Old Calendar Orthodox Daily Digest for 2/27/2022

Fasting Guidelines

Sunday of the Last Judgment (Meatfare). Tone three.
Today is fast-free!

Today’s Commemorations

  • Venerable Auxentius , monk of Bithynia (470).
  • St. Cyril , Equal-to-the-Apostles, teacher of the Slavs (869).
  • St. Raphael, bishop of Brooklyn (1915).
  • New Hieromartyr Onisimus bishop of Tula (1937).
  • New Hieromartyr Tryphon deacon (1938).
  • Venerable Isaac , recluse of the Kiev Caves (1090).
  • 12 Greek Master-Builders of the Dormition Cathedral in the Lavra of the Kievan Caves (11th C).
  • Translation of the relics of Prince-martyr Michael and his counselor, St. Theodore of Chernigov (1578).
  • Venerable Maron , hermit of Syria (423).
  • St. Abraham , bishop of Charres in Mesopotamia (ca. 423).
  • St. Ilarion the Georgian of Imeretia and Mt. Athos (1854) ( Georgia ).
  • Hieromartyr Philemon, bishop of Gaza.
  • New Martyr George the Tailor of Mitylene, at Constantinople (1693) (Greek).
  • New Martyr Nicholas of Corinth (1554) (Greek).
  • St. Peter, patriarch of Alexandria (380).

Scripture Readings

Mark 16:9-20 (3rd Matins Gospel)
Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe. After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either. Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.

1 Corinthians 8:8-9:2
But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse. But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble. Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

Matthew 25:31-46
When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; ‘I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? ‘When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? ‘Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; ‘I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today

St. Cyril , Equal-to-the-Apostles, teacher of the Slavs (869).
St. Cyril , Equal-to-the-Apostles, teacher of the Slavs (869). The Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Cyril, Teacher of the Slavs (named Constantine – upon his assuming of the Schema), and his older brother Methodios (Comm. 6 April), were by descent Slavs, born in Macedonia in the city of Soluneia (Thessalonika). Saint Cyril received the finest of educations, and from age 14 he was raised together with the son of the emperor. He early accepted the dignity of presbyter. Upon his return to Constantinople, he worked as a librarian of the cathedral church, and as a professor of philosophy. Saint Cyril successfully held debates with iconoclast heretics and with Mahometans. Yearning for solitude, he set off to Mount Olympos to his older brother Methodios, but his solitude lasted only a short while. Both brothers were dispatched by the emperor Michael in the year 857 on a missionary journey to preach Christianity to the Khozars. Along the way they stopped off at Cherson and discovered there the relics of the PriestMartyr Clement, Pope of Rome (Comm. 25 November). Arriving at the Khozars, the holy brothers spoke with them about the Christian faith. Persuaded by the preaching of Saint Cyril, the Khozar prince together with all his people accepted Christianity. The grateful prince wanted to reward the preachers with rich presents, but they refused this and instead asked the prince to free and send home with them all the Greek captives. Saint Cyril returned to Constantinople together with 200 such captives set free.       In the year 862 began the chief exploit of the holy brothers. At the request of prince Rostislav, the emperor sent them to Moravia for preaching Christianity in the Slavic language. Saints Cyril and Methodios by a revelation from God compiled a Slavonic alphabet and translated into the Slavonic language – the Gospel, Epistles, the Psalter and many Divine-service books. They introduced Divine-services in the Slavonic tongue. The holy brothers were then summoned to Rome at the invitation of the Roman pope. Pope Adrian received them with great honour, since they brought with them the relics of the PriestMartyr Clement, Pope of Rome. By nature sickly and of weak health, Saint Cyril from his many labours soon fell ill, and having taken the schema, he died in the year 869 at age 42. Before his death, he expressed last-wishes for his brother to continue with the Christian enlightenment of the Slavs. Saint Cyril was buried in the Roman church of Saint Clement, whose own relics also rest there, brought to Italy from Cherson by the Enlighteners of the Slavs.

