Friday, December 2, 2011

December 2, 2011 - 25th Thursday After Pentecost (11th of Luke)

FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:

Habakkuk the Prophet
Our Righteous Father Cyril of Phileus
Myrope the Martyr of Chios
Joannicos the Monk of Devich

Τοῦ Ἁγίου Προφήτου Ἀββακούμ.
Τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρός ἡμῶν Κυρίλλου τοῦ Φιλεώτου καί τῆς Ἁγίας Μάρτυρος Μυρόπης.

READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:

The Reading is from St. Paul's Second Letter to the Thessalonians 3:6-18
BRETHREN, we command you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, we did not eat any one's bread without paying, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you. It was not because we have not that right, but to give you in our conduct an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one will not work, let him not eat. For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work in quietness and to earn their own living. Brethren, do not be weary in well-doing.
If any one refuses to obey what we say in this letter, note that man, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not look on him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with you all. I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the mark in every letter of mine; it is the way I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Πρὸς Θεσσαλονικεῖς β' 3:6-18
Ἀδελφοί, παραγγέλλομεν δὲ ὑμῖν, ἀδελφοί, ἐν ὀνόματι τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ, στέλλεσθαι ὑμᾶς ἀπὸ παντὸς ἀδελφοῦ ἀτάκτως περιπατοῦντος, καὶ μὴ κατὰ τὴν παράδοσιν ἣν παρέλαβον παρʼ ἡμῶν. Αὐτοὶ γὰρ οἴδατε πῶς δεῖ μιμεῖσθαι ἡμᾶς· ὅτι οὐκ ἠτακτήσαμεν ἐν ὑμῖν, οὐδὲ δωρεὰν ἄρτον ἐφάγομεν παρά τινος, ἀλλʼ ἐν κόπῳ καὶ μόχθῳ, νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν ἐργαζόμενοι, πρὸς τὸ μὴ ἐπιβαρῆσαί τινα ὑμῶν· οὐχ ὅτι οὐκ ἔχομεν ἐξουσίαν, ἀλλʼ ἵνα ἑαυτοὺς τύπον δῶμεν ὑμῖν εἰς τὸ μιμεῖσθαι ἡμᾶς. Καὶ γὰρ ὅτε ἦμεν πρὸς ὑμᾶς, τοῦτο παρηγγέλλομεν ὑμῖν ὅτι εἴ τις οὐ θέλει ἐργάζεσθαι, μηδὲ ἐσθιέτω. Ἀκούομεν γάρ τινας περιπατοῦντας ἐν ὑμῖν ἀτάκτως, μηδὲν ἐργαζομένους, ἀλλὰ περιεργαζομένους. Τοῖς δὲ τοιούτοις παραγγέλλομεν καὶ παρακαλοῦμεν διὰ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ χριστου, ἵνα μετὰ ἡσυχίας ἐργαζόμενοι τὸν ἑαυτῶν ἄρτον ἐσθίωσιν. Ὑμεῖς δέ, ἀδελφοί, μὴ ἐκκακήσητε καλοποιοῦντες. Εἰ δέ τις οὐχ ὑπακούει τῷ λόγῳ ἡμῶν διὰ τῆς ἐπιστολῆς, τοῦτον σημειοῦσθε, καὶ μὴ συναναμίγνυσθε αὐτῷ, ἵνα ἐντραπῇ, καὶ μὴ ὡς ἐχθρὸν ἡγεῖσθε, ἀλλὰ νουθετεῖτε ὡς ἀδελφόν. Αὐτὸς δὲ ὁ κύριος τῆς εἰρήνης δῴη ὑμῖν τὴν εἰρήνην διὰ παντὸς ἐν παντὶ τρόπῳ. Ὁ κύριος μετὰ πάντων ὑμῶν. Ὁ ἀσπασμὸς τῇ ἐμῇ χειρὶ Παύλου, ὅ ἐστιν σημεῖον ἐν πάσῃ ἐπιστολῇ· οὕτως γράφω. Ἡ χάρις τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ μετὰ πάντων ὑμῶν. Ἀμήν.

The Reading is from Luke 20:19-26
At that time, the scribes and the chief priests tried to lay hands on him at that very hour, but they feared the people; for they perceived that he had told this parable against them. So they watched him, and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might take hold of what he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. They asked him, "Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?" But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, "Show me a coin. Whose likeness and inscription has it?" They said, "Caesar's." He said to them, "Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him by what he said; but marveling at his answer they were silent.

Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 20.19-26
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἐζήτησαν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς ἐπιβαλεῖν ἐπ᾿ αὐτὸν τὰς χεῖρας ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ, καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν τὸν λαόν· ἔγνωσαν γὰρ ὅτι πρὸς αὐτοὺς τὰς παραβολὰς ἔλεγε. Καὶ παρατηρήσαντες ἀπέστειλαν ἐγκαθέτους, ὑποκρινομένους ἑαυτοὺς δικαίους εἶναι, ἵνα ἐπιλάβωνται αὐτοῦ λόγου εἰς τὸ παραδοῦναι αὐτὸν τῇ ἀρχῇ καὶ τῇ ἐξουσίᾳ τοῦ ἡγεμόνος.καὶ ἐπηρώτησαν αὐτὸν λέγοντες· διδάσκαλε, οἴδαμεν ὅτι ὀρθῶς λέγεις καὶ διδάσκεις, καὶ οὐ λαμβάνεις πρόσωπον, ἀλλ᾿ ἐπ᾿ ἀληθείας τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ διδάσκεις·ἔξεστιν ἡμῖν Καίσαρι φόρον δοῦναι ἢ οὔ;κατανοήσας δὲ αὐτῶν τὴν πανουργίαν εἶπε πρὸς αὐτούς· τί με πειράζετε;δείξατέ μοι δηνάριον· τίνος ἔχει εἰκόνα καὶ ἐπιγραφήν; ἀποκριθέντες δὲ εἶπον· Καίσαρος.ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· ἀπόδοτε τοίνυν τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ.καὶ οὐκ ἴσχυσαν ἐπιλαβέσθαι αὐτοῦ ῥήματος ἐναντίον τοῦ λαοῦ, καὶ θαυμάσαντες ἐπὶ τῇ ἀποκρίσει αὐτοῦ ἐσίγησαν.

READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:

Τῇ Β' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Προφήτου Ἀββακούμ.
Τάττει Θεὸς σοι τοὺς πόδας τεθνηκότι,
Εἰς συντέλειαν Ἀββακούμ, καθὼς ἔφης.
Δευτερίῃ Ἀββακοὺμ ἀνεβήσατο εἰς Θεοῦ ἄστυ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ὁσίων Πατέρων ἡμῶν καὶ ἐρημιτῶν, Ἰωάννου, Ἡρακλαίμονος, Ἀνδρέου καὶ Θεοφίλου.
Ἀνδρῶν τετρακτὺς εἰς ἄλυπον χωρίον,
Ἐκ θλίψεως γέμοντος ἦλθε χωρίου.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῆς Ἁγίας Μάρτυρος Μυρόπης.
Ὄντως μύρον πέφηνε Χριστῷ Μυρόπη,
Σῶμα προσδοῦσα διὰ τοῦτον βασάνοις.
Μνήμη τοῦ ὁσίου πατρὸς ἡμῶν Κυρίλλου Φιλεώτου ἀσκήσαντος ἐν ἔτει 1060.
Ἡ ἁγία Μυρόπη ἐν τῇ φυλακῇ τελειοῦται.
Ὁ ἅγιος Ἄβιβος ὁ νέος ἐν πυρὶ τελειοῦται.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ ἁγίου Ἀντωνίου τοῦ νέου.

his Prophet, whose name means "loving embrace," is eighth in order of the minor Prophets. His homeland and tribe are not recorded in the Divine Scriptures; according to some, he was of the tribe of Symeon. He prophesied in the years of Joachim, who is also called Jechonias, before the Babylonian captivity of the Jewish People, which took place 599 years before Christ. When Nabuchodonosor came to rake the Israelites captive, Habakkuk fled to Ostrakine, and after Jerusalem was destroyed and the Chaldeans departed, Habakkuk returned and cultivated his field. Once he made some pottage and was about to take it to the reapers in the field. An Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and carried him with the pottage to Babylon to feed Daniel in the lions' den, then brought him back to Judea (Bel and the Dragon, 33-39): His book of prophecy is divided into three chapters; the third chapter is also used as the Fourth Ode of the Psalter. His holy relics were found in Palestine during the reign of Emperor Theodosius the Great, through a revelation to Zebennus, Bishop of Eleutheropolis (Sozomen, Eccl. Hist., Book VI 1, 2-9).

Apolytikion in the Second Tone
Τού Προφήτου σου Αββακούμ τήν μνήμην, Κύριε, εορτάζοντες, δι' αυτού σε δυσωπούμεν, Σώσον τάς ψυχάς ημών.
As we celebrate the memory of Thy Prophet Habakkuk , O Lord, through him we beseech Thee to save our souls.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Ὡς ἵππους ἑώρακας τοὺς ἱεροὺς Μαθητάς, θαλάσσας ταράσσοντας, τῆς ἀγνωσίας σαφῶς, καὶ πλάνην βυθίζοντας, δόγμασιν εὔσεβείας, Ἀββακοὺμ θεηγόρε, ὅθεν σε ὡς Προφήτην, ἀληθῆ εὐφημοῦμεν, αἰτούμενοι τοῦ πρεσβεύειν ἐλεηθῆναι ἡμᾶς.
Thou plainly beheldest the sacred disciples of Christ as horses that troubled the deep sea of ignorance, plunging error into the depths with their godly teachings, Habakkuk, God-proclaimer; hence, as a true Prophet, we acclaim thee, while asking that thou shouldst intercede that we find mercy with God the Lord.

