Sunday, October 30, 2011

October 30, 2011 - 20th Sunday After Pentecost (6th of Luke)

FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:

Cleopas, Apostle of the 70
Zenobios & Zenobia the Martyrs

Άγιοι Ζηνόβιος και Ζηνοβία τα αδέλφια
Άγιος Μαρκιανός ο Ιερομάρτυρας
Άγιοι Αλέξανδρος, Κρονίων, Ιουλιανός, Μακάριος και άλλοι Δεκατρείς Μάρτυρες
Αγία Ευτροπία
Άγιοι Κλεόπας ο Απόστολος και Ιωσήφ Πατριάρχης Κωνσταντινούπολης
Άγιοι Τέρτιος, Μάρκος, Ιούστος και Αρτεμάς οι Απόστολοι από τους Εβδομήκοντα

READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:

The Reading is from John 20:19-31
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them: "Peace be with you." When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them: "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him: "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them: "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in His side, I will not believe."
Eight days later, His disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said: "Peace be with you." Then He said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing." Thomas answered Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to Him: "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

Κατὰ Ἰωάννην 20.19-31
Οὔσης οὖν ὀψίας τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ τῇ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων, καὶ τῶν θυρῶν κεκλεισμένων ὅπου ἦσαν οἱ μαθηταὶ συνηγμένοι διὰ τὸν φόβον τῶν ᾿Ιουδαίων, ἦλθεν ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς καὶ ἔστη εἰς τὸ μέσον, καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· εἰρήνη ὑμῖν. καὶ τοῦτο εἰπὼν ἔδειξεν αὐτοῖς τὰς χεῖρας καὶ τὴν πλευρὰν αὐτοῦ. ἐχάρησαν οὖν οἱ μαθηταὶ ἰδόντες τὸν Κύριον. εἶπεν οὖν αὐτοῖς ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς πάλιν· εἰρήνη ὑμῖν. καθὼς ἀπέσταλκέ με ὁ πατήρ, κἀγὼ πέμπω ὑμᾶς. καὶ τοῦτο εἰπὼν ἐνεφύσησε καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· λάβετε Πνεῦμα ῞Αγιον· ἄν τινων ἀφῆτε τὰς ἁμαρτίας, ἀφίενται αὐτοῖς, ἄν τινων κρατῆτε, κεκράτηνται.
Θωμᾶς δὲ εἷς ἐκ τῶν δώδεκα, ὁ λεγόμενος Δίδυμος, οὐκ ἦν μετ᾽ αὐτῶν ὅτε ἦλθεν ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς. ἔλεγον οὖν αὐτῷ οἱ ἄλλοι μαθηταί· ἑωράκαμεν τὸν Κύριον. ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· ἐὰν μὴ ἴδω ἐν ταῖς χερσὶν αὐτοῦ τὸν τύπον τῶν ἥλων, καὶ βάλω τὸν δάκτυλόν μου εἰς τὸν τύπον τῶν ἥλων, καὶ βάλω τὴν χεῖρά μου εἰς τὴν πλευρὰν αὐτοῦ, οὐ μὴ πιστεύσω. Καὶ μεθ᾽ ἡμέρας ὀκτὼ πάλιν ἦσαν ἔσω οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ Θωμᾶς μετ᾽ αὐτῶν. ἔρχεται ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς τῶν θυρῶν κεκλεισμένων, καὶ ἔστη εἰς τὸ μέσον καὶ εἶπεν· εἰρήνη ὑμῖν. εἶτα λέγει τῷ Θωμᾷ· φέρε τὸν δάκτυλόν σου ὧδε καὶ ἴδε τὰς χεῖράς μου, καὶ φέρε τὴν χεῖρά σου καὶ βάλε εἰς τὴν πλευράν μου, καὶ μὴ γίνου ἄπιστος, ἀλλὰ πιστός. καὶ ἀπεκρίθη Θωμᾶς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ὁ Κύριός μου καὶ ὁ Θεός μου. λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· ὅτι ἑώρακάς με, πεπίστευκας· μακάριοι οἱ μὴ ἰδόντες καὶ πιστεύσαντες. Πολλὰ μὲν οὖν καὶ ἄλλα σημεῖα ἐποίησεν ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς ἐνώπιον τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ, ἃ οὐκ ἔστι γεγραμμένα ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ τούτῳ· ταῦτα δὲ γέγραπται ἵνα πιστεύσητε ὅτι ᾿Ιησοῦς ἐστιν ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ ἵνα πιστεύοντες ζωὴν ἔχητε ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι αὐτοῦ.

The Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians 1:11-19
BRETHREN, I would have you know that the gospel which was preached by me is not man's gospel. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it; and I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia; and again I returned to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother.

Πρὸς Γαλάτας 1:11-19
Ἀδελφοί, γνωρίζω δὲ ὑμῖν, ἀδελφοί, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τὸ εὐαγγελισθὲν ὑπʼ ἐμοῦ, ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν κατὰ ἄνθρωπον. Οὐδὲ γὰρ ἐγὼ παρὰ ἀνθρώπου παρέλαβον αὐτό, οὔτε ἐδιδάχθην, ἀλλὰ διʼ ἀποκαλύψεως Ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ. Ἠκούσατε γὰρ τὴν ἐμὴν ἀναστροφήν ποτε ἐν τῷ Ἰουδαϊσμῷ, ὅτι καθʼ ὑπερβολὴν ἐδίωκον τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ θεοῦ, καὶ ἐπόρθουν αὐτήν· καὶ προέκοπτον ἐν τῷ Ἰουδαϊσμῷ ὑπὲρ πολλοὺς συνηλικιώτας ἐν τῷ γένει μου, περισσοτέρως ζηλωτὴς ὑπάρχων τῶν πατρικῶν μου παραδόσεων. Ὅτε δὲ εὐδόκησεν ὁ θεὸς ὁ ἀφορίσας με ἐκ κοιλίας μητρός μου καὶ καλέσας διὰ τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ, ἀποκαλύψαι τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ ἐν ἐμοὶ ἵνα εὐαγγελίζωμαι αὐτὸν ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, εὐθέως οὐ προσανεθέμην σαρκὶ καὶ αἵματι· οὐδὲ ἀνῆλθον εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα πρὸς τοὺς πρὸ ἐμοῦ ἀποστόλους, ἀλλὰ ἀπῆλθον εἰς Ἀραβίαν, καὶ πάλιν ὑπέστρεψα εἰς Δαμασκόν. Ἔπειτα μετὰ ἔτη τρία ἀνῆλθον εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα ἱστορῆσαι Πέτρον, καὶ ἐπέμεινα πρὸς αὐτὸν ἡμέρας δεκαπέντε. Ἕτερον δὲ τῶν ἀποστόλων οὐκ εἶδον, εἰ μὴ Ἰάκωβον τὸν ἀδελφὸν τοῦ κυρίου.

The Reading is from Luke 16:19-31
The Lord said, "There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazaros, full of sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Lazaros in his bosom. And he called out, 'Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazaros to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.' But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazaros in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.' And he said, 'Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.' But Abraham said, 'They have Moses, and the prophets; let them hear them.' And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' He said to them, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.'"

Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 16.19-31
Εἶπεν ὁ Κύριος· ῎Ανθρωπος δέ τις ἦν πλούσιος, καὶ ἐνεδιδύσκετο πορφύραν καὶ βύσσον εὐφραινόμενος καθ᾿ ἡμέραν λαμπρῶς. πτωχὸς δέ τις ἦν ὀνόματι Λάζαρος, ὃς ἐβέβλητο πρὸς τὸν πυλῶνα αὐτοῦ ἡλκωμένος καὶ ἐπιθυμῶν χορτασθῆναι ἀπὸ τῶν ψιχίων τῶν πιπτόντων ἀπὸ τῆς τραπέζης τοῦ πλουσίου· ἀλλὰ καὶ οἱ κύνες ἐρχόμενοι ἀπέλειχον τὰ ἕλκη αὐτοῦ. ἐγένετο δὲ ἀποθανεῖν τὸν πτωχὸν καὶ ἀπενεχθῆναι αὐτὸν ὑπὸ τῶν ἀγγέλων εἰς τὸν κόλπον ᾿Αβραάμ· ἀπέθανε δὲ καὶ ὁ πλούσιος καὶ ἐτάφη. καὶ ἐν τῷ ᾅδῃ ἐπάρας τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ, ὑπάρχων ἐν βασάνοις, ὁρᾷ τὸν ᾿Αβραὰμ ἀπὸ μακρόθεν καὶ Λάζαρον ἐν τοῖς κόλποις αὐτοῦ. καὶ αὐτὸς φωνήσας εἶπε· πάτερ ᾿Αβραάμ, ἐλέησόν με καὶ πέμψον Λάζαρον ἵνα βάψῃ τὸ ἄκρον τοῦ δακτύλου αὐτοῦ ὕδατος καὶ καταψύξῃ τὴν γλῶσσάν μου, ὅτι ὀδυνῶμαι ἐν τῇ φλογὶ ταύτῃ. εἶπε δὲ ᾿Αβραάμ· τέκνον, μνήσθητι ὅτι ἀπέλαβες σὺ τὰ ἀγαθά σου ἐν τῇ ζωῇ σου, καὶ Λάζαρος ὁμοίως τὰ κακά· νῦν δὲ ὧδε παρακαλεῖται, σὺ δὲ ὀδυνᾶσαι· καὶ ἐπὶ πᾶσι τούτοις μεταξὺ ἡμῶν καὶ ὑμῶν χάσμα μέγα ἐστήρικται, ὅπως οἱ θέλοντες διαβῆναι ἔνθεν πρὸς ὑμᾶς μὴ δύνωνται, μηδὲ οἱ ἐκεῖθεν πρὸς ἡμᾶς διαπερῶσιν. εἶπε δέ· ἐρωτῶ οὖν σε, πάτερ, ἵνα πέμψῃς αὐτὸν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ πατρός μου· ἔχω γὰρ πέντε ἀδελφούς· ὅπως διαμαρτύρηται αὐτοῖς, ἵνα μὴ καὶ αὐτοὶ ἔλθωσιν εἰς τὸν τόπον τοῦτον τῆς βασάνου. λέγει αὐτῷ ᾿Αβραάμ· ἔχουσι Μωϋσέα καὶ τοὺς προφήτας· ἀκουσάτωσαν αὐτῶν. ὁ δὲ εἶπεν· οὐχί, πάτερ ᾿Αβραάμ, ἀλλ᾿ ἐάν τις ἀπὸ νεκρῶν πορευθῇ πρὸς αὐτούς, μετανοήσουσιν. εἶπε δὲ αὐτῷ· εἰ Μωϋσέως καὶ τῶν προφητῶν οὐκ ἀκούουσιν, οὐδὲ ἐάν τις ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστῇ πεισθήσονται.

READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:

Τῇ Λ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Ζηνοβίου καὶ Ζηνοβίας τῶν αὐταδέλφων.
Συγκαρτερεῖ σοι Ζηνόβιε τὸ ξίφος,
Ἡ καρτερόφρων, κἂν γυνή, Ζηνοβία.
Τμήθη Ζηνοβίῃ καὶ ἀδελφεὸς ἐν τριακοστῇ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Μαρκιανοῦ, Ἐπισκόπου Συρακούσης, μαθητοῦ τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἀποστόλου Πέτρου.
Χριστοῦ τὸν εὔνουν Μαρκιανὸν οἰκέτην,
Διὰ βρόχου κτείνουσιν οἱ Χριστοκτόνοι.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Ἀλεξάνδρου, Κρονίωνος, Ἰουλιανοῦ, Μακαρίου, καὶ ἑτέρων δέκα καὶ τριῶν.
Σὺν Ἀλεξάνδρῳ τῆς τιτάνου τὸ ζέον,
Φέρει Κρονίων, υἱὸν οὐ σέβων Κρόνου.
Ἰουλιανὸς καὶ Μακάριος ξίφει,
Ζωὴν ἐφεῦρον τὴν μακαριωτάτην.
Οὐ πῦρ ἀναφθέν, οὐ ξίφος θηχθέν, Λόγε,
Δὶς πέντε καὶ τρεῖς ἄνδρας ἐκ σοῦ χωρίσει.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῆς Ἁγίας Μάρτυρος Εὐτροπίας.
Τὴν Εὐτροπίαν οἷα νύμφην λαμπάδες,
Προὔπεμπον οἴκῳ τοῦ νοητοῦ Νυμφίου.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἀποστόλου Κλεόπα καὶ τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Ἰωσήφ, Πατριάρχου Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, καὶ τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων, Ἀστερίου, Κλαυδίου, Νέωνος, καὶ τῆς ἀδελφῆς αὐτῶν Νεονίλλης.
Κλαύδιος, Ἀστέριος, ἀλλὰ καὶ Νέων,
Ἄθλῳ ξίφους ὤφθησαν ἀστέρες νέοι.
Ἐπὶ ξύλου ταθεῖσα ἡ Νεονίλλα,
Ξύλου παλαιὰν ἐξερεύγεται βλάβην.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Ἀποστόλων ἐκ τῶν Ἑβδομήκοντα, Τερτίου, Μάρκου, Ἰούστου καὶ Ἀρτεμᾶ.
Ταῖς τῶν Ἁγίων σου πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.

Zenobios & Zenobia the Martyrs These Saints were from Aegae in Cilicia, brought up in piety by their parents. Zenobios was a physician, and healed many freely by the power of God; because of his virtue he was consecrated Bishop of Aegae. With his sister he was taken by Lysias the Governor, and after many tortures they were beheaded, about the year 290, during the reign of Diocletian.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Οι Μάρτυρές σου, Κύριε, εν τή αθλήσει αυτών, στεφάνους εκομίσαντο τής αφθαρσίας, εκ σού τού Θεού ημών, σχόντες γάρ τήν ισχύν σου, τούς τυράννους καθείλον, έθραυσαν καί δαιμόνων, τά ανίσχυρα θράση. Αυτών ταίς ικεσίαις, Χριστέ ο Θεός, σώσον τάς ψυχάς ημών.

Thy Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for Thee received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since they possessed Thy strength, they cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Τούς αληθείας Μάρτυρας, καί ευσεβείας κήρυκας, τώv αδελφώv τήν δυάδα τιμήσωμεν, εν θεοπνεύστοις άσμασι, τόν Zηvόβιοv άμα τή σεπτή Zηνοβία, ομού βιώσαντας, καί διά μαρτυρίου τευξαμένους στέφος άφθαρτον.

With songs inspired by God, let us now render honour, as is due unto Zenobios and wise Zenobia, the pair of siblings in the flesh, who proclaimed true religion; those two martyrs of truth, who, passing their lives as one, also received together through martyrdom crowns that shall not fade.

"Οι βουλόμενοι πλουτείν εμπίπτουσιν εις πειρασμόν και παγίδα και επιθυμίας πολλάς ανοήτους και βλαβεράς, αίτινες βυθίζουσι τους ανθρώπους εις όλεθρον και απώλειαν". Δηλαδή, εκείνοι που θέλουν να μαζεύουν πλούτον πέφτουν σε πειρασμό και παγίδα και σε πολλές ανόητες και βλαβερές επιθυμίες, που βυθίζουν τους ανθρώπους στην καταστροφή και την απώλεια. Είναι λόγια της θείας Γραφής με το στόμα του Αποστόλου παύλου, λόγια με αιώνιο κύρος. Οι τέσσερις αδελφοί και άγιοι Μάρτυρες Κλαύδιος, Αστέριος, Νέων και Νεονίλλα, των οποίων η Εκκλησία σήμερα τιμά την μνήμη, εμαρτύρησαν βέβαια για την χριστιανική τους πίστη, μα η αρχική αιτία, για την οποία κατηγορήθηκαν για χριστιανοί, ήταν η μεγάλη πατρική τους περιουσία. Η μητρυιά τους, μετά τον θάνατο του πατέρα τους, για να σφετερισθή την περιουσία, κατάγγειλε τους τέσσερις αδελφούς. Πραγματικά λοιπόν "ρίζα πάντων των κακών έστιν η φιλαργυρία".

Holy Martyrs Zenobius and his sister Zenobia (~290)
These two holy ones were brother and sister, living the city of Aegea in Cilicia. When their parents died, they gave all their possessions to the poor. Zenobius, a physician, gave his healing services for free to all who came to him, often relying more upon the holy Name of Jesus than upon medicines. In time, he became Bishop of Aegea. During the persecutions under the Emperor Diocletian, Zenobius was arrested and brought before the governor Lysias, who demanded that he deny Christ and worship the idols. When Zenobius refused, he was subjected to torture. Zenobia, hearing of this, rushed to be with him and openly rebuked the governor. The two were then tortured together and finally beheaded, faithful to their Lord to the end.

Holy Apostle Cleopas
He is numbered among the Seventy. On the day of the Resurrection, Cleopas and St Luke were walking on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus when the Risen Christ appeared to them, as recounted in the twenty-fourth chapter of St Luke's Gospel.
The Gospel account does not name St Cleopas' companion, but the holy tradition of the Church tells us that it was St Luke himself, and thus that the story is a first-hand account.

St Joseph I, Patriarch of Constantinople (1283)
Once a married priest, he entered monastic life when his wife died, and became the spiritual father of the Emperor Michael VIII Paleologus, during whose reign he was elevated to the Patriarchate. Despite this patronage, St Joseph's integrity was inviolable: At his first Divine Liturgy as Patriarch, he required the Emperor publicly to confess and repent of several sins before admitting him to Communion. He fiercely opposed the Emperor's expedient policy of union with Rome, and was therefore deposed, retiring once more to monastic life. In old age, he was restored to the Patriarchal throne upon the death of Emperor Michael, but died a few months later.

