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Daily Devotional

Saturday, January 20, 2018 (NS)
January 7, 2018 (OS)


Commemorations

Special Commemorations:

The Saturday After the Theophany

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Saturday of the Thirty-Third Week

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of the Afterfeast of Theophany, and the Synaxis of the honorable and glorious prophet, forerunner, and Baptist John.


Fasting Information

No Fasting.


Scripture Readings

Special Readings:

The Saturday After the Theophany

Epistle:

The Reading is from the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Ephesians[§ 233].

6 10Brethren, keep on being empowered in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11Put on the full armor of God, for you to be able to stand against the wiles of the devil; 12because for us the wrestling is not against blood and flesh, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the cosmic rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of evil on account of the heavenly things. 13For this cause take up the full armor of God, in order that ye might be able to withstand in the evil day,and having counteracted all things, to stand. 14Stand therefore, having girt your loins with truth, and having put on for yourselves the breastplate of righteousness, 15and having shod your feet in readiness of the Gospel of peace; 16on the whole, take up the shield of faith, with which ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one.17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Gospel:

The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Matthew [§ 7]. At that time:

4 1Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2And having fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards He hungered. 3And the tempter, having come to Him, said, "If Thou art God's Son, command that these stones become loaves." 4But He answered and said, "It hath been written: 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word which goeth forth out of the mouth of God [cf. Deut. 8:3].'" 5Then the devil taketh Him to the holy city, and setteth Him upon the wing of the temple, 6and saith to Him, "If Thou art God's Son, cast Thyself down; for it hath been written: 'He shall enjoin His angels concerning Thee; and upon their hands shall they take Thee up, lest ever Thou strike Thy foot against a stone [cf. Ps. 90(91):11, 12].'" 7Jesus said to him, "On the other hand, it hath been written: 'Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God [Deut. 6:16].'" 8Again, the devil taketh Him to an exceedingly high mountain, and showeth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. 9And he saith to Him, "All these things will I give to Thee if Thou wilt fall down and make obeisance to me." 10Then Jesus saith to him, "Get thee behind Me, Satan. For it hath been written: 'Thou shalt make obeisance to the Lord thy God, and Him alone shalt thou worship [cf. Deut. 6:13].'" 11Then the devil leaveth Him, and behold, angels drew near and were ministering to Him.

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Saturday of the Thirty-Third Week

Epistle:

The Reading is from the Second Epistle of Saint Paul to Saint Timothy[§ 293]. Child Timothy:

2 11Faithful is the saying. For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. 12If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. 13If we are faithless, yet that One remaineth faithful; He is not able to deny Himself.

14These things be putting in remembrance, solemnly testifying before the Lord not to dispute about words to no use, to the overturn of those who hear. 15Endeavor to present thyself approved to God, a workman that hath no cause for shame, cutting in a straight line the word of the truth. 16But profane and empty babblings, be shunning; for they will advance to more ungodliness, 17and their word will have spread as gangrene, of whom is Hymenæos and Philetos, 18who missed the mark concerning the truth, saying the resurrection already came to pass; and they are overturning the faith of some. 19Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth firm, having this seal: "The Lord knoweth those who are His [cf. Num. 16:5]"; and, "Let everyone who nameth the name of Christ stand off from injustice [cf. Num. 16:27; Is. 26:13, 52:11; Jer. 20:9]."

Gospel:

The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke [§ 88]. The Lord said this parable:

18 2"There was a certain judge in a certain city, who feared not God nor regarded man. 3"Now there was a widow in that city; and she kept on coming to him, saying, 'Avenge me of mine adversary.' 4"And he would not for a time; but afterwards he said within himself, 'Even if I fear not God nor regard man, 5"'at any rate, because this widow giveth me trouble, I will avenge her, that in the end she may not wear me out by her coming.'" 6And the Lord said, "Hear what the judge of injustice saith. 7"And God, shall He in no wise bring about the avenging of His elect who cry aloud to Him day and night, and yet He is long-suffering over them? 8"I tell you that He will bring about the avenging of them quickly."

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of the Afterfeast of Theophany, and the Synaxis of the honorable and glorious prophet, forerunner, and Baptist John.

