15th Week after Pentecost. Tone five.
Today is fast-free!
- Great-martyr Nicetas the Goth (372).
- New Hieromartyr John priest and Virgin-martyr Eudocia (1918).
- New Hieromartyrs Andrew, Gregory, Gregory, John priests (1921).
- Venerable Ignatius confessor (1932).
- New Hieromartyr Demetrius priest (1935).
- New Hieromartyrs John, Jacob, Peter priests and Nicholas deacon, Martyrs Mary and Ludmila (1937).
- Uncovering of the relics of St. Acacius the Confessor, bishop of Melitene (257).
- Martyrs Theodotus , Asclepiodotus , and Maximus of Adrianopolis (305-311).
- Martyr Porphyrius the Mime of Caesaria (361).
- Uncovering of the relics of the Holy Protomartyr and Archdeacon Stephen (415).
- Venerable Philotheus the Presbyter of Asia Minor (10th c.).
- St. Joseph , abbot, of Alaverdi in Georgia (570) ( Georgia ).
- “Novoniketas” Icon of the Mother of God (372).
- St. Symeon, archbishop of Thessalonica (1430).
- Sts. Bessarion I and Bessarion II (1540), metropolitans of Larissa (Greek).
- New Martyr John of Crete (1811) (Greek).
- Venerable Gerasimus, abbot, of Sourvia (1740).
- St. Joseph the New of Partos, metropolitan of Timisoara (1656) (Romania).
I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain. O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain-if indeed it was in vain? Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?- just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.
Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us? So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching. And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits.
Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him. Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?” But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’ ” And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”
2 Timothy 2:1-10 (Great-martyr Nicetas)
You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
Matthew 10:16-22 (Great-martyr Nicetas)
Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
Great-martyr Nicetas the Goth (372).
The Holy GreatMartyr Nikita was a Goth (a Germanic tribe). He was born and lived on the banks of the Danube River, and suffered for Christ in the year 372. The Christian faith was then already widely spread throughout the territory of the Goths. Saint Nikita believed in Christ and accepted Baptism from the Gothic bishop Theophilus, a participant in the First OEcumenical Council. Pagan Goths began to oppose the spread of Christianity, which resulted in internecine strife. After the victory of Fritigern, – heading a Christian army and inflicting defeat on the pagan Athanarik, the Christian faith began to spread increasingly among the Goths. Bishop Wulfil, the successor to Bishop Theophilus, created a Gothic alphabet and translated into the Gothic language many priestly books. Saint Nikita worked intensely among his fellow Goths at spreading Christianity. By his personal example and inspired words he brought many pagans to the Christian faith. However, Athanarik after his defeat again contrived to gather his own forces, return to his own country and reestablish his former power. Having remained a pagan, he continued to hate Christians and persecute them. Saint Nikita, having undergone many tortures, was thrown into a fire, where he died in the year 372. The friend of Saint Nikita, a Christian named Marianus, by night retrieved the body of the martyr, – unharmed by the fire and illumined by a miraculous light, and gave it over to burial in Cilicia. Afterwards it was transferred to Constantinople. Part of the relics of the GreatMartyr Nikita were later transferred to the monastery of Vysokie Dechany in Serbia.
Uncovering of the relics of the Holy Protomartyr and Archdeacon Stephen (415).
The Holy Disciple (from the Seventy) First-Martyr and ArchDeacon Stephen was the eldest among the Seven Deacons, established by the Apostles themselves, and therefore he is called “archdeacon”. He was the Christian First-Martyr, and he suffered for Christ at about age 30. In the words of Asterias, he was “the starting-point of the martyrs, the instructor of suffering for Christ, the foundation of righteous confession, in that Stephen was first to shed his blood for the Gospel”. Being filled of the Holy Spirit, Saint Stephen with daring persuasively preached the Christian teaching and defeated Jewish teachers of the Law in disputation. For this the Jews maligned Saint Stephen, saying that he had uttered blasphemy against God and against Moses. Under such charges, Saint Stephen came before the Sanhedrin and the high-priest. He spoke a fiery speech, in which he expounded the history of the Jewish nation, and he boldly denounced the Jews for persecuting the prophets and also the execution by them of the awaited Messiah, Jesus Christ. During the time of his speaking, Saint Stephen suddenly saw the heavens opened and Jesus Christ in glory, standing at the right side of God. He exclaimed loudly about this. Then the Jews, covering over their ears, rushed upon him, dragged him out of the city and stoned him, but the holy martyr prayed for his murderers. Afar off on the heights stood the Mother of God with the holy Apostle John the Theologian, and She prayed fervently for the martyr. Before death Saint Stephen uttered: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit, wherein O Lord, impute this not to them in sin”, – and then with joy he gave up his pure soul to Christ. The body of the holy First-Martyr Stephen, left for devouring by beasts, was secretly taken up by the illustrious Jewish teacher Gamaliel and his son Habib, and given burial on his estate. And afterwards these both believed in Christ and accepted holy Baptism.