Το κοινωνικό περιεχόμενο του κηρύγματος των Προφητών τραβάει πάντα την προσοχή εκείνων που μελετούν την Παλαιά Διαθήκη, σαν αποκάλυψη βέβαια του Θεού, αλλά και σαν βιβλίο στο οποίο περιέχεται ιστορία πολλών αιώνων. Στο βιβλίο του προφήτου Αββακούμ, που είναι ο όγδοος στη σειρά των "ελασσόνων" Προφητών και του οποίου η Εκκλησία σήμερα γιορτάζει την μνήμη, εικονίζεται με ζωηρά χρώματα η κοινωνική κατάσταση της εποχής του, "...διεσκέδασται νόμος, και ου διεξάγεται εις τέλος κρίμα, ότι ασεβής καταδυναστεύει τον δίκαιον...". Ο νόμος καταπατείται, δικαιοσύνη δεν απονέμεται, αδικία και καταδυνάστευση των ασεβών και των ισχυρών μαστίζει το λαό. Αλλ' ακριβώς μέσα στην κοινωνική αυτή αποσύνθεση συντελείται το έργο του Θεού. " Ίδετε, οι καταφρονηταί, και επιβλέψατε και θαυμάσατε θαυμάσια και αφανισθήτε. Διότι έργον εγώ εργάζομαι εν ταις ημέραις υμών, ο ου μη πιστεύσητε εάν τις διηγήται".

Ὁ Προφήτης Ἀββακούμ
Ὁ Ἀββακούμ, ποὺ τὸ ὄνομά του σημαίνει «θερμὸς ἐναγκαλισμός», ἦταν ἀπὸ τὴν φυλὴ τοῦ Συμεὼν καὶ γιὸς τοῦ Σαφάτ. Ὁ χρόνος ποὺ ἔδρασε τίθεται μεταξὺ 650 καὶ 672 π.Χ. Στὸ προφητικό του βιβλίο, ποὺ διακρίνεται γιὰ τὴν ἀξιόλογη λογοτεχνική του χάρη, ἐλέγχει τὸν ἰουδαϊκὸ λαό, ἐπειδὴ παρεξέκλινε ἀπὸ τὴν ἀληθινὴ θρησκεία στὴν εἰδωλολατρία. Νὰ τί συγκεκριμένα ἀναφέρει, σχετικὰ μὲ τὸ πὼς πρέπει κανεὶς νὰ πιστεύει στὸ Θεό: «Ἐὰν ὑποστείληται, οὐκ εὐδοκεῖ ἡ ψυχή μου ἐν αὐτῷ· ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεώς μου ζήσεται. Ἐγὼ δὲ ἐν τῷ Κυρίῳ ἀγαλλιάσομαι, χαρίσομαι ἐπὶ τῷ Θεῷ τῷ σωτήρι μου». Ἀββακούμ, Β´ 4, Γ´ 18. Ποῦ σημαίνει, ἂν κανεὶς λιποψυχήσει καὶ ἀδημονήσει στὶς διάφορες δοκιμασίες, ἂς μάθει, λέει ὁ Κύριος, ὅτι δὲν ἐπαναπαύεται ἡ ψυχή μου σ᾿ αὐτόν. Ὁ δίκαιος ποὺ πιστεύει σ᾿ ἐμένα καὶ τηρεῖ τὸ Νόμο μου, θὰ σωθεῖ καὶ θὰ ζήσει. Ἐγὼ ὅμως, λέει ὁ Προφήτης, θὰ ἀγάλλομαι ἐλπίζοντας στὸν Κύριο. Θὰ γεμίσει χαρὰ ἡ καρδιά μου γιὰ τὸ σωτῆρα μου Θεό. Ὁ πρ. Ἀββακοὺμ πέθανε εἰρηνικὰ καὶ τάφηκε στὸν τόπο τῶν πατέρων του.

Οἱ Ἅγιοι Ἰωάννης, Ἠρακλαίμων, Ἀνδρέας καὶ Θεόφιλος οἱ Ἐρημῖτες
Κατάγονταν ἀπὸ τὴν πόλη Ὀξύῤῥυγχο τῆς Κάτω Αἰγύπτου, στὴ δυτικὴ ὄχθη τοῦ ποταμοῦ Νείλου καὶ ἦταν γιοὶ γονέων χριστιανῶν. Διάβαζαν τὶς Ἅγιες Γραφὲς καὶ θέλησαν τὴν ἐρημικὴ ζωή. Στὴν ἔρημο, γνώρισαν κάποιο ὑπέργηρο εὐσεβῆ ἐρημίτη καὶ ἔμειναν κοντά του ἕνα χρόνο, ἀσκούμενοι. Ὅταν πέθανε ὁ γέροντάς τους, αὐτοὶ ἔμειναν ἐκεῖ γιὰ 60 ὁλόκληρα χρόνια μὲ πολλὴ ἄσκηση καὶ προσευχή. Κάθε Σάββατο, πήγαιναν στοὺς πλησιέστερους συνοικισμοὺς καὶ κήρυτταν στοὺς ἀνθρώπους τὸ λόγο τοῦ Θεοῦ. Ἔτσι στήριζαν ψυχές, μέχρι ποὺ εἰρηνικὰ ἀπεβίωσαν.

