Old Calendar Orthodox Daily Digest for 11/25/2020

Fasting Guidelines

25th Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Fast. Food with Oil

Scripture Readings

2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Luke 12:48-59
But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more. I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Then He also said to the multitudes, “Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming’; and so it is. And when you see the south wind blow, you say, ‘There will be hot weather’; and there is. Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time? Yes, and why, even of yourselves, do you not judge what is right? When you go with your adversary to the magistrate, make every effort along the way to settle with him, lest he drag you to the judge, the judge deliver you to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. I tell you, you shall not depart from there till you have paid the very last mite.

2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5
But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work. Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you. Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.

Luke 13:1-9 (Thursday)
There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. ‘And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’ ”

Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today

St. John the Merciful, patriarch of Alexandria (620).
St. John  the Merciful, patriarch of Alexandria (620). Sainted John the Merciful, Patriarch of Alexandria, was born on Cyprus in the VII Century into the family of the illustrious dignitary Epiphanios. At the wish of his parents he entered into marriage and had children. When the wife and the children of the saint died, he became a monk: strict at fasting, prayer and love for brother. His spiritual exploits gain him reknown, and when the Patriarchal cathedra-seat at Alexandria fell vacant, the emperor Heraclius and all the clergy besought Saint John to occupy the Patriarchal throne. The saint worthily assumed his archpastoral service, concerning himself over the moral and dogmatic welfare of his flock. During his time as patriarch he denounced and drove out from Alexandria the heresy of the Antioch Monophysite Phyllonos. But his chief task he considered to be charity and beneficence towards all those in need. At the beginning of his patriarchal service he ordered an accounting of all the poor and downtrodden in Alexandria, which turned out to be over seven thousand men. To all these unfortunates the saint daily distributed food, gratis and for free. Twice during the week, on Wednesdays and Fridays, he emerged from the doors of the Patriarchal cathedral, and sitting on the church portico, he received everyone in need: he settled quarrels, aided the wronged, and distributed alms. Three times a week he visited in the sick-houses, and rendered help to the suffering. It was during this period that the emperor Heraclius led a tremendous army against the Persian emperor Chosroes II. It resulted with the Persians ravaging and burning Jerusalem, and taking a multitude of captives. The holy Patriarch John gave over a large portion of the church treasury for their ransom. The saint never refused suppliants. One time along the road to the sick-house he encountered a beggar and commanded that he be given 6 silver coins. The beggar, having made a change of clothes, ran on ahead of the Patriarch and again began to entreat alms. Saint John again gave him 6 silver coins. When however the beggar a third time besought charity, and the servants began to thrust away the obtrusive fellow, the Patriarch ordered that he be given 12 pieces of silver, saying: “Is Christ not indeed putting me to the test?” Twice the saint gave money to a merchant that had suffered shipwreck, and a third time gave him a ship belonging to the Patriarchate and filled with grain, with which the merchant had a successful journey and repaid his obligations. Saint John the Merciful was known for his gentle attitude towards people. One time the saint was compelled because of some offense to remove from the Church a certain clergyman. This fellow was angry at the Patriarch, and so the saint wanted to summon him and talk it out, but it slipped his mind. But when he was celebrating the Divine Liturgy, the saint was suddenly reminded by the words of the Gospel: when thou bringest forth thine gift to the altar and do recollect, that thine brother hath something against thee, leave hold thine gift and first make peace with thine brother (Mt. 5: 23-24). The saint came out of the altar, called over the offending clergyman to him, and falling down on his knees before him, in front of all the people he asked forgiveness. The clergyman, shaken with surprise, repented his doings and afterwards became a pious priest. Likewise there was a time when a certain