8th Sunday after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Today is fast-free!
- Synaxis of saints of Smolensk ( movable holiday on the Sunday before July 28th ).
- The Dormition of the Righteous Anna , mother of the Most Holy Theotokos.
- Holy Women Olympias (Olympiada) the Deaconess of Constantinople (409), and the Virgin Eupraxia of Tabenna (413).
- Venerable Macarius , abbot of Zheltovod and Unzha (1444).
- New Hieromartyr Nicholas priest (1918).
- New Hieromartyr Alexander priest (1927).
- St. Gregory (Kallidis), metropolitan of Thessalonica and Heraclea (1925).
- New Hieromartyrs Vukosav Milanovic and Rodoljub Samardzic of Kulen Bakufa, Serbia (1941-1945).
- New Hieromartyr Theodore Tonkovid, priest of Lovets (Pskov) (1942).
- St. Iraida confessor (1967).
- Commemoration of the Holy 165 Fathers of the Fifth Ecumenical Council (553).
- Martyrs Sanctus, Maturus, Attalus, Blandina, Vivlia, Vetius, Epagathus, Ponticus, Alexander and others at Lyons (177) (Gaul).
- Venerable Christopher, abbot of Solvychegodsk (Vologda) (1572).
- New Hieromartyrs Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, Nicholas (Johnson) and Peter (Remes).
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.
1 Corinthians 1:10-18
Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.” But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” He said, “Bring them here to Me.” Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children. Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.
Galatians 4:22-31 (Righteous Anna)
For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar- or this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children- but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written: “Rejoice, O barren, You who do not bear! Break forth and shout, You who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children Than she who has a husband.” Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.
Luke 8:16-21 (Righteous Anna)
No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him. Then His mother and brothers came to Him, and could not approach Him because of the crowd. And it was told Him by some, who said, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see You.” But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”
Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
The Dormition of the Righteous Anna , mother of the Most Holy Theotokos.
The Falling-Asleep (Dormition-Uspenie) of Righteous Anna, Mother of the MostHoly Mother of God: The God-wise, God-blest and Blessed Anna was the daughter of the priest Nathan and his wife Mary, from the tribe of Levi by descent of Aaron. According to tradition, she died peacefully in Jerusalem at age 79, before the Annunciation of the MostHoly Virgin Mary. During the reign of the holy Saint Justinian the Emperor (527-565), a church was built in her honour at Deutera. And emperor Justinian II (685‑695; 705-711) restored her church, since Righteous Anna had appeared to his pregnant wife. And it was at this time that her body and omaphorion (veil) were transferred to Constantinople. (The account about Righteous Joakim and Anna is located under 9 September).
Holy Women Olympias (Olympiada) the Deaconess of Constantinople (409), and the Virgin Eupraxia of Tabenna (413).
The Nun Eupraxia was daughter of the Constantinople dignitary Antigonos, a kinsman of the holy Emperor Theodosius the Great (379-395). Antigonos and his wife Eupraxia were pious and bestowed generous alms on the destitute. A daughter was born to them, whom they likewise named Eupraxia. Antigonos soon died. The mother withdrew from the imperial court and together with her daughter she set out to Egypt under the pretext of looking over her properties. And there near the Thebaid was a women’s monastery with a strict monastic rule. The life of the inhabitants attracted the pious widow. She wanted to bestow aid on this monastery, but the hegumeness Theophila refused and said, that the nuns had fully devoted themselves to God and that they did not wish the acquisition of any earthly riches. The hegumeness consented to accept only candles, incense and oil. The younger Eupraxia was at this time seven years old. She liked the monastic manner of life and she decided to remain at the monastery. Her pious mother did not stand in the way of her daughter’s wish. Taking leave of her daughter at the monastery, Eupraxia asked her daughter to be humble, never to dwell upon her nobleborn descent, and to serve God and her sisters fervently. In a short while the mother died. Having learned of her death, the emperor Saint Theodosius sent Saint Eupraxia the Younger a letter, in which he reminded her, that her parents had betrothed her to the son of a certain senator for when she reached age fifteen, and that he desired that she would fulfill the commitment made by her parents. In answer to the letter, Saint Eupraxia wrote to the emperor, that she had already become a bride of Christ and she requested of the emperor to dispose of her properties, distributing the proceeds for the use of the Church and the needy. Saint Eupraxia, having reached the age of maturity, intensified her ascetic efforts all the more. At first she partook of food once a day, then after two days – three days or more and finally, once a week. She combined her fasting with the fulfilling of all her monastic obediences: she toiled humbly in