Fourth Week of the Great Lent: Adoration of Cross. Tone seven.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Food without Oil
- Martyr Sabinas of Hermopolis, Egypt (303).
- Martyr Papas of Lycaonia (305).
- St. Serapion, archbishop of Novgorod (1516).
- Apostle Aristobulus of the Seventy, bishop of Britain (1st c.).
- Hieromartyr Alexander , pope of Rome (119).
- Martyr Julian of Anazarbus (305).
- Martyrs Trophimus and Thalus of Laodicea (300).
- Venerable Christodulus, wonderworker of Patmos (1093).
- Martyr Romanus at Parium on the Hellespont.
- 10 Martyrs in Phoenicia (Greek).
- St. Pimen, Fool-for-Christ and Enlightener of Dagestan, and his companion Anton Meskhi, the Censurer of Kings (13th c.) (Georgia).
- St. Ambrosi (Khelaia) the Confessor, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia (1927) (Georgia).
- New Martyr Malachi of Rhodes, who suffered at Jerusalem (1500).
- St. Abban of Kilabban (650) (Celtic & British).
Isaiah 25:1-9 (6th Hour)
O Lord, You are my God. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, For You have done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. For You have made a city a ruin, A fortified city a ruin, A palace of foreigners to be a city no more; It will never be rebuilt. Therefore the strong people will glorify You; The city of the terrible nations will fear You. For You have been a strength to the poor, A strength to the needy in his distress, A refuge from the storm, A shade from the heat; For the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. You will reduce the noise of aliens, As heat in a dry place; As heat in the shadow of a cloud, The song of the terrible ones will be diminished. And in this mountain The Lord of hosts will make for all people A feast of choice pieces, A feast of wines on the lees, Of fat things full of marrow, Of well-refined wines on the lees. And He will destroy on this mountain The surface of the covering cast over all people, And the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever, And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; For the Lord has spoken. And it will be said in that day: Behold, this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the Lord; We have waited for Him; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.
Genesis 9:8-17 (Vespers, 1st Reading)
Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying: And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendantsa after you, and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark, every beast of the earth. Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said: This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth. And God said to Noah, This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.
Proverbs 12:8-22 (Vespers, 2nd Reading)
A man will be commended according to his wisdom, But he who is of a perverse heart will be despised. Better is the one who is slighted but has a servant, Than he who honors himself but lacks bread. A righteous man regards the life of his animal, But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. He who tills his land will be satisfied with bread, But he who follows frivolity is devoid of understanding. The wicked covet the catch of evil men, But the root of the righteous yields fruit. The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, But the righteous will come through trouble. A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth, And the recompense of a mans hands will be rendered to him. The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise. A fools wrath is known at once, But a prudent man covers shame. He who speaks truth declares righteousness, But a false witness, deceit. There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, But the tongue of the wise promotes health. The truthful lip shall be established forever, But a lying tongue is but for a moment. Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, But counselors of peace have joy. No grave trouble will overtake the righteous, But the wicked shall be filled with evil. Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, But those who deal truthfully are His delight.
Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
Martyr Sabinas of Hermopolis, Egypt (303).
The Holy Martyr Sabinus was governor of the Egyptian city of Hermopolis. During the time of persecution against christians under the emperor Diocletian (284-305), Saint Sabinus hid himself away with like-minded companions in a remote village. But his dwelling-place was revealed for two gold coins given to a certain ungrateful beggar, whom the saint had constantly fed and helped with money. Together with six other christians, Sabinus was seized, and after torture they were all drowned in the Nile (+ 287).
Apostle Aristobulus of the Seventy, bishop of Britain (1st c.).
The Holy Disciple from among the 70 – Aristoboulus, Bishop of Britanium (Britain), was born on Cyprus. Together with his brother, the holy Disciple from among the 70 – Barnabus, he accompanied the holy Apostle Paul on his journeys. Saint Aristoboulus is mentioned by the Apostle Paul in the Epistle to the Romans (Rom 16: 10). The Apostle Paul made Saint Aristoboulus a bishop and sent him to preach the Gospel in Britanium, where he converted many to Christ, for which he suffered persecution by the pagans. Saint Aristoboulus died in Britain. His memory is on 31 October and on 4 January also amidst the Sobor / Assemblage of the 70 Disciples.
St. Pimen, Fool-for-Christ and Enlightener of Dagestan, and his companion Anton Meskhi, the Censurer of Kings (13th c.) (Georgia).
