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Daily Devotional

Thursday, September 21, 2017 (NS)
September 8, 2017 (OS)


Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Thursday of the Sixteenth Week

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of the Nativity of our all-holy Lady, the Theotokos and Virgin Mary, and the finding of the wonderworking Icon of the most holy Theotokos, known as the Kursk-Root Icon of the Sign.

Fasting Information

No Fasting.

Scripture Readings

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Thursday of the Sixteenth Week


The Reading is from the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Ephesians [§ 216].

1 1Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus and faithful in Christ Jesus: 2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the One Who blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ, 4even as He chose us for Himself before the foundation of the world, for us to be holy and blameless before Him, 5in love having foreordained us to adoption through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He bestowed grace upon us in the Beloved, 7in Whom we have the redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of His grace, 8which He caused to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure.


The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Mark [§ 30]. At that time:

7 24 Jesus went away into the borders of Tyre and Sidon. And He entered into the house and wished no one to know it, but it was not possible to escape notice. 25For a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard about Him, and came and fell at His feet. 26Now the woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by race; and she kept on asking Him that He would cast out the demon from her daughter. 27But Jesus said to her, "Let the children first be filled; for it is not good to take the bread of the children and to cast it to the little dogs." 28And she answered and said to Him, "Yes, Lord; indeed, even the little dogs under the table eat from the little crumbs of the children." 29And He said to her, "For this utterance go thy way; the demon hath gone out of thy daughter." 30And having gone away to her house, she found the demon had gone out, and the little child had been put on the bed.

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of the Nativity of our all-holy Lady, the Theotokos and Virgin Mary, and the finding of the wonderworking Icon of the most holy Theotokos, known as the Kursk-Root Icon of the Sign.


For the Nativity of the Virgin Mary:

The Reading is from the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Philippians [§ 240]. Brethren:

2 5Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6Who, existing in the form of God, deemed it not a prize to be seized to be equal with God; 7but He emptied Himself and took the form of a slave, and came to be in the likeness of men. 8And having been found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient even to death-indeed, the death of a cross. 9Wherefore God also exalted Him exceedingly, and freely gave to Him a name that is above every name, 10that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth; 11and every tongue should confess for itself that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

For the Icon:

The Reading is from the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Hebrews [§ 320]. Brethren:

9 1The first tabernacle also used to have both ordinances of worship and the sanctuary of this world. 2For a tabernacle was furnished: the first in which were both the lampstand and the table, and the laying forth of the loaves, which is called Holy; 3and after the second veil, a tabernacle which is called Holy of Holies, 4which hath a golden censer, and the ark of the covenant which hath been covered all around from every side with gold, in which was the golden jar having the manna, and the rod of Aaron that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; 5and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat, concerning which now is not the time to speak severally. 6Now after these things were thus furnished, the priests, on the one hand, enter into the first tabernacle, performing worship services; 7on the other hand, into the second, the high priest entereth alone once for all every year, not without blood, which he offereth on behalf of himself and the faults of ignorance of the people.


In the Orthros

For the Nativity of the Virgin Mary:

The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke [§ 4].

1 39In those days Mariam rose up and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; 40and she entered into the house of Zacharias, and greeted Elisabeth. 41And it came to pass, as Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42And she cried out with a loud voice, and said, "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43"And whence is this to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? 44"For behold, as the sound of thy salutation came into mine ears, the babe in my womb leaped in exultant joy. 45"And happy is she who believed, for there shall be a fulfillment of those things which were spoken to her from the Lord." 46And Mariam saith:

"My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47"and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior,

48"for He looked upon the low estate of His slave. For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

49"For the mighty One did great things to me, and holy is His name."...56And Mariam stayed with her about three months, and returned to her own house.