Οἱ Ἅγιοι Ζηνόβιος καὶ Ζηνοβία τὰ ἀδέλφια
Κατάγονταν ἀπὸ τὶς Αἰγαῖς τῆς Κιλικίας καὶ ἦταν κληρονόμοι μεγάλης περιουσίας. Ὁ Ζηνόβιος εἶχε σπουδάσει ἰατρική, καὶ ὄχι μόνο πρόσφερε ἀφιλοκερδῶς τὶς ὑπηρεσίες του στοὺς πάσχοντες, ἀλλὰ ἐπιπλέον πλούσια μοίραζε ἀπὸ τὰ ἀγαθά του σ᾿ αὐτούς. Μὲ τὴν συμπεριφορά του αὐτὴ στήριζε τοὺς χριστιανούς, καὶ πολλοὺς εἰδωλολάτρες ἔφερε στὴ χριστιανικὴ πίστη. Ὅταν πληροφορήθηκε αὐτὸ ὁ ἔπαρχος Λυσίας, ἔδωσε διαταγὴ καὶ τὸν συνέλαβαν. Ὁ Ζηνόβιος μὲ παῤῥησία ὁμολόγησε ὅτι πράγματι εἶναι χριστιανός, καὶ ὅ,τι κάνει, τὸ κάνει γιὰ τὴν σωτηρία ψυχῶν καὶ τὴν δόξα τοῦ ἀληθινοῦ Θεοῦ. Ὁ Λυσίας μὲ αὐστηρότητα τοῦ εἶπε ὅτι ἂν δὲ σταματήσει αὐτὸ ποὺ κάνει καὶ δὲν ἀρνηθεῖ τὸ Χριστό, θὰ μαρτυρήσει φρικτά. Ὁ Ζηνόβιος ἀπάντησε ὅτι τὰ μαρτύρια μποροῦν νὰ βλάψουν τὸ σῶμα του, ἀλλὰ τὴν ψυχή του ποτέ. Διότι λέει ὁ λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ: «Καὶ τὶς ὁ κακώσων ὑμᾶς, ἐὰν τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ μιμητοὶ γένησθε;». Ποιός, δηλαδή, θὰ μπορέσει νὰ σᾶς κάνει κακὸ καὶ νὰ σᾶς ἐπιφέρει πραγματικὴ βλάβη, ἂν γίνετε μιμητὲς καὶ ἀκόλουθοι τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ; Ὁ Λυσίας ἀμέσως διέταξε καὶ τὸν βασάνισαν. Τότε παρενέβη ἡ ἀδελφή του Ζηνοβία καὶ ἤλεγξε τὸ Λυσία, ὅτι αὐτὸ ποὺ κάνει εἶναι ἄνανδρο. Ἀλλὰ ὁ ἔπαρχος συνέλαβε καὶ αὐτή, καὶ τελικὰ ἀποκεφάλισε καὶ τοὺς δυό. (Κάτ, ἄλλη ἐκδοχὴ ὁ Ζηνόβιος μαρτύρησε ἐπὶ Διοκλητιανοῦ. Γεννήθηκε ἀπὸ γονεῖς εὐσεβεῖς τὸν Ζηνόδοτο καὶ τὴν Θέκλα, καὶ πώς, ὅταν μεγάλωσε ἔγινε ἐπίσκοπος Αἰγῶν, ἐπιτελῶντας πολλὰ θαύματα).

Ὁ Ἅγιος Μαρκιανός Ἱερομάρτυρας ἐπίσκοπος Συρακουσῶν
Βαπτίστηκε καὶ χειροτονήθηκε ἀπὸ τὸν Ἀπόστολο Πέτρο καὶ στάλθηκε ἐπίσκοπος στὶς Συρακοῦσες τῆς Σικελίας. Ἐκεῖ κατέπληξε μὲ τὰ θαύματά του διὰ τῆς προσευχῆς καὶ κατάφερε νὰ ἐκχριστιανίσει τοὺς περισσότερους κατοίκους τῆς περιοχῆς αὐτῆς. Ὁπότε οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι, κινούμενοι ἀπὸ φθόνο, τὸν θανάτωσαν μὲ βίαιο θάνατο καὶ ἔτσι ὁ ἅγιος Μαρκιανὸς πῆρε τὸ ἀμάραντο στεφάνι τοῦ μαρτυρίου.

Οἱ Ἅγιοι Κοϊντάς, Μήτρας, Νεμεσίων, Πτολεμαῖος, Θεόφιλος, Ἰγένης, Ἰσίδωρος, Κλαύδιος, Ἐπίμαχος, Εὐτρόπιος, Ζήνων, Ἤρων, Ἀμμών, Ἀτήρ, Βήσας, Διόσκουρος, Ἀλέξανδρος, Κρονίων, Ἰουλιανός, Μακάριος καὶ ἄλλοι 13 Μάρτυρες
Μαρτύρησαν στὰ χρόνια τοῦ βασιλιᾶ Δεκίου τὸ 250, στὴν Ἀλεξάνδρεια. Οἱ δυὸ πρῶτοι θανατώθηκαν, μετὰ ἀπὸ σκληρὰ βασανιστήρια, ἀφοῦ ἔχυσαν ἐπάνω τους βρασμένη ἀσβέστη. Οἱ δὲ ἑπόμενοι δυό, ἀφοῦ καὶ αὐτοὶ βασανίστηκαν ἀπάνθρωπα, στὸ τέλος τοὺς ἀποκεφάλισαν. Ἀπὸ τοὺς ἄλλους 13 μάρτυρες, ἄλλους ἔκαψαν ζωντανοὺς καὶ ἄλλους ἀποκεφάλισαν.

Ἡ Ἁγία Εὐτροπία
Ἦταν ἀπὸ τὴν Ἀλεξάνδρεια τῆς Αἰγύπτου καὶ μάταια ὁ ἔπαρχος Ἀπελλιανὸς προσπαθοῦσε νὰ διεγείρει τὴν ψυχὴ τῆς Εὐτροπίας στὶς ὁρμὲς τῆς ζωῆς, τῶν ἀνέσεων, τῶν τέρψεων καὶ τῶν ἡδονῶν, ποὺ ὑποσχόταν σ᾿ αὐτήν, ἂν ἤθελε ν᾿ ἀρνηθεῖ τὸν Χριστό. Τέρψη, ἡδονὴ καὶ ἄνεση γιὰ μένα εἶναι, ἔλεγε ἡ Εὔτροπια, τὸ νὰ ζῶ κατὰ τὰ χριστιανικὰ παραγγέλματα. Ἐμᾶς ἑλκύουν ἡ ἐγκράτεια, ἡ λιτότητα, οἱ κακοπάθειες καὶ οἱ θλίψεις γιὰ τοὺς ἄλλους, ἡ δὲ μεγαλύτερη τῶν ἡδονῶν εἶναι ὁ θάνατος γιὰ τὸ Χριστό. Καὶ αὐτὸ τὸ ἀπέδειξε ἡ μάρτυς καὶ μὲ ἔργα. Οὔτε φυλακή, οὔτε σιδερένια νύχια καὶ ἀναμμένες λαμπάδες πτόησαν ἢ πίκραναν τὴν ψυχή της. Τὰ λόγια της ἐξακολουθοῦσαν θαῤῥαλέα καὶ ἡρωικά, τὸ δὲ κεφάλι της βάφηκε μὲ τὸ αἷμα της. Καὶ τὸ κεφάλι ἐκεῖνο, ποὺ μὲ τέτοιο τρόπο ἔπεσε, ἦταν τὸ τιμιότερο ἀπὸ κάθε ἄλλο κεφάλι στολισμένο μὲ διαμάντια καὶ στέμματα βασιλικά.

Οἱ Ἅγιοι Κλεόπας ὁ Ἀπόστολος καὶ Ἰωσὴφ Πατριάρχης Κωνσταντινουπόλεως
Ὁ Κλεόπας ἦταν ἕνας ἀπὸ τοὺς 70 μαθητὲς τοῦ Κυρίου. Γι᾿ αὐτὸν βλέπε στὸ κατὰ Λουκᾶν Εὐαγγέλιον ΚΔ´ 19-27. Ὁ Κλεόπας, ἔλαβε καὶ αὐτὸς κατὰ τὴν ἡμέρα τῆς Πεντηκοστῆς τὰ χαρίσματα τοῦ Ἁγίου Πνεύματος καὶ πέρασε τὴ ζωή του κοπιάζοντας γιὰ τὸ Εὐαγγέλιο. Ὁ δὲ Ἰωσὴφ ἔζησε τὸν 13ο αἰῶνα. Ἔγινε Ἱερομόναχος μετὰ τὸν θάνατο τῆς συζύγου του καὶ διαδέχτηκε στὸν Πατριαρχικὸ θρόνο τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως τὸν Γερμανὸ Γ´ τὸ 1268. Τὸ 1275 ὑπέβαλε τὴν παραίτησή του, διότι ὁ βασιλιὰς Μιχαήλ, εἶχε ὑπογράψει χωρὶς τὴν θέληση κλήρου καὶ λαοῦ, στὴ Λυὼν τῆς Γαλλίας, τὴν ἕνωση τῆς Ἀνατολικῆς καὶ τῆς παπικῆς Ἐκκλησίας. Στὶς 31 Ὀκτωβρίου 1282 ἐπανῆλθε στὸν θρόνο καὶ ἔκανε πολλὲς καὶ κοπιαστικὲς περιοδεῖες γιὰ νὰ ἀποκαταστήσει τὴν Ὀρθόδοξη ἐκκλησιαστικὴ τάξη. Ὅμως, τὸν Μάρτιο τοῦ 1283, ἐξουθενωμένος ἀπὸ τοὺς κόπους, παρέδωσε τὸ πνεῦμα του στὸ Θεό.

