16th Week after Pentecost. Tone six.
Today is fast-free!
- Forefeast of the Exaltation of the Cross.
- Commemoration of the Founding of the Church of the Resurrection (The Holy Sepulchre) at Jerusalem (335).
- Hieromartyr Cornelius the Centurion (1st c.).
- New Hieromartyrs Stephan, Alexander priests and Nicholas deacon (1937).
- Martyrs Cronides , Leontius , and Serapion of Alexandria (237).
- Martyr Seleucus in Scythia (320).
- Martyr Straton of Nicomedia (3rd c.).
- Martyrs Macrobius and Gordian at Tomi in Romania (320).
- Hieromartyr Julian of Galatia (4th c.).
- Martyrs Elias , Zoticus , Lucian , Valerian , Macrobius , and Gordian at Tomi in Romania (320).
- Venerable Peter at Atroe (9th C).
- Great-martyr Ketevan , queen of Kakhetia (1624) ( Georgia ).
- Venerable Cornelius of Padan-Olonets (16th c.), disciple of Venerable Alexander of Svir, and with him Venerables Dionysius and Misail
- Venerable Litorius, bishop of Tours (370).
- Venerable John of Prislop (15th-16th c.) (Romania).
- Venerable Basil monk of Iveron Monastery (Greek).
- St. Hierotheus of Kalamata, monk of Iveron Monastery, Mt. Athos (1745) (Greek).
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. Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.
ran through that whole surrounding region, and began to carry about on beds those who were sick to wherever they heard He was. Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched Him were made well. Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him, having come from Jerusalem. Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?” He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:’This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men -the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.
And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off! For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?” He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:’This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men -the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do. He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban”-‘ (that is, a gift to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do. When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand: There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!
Hebrews 3:1-4 (Epistle, Church)
Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house. For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.
Matthew 16:13-18 (Gospel, Church)
When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
Commemoration of the Founding of the Church of the Resurrection (The Holy Sepulchre) at Jerusalem (335).
The Commemoration of the Renewal of the Temple of the Resurrection of Christ at Jerusalem celebrates the solemnity on the occasion of the consecration of the Church of the Resurrection of Christ, built by the Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine the Great and his mother Equal-to-the-Apostles the empress Helen. This feastday is still called among the people by its unique title “having reputation from the Resurrection” (“Voskresenie slovuschee”) and it means that it reputes to or pertains to the Resurrection, in distinction from the Feast of the Luminous Resurrection of Christ, and refers particularly to the consecration of the Church in honour of the Resurrection of Christ. The history of the construction of this temple is thus. After the voluntary Passion and Death on the Cross of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the holy place of His suffering was long trampled on by pagans. When the Roman emperor Titus in the year 70 conquered Jerusalem, he razed the city and destroyed the Temple of Solomon on Mount Moriah, leaving there not a stone upon a stone, as even the Saviour had foretold about in conversation with the disciples (Mt. 13: 1-2). Later on the zealous pagan emperor Adrian (117-138) built on the place of the Jerusalem destroyed by Titus a new city, which was named after his name – Aelia Adriani (Aelia Capitolina) and made it forbidden to call the city by its former name. The Holy Sepulchre of the Lord he gave orders to cover over with ground and stones and on that spot to set up an idol; and on Golgotha where the Saviour was crucified, in 119 he constructed a pagan-temple dedicated to the goddess Venus. In front of the statues they offered sacrifice to demons and performed pagan rites, accompanied by wanton acts. In Bethlehem, at the place the Saviour was born of the AllPure Virgin, the impious emperor set up an idol of Adonis. He did all this intentionally, so that people would forget completely about Christ the Saviour and that they would no more remember the places where He lived, taught, suffered and arose in glory. When there began the reign of Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine the Great (306‑337), the first of the Roman emperors to recognise the Christian religion, he together with his pious mother the empress Helen decided to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and on the place of the suffering and Resurrection of the Lord to erect a new temple, to purify from the foul pagan cults the places connected with memory of the Saviour, and again to consecrate them. The nobleborn empress Helen journeyed to Jerusalem with a large quantity of gold, and Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine the Great wrote a letter to Patriarch Makarios I (313-335), in which he requested him to assist in every possible way for the task of the renewal of the Christian holy places. Having arrived in Jerusalem, the holy empress Helen destroyed all the idolous pagan temples and had the desecrated places re-consecrated. She was ardent with the desire to find the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and she gave orders to dig up the place, where stood the temple of Venus. There they discovered the covered over Sepulchre of the Lord and the place of the Skull, not far from where they found three crosses and nails. In order to determine, upon which of the three crosses lay the Saviour, Patriarch Makarios gave orders to touch alternately against a dead person, whom they happened to be carrying by towards a place of burial. Just as the Cross of Christ touched the dead person, he immediately came alive. With the greatest of joy the nobleborn empress Helen and Patriarch Makarios raised up high the Life-Creating Cross and displayed it to all the people standing about. The holy empress quickly set about the construction of a large church, which enclosed in its walls the place of the Crucifixion of the Saviour – Golgotha, and the Sepulchre of the Lord, located a not large distance from each other, and as the holy Apostle and Evangelist John wrote about this: “At that place, where He was crucified, was a garden and in the garden a new tomb, in which still no one had been put; there they did place Jesus because of the Jewish Friday, since that the tomb was nearby” (Jn. 19: 41-42). The Church of the Resurrection was 10 years in building, and the holy empress Helen did not survive to the completion of construction. Having returned to Constantinople, she reposed in the year 327. After the time of her arrival in Jerusalem the holy empress built churches in Bethlehem, on the Mount of Olives, at Gethsemane and in many other places, connected with the life of the Saviour and events in the New Testament. The completion of construction of the New Testament temple of the Resurrection of Christ, called “Martyrion”, in memory of the sufferings of the Cross of the Saviour, co‑incided with the passage of the First Council of Tyre, and with it the thirty year reign of the Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine the Great. Wherefore at the assemblage of 13 September 335 the consecration of the temple was particularly solemn. At the consecration of the church participated hierarchy of the Christian Churches from many lands: Bythnia, Thrace, Cilicia, Cappadocia, Syria, Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, Arabia, Palestine and Egypt. To the solemnity of the renewal were invited only the fathers that concluded the Tyre Council. On this day was consecrated all the city of Jerusalem. The commemoration of this remarkable event by the fathers of the Church was established as 13 September.
Great-martyr Ketevan , queen of Kakhetia (1624) ( Georgia ).
The Holy GreatMartyr Ketvana was descended from the imperial Bagration lineage and was a great-grandchild of the emperor Constantine of Kartalin (1469-1505). Having become the spouse of David, successor to the emperor Alexander II of Khaketin (1577-1605), she herself governed the empire. The deep piety of the empress was manifest in a particular attention to the needs of the Gruzian (Georgian) Church, – in the building of churches, shelters and vagrants homes. After the death of her husband Saint Ketvana settled into solitude. The brother of her husband, Constantine (called Okayan), accepted Mahometanism and on the instructions of the shah Abbas I sent assassins to his dying father, the emperor Alexander II, and his brother George. Having committed the crime, Constantine gave orders to place the bodies of the murdered on camels and take them to the empress Ketvana. Horrified at the wicked deed, the empress bewailed the innocent sufferers and buried them at the Alaverdsk cathedral. The impious one, however, enroached upon her honourable widowhood and demanded her hand, threatening force in case of refusal. The empress Ketvana gathered the people of Kakhetin and marched against Constantine, defeating the impious apostate. He met an inglorious death together