25th Sunday after Pentecost. Tone eight.
Nativity (St. Philip’s Fast). Fish Allowed
Mark 16:9-20 (3rd Matins Gospel)
Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe. After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either. Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ” And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves? And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
1 Corinthians 4:9-16 (Apostle)
For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now. I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me.
Matthew 9:9-13 (Apostle)
As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him. Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.
Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
|Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew (60).
The Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew, was also named Levi (Mk. 2: 14; Lk. 5: 27); he was an Apostle from among the Twelve (Mk. 3: 18; Lk. 6: 45; Acts 1: 13), and was brother of the Apostle James Alphaeus (Mk. 2: 14). He was a publican, i.e. a tax-collector for Rome, in a time when the Jews had come under the rule of the Roman empire. He lived in the Galileian city of Capernaum [Capharnum]. Matthew, in hearing the voice of Jesus Christ: “Come, follow Me” (Mt. 9: 9), left off from his duties and followed the Saviour. Christ and His disciples did not refuse the invitation of Matthew and they visited at his house, where they shared table with the friends and acquaintances of the publican , who like the host were publicans and known sinners. This event extremely bothered the pharisees and scribes [“knizhniki”, lit. bookmen or scholars]. Publicans, in collecting taxes from their countrymen, did this with great profit for themselves. Usually greedy and cruel people, the Jews considered them pernicious and betrayers of their country and religion. The word “publican” connoted for the Jews the sense of “public-sinner” and “idol-worshipper”. To even speak with a tax-collector was considered a sin, and to associate with one , was defilement. But the Jewish teachers were not able to comprehend, that the Lord was “come to call not the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mt. 9: 13). Matthew, acknowledging his sinfulness, recompensed fourfold anyone he had overcharged, and he distributed his remaining possessions to the poor, and together with the other apostles he followed after Christ. Saint Matthew was attentive to the instructions of the Divine Teacher, he beheld His innumerable miracles, he went together with the 12 apostles preaching to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mt. 10: 6), he was a witness to the suffering, death, and Resurrection of the Saviour, and of His glorious Ascension into Heaven. Having received the gifts of the grace of the Holy Spirit, which descended upon the apostles on the day of Pentecost, the Apostle Matthew for the first 8 years preached in Palestine. And before his departure to preach the Gospel in faraway lands, at the request of the Jews remaining at Jerusalem, the holy Apostle Matthew in his Gospel gave account of the earthly life of the Saviour of the world , of the God-man Jesus Christ and His teaching. In the order of the books of the New Testament, the Gospel of Matthew comes first. Palestine is said to be the place of writing of the Gospel. The Gospel was written by Saint Matthew in the year 42 ([AD , “Anno Domini” or “Year of the Lord”,] i.e. after the Birth of Christ), in his native Jewish language, and then translated into Greek. The Hebrew text has not survived for us, but many of the linguistic and cultural-historical peculiarities of the Greek translation remind of it. The Apostle Matthew preached among people having quite certain religious expectations about the Messiah. His Gospel manifests itself as a vivid proof that Jesus Christ , is the real Messiah, foretold of by the prophets, and that another there would not be (Mt. 11: 3). The preachings and deeds of the Saviour are presented by the evangelist in three divisions, constituting three aspects of the service of the Messiah: as Prophet and Law-Giver (Ch. 5-7), Lord over the world both visible and invisible (Ch. 8-25), and finally as High-Priest offered as Sacrifice for the sins of all mankind (Ch. 26-27). The theological content of the Gospel, besides the Christological themes, includes also the teaching about the Kingdom of God and about the Church, which the Lord sets forth in parables about the inner preparation for entering into the Kingdom (Ch. 5-7), about the worthiness of servers of the Church in the world (Ch. 10-11), about the signs of the Kingdom and its growth in the souls of mankind (Ch. 13), about the humility and simplicity of the inheritors of the Kingdom (Mt. 18: 1-35; 19: 13-30; 20: 1-16; 25-27; 23: 1-28), and