Bright Week. Fast-free
Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them-walking, leaping, and praising God.
Philippians 2:5-11 (Theotokos)
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days. Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.” So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.
Luke 10:38-42; 11:27-28 (Theotokos)
Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her. And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!” But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
“Pochaev” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos ( movable holiday on the Friday of the Bright Week ).
The Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God is among the most venerable sacred items of the Russian Church. It is reknown throughout all the Slavic world: they venerate it in Russia, in Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria and other places. Christians also of other confessions come for veneration of the wonderworking image of the MostHoly Mother of God, alongside the Orthodox. At the Pochaev Lavra, an ancient rampart of Orthodoxy, the wonderworking icon has resided about 400 years. (The account about the transfer of the icon to the Pochaev monastery is located under 8 September). The miracles, which issued forth from the holy icon, are numerous and are testified to in the monastery books with the inscriptions of the faithful, who with prayer have met with deliverance from unclean spirits, liberation from captivity, and sinners brought to their senses. The celebration in honour of the Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God on 23 July was established in memory of the deliverance Uspenie-Dormition Lavra monastery from a Turkish siege on 20-23 July 1675. In the Summer of 1675 during the time of the Zbarazhsk War with the Turks, during the reign of the Polish king Jan Sobesski (1674-1696), regiments composed of Tatars under the command of khan Nurredin via Vishnevets fell upon the Pochaev monastery, surrounding it on three sides. The weak monastery walls, just like some of the stone buildings of the monastery, did not offer much defense against a siege. The hegumen Iosif Dobromirsky urged the brethren and laypeople to turn themselves to Heavenly intercessors: to the MostHoly Mother of God and the Monk Job of Pochaev (Comm. 28 October). The monks and the laypeople prayed fervently, prostrating themselves before the wonderworking image of the Mother of God and the reliquary with the relics of the Monk Job. On the morning of 23 July with the rising of the sun, as the Tatars were holding a final meeting about an assault on the monastery, the hegumen ordered the singing of an akathist to the Mother of God. With the first words, “O Queen of the Heavenly Hosts”, suddenly there appeared over the church the MostHoly Mother of God Herself, in “an unfurled gleaming-white omophor”, with heavenly angels holding unsheathed swords. The Monk Job was beside the Mother of God, bowing to Her and beseeching the defense of the monastery. The Tatars took the heavenly army for an apparition, and in confusion they began to shoot arrows at the MostHoly Mother of God and the Monk Job, but the arrows fell backwards and wounded those who shot them. Terror seized the enemy. In a flight of panic and without looking, they trampled upon and killed each other. The defenders of the monastery attempted pursuit and took many prisoner. Some of the prisoners afterwards accepted the Christian faith and remained at the monastery thereafter. In the year 1721 Pochaev was occupied by Uniates. But even in this difficult time for the Lavra, the monastery chronicle notes 539 miracles from the glorified Orthodox sacred image. During the time of the Uniate rule in the 2nd half of the XVIII Century, for example, the Uniate nobleman count Nicholas Pototski became a benefactor of the Pochaev Lavra through the following miraculous circumstance. Having accused his coachman for overturning the carriage with frenzied horses, the count took out a pistol to shoot him. The coachman, turning towards Pochaev Hill, reached his hands upwards and cried out: “Mother of God, manifest in the Pochaev Icon, save me!” Pototski several times tried to shoot the pistol, which had never let him down, but the weapon misfired. The coachman remained alive. Pototski then immediately set off to the wonderworking icon and decided to devote himself and all his property to the building-up of the monastery. From his wealth was built the Uspenie-Dormition cathedral and buildings for the brethren. The return of Pochaev into the bosom of Orthodoxy in 1832 was marked by the miraculous healing of the blind maiden Anna Akimchukova, who had come on pilgrimage to the holy things together with her 70 year old grandmother, from Kremenets-Podol’sk 200 versts away. In memory of this event, the Volynia archbishop and Lavra archimandrite Innokentii (1832-1840) established weekly on Saturdays the reading of the cathedral akathist before the wonderworking icon. During the time of the rule of the Lavra by archimandrite Agathangel, archbishop of Volynia (1866-1876), there was constructed a separate chapel in the galleries of the Holy Trinity church in memory of the victory over the Tatars, which was dedicated on 23 July 1875.
Martyr Sabbas Stratelates (“the General”) of Rome, and 70 soldiers with him (272).