Epistle:

The Reading is from the Acts of the Apostles [§ 42]. In those days:

19 1It came to pass, while Apollos was in Corinth, Paul, having passed through the upper parts, came to Ephesus. And having found certain disciples, 2he said to them, "Did ye, having believed, receive the Holy Spirit?" And they said to him, "Nay, we did not even hear whether there is a Holy Spirit." 3And he said to them, "Into what then were ye baptized?" And they said, "Into the baptism of John." 4And Paul said, "John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe in the One coming after him, that is, in the Christ, Jesus." 5And after they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6And after Paul laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they were speaking with tongues and prophesying. 7And all the men were about twelve. 8And he entered into the synagogue and kept on speaking boldly for three months, discoursing and trying to persuade them concerning the things of the kingdom of God.

Gospel:

The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint John [§ 3]. At that time:

129John seeth Jesus coming to him, and saith, "Behold the Lamb of God Who taketh away the sin of the world. 30"This is He concerning Whom I said, 'After me cometh a Man Who hath come to be before me, for He was before me.' 31"And I knew Him not; but that He should be made manifest to Israel, therefore I came baptizing in the water." 32And John bore witness, saying, "I have beheld the Spirit descending out of heaven as a dove, and He abode upon Him. 33"And I knew Him not, but the One Who sent me to baptize in water, that One said to me, 'Upon whomsoever thou shalt see the Spirit descending and abiding on Him, this is the One Who baptizeth in the Holy Spirit.' 34"And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God."


Lives of the Saints
(Prologue)

January 20th - Civil Calendar
January 7th - Church Calendar

1. St John the Baptist.

St John the Baptist.John's greatest role during his life was enacted on the day of the Theophany, and because of this the Church has, from the earliest times, dedicated the day following that feast to his memory. This day is also connected with an event involving the hand of the Forerunner. The Evangelist Luke desired to take John's body from Sebaste, where the great prophet had been beheaded by Herod, to Antioch, his own birthplace. He succeeded, though, in acquiring and taking only one hand, which was kept in Antioch till the tenth century. It was then moved to Constantinople, whence it disappeared during the Turkish occupation.

St John is commemorated several times during the year, but his greatest feast is on this day, January 7th. Among the Gospel-figures surrounding the Savior, the person of John the Baptist holds a very special place, by the manner of his birth in this world and of his earthly life, by his role of baptizer of men to repentance and his baptism of the Messiah, and lastly, by the tragic manner of his departure from this world. He was of such moral purity that he indeed deserved the name 'angel'*, as he was named in the Scriptures, rather than being thought of as just a mortal man. John differs from all the other prophets in that he had the joy of showing forth to the world the One Whom he had foretold.

About the hand of St John: it is related that each year, on his feast-day, the archbishop would bring it out before the people. Sometimes the hand appeared open, and sometimes clenched. In the first case it indicated that it would be a fertile year, and in the second that it would be a year of famine.

(*The word 'messenger' is, in Greek, 'angelos'. See Malachi 3:1, Matt. 11-10.–Tr.)

2. The Holy Martyr Athanasius.

This martyr of Christ was a poor and simple man, but was rich in faith and in wisdom through the Spirit of God. On one occasion he was inadvertently involved in a quarrel with a Turk. The Turk was educated and adroit with words, but Athanasius strove with all his might to present and uphold the truth of the Christian faith and its superiority over Islam. They then parted. On the following day, Athanasius was summoned to trial, and found the Turk standing there as his accuser. When the judge called on Athanasius to repudiate his faith and embrace Islam, as he had given the impression of declaring to his companion of the previous day, Athanasius cried out: 'I would die a thousand deaths before I would deny the Faith of Christ!' He was therefore condemned to death and beheaded in the year 1700. His body was buried in the Church of St Paraskeva in Smyrna, the city of his execution.

FOR CONSIDERATION

'The whole man is not outwardly visible', says St Basil the Great. As one house is like another, so it is with the external appearance of a man. But a house receives honor from him who inhabits it, as likewise does a man from the spirit within him. It is easily apparent to bodily sight that the house is not the householder. It is only the place where the householder lives; but it is only clear to spiritual sight that the body is not the man but only the dwelling he inhabits.


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
Dormition Skete
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Buena Vista, CO 81211-3177
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