Saint Pimen the Fool-for-Christ and Anton Meskhi (of Meskheti, in southern Georgia) lived in the 13th century, when the Mongols were regularly invading Georgia. The entire country, and the Church in particular, languished under the yoke of Mongol oppression. The Georgian people were once again faced with a terrible choice: to preserve their temporal flesh or attain spiritual salvation. Most would not yield to the temptation of the enemy and chose instead to die as martyrs for Christ. At that time a monk named Pimen, a fool-for-Christ, labored in the Davit-Gareji Wilderness. His ancestral roots were in the Kakheti region of eastern Georgia. Pimen rebuked kings and condemned the unjust and immoral acts of the nobility. The pious monk Anton Meskhi labored with him. Enlightened by divine grace, the fathers recognized that the Georgian people were following their kings poor example. Thus, the monks began a struggle for the spiritual salvation of the nations people that demanded the censure of the king. In addition to their labors of foolishness and censuring of kings, the saints preached Christianity among the Dagestani. (located to the northeast of Georgia and borders the Caspian Sea.) For their great spiritual achievements and struggles on behalf of godly purity, the Christian Faith, and the spread of the Gospel among the Dagestanis, the Georgian Church has counted Pimen the Fool-for-Christ and Anton Meskhi worthy to be numbered among the saints.
St. Ambrosi (Khelaia) the Confessor, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia (1927) (Georgia).
Saint Ambrose the Confessor (in the world Besarion Khelaia) was born in 1861. He received his primary education at the theological school in Samegrelo and graduated from Tbilisi Seminary in 1885. He graduated and was ordained to the priesthood in the same year. Fr. Ambrose served as a priest in Sokhumi (in northwestern Georgia) for eight years, at the same time teaching the Georgian language in schools and directing the activity of various philanthropic societies. In 1896 he was widowed, and in 1897 he enrolled at the Kazan Theological Academy. While in Kazan, Fr. Ambrose followed both the literary-cultural life of the city and the Georgian national independence movement with great interest. He researched the history of Georgia from primary sources and composed several essays based on his findings. His essay, entitled The Struggle Between Christianity and Islam in Georgia, was so compelling to one professor that he recommended that Fr. Ambrose continue exploring this theme and present his research for a masters degree. In 1901 Fr. Ambrose completed his studies at the Kazan Theological Academy, and in the same year he was tonsured a monk and returned to Georgia. Together with the greatest sons of his nation, he fought tirelessly for the autocephaly of the Georgian Orthodox Church. As a punishment for his uncompromising commitment to this goal, Fr. Ambrose was exiled to Russia in 1905. Upon his return to Georgia, he was elevated to the rank of archimandrite and appointed abbot of Chelishi Monastery. Chelishi Monastery had at one time been a center for theological education in Georgia, but many years had passed since then and the monasterys student body was rapidly shrinking. Before long it would be completely deserted. But with the blessing of Bishop Leonid of Imereti (later Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia), St. Ambrose gathered a number of gifted young people to study at the seminary and began to instruct them in chanting and the reading of the Holy Gospel. St. Ambrose devoted much of his time and energy to finding and restoring the old manuscripts of Chelishi Monastery. Once, while passing through the monastery yard, he heard a muted sound coming from beneath the earth. He began to dig at that place and discovered an ancient copy of the Holy Gospels. It was the Chelishi Gospel, a famous Georgian relic from the 9th or 10th century. Soon St. Ambrose joined the Tbilisi Synodal Council and was enthroned as abbot of Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Tbilisi. But in 1908 he was accused of conspiring in the murder of the exarch Nikon and deprived of the right to serve in the Church. The prosecutors exiled him to the Holy Trinity Monastery in Ryazan, where he spent over a year under strict guard. In 1910 St. Ambrose was acquitted and again permitted to serve in the Church. In 1917 Archimandrite Ambrose returned to Georgia and rejoined the struggle for an autocephalous Georgian Church. Within a few months the Church’s autocephaly was proclaimed. He was consecrated Metropolitan of Chqondidi, later to be transferred to the Tskum-Abkhazeti region. In 1921 St. Ambrose was enthroned Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia. The Soviet government began to persecute the Church not long after St. Ambroses enthronement. Some 1,200 churches were plundered, converted for other purposes, or destroyed. A great number of clergy were arrested, exiled, and later shot to death. On February 7, 1922, Catholicos-Patriarch Ambrose, the spiritual father and chief shepherd of his nation, sent a memorandum to participants in the Conference of Genoa (In 1922 representatives of thirty-four nations met in Genoa, Italy to discuss the economic reconstruction of Central and Eastern Europe and to improve relations between the Soviet Union and Western Europe.) in which he defended the rights of the Georgian Church and nation. Every word of his appeal was penetrated with distress for the fate not only of his motherland but of the entire human race. St. Ambrose assured his audience that a nation and government deprived of Christian virtue would have no future and pleaded for help in this time of misfortune. The receipt of such a memorandum was unprecedented for the Bolshevik regime, and in response the officials had St. Ambrose arrested. Nevertheless, he fearlessly criticized the governments complaisance with acts of crime, injustice, and sacrilege. In response to one of the Bolshevik interrogations, the patriarch asserted, Confession of Faith is a spiritual necessity for every nation persecution increases its necessity. Faith deepens, being contracted and accumulated, and it bursts out with new energy. So it was in the past, and so it will be in our country. Georgia is no exception to this universal law. St. Ambrose spoke these remarkable last words to his persecutors: My soul belongs to God, my heart to my motherland, and with my flesh you may do whatever you wish. The court sentenced the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia to seven years, nine months and twenty-eight days in prison. At the end of 1924 St. Ambrose and the other members of the Synodal Council were granted amnesty, but their grave experience had already taken its toll. The Georgian flock lost its faithful shepherd in 1927. In 1995 the life of Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ambrose (Khelaia) was discussed at an expanded council of the Holy Synod of the Georgian Church. In recognition of his great achievements on behalf of the Church and nation, Ambrose was canonized as St. Ambrose the Confessor.