Venerable Isaac , recluse of the Kiev Caves (1090).
Venerable  Isaac , recluse of the Kiev Caves (1090). The Monk Isaakii (+ 1090), in the world Chern’, was prior to monasticism a rich merchant in the city of Toropets in the Pskov lands. Having distributed all his substance to the poor, he went to Kiev and took monastic vows under the Monk Antonii (Anthony). He led a very strict life in seclusion, eating only a prosphora, and then only at the end of the day. After seven years as an hermit he was subjected to a fierce temptation by the devil. Having mistaken the spirit of evil for Christ, he worshipped him, – after which he fell down terribly crippled. The Monks Antonii and Feodosii (Theodosii) took care of him and nursed him. Only in the third year did he begin to walk and to speak, and be present in church. Upon his return to health he took upon himself the exploit of holy fool, enduring beatings, nakedness and cold. Before death he again went into seclusion, where again he was subjected to an onslaught of demons, from which he was delivered by the sign of the cross and by prayer. After his healing he spent about 20 years in ascetic deeds. He died in about the year 1090. His relics are in the Caves of the Monk Antonii, and part of them were transferred to Toropets by the hegumen of the Kudin monastery in the year 1711. The Vita of the Monk Isaakii was recorded by the Monk Nestor in the chronicles (under the year 1074). The account in the Kievo-Pechersk Paterikon differs somewhat from that of Nestor. In the Great Cheti-Minei under 27 April is the “Account about the Monk Isaakii, and his deceiving by the devil”.

Translation of the relics of Prince-martyr Michael and his counselor, St. Theodore of Chernigov (1578).
Translation of the relics of Prince-martyr  Michael  and his counselor,  St. Theodore  of Chernigov (1578). The translation of the relics of the rightly believing Prince Michael of Chernigov and his boyar Theodore, tortured by Batu of the Golden Horde on September 20, 1244. At first, pious Russian Christians secretly held their relics. First they were transferred to Vladimir, and then to Chernigov, and from there, after the transfer of Chernigov to the authority of the Poles in the year 1572. On February 14, Tsar Ivan Vasiljevich the Terrible transferred them to Moscow. Now they repose (since 1774) in a secret place in the Moscow Holy Archangels Cathedral in the Kremlin. See September 20.

Venerable Maron , hermit of Syria (423).
Venerable  Maron , hermit of Syria (423). The Monk Maron lived during the IV Century not far from the city of Cyr in Syria. He spent almost all the time beneathe the open sky – at prayer, vigil, works and strict fasting. Soon he was glorified by a gift of healing the sick and casting out devils. Those that turned to him for edification he counselled to be temperate, to be concerned about salvation, and to guard against avarice and anger. Some disciples of the Monk Maron were – James the Hermit (Comm. 26 November), Limnios (Comm. 23 February), and Domninos (Comm. 1 March). Saint Maron founded many monasteries in the Cyr region.

