23rd Sunday after Pentecost. Tone six.
Nativity (St. Philip’s Fast). Fish Allowed
- Beginning of Nativity Fast.
- Holy Martyrs and Confessors Gurias (299), Samonas (306), and Abibus (322), of Edessa.
- Venerable Paisius (Velichkovsky) of Moldavia and Mt. Athos (1794).
- New Hieromartyrs Nicholas and Peter priests, Gregory and Nicitas deacons (1937).
- Martyrs Elpidius, Marcellus, and Eustochius , who suffered under Julian the Apostate (361).
- Martyr Demetrius of Thrace (307).
- “Kupyatich” Icon (1180) of the Most Holy Theotokos.
- Venerable Philip, abbot of Rabang (Vologda) (1457).
- St. Quinctian, bishop of Seleucia (4th c.).
- St. Thomas the New, patriarch of Constantinople (665-668) (Greek).
- Repose of St. Herman, wonderworker of Alaska (1836).
Matthew 28:16-20 (1st Matins Gospel)
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ” And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves? And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
Venerable Paisius (Velichkovsky) of Moldavia and Mt. Athos (1794).
He was born in Ukraine in 1722, one of the many children of a priest. He attended the Ecclesiastical Academy in Kiev, but was disappointed by the worldliness, love of ease and western theological climate that he found there. After four years he left the school and embarked on a search for a spiritual father and a monastery where he could live in poverty. He eventually found wise spiritual guides in Romania, where many of the Russian monks had fled after Peter the Great’s reforms. From there he traveled to the Holy Mountain. Spiritual life was at a low ebb there also, and Plato (the name he had been given as a novice) became a hermit, devoting his days to prayer and reading the Holy Scriptures and the writings of the Fathers. After four years, a visiting Elder from Romania tonsured him a monk under the name Paisius, and advised him to live with other monks to avoid the spiritual dangers of taking up the solitary life too soon. A few brethren from Romania arrived, seeking to make him their spiritual father, but as he felt unworthy to take on this task, all of them lived in poverty and mutual obedience. Others joined them from Romania and the Slavic countries, and in time they took up the cenobitic life, with Paisius as their reluctant abbot. In 1763 the entire community (grown to sixty-five in number) left the Holy Mountain and returned to Romania. They were given a monastery where they adopted the Athonite rule of life. Abbot Paisius introduced the Jesus Prayer and other aspects of hesychasm to the monastic life there: before this time, they had been used mostly by hermits. The services of the Church were conducted fully, with the choirs chanting alternately in Slavonic and Romanian. The monks confessed to their Elder every evening so as not to let the sun go down on their anger, and a brother who held a grudge against another was forbidden to enter the church, or even to say the Lord’s Prayer, until he had settled it. The monastic brotherhood eventually grew to more than a thousand, divided into two monasteries. Visitors and pilgrims came from Russia, Greece and other lands to experience its holy example. St Paisius had learned Greek while on Mt Athos, and undertook to produce accurate Slavonic translations of the writings of many of the Fathers of the Church. The Greek Philokalia had been published not long before, and St Paisius produced a Slavonic version that was read throughout the Slavic Orthodox world. (This is the Philokalia that the pilgrim carries with him in The Way of a Pilgrim). The Saint reposed in peace in 1794, one year after the publication of his Slavonic Philokalia. The Synaxarion summarizes his influence: “These translations, and the influence of the Saint through the activity of his disciples in Russia, led to a widespread spiritual renewal, and to the restoration of traditional monastic life there which lasted until the Revolution of 1917.”
Holy Martyrs and Confessors Gurias (299), Samonas (306), and Abibus (322), of Edessa.
