Sunday May 29, 2022
Fasting information unavailable.
- Sunday of the Blind Man
- Holy Virgin Martyr Theodosίa of Tyre
- Repose of the Blessed John of Ustiug the Fool-for-Christ
- Virgin Martyr Theodosia the Nun of Constantinople
- Icon of the Mother of God “the Surety of Sinners”
- Martyred Fathers and Mothers of Atchara
John 20:11-18 (8th Matins Gospel)
But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.
Acts 16:16-34 (Epistle)
Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour. But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities. And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.” Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.
John 9:1-38 (Gospel)
Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing. Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, “Is not this he who sat and begged?” Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.” He said, “I am he.” Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?” He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.” Then they said to him, “Where is He?” He said, “I do not know.” They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. They said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.” But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight. And they asked them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but by what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself.” His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.” He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” Then they said to him again, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?” Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.” The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.” They answered and said to him, “You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?” And they cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.” Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him.
Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
Sunday of the Blind Man
At the end of Chapter 8 in Gospel of Saint John, the Savior was disputing with the Pharisees in the Temple during the Feast of Tabernacles. He told them, “Your father Abraham was glad that he should see my day; and he saw it and rejoiced” (John 8:56). The Jews said that Jesus was not even fifty years old, so how could He claim to have seen Abraham? The Lord replied, “Before Abraham was, I am.” I am, of course, is the name that God revealed to Moses in the Burning Bush. When the Jews picked up stones to throw at Him, He hid Himself and went out of the Temple. We read in SaInt John’s Gospel (9:1-38): “As He passed by, he saw a man who was blind from birth.” It might appear that Jesus was on His way to something or someone else, but in his Commentary on the Gospel of Saint John, the ever-memorable Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas, quotes from Homily LVI of Saint John Chrysostom: “that on going out of the Temple, He proceeded intentionally to the work, is clear from this: it was He who saw the blind man, and not the blind man who came to Him….” Christ’s disciples asked Him who had sinned, the blind man or his parents that he had been born blind. Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God might be manifested in him” (John 9:3). It was thought that a person who had some affliction must have sinned (or his parents did) to deserve such punishment. In the Book of Exodus (20:5), God said that he would visit “the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.” This, however, applied to the sin of idolatry, if the children emulated their parents’ behavior. The blind man was not born blind just so the miracle could be performed, but seeing the man in such a condition, the Lord decided to use him in a way that would manifest God’s glory. He Who is the Light of the world healed the blind man and enlightened him. Giving sight to the blind was one of the signs which would identify the Messiah (Matthew 11:4-6). The Lord made clay when He spat on the ground, and placed it in the man’s empty eye sockets and sent him to the pool of Siloam to wash. Most versions of the Gospels translate the word επεθηκεν as “anointed,” but it can also mean “to spread on,” or “to smear.” Siloam means “sent,” and in Saint John’s Gospel Christ says about forty times that He Himself had been sent by the Father.” This manner of healing reminds us of the way God created man by fashioning him from the dust of the earth. In the Old Testament God created man from the dust of the earth, now Christ, the same God, fashions eyes from the clay and places them in the blind man’s empty sockets. Here are some quotes from the Pentecostarion: At the Oikos of Matins: “He receives physical eyes as well as those of the soul.” In the Verses of the Synaxarion: O Bestower of light. Who are Light coming forth from Light; You gave eyes to the man who was blind from birth, O Word.” In the second exapostilarion: “Along the way, the Savior found a man who lacked both sight and eyes.” At Monday Vespers (stikheron of the Feast) we sing, “With his whole soul, and mind, and his tongue, the man who in times not long passed had been blind, confessed Him Who had fashioned eyes for him out of spittle and clay…” Saint Theophylaktos says in his Commentary that “Jesus our Lord fashioned all the members of the blind man’s body except for the eyes, which He omitted. By healing them now, he completes the divine act of creating and demonstrates that He is the Creator.” Jesus tests the faith of the blind man by sending him to the Pool of Siloam (which means “sent”). He