17th Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Today is fast-free!
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles- if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.
And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve. Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it. So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ” And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching. When evening had come, He went out of the city. Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.” So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
|Great-martyr Euphemia the All-praised, of Chalcedon (304).
The Holy GreatMartyress Euphemia the All-Praiseworthy was the daughter of Christians , the senator Philophronos and Theodosia. She suffered for Christ in about the year 304 in the city of Chalcedon, located on the banks of the Bosphorus opposite Constantinople. The Chalcedon governor Priscus circulated an order to all the inhabitants of Chalcedon and its surroundings to appear at a pagan feast for worship and to offer sacrifice to an idol of Ares (Mars), threatening grave torments for whomever failed to appear. During the time of this impious feast 49 Christians had hidden away at one house, where they secretly made Divine-services to the True God. The young maiden Euphemia was also among those praying there. Soon the hide-out of the Christians was discovered, and they were brought before Priscus to answer for themselves. Over the course of 19 days the martyrs were subjected to various tortures and torments, but none of them wavered in their faith nor consented to offer sacrifice to the idol. The governor, beside himself with rage and not knowing still any further means of forcing the Christians into renunciation, sent them for trial to the emperor Diocletian, but he separated from them the youngest , the maiden Euphemia, hoping that she, alone by herself, would not hold out. Saint Euphemia, separated from her brethren in faith, fervently prayed the Lord Jesus Christ, that He Himself would strengthen her in the impending ordeal. Priscus at first urged the saint to recant, promising her earthly blessings, but then he gave the order to torture her. The martyress was tied to a wheel with sharp knives, which in turning cut at the body. The saint prayed loudly. And here it happened, that the wheel stopped by itself and would not move even with all the efforts of the executioners. An Angel of the Lord, having come down from Heaven, removed Euphemia from the wheel and healed her of her wounds, and with gladness the saint gave thanks unto the Lord. Not perceiving the miracle that had occurred, the torturer ordered the soldiers Victor and Sosthenes to take the saint to a red-hot oven. But the soldiers, seeing amidst the flames two fearsome Angels, refused to carry out the order of the governor and became themselves believers in the God, Whom Euphemia worshipped. Boldly proclaiming that they too were Christians, Victor and Sosthenes bravely went to suffering. They were given over for devouring by wild beasts. During the time of execution they cried out for mercy to God, that the Lord should receive them into the Heavenly Kingdom. An heavenly Voice answered their cries, and they expired unto life eternal. The beasts however did not even touch their bodies. Saint Euphemia, cast by other soldiers into the fire, remained unharmed. And with the help of God she emerged unharmed after many another torture and torment. Ascribing this to sorcery, the governor gave orders to dig out a new pit, and filling it with knives he had it covered over with ground and grass, so that the martyress would not know about the preparation for her execution; but here also Saint Euphemia remained safe, easily passing over the pit. Finally, they sentenced her to be devoured by wild beasts at the circus. Before execution the saint began to implore, that the Lord deem her worthy to die a violent death. But none of the beasts, set loose at her in the arena, attacked her. Finally, one of the she-bears struck her a small wound on the leg, from which came blood, and the holy GreatMartyr Euphemia instantly died. During this time there occurred an earthquake, and both the guards and the spectators ran in terror, so that the parents of the saint were able to take up her body and reverently bury it not far from Chalcedon. A majestic church was afterwards erected over the grave of the GreatMartyr Euphemia. At this temple took place the sessions of the Fourth OEcumenical Council in the year 451, during the time of which in miraculous manner the holy GreatMartyress Euphemia confirmed the Orthodox confession, and setting limits to the Monophysite heresy, the details of which are related under the day of the commemoration of this miracle, 11 July. With the taking of Chalcedon by the Persians in the year 617, the relics of the holy GreatMartyress Euphemia were transferred to Constantinople (in about the year 620). During the period of the Iconoclast heresy the reliquary with the relics of Saint Euphemia appears to have been thrown into the sea. Pious sailors pulled them out. They were afterwards taken to the Island of Lemnos, and in the year 796 they were returned to Constantinople.
|Repose of St. Cyprian , metropolitan of Kiev (1406).