with many in the Persian army. Under the wise rule of the empress Ketvana, peace and justice were re-established in Kakhetia. Shah Abbas I returned her son Teimuraz, who although he had lived several years in court in the guise of an hostage, preserved his Orthodox faith in purity. Afterwards the shah Abbas, threatening Gruzia with destruction, coerced the Kakhetin feudal authorities into handing over illustrious hostages. In that number voluntarily was the empress Ketvana. Wanting to avert disaster for the Gruzian nation and Holy Church, she arrived in Ispahan. Shah Abbas urged the nobleborn empress to accept Mahometanism, but he received decisive refusal. Thereupon the empress Ketvana was thrown into prison, where she spent ten years, filled with the sufferings of martyrdom. Neither vileness from Persian courtiers, nor cunning offers by the shah to elevate her to empress of the Persian realm, nor offers to her of great treasure, nor the implorings and entreaties of the courtiers and Persian nobles, – nothing was able to budge her, not even to uttering a single blasphemous word against Christ, nothing was able to move the sufferer for Christ. They tortured her with red-hot tongs hung cross-wise in wood. On the head of the holy martyress they touched a red-hot iron kettle. The dense smoke from her burning hair and head rose upwards, and the blessed martyress gave up her soul to God on 13 September 1624. Three bright pillars, having come down upon the body of Saint Ketvana, signified her spiritual victory. The relics of the holy empress were taken to Rome, to the cathedral of the holy Apostle Peter, by monks of the Augustinian order who had been witnesses to her deed of confessor. Part of the relics (the venerable head and right hand of the martyress) was given by the Augustinian monks to emperor Teimuraz I and placed beneathe the altar-table (prestol’) of the Alaverdi cathedral of the holy GreatMartyr George in Kakhetia. The Catholikos-Patriarch Zakharia (1613-1630) enumerated the great-martyress to the rank of the saints and established her memory on 13 September.
Hieromartyr Cornelius the Centurion (1st c.).
The PriestMartyr Cornelius the Centurion: Soon after the sufferings on the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ and after His Ascension into Heaven, there settled at Caesarea in Palestine a centurion by the name of Cornelius, who earlier had lived in Thracian Italy. Although he was a pagan, he distinguished himself by deep piety and good deeds, as the holy Evangelist Luke testifies about him (Acts 10: 1). The Lord did not disdain his virtuous life and led him to the understanding of truth through the enlightening light of faith in Christ. One time Cornelius was at prayer in his home. An Angel of God appeared to him and said, that his prayer had been heard and accepted by God, and commanded him to send people to Joppa to Simon, called Peter. Cornelius immediately fulfilled the command. While those dispatched were on their way to Joppa, the Apostle Peter was at prayer, during which time he had a vision: thrice were lowered down vessels in visage of great plenitude, filled with meats and fowl. From Heaven he heard a voice, commanding him to eat of everything. At the refusal of the apostle there followed a reply: “What God hath purified, regard not as unclean” (Acts 10: 15). By means of this vision the Lord commanded the Apostle Peter to go at preaching the Word of God to the pagans. When the Apostle Peter in the company of those sent to meet him arrived at the house of Cornelius, he was received with great joy and respect by the host together with his kinsmen and comrades. Cornelius on his knees bowed down to the apostle and requested to be taught the way of salvation. The apostle began to preach about the earthly life of Jesus Christ, about the miracles and signs worked by the Saviour, about His sufferings, the teachings about the Kingdom of Heaven, the death on the Cross, the Resurrection and Ascent into Heaven. By grace under the influence of the Holy Spirit, Cornelius believed in Christ and was baptised together with all his kinsfolk. He was the first pagan to receive Baptism. He retired from the world and went preaching the Gospel together with the Apostle Peter, who made him a bishop. When the Apostle Peter, together with his helpers Saints Timothy and Cornelius, was in the city of Ephesus, he learned of a particularly vigorous idol-worship in the city of Skepsis. Lots were drawn as to whom that would go there, falling upon Saint Cornelius. In the city lived a prince by the name of Demetrios, learned in the ancient Greek philosophy, hating Christianity and venerating the pagan gods, in particular Apollo and Theos/Deus (Zeus). Learning about the arrival of Saint Cornelius in the city, he immediately summoned him and asked him the