Monday May 18, 2020
Today is Fast Free No fasting restrictions.
Acts 12:12-17 (Epistle)
So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying. And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. But they said to her, “You are beside yourself!” Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, “It is his angel.” Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Go, tell these things to James and to the brethren.” And he departed and went to another place.
John 8:42-51 (Gospel)
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. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.” Then the Jews answered and said to Him, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?” Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. And I do not seek My own glory; there is One who seeks and judges. Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.”
Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
|Martyr Theodotus of Ancyra, and with him the seven Virgin Martyrs: Alexandra, Tecusa, Claudia, Phaine, Euphraisa, Matrona, and Julia, who suffered under Decius
The Holy Martyr Theodotus and the Holy Seven Virgins Tecusa, Phaine, Claudia, Matrona, Julia, Alexandra and Euphrasia lived during the second half of the third century in the city of Ancyra, Galatia, and died as martyrs for Christ at the beginning of the fourth century. Saint Theodotus was an innkeeper and was married.Theoteknos, prefect of Ancyra, issued a proclamation informing Christians that they were obliged to offer sacrifice to idols, and if they refused, they would be tortured and killed. Pagans would deliver Christians over to torture, and then divide up their property. Theodotus was not afraid to bury the remains of holy martyrs, either carrying them off secretly or ransoming them from the soldiers. When the Christian churches at Ancyra were destroyed and closed, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated in his inn. Knowing that martyrdom awaited him, Saint Theodotus predicted to the priest Phrontonos that soon they would bring him the relics of martyrs, at a place chosen by both of them. In surety of his words, Saint Theodotus gave the priest his ring. At this time, seven holy virgins died for Christ. The eldest, Saint Tecusa, was the aunt of Saint Theodotus. The holy virgins Tecusa, Phaine, Claudia, Matrona, Julia, Alexandra and Euphrasia had dedicated themselves to God from their youth, living in constant prayer, fasting, temperance and good deeds. All of them had attained to an advanced age. Brought to trial as Christians, the holy virgins bravely confessed their faith in Christ before Theoteknos and were given over to torture, yet remained steadfast. The prefect then gave them to shameless youths for defilement. The holy virgins prayed intensely, asking help from God. Saint Tecusa fell down at the feet of a youth, and pushing back her veil she showed him her grey hair. The young men were startled, and ran off weeping. The prefect then ordered that the saints take part in offering sacrifice to the idols, but again the holy virgins refused. For this they were sentenced to death. A heavy stone was tied to the legs of each, and all seven of the holy virgins were drowned in a lake. On the following night Saint Tecusa appeared in a dream to Saint Theodotus, asking him to take her body and give it Christian burial. Saint Theodotus, taking with him his friend Polychronius and several other Christians, went to the lake. It was dark, and a torch illumined their way. The holy martyr Sosander appeared in front of the guard who was posted by the pagans at the shore of the lake. The frightened guard ran off in terror. The Christians found the bodies of the holy martyrs and carried them to church, where they were buried. Learning that the bodies of the holy martyrs had been stolen, the prefect flew into a rage and gave orders to arrest all Christians and torture them. Polychronius also was seized. Unable to endure the torture, he accused Saint Theodotus of stealing the bodies. Saint Theodotus was prepared to die for Christ. Speaking with other Christians, he bequeathed his body to the priest Phrontonos, to whom he had given his ring. The account of the life and martyrdom of Saint Theodotus and the suffering of the holy virgins was compiled by Nilus, a contemporary and companion of Saint Theodotus. Nilus lived in the city of Ancyra during the persecution of Christians under the emperor Diocletian, and witnessed the saint’s death.Saint Theodotus is also commemorated on June 7.
|Martyrs Peter, Dionysius, Andrew, Paul, and Christina who suffered under Decius
The Holy Martyrs Peter, Dionysius, Andrew, Paul, and Christina suffered under emperor Decius (249-251). Peter suffered in the city of Lampsaka. Brought to trial before the prefect Optimines, he bravely confessed his faith in Christ. They tried to force the youth to deny the Lord and worship the goddess Venus. The martyr refused to do this, declaring for everyone to hear, that a Christian would not bow to the idol of a lecherous woman. Saint Peter was subjected to fierce tortures, but he endured them with courage, giving thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ for giving him His all-powerful help. Then he was beheaded. Dionysius, Nikomachus, and two soldiers, Andrew and Paul, who had been transferred from Mesopotamia, were put on trial. They all confessed their faith in Christ and refused to offer sacrifice to idols, so they were tortured. To the great sorrow of all the Christians, Nikomachus did not persevere. He denied the Lord Jesus Christ, and entered a pagan temple to offer sacrifice. He fell down in a terrible frenzy and died foaming at the mouth, tearing the skin from his body with his teeth. On the following morning, Saints Dionysius, Andrew and Paul were again brought before the prefect. For confessing faith in Christ they were given to the pagans to be put to death. They bound the saints by the feet, dragged them to the place of execution, and stoned them to death. Saint Christina watched the trial of Dionysius, Nikomachus, Andrew, and Paul, and all that happened. The sixteen-year-old Christina shouted, “Nikomachus, you cursed and lost man! Instead of enduring pain for a single hour, you have made yourself worthy of eternal torment!” The prefect gave orders to seize the holy virgin. Learning that she was a Christian, he gave her to dissolute men for their pleasure. An angel appeared at the house where they had taken the holy virgin. Frightened by his terrible visage, the men tearfully begged the holy virgin’s forgiveness and asked her to pray that the Lord’s chastisement might not befall them. On the following morning, Saints Dionysius, Andrew and Paul were again brought before the prefect. For confessing faith in Christ they were given to the pagans to be put to death. They bound the saints by the feet, dragged them to the place of execution, and stoned them to death. Seeing their courage, Saint Christina also ran up to die with the martyrs. She was beheaded by order of the prefect.