Sainted Kiprian, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Russia, was by origin a Serb, and asceticised at Athos. By his pious life and education he came to the attention of the Constantinople Patriarch Philotheos (1354-1355, 1362-1376), who in 1375 ordained Kiprian as Metropolitan of Kiev and Lithuania. At the Constantinople Council it was decided, to avoid a fragmentation of the Russian metropolia, that “upon the death of Sainted Alexei, he should become the Metropolitan of All Rus'”. At Moscow Saint Kiprian endured many a sorrow from the great-prince, and therefore initially he lived either in Lithuania or at Constantinople. Only in the year 1390, during the time of Great-prince Vasilii Dimitrievich, was he accepted as primate at Moscow. Saint Kiprian concerned himself over the correction of the Divine-service books. There are preserved autographic manuscripts of certain Slavonic translations by the saint, witnessing to his great scientific work. And by his pastoral epistles he encouraged the faith of the Church. His activity in the translation of liturgical literature is widely known.
|St. Photius , metropolitan of Kiev (1431).
Sainted Photii, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Russia, was by birth a Greek from the Peloponnesian city of Monembaseia (Malbasia). While still in his adolescent years he entered a monastery and took tonsure under the monastic-elder Akakios, a great ascetic (afterwards becoming the metropolitan of Monembaseia). In 1408, when Photii was in Constantinople with the Patriarch on matters entrusted by the metropolitan, the question arose about a replacement for the Russian cathedra-chair after the death of Saint Kiprian (+ 1406, Comm. 16 September). The choice of Patriarch Matthew (1397-1410) fell upon Photii, known for his learning and holiness of life. On 1 September 1408 Saint Photii was made metropolitan and in the next year arrived in Rus’. He spent half an year at Kiev (September 1409-February 1410), concerning himself over the settling of affairs in the southern dioceses of the Russian Church, included then within the principality of Lithuania, or more precisely as they then called it, of Lithuania and Russia. The saint perceived that the throne of the metropolitan , the spiritual centre of churchly life in Rus’ , could not remain in the Kiev lands, where everything increasingly fell under the dependence of Catholic Poland. Following the example of former Russian metropolitans, who transferred their place of dwelling first to Vladimir, then to Moscow, in 1410 on the day of Holy Pascha, Metropolitan Photii arrived in Moscow. For 22 years the saint asceticised in the difficult service of arch-hierarch of the Russian Church. In grievous conditions of war, fratricidal strife, and pillaging incursions of Tatars he knew how to highly advance the spiritual significance, the material prosperity and well-being of the churches under the Moscow cathedra. Favourable conditions in the Church allowed for Saint Photii to render great assistance to the increasingly impoverished Constantinople Patriarch, and to strengthen the international position of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian realm. The enemies of Orthodoxy more than once tried to subvert the churchly-patriotic service of Saint Photii. In the Spring of 1410, when Saint Photii arrived in Vladimir from Moscow, khan Edigei, having laid waste this portion of the Russian Land for two years, undertook a new campaign with the intent of taking captive the metropolitan himself. A Tatar detachment, headed by the princeling Talychoi “the Exile”, suddenly and quickly took Vladimir. But God preserved His righteous saint: the evening before, not suspecting danger, the saint had gone off to the Svyatoozersk monastery beyond the city. When the Tatars attempted pursuit, he concealed himself in a small settlement, surrounded by impassable swamps, at the River Sen’ga. Unable to capture the metropolitan, the rapacious Tatars gave themselves over to a plundering of Vladimir, and especially the Uspensk cathedral church. The doorsman of the cathedral, Patrikei, endured terrible torments and accepted a martyr’s death from the plundering Tatars, but he did not reveal the place, where the church sacred items and treasury were hidden. Through the efforts of holy Metropolitan Photii was restored the canonical unity of prayer of the Russian Church: the separate Lithuanian metropolitanate, established on the initiative of prince Vitovt for the southern and western eparchies (dioceses), was abolished in the year 1420. The saint this same year visited the returned eparchies and greeted the flock with a Circular Missive of teaching. The wise and highly-erudite pastor left behind many an instruction and missive. Great theological significance was had in his denunciation against the heresy of the Strigol’niki, which had arisen at Pskov prior to his time. By his wise efforts the heresy was put to an end (in 1427). Important Church-historical sources compiled by Saint Photii are his “Order of Selection and Installation of Bishops” (1423), “Discourse on the Seriousness of the Priestly Dignity and the Obligations of Church-servers”, and also the “Spiritual Testament”, in which he relates about his life. A great work of the saint was likewise the compiling under his guidance of the Obscherussk (All-Russian) Chronicle collation (in about the year 1423). On 20 April 1430 the holy arch-pastor was informed by an Angel about his impending end and he reposed peacefully in the time allotted him by the Lord, on the feastday of the Placing of the Robe of the Mother of God, on 2 July 1431. His relics were uncovered in the year 1471. In the Armoury Palace of the Moscow Kremlin are preserved two dalmatic-robes (“sakkos”) of holy Metropolitan Photii.
|Martyr Ludmilla (927), grandmother of St. Wenceslaus, prince of the Czechs.