reason for his coming. Saint Cornelius answered, that he came to free him from the darkness of ignorance and lead him to knowledge of the True Light. The prince, not comprehending the meaning of what was said, became angry and demanded him to answer each of his questions. When Saint Cornelius explained, that he serves the Lord and that the reason for his coming consists in an announcement of the Truth, the prince became enraged and demanded from Cornelius an offering of sacrifice to the idols. The saint asked to be shewn the gods. When he entered the pagan temple, Cornelius turned towards the East and bending down on his knees, he uttered a prayer to the Lord. There began an earthquake, and the temple of Zeus and the idols situated in it were destroyed. All the populace, seeing what had happened, were terrified. The prince was even more vexed and began to take counsel together with those approaching him, about how to destroy Cornelius. They bound the saint and took him to prison for the night. At this point one of his servants informed the prince the grievous news that his wife and child had perished beneathe the rubble of the destroyed temple. But a certain while later one of the pagan-priests, by the name of Barbates, reported that he heard the voice of the wife and son somewhere in the ruins and that they were praising the God of the Christians. The pagan-priest asked to free the imprisoned one, as gratitude for the miracle worked by Saint Cornelius, in that the wife and son of the prince remained alive. The joyous prince in the company of those about him hastened to the prison, declaring that he believed in Christ and asking him to lead out his wife and son from somewhere in the ruins of the temple. Saint Cornelius set off to the destroyed idol-temple, and through prayer the suffering were freed. After this the prince Demetrios, and all his kinsmen and comrades accepted holy Baptism. Saint Cornelius lived for a long time in this city, converted to Christ all the pagan inhabitants, and made Eunomios a presbyter for service to the Lord. Saint Cornelius died in old age and was buried not far from the pagan temple destroyed by him.
Martyrs Cronides , Leontius , and Serapion of Alexandria (237).
Martyrs Serapion, Chronides and Leontius were born in Alexandria, after being tortured for Christ they were drowned in the sea during the reign of Maximian.
Martyr Seleucus in Scythia (320).
The Holy Martyrs Seleukos, Stratonikes, Kronides, Leontios and Serapion suffered for the Christian faith in the III Century. Saint Seleukos – came from Galatia, Stratonikes – from Bythinian Nikomedia, while Kronides, Leontios and Serapion – were from Egypt. After fierce torments for their confession of faith in Christ, holy martyrs were beastly killed. Saints Kronides, Leontios and Serapion they bound hand and foot and cast into the sea. Their bodies were carried by the waves to shore, where Christians gave them burial. Saint Seleukos suffered in Galatia, where after many tortures he was thrown together with his wife for devouring by wild beasts. Saint Stratonikes after torture by order of the Bythinan governor was bound to two drawn tree trunks. His body was split into two parts. (His memory is celebrated also on 9 September).
Martyrs Macrobius and Gordian at Tomi in Romania (320).
The Holy Martyrs Gordian, Macrobius, Elias, Zotikos, Lucian and Valerian suffered at the beginning of the IV Century at Paphlagonia (Asia Minor) under the emperor Licinius (307-324). Saint Gordian was a native of Cappadocia, and Macrobius – of Paphlagonia. They were handsome youths serving under the imperial court and they enjoyed the particular favour of the emperor. For their firm confession of faith in Christ they were sent to Skythia, where they met Zotikos, Lucian and Elias, likewise courageous confessors of the Name of Christ. First suffered Saints Gordian and Macrobius. After this in the city of Tomak in Skythia were tortured and then beheaded Saints Elias, Zotikos, Lucian and Valerian.
Hieromartyr Julian of Galatia (4th c.).
This is the same saint as on September 12.
Martyrs Elias , Zoticus , Lucian , Valerian , Macrobius , and Gordian at Tomi in Romania (320).
Martyrs Elias, Zoticus, Lucian, Valerian, Macrobius and Gordian, suffered for Christ during the reign of Licinius. St. Macrobius was born a Cappadocian and St. Gordian, a Paphlagonian, were the favorite servants of the king and who served him meals. Accused of Christianity, they were banished to Scythia. There they found the Christians: Zoticus, Elias, Lucian and Valerian. After much torture for Christ Zoticus, Lucian and Elias were beheaded in the city of Tomis (Constantia). Saints Macrobius and Gordian suffered in Novidunie (New Danube). St. Valerian died, weeping at the graves of the holy martyrs.
Venerable Peter at Atroe (9th C).