St. Ilarion the Georgian of Imeretia and Mt. Athos (1854) ( Georgia ).
St. Ilarion  the Georgian of Imeretia and Mt. Athos (1854) ( Georgia ). Holy Hiero-schema monk Ilarion the Georgian (Ise Qanchaveli in the world) was born in 1776 in the village of Losiantkhevi, in the Shorapani district of Kutaisi. His parents, Khakhuli and Mariam Qanchaveli, were pious and God-fearing nobles.       According to God’s will, Ise’s uncle, the hermit Hierodeacon Stepane, took his six-year-old nephew into his care. When Stepane reposed, Ise moved to Tabakini Monastery, but learning that a seminary had opened in Tbilisi, he set off for it. On his way he visited a certain Bishop Athanasios of Nikozi to receive his blessing, but the bishop, delighted by the youth’s fervent prayers, advised him to return home to his family: “My son, you will learn much more in the wilderness than you ever could in the classroom. Return home, and the Lord, having instructed you in prayer, will lead you on a path that will serve your people and the Church.”       Ise returned to the bosom of his family, and his father took him to Kutaisi to be raised in the court of the Imeretian king. King Solomon II (1789-1815) soon recognized that the young Ise stood above all the other courtiers in piety, and he appointed him to be his personal spiritual adviser and instructor. At the king’s suggestion, Ise married the Princess Mariam. Soon after his marriage, the humble nobleman was ordained to the priesthood and appointed confessor of the court church. Only two years later Princess Mariam reposed, leaving Fr. Ise a widower.       After the Russian annexation of Kartli-Kakheti, the imperial court of the tsar increased diplomatic correspondence with the court of King Solomon II. The king was urged likewise to unite the Imeretian Kingdom to Russia. Solomon summoned a council of noblemen, and it was decided that Imereti would remain independent, while maintaining friendly relations with Russia until the king’s death. However, it was agreed that since King Solomon had no heir, after his repose the court of the imperial tsar would acquire jurisdiction over the region.       But the political climate in Georgia became increasingly tense, and the ability of the Imeretian court to govern was severely undermined.       The court was suddenly besieged with cases of envy and treason, and it became necessary for the king to flee to Turkey. Protopresbyter Ise Qanchaveli accompanied King Solomon II to his place of exile and remained with him to the end of the king’s life.       After the king’s death in 1815, Fr. Ise received an amnesty from Tsar Alexander I (1801-1825) on behalf of the king and his court. Ise himself planned to go into reclusion in the village where he was born, but King Solomon’s widow, Queen Mariam, summoned him to Moscow where she was being held in “honorable captivity.” Fr. Ise brought to her a piece of the Life-giving Cross of our Lord, which had belonged to King Solomon, and the queen preserved her husband’s treasure in the court church.       But life at the imperial court was tiresome for the God-fearing Fr. Ise, so he exchanged his clothing for beggars’ rags and set off for Mt. Athos in the year 1819.       Fr. Ise appeared before the holy fathers of Mt. Athos as an unknown pilgrim, who had come to venerate the holy places. He first visited Iveron Monastery and from there crossed over the peninsula to Dionysiou Monastery.       In 1821 Ise was tonsured a monk and given the name Ilarion. He was presented with new monastic garments for the tonsure service, but asked permission to remain dressed in his own rags.       Fr. Ilarion fulfilled his every obedience with love. He was dispirited only by his ignorance of the Greek language, which prevented him from hearing and understanding the Word of God during the divine services. Finally he received permission from the abbot of Dionysiou to borrow some of the Georgian books from the large collection of sacred manuscripts at Iveron Monastery.       Upon arriving at the monastery, Fr. Ilarion went to venerate the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God. While praying on his knees before the icon, a Greek archimandrite whom he knew from Moscow saw and recognized him. He bowed before him, kissed his hands and cried out: “Fr. Ise! Holy Shepherd! Confessor of the king!”       Soon the news spread through all the monasteries of Mt. Athos that the spiritual father of the king had concealed himself as a beggar.       Everywhere the monks greeted him with great reverence. But Fr. Ilarion, ashamed of the attention, withdrew to the wilderness not far from the monastery.       At that time, in retaliation for the Greek Insurrection of 1821, the Turks were pillaging Greece and slaughtering the Christians. In 1822 a certain Abdul Robut-Pasha surrounded the Holy Mountain with an enormous army and commanded the abbots of all the monasteries to submit to his authority. Representatives of all the monasteries, including Fr. Ilarion and two others from Dionysiou were sent to Chromitsa to petition the pasha. Fr. Ilarion stood boldly before the pasha, burning with a desire to be martyred at the hands of an unbeliever.       Having learned that Fr. Ilarion was a Georgian, Robut-Pasha was overjoyed: he himself was also Georgian by descent but had been kidnapped by the Turks in his early adolescence.       The pasha proposed that St. Ilarion leave the monastery and move to his palace in Thessalonica, promising him every kind of material wealth. But Fr. Ilarion refused and condemned the ruler’s unbelief. The furious pasha began to curse the Orthodox believers and all the Christian saints, among them the Most Holy Theotokos. The holy father was allowed no opportunity to reply to the pasha’s blasphemous remarks; instead they released him and took the other monks captive.       Having returned to the monastery, Fr. Ilarion regretted that he had not properly rebuffed the blasphemous pasha. His suffering was aggravated when the unbeliever continued to martyr and massacre other Christians. Finally he asked the abbot for his blessing and set off for the Turkish court in Thessalonica. There he stood before the pasha and fearlessly trampled upon his false teachings: “You sought to deny the virginity of the Most Holy Mother of God,” he charged. “Even your prophet Muhammad admits that Jesus was born without seed of a Virgin and that the mystery of the birth of God is necessarily beyond human comprehension. He is the True God, Who took on flesh for the salvation of mankind, to rescue fallen man from the curse of sin and death!”       The pasha began to argue, but St. Ilarion told him, “You, the son of Christian parents, are on such a brutal rampage that you have deadened the pangs of conscience calling you back to the true Faith!”       The pasha laughed and answered that he was glad to have been delivered from the “ridiculous” Christian Faith. “I am indebted to the man who kidnapped me from my parents and sold me to the Turks,” he said, “and I have since rewarded him generously for his deed. If your Faith is indeed true, why have you fallen into the hands of the invaders? Why has your beloved God punished you so?”       “You misunderstand everything, Pasha,” answered St. Ilarion.       “Does not a loving father take up the rod when his beloved son runs wild? Truly he does this not out of hatred but out of love, desiring to save the ignorant from grave misfortune. When the father sees that his child has corrected his behavior, he casts the rod into the fire. The Lord has permitted these sorrows to befall us because of our sins. You are a staff in the hands of the Lord: when He sees that we have mended our ways, He will cast you into the fire as well!”       For three consecutive days St. Ilarion confronted the pasha in his palace, desiring to infuriate him to the point that he would order his execution. On the fourth day St. Ilarion arrived at the palace and began to speak about the falseness of Muhammad and the Islamic faith.       Then the pasha provoked him even further, demanding, “What do you think—where will we go after death?”       Standing amidst believers of divers faiths, St. Ilarion boldly answered that only those who truly believe in God, who are found in the bosom of the Orthodox Faith of Christ, will be saved. The enraged bystanders demanded that the insolent monk be executed, and Abdul Robut-Pasha finally ordered his death. St. Ilarion prepared to meet death with joy, but a pair of the pasha’s servants, Georgians by descent, requested that the pasha repeal his death sentence, since it would be shameful for them to murder their fellow countryman.       They intended to send him in secret to Mt. Athos, but instead St. Ilarion began to minister to the sick prisoners held in Thessalonica, and he selflessly dedicated himself to their service for six months. Then, according to God’s will, he set off again for Mt. Athos. Having returned to his monastery, Fr. Ilarion labored for three years as a hermit and afterwards withdrew to the tower of New Skete (a dependency of the Monastery of St. Paul) to lead a life of strict asceticism.       On Fridays he kept a strict fast, and on other days he ate only tiny pieces of dried bread. These he would place in a narrow-mouthed jar and eat only what he was able to draw out with his hand. He drank just one glass of water a day. Throughout the period of his reclusion in the tower, demons tempted St. Ilarion with terrible visions.       Once a group of faithful Christians desired to visit the hermit. As the elder received no one, they were not admitted. The pilgrims therefore decided to form a human ladder, standing one on top of the other in order to reach the small window of his cell. Fearing for their lives but not wanting to break his vow of reclusion, St. Ilarion temporarily abandoned his cell and fled to the forest.       After some time, St. Ilarion became physically weak from his strict ascetic labors and was forced to leave behind the solitary life. With the help of his faithful friend Benedict the Georgian, he gradually regained some of his strength and moved to the Iveron Monastery.       At the Iveron Monastery he took charge of the Georgian library, organized a catalog, and compiled twelve volumes of Lives of the Saints, which he entitled The Flower Garden. He presented the twelve volumes to the abbot of Zographou Monastery before the latter departed for Russia. In Russia the abbot published the twelve volumes in the Georgian language—without mention of the name of their compiler.       St. Ilarion reposed at St. Panteleimon Monastery, known as the Russikon, in a cell named for Great-martyr George, on February 14, 1864. Though he was desperately ill, St. Ilarion continued to thank the Lord sincerely until his last day. “Glory to God!” he would say. “I desired martyrdom, but God did not grant it to me. Instead He sent me an illness which will be equal in merit to martyrdom if I am able to bear it!”       Prior to his death he asked his disciple, Fr. Sabbas, to bury his body in secret, but circumstances later required that his burial place be revealed. In 1867, during the vigil for the feast of the Ascension of our Lord, a group of monks opened St. Ilarion’s burial vault and immediately sensed a sweet fragrance issuing forth from his body. At that moment one of the hermits saw a brilliant sphere of light shining like the sun over Fr. Ilarion’s cell.       The Holy Synod of the Georgian Apostolic Orthodox Church canonized Hieroschemamonk Ilarion (Qanchaveli) on October 17, 2002, and to differentiate him from St. Ilarion the Georgian (commemorated November 19), called him “Ilarion Kartveli, Akhali” or “Ilarion the Georgian, the New.”

