Passion Week: Great Monday.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Matthew 21:18-43 (Bridegroom Matins Gospel)
Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immediately the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither away so soon?” So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive. Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?” But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things: The baptism of John-where was it from? From heaven or from men? And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet. So they answered Jesus and said, “We do not know.” And He said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things. But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father? They said to Him, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him. Hear another parable: There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. Now when vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit. And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them. Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers? They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD’s doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.
Matthew 24:3-35 (Gospel)
Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near-at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
Hieromartyr Artemon , presbyter of Laodicea in Syria (303).
The PriestMartyr Artemon was born of Christian parents in Syrian Laodiceia in the first half of the III Century. From the time of his youthful years he dedicated himself to the service of the Church. At 16 years of age the saint was made a reader and in this position he laboured during the course of 12 years. For his zealousness in Divine Services, Sainted-bishop Sisinios ordained him to the dignity of deacon. Saint Artemon did also this service with fervour and diligence for 28 years, after which he was ordained to the priesthood. And in this dignity Saint Artemon served the Church of God for 33 years, preaching the Christian faith amongst pagans. When the emperor Diocletian (284-305) began a fierce persecution against christians, Saint Artemon was already old. The emperor issued an edict, that all christians were to offer sacrifice to idols. Saint Sisinios, knowing about the impending arrival in the Laodiceian district of the military-commander Patricius, went together with the priest Artemon into the pagan-temple of the goddess Artemis. There they smashed and burnt the idols. Afterwards, Saint Sisinios and Saint Artemon gathered the flock into the church and heatedly exhorted the christians to remain firm in the faith and not fear the threats of torturers. Having arrived in Laodiceia, Patricius made a five-day celebration in honour of the pagan gods, and then went off to the temple of Artemis to offer sacrifice. He learnt who it was that had destroyed the temple, and set off with a detachment of soldiers to the church where the christians were praying. Not yet having gotten in front of the church, Patricius suddenly felt a chill, and afterwards heat, such that it left him hardly alive, and they entered into the first house they found along the way. “The Christians have put a curse on me, and this their God tormenteth me”, , he said to those about him. The prayers of Patricius to the idols did not relieve his sufferings. He dispatched a messenger to Saint Sisinios and asked for his help, promising by way of thanks to make a gold statue of the bishop. The Saint answered: “Thy gold keep to thyself, but if thou wishest to be healed, believe in Christ”. Patricius was afraid of dying and he declared that he believed in Christ. Through the prayer of Saint Sisinios the affliction left him. But even a miracle having been worked did not alter the obdurate soul of the pagan. Although he did not touch Saint Sisinios, he however set off to enforce the imperial edict against other christians in the city of Caesarea. Along the way he encountered an old man, for whom there went in pairs six wild donkeys and two deer. This man was the priest Artemon. To Patricius’ query, how he was able to lead after him these wild beasts, Saint Artemon answered, that everything in the world confesses the Name of Christ and with true faith in Christ nothing is impossible. Patricius learned from the pagans that the old man he met along the way , was the same Artemon, who had destroyed the pagan temple of Artemis. He gave orders to seize him and take him to the city of Caesarea. Saint Artemon went along with the soldiers without fear, but he ordered the animals to go to Saint Sisinios. One of the donkeys received the gift of speech from God and told the sainted-bishop that he had come from Saint Artemon. The sainted-bishop sent him in Caesarea a blessing and prosphora by deacon. In Caesarea Patricius summoned Saint Artemon to trial and began to try to force him to offer sacrifice in the pagan temple of Asclepios. In this pagan temple there lived many poisonous vipers. The pagan priest never opened up the doors, nor previously carried in the sacrifice to the idol. But Saint Artemon, calling on the Name of Jesus Christ, went into the temple and let out from there the plethora of snakes. The pagans turned in flight, but the saint stopped them and by his breath killed the snakes. One of the pagan priests, Bitalios, believed in Christ and asked Saint Artemon to baptise him. Patricius thought that Saint Artemon killed the snakes by means of sorcery, and he again started to interrogate and torture him. At this point in time there arrived in Caesarea the donkey which had spoken with Saint Sisinios. The donkey lay down at the feet of the martyr, and afterwards again having received from God the gift of speech, it denounced Patricius, predicting for him an impending death in a boiling cauldron. Patricius was scared, that the miracles done by Saint Artemon would draw still more people to him, and he gave orders to execute him. The filled an enormous cauldron with boiling tar. Soldiers were needed to throw Saint Artemon therein. But when Patricius rode up on horseback to the kettle, wanting to be sure that the tar was indeed boiling, two Angels in the guise of eagles seized and threw him into the cauldron, but Saint Artemon remained alive. Through the prayer of the saint there issued from the ground a spring of water, in which he baptised the pagan priest Bitalios and many pagans, who had come to believe in Christ. On the following morning Saint Artemon communed the newly-baptised with the Holy Mysteries. The bishop of Caesarea went to visit with Saint Artemon. He cleared off the place where the martyr suffered, and afterwards was built a church there. Many of the baptised were ordained to the deaconate and priesthood, and Bitalios was made bishop of Palestine. The Priestmartyr Artemon, through a calling by the Divine Voice, went preaching the Gospel into Asia, to the settlement of Bulos. Along the way an Angel appeared to him and transported him openly in view of the villagers. He converted many there to faith in Christ. Pagans seized the saint and beheaded him (+ 303).