The Monk Peter from Atroe was from childhood dedicated to God and spent his whole life in exploits of fasting and unceasing prayer. He pursued asceticism in the city of Atroe, near Asian Olympos. A distinctive feature of the holy ascetic was his extreme temperance. While still during his lifetime the saint worked many miracles and peacefully reposed during the time or rule of the Patriarch of Constantinople Tarasios (784-806).
St. Hierotheus of Kalamata, monk of Iveron Monastery, Mt. Athos (1745) (Greek).
The Monk Hierotheos was born in 1686 in Greece. Desiring to comprehend Divine wisdom as it is in the sciences and likewise as it is in monastic life, the pious youth, displaying great ability and diligence, studied Latin and Greek philosophy. After the death of his parents, and wanting to continue his education, Saint Hierotheos first of all visited Holy Mount Athos, which was famous for its many male teachers. At first he was the student of a certain hermit near the cell of Saint Artemias (Comm. 20 October), and then he joined the brethren of the Iveria monastery, where he took monastic vows. On matters of the monastery Saint Hierotheos soon journeyed to Constantinople, and from there to Valachia, where the Lord directed him to continue his interrupted education. Having been instructed by a certain Cypriot monk, Saint Hierotheos by his good manners merited the favour of the Sofia metropolitan Avksentii and was ordained deacon. Having completed his education in Venice, Saint Hierotheos returned to the Holy Mountain. He settled near the Iveria monastery in the Khaga wilderness. On the testimony of his contemporaries, he led a very strict hermit’s life; with the constant Jesus Prayer the monk discovered deep love for neighbour and joy-creating weeping. On the intercession of the hegumen of the Iversk monastery Saint Hierotheos was vouchsafed the priestly dignity by the metropolitan of Neocaesarea James, living there in retirement. At the request of the inhabitants of Skopelo, having been bereft of priest-server, the self-denying ascetic forsook his solitude. During the course of 8 years together with his Athos disciples – the priestmonk Meletios and the monks Joasaph and Simeon, he made Divine-services and preached much. Foreseeing his own impending end, the Monk Hierotheos with three disciples withdrew to the island of Yura, where usually were sent those banished for life. There after a short illness he expired to the Lord in the year 1745. His disciples buried him on that island, and after three years his venerable head was transferred to the Iveria monastery. By prayers to the saint were healed many sick and those contending with bodily suffering.
Additional Saints and Feasts Celebrated Today
Forefeast of the Exaltation of the Cross.
New Hieromartyrs Stephan, Alexander priests and Nicholas deacon (1937).
Martyr Straton of Nicomedia (3rd c.).
Venerable Cornelius of Padan-Olonets (16th c.), disciple of Venerable Alexander of Svir, and with him Venerables Dionysius and Misail
Venerable Litorius, bishop of Tours (370).
Venerable John of Prislop (15th-16th c.) (Romania).
Venerable Basil monk of Iveron Monastery (Greek).
Troparion of the Dedication of the Church of the Resurrection
in Tone IV
Thou didst show forth the beauty of the holy dwelling-place
of Thy glory here below, O Lord,
like the splendour of the firmament on high.
Establish it for all ages,
and through the Theotokos accept the supplications
we unceasingly offer unto Thee therein,
O Thou life and resurrection of all.
Troparion of the Hieromartyr Cornelius in Tone IV
As thou didst share in the ways of the apostles
occupy their throne,
thou didst find thine activity to be a passage to divine
O divinely inspired one.
Wherefore, ordering the word of truth,
thou didst suffer for the Faith even to the shedding of thy blood.
hieromartyr Cornelius, entreat Christ God, that our souls be saved.
Troparion of the Forefeast in Tone IV
O Lord, we offer unto Thee in supplication the life-creating
Cross of Thy goodness,
which Thou hast bestowed upon us, unworthy though we
Save Thou all Orthodox Christians, and this Thy city,
Thee through the Theotokos,
O Thou Who alone lovest mankind.
Kontakion of the Dedication, Tone IV
appeared” —The Church hath been shown to be a heaven of great
which enlighteneth all the faithful;
and, standing therein, we cry
aloud: Establish this house, O Lord!
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Courtesy of St. Sergius Church
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