about the eschatological revelations of the Kingdom in the Second Coming of Christ within the daily spiritual life of the Church (Ch. 24-25). The Kingdom of Heaven and the Church are closely inter-connected in the spiritual experience of Christianity: the Church is the historical embodiment of the Kingdom of Heaven in the world, and the Kingdom of Heaven is the Church of Christ in its eschatological perfection (Mt. 16: 18-19; 28: 18-20). The holy Apostle made the rounds with the “good-news” [euangelia in Greek or evangelium in Latin , the meaning of the word “gospel”] to Syria, Media, Persia, Parthia, and finishing his preaching work in AEthiopia with a martyr’s death. This land was inhabited by tribes of cannibals with primitive customs and beliefs. The holy Apostle Matthew by his preaching there converted some of the idol-worshippers to faith in Christ. He founded the Church and built a temple in the city of Mirmena, establishing there as bishop his companion by the name of Plato(n). When the holy apostle was fervently beseeching God for the conversion of the Ethiopians, during the time of prayer the Lord Himself appeared to him in the form of a youth, and having given him a staff, commanded him to put it upright at the doors of the church. The Lord said, that from this staff would grow a tree and it would bear fruit, and from its roots would flow a stream of water. And in washing themselves in the water and eating of the fruit, the Ethiopians lost their wild ways and became gentle and good. When the holy apostle carried the staff towards the church, on the pathway there met him the wife and son of the ruler of the land, Fulvian, who were afflicted by unclean spirits. By the Name of Christ the holy apostle healed them. This miracle converted to the Lord quite a number of the pagans. But the ruler did not want that his subjects should become Christians and cease to worship the pagan gods. He accused the apostle of sorcery and gave orders to execute him. They put saint Matthew head downwards, heaped up brushwood and ignited it. When the bonfire flared up, everyone then saw, that the fire did no harm to Saint Matthew. Then Fulvian gave orders to add more wood to the fire, and frenzied with boldness, he commanded to set up around the bonfire 12 idols. But the flames spread to the idols and caught on even Fulvian. The frightened Ethiopian turned to the saint with an entreaty for mercy, and by the prayer of the martyr the flame went out. The body of the holy apostle remained unharmed, and he expired to the Lord (+ 60). The ruler Fulvian deeply repented his deed, but still he had doubts. By his command, they put the body of Saint Matthew into an iron coffin and threw it into the sea. In doing this Fulvian said, that if the God of Matthew would preserve the body of the apostle in the water, as He preserved him in the fire, then this would be proper reason to worship this One True God. On that night the Apostle Matthew appeared to Bishop Platon in a dream vision, and commanded him to go with clergy to the shore of the sea and to find his body there. Together with the bishop on his way to the shore of the sea went Righteous Fulvian and his retinue. The coffin carried back by the waves was with honour taken to the church built by the apostle. Then Fulvian begged forgiveness of the holy Apostle Matthew, after which Bishop Platon baptised him, giving him the name Matthew in obedience to a command of God. Soon Saint Fulvian-Matthew abdicated his rule and became a presbyter. Upon the death of Bishop Platon, the Apostle Matthew appeared to him and exhorted him to head the AEthiopian Church. Having become a bishop, Saint Matthew-Fulvian toiled much at preaching the Word of God, continuing with the work of his heavenly patron-saint.
|Hieromartyr Hipatius bishop of Gangra (360).
He was born in Cilicia in Asia Minor, and became Bishop of Gangra, the capital of Paphlagonia. He took part in the First Ecumenical Council, where he was praised by all for his piety and miracles. It is said that the Emperor Constantius kept a bust of Hypatius in his palace as a weapon against demonic powers. The Saint was murdered by the Novatians, a sect which believed that there is no forgiveness for sins committed after Baptism. [The popularity of this belief helps to explain why many believers at that time postponed baptism until very late in life.] As Hypatius was traveling home from Constantinople, they attacked him on the road and stoned him to death. A woman who took part in the attack went mad and began to beat herself with a stone; she was only healed when her friends took her to the grave of St Hypatius and prayed for her. Restored by his compassionate intercession, she spent the rest of her life in repentance and prayer.
|St. Fulvianus , prince of Ethiopia, in holy baptism Matthew (1st c.).