The Holy Martyrs and Confessors Gurias, Samon and Habib: During the time of persecution against Christians under the emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian (305-311), two friends were arrested in the city of Edessa, the Christians Gurias and Samon, preachers of the Word of God. At the demand to offer sacrifice to the gods the saints answered with a decisive refusal and confessed their faith in Christ. For this they were subjected to cruel tortures: they beat them, hung them up by their hands, tied heavy weights to their feet, and cast them into a stifling prison. The martyrs endured everything with firmness and a prayer to the Lord, which one of the witnesses to the martyrs wrote down: “O Lord my God, without Whose will not a single sparrow falleth into the snare. Thou it was, Who wast diffused in the heart of David in sorrow, Who proved the Prophet David stronger than lions, and granted for a child of Abraham to be victor over torture and flames. Now also Thou knowest, O Lord, the infirmity of our nature, Thou beholdest the struggle set afront us. For the enemy striveth to tear away from Thee the work of Thy right-hand and to deprive (us) from the essence of Thine Glory. But do Thou, with Thine compassionate eye watching over us, preserve in us the inextinguishable light of Thy Commandments. By Thine light guide our steps, and grant us to delight in Thine bliss, for blessed art Thou unto ages of ages”. By night they took the martyrs out beyond the city and beheaded them (+ 299-306). Christians buried their holy bodies. After some years the last pagan emperor Licinius (311-324) began a persecution against Christians. A deacon of the Edessa Church by the name of Habib, whom the emperor ordered to be arrested for his zealous spreading of the true faith, presented himself before the executioners, since he did not want other Christians to suffer because of the search for him. The saint confessed his faith in Christ and was sentenced to burning. The martyr went willingly into the fire and with prayer gave up his soul to the Lord (+ 322). When the fire went out, the mother and kinsmen of the saint found his body unharmed. They buried the martyr next to Saints Gurias and Samon. After the death of the saints, numerous miracles were wrought by them for those who with faith and love entreated their help. Thus, one time a certain Gothic-soldier, sent for service at Edessa, took as his spouse the pious maiden Euphymia. Before this he vowed to her mother Sophia at the graves of the Martyrs Gurias, Samon and Habib, – that he would do his spouse no harm, and would never insult her, but would always love and cherish her. At the completion of his service in Edessa, he took Euphymia with him back to his native land. Afterwards it turned out, that he had deceived her: in his native-land he already had a wife, and Euphymia became her slave. Euphymia had to suffer much abuse and humiliation. When she gave birth to a son, the jealous Goth woman then poisoned him. Euphymia turned with prayer to the holy Martyrs Gurias, Samon and Habib – witnesses to the oath of the deceiver, and the Lord delivered Euphymia from her suffering and miraculously returned her to Edessa, where she was welcomed by her mother. After a certain while the Gothic oath-breaker was again sent for service to Edessa. All the city learned about his misdeeds after his denunciation by Sophia, and by order of the governor of the city the Goth was executed. Glorifying the holy martyrs in an akathist, Holy Church addresses them: “Hail, Gurias, Samon and Habib, Heavenly Patrons of honourable marriage”.
Martyrs Elpidius, Marcellus, and Eustochius , who suffered under Julian the Apostate (361).
The Holy Martyrs Elpidias, Marcellus and Evstochius suffered under the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363). Saint Elpidias was an important dignitary at the imperial court. They tried him on charges of being a Christian, afront the imperial judge. The martyrs endured many terrible torments and they died, thrown into a fire. At the place where Christians buried the remains of the saints occurred a miraculous appearance of Christ with an host of Angels, and the Lord resurrected Elpidias. Then the emperor again gave orders to arrest the holy martyr. During the time of torture, idols standing not afar off crumbled into dust through the prayer of the saint. More than six thousand pagans, having witnessed this miracle, were converted to Christ. Saint Elpidias was burned again.
Martyr Demetrius of Thrace (307).
Martyr Demetrius, born a Slav, in the village of Doad, in Thrace, was beheaded for his fervent confession of Christ, in about 307, during the reign of the Emperor Maximian.
“Kupyatich” Icon (1180) of the Most Holy Theotokos.