Venerable Auxentius , monk of Bithynia (470).
The Monk Auxentios, by origin a Syrian, served at the court of the emperor Theodosius the Younger (418-450). He was known as a virtuous, learned and wise man, and he was moreover a friend of many of the pious men of his era.       Distressed by worldly vanity, Saint Auxentios accepted the dignity of presbyter, and then received monastic tonsure. Setting off after this to Bithynia, he found a solitary place on Mount Oxus, not far from Chalcedon, and there he began the life of an hermit. (This mountain was afterwards called Auxentian). The place of the saint’s efforts was stumbled upon by shepherds, seeking after lost sheep. They spread the news about him, and people began to come to him for healing. With the Name of God, Saint Auxentios healed many of the sick and the infirm.       In the year 451 Saint Auxentios was invited to the Fourth OEcumenical Council at Chalcedon, where he became known as a denouncer of the Eutykhian and Nestorian heresies. He was greatly familiar with Holy Scripture, and Saint Auxentios easily bested those opponents who entered into dispute with him. After the finish of the Council, Saint Auxentios returned again to his solitary cell on the mountain. By means of spiritual sight he saw the end of Saint Simeon the Pillar-Dweller (459), from over a great distance.       The Monk Auxentios himself died in about the year 470, leaving behind him disciples and many monasteries constructed in the Bithynian region.

