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Daily Devotional

Thursday, August 24, 2017 (NS)
August 11, 2017 (OS)


Commemorations

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Thursday of the Twelfth Week

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of the Afterfeast of the Transfiguration, and Hierodeacon Efplos of Catania of Sicily.


Fasting Information

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


Scripture Readings

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Thursday of the Twelfth Week

Epistle:

The Reading is from the Second Epistle of Saint Paul to the Corinthians[§ 183]. Brethren:

7 1Let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, bringing to perfection holiness in the fear of God.

2Make room for us; we wronged no one, we corrupted no one, we defrauded no one. 3I speak not for condemnation; for I have said before that ye are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. 4Great is my boldness toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf; I have been filled with comfort, I am superabounding with joy over all our affliction. 5For, even after we came into Macedonia, our flesh hath had no rest, but in every way we were being oppressed: fights from outside, and fears from inside. 6But God, the One Who comforteth the humble, comforted us by the coming of Titus; 7and not by his coming only, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted over you, when he brought back tidings of your yearning, your mourning, your zeal for me; so as for me to rejoice the more. 8For though I sorrowed you in the epistle, I do not feel regret, though I was feeling regret; for I see that the epistle sorrowed you, though for an hour. 9Now I rejoice, not that ye were sorrowed, but that ye were sorrowed to repentance; for ye were sorrowed in accordance with God, that ye might suffer loss by us in nothing. 10For the sorrow in accordance with God worketh out repentance to salvation, not to be regretted.

Gospel:

The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Mark [§ 5]. At that time:

1 29 Jesus came into the house of Simon and Andrew, with Iakovos and John. 30And the mother-in-law of Simon was lying down ill with a fever. And straightway they speak to Him about her. 31And He came and took hold of her hand, and raised her up. And immediately the fever left her, and she began ministering to them. 32And evening having come to pass, when the sun did set, they kept on bringing to Him all those who were ill, and those possessed by demons. 33And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 34And He cured many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not allowing the demons to talk, because they knew Him.

35And having risen up very early at night, He went out and departed into a desolate place, and was praying there.

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of the Afterfeast of the Transfiguration, and Hierodeacon Efplos of Catania of Sicily.

Epistle:

The Reading is from the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Romans [§ 99]. Brethren:

8 28We know that to those who love God all things work together for good, to those who are called according to purpose. 29For whom He foreknew, He also foreordained to be conformable to the image of His Son,in order for Him to be the firstborn among many brethren. 30But whom He foreordained, these also He called; and whom He called, these also He justified; and whom He justified, these also He glorified. 31What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He Who indeed spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also graciously give us all things? 33Who shall bring an accusation against the elect of God? God is the One Who justifieth. 34Who is the one who condemneth? Christ is the One Who died, but much more is He the One also Who was raised, Who also is at the right of God, Who also intercedeth for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall affliction, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36Even as it hath been written: "For on account of Thee, we are being put to death the whole day;we were counted as sheep of slaughter [Ps. 43(44):23(22)]." 37But in all these things we more than conquer through the One Who loved us. 38For I have been persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things coming, 39nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Gospel:

No reading given.


Lives of the Saints
(Prologue)

August 24th – Civil Calendar
August 11th - Church Calendar

1. The Holy Martyr Euplus.

He was a deacon from Catania in Sicily. The Emperor Diocletian sent a commander, Pentagurus, to Sicily to exterminate any Christians that he found there. Pentagurus did not find a single Christian, for they had hidden from the persecutor and did not show themselves. Then someone accused Euplus of taking a book to some secret Christians and reading to them. This book was the holy Gospel. He was therefore soon taken for trial, and, with the book hung round his neck, put in prison. After seven days of imprisonment and hunger, he was put to torture. When they whipped him with iron flails, Euplus mockingly said to the torturing judge: 'You fool; don't you see that these tortures are, to me, like a cobweb? If you can, find other, harsher tortures, as these are like playthings.' Finally, they led Christ's martyr to the scaffold. Then St Euplus opened the holy Gospel and read from it to the people for a long time. Many turned to the Christian faith, and St Euplus was beheaded, in the year 304, and went to the heavenly Kingdom. His wonderworking relics lie in a village near Naples called Vico della Batonia.

2. The Holy Martyr Susanna the Virgin, and others with her.

The daughter of Gavinius, a Christian priest in Rome, she was niece to Pope Gaius, of blood and kin with the reigning Emperor, Diocletian. This Emperor had an adopted son, Maximian Galerius, who wanted to marry Susanna, but she was utterly dedicated to Christ the Lord and had no desire for marriage, especially with an unbaptised man. Susanna brought those who had requested her for the Emperor's son, the patricians Claudia and Maxima, to the Christian faith with all their households. Infuriated by this, the Emperor issued orders and the executioners took Claudia and Maxima, with their families, to Ostia, where they were burned and their ashes cast into the sea. Susanna was beheaded in Gavinius' house. The Emperor's wife, Serena, a secret Christian, took Susanna's martyred body by night and buried it, and Pope Gaius turned the house where Susanna was killed into a church and held services there. Soon after this bride of Christ suffered, her father Gavinius and Pope Gaius also suffered. They all suffered with honour for the Lord, and received wreaths of glory, in the years 295 and 296.

3. St Niphon, Patriarch of Constantinople.

Born in Greece, he became a monk in his youth and lived in asceticism, first away from the Holy Mountain and then on it in various monasteries, staying longest in Vatopedi and Dionysiou. He was beloved by all on the Holy Mountain, both for his rare wisdom and for his meekness. He was made Bishop of Salonica against his will, and, two years later, went to Constantinople in the course of his work and was there chosen for the vacant patriarchal throne. He was banished by the Sultan to Jedrene, where he lived in exile. Prince Radul of Wallachia asked the Sultan for him, and made him his archbishop. Because of Radul's transgressions, Niphon left the province of Wallachia and went to the Holy Mountain, to the community of Dionysiou, where he lived in asceticism till the age of ninety, going to the Kingdom of God in 1508. He compiled the 'Prayer at Departing' that is read at funerals.

4. Our Holy Fathers Basil and Theodore of the Kiev Caves.

They both died under the tyranny of the covetous Prince Istislav, in 1098. The life of St Theodore is especially instructive to the covetous. Theodore was very rich, but he gave all his wealth to the poor and became a monk. He then repented and grieved for his riches, and was greatly tempted by a spirit of covetousness, from which he was freed by St Basil.

FOR CONSIDERATION

If a man sets off on the right path, let him follow that path with both feet and not have one foot on the right path and the other on the wrong. For the Lord said through the prophet about the righteous who work unrighteousness: 'The righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned; in his trespass that he hath trespassed and in the sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die' (Ezekiel 18:24). The Wallachian Prince Radul was a righteous man and did many good works. He brought St Niphon out of exile in Jedrene and made him archbishop in Bucharest. But he suddenly committed a grievous sin: he gave his sister to be wife to the foul Moldavian prince, Bogdan, while Bogdan's wife was still alive, and refused to heed Niphon's protests. Niphon prophesied an evil end to him, drove him publicly out of the Church and left the province. Immediately after this, there was a drought and a great famine in the region, and Radul fell into an incurable sickness, his whole body being one great, suppurating sore which no-one could come near to for the stench. When they buried him, his grave shook for three days, like the grave of the Empress Eudoxia, the persecutor of St John Chrysostom.


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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