|Martyrs David and Tarichan of Georgia
The holy martyrs David and Tarichan were born to Vardan and Tagine, pious Christians and relatives of the king. Vardan died while his sons were still young, and Tagine’s pagan brother Theodosius seized all the family’s possessions. Concerned that the brothers would eventually claim their legal inheritance, Theodosius resolved to convert his sister and nephews to his own creed. “Leave behind the Faith of the crucified Christ and receive mine and I will adopt your children,” he told Tagine. But Tagine firmly guarded the family against her brother’s evil intent. “It is enough that you have seized my sons’ estate,” she said. “But you cannot seize the inheritance they will receive from their Father in heaven!”Theodosius was thwarted by his sister’s resoluteness. So instead, he tried to convert his nephews directly. He called them, embraced them warmly, and tempted them with sweets. “Now you are my sons, and everything I have belongs to you,” he told them. “Trust me like obedient sons of a beloved father. Turn from the Faith of your father, and I will show you a better way!”After a brief silence, the holy youths answered, “We are perfectly content with our father’s Faith and will remain loyal to this Faith until the day our souls depart from our flesh. We are prepared to suffer everything for the love of our Lord and Heavenly Father!” Theodosius dared not try to sway his nephews since he feared the revenge of the Christian community, so he left them in peace and plotted to murder them in secret. But Tagine sensed that danger was near and escaped with her sons to the region of Tao in the south. From his spies Theodosius learned that the brothers were now herding sheep at the top of a mountain, and he ordered an ambush. But the brothers heard the noise and saw the armed soldiers before they attacked. David rejoiced upon seeing his uncle and ran toward him, but Theodosius stabbed him before he could embrace him. The holy martyr released his staff from his hand, and when it fell to the ground it was miraculously transformed into a large tree. Two hundred years later a group of Christians chopped the tree down and divided the holy wood among themselves.Having just witnessed his own brother’s murder, Tarichan raced toward the village of Divri for help. But his pursuers overtook him, stabbed him to death, and ran off. When they returned to Theodosius, they saw that God had punished him by taking away his sight. The soldiers were stunned, and they could neither utter a word nor move from the place of this miracle. After some time Theodosius’ eyes filled with bitter tears, and he was finally moved to repentance.At first Tagine denounced her brother in a rage, and those who heard the cries of the inconsolable mother wept along with her. But while she was stroking the lifeless bodies of her sons, Theodosius turned to her, saying, “On you has shone the Inextinguishable Light from the Unapproachable and True Light, the Eternal Light. Pray to the holy martyrs that the Lord have mercy on me and make me, the unworthy, worthy of the seal of Christ, the All-merciful God, Who came into the world. Indeed, He is the One True God!” When Tagine heard these words, she recognized that God had received her sons as a holy sacrifice. Filled with new joy, she told her brother, “May God forgive you the murder of my sons!”Then she took a piece of the earth that had been stained by her son David’s blood and anointed her brother’s eyes. Immediately his sight was restored.This happened in the year 693. As a witness to the sanctity of His martyrs, our God, Who loves mankind, illumined their bodies with a radiant light each evening when night fell.Theodosius repented before the catholicos himself. He was baptized into the Christian Faith and erected a church in honor of his nephew Saint David. The mayor of Divri took Saint Tarichan’s holy relics and built a church over them in his name. Blessed Tagine began a new life in the village of Tadzarani and later reposed there.
|Martyrs Simeon, Isaac and Bachtisius, of Persia
The Holy Martyrs Simeon, Isaac and Bachtisius were Christians and lived during the third century in Persia under the emperor Sapor, a fierce persecutor of Christians. They tried to force the saints to deny Christ and be converted to fire-worship. They refused and said, “We will not turn away from the Creator of all, and we will not worship fire or the sun.” They cruelly tortured the holy martyrs, then threw them into prison, where they were not given food for seven days. Finally, the martyrs were beheaded.
|Martyrs Heraclius, Paulinus, and Benedimus
The Holy Martyrs Heraclius, Paulinus and Benedimus suffered for Christ in the city of Athens. They taught the pagans about Christ and urged them to abandon the worship of senseless idols. These chosen vessels of God were brought to trial with their followers who had discerned the true path. After many torments they were thrown into a fiery oven, in which they surrendered their souls to God.
Martyr Theodotus of Ancyra, and with him the seven Virgin Martyrs: Alexandra, Tecusa, Claudia, Phaine, Euphraisa, Matrona, and Julia, who suffered under Decius – Troparion & Kontakion
Troparion — Tone 4
Your holy martyr Theodotus and his companions, O Lord,
through their sufferings have received incorruptible crowns from You, our God.
For having Your strength, they laid low their adversaries,
and shattered the powerless boldness of demons.
Through their intercessions, save our souls!
Kontakion — Tone 2
Podoben: ‘Seeking the highest…’
You struggled well, O Theodotus,
together with your fellow athletes and the passion-bearing virgins.
You have all received crowns of honor.
Therefore, unceasingly pray to Christ God for us all.
Martyrs Peter, Dionysius, Andrew, Paul, and Christina who suffered under Decius – Troparion & Kontakion
Troparion — Tone 4
Your martyrs, 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 8
O divine martyrs, you appeared as bright beacons,
illumining all of creation with the radiance of your miracles;
do not cease to entreat Christ to deliver us all from our maladies,
and drive away from us the profound darkness of ignorance.
Readings and Feast Day Information provided by The Orthodox Church in America (OCA).
Fasting guidelines provided by The Greek American Orthodox Archdiocese (GOARCH).
Aggregated and Formatted by OrthoBot.
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