Οἱ Ἅγιοι Ἀστέριος, Κλαύδιος, Νέων καὶ Νεονίλλη τὰ ἀδέλφια
Αὐτοὶ ἦταν ἐκ τῆς πόλεως τῶν Λαράνδων, τὸ γένος Ἴσαυροι καὶ ἀδέλφια κατὰ σάρκα, στὰ χρόνια τοῦ Διοκλητιανοῦ καὶ Λυσίου ἡγεμόνος τῆς Κιλικίας. Ὅταν πέθανε ὁ πατέρας τους, ἔπεσαν στὰ νύχια τῆς κακιᾶς μητριᾶς τους, ποὺ ἤθελε νὰ ἁρπάξει τὴν περιουσία ποὺ τοὺς ἄφησε ὁ πατέρας τους. Τὰ τέσσερα ἀδέλφια δὲν ἐπέτρεψαν στὴ μητριά τους νὰ οἰκειοποιηθεῖ τὴν περιουσία τους, ἀντίθετα ὅμως, μὲ κάθε προθυμία βοηθοῦσαν μὲ τὰ χρήματα αὐτὰ τοὺς φτωχούς. Τότε ἡ μέγαιρα μητριά, γιὰ νὰ ἐκδικηθεῖ τὰ τέσσερα ἀδέλφια, τὰ κατάγγειλε στὸν ἡγεμόνα τῆς Κιλικίας Λυσία, ὅτι ἦταν χριστιανοί. Ἀμέσως συνελήφθησαν καὶ βασανίστηκαν σκληρά. Ἀλλὰ τὸ φρόνημά τους δὲν ἄλλαξε. Τότε ἀποκεφαλίστηκαν καὶ οἱ τέσσερις, τὰ δὲ σώματά τους ῥίχτηκαν στὰ φαράγγια γιὰ νὰ τὰ φάνε τὰ ὄρνεα. Ἀλλ᾿ ἡ ψυχή τους πέταξε ἔνδοξη μπροστὰ στὸν θρόνο τοῦ Θεοῦ, περιμένοντας τὴ μεγάλη ἡμέρα τῆς μισθαποδοσίας.

Οἱ Ἅγιοι Τέρτιος, Μᾶρκος, Ἰοῦστος (ἢ Ἰησοῦς) καὶ Ἀρτεμᾶς οἱ Ἀπόστολοι ἀπὸ τοὺς 70
Ὁ Τέρτιος ἔγινε δεύτερος ἐπίσκοπος Ἰκονίου μετὰ τὸν Σωσίπατρο. Ἔγραψε δὲ καὶ τὴν πρὸς Ῥωμαίους Ἐπιστολὴ τοῦ Ἀποστόλου Παύλου, καθὼς ὁ ἴδιος μαρτυρεῖ (Ρωμ. ιστ´ 22).
Ὁ Μᾶρκος, ἀνεψιὸς τοῦ Βαρνάβα, ἔγινε ἐπίσκοπος Ἀπολλωνιάδας καὶ μὲ τὸ Εὐαγγελικό του κήρυγμα ἐξολόθρευσε τὸ σέβας τῶν εἰδώλων. (Κολ. δ´ 10).
Ὁ Ἰοῦστος ἔγινε ἐπίσκοπος Ἐλευθερουπόλεως καὶ μὲ τὰ λόγια του καὶ τὰ θαύματά του εἵλκυσε στὴν ἀλήθεια τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου τοὺς ἐκεῖ ἀπίστους.
Καὶ ὁ Ἀρτεμᾶς ἔγινε ἐπίσκοπος στὰ Λύστρα, καὶ σὰν δόκιμος ὑπηρέτης τοῦ Χριστοῦ διέλυσε στὸν τόπο αὐτὸν τὴν πλάνη τῶν δαιμόνων.

The PriestMartyr Zenobios, Bishop of Egeia, and his sister Zenobia suffered a martyr's death in the year 285 in Cilicia. From childhood they were raised in the holy Christian faith by their parents, and they led pious and chaste lives. In their mature years, shunning the love of money, they distributed away their wealth, an inheritance, giving it to the poor. For his beneficence and holy life the Lord rewarded Zenobios with the gift of healing various maladies. And he was chosen bishop of a Christian community in Cilicia.
In the dignity of bishop, Saint Zenobios zealously spread the Christian faith among the pagans. When the emperor Diocletian (284-305) began a persecution against Christians, Bishop Zenobios was the first one arrested and brought to trial to the governor Licius. "I shalt speak with thee but briefly, -- said Licius to the saint, -- for I propose to thee: life -- if thou worshipest our gods, or death -- if thou dost not". The saint answered: "This present life without Christ is death; better I prepare to endure the present torment for my Creator, and then with Him live eternally, than to renounce Him because of the present life, and then be tormented eternally in hades".
By order of Licius, they nailed him to a cross and began the torture. The sister of the bishop, seeing the suffering of her brother, wanted then to stop it with him. She bravely confessed her own faith in Christ afront the governor, for which she also was given over to torture.
By the power of the Lord they remained alive after torture on a red-hot cot and in a boiling kettle. The saints were then beheaded. Presbyter Hermogenes secretly buried the bodies of the martyrs.

The Holy Disciples from the Seventy: Tertius (Tercias), Mark, Justus and Artemis. Saint Tertius was the second bishop in succession (after the holy Disciple Sosipater) in Iconium, where he converted many pagans to Christ, and here he ended his life as a martyr. The Apostle Paul makes mention of him in the Epistle to the Romans (Rom. 16: 22). Saint Mark, he that was John, (Acts 12: 12), a nephew of the Disciple Barnabas, was bishop of Apolloniada (Col. 4: 10). It was in the house of his mother Maria that the persecuted disciples found shelter after the Ascension of the Lord. Saint Justus, called Barsaba, a son of Saint Joseph the Betrothed, was chosen in place of Judas, together with Matthias. He was a bishop and died a martyr's death at Eleutheropolis.
Saint Artemis was bishop of the Lycian city of Lystra, and he died peacefully.

The Holy PriestMartyr Marcian, Bishop of Syracuse, a disciple of the Apostle Peter, was sent to Sicily. Here he settled into a cave near the city of Syracuse and successfully spread the faith in Christ. He died a martyr. His relics are situated in the Italian city of Gaeta. (The PriestMartyr Marcian is the same person as Saint Marcellus, Bishop of Sicily, whose memory is 9 February).

The Martyress Eutropia suffered for Christ in Alexandria in about the year 250. Often visiting Christians locked up in prison, she encouraged them to the patient endurance of suffering. For this the saint was arrested. At her trial she firmly confessed her faith in Christ and she died after grievous tortures.

Saint Stefan (Stephen) Miliutin, King of Serbia, his brother Dragutin, and their mother Elena (Helen): Saint Stefan was the younger son of king Stefan Urosh I, and grandson of First-Crowned King Saint Stefan (Comm. 24 September). He ruled Serbia from 1275 to 1320. Stefan Miliutin received the throne from his elder brother Dragutin, a true Christian, who after a short reign transferred power over to his brother, and he himself in loving solitude withdrew to Srem, where he did secret ascetic deeds in a grave-pit, dug by his own hand. During his righteous life, Saint Dragutin toiled much over converting the heretic Bogomils to the true faith. His death occurred on 2 March 1316.
Saint Stefan Miliutin, having become king, bravely by both word and by deed, defended the Orthodox Serbs and other same-faith peoples from numerous enemies. Pious Stefan did not forget to thank the Lord for His beneficence. More than 40 churches were built by him, as also many monastery and vagrant hostels. The saint particularly concerned himself with the Athonite monasteries.
When the Serbian kingdom fell, the monasteries remained centres of national culture and Orthodoxy for the Serb nation. Saint Stefan died on 29 October 1320 and was buried at the Bansk monastery. After two years his undecayed relics were uncovered.
Saint Elena, the pious mother to her sainted sons, after the death of her husband devoted her whole life to pious deeds: she built a shelter for the impoverished, and constructed a monastery for those wanting to live in purity and virginity. Near the city of Spich she erected the Rechesk monastery and endowed it with the necessities. Before her death, Saint Elena accepted monasticism and expired to the Lord on 8 February 1306.

THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. The Hieromartyr Zenobius and his sister Zenobia
They were from the town of Aegea in Cilicia. They inherited the true Faith and great material wealth from their parents. Working zealously for the Faith and with great love, they distributed all their wealth to the poor. Because their hands were so generous, the hand of God shielded them from every evil intent of men and demons. The generous hands of Zenobius, which gave to the poor, were endowed by God with the gift of miracle-working, and Zenobius healed the sick of every kind of infirmity merely by touching them. Zenobius was appointed Bishop of Aegea. During a persecution, the Prefect Lysias arrested him and said: ``I offer you two choices: life or death; life if you worship the gods, or death if you do not.'' St. Zenobius replied: ``Life without Christ is not life but death, whereas death for the sake of Christ is not death but life.'' When Zenobius was subjected to cruel tortures, Zenobia came to the judge and said: ``I also want to drink from this cup of suffering, and be crowned with that wreath.'' After being tortured in fire and in boiling pitch, both were beheaded with the sword in about the year 285. Thus this brother and sister took up their habitation in the Kingdom of the Immortal Christ the King.

