15th Week after Pentecost. Tone five.
Fast. Food with Oil
- The Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-giving Cross .
- Fast day.
- Repose of St. John Chrysostom (407).
- New Hieromartyr John priest (1918).
- New Hieromartyr Nicholas priest (1937).
- “Lesna” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (1696).
- Martyr Papas of Lycaonia (305).
- St. Placilla the Empress (400), wife of Theodosius the Great.
- St. Maria of Tarsus (607).
- New Martyr Macarius of Thessalonica (Mt. Athos) (1527), disciple of St. Niphon, patriarch of Constantinople (Greek).
- Uncovering of the relics (2000) of Sts. Alexandra, Martha and Helen of Diveyevo.
- Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council (Greek).
- Martyr Theocles and Child-martyr Valerian (Greek).
John 12:28-36 (Matins Gospel)
Father, glorify Your name. Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.” Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself. This He said, signifying by what death He would die. The people answered Him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?” Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light. These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.
1 Corinthians 1:18-24
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
John 19:6-11, 13-20, 25-28, 30-35
Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.” Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!” Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led Him away. And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe.
Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
Repose of St. John Chrysostom (407).
The Repose of Sainted John Zlatoust’/Chrysostomos: Saint John Chrysostom died on 14 September 407, but because of the feast of the Exaltation of the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord, the commemoration of the saint was transferred to 13 November, where the account about him is located. On 27 January is made a commemoration of the transfer of the holy relics of Saint John Chrysostom from Komaneia to Constantinople, and on 30 January – is the celebration of the Sobor/Assemblage of the Three OEcumenical Hierarchs.
“Lesna” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (1696).
The Lesninsk Icon of the Mother of God was discovered on the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross of the Lord in 1683 by a shepherd on the branches of a pear tree and taken to a nearby Orthodox church of the village of Bukovich, not far from the town of Lesna. When news about the miraculously appearing icon circulated throughout all the surrounding area, the Catholic priesthood then decided to utilise the icon for spreading Catholicism. They took away the icon by force from the inhabitants of Bukovich in 1686 and put it in the Lesninsk Roman-church. At the beginning of the XVIII Century monks of a Catholic order founded at Lesninsk a large Roman-church and monastery, in which was situated in the wonderworking icon. In 1863 the monks of the order took part in the Polish revolt and, by decree of the Russian government, the monastery was closed and converted into an Orthodox parish. Many miracles were worked by the icon. The celebration of the Lesninsk Icon of the Mother of God is celebrated also on 8 September and on the Day of the Holy Trinity.
The Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-giving Cross .
The Elevation of the Venerable and Life-Creating Cross of the Lord: The pagan Roman emperors tried to completely eradicate from human memory the holy places where our Lord Jesus Christ suffered and was resurrected for mankind. The Emperor Adrian (117-138) gave orders to cover over the ground of Golgotha and the Sepulchre of the Lord, and upon the hill fashioned there to set up a pagan temple of the pagan goddess Venus and a statue of Jupiter. Pagans gathered on this place and offered sacrifice to idols there. Eventually after 300 years, by Divine Providence, the great Christian sacred remains – the Sepulchre of the Lord and the Life-Creating Cross were again discovered and opened for veneration. This occurred under the Equal-to-the-Apostles Emperor Constantine the Great (306-337) after his victory in the year 312 over Maxentius, ruler of the Western part of the Roman empire, and over Licinius, ruler of its Eastern part, becoming in the year 323 the sole-powerful ruler of the vast Roman empire. In 313 he had issued the so-called Edict of Milan, by which the Christian religion was legalised and the persecutions against Christians in the Western half of the empire were stopped. The ruler Licinius, although he had signed the Milan Edict to oblige Constantine, still fanatically continued the persecutions against Christians. Only after his conclusive defeat did the 313 Edict about toleration extend also to the Eastern part of the empire. The Equal-to-the-Apostles Emperor Constantine, having with the assistance of God gained victory over his enemies in three wars, had seen in the heavens the Sign of God – the Cross and written beneathe: “By this thou shalt conquer”. Ardently desiring to find the Cross on which our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine sent to Jerusalem his mother, the pious Empress Helen (Comm. 21 May), having provided her with a letter to the Jerusalem patriarch Makarios. Although the holy empress Helen was already in her declining years, she set about completing the task with enthusiasm. The empress gave orders to destroy the pagan temple and idol-statues overshadowing Jerusalem. Searching for the Life-Creating Cross, she made inquiry of Christians and Jews, but for a long time her searchings remained unsuccessful. Finally, they directed her to a certain elderly hebrew by the name of Jude who stated, that the Cross was buried there, where stands the pagan-temple of Venus. They demolished the pagan-temple and, having made a prayer, they began to excavate the ground. Soon there was detected the Sepulchre of the Lord and not far away from it three crosses, a plank with inscription having been done by order of Pilate, and four nails, which had pierced the Body of the Lord. In order to discern on which of the three crosses the Saviour was crucified, Patriarch Makarios alternately touched the crosses to a corpse. When the Cross of the Lord was placed to it, the dead one came alive. Having beheld the rising-up, everyone was convinced that the Life-Creating Cross was found. Christians, having come in an