Ἡ Ἁγία Μυρώπη ἢ Μερόπη
Ἀπὸ τὶς πιὸ γενναῖες γυναῖκες, ποὺ μαρτύρησαν στὰ πρῶτα χρόνια τῆς χριστιανικῆς Ἐκκλησίας. Ἔζησε στὰ μέσα τοῦ 3ου αἰῶνα μ.Χ. καὶ γεννήθηκε στὴν πόλη Ἔφεσο. Ἔχασε νωρὶς τὸν πατέρα της καὶ ἀνατράφηκε μὲ τὴν πίστη τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἀπὸ τὴν μητέρα της, ποὺ καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Χίο (λέγεται μάλιστα ὅτι στὴν Ἔφεσο, ἡ Ἁγία πήγαινε καθημερινὰ στὸν τάφο τῆς Ἁγίας Ἑρμιόνης, θυγατέρας τοῦ ἀποστόλου Φιλίππου καὶ ἔπαιρνε τὸ ἀναβλύζον ἀπ᾿ αὐτὸν μύρο καὶ τὸν ἔδινε μὲ ἀφθονία στοὺς πιστούς, γι᾿ αὐτὸ καὶ ὀνομάστηκε Μυρώπη). Ὅταν ὁ Δέκιος ἐξαπέλυσε ἄγριο διωγμὸ κατὰ τῶν χριστιανῶν, ἡ Μυρόπη μὲ τὴν μητέρα της ἄφησε τὴν Ἔφεσο καὶ πῆγαν στὴ Χίο, ὅπου εὐεργετοῦσαν ἀπόρους ἀσθενεῖς. Ἀλλὰ ὁ διωγμὸς ἐξαπλώθηκε καὶ στὴν εἰρηνικὴ Χίο καὶ μεταξὺ τῶν θυμάτων ἦταν καὶ ὁ ἅγιος Ἰσίδωρος (14 Μαΐου). Ὁ εἰδωλολάτρης ἄρχοντας Νουμέριος, διέταξε νὰ μείνει ἄταφο τὸ σεπτὸ λείψανο τοῦ μάρτυρα. Ἀλλὰ ἡ Μυρώπη, ἀφοῦ διέφυγε τῆς προσοχῆς τοῦ φύλακα, μαζὶ μὲ τὶς ὑπηρέτριές της, πῆρε τὸ λείψανο καὶ τὸ ἔθαψε μὲ μεγάλη εὐλάβεια. Τότε ὁ Νουμέριος διέταξε νὰ τιμωρηθεῖ αὐστηρὰ ὁ φρουρός. Ἡ εἴδηση συντάραξε τὴν φιλοδίκαια καὶ εἰλικρινῆ κόρη. Γι᾿ αὐτὸ καὶ παρουσιάστηκε χωρὶς δισταγμὸ καὶ εἶπε ὅλη τὴν ἀλήθεια στὸν ἄρχοντα. Ὁ Νουμέριος, χωρὶς νὰ συγκινηθεῖ ἀπὸ τὴν εὐψυχία τῆς Μυρώπης, γεμάτος θυμὸ καὶ ἐκδίκηση, διέταξε νὰ τιμωρηθεῖ ἡ Μυρώπη μέχρι θανάτου. Τότε οἱ στρατιῶτες τὴν ξάπλωσαν στὴ γῆ καὶ τὴν ἔδειραν σκληρὰ μὲ χοντρὰ ῥαβδιά. Ἡ ἀνδρεία τῆς Μυρώπης ἦταν τόση ποὺ ὑπέμεινε τὶς θανατηφόρες πληγές, χωρὶς κραυγὴ καὶ λιποψυχία. Εὔψυχη μὲ τὴν θεία χάρη, ἔμεινε ἀκλόνητη στὴν πίστη. Καὶ παρέδωσε μετὰ ἀπὸ λίγο τὸ πνεῦμα της στὴ φυλακή, ἀνεβαίνοντας στὰ ἀθάνατα σκηνώματα τῶν δικαίων. Στὸν Συναξαριστὴ τοῦ Delehaye ἡ μνήμη της γιορτάζεται στὶς 23 Νοεμβρίου.

Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἄβιβος ὁ νέος
Ἔζησε στὰ χρόνια τοῦ βασιλιᾶ Λικινίου (307-323) καὶ ἦταν διάκονος στὴν πόλη Θαλσεῖ. Ἐπειδὴ δίδασκε τὸν λόγο τοῦ Θεοῦ περιφερόμενος πόλεις καὶ χωριά, συνελήφθη. Ὁμολόγησε τὸν Χριστὸ μπροστὰ στὸν ἔπαρχο καὶ καταδικάστηκε νὰ καεῖ ζωντανὸς στὴ φωτιά. Οἱ χριστιανοὶ ἀφοῦ πῆραν τὸ ἅγιο λείψανό του, μὲ τιμὲς τὸ ἔθαψαν μαζὶ μὲ αὐτὰ τῶν ἁγίων μαρτύρων Γουρία καὶ Σαμονᾶ (15 Νοεμβρίου) στὸ μέρος Βηθελακικλά\[α.

Ὁ Ἅγιος Μωϋσῆς (ἢ Μωσῆς) ὁ Ὁμολογητής
Ἄγνωστος στὸν Συναξαριστὴ τοῦ Ἁγίου Νικόδημου. Μνημονεύεται σὰν Ὁμολογητὴς τὴν 2α Δεκεμβρίου στὸν Συναξαριστὴ Delehaye. Στὸν Παρισινὸ Κώδικα 1578 ἀναφέρεται τὴν 3η Δεκεμβρίου σὰν Μωϋσῆς ὁ οἰκονόμος, ποὺ μᾶλλον θὰ εἶναι ὁ ἴδιος με τὸν ὁμολογητή.

Ὁ Ὅσιος Κύριλλος ὁ Φιλεώτης
Γεννήθηκε τὸ 1015 στὸ χωριὸ Φιλέα τῆς ἐπαρχίας Δέρκων τῆς Θρᾴκης. Κατὰ τὸ Ἅγιο Βάπτισμα ὀνομάστηκε Κυριάκος (Κύριλλος ὑπῆρξε ἔπειτα τὸ καλογερικό του ὄνομα) καὶ ἀπὸ μικρὸς διακρίθηκε στὰ ἱερὰ Γράμματα. Στὸ εἰκοστὸ ἔτος τῆς ἡλικίας του παντρεύτηκε καὶ ἀπόκτησε παιδί. Ἀλλ᾿ ἐπειδὴ εἶχε ζῆλο στὸ μοναχικὸ βίο, ὅπως ὅλοι της ἐποχῆς ἐκείνης, ἀποφάσισε νὰ ἐγκαταλείψει τὴν γυναῖκα του καὶ τὸ παιδί του καὶ νὰ ἀποσυρθεῖ σὲ μοναστήρι, λέγοντας στὴ γυναῖκα του: «ἢ νὰ χωρίσουμε ἢ νὰ πᾶμε καὶ οἱ δυὸ σὲ μοναστήρι». Ἡ γυναῖκα του ὅμως δὲ δέχτηκε τίποτα ἀπὸ αὐτὰ καὶ ἔτσι ὁ Κύριλλος ἔμεινε στὸ σπίτι του ζῶντας ἀσκητικά. Ἔπειτα ἵδρυσε (1060) μοναστήρι στὸ χωριὸ ἐκεῖνο, τοῦ ὁποίου τὸ ναὸ ἀνήγειρε ὁ Ἀλέξιος Κομνηνός. Ἔτσι ὁσιακὰ ἔζησε ὁ Κύριλλος. Ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικὰ τὸ 1110.

Holy Prophet Habbakuk (Abbacum) (7th c. BC).
He prophesied in the time of Joachim, just before the Jewish people were taken into captivity in Babylon. He himself escaped captivity, and after Jerusalem was destroyed, returned to his homeland. Once he was taking some food to his harvesters when an Angel transported him to Babylon to feed the Prophet Daniel in the lions' den, then bore him back to Judea (this is told in the full version of the book of Daniel, ch. 6 LXX). The third chapter of his prophecy is used as the Fourth Ode of the Matins Canon(the Ode is usually sung in full only in monasteries during Lent, but the eirmos of the Fourth Ode, sung in many parishes, usually refers to the Prophet). His holy relics were found through a revelation in Palestine during the reign of Theodosius the Great, and a chapel built there. His name means "Father of the Resurrection."

Holy Martyr Myrope (Myropea) of Chios (251)
She was born in Ephesus. At baptism, she was consecrated by her mother to serve at the shrine of St Hermione, one of the four daughters of the Apostle Philip. Many pilgrims came to be anointed with a miracle-working myrrh that flowed from St Hermione's body — and from her service at the shrine Myrope received the name by which she is known. Later, she and her mother went to the island of Chios to flee the persecution of the Emperor Decius.
  When the holy martyr Isidore (May 14) was beheaded, Myrope secretly recovered his body and gave it honorable burial. The governor Numerius was furious, and ordered his soldiers to find the body or themselves be beheaded. Unable to let innocent people suffer for her act, Myrope presented herself to the governor and told him where she had buried the body. At Numerius' order, the holy girl was tortured and thrown in prison. There a heavenly light illuminated her cell and St Isidore himself appeared to her with a company of angels, saying 'Peace to thee, Myrope: thy prayer has ascended to God, and thou shalt soon be with us and receive the crown prepared for thee.' Myrope, filled with joy, gave up her soul to God at that moment. One of the guards who had witnessed these events believed in Christ, and not long afterward was baptized and received a martyr's death.