St. Joseph , abbot, of Alaverdi in Georgia (570) ( Georgia ).
Sainted Joseph, Bishop of Alaverdi, – was one of the Thirteen Holy Syrian (Cappadocian) Fathers, the establishers of Georgian Monasticism (the accounts concerning them is located under 7 May). He, as a “blossom of longed-for virginity”, from his early years chose the monastic vocation. Having arrived in Gruzia (Georgia) with his teacher Saint John Zedazni (Comm. 7 May), Saint Joseph settled in Kakhetia in the unpopulated and barren Alaverdian steppes. Here he began his ascetic exploits. His spiritual strength was so great that even wild beasts did not touch him, and the steppe deer came to him and nourished him with their milk. One of the Kakhetian nobles during an hunt found himself on the Alaverdian steppes and was so astonished, seeing Saint Joseph standing at prayer, that he remained with him. Reports about this personage becoming a monk and about the holy life of the Monk Joseph spread throughout Kakhetia. People fervent for piety and the ascetic life began to throng to the Alaverdian steppe to Saint Joseph. A monastery thus arose, and a church in honour of the GreatMartyr George was built. Chosen to lead the monastery, Saint Joseph with fatherly love concerned himself about the brethren of the monastery, and about the spiritual enlightenment of Kakhetia. Pagan superstitions were still not eradicated, and Saint Joseph – with cross in hand, often left the monastic solitude for preaching the Word of God. Beholding the saintly and immaculate life of the monk Joseph and his sincere desire to serve them, the Kakhetian people willingly and joyfully accepted the Gospel teaching, and abandoned their unbelief and pagan customs. Saint Joseph composed a catechism (lost in the XVI Century) by which he taught the flock entrusted to him. Nearing the end of his life of lofty service, Saint Joseph secluded himself in a tight cell for complete silence. In the year 570 occurred his peaceful and blessed end. Sainted Joseph was buried in the church of the holy GreatMartyr George in Alaverdi. In the IX Century in place of the former church was erected the great Alaverdi cathedral in which, on the left side of the Altar at the north wall, – under a grave-cover rests the body of Sainted Joseph.
“Novoniketas” Icon of the Mother of God (372).
The Novonikita Icon – is one of the ancient icons of the Mother of God. It appeared to the holy GreatMartyr Nikita (+ 372). The Martyr Nikita was a former soldier and student of Theophilus, Bishop of the Goths. Prior to accepting Baptism from him, Nikita in a dream saw a Child, holding in hand His Cross. Awakening, he for a long time pondered over the meaning of the vision. A certain Christian girl, by the name of Juliania, on an inspiration from God told the youth that he should turn his glance upon his own chest. To his unspeakable astonishment he discovered there on his own chest an image of the MostHoly Mother of God with the Praeternal Christ-Child, standing on the knees of His Mother and holding in hand the Cross. “This is the same image I saw in the dream”, – cried out Saint Nikita. The appearance of the icon produced such an effect on him, that he quickly took holy Baptism. Soon there began a persecution against Christians, and Saint Nikita accepted the martyr’s crown amidst a number of other confessors.
Uncovering of the relics of St. Acacius the Confessor, bishop of Melitene (257).
St. Acacius was subjected to severe torture for his confession of Christ and then was imprisoned from which he was later released, and died in peace. He should not be confused with the Ven. Acacius remembered on April 17.
Martyrs Theodotus , Asclepiodotus , and Maximus of Adrianopolis (305-311).
