Old Calendar Orthodox Daily Digest for 1/20/2021

Fasting Guidelines

33rd Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Fast. Fish Allowed

Scripture Readings

1 Peter 4:1-11
Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles-when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Mark 12:28-37
Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?” Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. ‘And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these. So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” But after that no one dared question Him. Then Jesus answered and said, while He taught in the temple, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David? For David himself said by the Holy Spirit:’The LORD said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ‘ Therefore David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; how is He then his Son? And the common people heard Him gladly.

Acts 19:1-8 (Forerunner)
And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Now the men were about twelve in all. And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God.

John 1:29-34 (Forerunner)
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water. And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.

Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today

Synaxis of the Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist, John .
Synaxis of the Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist,  John . Assemblage (“Sobor” or Synaxis”) of the Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord, John. Martyr Athanasias of Attaleia (+ 1770). In the Orthodox Church the custom was established, that on the day following the Great Feasts of the Lord and the Mother of God, would be remembered those saints who most essentially participated in whichever the sacred event. And thus, on the day following after the Theophany of the Lord, the Church honours he that participated directly in the Baptism of Christ, indeed placing his own hand upon the head of the Saviour. Saint John, the holy Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord, termed by our Lord the greatest of the prophets, both concludes the history of the Old Testament and opens up the epoch of the New Testament. The holy Prophet John gave witness concerning the arrival on earth of the Only-Begotten Son of God, incarnated humanly in the flesh. Saint John was deemed worthy to baptise Him in the waters of the Jordan and he was a witness of the Theophany or Manifestation of the MostHoly Trinity on the day of the Baptism of the Saviour. The holy Prophet John was a kinsman of the Lord on His mother’s side, the son of the Priest Zachariah and Righteous Elizabeth. The holy Forerunner of the Lord, John, was born six months earlier than Christ Jesus. The Archangel Gabriel was the messenger of his birth, in the Jerusalem Temple revealing to his father, that for him a son was to be born. Through the prayers offered up beforehand, the child was filled with the Holy Spirit. Saint John prepared himself in the wilds of the desert for his great service by a strict life, by fasting, prayer and sympathy for the fate of God’s people. At the age of about 30 years he came forth preaching repentance. He appeared at the banks of the Jordan, by his preaching to prepare the people for acceptance of the Saviour of the world. In the expression of churchly song, Saint John was a “bright morning star”, whose gleaming outshone the shining of all the other stars, announcing the coming morning of the day of grace, illumined with the light of the spiritual Son, , our Lord Jesus Christ. Having baptised the sinless Lamb of God, Saint John soon died a martyr’s death, beheaded by the sword on orders of king Herod in fulfilling the request of his daughter Salome. (About Saint John the Baptist, vide: Mt. 3: 1-16, 11: 1-19, 14: 1-12; Mk. 1: 2-8, 6: 14-29; Lk. 1: 5-25, 39u201180, 3: 1-20, 7: 18-35, 9: 7-9; Jn. 1: 19-34, 3: 22-26). On this day is commemorated also the Transfer of the Right Hand of the holy Forerunner from Antioch to Tsargrad (956) and the Miracle of Saint John the Forerunner against the Hagarites (Mahometans) at Chios: The body of Saint John the Baptist was buried in the Samaritan city of Sebasteia. The holy Evangelist Luke, in making the rounds preaching Christ in various cities and towns, came in time to Sebasteia, where they gave over to him the right hand of the holy Prophet John, the very hand with which he had baptised the Saviour. The Evangelist Luke took it with him to his native city of Antioch. When the Mahometans centuries later seized possession of Antioch, a deacon named Job transported the holy hand of the Forerunner from Antioch to Chalcedon. From there, on the very eve of the Theophany of the Lord, it was transferred to Constantinople (956) and kept thereafter. In the year 1200 the Russian pilgrim Dobrynya , who was later to be come the holy Archbishop of Novgorod Antonii (Comm. 10 February), saw the right hand of the Forerunner in the imperial palaces. From the Acts of the Saints it is known, that in the year 1263 during the seizure of Constantinople by the Crusaders, the emperor Baldwin gave over one bone from the wrist of Saint John the Baptist to Ottonus de Cichon, who then gave it over to a Cistercian abbey in France. The right hand continued to be kept in Constantinople. And at the end of the XIV thru beginning XV Centuries the holy relic was seen at Constantinople in the Peribleptos monastery by the Russian pilgrims: Stefan Novgorodets, deacon Ignatii, the cantor Alexander and deacon Zosima. But with the capture of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, sacred objects were gathered up at the whim of the conqueror and preserved in the imperial treasury, all locked up. In the Acts of the Saints is presented clear testimony, that in the year 1484 the right hand of the holy Forerunner was given away by the son of the Mahometan sultan Bayazet to the Rhodes knights to gain their good-will, since a dangerous rival for Bayazet , his own brother, had situated himself amongst them. And about this event there speaks also a contemporary participant, the Rhodes vice-chancellor Wilhelm Gaorsan Gallo. The Rhodes knights, having established their base on the island of Malta (in the Mediterranean Sea), then transferred to Malta the sacred relic they had received. When the Russian emperor Paul I (1796-1801) became grand-master of the Maltese Order in honour of the holy Prophet John, the right hand of the Baptist, part of the Life-Creating Cross and the Philermian Icon of the Mother of God were transferred in the year 1799 [because of the Napoleonic threat] from the island of Malta to Russia, to the chapel at Gatchina (Comm. 12 October). In the same year these sacred items were then transferred into the church in honour of the Saviour Icon Not-Made-by-Hand at the Winter palace. And for this feast was compiled a special service. Besides the Assemblage (“Sobor” or “Synaxis”) of the venerable glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord, John, the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates his memory on the following days: 23 September , his Conception (2 B.C.); 24 June , his Birth (1 B.C.); 29 August , his Beheading (+ c. 32); 24 February , the First (IV) and Second (452) Finding of the Head; the Third Finding of the Head (c. 850); 12 October , the Transfer of the Right Hand from Malta to Gatchina (1799).
New Martyr Athanasius of Attalia and Smyrna (1700) (Greek).
A native of Attalia, he lived in Smyrna. Once he unguardedly spoke the opening words of the Muslim confession of faith, “There is no god but God.” Hearing this, some Turks immediately surrounded him and took him to the court, claiming that he had embraced Islam. This he vehemently denied, assuring them that he was a Christian and that the words he had spoken would be unremarkable to any Christian. He was thrown into prison as an apostate and, after a sham trial, beheaded. His body was thrown to the dogs, but the usually voracious animals refused to touch his body, and it was removed by some pious Christians and given honorable burial.
Additional Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
Martyr Paphnutius (1938).
New Hieromartyr Basil, priest (1939).
Martyr John (1940).
Martyr John (1942).
St. Cedd, bishop of Lastingham (664) (Celtic & British).
St. Brannock (Brynach) of Braunton (6th c.) (Celtic & British).

Today’s Hymns

Synaxis of St. John the Baptist, Troparion, Tone II
The memory of the righteous is celebrated with hymns of praise, but the
Lord’s testimony is sufficient for thee, O forerunner. Thou wast truly shown to
be more honorable than the prophets, in that thou wast counted worthy to baptize
in the streams Him Whom thou didst proclaim. Wherefore, having suffered,
rejoicing, for the truth, even unto those in hades didst thou proclaim God, Who
had manifested Himself in the flesh, Who taketh away the sin of the world, and
granteth us great mercy.

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

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