The Holy Martyress Liudmila, a Czech (Bohemian) princess, was married to the Czech prince Borivoy. Both spouses received holy Baptism from Saint Methodios, Archbishop of Moravia and Enlightener of the Slavs (Comm. 11 May). As Christians, they showed concerned for the enlightening of their subjects with the light of the true faith, they built churches and invited priests therein to make Divine-services. Prince Borivoy died early at age 36. Saint Liudmila as a widow led an austere pious life and continued to be concerned for the Church during the reign of her son Bratislav, which lasted for 33 years. Bratislav was married to Dragomira, from whom he had a son Vyacheslav. After the death of Bratislav, 18 year old Vyacheslav came on the throne. Taking advantage of the inexperience and youth of her son, Dragomira began to propagate pagan manners and customs in the country. Saint Liudmila of course opposed this. Dragomira came to hate her mother-in-law and tried to destroy her. When Saint Liudmila moved away to the city of Techin, Dragomira sent there two boyars in secret to murder her. At the time Saint Liudmila was praying, and the two assassins entered the house, carrying out Dragomira’s orders. The relics of the holy Martyress Liudmila was buried in Techin in the city wall. From her grave there occurred numerous healings. Prince Vyacheslav transferred the body of Saint Liudmila to the city of Prague and placed it in the church of Saint George.
|New Martyrs Isaac and Joseph , who suffered at Karnu, Georgia (808) ( Georgia ).
The Holy Martyrs Isaac and Joseph, brothers by birth, were born in the city of Theodosiopolis, or Karna (now Erzerum). Their father was an illustrious Moslem, but their mother , a Christian. The good and pious woman educated her two sons, and also an older one whose name is uncertain, in the Christian faith. Having reached the age of maturity, all three brothers , Joseph alone being married , wanted to depart their Mahometan father in order confess their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ without hindrance. They recoursed by letter to the Byzantine emperor Nicephoros I (802-811), requesting his permission to resettle at Constantinople and to enter into service at his court. Having received a favourable reply from the Christian sovereign, the brothers began to ready themselves for the journey. The eldest soon set out for Constantinople, but Joseph and Isaac were detained by order of the emir of Theodosiopolis. Questioned about the purpose of their journey to Constantinople, the brothers answered, to the surprise of all those present including their father, that they were Christians from the time of their birth and therefore they were fleeing the impious, and wanting to confess freely their own faith. Neither by enticements nor by threats were they able to sway the brave martyrs. Having convened an assembly of officials, the emir sentenced the brothers to death. At the place of execution, on bended knee, Saints Isaac and Joseph offered up prayer to the Lord, after which the executioner chopped off their venerable heads. This occurred in the year 808. Upon the unburied bodies of the holy martyrs by night came down and shone an extraordinarily bright column of light over them. Struck by this sign, the Mahometans the next day besought the Christians of the city to give burial to the bodies of the holy martyrs. Later, at the place of burial of the saints was built a temple and consecrated in the Name of the MostHoly Trinity.
|The Icon of the Mother of God, named “Support of the Humble” (1420).
The Icon of the Mother of God, named “Support to the Humble” (“Prizri na smirenie”), appeared in the year 1420 in the Pskov lands at Stony Lake. That same year on 16 September it was transferred to Pskov and put in the cathedral church. In memory of the transfer of this wonderworking icon there was established its celebration.
|St. Sebastiana , disciple of St. Paul the Apostle, martyred at Heraclea (86).