The Kupyatitsk Icon of the Mother of God appeared in the year 1180 nearby the village of Kupyatich in the area of the former Pinsk district of the Minsk governance. The icon was found in the forest on a tree by the peasant maiden Anna, a cattle herder. The image – in the form of a cross – shone with an unusual light. On the spot of the miraculous appearance of the icon, peasants built a church in the name of the MostHoly Mother of God, and placed the discovered icon within it. After some years Tatars burned the church. The icon was found a second time after many years by a chance traveller named Joachim. Peasants transferred the cruciform-icon to the village church. Joachim remained at the church as church-attendant, by God’s will. At the beginning of the XVII Century next to the church was built the Kupyatitsk monastery, which at the end of the century the Catholics seized control of, and later on – Uniate monks. Orthodox monks in abandoning the monastery took with them the holy icon of the Kupyatitsk Mother of God. They transferred the wonderworking icon to the Kiev Sophia cathedral. The Kupyatitsk Icon presents itself as a not-large copper cross. On one side of the cross is depicted the Mother of God with the Praeternal Infant, and on the other side – the Crucifixion.
Venerable Philip, abbot of Rabang (Vologda) (1457).
The Monk Philip of Rabangsk was the founder of the Saviour-Transfiguration monastery, situated near Kadnikov to the northeast of Vologda. He spent the beginning of his monastic life in the monastery of the Monk Dionysii of Glushitsk (Comm. 1 June) and was one of his closest disciples. Upon the death of his teacher and spiritual father, Saint Philip left the Glushitsk monastery and settled in a sparsely populated area at the confluence of the Sukhona and Rabanga Rivers. The saint wanted to lead his life in complete solitude. The local inhabitants learned about him, and wanting his graced guidance to become monks, they began to come to him in the wilderness. Having accepted this as a mandate from above, the Monk Philip journeyed to Rostov to Archbishop Ephrem and asked of the saint a blessing for the founding of a monastery and construction of a church in honour of the Transfiguration of the Lord (the temple was built in 1447). Tradition relates, that the holy founder of the Saviour-Transfiguration monastery was extremely strict towards himself and lenient towards the infirmities of others. The Monk Philip died on 15 November 1457 and was buried in the monastery founded by him.
Additional Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
Beginning of Nativity Fast.
New Hieromartyrs Nicholas and Peter priests, Gregory and Nicitas deacons (1937).
St. Quinctian, bishop of Seleucia (4th c.).
St. Thomas the New, patriarch of Constantinople (665-668) (Greek).
Repose of St. Herman, wonderworker of Alaska (1836).
Troparion of the Sunday, Tone VI
The angelic powers were at Thy tomb;
the guards became as dead men.
Mary stood by
seeking Thy most pure Body.
Thou didst capture hell,
not being tempted by
Thou didst come to the Virgin, granting life.
O Lord, Who didst rise from the dead:
glory to Thee!
Hymn to the Theotokos, Tone VI
Thou Who didst call Thy mother blessed
came of Thine own will to the passion.
Shining on the
cross, desiring to recall Adam, Thou didst say to the angels:
“Rejoice with Me, for the lost coin
has been found.”
Thou Who hast ordered all things in wisdom,
O our God, glory to Thee! (1x)
Blessed be the name of the Lord, henceforth and forever more.
Kontakion of the Sunday, Tone VI
When Christ God, the Giver of Life,
raised all of the dead from the valleys of misery with
His mighty hand,
He bestowed resurrection on the human race.
He is the Savior of all, the
Resurrection, the Life, and the God of all.
Martyrs and Confessors Gurias, Samonas & Abibus, Troparion, Tone V
O Christ God, Thou hast given us an impregnable rampart
in the miracles of
Thy holy martyrs.
Through their supplications destroy Thou the councils of the
and strengthen the scepters of kingdoms,
in that Thou art good and
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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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