the kitchen, she washed dishes, she swept the premisses and served the sisters with zeal and love. And the sisters loved the unpretentious Eupraxia. But one of them envied her and explained away all her efforts as a desire for glory. This sister began to trouble and to reproach her, but the holy virgin did not answer her back, and instead humbly asked forgiveness. The enemy of the human race caused the saint much misfortune. One time in getting water she fell into the well, from which the sisters extracted her; another time Saint Eupraxia was chopping wood for the kitchen and cut herself on the leg with an axe. When she carried an armload of wood up upon the ladder, she stepped on the hem of her garment, she fell and a sharp splinter cut her near the eyes. All these woes Saint Eupraxia endured with patience, and when they asked her to give herself a rest, she would not consent. For her efforts, the Lord granted Saint Eupraxia a gift of wonderworking: through her prayer she healed a deaf and dumb crippled child, and she delivered from infirmity a demon-oppressed woman. They began to bring the sick for healing to the monastery. The holy virgin humbled herself all the more, reckoning herself least among the sisters. Before the death of Saint Eupraxia, the hegumeness had a vision. The holy virgin was transported into a resplendid palace and was greeted with a spot before the Throne of the Lord surrounded by holy Angels, and the All-Pure Virgin showed Saint Eupraxia about the luminous chamber and said to her, that She had made ready for her and that she would come into this habitation after the space of ten days. The hegumeness and the sisters wept bitterly, not wanting to lose Saint Eupraxia. The saint herself, in learning about the vision, wept that she was not prepared for going into eternity, and she besought the hegumeness to implore the Lord to leave her alive even one year more for repentance. The hegumeness consoled Saint Eupraxia and said, that the Lord would grant her His great mercy. Suddenly Saint Eupraxia sensed herself not well, and having sickened, she soon peacefully died at age thirty (+ 413).
Venerable Macarius , abbot of Zheltovod and Unzha (1444).
The Monk Makarii of Zheltovodsk and Unzhensk was born in the year 1349 at Nizhni-Novgorod into a pious family. At twelve years of age he secretly left his parents and accepted monastic tonsure at the Nizhegorodsk Pechersk monastery under Saint Dionysii (afterwards Archbishop of Suzdal’; + 1385, Comm. 26 June). With all the intensity of his youthful soul he gave himself over to the work of salvation: extremely strict fasting and exact fulfilling of the monastic rule distinguished him amongst the brethren. The parents of the Monk Makarii only learned three years later where he had taken himself off to. His father went to him and tearfully besought his son merely that he would come forth and show himself. The Monk Makarii conversed with his father through a wall and said, that he would see him in the future life. “Extend me at least thine hand,” – implored the father. The son fulfilled this small request and the father, having kissed the extended hand of his son, returned home. Burdened by fame, the humble Makarii set out to the shores of the River Volga and here he pursued asceticism near the waters of Lake Zhelta. Here by firm determination and patience he overcame the abuse of the enemy of salvation. Lovers of solitude gathered to the Monk Makarii, and in 1435 he organised for them a monastery in the Name of the MostHoly Trinity. Here also he began to preach Christianity to the surrounding Cheremis and Chuvash peoples, and he baptised both Mahometans and pagans in the lake, which received its name from the saint. When the Kazan Tatars destroyed the monastery in 1439, they took captive the Monk Makarii. Out of respect for his piety and charitable love, the khan released the saint from captivity and set free together with him nearly 400 Christians. But in return they accepted the word of the Monk Makarii not to settle by Lake Zhelta. The Monk Makarii reverently buried those killed at his monastery, and he set out 200 versts to the Galich border. During the time of this resettlement all those on the way were fed in miraculous manner through the prayers of the monk. Having arrived at the city of Unzha, the Monk Makarii 15 versts from the city set up a cross and built a cell on the shores of Lake Unzha. And here he founded a new monastery. During the fifth year of his life at Lake Unzha the Monk Makarii took sick and reposed at age 95. While yet alive, the Monk Makarii was granted a graced gift: he healed a blind and demon-afflicted girl. After the death of the monk, many received healing from his relics. The monks erected over his grave a temple and established a life-in-common rule at the monastery. In 1522 Tatars fell upon Unzha and wanted to tear apart the silver reliquary in the Makariev monastery, but they fell blind, and in a panic they took to flight. Many of them drowned in the Unzha. In 1532, through the prayers of the Monk Makarii, the city of Soligalich was saved from the Tatars, and in gratitude the inhabitants built a chapel in the cathedral church in honour of the saint. More than 50 people received healing from grievous infirmities through the prayers of the Monk Makarii, – this was certified to by a commission, dispatched by Patriarch Philaret in 1619.
