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Daily Devotional

Thursday, July 20, 2017 (NS)
July 7, 2017 (OS)


Commemorations

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Thursday of the Seventh Week

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of the holy Great-martyr Kyriake (Gk. calendar only), and our venerable Father Thomas of Mount Maleon, and our venerable Father Akakios of Sinai (commemorated on Gk. calendar on the 26th of November).


Fasting Information

No Fasting.


Scripture Readings

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Thursday of the Seventh Week

Epistle:

The Reading is from the First Epistle of Saint Paul to the Corinthians [§ 138].

7 24Brethren, wherein each was called, in this let him abide with God.

25Now concerning the virgins, I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion, as one who hath been shown mercy by the Lord to be faithful. 26I think therefore this to be good on account of the present necessity-that for a man to be so is good. 27Hast thou been bound to a wife? Cease seeking to be loosed. Hast thou been loosed from a wife? Cease seeking a wife. 28But even if thou marry, thou hast not sinned. And if the virgin should marry, she did not sin. But such shall have affliction in the flesh, but I am trying to spare you. 29Now this I say, brethren, the time hath been shortened henceforth, that even they who have wives be as though they did not have. 30And they who weep, as though they wept not; and they who rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they who buy, as though they possess not; 31and they who make use of this world, as though they did not use it to the full; for the fashion of this world passeth away. 32But I wish you to be without care. The unmarried careth for the things of the Lord, how he shall please the Lord. 33But he who is married careth for the things of the world, how he shall please his wife. 34The wife and the virgin also differ. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit, but she who is married careth for the things of the world, how she shall please her husband. 35And this I say for your own profit, not that I might cast a noose upon you, but for that which is seemly, and for constant waiting on the Lord without distraction.

Gospel:

The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Matthew [§ 61]. At that time:

15 12The disciples of Jesus came to Him and said to Him, "Knowest Thou that the Pharisees were offended after they heard the saying?" 13But He answered and said, "Every plant which My Father, the heavenly One, did not plant shall be rooted out. 14"Let them alone. They are blind guides of the blind. And if the blind guide the blind, both shall fall into a pit." 15And Peter answered and said to Him, "Explain this parable to us." 16And Jesus said, "Are ye also still without understanding? 17"Do ye not yet perceive that everything that entereth into the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the privy? 18"But the things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart, and those defile the man. 19"For out of the heart cometh forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. 20"These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands defileth not the man."

21And Jesus went from that place and withdrew into the parts of Tyre and Sidon.

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of the holy Great-martyr Kyriake (Gk. calendar only), and our venerable Father Thomas of Mount Maleon, and our venerable Father Akakios of Sinai (commemorated on Gk. calendar on the 26th of November).

No readings given.


Lives of the Saints
(Prologue)

July 20th – Civil Calendar
July 7th - Church Calendar

1. The Holy and Great Martyr Dominica (Nedelja).

In the time of the Emperors Diocletian and his son-in-law Maximian, both adversaries of Christ, there lived in Anatolia two elderly, devout souls, Dorotheus and Eusebia. They were devoted Christians, rich but childless. With unceasing prayer, they besought God for a child, and their prayers were answered in this holy Dominica. She consecrated herself to God from her childhood, holding herself apart from the activities of carefree children. When she had grown up, beautiful in body and soul, she had many suitors but refused them all, saying that she had betrothed herself to Christ the Lord and desired nothing other than to die a virgin. One of these rejected suitors denounced Dominica and her parents to the Emperor Diocletian as Christians. The Emperor ordered that her parents be tortured, and after torture had them exiled to the town of Melitene, where they died under further torture. Diocletian sent Dominica to Maximian for trial. When she affirmed her faith in Christ the Lord before Maximian, he ordered that she be thrown to the ground and flogged with bull-whips. Then the Emperor handed her over to the generals - firstly to Hilarion and then, after his death, to Apollonius. They tortured her bestially in all possible ways, but in vain. While holy Dominica lay in prison wounded all over, Christ the Lord appeared to her, healed her and said to her: 'Don't be afraid of the torture, Dominica; My grace is with thee.' And indeed Christ's grace saved this martyr from fire and from wild beasts, which the godless torturers were certain would bring about her death. Seeing the miraculous saving of Dominica from such a death, many of the pagans came to belief in Christ. All were beheaded. Dominica said to Apollonius: 'There is no way that you can turn me from my faith. Throw me into the fire - I have the example of the Three Children; throw me to the wild beasts - I have the example of Daniel; throw me into the sea - I have the example of Jonah the prophet; put me to the sword - I shall remember the honoured Forerunner. For me, to die is life in Christ.' Then Apollonius ordered that she be beheaded. Dominica knelt and raised her hands to heaven in prayer to God, that He would have mercy on and save all those who would celebrate her memory, and that he would give rest to her soul and those of her parents. Finishing her prayer, she gave her soul to God before the sword descended on her head. She suffered with honour in Nicomedia and went to eternal joy in the year 289.

2. Our Holy Father Thomas of Malea.

This Thomas was a general, famed for his courage and wealth. He was massive of body and a source of fear to his enemies. But, when he came to love Christ more than the world or anything in the world, he left everything and retired to the desert, where he became a monk and gave himself to asceticism. The Prophet Elias appeared to him, and led him to the mountain called Malea, near the Holy Mountain. There he lived in solitude, alone with God, in unceasing prayer day and night. Although he hid from the world, he could not succeed in concealing himself. Learning of the holiness of his life, people began to go to him, bringing their sick. St Thomas healed them of all ills and weaknesses. When he went to God (in the tenth century), his relics continued to give aid to all who drew near to them in faith.

3. Our Holy Fathers, the Martyrs Epictetus and Astius.

Epictetus, a priest, brought Astius, the only son of his parents, to the Christian faith, baptised him and made him a monk. They then went off eastwards, to the region of Scythia, and settled in the Scythian town of Almirida (now Ramzina), at the mouth of the Danube on the Black Sea. They were tortured and killed for the Christian faith in about 290. They both appeared after their deaths in great light to St Astius' parents, Alexander and Marcellina, who turned to Christ and were baptised by Bishop Evangelus, who was himself then executed for Christ; 'Evangelus, another angel', as is sung of him.

FOR CONSIDERATION

The example of St Dominica, a beautiful maiden, and of St Astius, a rich young man, who both gave themselves over to torture and death for the sake of Christ the Lord, leads us to the thought that there is no equal in history to the power of Christ, by whose aid young people conquer themselves and, through that conquest, conquer all else. Victory over oneself is the greatest victory. The Church counts such victors in their thousands, in their many thousands. St Cyprian, writing on virginity, says: 'To be victorious over pleasure is the greatest pleasure, and there is no greater victory than victory over one's desires. He who has overcome an enemy shows himself stronger than the other, but he who has overcome his desires shows himself stronger than himself. Every other evil is easier to overcome than pleasure, for all other evils are repulsive, while pleasure is an attractive evil. Those who free themselves from their desires are freed also from fear, for desire is the root of fear.'


Daily Scripture Readings taken from The Orthodox New Testament, translated and published by Holy Apostles Convent, Buena Vista, Colorado, copyright © 2000, used with permission, all rights reserved.

Daily Prologue Readings taken from The Prologue of Ochrid, by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic, translated by Mother Maria, published by Lazarica Press, Birmingham, England, copyright © 1985, all rights reserved.


Archbishop Gregory
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