innumerable throng to make veneration to the Holy Cross, besought Saint Makarios to elevate, to exalt the Cross, so that all even afar off, might reverently contemplate it. Then the Patriarch and other spiritual chief personages raised up high the Holy Cross, and the people, saying “Lord have mercy”, reverently made poklon/prostration before the Venerable Wood. This solemn event occurred in the year 326. During the discovery of the Life-Creating Cross there occurred also another miracle: a grievously sick woman, beneathe the shadow of the Holy Cross, was healed instantly. The starets/elder Jude and other Jews there believed in Christ and accepted Holy Baptism. Jude received the name Kuriakos (ie. lit. “of the Lord”) and afterwards was ordained Bishop of Jerusalem. During the reign of Julian the Apostate (361-363) he accepted a martyr’s death for Christ (Comm. of Priest-Martyr Kuriakos is 28 October). The holy empress Helen journeyed round the holy places connected with the earthly life of the Saviour – the reason for more than 80 churches – raised up at Bethlehem the place of the Birth of Christ, and on the Mount of Olives from whence the Lord ascended to Heaven, and at Gethsemane where the Saviour prayed before His sufferings and where the Mother of God was buried after the falling-asleep. Saint Helen took with her to Constantinople part of the Life-Creating Wood and nails. The Equal-to-the-Apostles Emperor Constantine gave orders to raise up at Jerusalem a majestic and spacious church in honour of the Resurrection of Christ, including in itself also the Sepulchre of the Lord, and Golgotha. The temple was constructed in about 10 years. Saint Helen did not survive until the dedication of the temple; she died in the year 327. The church was consecrated on 13 September 335. On the following day, 14 September, the festal celebration of the Exaltation of the Venerable and Life-Creating Cross was established. On this day is remembered also another event connected to the Cross of the Lord, – its return back to Jerusalem from Persia after a 14 year captivity. During the reign of the Byzantine emperor Phokas (602-610) the Persian emperor Khozroes II in a war against the Greeks defeated the Greek army, plundered Jerusalem and led off into captivity both the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord and the Holy Patriarch Zacharios (609-633). The Cross remained in Persia for 14 years and only under the emperor Herakles (610-641), who with the help of God defeated Khozroes and concluded peace with his successor and son Syroes – was the Cross of the Lord returned to Christians from captivity. With great solemnity the Life-creating Cross was transferred to Jerusalem. Emperor Herakles in imperial crown and porphyry(purple) carried the Cross of Christ into the temple of the Resurrection. Alongside the emperor went Patriarch Zacharios. At the gates, by which they ascended onto Golgotha, the emperor suddenly stopped and was not able to proceed further. The Holy Patriarch explained to the emperor that an Angel of the Lord blocked his way, since He That bore the Cross onto Golgotha for the expiation of the world from sin, made His Way of the Cross in the guise of Extreme Humilation. Then Herakles, removing the crown and porphyry, donned plain garb and without further hindrance carried the Cross of Christ into the church. In a sermon on the Exaltation of the Cross, Saint Andrew of Crete (Comm. 4 July) says: “The Cross is exalted, and everything true gathers together, the Cross is exalted, and the city makes solemn, and the people celebrate the feast”.
St. Placilla the Empress (400), wife of Theodosius the Great.
She was the wife of the Emperor Theodosius the Great, and the mother of two Emperors, Arcadius and Honorius. Despite her lofty station, she devoted herself to visiting the poor and to caring personally for the sick. She often worked in the kitchens of various hospices in Constantinople, taking on tasks unexpected of anyone of patrician rank, let alone the Empress herself. To fulfil these missions, she often traveled unescorted through the poorest parts of the City. When others tried to caution or dissuade her, she answered that this was her way of giving thanks for all that God had given her. “Throughout her life, Saint Placilla served God in chastity, meekness, charity and prayer, and departed in peace to eternal life in 386 (or 385), having brought to those who encountered her a pledge of the Resurrection and of endless joy.” (Synaxarion)
New Martyr Macarius of Thessalonica (Mt. Athos) (1527), disciple of St. Niphon, patriarch of Constantinople (Greek).
“A disciple of Patriarch Niphon at the time that the latter was labouring in the asceticism of silence at Vatopedi, Macarius longed for martyrdom for the sake of Christ, and begged St Niphon’s blessing to seek it. The discerning Patriarch, perceiving that this was God’s will, blessed him for the way of martyrdom. Macarius went to Salonica and, in the midst of a crowd of Turks, began to speak of Christ as the one, true God. The Turks seized him and threw him into prison. When he was brought to trial, Macarius cried out to the Turks: ‘Oh, that you would come to know the truth and be baptised in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit!’ The Turks beheaded him in 1527. At that moment, Niphon saw this in his spirit at Vatopedi, and told a monk of Macarius’s death by martyrdom, saying: ‘Know, my child, that your brother Macarius has today died a martyr, and is borne to heaven, triumphing and rejoicing in the Lord. May we be worthy of blessing by his prayers!’ (From the Athonite Patrology).” (Prologue)
Additional Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
New Hieromartyr John priest (1918).
New Hieromartyr Nicholas priest (1937).
Martyr Papas of Lycaonia (305).
St. Maria of Tarsus (607).
Uncovering of the relics (2000) of Sts. Alexandra, Martha and Helen of Diveyevo.
Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council (Greek).
Martyr Theocles and Child-martyr Valerian (Greek).
The Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-creating
Cross, Troparion of the Cross in Tone I
O Lord, save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance.
victory unto Orthodox Christians over their adversaries,
and by virtue of Thy
preserve Thy habitation.
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Courtesy of St. Sergius Church
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