Martyr Thomais of Alexandria (476).
The Holy Martyress Thomaida was born into a Christian family in the city of Alexandria. In her childhood she was educated in piety and loved to read Holy Scripture. At 15 years of age the girl entered into marriage with a fisherman, , also a Christian. The young couple lived in the household of the husband’s family, where Saint Thomaida was loved for her mild and gentle disposition, and virtue and prudence. The father-in-law of Saint Thomaida, at the prompting of the devil, was captivated by her beauty. When his son went out at night for fishing, he began seeking to lead his daughter-in-law into sin. In vain did Saint Thomaida admonish the senseless old man, reminding him about the last Judgement and about the penalty for sin. Infuriated by the steadfastness of Saint Thomaida, he thoughtlessly seized a sword and began to threaten her with death. But Saint Thomaida answered resolutely: “Even if thou cut me in two, I shall not stray from the commandments of the Lord”. Overcome with passion, the father-in-law swung the sword and struck Saint Thomaida. The saint received a martyr’s death for her prudence and faith in the commandments of God in the year 476. Divine chastisement befell the murderer. He instantly became blinded and was not able to go out the door to flee. In the morning there arrived companions of the saint’s husband. They opened the doors and saw the body of the saint and the blood-stained blind old man. The murderer himself confessed his evil deed and asked to be condemned to death by execution. During this time there arrived in Alexandria from a wilderness skete the Monk Daniel. He bid the monks of the nearby Oktodecadia monastery to take the body of the martyress to bury in the monastery cemetery. Some of the monks were perplexed, how it should be possible to bury a woman with monks. The monk Daniel answered: “This girl , is a mother for me and you. She died for purity”. After a solemn funeral the Monk Daniel returned to his own skete. Soon one of the young monks began to complain to him, that fleshly passions tormented him. The monk Daniel ordered him to go and pray at the grave of the holy martyress Thomaida. The monk did the bidding of the elder. During the time of prayer at the grave he fell into a light sleep. Saint Thomaida then appeared to him and said: “Father, have my blessing and go in peace”. Having awakened, the monk felt at joy and peace in his soul. And after this the fleshly struggle no longer disturbed him. Abba Daniel explained to him: “The blessing , was the gift of the martyress’ prudence; the ascetic deeds of purity hold such power before God”. In later times many found at the grave of Saint Thomaida both spiritual joy and release from their passions. The relics of Saint Thomaida were transferred to Constantinople to one of the women’s monasteries. In the year 1420 the Russian pilgrim archdeacon Zosima viewed them.
Martyr Crescens of Myra in Lycia.