Our Holy Father Athanasius "the Resurrected," Recluse of the Kiev Caves (1176)
After many years of ascetic struggle, Athanasius died and was prepared for burial. After lying dead for two full days, he inexplicably came back to life: the monks who came to bury him were astonished to find him sitting up and weeping. The brethren gathered around him and asked him many questions about what he had seen of the next world, but he would only answer 'Save yourselves!' When they pressed him further, he said 'If I told you, you would not believe me or want to listen to me.' His final reply was 'Repent every moment, and pray to the Lord Jesus Christ and to His most pure Mother.' He then shut himself in his cell and lived another twelve years, taking only bread and water and never speaking again to anyone.

Saint (Stephen) Uroš, King of Serbia (1367)
"The son of King Dušan, he ruled during the difficult time of the fall of the Kindom of Serbia. Humble, pious and gentle, he refused to attempt to restrain the power of the powerful nobles by force. Amongst these was Vukašin, who brought about his death. Good King Uroš suffered a martyr's death on December 2nd, 1367, at the age of thirty-one. Killed by men, he was glorified by God. His wonderworking relics were preserved in the monastery of Jazak in the Fruška Gora, whence they were taken to Belgrade in 1942, during the Second World War, and placed in the Cathedral beside the bodies of Prince Lazar and Despot Stephen Štiljanovic. During the reign of this benevolent king, the monastery of St Nahum was built beside Lake Ochrid by one of Uroš's nobles, Grgur." (Prologue)

Repose of Elder Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia (1991) (Nov. 19 OC)
Though he has not yet been glorified by the Church, Elder Porphyrios is considered one of the true God-bearing elders of our own age. A biographical sketch can be found on the main page of this site.

The Holy Prophet Avvakum (Habbakuk), one of the 12 Minor Prophets, was descended from the Tribe of Simeon, and he prophesied in about the year 650 B.C.
The Prophet Avvakum foresaw the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, the Babylonian Captivity and the later return of the captives to their native-land. During the time of the war with the Babylonians the prophet withdrew to Arabia, where with him there occurred the following miracle. When he was bringing dinner to the reapers, he met with an Angel of the Lord, and instantly by the strength of his spirit he was transported to Babylon, where at the time the Prophet Daniel was languishing in prison. Thus, the food, intended for the reapers, assuaged the hunger of the exhausted Prophet Daniel. After the end of the war with the Babylonians, the Prophet Avvakum returned to his fatherland and died in extreme old age. His relics were found at the time of the holy Constantinople Emperor Theodosius he Younger (408-450).

The Monk Athanasii (or Afanasii), Hermit of Pechersk in the Nearer Caves, was a contemporary of the Kievo-Pechersk monastery archimandrite, the Monk Polikarp (+ 1182, Comm. 24 July).
The Monk Athanasii for a long time was grievously ill. When he died, the brethren prepared him for burial. And on the third day the hegumen came to bury him. But they all beheld, that the dead one was alive, -- he sat there and wept. To all their questions he replied only thus: "Seek salvation, in everything have obedience to the hegumen, repent each hour and pray to our Lord Jesus Christ, to His All-Pure Mother and to the Monks Antonii and Theodosii, so as to end good the life here. Ask ye no more".
After this he lived for 12 years more in solitude in a cave and in all this time he spoke not a word to anyone, he wept day and night, and only every other day did he partake of a little bread and water. Only just before his death, having assembled the brethren, did he repeat his earlier spoken words to them, and then he peacefully expired to the Lord (in about the year 1176).
The monk Vavilii, many a year having suffered illness and a weakness of the legs, was healed at his relics. "One time I did lay there, -- he related to the brethren, -- and I cried out from sharp pain. Suddenly to me there came Blessed Athanasii and said: come to me, and I shalt heal thee. I wanted to ask him, how and when he had come here. But he became invisible. I however was convinced of his appearance and besought, that I should be taken to his relics. And indeed, I have been healed".
The Monk Athanasii was buried in the Antoniev Cave. His memory is celebrated also on 28 September and on the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent.

The Monk Athanasii (Afanasii), Hermit of Pechersk in the Farther Caves: His name is mentioned in the 4th ode of the general canon of Monastic Fathers of the Farther Caves. In the "Sayings about the Lives of the Saints, at Repose in the Cave of the Monk Theodosii", it says, that for the Monk Athanasii there was no need of candle in the cave, since an Heavenly brilliance shone for him. To all, who approach him with faith, he grants healing. The memory of the Monk Athanasii is celebrated also on 28 August and on the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent.