2. The Holy Apostles Cleopas, Tertius, Mark, Justus and Artemas
They were all numbered among the Seventy. The risen Lord appeared to Cleopas on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-33). Tertius wrote down the Epistle to the Romans for Paul (Romans 16:22), and died a martyr as Bishop of Iconium after the Apostle Sosipater (November 10). St. Mark (or John) was the son of the devout Mary (whose home was a refuge for the apostles and the first Christians), and a kinsman of Barnabas (Acts 12:12). He became the bishop of the Samaritan town of Apollonia. Justus was a son of Joseph the Betrothed. Together with Matthias, he was one of those selected as a possible replacement for Judas the traitor, but he was not chosen. He suffered for the Gospel as a bishop in Eleutheropolis. St. Artemas was Bishop of Lystra in Lycaonia, and reposed peacefully.

3. The Holy King Milutin
Milutin was the son of Uro I and Queen Helena and brother of Dragutin. He fought many battles defending his Faith and his people. He fought against Emperor Michael Palaeologus because Palaeologus accepted union with Rome and tried to force the Balkan peoples and the monks of Athos to recognize the pope. He fought against Shishman, King of Bulgaria, and Nogai, King of the Tartars, in order to defend his lands. All his wars were successful, for he constantly prayed to God and hoped in God. He built more than forty churches: beside those that he built in his own land-Treskavac, Graèanica, St. George in Nagoriè, the Church of the Holy Theotokos in Skoplje, Banjska and so forth-he also built churches outside of his land, in Thessalonica, Sofia, Constantinople, Jerusalem and the Holy Mountain. He entered into rest in the Lord on October 29, 1320. His body was soon shown to be incorrupt and miracle-working; and as such, it reposes even today in the Church of the Holy King in Sofia, Bulgaria.

HYMN OF PRAISE
The Holy King Milutin
The saint of God, Milutin the gallant,
Had a great and difficult task:
To defend the Faith against evil schismatics,
And the people against many cruel tyrants.
He was a scourge to Palaeologus, and a scourge to the Latins-
Milutin triumphed over all the unbelievers.
The Orthodox Faith was his great treasure,
As it was Justinian's crown of pearls!
And, like Justinian, he built many churches,
And raised up glory to the glorious Christ throughout the world.
Royally he attended to matters imperial,
But his mind was not parted from Christ God.
Thus, pure and innocent in heart was he,
A venerable mind in the whirlpool of the world.
God, Who looks at the heart and judges accordingly,
Granted King Milutin immortality-
Immortality of soul, and an incorrupt body.
And lo, our holy king, even now, is intact!
As you fear no man, O wondrous King,
Be our defender before the Living God,
That he forgive our sinful monstrosities,
And vouchsafe us, with you, the Heavenly Kingdom.

REFLECTION
A great son of the Orthodox Church, King Milutin saved the Balkans from Uniatism. At that time in history when the Byzantine emperor's conscience was weakened, this noble and God-bearing Slavic king rose up decisively and, with God's help, saved Orthodoxy-not only in his own land, but also in all the lands of the Balkans. He who closely examines the life of the holy King Milutin will understand why God gave him success after success in all his works throughout his life. When Milutin ascended the throne, he immediately vowed to God that he would build a church for each year that he would reign. He reigned forty-two years and built forty-two churches. Next to some of the churches-for example, in Thessalonica and Constantinople-he also built hospitals for the indigent, where the poor would receive everything free of charge. Beyond that, he especially loved to give alms to the needy from his own enormous wealth. Oftentimes, this powerful and wealthy king dressed in the clothes of a poor man and, with two or three of his servants, walked among the people at night and asked about their misfortunes, and gave to them abundantly. He lived a very simple, familial life, even in the midst of his great wealth-though he never seemed that way to foreigners. He had become accustomed to a simple life while still at the home of his father, King Uro I. It is told how Emperor Michael Palaeologus sent his daughter Anna with a retinue to the court of King Uro, as an offering to Milutin, in order to lure the Serbian king into union with Rome. But King Uro, seeing the foolish extravagance of the princess and her retinue, said: “What is this, and what is it for? We are not used to such a life.'' And pointing to a Serbian princess with a distaff in her hand, he said: “Behold, this is the kind of clothing we expect our daughter-in-law to wear.''

HOMILY
on the desire for God-the only desire of the righteous
Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee (Psalm 73:25).
In heaven and on earth, there is one supreme good for the soul of an awakened man. That good is God. There is countless good in heaven, but the King of heaven is the greatest good. There is countless good on earth, but the Creator of all of this good is incomparable. That is why the soul of the awakened man asks: ``What could I have or what could I desire, either in heaven or on earth, beside Thee?'' Is the river necessary to the one who is brought to drink at its source? Does one who sits at the king's table desire the shepherd's dinner? God alone is sufficient in Himself to satisfy all of men's hunger and thirst. The heavens are God's, the earth is God's. The Lord of all good is the greatest good; the Creator of all sweetness is the greatest sweetness; the Bearer of all wisdom is the greatest wisdom; the Source of all power and mercy is the greatest power and mercy; the Creator of every kind of beauty in heaven and on earth is the greatest beauty. No kind of good can enter the heart of man-whether openly or in a dream-that is not already in God to the highest degree.
Therefore, my brethren, let us ask God that we may receive all; let us seek God that we may find all; let us become rich in God that we may be rich in all.
O Lord our God, come near us when our souls seek Thee.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

October 29, 2011 - 20th Week After Pentecost (6th of Luke)

FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:

Anastasia the Martyr of Rome
Avramios the Recluse & his niece Maria of Mesopotamia

Αγία Αναστασία η Ρωμαία, η Οσιομάρτυς
Όσιος Αβράμιος και Μαρία η ανεψιά του
Άγιοι Κύριλλος, Μίνης και Μιναίος
Άγιος Σάββας ο στρατηλάτης
Οσία Άννα η μετονομασθείσα Eυφημιανός
Αγία Μελιτίνη

READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:

The Reading is from St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians 1:8-11
BRETHREN, we do not want you to be ignorant of the affliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself, Why, we felt that we had received the sentence of death; but that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead; he delivered us from so deadly a peril, and he will deliver us; on him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us in answer to many prayers.

Πρὸς Κορινθίους β' 1:8-11
Ἀδελφοί, oὐ θέλομεν ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν, ἀδελφοί, ὑπὲρ τῆς θλίψεως ἡμῶν τῆς γενομένης ἡμῖν ἐν τῇ Ἀσίᾳ, ὅτι καθʼ ὑπερβολὴν ἐβαρήθημεν ὑπὲρ δύναμιν, ὥστε ἐξαπορηθῆναι ἡμᾶς καὶ τοῦ ζῇν. Ἀλλὰ αὐτοὶ ἐν ἑαυτοῖς τὸ ἀπόκριμα τοῦ θανάτου ἐσχήκαμεν, ἵνα μὴ πεποιθότες ὦμεν ἐφʼ ἑαυτοῖς ἀλλʼ ἐπὶ τῷ θεῷ τῷ ἐγείροντι τοὺς νεκρούς· ὃς ἐκ τηλικούτου θανάτου ἐρρύσατο ἡμᾶς καὶ ῥύεται, εἰς ὃν ἠλπίκαμεν ὅτι καὶ ἔτι ῥύσεται, συνυπουργούντων καὶ ὑμῶν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν τῇ δεήσει, ἵνα ἐκ πολλῶν προσώπων τὸ εἰς ἡμᾶς χάρισμα διὰ πολλῶν εὐχαριστηθῇ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν.

The Reading is from Luke 8:16-21
The Lord said, "No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hid that shall not be made manifest, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light. Take heed then how you hear; for to him who has will more be given, and from him who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away."
Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him for the crowd. And he was told, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you." But he said to them, "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it."

Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 8.16-21
Εἶπεν ὁ Κύριος· Οὐδεὶς δὲ λύχνον ἅψας καλύπτει αὐτὸν σκεύει ἢ ὑποκάτω κλίνης τίθησιν, ἀλλ᾿ ἐπὶ λυχνίας ἐπιτίθησιν, ἵνα οἱ εἰσπορευόμενοι βλέπωσι τὸ φῶς.οὐ γάρ ἐστι κρυπτὸν ὃ οὐ φανερὸν γενήσεται, οὐδὲ ἀπόκρυφον ὃ οὐ γνωσθήσεται καὶ εἰς φανερὸν ἔλθῃ.βλέπετε οὖν πῶς ἀκούετε· ὃς γὰρ ἐὰν ἔχῃ, δοθήσεται αὐτῷ, καὶ ὃς ἐὰν μὴ ἔχῃ, καὶ ὃ δοκεῖ ἔχειν ἀρθήσεται ἀπ᾿ αὐτοῦ. Παρεγένοντο δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν ἡ μήτηρ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ οὐκ ἠδύναντο συντυχεῖν αὐτῷ διὰ τὸν ὄχλον.καὶ ἀπηγγέλη αὐτῷ λεγόντων· ἡ μήτηρ σου καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί σου ἑστήκασιν ἔξω ἰδεῖν σε θέλοντες.ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπε πρὸς αὐτούς· μήτηρ μου καὶ ἀδελφοί μου οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ ἀκούοντες καὶ ποιοῦντες αὐτόν.

READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:

Τῇ ΚΘ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τῆς Ἁγίας Ὁσιομάρτυρος Ἀναστασίας τῆς Ῥωμαίας.
Κάρας τομὴν ἤνεγκε ῥώμῃ καρδίας,
Βλάστημα Ῥώμης, Μάρτυς Ἀναστασία.
Τλῆ δὲ Ἀναστασίη ἐνάτη ξίφος εἰκάδι ὀξύ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη του Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Ἀβραμίου, καὶ Μαρίας τῆς ἀνεψιᾶς αὐτοῦ.
Σαρκὸς νεκρώσας Ἀβράμιε πᾶν μέλος,
Θανὼν συνοικεῖς τοῖς ἀσάρκοις Ἀγγέλοις.
Ἀφεῖσα σαρκὸς τοὺς ἐραστὰς Μαρία,
Ψυχῶν ἐραστῇ μυστικῶς περιπλέκῃ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Κυρίλλου.
Ὑπόσχεσιν μέλλοντος οὖσάν μοι στέφους,
Κύριλλος οἶδα τὴν ἀπειλὴν τοῦ ξίφους.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Σάββας ὁ Στρατηλάτης ἔνθεν κἀκεῖθεν κεντηθείς, τελειοῦται.
Σάββας κατ' ἄμφω κλήσεως μέρη Σάββας,
Ὅθεν κατ' ἄμφω νύττεται λόγχαις μέρη.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῆς ὁσίας Μητρὸς ἡμῶν Ἄννης, τῆς μετονομασθείσης Εὐφημιανός.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῆς Ἁγίας Μάρτυρος Μελιτηνῆς.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.

Saint Anastasia, who was young in age and lived in a convent, was seized by the impious. Confessing Christ openly and with boldness and enduring manifold torments, she was beheaded in the year 256, during the reign of Valerian.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Ἡ ἀμνάς σου Ἰησοῦ, κράζει μεγάλῃ τῇ φωνῇ, Σὲ Νυμφίε μου ποθῶ, καὶ σὲ ζητοῦσα ἀθλῶ, καὶ συσταυροῦμαι, καὶ συνθάπτομαι τῷ βαπτισμῷ σου, καὶ πάσχω διὰ σέ, ὡς βασιλεύσω σὺν σοί, καὶ θνῄσκω ὑπὲρ σοῦ, ἵνα καὶ ζήσω ἐν σοί, ἀλλ' ὡς θυσίαν ἄμωμον, προσδέχου τὴν μετὰ πόθου τυθεῖσάν σοι· Αὐτῆς πρεσβείαις, ὡς ἐλεήμων, σῶσον τὰς ψυχὰς ἡμῶν.

O LORD Jesus, unto Thee Thy lamb doth cry with a great voice: O my Bridegroom, Thee I love; and seeking Thee, I now contest, and with Thy baptism am crucified and buried. I suffer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee; for Thy sake I die, that I may live in Thee: accept me offered out of longing to Thee as a spotless sacrifice. Lord, save our souls through her intercessions, since Thou art great in mercy.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Παρθενίας vάμασι, καθηγvισμέvη οσία, μαρτυρίου αίμασιν, Αvαστασία πλυθείσα, παρέχεις τοίς εν ανάγκαις τών νοσημάτων, ίασιν καί σωτηρίαν τοίς προσιούσιν, εκ καρδίας, ισχύν γάρ νέμει, Χριστός ο βρύωv, χάριν αέναοv.

Made most pure, O righteous one, with chaste virginity's waters, and washed in martyric blood, O Anastasia, thou grantest unto those in need the healing of every illness, and to those who come with love thou grantest salvation; for the well-spring of unfailing grace, even Christ God, bestoweth power on thee.

Our Righteous Father Avramios, born in Edessa in Mesopotamia in 296, took up the monastic life and brought many pagans to Christ. Mary, his niece, upon the death of her parents, joined Avramios at his hermitage and under his guidance advanced swiftly in the love of God. Through the wiles of the evil one, however, she fell into sin, and falling from them into despair, she left her uncle and became a harlot. When he learned where his niece was, Avramios put on the clothes of a man of the world and went to visit her in disguise. Through his exhortations, Mary returned to her first hope in the mercy of God, was rescued from the life of harlotry, and ended her life in great holiness. He himself reposed in the year 366. Saints Avramios and Mary were friends of Saint Ephraim the Syrian, and it was he who wrote their account.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Εν σοί Πάτερ ακριβώς διεσώθη τό κατ' εικόνα, λαβών γάρ τόν σταυρόν, ηκολούθησας τώ Χριστώ καί πράττων εδίδασκες, υπεροράν μέν σαρκός, παρέρχεται γάρ, επιμελείσθαι δέ ψυχής πράγματος αθανάτου. Διό καί μετά Αγγέλων συναγάλλεται, Όσιε Αβράμιε τό πνεύμά σου.

In thee the image was preserved with exactness, O Father; for taking up thy cross, thou didst follow Christ, and by thy deeds thou didst teach us to overlook the flesh, for it passeth away, but to attend to the soul since it is immortal. Wherefore, O righteous Avramios , thy spirit rejoiceth with the Angels.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Thou, while living in the flesh, wast as an angel upon earth; and through thine ascetic pains, thou didst become like a great tree planted by the streams of temp'rance, increasing greatly; with the rivers of thy tears, thou didst cleanse away stains. O Avramios, for this cause, a godly vessel of the Good Spirit art thou.

Πριν από την πτώση τους, οι Πρωτόπλαστοι ήσαν γυμνοί στον Παράδεισο "και ουκ ησχύνοντο". Μετά την παρακοή και την πτώση, ανοίχθηκαν τα μάτια τους και κατάλαβαν πως ήσαν γυμνοί. Τότε "έρραψαν φύλλα συκής και εποίησαν εαυτοίς περιζώματα". Μετά την ετυμηγορία του κατά των Πρωτοπλάστων, "εποίησε Κύριος ο Θεός τω Αδάμ και τη γυναικί αυτού χιτώνας δερματίνους και ενέδυσεν αυτούς". Από τότε, όσο περισσότερο γυμνώνεται ο άνθρωπος, τόσο περισσότερο δείχνει πως του λείπει η ντροπή. Σε παλαιότερη εποχή, που οι άνθρωποι δεν γυμνώνονταν μόνοι τους, για να πομπέψουν κάποιον, τον γύμνωναν και τον εξέθεταν σε κοινή θέα. Γυμνός υψώθηκε στο Σταυρό ο Σωτήρας του κόσμου και γυμνή υποχρεώθηκε να σταθή εμπρός στα μάτια του όχλου και η αγία Μελιτινή, της οποίας την μνήμη γιορτάζει σήμερα η Εκκλησία. Γυμνώθηκαν οι Άγιοι για καταισχύνη από τους ανθρώπους, κι ενδύθηκαν από τον Θεό με τιμή και δόξα.

Holy Virgin Martyr Anastasia of Rome (256)
She lived in Rome during the reigns of the Emperors Decius and Valerian. At an early age she left all to embrace a life of unceasing prayer, entering a small monastery in Rome, directed by a nun named Sophia. For her Christian faith, she was seized and brought before the governor Probus and, when she boldly confessed Christ and refused to honor the idols, was subjected to a series of vicious tortures, under which she died. An angel led Sophia to retrieve her holy relics, which are now venerated at the monastery of Grigoriou on Mt Athos.
We are sometimes told that monasticism developed in the Church after Christianity became accepted and grew more worldly. The story of St Anastasia is one of many evidences in the lives of the Saints that what we now call monasticism was present from the earliest days of the Church.

Our Holy Father Abramius (366) and his niece Mary (371) of Mesopotamia
Abramius was a Christian of noble birth who, early in life, left all (including a young bride) to live as a solitary monk. This he did for fifty years. When Abramius' brother died, leaving his seven-year-old daughter Mary orphaned and alone, The Saint took her under his care, giving her a monastic cell near his own. Though Mary devoted herself joyfully to the monastic life, when she was about twenty she fell into sin with a corrupt monk who visited the hermitage. Far worse, she then fell into despair, thinking that she had cast away her salvation, and fled the hermitage to become a harlot in a nearby town. Abramius, unaware of what had happened or where she had gone, prayed constantly for her safety and to be shown where she had fled.
One day a traveler told Abramius what had become of his niece. Immediately he rose up, dressed himself as a soldier and went to the brothel where Mary worked, "for the salvation of a soul meant more to him than hermitage, Habit, ascesis or prayer itself" (Synaxarion). Still disguised, he ordered a meal, his first wine and meat for fifty years, then went with Mary to her room. Only then did he reveal himself, and with tears, not accusing her at all, pleaded with her to leave that place and return with him. "Let us go, my child; let us return to our hermitage. Let your fault be mine. I will answer for it before Christ on the day of judgment." She returned with him and, with repentance, prayed so ardently that she was soon granted not only assurance of forgiveness but the power to work miracles. St Abramius reposed in peace in great old age; Mary followed him into eternal joy five years later.