respects the man’s freedom, but asks for his voluntary and free participation in the miracle. The blind man, with faith, obeys God’s command. He goes and washes in the pool, and he returns seeing. The former blind man’s life was not made easier, however. He becomes the object of the Scribes’ and Pharisees’ evil and hatred, those who believed in God and in the observance of His Law. They themselves were blind, yet they were suspicious of the formerly blind man, imagining that he only pretended to be blind and now was able to see. “They willingly were made blind by the dark letter of the Law, in which Christ, the resplendent Sun shines.”1 They questioned the man who was blind, but when they see the miracle before their eyes, instead of believing, they shut the eyes of their souls. Then the man’s parents were questioned. They were afraid to confirm the miracle that happened to their son who was born blind, because they did not want to be expelled from the synagogue. They tried to avoid trouble by concealing the truth. Therefore, they said, “He is of age, ask him!” We who receive benefits from God every day are ashamed or afraid to confess God because of our lack of trust. We put our own interests above God, knowing that He will understand us! He will understand us, but He will also see our faith and what priorities we have in our lives. Christ will see what “gods” we have put in His place, but He will not cease to remind us that He is the light of the world. The blind man was healed, not only in the eyes of his body but eventually in his soul as well. He recognizes Jesus as God, and does not hesitate to confess it before the religious rulers with courage that many of us would envy. Faith alone is not enough, we also need to confess our faith in order to become genuine children of God. When we confess Christ before men, He will confess us before His Father, as the Lord has promised us: “Everyone who shall confess me before men, I also shall confess him before my Father who is in Heaven; and whoever denies me before men I also will deny him before my Father who is in Heaven” (Matthew 10:32). 1 Sunday of the Blind man, at Vespers, fourth stikheron on “Lord, I Call.”
Holy Virgin Martyr Theodosίa of Tyre
Saint Theodosίa of Tyre lived during the III and IV centuries. Once, during a persecution against Christians, which had already lasted for five years, the seventeen-year-old Theodosίa visited some condemned Christian prisoners in the Praetorium at Caesarea in Palestine. It was the day of Holy Pascha, and the Martyrs were speaking about the Kingdom of God. Saint Theodosίa asked them to remember her when they appeared before the Lord. When the soldiers saw that the girl had bowed to the prisoners, they seized her and led her before the governor, Urban. The governor urged the Saint to offer sacrifice to the idols, but she refused, professing her faith in Christ. Then she was subjected to cruel tortures; her sides and breasts were raked with iron claws until her bones were exposed. She endured this in silence with astonishing courage. Again Urban told her to sacrifice, but she mocked him saying: “Foolish man, why do you persist? Can you not see that I have received everything I prayed for, and that I am honored to share the fate of these Martyrs for Christ?” After saying this, she was tormented even more severely than before. The holy virgin was cast into the sea with a stone tied around her neck, but Angels rescued her from the depths. Then they tossed her into the arena to be eaten by wild animals. Seeing that the beasts would not touch her, the soldiers beheaded her. That night Saint Theodosίa appeared to her parents, who had tried to persuade their daughter not to let herself be tortured. She wore radiant garments, a crown upon her head, and held a luminous gold cross in her hand. She said to them, “Behold the great glory of which you wished to deprive me!” The Holy Virgin Martyr Theodosίa of Tyre suffered for Christ on April 3 in the year 307 or 308. She is also commemorated on May 29 (the transfer of her relics to Constantinople, and later to Venice).
Repose of the Blessed John of Ustiug the Fool-for-Christ
Blessed John, Fool-for-Christ, Ustiug Wonderworker, was born in the village of Pukhovo, near Old Ustiug, of pious parents Savva and Maria. From his youth he distinguished himself by a strict life of fasting. On Wednesdays and Fridays he ate nothing, and on other days he ate only bread and water. His parents moved to the city of Orlets along the River Iug, forty versts from Ustiug. Left widowed, the saint’s mother took monastic tonsure at the Orletsk Trinity monastery. The young John started by keeping silence, and then he embraced the struggle of foolishness for the sake of Christ. Going about the city of Ustiug, he lived in a hut that had been built for him, and spent his nights at unceasing prayer. By day, however, he went about the streets of the city barefoot and in rags all year long, resting sometimes on a dung heap. He endured much abuse and derision from the people of the city.During his life, the saint had been granted a gift of wonderworking. He died at a young age on May 29, 1494, and was buried near the Dormition cathedral in the city of Ustiug. Afterwards, a church dedicated to him was built over his relics.The Service to Blessed John of Ustiug was composed in the sixteenth century. His life was written in 1554, based on the recollections of people who had known him. The holy ascetic was famed as an intercessor during invasions of enemies, and as a healer of those afflicted with various maladies.