The Holy Martyress Myropia was born in the city of Ephesus at the beginning III Century. She early lost her father, and her mother raised her in the Christian faith.
Saint Myropia, frequenting the grave of the Martyress Hermionia (Comm. 4 September), daughter of the holy Apostle Philip, took myrh from her relics and healed the sick. At the time of the persecution by Decius (249-251), Myropia went away with her mother to the island of Chios, where they spent the time in fasting and prayer.
One time, by order of the cruel governor of the island, there was martyred the Soldier Isidor (Comm. 14 May), a man of deep faith and great piety. Saint Myropia secretly took and buried the body of the martyr. The soldiers, who had orders not to allow Christians to the body of Isidor, were sentenced to death. Saint Myropia took pity on the condemned and she herself reported to soldiers and then the governor about her doings. At the trial she confessed herself a Christian. For this they gave her a fierce beating and then threw her in prison. In the prison at midnight there shone a light. Thus appeared Saint Isidor surrounded by Angels, and they took up the soul of Myropia (+ c. 251). The prison was immediately filled with fragrance. The pagan guard, trembling at the vision, told about this to a priest, thereafter accepting Baptism and a martyr's death for the confession of Christ.

THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:

1. The Holy Prophet Habakkuk
Habakkuk was the son of Asaphat from the tribe of Simeon. He prophesied six hundred years before Christ, during the time of King Manasseh, and foretold the destruction of Jerusalem. When Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, attacked Jerusalem, Habakkuk sought refuge in the land of the Ishmaelites. From there he returned to Judea, where he lived as a farmer. One day he was carrying lunch to the workers in the fields, when suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared to him and said: Go carry the dinner that thou hast into Babylon unto Daniel, who is in the lion's den (Daniel 14:34). But Habakkuk responded: Lord, I never saw Babylon; neither do I know where the den is (Daniel 14:34-35). Then the angel took him by the hair and instantly brought him to Babylon, over an immense distance, to the lion's den, where Daniel had been cast by King Cyrus as a punishment for not worshiping the idols. O Daniel, Daniel, cried Habakkuk, take the dinner which God hath sent thee (Daniel 14:37), and Daniel took it and ate. Then the angel of God again took Habakkuk and carried him back to his field in Judea. Habakkuk also prophesied the liberation of Jerusalem and the time of the coming of Christ. He entered into rest in ripe old age and was buried at Kela. His relics were discovered during the reign of Theodosius the Great.

2. The Holy Martyr Myrope
Myrope was born in Ephesus of Christian parents. After the death of her father, she moved with her mother to the island of Chios, where she suffered for Christ. The suffering of this holy virgin took place soon after the suffering and death of the glorious Martyr Isidore the soldier (May 14). When the torturers had beheaded Isidore, the courageous Myrope secretly took his body, censed it, and honorably buried it in a special place. The villainous prince Numerian heard that the martyr's body had been stolen and wanted to kill the guards. Learning that innocent men would suffer for her good deed, blessed Myrope appeared before the authorities and acknowledged that she had taken the martyr's body and buried it. By order of the prince, the entire body of Christ's holy virgin was severely whipped, and finally she was cast into prison covered with wounds. But the Lord did not leave His martyr comfortless. At midnight a heavenly light illumined the prison, and many angels, with St. Isidore in their midst, appeared to her. "Peace be to you, Myrope,'' St. Isidore said to her. "Your prayer has reached God, and soon you will be with us and will receive the wreath prepared for you.'' The holy martyr rejoiced and at that moment surrendered her soul to her God. A sweet fragrance issued from her body, filling the entire prison. One of the guards, seeing all of this and sensing the fragrance, believed in Christ, was baptized, and soon received a martyr's death. St. Myrope took up her habitation in eternity in the year 251.

3. Saint Uro , King of Serbia
Uro was the son of Tsar Du an. He reigned during the difficult time of the collapse of the Serbian kingdom. Meek, devout and gentle, he did not want to subjugate the unrestrained nobles by force, among whom the most violent was Vuka in, who ended the good king's life. The good Uro suffered a martyr's death on December 2, 1367, at the age of thirty-one. Slain by men, he was glorified by God. His miracle-working relics rested in the Jazak Monastery in Fru ka Gora, whence they were translated to Belgrade during the Second World War. They were placed in the Cathedral Church alongside the relics of Prince Lazar and the Despot Stefan Štiljanoviæ. During the reign of this good king, the Monastery of St. Nahum beside Lake Ohrid was built by Grgur, one of Uro 's nobles.

4. The Venerable Athanasius, Recluse of the Monastery of the Kiev Caves
This holy man died after a long life of asceticism and was bathed, clothed and prepared for burial by his brethren. Athanasius lay dead for two days and suddenly came to life. When they came to bury him, they found him sitting up and crying. After that, he closed himself in his cell and lived for twelve more years on bread and water, not speaking a word to anyone. He entered into rest in the Lord in the year 1176.