citizen insulted George, a nephew of the Patriarch. George asked the saint to avenge the wrong. The saint promised to reward the offender, in a manner that all Alexandria would see. This calmed George down, and Saint John began to instruct him, speaking about the necessity of meekness and humility, and then, having summoned the insulter, he declared, that he would release him from payment of a church tax on his land. Alexandria indeed was amazed by such a “revenge”, and George learned the lesson in the teaching of his uncle. Saint John, a strict ascetic and man of prayer, was always mindful of his soul, and of death. He commissioned for himself a crypt-coffin, but he did not bid the master-craftsmen to finish it off, instead each feastday he would have them come and ask, if it was time to finish the work. Shortly before his death, Saint John through illness was compelled to resign his cathedra and set off to the island of Cyprus. On the ship-journey the saint in his illness had a sign: in a sleep-vision a resplendent man appeared to him and said: “The King of kings doth summon thee unto Himself”. The vision announced the impending death of the Patriarch. Having arrived at Cyprus, in his native city of Amaphunteia, the saint in peace expired to the Lord (616-620).
Blessed John “the Hairy,” fool-for-Christ at Rostov (1580).
Blessed John the Merciful of Rostov (also known as “Vlasatyi” , “the Hairy”) asceticised at Rostov in the exploit of holy folly (iurodstvo), in it enduring deprivation and sorrow. He did not have a permanent shelter and at times took his rest at the house of his spiritual father , a priest at the church of the All-Holy (“Veskhsvyatsk”), or with one of the aged widows. Living in humility, patience and unceasing prayer, he spiritually nourished many a person, in which number was also the Monk Irinarkh, Hermit of Rostov (Comm. 13 January). After his lengthy life of pursuing asceticism he died on 3 September 1580 and was buried, according to his final wishes, alongside the church of Saint Blaise beyond the altar. He had “hair upon his head abundantly”, wherefore he was called “Vlasatyi” or “Hairy”. The title “Merciful” was bestown upon Blessed John for the many healings that occurred at his grave, and also in connection with the memory of the holy Patriarch John the Merciful (VII Century, Comm. 12 November), whose name he had in common.
St. Nilus the Myrrh-gusher of Mt. Athos (1651).
St. Nilus  the Myrrh-gusher of Mt. Athos (1651). The Monk Nilos the Myrh-Exuding was born in Greece, in a village named for Saint Peter, in the Zakoneia diocese. He was raised by his uncle, the priestmonk Makarios. Having attained the age of maturity, he took monastic tonsure and was found worthy of ordination to monk-deacon, and then to priestmonk. The desire for great effort at monastic deeds brought the monastic uncle and nephew to Athos, where Makarios and Nilos asceticised, at a place called the Holy Rocks. Upon the repose of Blessed Makarios, the Monk Nilos in undertaking still more intense spiritual efforts resettled in a place well nigh inaccessible for any living thing. Upon his departure to the Lord, the Monk Nilos was glorified by an abundant flow of curative myrh, for which Christians journeyed from the most distant lands of the East.
“The Merciful” Icon of the Mother of God.
The Icon of the Mother of God, named the “Merciful” (“Kykkiotisa”, “Milostivaya”): This icon was written, according to tradition, by the holy Evangelist Luke. It received its name “Kykkiotisa” from Mount Kykkos, on the Island of Cyprus. Here it was situated in an imperial monastery, in a church named after it. Before its coming to the Island of Cyprus, the wonderworking image of the Mother of God long wandered about through the will of God: at first it was situated in one the earliest Christian communities in Egypt, and then it was taken to Constantinople, where it remained during the time of Alexius Comnenius (end-XI to early-XII Century). During these years it was revealed to the hermit-elder Isaiah through a miraculous sign, that by his efforts the wonderworking image written by the Evangelist Luke would come to reside on the Island of Cyprus. The elder exerted much toil into fulfilling the Divine revelation. When the icon of the Mother of God arrived on the island, many a miracle was worked by it. From of old through the present to the monastery of the Mother of God the Merciful there throng those from every side afflicted by every sort of infirmity, and they receive healing through faith. In the miraculous power of the holy icon believe not only Christians, but also those of other faith who hearken to it in misfortune and illness. Inexhaustible is the mercy of the MostHoly Mother of God, Mediatrix for all the suffering, and Her image accurately bears the name, the “Merciful”. The wonderworking “Kykkiotisa” Icon of the Mother of God possesses a remarkable peculiarity: from what time-period is unknown, but it is covered by an half shroud from the upper left corner to the lower right, such that the faces of the Mother of God and the Divine Infant no one is able to make bold to see. The depiction of the Mother of God appears to be of the Hodegetria type, as is also the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God. The head of the Mother of God is adorned with a crown. At present a copy of this icon is particularly venerated at the women’s Nikol’sk monastery in the city of Mukachev.