In the Liturgy

For the Nativity of the Virgin Mary and the Icon:

The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke [§ 54]. At that time:

10 38 Jesus entered into a certain village. And a certain woman, by name Martha, received Him into her house. 39And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat down beside the feet of Jesus, and was listening to His word. 40But Martha was distracted about much serving, and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, is it no concern to Thee that my sister left me to serve alone? Speak to her therefore that she should help me." 41And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and troubled about many things. 42"But there is need of one thing, and Mary chose the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."...

11 27And it came to pass, as He was speaking these things, a certain woman out of the crowd lifted up her voice and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the breasts which Thou didst suck." 28But He said, "Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it."

Lives of the Saints

September 21st - Civil Calendar
September 8th - Church Calendar

1. The Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God.

The Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God.The holy Virgin Mary was born of her aged parents, Joachim and Anna. Her father was of the tribe of David and her mother of the tribe of Aaron, and so she was of royal blood from her father and priestly blood from her mother. By this, she foreshadowed Him who would be born of her as King and High Priest. Her parents were already old and had no children, and, because of this, were ashamed before men and humble before God. In their humility, they prayed with tears that God would bring joy to their old age with the gift of a child, as He had once given joy to the aged Abraham and Sarah, giving them their son Isaac. God, almighty and all-seeing, gave them a joy far exceeding all their expectations and their wildest dreams, for He gave them not just a daughter, but the Mother of God; He illumined them not only with temporal joy but with eternal. God gave them just one daughter, who later gave them just one grandson–but what a daughter and what a grandson! Mary full of grace, blessed among women, the temple of the Holy Spirit, altar of the living God, table of living bread, ark of God's holy things, tree of the most delicious fruits, glory of the human race, praise of womanhood, fount of virginity and purity–this was the daughter given by God to Joachim and Anna. Born in Nazareth, she was after three years taken to the Temple in Jerusalem, whence she returned again to Nazareth and shortly afterwards heard the tidings of the holy Archangel Gabriel concerning the birth of the Son of God, the Saviour of the world, from her most pure and virginal body.

2. The Feast of the Kalishto Icon of the Holy Mother of God.

In the monastery of the most holy Mother of God near the village of Kalishto, to the west of Struga, the holy Mother of God revealed her power and mercy through numerous miracles. Many of the sick were miraculously healed, and robbers that intended plundering or desecrating the monastery were fiercely punished by an unseen power. The miraculous icon of the most holy Mother of God stands in the church, and nearby are two healing springs–of St. Peter and St. Ananias. Not far from the main church, in a cave, stands the chapel of St. Athanasius.

3. The Feast of the Pochaev Icon of the Holy Mother of God.

In the province of Volinsk there stands the famous monastery of the Mother of God in Pochaev, where she first appeared in about 1340 to two monks who were living the ascetic life in a cave. From that time, the place became an inexhaustible fount of innumerable miracles.


St. Dionysius the Areopagite writes of the immeasurable joy, the outer and inner radiance and the indescribable fragrance that he sensed in the presence of the holy Mother of God when he visited her in Jerusalem. In his enthusiasm, he says that if he did not acknowledge the one, true God, he would acknowledge her, the holy Virgin Mary, as God. The holy Virgin made such a strong and deep impression even during her earthly life, and she received an incomparably greater power after her physical death when, by God's will, she was exalted above the hosts of angels. Her power comes from her ceaseless prayer to God for the faithful, for all who turn to her for help. St. John of Novgorod, when he and his people prayed to her for help against an enemy army, knew that, at that moment, she was praying to God with tears for them, and Novgorod was miraculously saved. As she was in travail at the crucifixion of her Son, so she is in travail for all the weak who turn to her for help. It can be said that the whole earth is protected by the miracles of her mercy. There lives in Belgrade today a cafe proprietor, C.J., born in the village of Labunishte near Struga, whose mother took him, blind, to the monastery of Kalishto and where, after the priest had prayed over him before the icon of the holy Mother of God, he had received his sight. The first monk at Pochaev saw a flaming pillar stretching from earth to heaven, and in this flaming pillar he saw the holy Mother of God. She was standing on a rock, and a healing spring arose at that spot, and today gives healing to many of the sick.

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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