The Holy Martyr Criscentios was descended from an illustrious family and lived in Lycian Myra. One time, when a throng of city inhabitants were on the way to the pagan temple, he began to urge them to forsake paganism and come to Christ. This incident became known to the city governor. When the governor asked the saint about his parentage, the saint , not wishing to bring unpleasantness to his parents , said nothing except that he was a christian. The governor knew the father of Saint Criscentios and wanting to do him a favour, he suggested to Saint Criscentios to offer sacrifice to idols only in appearance, while in soul remaining a christian. To this the holy martyr boldly answered: “It would be impossible for the body not to do that which the soul thinks, since the soul governs and moves the body”. They beat the holy martyr Criscentios and gnashed at him with iron, and then burnt him in a flaming bon-fire. Sainted Andrew of Crete (+ 740, Comm. 4 July) mentions about the Martyr Criscentios in his Sermon on the day of memory of Sainted Nicholas the Wonderworker , 6 December , also of Lycian Myra.
St. Martin the Confessor, pope of Rome (655) (Greek).
“Martin became Pope on July 5th, 649, at the time of a furious quarrel between the Orthodox and the Monothelite heretics. Constans the Second, Heraclius’ grandson, was on the throne at the time, and Paul was Patriarch of Constantinople. To restore peace in the Church, the Emperor himself wrote a dogmatic decree, the Typos, which leaned heavily towards heresy. Pope Martin summoned a Council of 105 bishops, at which the Emperor’s statement was condemned. At the same time, the Pope wrote a letter to Patriarch Paul, begging him to uphold the purity of the Orthodox faith and to counsel the Emperor to reject the theories of the heretics. This letter infuriated both the Patriarch and the Emperor. The Emperor sent one of his generals, Olympius, to take the Pope to Constantinople in bonds. The general did not dare to bind the Pope with his own hands, but instructed one of his soldiers to kill him with the sword in church. But, when the soldier entered the church with his sword concealed, he was instantly blinded. So, by the providence of God, Martin escaped death. At that time, the Saracens fell upon Sicily, and Olympius went off there, where he died. Then, by the intrigues of the heretic Patriarch Paul, the Emperor sent a second general, Theodore, to bind and take the Pope on the charge that he, the Pope, was in collusion with the Saracens and that he did not reverence the most holy Mother of God. [!!] When the general arrived in Rome and read the accusation against the Pope, he replied that it was a libel; that he had no contact of any sort with the Saracens, the opponents of Christianity, ‘and whoever does not confess the most holy Mother of God and do her reverence, let him be damned in this age and in that which is to come.’ But this did not affect the general’s decision. The Pope was bound and taken to Constantinople, where he lay long in prison in great sickness, tortured by both anxiety and hunger,until he was finally sentenced to exile in Cherson, where he lived for two years before his death. He gave his soul into the hands of the Lord, for whom he had suffered so greatly, in 655. The evil Patriarch, Paul, died two years before him and, when the Emperor visited him on his deathbed, he smote his head against the wall, confessing with tears that he had greatly sinned against Pope Martin and asking the Emperor to set Martin free.’ (Prologue) In some menaia he is commemorated on April 14.
Additional Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
New Hieromartyr Stephen (Bekh) bishop of Izhevsk (1933).
Virgin-martyr Martha (1941).
Martyr Demetrius of the Peloponnesus who suffered at Tripoli (1803).
Martyr Eleutherius of Persia (4th c.).
Martyr Zoilus of Rome (4th c.).
Venerable Martins, abbot, of Clermont (Gaul).
Martyrs Maximus (286), Dada and Quinctilian at Dorostolum in Moesia.
St. Martyrius, archbishop of Jerusalem (486).
St. Guinoch of Buchan.
Great and Holy Monday, Troparion, Tone VIII
Behold, the Bridegroom is coming in the middle of the night, and blessed is
the servant whom He shall find awake and watching, but unworthy is he whom He
shall find idle and careless. Beware, then, my soul, lest thou be weighed down
with sleep, lest thou be given up to death and shut out of the Kingdom. But
awake and cry: Holy, Holy, Holy, art Thou, O God: through the intercessions of
the Bodiless Ones, save us. (Sung three times; however, the ending the third
time is: through the Mother of God, have mercy on us.)
Kontakion, Tone VIII
Jacob lamented the loss of Joseph, but his noble son was sitting in a
chariot and honoured as a king. For when he refused to be enslaved by the
pleasures of the Egyptian woman, he was glorified by Him Who sees the hearts of
men and bestows an incorruptible crown.
No Troparion is given in the Menaion.
Hymns, Readings, Feast Day, and Fasting Information provided by Holy Trinity Orthodox Church.
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