Old Calendar Orthodox Daily Digest for 3/21/2021

Fasting Guidelines

First Sunday of the Great Lent: Triumph of Orthodoxy. Tone eight.
Great Lent. Food with Oil

Scripture Readings

John 20:11-18 (8th Matins Gospel)
But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ” Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.

Hebrews 11:24-26, 11:32-12:2
By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented- of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

John 1:43-51
The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote-Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today

Venerable Theophylactus , bishop of Nicomedia (845).
Venerable  Theophylactus , bishop of Nicomedia (845). Saint Theophylaktos lived at Constantinople in the VIII Century during the time of the Iconoclast heresy. After the death of the iconoclast emperor Leo IV the Khazar (775-780), there entered upon the throne the emperor Constantine VI (780-797). There occurred also a change of Patriarchs: the holy Patriarch Paul (Comm. 30 August), not having the strength to continue guiding the flock afront the powerfully spread iconoclasm, voluntarily resigned the cathedra/chair (784). In his place was chosen Saint Tarasios (Comm. 25 February) , at that time an eminent imperial counselor. Under the supervision of the new Patriarch was convened the Seventh OEcumenical Council (787), condemning the Iconoclast heresy. For Orthodoxy a relatively peaceful time began. Monasteries again began to fill with residents. Saint Theophylaktos, a gifted student of Saint Tarasios and with the blessing of this the Patriarch, settled together with Saint Michael (Comm. 23 May) in a monastery on the coast of the Black Sea. The zealous ascetics by their God-pleasing labours and intense efforts of prayer were granted by God the gift of wonderworking. By their prayers, during the time of an intense drought when the workers in the field were weakened by thirst, an empty vessel became filled with so much water, that it sufficed for the entire day. After several years in the monastery they were both consecrated by Patriarch Tarasios to the dignity of bishop: Saint Michael was made bishop of Synada, and Saint Theophylaktos was made bishop of Nicomedia. Heading the Church of Nicomedia, Saint Theophylaktos constantly concerned himself about the flock entrusted to him. He built churches, hospices, homes for wanderers, he generously distributed alms, was guardian for orphans, widows and the sick, and himself attended to those afflicted with leprosy, not hesitating to wash their wounds. When the iconoclast Leo the Armenian (813-820) came upon the imperial throne, the terrible heresy burst forth with new strength. But the iconoclast emperor was not able to sway the successor of the holy Patriarch Tarasios , Saint Nicephoros (806-815, Comm. 2 June), who together with the bishops vainly urged the ruler not to destroy churchly peace. Present at the negotiations of the emperor with the Patriarch was Saint Theophylaktos, denouncing the heretics, and he predicted a speedy perishing to Leo the Armenian. For his bold prophesy the saint was sent into exile to the fortress Strobil (in Asia Minor). He languished for thirty years until his end, which occurred in about the year 845. After the restoration of icon-veneration in the year 847, under the empress Saint Theodora (842-855; + 867, Comm. 11 February) and her son Michael, the holy relics of Bishop Theophylaktos were transferred back to Nicomedia.

Kursk “Sign” Icon (1898) Icon of the Mother of God.
The Kursk Znamenie (Sign) Icon of the Mother of God , is one of the most ancient icons of the Russian Church. In the XIII Century during the time of the Tatar invasion, when all the Russian realm was put to the extremest tribulation, the city of Kursk, ravaged by the Horde of Batu, fell into desolation. One day in the environs of the city an hunter noticed the ancient icon, lying on a root face downwards to the ground. The hunter lifted it and saw that the image of the icon was similar to the Novgorod “Znamenie” Icon. With the appearance of this icon immediately there appeared its first miracle. Just as the hunter lifted up the holy icon from the earth, right then, at that place where the icon lay, gushed up strongly a spring of pure water. This occurred on 8 September 1259. The hunter decided not to leave the icon in the forest and settled on as a resting place an ancient small chapel, in which he put the newly-appeared image of the Mother of God. Soon inhabitants of the city of Ryl’a heard about this, and being in location not far away, they began to visit the place of the appearance for venerating the new holy image. They transferred the icon to Ryl’a and put it in a new church in honour of the Nativity of the MostHoly Mother of God. But the icon did not long remain there. It disappeared and returned to its former place of appearance. The inhabitants of Ryl’a repeatedly took it and carried it to the city, but the icon incomprehensibly returned to its former place. Everyone then realised, that the Mother of God preferred the place of appearance of Her Image. The especial help granted by the Mother of God through this icon is bound up with important events in Russian history: with the war of liberation of the Russian nation during the time of the Polish-Lithuanian incursion in 1612, and the 1812 Fatherland war. From the icon several copies were made, which also were glorified.