Ἡ Ἁγία Ἀναστασία ἡ Ῥωμαία, ἡ Ὁσιομάρτυς
Ἡ Ὁσία Ἀναστασία ἔζησε στὰ χρόνια τοῦ Διοκλητιανοῦ καὶ καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Ῥώμη. Ὅταν πέθαναν οἱ πλούσιοι γονεῖς της, διαμοίρασε τὴν περιουσία ποὺ κληρονόμησε στοὺς φτωχοὺς καὶ ἀποσύρθηκε σὲ μοναστήρι. Ὅταν τὴν συνέλαβε ὁ ἡγεμόνας Πρόβος, ὑπενθύμισε στὴν Ἀναστασία τὴν ἀνθηρὴ νεότητά της, γιὰ τὴν ὁποία θὰ ἔπρεπε νὰ ἀρνηθεῖ τὸ Χριστό. Τότε, δυναμικὴ ὑπῆρξε ἡ ἀπάντηση τῆς Ἀναστασίας: «Ἐγὼ, εἶπε, μία ὡραιότητα καὶ νεότητα γνωρίζω, ἐκείνη ποὺ δίνει ὁ Χριστὸς στὶς πιστὲς καὶ γενναῖες ψυχές, ποὺ προτιμοῦν γι᾿ Αὐτὸν τὸ θάνατο ἀντὶ ἄλλων ἐγκόσμιων ἀγαθῶν, ὅταν αὐτὰ προτείνονται γιὰ τὴν προδοσία τοῦ Θεοῦ τους. Πλούτη εἶχα ἄφθονα. Δὲν τὰ θέλησα. Ἀλλὰ τὸ Χριστό μου τὸν θέλω καὶ ἀπ᾿ Αὐτὸν καμία δύναμη δὲ θὰ μπορέσει νὰ μὲ χωρίσει. Ἂν ἀμφιβάλλεις, δοκίμασε». Ἐξαγριωμένος ἀπὸ τὴν ἀπάντηση ὁ Πρόβος, τὴν μαστίγωσε στὸ πρόσωπο καὶ τὴν ἅπλωσε σὲ ἀναμμένα κάρβουνα. Ἔπειτα, τὴν κρέμασε καὶ τῆς ἔσχισε τὸ σῶμα. Μετὰ ἔκοψε τοὺς μαστούς της, ξερίζωσε τὰ νύχια της καὶ τελικὰ τὴν ἀποκεφάλισε. Ἔτσι, ἡ Ἀναστασία πῆρε τὸν ἁμαράντινο στέφανο τοῦ μαρτυρίου.

Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἀβράμιος καὶ Μαρία ἡ ἀνεψιά του
Ἄριστεύς τῆς ἐγκράτειας καὶ τῶν πνευματικῶν ἀσκήσεων, ὁ Ὅσιος Ἀβράμιος ἄφησε τὴν μεγάλη περιουσία ποὺ κληρονόμησε στοὺς φτωχοὺς καὶ ἀφοσιώθηκε ὁλοκληρωτικὰ στὴ διακονία τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ τοῦ πλησίον. Ζοῦσε σὲ ἐρημικὸ τόπο, ὅπου προσευχόταν καὶ μελετοῦσε τὰ ἱερὰ γράμματα. Ἀπὸ κεῖ πήγαινε σὲ διάφορες πόλεις, γιὰ νὰ κηρύξει τὸ λόγο τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ νὰ διακονήσει τὴν βασιλεία τῆς ἀλήθειας καὶ τῆς εἰρήνης τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου. Ἡ πίστη, ἡ ἀγάπη καὶ ἡ ὑπομονή του κατόρθωσαν πολλὲς φορὲς νὰ καταπραΰνουν βάρβαρες καρδιὲς καὶ νὰ ἑλκύσουν στὸ σταυρὸ ψυχὲς ὑπερβολικὰ ἐξαγριωμένες. Πάνω ἀπὸ 70 ἐτῶν ὁ Ἀβράμιος, διατηροῦσε ὅλη τὴν ζωντάνια τῆς ἱεραποστολικῆς δράσης του. Προστατευόμενος μάλιστα καὶ ἀπὸ τὴν ἡλικία του, μπόρεσε νὰ ἀφοσιωθεῖ στὴ σωτηρία ἁμαρτωλῶν γυναικῶν. Κάποτε εὐτύχησε νὰ ἀνασύρει ἀπὸ τὸ βόρβορο τῆς ἁμαρτίας καὶ τὴν κόρη τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ του, τὴν Μαρία. Τὴν εἶδε σὲ κάποιο πανδοχεῖο, χωρὶς νὰ τὴν γνωρίζει, φορτωμένη μὲ κοσμήματα καὶ συντροφιὰ μὲ ἀκόλαστους νέους. Ἡ παραστρατημένη ὅμως νεαρή, δὲν εἶχε ἀποβάλει ἐντελῶς τὶς εὐσεβεῖς ἀναμνήσεις της. Τὴν ἑπομένη, πῆγε στὸ γέροντα ἀσκητὴ καὶ ζήτησε τὴν εὐλογία του. Ἐκεῖνος τῆς ἀπάντησε ὅτι δὲν ὠφελεῖ σὲ τίποτα ἡ εὐλογία τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ὅταν ὁ Θεὸς εἶναι ἀναγκασμένος νὰ μὴ παρέχει τὴν δική Του. Τὰ λόγια αὐτὰ συντάραξαν τὴν Μαρία, μετανόησε, ἐξομολογήθηκε καὶ ἀπὸ τότε ἔζησε ζωὴ ἅγια. Ὁ δὲ Ἀβράμιος πέθανε ὑπέργηρος, ὑπηρετῶντας πιστὰ μέχρι τέλους τὸ Θεό.

Οἱ Ἅγιοι Κύριλλος, Μίνης καὶ Μιναῖος
Μαρτύρησαν διὰ ξίφους. (Ἡ μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μίνη καὶ Μιναίου, ἐπαναλαμβάνεται καὶ τὴν 1η Αὐγούστου).

Ὁ Ἅγιος Σάββας ὁ στρατηλάτης
Μαρτύρησε, ἀφοῦ τὸν θανάτωσαν τρυπῶντας του τὰ πλευρὰ μὲ λόγχη.

Ἡ Ὁσία Ἄννα
Γεννήθηκε στὸ Βυζάντιο ἀπὸ εὐσεβεῖς γονεῖς καὶ ὁ πατέρας της, Ἰωάννης ὀνομαζόμενος, ἦταν Διάκονος στὸν Ναὸ τῆς Θεοτόκου στὶς Βλαχέρνες. Νωρὶς ἔμεινε ὀρφανὴ ἀπὸ γονεῖς καὶ ἡ γιαγιά της τὴν πάντρεψε μὲ κάποιο εὐσεβῆ Διάκονο, μὲ τὸν ὁποῖο ἀπόκτησε δυὸ παιδιά. Ἀλλ᾿ ἀργότερα, ὁ ἄντρας της καὶ τὰ δυό της παιδιὰ πέθαναν καὶ ἔτσι ἡ Ἄννα διαμοίρασε τὰ ὑπάρχοντά της καὶ ἀποσύρθηκε σὲ μοναστήρι. Κατόπιν ὅμως, ὁ εἰκονομάχος Λέων ὁ Ἴσαυρος, διέλυσε τὴν Μονὴ στὴν ὁποία ἀνῆκε ἡ Ἄννα. Στὴν ἀνάγκη αὐτή, ἡ Ὁσία φόρεσε ῥοῦχα ἀνδρικὰ καὶ μπῆκε σὲ ἀνδρικὸ μοναστήρι μὲ τὸ ψευδώνυμο Εὐφημιανός. Ἐκεῖ ἔζησε μὲ μεγάλη προσοχὴ καὶ ἀκρίβεια, καὶ μετὰ τὸν θάνατο τοῦ Λέοντα τοῦ Ἰσαύρου, φόρεσε πάλι γυναικεῖα ῥοῦχα καὶ ἔμεινε σὰν μοναχὴ στὸ Βυζάντιο. Ἐκεῖ ἐπιδόθηκε στὴ διακονία τῶν φτωχῶν καὶ τῶν ἀσθενῶν. Μὲ τέτοια δὲ θεοφιλῆ ἐργασία παρέδωσε τὸ πνεῦμα της στὸν Κύριο.

Ἡ Ἁγία Μελιτινή
Ἀφοῦ βασανίστηκε μὲ τὸν πιὸ φρικτὸ τρόπο, ἐπειδὴ δὲν θυσίαζε στὰ εἴδωλα καὶ ὁμολογοῦσε τὸν Χριστό, τελικὰ μετὰ ἀπὸ πολλὰ χτυπήματα μὲ ξίφος, παρέδωσε τὴν ψυχή της στὸ Θεό.