Venerable Nilus the Faster of Sinai (451).
The Holy Monk Nilos the Faster, a native of Constantinople. He lived during the V Century and was a student of Saint John Chrysostom. Having received a fine education, the saint while still a young man was appointed to the important post of prefect of the capital. During this period, Nilos was married and had children. But the pomp of courtly life bothered the couple. Saint John Chrysostom exerted a tremendous influence upon their lives and their strivings. The spouses decided to separate and devote themself to monastic life. The wife and daughter of Nilos set out to one of the women’s monasteries in Egypt, and the Monk Nilos and his son Theodoulos went to Sinai, where they settled in a cave dug out by their own hands. For forty years this cave served as the dwelling of the Monk Nilos. By fasting, prayer and works, the monk attained to an high degree of spiritual perfection. People began to come to him from every occupation and social rank , from the emperor down to the farmer, and each found counsel and comfort from the saint. In solitude the Monk Nilos wrote much. A letter of his is known of , in which there is an angry denunciation of the emperor Arcadius, who had exiled Saint John Chrysostom. And widely known are the ascetic works of the Monk Nilos: they are perfectly executed in form, profoundly Orthodox, and filled with sincere sense and clear thought. The Monk Nilos suffered many a misfortune in the wilderness. Thus, for example, Saracens captured his son Theodoulos, whom they intended to offer as a sacrifice to their pagan gods. Through the prayers of the saint the Lord saved Theodoulos, and the monk found him with the bishop of Emessa, who had ransomed the young man from the barbarians. And this bishop ordained both of them as presbyters. After ordination they returned to Sinai, where they asceticised together until the death of the Monk Nilos.
Prophet Ahijah (Achias) (960 B.C.).
The Holy Prophet Akhiah (Ahijah), (cf. 1 [3] Kings 11: 29ff) , was a contemporary of Solomon, and was born in the city of Silom. The prophet predicted to Jeroboam his kingly rule over the 10 Tribes of Israel, which God would grant him, snatching them away from the hands of Solomon. Afterwards Akhiah predicted to Jeroboam the perishing of all his line. All the predictions of the prophet were fulfilled. The Prophet Ahiah died in old age 960 years before the Birth of Christ.
Additional Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
New Hieromartyr Alexander priest (1918).
New Hieromartyrs Constantine, Vladimir, Alexander, Matthew, Demetrius priests (1937).
New Hieromartyr Boris (1942).
New Martyr Sabbas Nigdelinus of Constantinople (1726) (Greek).
New Martyr Nicholas of Constantinople (1726).
St. Leontius, patriarch of Constantinople (1143).
Venerable Emilian of Vergegio in Iberia.
Venerable Lebuinus, missionary monk of the Netherlands (Netherlands).
St. Machar, bishop of Aberdeen (Scotland) (6th c.) (Celtic & British).
St. Sinell of Cleenish (6th c.) (Celtic & British).
St. Cadwaladr, king of the Welsh (664) (Celtic & British).
New Hieromartyr priest Theodore Gidaspov.
Synaxis of the Russian New Martyrs of Optina: Anatolius, Barnabas, Dositheus, Nectarius, Panteleimon and Vincent.

Today’s Hymns

St. John the Almsgiver, Patriarch of Alexandria, Troparion, Tone VIII
In thy patience, O venerable father, thou didst acquire thy reward,
having
endured in prayers without ceasing, and loved the poor and provided for them.

Beseech Christ God, O blessed almsgiver John, that our souls be saved.

Venerable Father Nilus the Faster, Troparion, Tone VIII
With the streams of thy tears thou didst irrigate the barren desert,
and
with sighs from the depths of thy soul thou didst render thy labors fruitful an
hun­dredfold.
Thou wast a beacon for the whole world, radiating miracles.
O
our father Nilus, entreat Christ God that our souls be saved.

Kontakion of the venerable one, Tone VIII “To thee, the champion leader”
In thy vigilant prayer thou didst cut down the underbrush
of the uprising of
the passions of the body as with a scythe.
As thou hast boldness before the
Lord, free me from every misfortune,
that I may cry out to thee: Rejoice, O
universal father!


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

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