Martyr Papas of Lycaonia (305).
The Holy Martyr Papas lived in the city of Larandum (Asia Minor) during the reign of Maximian (305-311). They arrested and tortured him for belief in Christ, and afterwards, – in boots with sharp nails hammered inside, they took him for further trial to the city of Diocaesarea and later to Isaurian Seleucia. Saint Papas died bound to a barren tree, which thereupon became fruitful.
Hieromartyr Alexander , pope of Rome (119).
The PriestMartyr Alexander, Pope of Rome, occupied the papal throne for ten years. He was burned alive on 3 May of the year 119 by order of the emperor Adrian (117-138).
Martyr Julian of Anazarbus (305).
The PriestMartyr Julian of Anazauria suffered for Christ in Syrian Antioch under the emperor Maximian Galerius (305-311). His relics were glorified by miracles during the time of Sainted John Chrysostomos (+ 407). Sainted John Chrysostom speaks about the martyr in his 47th homily.
Martyrs Trophimus and Thalus of Laodicea (300).
The Holy Martyrs Trophymos and Phalos, by birth brothers and presbyters, served in Carian Laodiceia. During the time of a persecution under the emperor Diocletian (284-305) and his co-emperor Maximian (284-305), the brothers were taken under guard and brought before the governor Asclepiodotos. He ordered the holy brothers to be beaten with stones, but the stones, which they threw at the saints, flew back again and struck those that threw them. After a second interrogation the holy brothers were sentenced to crucifixion. Going to execution, they glorified God in that they were found worthy of the Saviour’s death on a cross. The wondrous witnesses to God hanging on crosses continued their preaching, and their brave mother stood at the foot of the crosses. A certain Jewess, having bowed to the saints, cried out: “Blessed is the mother, having given birth to such sons”. When the martyrs gave up their spirits to God, the prison guard said that he saw the souls of the holy brothers being carried upwards to heaven in the company of three Angels. All night the people stayed with the bodies of the holy martyrs. And in the morning the wife of the torturer Asclepiodotos came to the place of execution with her perfumed bejeweled veil. She told the people, that she saw by night in a dream the holy martyrs and the Angels, sent for the punishment of her husband. The mother of the martyrs and two christians, by the names of Zosima and Artemon, buried the holy brothers in their native city of Stratonika. The torturer Asclepiodotos soon fell ill and died an horrible death.
Venerable Christodulus, wonderworker of Patmos (1093).
The Monk Christodoulos the WonderWorker was a native of Bythnian Nicea. At first he pursued asceticism as a monk on Mount Latra in Bythnia, and afterwards he was hegumen of a monastery on the island of Cos. In the year 1089 the monk requested the emperor Alexis Comnena to grant his monastery the island of Patmos in return for the land on the island of Cos and at the shores of Caria. The monk established a monastery on a mountain near the cave where, according to tradition, the holy Apostle John the Theologian wrote the Apocalypse during the years 68-69. In the year 1110 the monk was forced to flee from Patmos together with his disciples to the island of Eubeios because of raidings by sea robbers. He died there in the year 1111. His disciples took his relics to the island of Patmos.
Additional Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
St. Serapion, archbishop of Novgorod (1516).
Martyr Romanus at Parium on the Hellespont.
10 Martyrs in Phoenicia (Greek).
New Martyr Malachi of Rhodes, who suffered at Jerusalem (1500).
St. Abban of Kilabban (650) (Celtic & British).
Holy Martyr Sabinas
No Troparion is given in the Menaion.
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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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