The Martyr Sava came from a Gothic tribe. For his bravery he attained the high rank of military-commander or “stratilates”, and he served under the Roman emperor Aurelian (270-275). From the time of his youth Sava was a Christian and he fervently followed the commands of Christ, , he helped the needy and visited Christians locked up in prison. For his pure and virtuous life the saint received from the Lord the gift of wonderworking and in the Name of Christ he healed the sick and cast out demons. When the emperor learned that Saint Sava was a Christian, he demanded that he apostacise. The martyr threw down his military sash and declared, that he would not forsake his faith. They beat him, burnt at him with torches, threw him in a cauldron with tar, but the martyr remained unharmed. Looking on at his torments, 70 Soldiers came to believe in Christ, who then were beheaded by the sword. Saint Sava they threw in prison. At midnight during the time of prayer, Christ appeared to the martyr and shone on him the Light of His Glory. The Saviour bid him not to fear, but rather stand firm. Encouraged, the Martyr Sava underwent new torture in the morning and was drownded in a river (+ 272).
Martyrs Pasicrates, Valentine and Julius in Moesia (Bulgaria) (228).
The Martyrs Pasicratus and Valentine came from the Myzean city of Dorostolum and were soldiers under the governor Absolanus. Pasicratus was 22 years of age, and Valentine , age 30. When a persecution against Christians started, the Martyrs Pasicratus and Valentine openly confessed their faith in Christ. At the trial the Martyr Pasicratus spit at the idol of Apollo, in his refusing to offer sacrifice. The brother of Saint Pasicratus wept and urged him to offer sacrifice to the idols just for the appearance of doing do. But the martyr placed his hand on the sacrifice in the fire and said: “The body is mortal and burns in the fire, the soul however is immortal and contemns all visible torments”. The Martyr Valentine likewise showed his readiness to suffer for Christ. When they led the martyrs to execution, after them also followed the mother of Saint Pasicratus and she exhorted her son not to fear death for Christ. Both martyrs were beheaded by the sword (+ 288).
Venerable Elizabeth the Wonderworker of Constantinople (540).
The Nun Elizabeth the Wonderworker was chosen to the service of God while still at birth. It was revealed to her mother, that the girl would be a chosen vessel of the Holy Spirit. In childhood the parents gave off their daughter to a monastery. She grew up in fasting and works and received the gift to heal infirmities not only of body, but also of soul. The sisters chose the nun to be hegumeness. The nun wore the attire of a coarse hairshirt. Her body withered, but her spirit blazed with the flame of Divine Love. The abstinence of the saint was immeasurable: for many years she ate only grass and vegetables without bread, and wine and oil she did not partake of. Many a time the Nun Elizabeth passed the whole of the Forty-Day Great Lent, partaking of nothing at all. Imitating the Publican in humility, for three years she did not lift up her eyes to the heavens, but with her spiritual eyes she looked constantly to God. At the midnight prayers the nun was alight and illuminated by Heavenly Light. Many miracles were done by the nun: a vicious viper was killed by her prayer, she healed a woman with issue of blood who had been for many a year sick, and she cast out unclean spirits from people. Upon her death the grave of the Nun Elizabeth likewise gave forth healings from illness. Even the very dust, taken from over her relics, gave the blind to see.
“Molchensk” Icon (1405) of the Mother of God.
The Molchensk Icon of the Mother of God appeared on 18 September 1405 in the Molcha swampland not far from Putivl’. At first it was situated in the Molchensk Sophroniev wilderness monastery, but in 1605, specifically on 24 April, it was transferred to the Putivl’sk monastery.
Venerables Sabbas (13th c.) and Alexis the Hermit of the Kiev Caves.
The Monk Alexei, Hermit of Pechersk, asceticised in the Nearer Caves of the Kievo-Pechersk monastery during the XIII Century. His relics were uncovered after the year 1675. The memory of the Monk Alexei is celebrated on 24 April, because his relics rest alongside the relics of the Monk Savva of Pechersk. His memory is likewise with the Sobor-Assemblage of the Monastic Fathers of the Nearer Caves (28 September) and with the Sobor-Assemblage of all the Kievo-Pechersk Wonderworkers (Second Sunday of Great Lent).
Martyrs Eusebius, Neon, Leontius, Longinus , and others at Nicomedia (303).
The Martyrs Eusebios, Neon, Leontios, Longin and 40 Others were present at the sufferings of the GreatMartyr George (+ 303, Comm. 23 April), through which they came to believe in Christ. They were then locked up in prison. After the execution of the GreatMartyr George, the emperor Diocletian (284-305) issued an edict, that all the prisoners were to offer sacrifice to the idols. The martyrs refused. They beat them with iron rods, almost laying bare their insides, and then their heads were chopped off with the sword (+ 303).