“Cyprus” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos from the village Staromniy, Moscow region ( movable holiday on the 1st Sunday of the Great Lent ).
The Cypriot Icon of the Mother of God appears thus: the Mother of God sits upon a throne with the Divine-Infant in Her arms, and at Her sides are two angels, holding branches. The holy icon manifest itself in the year 392 on the Island of Cyprus, and is situated there in a monastery. Reknown venerable copies from it are at the Moscow Uspensky cathedral, and in the Nikolo-Golutvinsk church in the village of Stromyna, Moscow diocese.

Venerables Lazarus and Athanasius , monks of Murman Island, Onega Lake (1391).
The Monk Athansii (Afanasii) was hegumen at the monastery of the Monk Lazar during the mid-XV Century. After his death the body of the ascetic was buried in a separate chapel, where the chains of the saint were preserved , evidence of his exploits. The veneration of this saint goes way back. In the second half of the XVII Century they called Hegumen Athanasii “a wonderworking monk”. A tropar and kondak to the saint are known of.

Apostle Hermas of the Seventy (1st c.).
The Holy Disciple from the 70, Hermas, was bishop at Philippopolis, and died a martyr in the I Century. In the Epistle to the Romans the holy Apostle Paul summons the Romans to greet the Disciple Hermas (Rom. 16: 14).

Hieromartyr Theodoretus of Antioch (361).
Saint Theodorit was a presbyter and maintainer of vessels at the cathedral church in Antioch. This church was built and richly adorned by the emperor , holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine the Great (306-337, Comm. 21 May) and his son Constantius, and it was called among the people “the Golden church”. Having occupied the throne after the death of the emperor Constantius (337-361), Julian the Apostate (361-363) decided to restore paganism throughout all the Roman empire. The emperor appointed his uncle, also named Julian, as governor of Antioch. He ordered him to close the Christian temples, and in seizing the valuables within them to hand it over to the imperial treasury. Wanting to please the emperor, the governor , also an apostate from the Christian faith, set about his impious task with zeal. Arriving at Antioch with the dignitary Felix, he gave orders to lock up the presbyter Theodorit under guard, and he set about to his plundering, defiling the altar and the holy altar-table. One of those present, Euzoios, tried to admonish the impiety, and for this he was killed. Julian accused Theodorit of hiding the church valuables, but the venerable maintainer of vessels denied the accusation and openly denounced Julian for his apostasy. Despite beastly tortures, the holy martyr defended to the end his faith in Christ the Saviour, and predicted a speedy death to Julian and the emperor for their sacrilege. The soldiers, torturing the faithful presbyter, struck by his firmness and endurance and the strong power of the Word of God, were converted to faith in Christ, for which they were drowned in the sea. The holy confessor was himself beheaded. The mockery and sacrilege over sacred things did not go unpunished , the predictions of Saint Theodorit soon occurred: the governor Julian died in agony from grievous illness, and the emperor Julian perished in a campaign against the Persians.

Additional Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today

New Hieromartyr John priest (1923).

Martyr Vladimir (1942).

Venerable Dometius, monk (363).

St. Felix of Burgundy, bishop of Dunwich and enlightener of East Anglia (648) (Celtic & British).

Venerable Paul of Prusias, confessor (840) (Greek).

Martyr Dio (Greek).

Martyrs Quintilian and Capatolinus in Nicomedia.

Today’s Hymns

The First Sunday of Great Lent, Troparion, Tone II
We worship
Thy immaculate Image, O Good One, and ask forgiveness of our sins, O Christ God;
for of Thy own will Thou wast pleased to ascend the Cross in the flesh, to
deliver from slavery to the enemy those whom Thou hadst created. Therefore we
thankfully cry to Thee: Thou hast filled all things with joy, O our Saviour, by
coming to save the world.

Kontakion, Tone VIII
The illimitable Word of the Father accepted
limitations by incarnation from thee, O Mother of God; and He transformed our
defiled image to its original state and transfused it with the divine beauty.
But we confess and give thanks for our salvation, and we proclaim it by deed and
word.

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
Thy hand.
Reveal Thy love for man, O merciful One,
and accept the Theotokos praying for
us,
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
Resurrection,
and the world celebrates Thy rising from the dead, O greatly Merciful One!

St. Theophylactus the Confessor, Bishop of Nicomedia
No Troparion is given in the Menaion.


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

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