Commemoration of the Holy 165 Fathers of the Fifth Ecumenical Council (553).
The Fifth Ecumenical Council (Constantinople II) was at Constantinople, held under the holy Emperor Saint Justinian I (527-565) in the year 553, to resolve the question about the Orthodoxy of three long-since dead bishops: Theodore of Mopsuetia, Theodoret of Kyr (Cyr) and Ibas of Edessa, who had expressed Nestorian opinions in their writings way back in the time of the Third Ecumenical Council (at Ephesus in year 431, Comm. 9 September). These three bishops had not been condemned later at the Fourth Ecumenical Council (at Chalcedon in year 451, Comm. 16 July), which condemned the Monophysites, and in turn had been accused by the Monophysites of Nestorianism. And therefore, to remove from the Monophysites the stance of accusing the Orthodox of sympathy for Nestorianism, and also to dispose the heretical party towards unity with the followers of the Chalcedon Council, the emperor Saint Justinian issued an edict: in it were condemned three “Chapters” of the three deceased bishops. But since the edict was issued on the emperor’s initiative, and since it was not acknowledged by representatives of all the Church (particularly in the West, and in part, in Africa), a dispute arose about the “Three Chapters”. The Fifth Ecumenical Council was convened for resolving this dispute. At this Council were present 165 bishops. Pope Vigilius, while being present in Constantinople, refused to participate in the Council, although he was three times asked to do so by official deputies in the name of the gathered bishops and the emperor himself. The Council was opened with Sainted Eutykhios, Patriarch of Constantinople (552-565, 577-582), presiding. In accordance with the imperial edict, the matter of the “Three Chapters” was carefully examined in eight prolonged sessions from 4 May to 2 June 553. Anathema was pronounced against the person and teachings of Theodore of Mopsuetia unconditionally. But as regards Theodore and Ibas the condemnations were confined only to certain of their treatises, while they as persons had been cleared without doubt by the Chalcedon Council because of repentance, and they were thus spared from anathema. The need of this measure was that certain of the proscribed works contained expressions used by the Nestorians to interpret to their own ends the definitions of the Chalcedon Council. But the leniency of the fathers of this Fifth Ecumenical Council, in a spirit of moderating economy as regards the persons of bishops Theodore and Ibas, instead embittered the Monophysites against the decisions of the Council. Besides which, the emperor had given the orders to promulgate the Conciliar decisions together with a chastening of excommunication against Pope Vigilius, as being like-minded with the heretics. The Pope afterwards concurred with the general frame of mind of the fathers and gave his signature on the Conciliar definition. But the bishops of Istria and all the region of the Aquilea metropolia remained more than a century in schism. At the Council the fathers likewise examined the errors of presbyter Origen, a long since dead reknown Church teacher of the III Century. His teaching about the pre-existence of the human soul was condemned. Other heretics were also condemned, who did not admit of the universal resurrection of the dead. [trans. note: Both the Monophysite and the Nestorian heresies ultimately deny the Chalcedon Fourth Ecumenical Council’s definition of the Son of God our Lord Jesus Christ as One Divine Person – the 2nd Person of the Holy Trinity – in a mysteried hypostatic union (without mixture or confusion) of His perfect Divine Nature and His perfect Human Nature. The Monophysite (OneNature) heresy affirms only the Divine Nature of Christ, and denies His Human Nature. At the opposite pole, the earlier Nestorian heresy in various forms asserts that there are two persons in Christ: the one Divine, the other Human; which is to say that there is a Christ Who is God and a Christ Who is man – but they are not one and the same Person, which is ultimately to say that the Only-Begotten Son of God did not truly become humanly the Son of Man, but remains separate. Nestorianism is also a Mariological heresy, asserting that Mary is only “Christotokos” (bearer of Christ), but that She is not “Theotokos” (“Bogoroditsa”, i.e. Mother of God, “Bogomater”, “Mater tou Theou”). Both these heresies originate in an attempt to quell the “intellectual scandal”, that in Christ, God truly has become Man, while perfectly preserving the dignity and integrity of both the Divine and the Human Natures – that our Lord Jesus Christ is truly the God-Man, rather than being “merely God” or “merely Man”. Both heresies are imperfect attempts to deal with the abyss separating God and man – which is overcome in the salvific Divine Person of our Lord Jesus Christ. The imperial intrusion of Justinian on the Church’s perogatives obviously but worsened matters. The innovation of retroactively anathemising those long since dead was in general greeted with dismay by many, and Justinian himself is alleged to have for a time flirted with the Monothelite heresy whilst persecuting the Orthodox. The secular considerations of restoring under Justinian’s rule the Roman “Western Empire” underlay the captivity and rough treatment of Pope Vigilius, and the need for Byzantium to placate Monophysite Egypt, in vain, as indeed our account relates. But amidst all the external considerations, it pleased the Lord that the Holy Spirit should inspire the fathers of the Council in a further definition of Orthodoxy, that preserves the integrity and dignity both of God and of mankind, without the distortion of either that transpires within the Nestorian or Monophysite heresies.]
