first ones who asked him about his faith were soldiers, having encountered him along the way. Saint Erasmus confessed himself a Christian. They took him to trial at Antioch to the emperor Diocletian, before whom the saint fearlessly confessed his faith in Christ and audaciously denounced the emperor for his impiety. Saint Erasmus was subjected to fearsome tortures, but remained unbending. After the tortures the saint was bound in iron chains and thrown into prison, whither in miraculous form there appeared an Angel, saying: “Follow after me , I lead thee to Italy. There thou shalt bring many people to salvation”. In the city of Lycia Saint Erasmus preached boldly to the people about Christ and raised up the son of a certain illustrious citizen. After this miracle at Lycia 10,000 men were baptised. The emperor of the Western half of the Roman empire , Maximian Hercules, gave orders to seize the saint and bring him to trial. And in front of this emperor Saint Erasmus also bravely confessed his faith. They beat him and threatened him with crucifixion if he did not recant from Christ. They then forced him to go to an idolatrous temple, but along the going of the saint all the idols situated there fell and were destroyed, and from the temple there came fire which fell upon many of the pagans. Having been set free, Saint Erasmus baptised many pagans, and afterwards went to the city of Sirmium, where he was again seized and subjected to torture. They seated him in a red-hot oven, but he remained alive and unharmed. This miracle so shook up those were presiding, that the emperor, fearing civil unrest, retired into his own chambers. The Angel freed Saint Erasmus from his fetters and took him to the city of Formium, i.e. to his own diocese, where the saint baptised many people. The saint died there in the year 303. Christians buried the remains of the holy priestmartyr with honour.
Hieromartyr Albian (Olbian), bishop of Anaea in Asia Minor (304).
Saint Albian was bishop of the city of Aneium in the Aseian district, and suffered for Christ in about the year 304 in a persecution against Christians under the emperor Diocletian and his co-ruler Maximian. Saint Albian was ordered to offer sacrifice to idols under the threat of death, but the saint with firmness confessed his faith in Christ and refused to serve idols. They tortured him with red-hot iron and beat him mercilessly, but he remained unyielding. They tortured also together with him his student, who likewise remained faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ. Both of the holy martyrs were sentenced to death and thrown into a red-hot oven, in which they died, having won the crowns of martyrdom.
Hieromartyr Silvanus of Gaza and with him 40 martyrs (311).
Saint Sylvanus came from the vicinity of the city of Gaza. In the world Sylvanus was a soldier. Wishing to serve the Heavenly King, he became a priest, and was ordained bishop of Gaza. Saint Sylvanus converted many pagans to faith in Christ. During the time of the persecution against Christians under the emperor Diocletian he was taken for trial to the city of Caesarea, he underwent torture and bravely endured it, and was then sentenced to harsh labour in the copper mines. At this work the holy bishop reached the edge of exhaustion, but always cheerful of spirit, he incessantly preached Christ to all those around him. This occurrence angered the pagans, who beheaded him. Such death there also accepted together with him 40 holy martyrs, who through the words of the bishop believed in Christ. Their death followed in the year 311.
Venerable Nicephorus the Solitary of Mt. Athos, the spiritual father of St. Gregory Palamas (1340) (Greek).
The Monk Nicephoros
Additional Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
New Hieromartyr John priest (1942).
New Hieromartyr Nicholas diacon (1943).
Venerables Aphrodisius, Leontius, Anthony, Valerian, Macrobius, and others, monks of Palestine.
Translation of the relics of the Righteous Lazarus and Mary Magdalene, Equal-to-the-Apostles.
St. Nicephorus, abbot of Medikion.
St. Ethelred, king of Mercia and monk in England (716) (Celtic & British).
St. Athanasius, bishop of Corinth (10th – 11th c.) (Greek).
Venerable Hilary the Wonderworker of the desert (Greek).
St. Monica of Tagaste (mother of Blessed Augustine) (387).

Today’s Hymns

Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, Kontakion, Tone VIII
Having come to the well by faith, the Samaritan woman beheld Thee, the Water
of Wisdom, of which she drank lavishly, and inherited the kingdom on high, where
her praises are sung eternally.

Troparion of the Sunday, Tone IV
When the women disciples of the Lord learned from the angel
the joyous message of Thy
they cast away the ancestral curse
and elatedly told the Apostles:
Death is
Christ God is risen,
granting the world great mercy!

Hymn to the Theotokos, Tone IV
The mystery of all eternity,
unknown even by angels,
through you, O Theotokos, is revealed
to those on earth:
God incarnate, by union without confusion.
He voluntarily accepted
the cross for us,
by which He resurrected the first-created man,
saving our souls
from death.

Kontakion of the Sunday, Tone IV
My Savior and Redeemer as God rose from the tomb and delivered the earthborn from their
chains. He has shattered the gates of hell, and as Master, He has risen on the third day!

Holy Martyred Nun Pelagia, Troparion, in Tone IV
Thy ewe-lamb Pelagia crieth out to Thee with a loud voice, O Jesus:
“I love
Thee, O my Bridegroom,
and, seeking Thee, I pass through many strugĀ­gles:
I am
crucified and buried with Thee in Thy baptism,
and suffer for Thy sake, that I
may reign with Thee;
I die for Thee that I might live with Thee.
As an
unblemished sacrifice accept me,
who sacrifice myself with love for Thee
her supplications save Thou our souls, in that Thou art merciful.

Hymns, Readings, Feast Day, and Fasting Information provided by Holy Trinity Orthodox Church.

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