8th Week after Pentecost. Tone six.
Today is fast-free!
1 Corinthians 9:13-18
Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel. But I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done so to me; for it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting void. For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship. What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.
Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. And He left them and departed. Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”
1 Corinthians 10:5-12
But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.” But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?-but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
|Venerable Stephen , abbot of Makhrishche (Vologda) (1406).
The Monk Stefan of Makhrisch was a native of Kiev. He accepted monasticism at the Pechersk monastery, where he spent several years in deeds of obedience and prayer. The oppressions by the Papists compelled him to journey on to Moscow, where GreatPrince Ivan II (1353-1359) graciously received him, permitting him to settle in the locale of Makhrisch not far from Gorodisch, 35 versts from the Sergeev wilderness-monastery. Having built himself a cell and spending his life at ascetic labours, and esteeming silence, he did not accept those wishing to join him. But then he yielded to the requests, and by such manner, in 1358 he founded a monastery, in which he was established as hegumen. Living near his monastery were the Yurkov brothers, fearing that the land which they ruled might be given over to the monastery, and they threatened to kill the holy ascetic. The admonitions of the monk did not help. Saint Stefan then moved to a different place. Sixty versts north of Vologda, at the River Avnezha, he founded with his disciple Grigory a wilderness-monastery in the Name of the Holy Trinity. GreatPrince Dimitrii Ioannovich sent books and other liturgical items to the Avnezhsk wilderness, but the Monk Stefan sent them in turn to the Makhrisch monastery. Having returned to his monastery, Saint Stefan ordered life in it according to a “life in common” ustav (rule). When the Monk Sergei of radonezh moved form his monastery, in order to find a place for his ascetic deeds, the Monk Stefan then received him, and gave the great ascetic Sergei his own disciple Simon, who knew the surrounding area quite well. The Monk Sergei settled together with Simon on the island of Kirzhach, where he founded a monastery. Saint Stefan was strict with himself and indulgent towards others, he it was that worked for the monastery the hardest of all, he zealously guided the brethren to the ways of salvation with gentle and quiet talks, and he wore clothing very old and coarse. The monk lived to extreme old age, became a schema-monk and died in 1406 on 14 July. In 1550 during the construction of a new stone church in the Name of the Holy Trinity, his holy remains were uncovered undecayed. They were glorified by blessings of help in various sicknesses and misfortunes for all calling on the name of the saint.
|Apostle Aquila of the Seventy, and St. Priscilla (1st c.).
It is possible, that he was a disciple of the Apostle Paul, a native of Pontus and a Jew, living in the city of Rome with his wife Priscilla (Comm. 13 February). During the reign of the emperor Claudius (41-54) all the Jews were banished from Rome. Saint Aquilla and his wife were compelled to leave. They settled in Corinth. A short while afterwards the holy Apostle Paul arrived there from Athens preaching the Gospel. Having made the acquaintance of Aquila, he began to live at his house and laboured together with him over the making of tents. Having accepted Baptism from the Apostle Paul, Aquila and Priscilla bacame his devoted and zealous disciples. They accompanied the apostle to Ephesus. The Apostle Paul instructed them to continue the preaching of the Gospel at Ephesus, and he himself set off to Jerusalem, in order to be present there for the feast of Pentecost. At Ephesus Aquila and Priscilla heard the bold preaching of a new-comer from Alexandria, the Jew Apollos, who had been instructed in the fundamentals of the faith, but knew only the baptism of John the ForeRunner [i.e. John the Baptist]. They called him over to themselves and explained more precisely about the way of the Lord. After the death of the emperor Claudius, Jews were permitted to return to Italy, and Aquila and Priscilla then returned to Rome. The Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Romans recollects about his faithful disciples: “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus, who put forth their heads for my soul, whom I do not alone thank, but also all the Church of the Gentiles and the church of their household” (Rom. 16: 3-4). Saint Aquila did not long dwell in Rome: the Apostle Paul made him a bishop in Asia. Saint Aquila zealously laboured at preaching the Gospel in Asia, Achaeia and Herakleia: he converted pagans to Christ, he confirmed in the faith newly-converted Christians, he established presbyters and destroyed idols. Saint Priscilla constantly assisted him in the apostolic work. Saint Aquila finished his life a martyr: pagans murdered him. According to the tradition of the Church, Saint Priscilla was killed together with him.
|Martyr Justus at Rome (1st c.).