Martyrs Sanctus, Maturus, Attalus, Blandina, Vivlia, Vetius, Epagathus, Ponticus, Alexander and others at Lyons (177) (Gaul).
The Holy Martyrs Sactus (Sanctus), Maturus, Attalus, Blandina, Biblius (Viblius), Vittius, Epagathus, Pontinus, Alexander and 43 Others were tortured by the pagans for their belief in Christ in the city of Lyons (then named Lugdunum) under the emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180), in the year 177. After a vicious death, their bodies were burned, and the ashes thrown into the River Rhone.
Venerable Christopher, abbot of Solvychegodsk (Vologda) (1572).
The Monk Christopher of Sol’vychegodsk and Koryazhemsk was a student and novice under the Monk Longin, hegumen of the Koryazhemsk monastery. After the death of his teacher, the Monk Christopher dwelt for yet another ten years at the Koryazhemsk monastery, and then he settled along the upper tributaries of the Large Koryazhemka, where he lived in solitude. When novices began to come to him, the Monk Christopher founded a monastery and built a church in honour of the Hodegetria Icon of the Mother of God, which he brought with him to this place, and from which they received many healings. The monastery of the Monk Christopher was famed for the strictness of life of its residents, and also for a curative water-spring, from which there was received a relief from illness by Anastasia (1457-1460), the spouse of Ivan the Terrible (1533-1584). In 1572 the Monk Christopher left the monastery and he secretly settled alone in an unknown place. They say, that the Monk Christopher died between the years 1572-1582.
Additional Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
Synaxis of saints of Smolensk ( movable holiday on the Sunday before July 28th ).
New Hieromartyr Nicholas priest (1918).
New Hieromartyr Alexander priest (1927).
St. Gregory (Kallidis), metropolitan of Thessalonica and Heraclea (1925).
New Hieromartyrs Vukosav Milanovic and Rodoljub Samardzic of Kulen Bakufa, Serbia (1941-1945).
New Hieromartyr Theodore Tonkovid, priest of Lovets (Pskov) (1942).
St. Iraida confessor (1967).
New Hieromartyrs Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, Nicholas (Johnson) and Peter (Remes).
Troparion of the Sunday, Tone VII
By Thy Cross, Thou didst destroy death!
To the thief, Thou didst open Paradise!
For the myrrhbearers,
Thou didst change weeping into joy!
And Thou didst command Thy disciples, O Christ
to proclaim that Thou art risen,
granting the world great mercy!
Hymn to the Theotokos, Tone VII
Since you are the treasure of our resurrection,
we put our hope in you, O all-praised one. /
Lead us from the abyss of transgressions,
for you have saved those guilty of sin,
Mother of our salvation.
Kontakion of the Sunday, Tone VII
The dominion of death
can no longer hold men captive,
for Christ descended, shattering
and destroying its powers!
Hell is bound, while the prophets rejoice and cry: /”The Savior
has come to those in faith!
Enter, you faithful, into the Resurrection!
Dormition of St. Anna, Mother of the All-Holy Theotokos, Troparion,
O divinely wise Anna,
in thy womb thou didst bear the pure Mother of God,
who gave birth unto Life.
Wherefore, rejoicing in glory,
thou hast now been
translated to the mansions of heaven, where is the abode of those who rejoice.
O ever-blessed one, beseech thou cleansing of transgressions for those who
honor thee with love.
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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