FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Κυριακή: ΤΩΝ ΒΑΪΩΝ. Ἐν ᾗ τήν λαμπράν καί ἔνδοξον πανήγυριν τῆς εἰς Ἰερουσαλήμ εἰσόδου τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἑορτάζομεν.
Τῶν Ἁγίων Ἀποστόλων ἐκ τῶν Ἑβδομήκοντα Ἡρωδίωνος, Ἀγάβου, Ρούφου, Ἀσυγκρίτου, Φλέγοντος καί Ἑρμοῦ. Τοῦ Ἁγίου Νεομάρτυρος Ἰωάννου τοῦ ναυκλήρου, ἐν Κῷ μαρτυρήσαντος.
Agavos, Rouphos, Asynkritos, Phlegon, Herodion, & Hermes of the 70 Apostles
Rufus the Obedient of the Kiev Caves
Celestine, Pope of Rome
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from Matthew 21:1-11; 15-17
At that time, when Jesus drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, he sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If any one says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and he will send them immediately." This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,
"Tell the daughter of Zion,
Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey."
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their garments on them, and he sat thereon. Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" And when he entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, "Who is this?" And the crowds said, "This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee." But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" they were indignant; and they said to him, "Do you hear what they are saying?" And Jesus said to them, "Yes; have you never read,
'Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings,
you have brought perfect praise'?"
And leaving them, he went out of the city to Bethany and lodged there.
Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 21.1-11, 15-17
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ὅτε ἤγγισαν εἰς ῾Ιεροσόλυμα καὶ ἦλθον εἰς Βηθσφαγῆ πρὸς τὸ ὄρος τῶν ἐλαιῶν, τότε ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς ἀπέστειλε δύο μαθητὰςλέγων αὐτοῖς· πορεύθητε εἰς τὴν κώμην τὴν ἀπέναντι ὑμῶν, καὶ εὐθέως εὑρήσετε ὄνον δεδεμένην καὶ πῶλον μετ᾿ αὐτῆς· λύσαντες ἀγάγετέ μοι.καὶ ἐάν τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ τι, ἐρεῖτε ὅτι ὁ Κύριος αὐτῶν χρείαν ἔχει· εὐθέως δὲ ἀποστέλλει αὐτούς.τοῦτο δὲ ὅλον γέγονεν ἵνα πληρωθῇ τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος· εἴπατε τῇ θυγατρὶ Σιών,ἰδοὺ ὁ βασιλεύς σου ἔρχεταί σοιπραῢς καὶ ἐπιβεβηκὼς ἐπὶ ὄνονκαὶ πῶλον υἱὸν ὑποζυγίου. πορευθέντες δὲ οἱ μαθηταὶ καὶ ποιήσαντες καθὼς προσέταξεν αὐτοῖς ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς,ἤγαγον τὴν ὄνον καὶ τὸν πῶλον, καὶ ἐπέθηκαν ἐπάνω αὐτῶν τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτῶν, καὶ ἐπεκάθισεν ἐπάνω αὐτῶν.ὁ δὲ πλεῖστος ὄχλος ἔστρωσαν ἑαυτῶν τὰ ἱμάτια ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ, ἄλλοι δὲ ἔκοπτον κλάδους ἀπὸ τῶν δένδρων καὶ ἐστρώννυον ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ.οἱ δὲ ὄχλοι οἱ προάγοντες καὶ οἱ ἀκολουθοῦντες ἔκραζον λέγοντες· ὡσαννὰ τῷ υἱῷ Δαυΐδ·εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι Κυρίου·ὡσαννὰ ἐν τοῖς ὑψίστοις. καὶ εἰσελθόντος αὐτοῦ εἰς ῾Ιεροσόλυμα ἐσείσθη πᾶσα ἡ πόλις λέγουσα· τίς ἐστιν οὗτος;οἱ δὲ ὄχλοι ἔλεγον· οὗτός ἔστιν ᾿Ιησοῦς ὁ προφήτης ὁ ἀπὸ Ναζαρὲτ τῆς Γαλιλαίας. ἰδόντες δὲ οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς τὰ θαυμάσια ἃ ἐποίησε καὶ τοὺς παῖδας κράζοντας ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ καὶ λέγοντας, ὡσαννὰ τῷ υἱῷ Δαυΐδ, ἠγανάκτησανκαὶ εἶπον αὐτῷ· ἀκούεις τί οὗτοι λέγουσιν; ὁ δὲ ᾿Ιησοῦς λέγει αὐτοῖς· ναί· οὐδέποτε ἀνέγνωτε ὅτι ἐκ στόματος νηπίων καὶ θηλαζόντων κατηρτίσω αἶνον; καὶ καταλιπὼν αὐτοὺς ἐξῆλθεν ἔξω τῆς πόλεως εἰς Βηθανίαν καὶ ηὐλίσθη ἐκεῖ.
The Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Philippians 4:4-9
BRETHREN, rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you.
Πρὸς Φιλιππησίους 4:4-9
Ἀδελφοί, χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε. Τὸ ἐπιεικὲς ὑμῶν γνωσθήτω πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις. Ὁ κύριος ἐγγύς. Μηδὲν μεριμνᾶτε, ἀλλʼ ἐν παντὶ τῇ προσευχῇ καὶ τῇ δεήσει μετὰ εὐχαριστίας τὰ αἰτήματα ὑμῶν γνωριζέσθω πρὸς τὸν θεόν. Καὶ ἡ εἰρήνη τοῦ θεοῦ ἡ ὑπερέχουσα πάντα νοῦν, φρουρήσει τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν καὶ τὰ νοήματα ὑμῶν ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. Τὸ λοιπόν, ἀδελφοί, ὅσα ἐστὶν ἀληθῆ, ὅσα σεμνά, ὅσα δίκαια, ὅσα ἁγνά, ὅσα προσφιλῆ, ὅσα εὔφημα, εἴ τις ἀρετὴ καὶ εἴ τις ἔπαινος, ταῦτα λογίζεσθε. Ἃ καὶ ἐμάθετε καὶ παρελάβετε καὶ ἠκούσατε καὶ εἴδετε ἐν ἐμοί, ταῦτα πράσσετε· καὶ ὁ θεὸς τῆς εἰρήνης ἔσται μεθʼ ὑμῶν.
The Reading is from John 12:1-18
Six days before Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazaros was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; Martha served, and Lazaros was one of those at table with him. Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said "Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it. Jesus said, "Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me."
When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came, not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazaros, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazaros also to death, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.
The next day a great crowd who had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!" And Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it; as it is written, "Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt!" His disciples did not understand this at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that this had been written of him and had been done to him. The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazaros out of the tomb and raised him from the dead bore witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign.
Κατὰ Ἰωάννην 12.1-18
Πρὸ ἓξ ἡμερῶν τοῦ πάσχα ἦλθεν Ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς εἰς Βηθανίαν, ὅπου ἦν Λάζαρος ὁ τεθνηκώς, ὃν ἤγειρεν ἐκ νεκρῶν. ἐποίησαν οὖν αὐτῷ δεῖπνον ἐκεῖ, καὶ ἡ Μάρθα διηκόνει· ὁ δὲ Λάζαρος εἷς ἦν τῶν ἀνακειμένων σὺν αὐτῷ. ἡ οὖν Μαρία, λαβοῦσα λίτραν μύρου νάρδου πιστικῆς πολυτίμου, ἤλειψε τοὺς πόδας τοῦ ᾿Ιησοῦ καὶ ἐξέμαξε ταῖς θριξὶν αὐτῆς τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ· ἡ δὲ οἰκία ἐπληρώθη ἐκ τῆς ὀσμῆς τοῦ μύρου. λέγει οὖν εἷς ἐκ τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ, ᾿Ιούδας Σίμωνος ᾿Ισκαριώτης, ὁ μέλλων αὐτὸν παραδιδόναι· διατί τοῦτο τὸ μύρον οὐκ ἐπράθη τριακοσίων δηναρίων καὶ ἐδόθη πτωχοῖς; εἶπε δὲ τοῦτο οὐχ ὅτι περὶ τῶν πτωχῶν ἔμελεν αὐτῷ, ἀλλ᾽ ὅτι κλέπτης ἦν, καὶ τὸ γλωσσόκομον εἶχε καὶ τὰ βαλλόμενα ἐβάσταζεν. εἶπεν οὖν ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· ἄφες αὐτήν, εἰς τὴν ἡμέραν τοῦ ἐνταφιασμοῦ μου τετήρηκεν αὐτό. τοὺς πτωχοὺς γὰρ πάντοτε ἔχετε μεθ᾽ ἑαυτῶν, ἐμὲ δὲ οὐ πάντοτε ἔχετε.
