29th Week after Pentecost. Tone three.
Nativity (St. Philip’s Fast). Food with Oil
For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually. Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils. And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham; but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises.
Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near. Then He spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
|Venerable Daniel the Stylite of Constantinopole (490).
The Monk Daniel the Pillar-Dweller was born in the village of Bythar, near the city of Samosata in Mesopotamia. His mother Martha was childless for a long while and in her prayers gave a vow, that if she had a child, she would dedicate him to the Lord. Her prayers were heard, and Martha soon gave birth to a son, who until he was 5 years of age was without a name. The parents of the boy desired, that since he was born through the good-will of God, he should likewise receive from God his name. They took their son to a monastery located nearby and approached the hegumen. The hegumen gave orders to take down one of the Divine-service books, and at random having unrolled it, found in it the mention of the Prophet Daniel (Comm. 17 December). Thus did the lad receive his name. The parents asked that the lad might remain at the monastery, but the hegumen would not accept him, since he was still but a small boy. At 12 years of age, saying nothing to no one, the lad left home for the monastery. His parents were happy when they learned where their son was, and they went to the monastery. Seeing that he was still going about in his worldly clothes, they besought that the hegumen should attire him in the Angelic garb. And on that Sunday the hegumen fulfilled their request, but permitted them often to visit their son. The brethren of the monastery were astonished at the efforts of the monk. One time on a visit to the monastery came Saint Simeon the Pillar-Dweller (comm. 1 September), who foretold to the young monk, that he too would undertake the feat of pillar-dwelling. The Monk Daniel continued on with his ascetic life in seclusion. When in a vision the place of a new exploit was revealed to him, he withdrew into the Thracian wilderness together with two students, where they set up a pillar, upon which the Monk Daniel dwelt for 33 years. People thronged to the pillar, those who were misfortunate and those who were sick, and all received from the Monk Daniel help and healing. Byzantine emperors likewise besought the prayers of the holy ascetic. And from the numerous predictions of the monk, the most notable was about a strong conflagration in Constantinople. The Monk Daniel possessed also the gift of gracious words. He guided many onto the path of correcting their lives. The monk reposed in his 80th year.
|All Saints of Georgia (Georgia).
Having examined the history of Georgia and the hagiographical treasures attesting to the faith of the Georgian nation, we become convinced that Heavenly Georgia – the legion of Georgian saints, extolling the Lord in the Heavenly Kingdom with a single voice – is infinitely glorious. It is unknown how many cleansed themselves of their earthly sins in merciless warfare with the enemy of Christ, or how many purified their souls in unheated cells through prayer, fasting, and ascetic labors. To God alone are known the names of those ascetics, forgotten by history, who by their humble labors tirelessly forged the future of the Georgian Church and people. St. George of the Holy Mountain wrote: “From the time we recognized the one true God, we have never renounced Him, nor have our people ever yielded to heresy.” A decree of the Church Council of Ruisi-Urbnisi states: “We will not depart from thee, the Catholic Church which bore us in holiness, nor will we betray thee, our pride – Orthodoxy – to which we have always been faithful, for we have been granted the honor to know thee, the witness of the Truth Itself!” This relationship to Orthodoxy is the cornerstone of the life of every Georgian believer. It is impossible to count the names of all those Christians who have been raised up from the earthly Church in Georgia to the heavens, let alone to describe all the godly deeds they have performed. For this reason December 11 has been set aside for the commemoration not only of the saints whose Lives are known to us but also of the nearly three hundred more whose names, but not stories, have been preserved as well. Most Georgian people bear the name of a saint who is commemorated on this day, and they entreat the saint to intercede before the Lord in their behalf.
|Venerable Nicon the Dry of Kiev Caves (1101).