The Holy Martyress Sebastiana was a student of the holy Apostle Paul. During a persecution against Christians under the emperor Dometian (81-96), she was at trial as a Christian before the governor named Georgios in the city of Marcianopolis in the Mizea region. Saint Sebastiana firmly confessed her faith in Christ and for this she was subjected to cruel tortures. At first they beat her, and then they threw her into a red-hot oven, from which she emerged unharmed. They dispatched the saint to the city of Herakleia, where sentence was pronounced on her a second time. The governor named Pompian gave orders to tie the saint to a tree and lacerate her body with roof-tiles. The martyress remained unbroken in her faith. Then the governor gave her over for devouring by wild beasts. There too the Lord preserved the holy martyress, and the beasts refused to touch her. Then, by order of the governor, Saint Sebastiana was beheaded. Her body, thrown into the sea, was conveyed by Angels to the Island of Rhodes (in Thrace, in the Sea of Marmora).
|Martyr Melitina of Marcianopolis (2nd c.).
The Holy Martyress Meletina lived in the city of Marcianopolis during the rule of the emperor Antoninus Pius ((138-161). She was a fervent Christian, and the Lord blessed her with the gift of wonderworking. By the power of prayers she shattered the idols of Apollo and Herakles. Her fiery preaching converted many pagans to Christ: among the converted was the spouse of the governor of the city of Marcianopolis. When the governor learned of this, he had Saint Meletina brought to trial, and sentenced her to be beheaded. In returning to his own country, the Macedonian Akakios reverently took up the body of Saint Meletina with the intention of burying her in Macedonia. But during the voyage Akakios fell sick and died. The ship stopped at the Island of Lemnos, where the body of the holy Martyress Meletina was consigned to burial, and alongside her grave they buried Akakios.
|Venerable Dorotheus , hermit of Egypt (4th c.).
The Monk Dorotheios, Egyptian Wilderness-Dweller, a native of the Thebaid region in Egypt, asceticised for 60 years in the Skete wilderness, on the Western side of the River Nile. Palladius, bishop of Helenopolis and author of the reknown “Lausiaca”, had in his youthful years been a student of the Monk Dorotheios, and thus has passed along memories of him. The Monk Dorotheios led a austere and ascetic manner of life. After finishing his prayers, he went off into the noonday heat to gather up stones along the seashore and build cells for the other hermits. By night the saint wove baskets, in exchange for which he received the necessities of sustenance. Food for the Monk Dorotheios consisted of bread and the meagre grass in the wilderness. Once a day he partook of food and drank a little water. The monk did not lie down to sleep, and only but dozed off sometimes at work or after eating. One time the Monk Dorotheios sent off his student to go fetch water, but that one returned saying that he saw a snake in the well and that the water in the well was now poisoned. The Monk Dorotheios went then himself to the well, took up a ladle of water, and making the sign of the Cross over it he drank of it, saying: “Where there is the Cross, there the demonic powers do altogether no harm”. The Monk Dorotheios peacefully died up in age.
|Venerable Procopius , abbot, of Sazava in Bohemia (1053).
The Monk Procopius was born in Bohemia, in the village of Hotun. In his dignity of priest he toiled much for the propagating of the Christian faith in Czechia. By the River Zasava he founded a monastery in the name of Saint John the Precursor, at which he died in the year 1053.
|St. Ninian, bishop of Whithorn (Candida Casa) ( 432) (Celtic & British).
One of the great missionaries and early Saints of the British Isles, he was born in Britain around the year 360. Though Britain was still mostly pagan, Ninian was born of Christian parents. He traveled to Rome as a young man, and spent several years there engaged in study and ascetic struggle. He was ordained in Rome and sent back as a missionary to Britain around the year 400. On the way he probably met St Martin of Tours: many of the churches he founded, including his cathedral in Whithorn, were named in honor of St Martin. He established several monasteries, ministered to his Christian Briton countrymen and converted many more Britons to the Faith. He also converted many of the fierce Picts, inhabitants of today’s Scotland, to faith in Christ. He reposed in peace in Whithorn in 432.
|Additional Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today|
|New Hieromartyr Gregory Raevsky priest (1937).|
|New Hieromartyr Sergius priest (1942).|
|Translation of the relics of St. Alexis of Moscow (2001).|
|St. Kushka of Odessa confessor (1964).|
|Martyrs Victor and Sosthenes at Chalcedon (304).|
|Venerable Edith, nun, of Wilton, England (984) (Celtic & British).|
|Venerable Cyprian of Serbia (Serbia).|
Troparion of the Holy Greatmartyr Euphemia in Tone IV
Thy ewe-lamb Euphemia crieth out to Thee with a loud voice, O
“I love Thee, O my Bridegroom,
and, seeking Thee, I pass through many
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
As an unblemished sacrifice accept me,
who sacrifice myself with love
By 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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