Virgin Martyr Theodosia the Nun of Constantinople
The Virgin Martyr Theodosia of Constantinople lived during the eighth century. She was born in answer to the fervent prayers of her parents. After their death, she was raised at the women’s monastery of the holy Martyr Anastasia in Constantinople. Saint Theodosia became a nun after she distributed to the poor of what remained of her parental inheritance. She used part of the money to commission gold and silver icons of the Savior, the Theotokos, and Saint Anastasia.When Leo the Isaurian (717-741) ascended the imperial throne, he issued an edict to destroy holy icons everywhere. Above the Bronze Gates at Constantinople was a bronze icon of the Savior, which had been there for more than 400 years. In 730, the iconoclast Patriarch Anastasius ordered the icon removed.The Virgin Martyr Theodosia and other women rushed to protect the icon and toppled the ladder with the soldier who was carrying out the command. Then they stoned the impious Patriarch Anastasius, and Emperor Leo ordered soldiers to behead the women. Saint Theodosia, an ardent defender of icons, was locked up in prison. For a week they gave her a hundred lashes each day. On the eighth day, they led her about the city, fiercely beating her along the way. One of the soldiers stabbed the nun in the throat with a ram’s horn, and she received the crown of martyrdom. The body of the holy virgin martyr was reverently buried by Christians in the monastery of Saint Euphemia in Constantinople, near a place called Dexiokratis. The tomb of Saint Theodosia was glorified by numerous healings of the sick.
Icon of the Mother of God “the Surety of Sinners”
The Icon of the Mother of God “Surety of Sinners” is known by this name because of the inscription on the icon: “I am the Surety of sinners for My Son Who has entrusted Me to hear them, and those who bring Me the joy of hearing them will receive eternal joy through Me.” The Mother of God embraces Her Child, Who holds Her right hand with both His hands so that Her thumb is in His right hand, and Her small finger in His left hand. This is the gesture of one who gives surety for another. Although we do not know when or by whom the icon was originally painted, it is believed that the basis of the icon is to be found in the Akathist to the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos: “Rejoice, You Who offer Your hands in surety for us to God.” This icon was first glorified by miracles at the Saint Nicholas Odrino men’s monastery of the former Orlov gubernia in the mid-nineteenth century (The “Assuage My Sorrows Icon” commemorated on October 9 is also from this monastery). The “Surety of Sinners” icon of the Mother of God was in an old chapel beyond the monastery gates, and stood between two other ancient icons. Because it was so faded and covered with dust, it was impossible to read the inscription. In 1843 it was revealed to many of the people in dreams that the icon was endowed with miraculous power. They solemnly brought the icon into the church. Believers began to flock to it to pray for the healing of their sorrows and sicknesses. The first to receive healing was a crippled child, whose mother prayed fervently before the icon in 1844. The icon was glorified during a cholera epidemic, when many people fell deathly ill, and were restored to health after praying before the icon. A large stone church with three altars was built at the monastery in honor of the wonderworking icon. In 1848, through the zeal of Lt. Col. Demetrius Boncheskul, a copy of the wonderworking image was made and placed in his home. Soon it began to exude a healing myrrh, which was given to many so they might recover their health after grievous illnesses. Boncheskul donated this wonderworking copy to the church of Saint Nicholas at Khamovniki in Moscow, where a chapel was built in honor of the icon.The “Surety of Sinners” Icon is also commemorated on March 7 and on Thursday of the week of All Saints.