5. Saint Ise [Jesse], Bishop of Tsilkani
Ise is one of the Thirteen Syrian Fathers (May 7). He was a great miracle-worker. By his prayers, he re-routed a distant river to flow close to the city of Tsilkani. His relics rest in a church dedicated to him in Tsilkani in Georgia.

HYMN OF PRAISE
Saint Uro , King of Serbia
Like the wind, Du an's power passed away,
But Uro 's holiness forever remains.
Weak in tyranny, powerful in virtue;
Powerful in virtue, righteousness and truth;
Uro , with all his heart, fell in love with Christ God,
Gaining heaven and losing the world.
No sin tainted his soul.
Defeated, he conquered; slain, he lives.
All the Serbian nobles, proud and hot-tempered,
While living could not do
hat which now the relics of St. Uro do-
Uro the Powerful, the God-pleaser.
Rich men, turned to dust, no longer reign,
But the crowned Uro , rich in justice and God's truth,
Even now reigns,
And eases the pains of his people,
Offering up prayers before Christ in Paradise,
Imploring mercy for his people from the Lord.
O King Uro , holy and noble one,
Help us to fulfill God's law!

REFLECTION
"Who has ever returned from the other world to inform us of it?'' Thus the unbelievers ask. One should reply to them: "Repent of your sins if you wish to find out; make yourselves worthy and you will see.'' St. Habakkuk traveled with an angel. St.Myrope saw a host of angels and among them the martyr, St.Isidore. St.Athanasius of the Kiev Caves was dead to this world for two days and alive only in the other world. Upon the return of his soul to his body, they gathered around him and asked him: "How did you return to life? What did you see? What did you hear?'' He would say nothing about it, being totally in horror at that which he had seen in the other world, and would only say: "Save yourselves!'' When they pressured him to tell a little more of what he had seen in the other world after death, he replied: "Even if I should tell you, you would not believe me or listen to me.'' When they urged him yet further, however, he said among other things: "Repent every moment and pray to the Lord Jesus Christ and to His Most-pure Mother.'' Even in our own time, there are cases of those who have temporarily died, and the visions and accounts of those who have returned to life in the body do not contradict but rather complement one another. For example, every person who dies sees one part of that other world that is vast and incomparably larger than this world. Many people, at death, see their long-dead relatives and speak with them. This is almost a common occurrence. In 1926, in the village of Vevèani, Meletije P. was on his deathbed. He spoke with his children, who had died twenty years earlier. When his living relatives said to him, "You're rambling!'' he replied, "I am not rambling, but rather I am speaking with them as I am speaking with you, and I see them as I see you.''

CONTEMPLATION
Contemplate the sinful fall of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3):
1. How Adam and Eve, before their sin, were clothed in innocence and did not see themselves naked;
2. How, after sinning, Adam and Eve saw themselves naked and hid themselves from God;
3. How every virtue is clothing, and every sin is nakedness.

HOMILY
on the joyful revelations in the first sentence of the Bible
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Genesis 1:1).
How compact and full is God's every word! It is like folded linen, which can be carried under the arm and spread upon the grass over a large area. How many, many priceless good things does this word of God reveal to us: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. First of all, it shows us that God is the only eternal and uncreated One. And this first revelation brings about in us the first inexpressible joy. In this whirlpool of change and transience, we are inexpressibly happy that our Creator is beyond change and transience. It further tells us that the one and only good God is the Creator of the world, and since He is the Creator, He is also both the Almighty and the Provider. And this second revelation brings about in us a second inexpressible joy. The world did not proceed out of chaos or chance, without thought and purpose, rather it proceeded from the All-wise God, omniscient and most-merciful, Who is in control of it and is guiding it toward its intended goal. It further reveals to us that this world had a beginning, and consequently it will have an end. And this third revelation brings about in us inexpressible joy. For it would be sad if this world were eternal, and if all its goals, immediate and distant, were to be found only within itself. This would indeed cause a whirlpool in the mind of the intelligent, and sadness in the heart of the righteous. It finally points out to us that God created two worlds, the heavenly and the earthly, or the incorporeal and the corporeal. And this fourth revelation brings us a fourth inexpressible joy. As we now raise our gaze to the heights and rejoice in the sun, moon and stars above our heads, so we can raise our spirit to the spiritual world, toward the angelic world, which is akin to us but purer and brighter than us. We rejoice, for we know that there is a world better than ours, which we will also enter and, like weary travelers, return home and find rest. Oh, how sadly would men's gaze wander around the world if this were the only world and there were no starry heavens! And how sorrowfully would the spirit of man wander in the material world if there were not a spiritual world, the heavenly!
O Most-gracious Lord, glory to Thee and praise.
 To Thee alone be glory and praise forever. Amen.