The MonasticMartyress Anastasia the Roman in infancy lost her parents, and she was then taken under the care of the head of a women's monastery, named Sophia. The hegumeness raised Anastasia in fervent faith, in the fear of God and obedience. During these times there began the persecution against Christians by the emperor Decius (249-251). The city administrator, Probus, on the orders of the emperor commanded that Anastasia be brought to him. Having been blessed by her eldress-mentor for the deed of suffering for the Name of Christ, the young Martyress Anastasia humbly came out to meet the armed soldiers. Seeing her youth and beauty, Probus at first attempted by false flattery to tempt her and lead her into a renunciation of faith in Christ: "Why waste thine years, deprived of pleasure? What is there to gain in giving thyself over to tortures and death for the Crucified? Worship our gods, get thyself some handsome husband, and live in glory and honour". The saint steadfastly replied: "My Bridegroom, my riches, my life and my happiness -- is my Lord Jesus Christ, and with the threat of torments thou canst not part me from the Lord!" Fiercesome tortures were then begun. The holy martyress bravely endured them, glorifying and praising the Lord. In anger the torturers cut out her tongue. The people, seeing the inhuman and disgusting treatment of the saint, became indignant, and the governor of the city was compelled to bring the torture to a close, by beheading the martyress. The body of Saint Anastasia was thrown out beyond the city for devouring by wild animals, but the Lord did not permit that a mockery should be made with the holy remains. Learning of this through the Lord, the hegumeness Sophia found the torn body of the martyress, and with the help of two Christians she consigned it to earth.

The Monk Abraham the Hermit and Blessed Maria, his niece, asceticised in the village of Chidan, near the city of Edessa. They were contemporaries and of the same country together with the Monk Ephrem the Syrian (Comm. 28 January), who afterwards wrote about their life. The Monk Abraham began his difficult exploit of the solitary life in the prime of youth. He left his parental home and settled in a desolate wilderness place, far off from worldly enticements, and he spent his days in unceasing prayer. After the death of his parents, the saint refused his inheritance and requested his kinsmen to give it away to the poor. By his strict ascetic life, fasting and love for mankind, Abraham attracted to him many, seeking after spiritual light, prayer and blessing. Soon his faith was put to a serious test: he was appointed presbyter in one of the pagan villages of Mesopotamia. For three years, and sparing no efforts, the monk toiled over the enlightenment of the pagans. He tore down a pagan temple and built up a temple of God. Humbly enduring derision and even beating from obstinate idol-worshippers, in prayer he beseeched the Lord: "Look down, O Master, upon Thine servant, hearken unto my prayer, strengthen me and set free Thy servants from diabolical snares and grant them to know Thee, the One True God". The zealous pastor was granted the happiness to see the culmination of his righteous efforts: the pagans came to believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the monk himself baptised them. Having fulfilled his priestly duty, Abraham again withdrew into his wilderness, where he continued to glorify God, and doing His holy will. The devil, put to shame by the deeds of the monk, tried to entrap him with proud thoughts. One time at midnight, when Saint Abraham was at prayer in his cell, suddenly there shone a light and a voice was heard: "Blessed art thou, blessed as is no one amongst mankind!" Confuting the wiles of the enemy, the saint said: "I -- am a sinful man, but I trust on the help and grace of my God and I fear thee not". Another time the devil appeared before the saint in the form of a youth, lighted a candle and began to sing the Psalm: "Blessed is the undefiled on the way that walketh in the law of the Lord". Perceiving, that this also was a demonic temptation, the elder crossed himself and asked: "If thou knowest, what be the undefiled blessed, then why troublest thou them?" The temptor answered: "I provoke them in order to conquer them and turn them away from every good deed". To this the saint replied: "Thou gainest victory over those fallen away from God through their will, but for those loving God thou dost vanish, like smoke in the wind". After these words the devil vanished. And thus did Saint Abraham defeat the enemy, strengthened by Divine grace. After fifty years of ascetic life he peacefully expired to the Lord (+ c. 360).

THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:

1. The Venerable Martyr Anastasia the Roman
She was born in Rome of noble parents, and was left an orphan at the age of three. As an orphan, she was taken to a convent near Rome where the abbess was Sophia, a nun of the highest level of perfection. After seventeen years, Anastasia was well known-among the Christians as a great ascetic, and among the pagans as a rare beauty. Probus, the pagan governor, heard of Anastasia and sent his soldiers to bring her to him. For two hours, the good Abbess Sophia counseled Anastasia how to keep the Faith, how to resist flattering deceits, and how to endure torture. Anastasia said to her: ``My heart is ready to suffer for Christ; my soul is ready to die for my Sweet Jesus.'' Brought before the governor, Anastasia openly expressed her faith in Christ the Lord, and when the governor tried to turn her away from the Faith-first by promises and then by threats-the martyr said to him: ``I am ready to die for my Lord not only once, but-oh, if it were only possible-a hundred times!'' When they stripped her naked to humiliate her, she cried out to the servants: ``Whip me, cut me up and tear me apart, cover my naked body with wounds and cover my shame with blood!'' She was beaten, torn and cut up. On two occasions she felt a great thirst and asked for water, and a Christian, Cyril, gave her a drink, for which he was blessed by the martyr of Christ and beheaded by the pagans. Anastasia's breasts and tongue were severed, but an angel of God appeared and sustained her. Finally, she was beheaded outside the city. Blessed Sophia found her body and buried it honorably. Anastasia was crowned with the wreath of martyrdom during the reign of Decius.

2. The Venerable Abramius the Recluse and his niece Mary
Forced to do so by his parents, he married, but on the very day of his wedding he left his bride, his parents' home and all that he possessed, and withdrew into solitude to live a life of strict asceticism. He labored thus for fifty years, and left his cell only twice during that time. The first time, he left at the order of his bishop to convert a pagan village to the Christian Faith. The second time he came out to save his licentious niece Mary. He entered peacefully into rest in the year 360, at the age of seventy. (See ``Reflection'' below.)

3. The Venerable Martyr Timothy of Esphigmenou
He was from the village of Kessana in Thrace. He was married and had two daughters. His wife was seized by the Turks and became a Moslem. In order to save his wife from the harem, he pretended to become a Moslem. After rescuing his wife, he conducted her to a convent, while he went to the Great Lavra on Mount Athos and then to the Monastery of Esphigmenou. He desired martyrdom for Christ, like Agathangelus of Esphigmenou, and was beheaded in Jedrene on October 29, 1820. His body was thrown into a river, but his clothing was retrieved by Elder Germanus, the spiritual father of Esphigmenou.

HYMN OF PRAISE
The Venerable Abramius the Recluse
St. Abramius left his bride
And dedicated his life to strict asceticism.
By asceticism he worked out his salvation,
And wisely directed others to salvation.
Demonic power attacked the saint,
But in the name of Christ he crushed it.
The demon took on various, horrible guises,
To scare and hinder the man of God.
This man of God did not allow himself to fear,
Or separate his mind from God,
But shone on the world like a candle,
Glorifying the One God, the Most-holy Trinity.
Imprisoned, alone and not wanted by the world,
Abramius became a prisoner for the sake of Christ
For fifty years-fifty years!
Of tears, fasting and struggle-all for the Son of God:
For fifty years-fifty years!
Established on Christ, the firm Foundation.
Glory to Abramius, Christ's soldier,
That, on the mortal earth, he has shown us immortality!

REFLECTION
But he that endureth to the end shall be saved (Matthew 10:22), said the Lord. Faith is the only light of endurance, for endurance in and of itself implies unbearable darkness. Faith is the shining star in this darkness; faith eases the sharpness of suffering; it bears on its wings all the weight of endurance. St. Abramius gives us a beautiful example of perseverance in endurance. The vexation that the devil caused him by a multitude of temptations and terrors would have driven lesser men to leave one place for another. But Abramius did not want to move, so as not to give the evil demon a cause to rejoice; he remained in his place and defeated the devil. The bishop of that region sent Abramius to a pagan village to convert the villagers to the Christian Faith. After long hesitation, Abramius set out, saying: ``Let it be as God wills-I will go out of obedience.'' He first built a church in that village. Then he smashed all the idols in plain sight of the villagers. They beat him and whipped him half to death, and drove him from their village. But he prayed to God with tears for them, that the Lord would open the eyes of their hearts to know the truth of Christ. And so the pagans continually beat and abused him over the course of three years, but he constantly prayed to God for them, and was not angered with them, enduring in the Faith as a firm rock. And only after three years of labor, tears, forgiveness and faith, was he rewarded. Suddenly, the consciences of the villagers were awakened and they all came together to Abramius, bowing before him, and receiving the Christian Faith from him.

HOMILY
on the glory of the name of God
And blessed be His glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen (Psalm 72:19).
From the grace-filled heart of the prophet flow words full of grace. The prophet speaks of the King and the King's Son, the most unusual King Who has ever appeared on earth. May His name be blessed forever (Psalm 72:17), the prophet said, and then, as if that were not enough, he said it again and added: His glorious name. The Church of Christ is the glory of Christ. Blessed is His Holy Church-the fruit of His labors, the wreath of His humiliation, the work of His hands, and the flower of His blood! Blessed is the very name of His Church-holy and salvific! And with His Church, that is, with His work and with His glory, the whole earth shall be filled. By the words, Forever and ever, the prophet foretold the immortal work of Christ, that is, His Church. She will be built in time and will be revealed in eternity. She will be built until the end of time, and will be revealed whole in eternity.
O my brethren, let us strive that our souls may be built into Christ's Church, into that living and immortal body whose life has no end, and whose beauty is indescribable. Let us strive that we are not rejected as unsuitable and useless stones, to be cast into the abyss of eternal darkness.
O Lord Jesus Christ, King and Son of the King, write us also in the book of immortality, and remember us in Thy Heavenly Kingdom.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.