St. Abraham , bishop of Charres in Mesopotamia (ca. 423).
Saint Abraham, Bishop of Caria, lived during the mid-IV and early V Centuries, and was born in the city of Cyr. In his youth he entered a monastery. Later he chose as the place for his ascetic deeds Mount Lebanon, where he lived as an hermit. The Monk Abraham suffered much vexation from the pagans, who wanted to expel him from their area. Besides this, the impoverished inhabitants of the nearest village constantly came to him for hand-outs, disrupting his solitude, but the monk patiently endured their visits and gave them everything, which had been offered him. The Christian inhabitants of this village built a church and they fervently besought Saint Abraham to accept the priesthood and become their pastor. The monk fulfilled their wish. Having encouraged his flock in the faith, he left them in place of himself another priest, and he again retired to a monastery. For his deep piety he was made bishop of Caria; his pastors the saint constantly taught by his God-pleasing life. From the time of his accepting of the priesthood, he never used cooked food. The emperor Theodosius the Younger wanted to meet the bishop and made him an invitation. Having arrived in Constantinople, Saint Abraham soon died. His remains were solemnly transferred to the city of Caria and there given over to burial.

New Martyr George the Tailor of Mitylene, at Constantinople (1693) (Greek).
A tailor in the city of Mitylene, the Turks beheaded him after torturing him for his faith and confession in Jesus Christ, and refusal to accept Islam in Constantinople in 1693.

Additional Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today

St. Raphael, bishop of Brooklyn (1915).

New Hieromartyr Onisimus bishop of Tula (1937).

New Hieromartyr Tryphon deacon (1938).

12 Greek Master-Builders of the Dormition Cathedral in the Lavra of the Kievan Caves (11th C).

Hieromartyr Philemon, bishop of Gaza.

New Martyr Nicholas of Corinth (1554) (Greek).

St. Peter, patriarch of Alexandria (380).

Today’s Hymns

Sunday of Meatfare or of the Last Judgment, Kontakion, Tone I
When Thou comest to earth with glory, O God, and all things tremble, then a
river of fire will flow before Thy Judgment Seat, and the books will be opened,
and the hidden things made public. Then deliver me from the unquenchable fire
and grant me to stand at Thy right hand, O most just Judge.

Troparion of the Sunday, Tone III
Let the heavens rejoice,
let the earth be glad!
For the Lord has shown might with His arm,/
He has trampled down death by death.
He has become the first-born of the dead.
He has
delivered us from the depths of hell,
and has granted the world great mercy!

Hymn to the Theotokos, Tone III
We praise you as the mediatrix of our salvation,
O Virgin Theotokos.
For your Son, our
God, Who took flesh from you,
accepted the passion of the cross,
delivering us from
corruption as the Lover of man.

Kontakion of the Sunday, Tone III
On this day Thou didst rise from the tomb, O Merciful One,
leading us from the gates of
On this day Adam exults as Eve rejoices;
with the prophets and patriarchs they
unceasingly praise
the divine majesty of Thy power!

Venerable Father Auxentius, Troparion, Tone I
A dweller in the desert, an angel in the flesh
and a wonder-worker wast thou
shown to be,
O our God-bearing father Auxentius.
Receiving heavenly gifts
through fasting, vigils and prayers,
thou healest the infirm
and the souls of
those who with faith have recourse unto thee
Glory to Him Who hath given thee
Glory to Him Who hath crowned thee!
Glory to Him Who worketh
healings for all through thee!

Download today’s octoechos HERE.

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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