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Daily Devotional

Friday, November 17, 2017 (NS)
November 4, 2017 (OS)


Commemorations

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Friday of the Twenty-Fourth Week

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of our venerable Father Ioannikios the Great of Bithynia, and Hieromartyrs Nikander, Bishop of Myra, and Hermas the presbyter.


Fasting Information

Fast day. No Meat, Fish, or Dairy Allowed.


Scripture Readings

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Friday of the Twenty-Fourth Week

Epistle:

The Reading is from the First Epistle of Saint Paul to the Thessalonians[§ 272]. Brethren:

5 9God did not appoint us for wrath, but for gaining possession of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10Who died for us, that whether we be awake or asleep, we should live together with Him. 11Wherefore be comforting one another and building up one another, even as also ye do.

12And we ask you, brethren, to know those who labor among you, and who are set over you in the Lord, and admonish you, 13and to be esteeming them exceedingly in love on account of their work. Be at peace among yourselves....24Faithful is the One Who calleth you, Who shall also bring it about.

25Brethren, be praying for us.

26Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss.

27I adjure you by the Lord that the epistle be read to all the holy brethren.

28The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Gospel:

The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke [§ 63]. The Lord said to His disciples:

12 2"There is nothing which hath been covered up which shall not be uncovered, nor hidden which shall not be known. 3"Wherefore, whatsoever ye said in the darkness shall be heard in the light; and what ye spoke in the ear in the closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. 4"And I say to you, My friends, do not become afraid because of those who kill the body, and after these things are not able to do anything more. 5"But I will show you Whom ye should fear: fear the One Who after the killing hath power to cast into Gehenna; yea, I say to you, this One fear. 6"Five sparrows are sold for two assaria, are they not? And not one of them is forgotten before the face of God. 7"Yea, even the hairs of your head have all been numbered. Therefore cease being afraid; ye excel many sparrows. 8"But I say to you, everyone who shall confess in Me before men, the Son of Man also shall confess in him before the angels of God. 9"But the one who denieth Me before the face of men shall be denied before the face of the angels of God. 10"And everyone who shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but to the one who blasphemeth against the Holy Spirit it shall not be forgiven. 11"And whenever they bring you in before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, cease being anxious how or what ye should speak in defense, or what ye should say; 12"for the Holy Spirit shall teach you in the same hour what things it is needful to say."

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of our venerable Father Ioannikios the Great of Bithynia, and Hieromartyrs Nikander, Bishop of Myra, and Hermas the presbyter.

Epistle:

The Reading is from the Second Epistle of Saint Paul to the Corinthians [§ 188]. Brethren:

9 6The one who soweth sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and the one who soweth with blessing shall also reap with blessing. 7Let each give even as he purposeth in his heart, not out of sorrow or out of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that ye, always having all self-sufficiency in everything, may abound to every good work, 9even as it hath been written: "He dispersed, he gave to the poor; his righteousness abideth forever [Ps. 111(112):9]." 10Now the One Who supplieth seed to the sower and bread for eating, may He provide and multiply your seed for sowing, and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11being enriched in everything to all open-handedness, which worketh out through us giving of thanks to God.

for Sl. usage, see [Gal. 5:22-6:2].

Gospel:

The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Matthew [§ 10]. At that time:

For Gk. usage, see Mt. 4:23-5:13; for Sl. usage, see Mt. 4:25-5:13.

4 23Jesus was going around all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the Gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. 24And the report of Him went out into all Syria. And they brought to Him all those who were ill, constrained by various diseases and torments, and possessed by demons, and lunatics, and paralytics; and He cured them. 25And great crowds followed Him from Galilee, and Decapolis, and Jerusalem, and Judæa, and beyond the Jordan.

5 1And seeing the crowds, He went up into the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. 2And He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying:
   3"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens.
   4"Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
   5"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
   6"Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.
   7"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall find mercy.
   8"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
   9"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
   10"Blessed are they who have been persecuted on account of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens.
   11"Blessed are ye whenever they reproach you and persecute you, and say every evil word against you falsely on account of Me.
   12"Be rejoicing and be exceedingly glad, for your reward is great in the heavens. For so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

13"Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt should become insipid, with what shall it be salted? For it is no longer good for anything, except to be cast out and to be trampled underfoot by men."


Lives of the Saints
(Prologue)

November 17th - Civil Calendar
November 4th - Church Calendar

1. Our Holy Father Joannicius the Great.

This great spiritual light was born in the village of Marykata in the province of Bithynia, of his father Myritrices and his mother Anastasia. He was a shepherd as a youth. Whilst tending his sheep at pasture, he would often retreat into solitude and remain in prayer the whole day, having encircled his flock with the sign of the Cross so that it should not wander off and get lost. After that, he was called into the army, and caused men to marvel at his courage, particularly in the wars against the Bulgarians. After his military service, Joannicius withdrew to Olympus in Asia Minor, where he became a monk and gave himself entirely over to asceticism, persevering in it till his death in great old age. He laboured in the ascetic life for over fifty years in various places, and had from God most abundant gifts of wonderworking: he healed all sicknesses and pains, drove out demons, tamed wild beasts, possessing a particular power over snakes; he walked dryfoot through water, became invisible to men when he so desired and foretold future events. He was distinguished by an outstanding humility and meekness. In outward appearance, he was like a giant, huge and strong. He took an active part in the destiny of God's Church, for, during the iconoclast period he was at first deluded, but then tore himself away and became an ardent defender of reverence towards the icons. He had a great friendship with Patriarch Methodius of Constantinople. Joannicius lived for ninety-four years, and entered peacefully into rest in the Lord in 846. He was a great wonderworker both during his lifetime and after his death.

2. The Hieromartyrs Nicander, Bishop of Myra, and Hermas the Priest.

Both were ordained by the Apostle Titus. They were distinguished by their great zeal for the Faith and their great labours in winning pagans for Christ the Lord. Because of this, a complaint was brought against them before a certain magistrate, Libanus, and he gave them over to fierce torture. They were stoned and dragged over stones; they underwent imprisonment and suffered hunger, and endured many other tortures which no mortal man could endure without God's special aid. The Lord appeared to them in various ways and, when they were thrown into a fiery furnace, sent them His angel to soothe the flames for them. They were finally buried alive by their soul-less tormentors and covered with earth. But it is in vain that men put others to death when the Lord gives life, and they dishonour in vain those whom the Lord glorifies.

FOR CONSIDERATION

Mercy is a fruit of faith. Where there is true faith, there is true mercy. St Joannicius was walking one day past a women's monastery in which, among the nuns, there lived a mother and her daughter. An evil spirit of fleshly temptation had fallen upon the daughter and inflamed the vice of lust in her to such an extent that she desired to leave the monastery and marry. In vain did her mother urge her to remain; her daughter would not listen to her. When the mother saw St Joannicius, she begged him to advise her daughter not to leave the monastery and expose her soul to perdition. Joannicius summoned the girl and said to her: 'My daughter, put your hand on my shoulder'. The girl did so. Then the compassionate Joannicius prayed to God in his heart that He would deliver the girl from temptation and transfer her bodily passion to him. And so it came to pass: the girl became completely calm and remained in the monastery, and the saint of God went his on way. As he went, a passionate vice fell on him and his blood began to boil as though in fire. He desired to die rather than let the passion enter his will, so, seeing a great snake, he ran to it in the hope that it would bite him and he would die. He began to provoke it but, as soon as he touched it, it died and the flame of lust disappeared.


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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