The Holy Martyrs Maximos, Askliada (Asklipiodota), and Theodotos suffered at the beginning of the IV Century under the emperor Maximian Galerius (305-311). Eminent citizens of the city of Marcianopolis, Maximos and Askliada led a pious Christian life. By their example they brought many to faith in Christ and to holy Baptism. During the time of the persecution the governor of Thrace, Tiris, went the rounds of the city subject to him and persecuted those believing in Christ. He summoned before him Maximos and Askliada and demanded they recant from the Christian faith. But seeing the firm faith of the martyrs, he commanded that they be cruelly beaten. Then a certain pious man, by the name of Theodotos, began to reproach the governor for his inhumanity and cruelty. They seized him also, and hanging him on a tree, they subjected him to torture with iron hooks. After this they threw the three martyrs into prison. Tiris traveled further for two weeks more and took the holy martyrs along with him. In the city of Adrianopolis he subjected them to still greater tortures, commanding that their bodies be scorched with white-hot plates. Amidst the agony of suffering was a comforting Voice from Heaven, strengthening them in endurance. After several days of torture they threw the martyrs to wild beasts in the circus for devouring, but the she-bear released upon Saints Maximos and Theodotos instead began to cuddle up to them. They tied Saint Askliada to a bull, but he became as though rooted on the spot, not budging. Tiris in a rage set out farther and, before reaching the city of Philippopolis, in the village of Saltis he again began to urge the martyrs to renounce Christ. Finally, he ordered them to be beheaded. After a while he was punished by the wrath of God: a bolt of lightning struck him when he was sitting upon the judgement seat.
Martyr Porphyrius the Mime of Caesaria (361).
The Holy Martyr Porphyrios suffered during the reign of Julian the Apostate (361-363). Porphyrios was an actor and on the emperor’s birthday he was performing a role at the theater, whereby he was supposed to mock at the mystery of holy Baptism. But when Porphyrios during the course of the play immersed himself in water and uttered: “Baptised is the servant of God Porphyrios, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”, – then, under the inspiration of Divine grace received by him at these words, he emerged from the water confessing himself a Christian. Julian thereupon ordered him to be tortured and after the torments to be beheaded. This happened in the city of Ephesus in the year 361.
Venerable Philotheus the Presbyter of Asia Minor (10th c.).
The Holy Presbyter and Wonderworker Philotheios lived in the X Century in the village of Mrauino (or Murav’evo) located in Bythnia in Asia Minor. He was married and had children. Philotheios accepted the dignity of priesthood and from that time he devoted himself to deeds of prayer and fasting, and works of charity. Because of his holy life the Monk Philotheios received from God the gift of wonderworking. The ascetic continually fed the hungry and helped the needy. The Monk Philotheios died peacefully. From his relics flowed myrh.
Sts. Bessarion I and Bessarion II (1540), metropolitans of Larissa (Greek).
Sainted Bessarion, Archbishop of Larissa, lived during the XVI Century and founded the Dusika monastery in Thessaly.
New Martyr John of Crete (1811) (Greek).
The NewMartyr John of Crete suffered in the year 1811 under the Turks at New Ephesus.
Venerable Gerasimus, abbot, of Sourvia (1740).
The Monk Gerasimos founded a monastery in honour of the Holy Trinity near Makrinitsa in Zagora (Mizia). This monastery received the name Zurvia (Survias).
Additional Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
New Hieromartyr John priest and Virgin-martyr Eudocia (1918).
New Hieromartyrs Andrew, Gregory, Gregory, John priests (1921).
Venerable Ignatius confessor (1932).
New Hieromartyr Demetrius priest (1935).
New Hieromartyrs John, Jacob, Peter priests and Nicholas deacon, Martyrs Mary and Ludmila (1937).
St. Symeon, archbishop of Thessalonica (1430).
St. Joseph the New of Partos, metropolitan of Timisoara (1656) (Romania).
Troparion of the Holy Greatmartyr Nicetas in Tone IV
Taking up the Cross of Christ ardently, as it were a sword,
thou didst make haste to do battle with the enemy,
and, suffering for Christ,
thou didst at last commit thy sacred soul to the Lord,
and hence thou hast been
vouchsafed to receive from Him gifts of healing,
O greatmartyr Nicetas. Entreat
Christ God that our souls be saved.
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Download today’s menaion HERE.
Courtesy of St. Sergius Church
Hymns, Readings, Feast Day, and Fasting Information provided by Holy Trinity Orthodox Church.
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