The Holy Martyr Justus was a Roman pagan-soldier. The Life-Creating Cross of the Lord appeared to him in a vision. Justus believed in Christ and gave away his possessions to the poor. By decree of the official of Magnesia, Justus as a Christian was taken to trial. After various tortures the holy martyr was thrown into a bon-fire and therein gave up his soul to God, but the flames did not harm his body (I).
|Venerable Ellius (Hellius) of Egypt (4th c.).
The Monk Hellios lived and died in the IV Century. Given over at childhood to a monastery, he was raised in piety, temperance and chastity. Having grown up, he set out into the Egyptian wilderness, where by incessant ascetic deeds he attained deep ability in the spiritual life: he was endowed with the gift of perspicacity, he knew all the thoughts and disposition of the monks conversing with him. Great faith, simplicity of soul and deep humility allowed Saint Hellios to command wild animals. One time, when the monk carried an heavy load to the wilderness monastery and had become very tired, and having prayed, he called a wild donkey to himself and placed on it his burden. The donkey meekly carried the load to the place and was set free to return to the wilderness. Another time, when the Monk Hellios needed to cross over a river and there was no boat, he called forth from the water a crocodile and, standing on its back, he happily crossed to the opposite shore. One of the young novices of the monastery, whom Saint Hellios visited with, besought him to take him along into the deep wilderness. The Monk Hellios warned the youth about the great work, exploits and temptations, which inevitably beset all the hermits, but since the novice continued fervently to ask, he took him along. On the first night the novice, frightened by terrible visions, in trembling ran to the cave to the Monk Hellios. The monk comforted and calmed him down and ordered him to return. Having secured the cave with the sign of the cross, the monk said that the young hermit should not fear, since these apparitions would appear no more. Trusting the word of the saint, the novice decided to remain in solitude and afterwards attained such perfection, that he was granted, like his preceptor Hellios, to receive at the necessary time food from an Angel. In extreme old age the Monk Hellios peacefully settled into the Heavenly mansions.
|Venerable Onesimus , of Magnesia (4th c.).
He suffered for the name of Christ during the reign of Diocletian. He died in Magnesia (in Asia Minor), where he founded a monastery.
|Venerable Nicodemus of Mt. Athos, spiritual writer (1809).
He is best known for his collections of Orthodox writings, most importantly the Philokalia, a five-volume compendium of writings on asceticism and prayer, especially the Jesus Prayer, by the holy Fathers of the Church. (The first four volumes have been translated into English). He produced an Orthodox edition of Unseen Warfare, originally by Lorenzo Scupoli, a Roman Catholic. (This was further revised by St Theophan the Recluse). He also edited the Pedalion (Rudder), a collection of the canons of the Orthodox Church with his commentary. Note: The English edition of the Rudder needs to be read with care, since it includes additional comments by the translator, not clearly distinguished from those of the Saint.
|St. Joseph the Confessor, archbishop of Thessalonica (Greek).
He was the brother of St Theodore the Studite (November 11), and is also sometimes called Studite. He is one of the inspired composers of the canons in the Lenten Triodion, many of which bear the title “by Joseph”. (He should not be confused with St Joseph the Hymnographer, who is commemorated April 3.) As Archbishop of Thessalonika, he suffered greatly for his zealous defense of the holy icons: he was imprisoned, and was exiled three times.
|Additional Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today|
|New Hieromartyr Constantine priest (1918).|
|New Hieromartyr Nicholas priest (1933).|
|Martyr John of Merv (Turkmenistan).|
|Sts. Vladimir and Agrippina wonderworkers of Rzhev|
|St. Marcellinus of Utrecht, priest (8th c.) (Neth.).|
|St. Heraclius, patriarch of Alexandria (246).|
Holy Apostle Aquila, Troparion, Tone III
O holy apostle Aquila
entreat the merciful God
that He grant to our souls
remission of transgressions.
Holy Martyrs Cyricus & Julitta, Troparion, Tone IV
In their sufferings, O Lord,
Thy martyrs received imperishable crowns from
Thee our God;
for, possessed of Thy might,
they set at nought the tormentors
and crushed the feeble audacity of the demons.
By their supplications save
Thou our souls.
Kontakion of the Apostle, Tone IV
Having acquired thee like a great sun,
O glorious Aquila, apostle of the
the Church enlighteneth with the splendors of thy teaching those who
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