Martyred Fathers and Mothers of Atchara
Atchara has been a Christian stronghold since apostolic times. It was through this region that Saint Andrew the First-called entered Georgia, preaching the Gospel for the first time in the Iberian land. In this land, in the village of Gonio, the holy relics of the martyred Apostle Matthias are buried. Since the 16th century Atchara has been subject to constant assaults by the Turks. Having attained a victory in the Ottoman-Persian War, the Turks gained a large part of southern and western Georgia: Samtskhe, Atchara, and Chaneti were declared Turkish provinces. The invaders knew well that, in order to completely conquer the Georgian people, it was necessary to uproot Christianity. Thus they instituted a systematic campaign of forced conversion to Islam. When they failed to achieve their goal with bribery and deception, they resorted to violence.In his work The Islamization of Georgia, or the Spread of Islam in Western Georgia in the 17th-18th Centuries, the renowned early twentieth-century scholar Zakaria Chichinadze retold a story he had heard from one elderly Atcharan man: “In Atchara the implanting of Islam faced a powerful opposition. Many of the elderly men and the majority of women stood firmly by the Christian Faith, and even challenged and debated the Turkish mullahs…. The number of these aged men in Atchara was considerably high. In the end an order was issued: to arrest all dissidents, forcibly convert them to Islam, and execute those who resisted. Before long all the elderly Christians of Atchara were arrested and cast in prison. Then they were led to the River Atcharistsqali, to a 12th-century bridge known as the ‘Bridge of Queen Tamar.’ On that bridge the Ottomans erected a guillotine.“They chopped off the heads of the elderly people, sent the ends of their tongues to the pasha, and threw their bodies into the river. This happened one hundred years ago, in the year 1790.”Gallows and a guillotine were erected in the villages of Atcharistsqali, Keda, Chakvi, Khulo, Machakhela, and Gonio. The documents preserved in the manuscript collection at Akhaltsikhe Museum describe in even more horrific detail the martyrdom of the Atcharan Christians: “The human tongue is powerless to describe the tortures that the Georgians suffered in those years for confessing Christianity. While they were still alive their flesh was stripped and their bodies quartered; they were slashed to pieces with swords, their bellies ripped open; they were roasted over campfires. They were pierced with flaming rods, thrown into cauldrons of boiling water; molten lead was poured down their throats; they were tossed into pools of hot lime….”The Georgian Apostolic Church has numbered among the saints all the holy fathers and mothers of Atchara who sacrificed their lives in defense of the Christian Faith.
Sunday of the Blind Man – Troparion & Kontakion
Kontakion — Tone 4
I come to You, O Christ,
blind from birth in my spiritual eyes
and I call to You in repentance:
You are the most radiant light of those in darkness!
Holy Virgin Martyr Theodosίa of Tyre – Troparion & Kontakion
Troparion — Tone 4
Your lamb Theodosίa,
calls out to You, O Jesus, in a loud voice:
“I love You, my Bridegroom,
and in seeking You, I endure suffering.
In baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You,
and I died so that I might live with You.
Accept me as a pure sacrifice,
for I have offered myself in love.”
Through her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.
Repose of the Blessed John of Ustiug the Fool-for-Christ – Troparion & Kontakion
Troparion — Tone 8
By a flood of tears you made the desert fertile,
and your longing for God brought forth fruits in abundance.
By the radiance of miracles you illumined the whole universe!
O our holy father John, pray to Christ our God to save our souls!
Virgin Martyr Theodosia the Nun of Constantinople – Troparion & Kontakion
Troparion — Tone 4
Your lamb Theodosia, O Jesus,
calls out to You in a loud voice:
I love You, O my bridegroom,
and in seeking You, I endure suffering.
In Baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You,
and died so that I might live with You.
Accept me as a pure sacrifice,
for I have offered myself in love.
By her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.
Kontakion — Tone 2
Through your striving, O venerable Theodosia,
you inherited a life of peace.
By shedding your blood, you vanquished the enemy of the Church of Christ.
As you rejoice now in His presence, ever pray to Him for us all!
Kontakion — Tone 4
You were betrothed to the King of Heaven
as a pure and trophy-bearing martyr.
Entreat Him to save our souls, praiseworthy Theodosia.
Icon of the Mother of God “the Surety of Sinners” – Troparion & Kontakion
Kontakion — Tone 1
You have been an honorable dwelling of the inexpressible Divine nature, beyond words and beyond understanding;
and are a Surety for sinners, granting grace and healing;
as the Mother of Him Who rules all,
pray to your Son that we may receive mercy on the Day of Judgment.
Martyred Fathers and Mothers of Atchara – Troparion & Kontakion
Troparion — Tone 4
Your holy martyrs, O Lord,
through their sufferings have received an incorruptible crown from You, our God.
For having Your strength, they laid low their adversaries,
and shattered the powerless boldness of demons.
Through their intercessions, save our souls!
Readings and Feast Day Information provided by The Orthodox Church in America (OCA).
Fasting guidelines provided by The Greek American Orthodox Archdiocese (GOARCH).
Aggregated and Formatted by OrthoBot.
If you benefit from this daily content, please consider Subscribing to my Substack.