The Monk Nikon the Lean, the son of rich and illustrious parents, gave up everything for Christ and accepted monasticism at the Kievo-Pechersk monastery. In the year 1096, during the incursions of khan Bonyak, he together with other monks was taken into captivity. Expecting a rich ransom, the captor treated the Monk Nikon harshly. When the saint was refused ransom, the master began to torment him with hunger, and left him exposed in the heat of Summer and the cold of Winter. But the monk gave thanks to God for everything and once said to his tormentor, that the Lord, through the prayers of the Monks Antonii and Theodosii (Feodosii) would return him to his monastery, as the Monk Evstratii (+ 1097, Comm. 28 March) had predicted while appearing to him. The captor cut the leg-tendons of the Monk Nikon and set a strong guard over him. But on the third day at the sixth hour suddenly the holy captive became invisible, at the moment the guard hear the words: “Praise the Lord from the Heavens”. And thus he was transported to the Divine Liturgy at the Uspensk church. The brethren surrounded him and began to ask how he got there. The Monk Nikon wanted to conceal the miracle. But the brethren implored him to tell the truth. The Monk Nikon wanted to continue his ascetic deeds in his fetters from captivity, but the hegumen said: “If the Lord had wanted that thou shouldst remain bound, He would not have delivered thee from captivity”. After a long while the former master of the Monk Nikon came to the Kievo-Pechersk monastery and recognised his former captive, withered up from hunger and wounds. He came to believed, accepted Baptism, and having taken monastic tonsure, he himself became an obedient (novice) under the Monk Nikon. The Monk Nikon died at the beginning of the XII Century and was buried in the Nearer Caves. His memory is celebrated also on 28 September and on the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent.
|Martyr Mirax of Egypt (640).
The Holy Martyr Mirax was born into a Christian family that lived in the city of Tennes (Egypt) during the VII Century. He was raised in piety, but yielded to demonic temptation and renounced the Holy Cross, going over to the ruler of Egypt named Amir, and taking up sword in hand he entered into the service of the Arabs. His parents, grieving over the terrible downfall of their son, prayed for him incessantly. And then the grace of God illumined the heart of the prodigal. He deeply repented and returned home. His parents counselled him to openly declare about his fall into darkness and his repentance. Saint Mirax obeyed them. The ruler condemned him to tortures, after which the saint was beheaded and cast into the sea (this occurred not earlier than the year 640).
|Martyr Acepsius and Aeithalas at Arbela in Assyria (354).
The Holy Martyrs Akepsios and Haifal hailed from Persia. Akepsios was a pagan priest in the city of Arbel. Having received healing through the prayers of a Christian bishop, he was converted to the faith in Christ and boldly confessed it. For this they threw Saint Akepsios into prison. Soon imprisoned with him was Saint Haifal, a deacon of the Arbel Church. They brought the martyrs before the ruler, where they again confessed their faith and were beheaded.
|Venerable Luke the New Stylite of Chalcedon (979).
The Monk Luke the New Pillar-Dweller was a soldier under the Byzantine emperor Constantine Porphyrigenitos (912-959). During the time of a war with Bulgaria (917), Saint Luke through the Providence of God remained unharmed. After this he accepted monasticism, and having succeeded in his efforts, was elevated to the dignity of presbyter. Striving though towards an higher degree of perfection, the monk put chains upon himself and went up upon a pillar. After three years standing aloft, through a Divine inspiration, he went to Mount Olympos, and then to Constantinople, and finally to Chalcedon, where likewise he chose a pillar, upon which he was aloft for 45 years, , manifesting a gift of wonderworking. He died in about the year 980.
|Venerable Leontius, monk, of Monemdasia in the Peloponnesus (1450).
He was born in Monemvasia, Peloponnese and died in peace in Vostitsa, Peloponnese on or about the year 1450.
|Additional Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today|
|New Hieromartyr Theophan, bishop of Solikamsk (1918) and with him 2 Hieromartyrs and 5 Martyrs (1918).|
|New Hieromartyr Nicholas priest (1937).|
|New Hieromartyr John priest (1941).|
|St. Kuksha (Velichko), hieroschemamonk of Odessa (1964).|
|Monk-martyr Barsabas, abbot og Ishtar and 10 companions in Persia (342).|
St. Daniel the Stylite of Constantinople, Tone I
Thou wast a pillar of patience, O venerable one,
emulating the forefathers:
Job, in afflictions; Joseph in temptations,
and the life of the incorporeal
ones while in the body.
Entreat Christ God. O Daniel, our father,
souls be saved.
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