He handed over the Holy Apostle Matthew to fire, but seeing the miracles leading to the death of the Holy Apostle, believed in Christ and zealously preached the Christian faith. Later for his saintly life he became worthy of the rank of bishop. He died in peace.
|Venerable Sergius, abbot, of Malopinega (1585).
The Monk Sergei of Malopinezh (in the world Simeon), was born in 1493. His father, Markian Stefanovich Nekliud, was descended from Novgorod boyar nobles. Together with other fellow citizens they left their native-place setting off “to the side of the icy sea”, when Great Novgorod was finally subjugated to the power of Moscow by Ivan III. There in the northlands, Markian Stefanovich married Apollinaria, a maiden from a rich and nobleborn family. The pious spouses raised up their son Simeon in the fear of God, they gave him a fine education, and inculcated in him the love for “book-learning”. Having grown old, Markian and Apollinaria by mutual agreement took monastic vows. Markian (in monasticism Matfei or Matthew) was afterwards hegumen of the Resurrection monastery in the city of Keurola. Apollinaria died a schema-monastic with the name Pelagia. Simeon at age 30 was ordained presbyter to the churches of the Transfiguration of the Lord and of the GreatMartyr George in the Malopinezh district. The holy presbyter Simeon at age 62 with love finished his pastoral service. With apostolic zeal he laboured over the conversion of the pagan Chud’ people. The rare personal qualities of the pastor contributed much to the success of his preaching. As the Chronicle notes, he possessed a kindly soul and pure mind, a courageous heart, humility and quiet strength, love for unhypocritical truth, and was merciful to the poor to the point of self-denial. In the final year of his life, the monk took the schema with the name Sergei and died on 16 November 1585. By the last-will of the saint, they buried him about the altar of the Transfiguration church. Over his grave was built a chapel. The old hand-written manuscript tells about the numerous miracles which occurred at the grave of the saint.
|Additional Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today|
|New Hieromartyrs Theodore Korolev priest and with him Martyr Ananius Boykov and Michael Boldakov (1929).|
|New Hieromartyrs John, Nicholas, Victor, Basil, Makarius and Michael priests, Hieromartyr Panteleimon (1937).|
|Martyr Demetrius (1938).|
|New Hieromartyr Philumenus (1978).|
|St. Eucherius of Lyons (449).|
|St. Lubuinus, missionary to Friesland (773) (Neth.).|
Troparion of the Sunday, Tone VIII
Thou didst descend from on high, O Merciful One!
Thou didst accept the three-day burial
to free us from our sufferings!
O Lord, our Life and Resurrection: glory to Thee!
Hymn to the Theotokos, Tone VIII
For our sake Thou wast born of the Virgin
and did endure crucifixion, O Good One, /
destroying death by death.
Revealing the resurrection as God,
do not despise the work of
Reveal Thy love for man, O merciful One,
and accept the Theotokos praying for
and save Thy despairing people, O Savior.
Kontakion of the Sunday, Tone VIII
By rising from the tomb, Thou didst raise the dead and resurrect Adam.
Eve exults in Thy
and the world celebrates Thy rising from the dead, O greatly Merciful One!
Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew, Troparion, Tone III
O holy apostle and evangelist Matthew,
entreat the merciful God,
grant unto our souls remission of transgressions.
Or this troparion, in the same tone
Zealously following Christ the Master,
Who, in His goodness, appeared to men
and called thee from thy tax-booth,
thou wast shown to be a chosen
and a clarion-voiced proclaimer of the Gospel to the whole world.
Wherefore, we honor thy precious memory,
O divinely eloquent Matthew.
the merciful God, that He grant unto our souls remission of transgressions.
Hymns, Readings, Feast Day, and Fasting Information provided by Holy Trinity Orthodox Church.
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