Venerable Thomas the Fool of Syria (550).
The Monk Thomas the Fool-for-Christ was a monk in one of the monasteries in Caesarea Cappadocia (Asia Minor). He bore obedience in the collecting of alms for the monastery. When the Monk Thomas arrived in the city of Syrian Antioch, he then took upon himself the exploit of folly. The steward of one of the churches, a certain Anastasias, became annoyed with the implorings of the Monk Thomas, and struck him on the cheek. Those present reproached Anastasias for rudely inappropriate a manner of dealing with the fool, but the Monk Thomas quieted them, saying: “From this moment I shalt accept nothing further from Anastasias, nor wilt Anastasias be able to give me anything further”. These words proved prophetic. On the very next day Anastasias died, and the monk likewise died along the roadside to his monastery, at a church of Saint Euthymios in the suburb of Daphna. They buried him at a place set aside for the burial of strangers. After a certain while they buried another stranger over the grave of the monk. After four hours the ground on the grave of the stranger was thrown aside. They again covered the grave, but in the morning the ground on the grave again lay open. They then reburied the stranger in another place. But this was repeated when they buried two women nearby. All then realised, that the Monk Thomas did not wish to have a woman buried over him. The occurrence was reported to the Antioch patriarch Domnos (546-560). At his command the relics of the Monk Thomas were transferred to Antioch and placed in a graveyard, where rested the relics of many holy martyrs. Over these relics, from which many healings occurred, they built a small church. Through the prayers of the Monk Thomas a deadly plague ceased at Antioch. And from that time the inhabitants began annually to honour the memory of the Monk Thomas.
Additional Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
“Life- giving Spring” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos ( movable holiday on the Friday of the Bright Week ).
Commemoration of the renewal (sanctification) of the Holy Theotokos temple near the Life-giving Spring in Constantinople (5th c.) ( movable holiday on the Friday of the Bright Week ).
St. Alexis Toth, priest of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania (1909).
Martyr Sergius (1938).
Hieromartyr Branko of Veljusa, Serbia (1941).
Martyr Alexander of Lyons (177) ( Gaul ).
St. Symeon of Transylvania (1656) ( Romania ).
Saint Luke, Tailor of Mytilene (1564).
New Martyr Nicholas of Magnesia (1795).
St. Elias (Iorest) (1678) and St. Sava (Brancovici) (1683), metropolitans of Ardeal, confessors against the Calvinists (Transylvania).
St. Joseph the Confessor, bishop of Maramures (1711) (Romania).
New Martyr Doukas of Mitylene (1564) (Greek).
St. Innocent, presbyter on the Mount of Olives (4th c.).
St. Xenophon, founder of the monastery of St. George (Xenophontos) on Mt. Athos (1018).
New Martyr George in Anatolia (1796).
St. Wilfrid, archbishop of York (709) (Celtic & British).
St. Egbert, bishop of Iona (729) (Celtic & British).
St. Mellitus, archbishop of Canterbury. (Celtic & British).
The Bright Resurrection of Christ, Troparion. Tone V
Christ is risen from the dead, trampling on death by death, and on those in
the tombs bestowing life.
Kontakion, Tone VIII
Though Thou didst descend into the grave, O Immortal One, yet didst Thou
destroy the power of hell, and didst rise again as Conqueror, O Christ our God,
saying to the myrrhbearing women, Rejoice! and giving peace to Thine Apostles,
and offering to the fallen resurrection.
Having slept in the flesh as a mortal, O King and Lord, Thou didst rise on
the third day. Thou didst raise up Adam from corruption and abolish death, O
Passover of incorruption, Salvation of the world!
Holy Martyr Sabbas the General, Troparion, Tone IV
In their sufferings, O Lord,
Thy martyrs received imperishable crowns from
Thee our God;
for, possessed of Thy might,
they set at nought the tormentors
and crushed the feeble audacity of the demons.
By their supplications save
Thou our souls.
Or this troparion, in Tone V
Abandoning earthly rank and honor, O athlete,
thou didst confess Christ God
before the false and tyrannical emperors,
and for His sake thou didst undergo
many sufferings, O glorious one.
Wherefore, splendidly adorned with the armies
thou hast been crowned with a most beautiful wreath of victory by
the King Who reigneth over all.
Standing before Him, O Sabbas,
pray thou that
He save our souls.
Hymns, Readings, Feast Day, and Fasting Information provided by Holy Trinity Orthodox Church.
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