῎Εγνω οὖν ὄχλος πολὺς ἐκ τῶν ᾿Ιουδαίων ὅτι ἐκεῖ ἐστι, καὶ ἦλθον οὐ διὰ τὸν ᾿Ιησοῦν μόνον, ἀλλ᾽ ἵνα καὶ τὸν Λάζαρον ἴδωσιν ὃν ἤγειρεν ἐκ νεκρῶν. ἐβουλεύσαντο δὲ οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς ἵνα καὶ τὸν Λάζαρον ἀποκτείνωσιν,ὅτι πολλοὶ δι᾽ αὐτὸν ὑπῆγον τῶν ᾿Ιουδαίων καὶ ἐπίστευον εἰς τὸν ᾿Ιησοῦν.
Τῇ ἐπαύριον ὄχλος πολὺς ὁ ἐλθὼν εἰς τὴν ἑορτήν, ἀκούσαντες ὅτι ἔρχεται ᾿Ιησοῦς εἰς ῾Ιεροσόλυμα, ἔλαβον τὰ βαΐα τῶν φοινίκων καὶ ἐξῆλθον εἰς ὑπάντησιν αὐτῷ, καὶ ἔκραζον· ὡσαννά, εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι Κυρίου, ὁ βασιλεὺς τοῦ ᾿Ισραήλ. εὑρὼν δὲ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς ὀνάριον ἐκάθισεν ἐπ᾽ αὐτό, καθώς ἐστι γεγραμμένον· μὴ φοβοῦ, θύγατερ Σιών· ἰδοὺ ὁ βασιλεύς σου ἔρχεται καθήμενος ἐπὶ πῶλον ὄνου.
Ταῦτα δὲ οὐκ ἔγνωσαν οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ τὸ πρῶτον, ἀλλ᾽ ὅτε ἐδοξάσθη ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς, τότε ἐμνήσθησαν ὅτι ταῦτα ἦν ἐπ᾽ αὐτῷ γεγραμμένα, καὶ ταῦτα ἐποίησαν αὐτῷ. ᾿Εμαρτύρει οὖν ὁ ὄχλος ὁ ὢν μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ ὅτε τὸν Λάζαρον ἐφώνησεν ἐκ τοῦ μνημείου καὶ ἤγειρεν αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν. διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ὑπήντησεν αὐτῷ ὁ ὄχλος, ὅτι ἤκουσαν τοῦτο αὐτὸν πεποιηκέναι τὸ σημεῖον
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Κυριακῇ τῶν Βαΐων, τὴν λαμπρὰν καὶ ἔνδοξον πανήγυριν τῆς εἰς Ἱερουσαλὴμ εἰσόδου τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἑορτάζομεν.
Πώλῳ καθίσας, ὁ λόγῳ τείνας πόλον,
Βροτοὺς ἐκζητεῖ λῦσαι τῆς ἀλογίας.
Τῇ ἀφάτῳ σου εὐσπλαγχνίᾳ, Χριστὲ ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν, νικητὰς ἡμᾶς τῶν παραλόγων παθῶν ποίησον, καὶ τὴν σὴν ἐναργῆ κατὰ θανάτου νίκην, τὴν φαιδράν σου καὶ ζωηφόρον Ἀνάστασιν ἰδεῖν καταξίωσον, καὶ ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς
Τῇ Η' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Ἀποστόλων ἐκ τῶν ἑβδομήκοντα, Ἡρῳδίωνος, Ἀγάβου, Ῥούφου, Φλέγοντος, Ἀσυγκρίτου καὶ Ἑρμοῦ.
Εὐαγγελίου τὸν καλὸν δραμὼν δρόμον,
Ἡρῳδίων κάλλιστον ἤρατο στέφος.
Ψυχὴν Ἀγάβου τοῦ Προφηταποστόλου,
Ὁ ψυχοσώστης προσκαλεῖται Δεσπότης.
Σβέσας πλάνης φλέγουσαν ὁ Φλέγων φλόγα,
Οὓς Δαυῒδ εἶπε, πῦρ φλέγον, βλέπει Νόας.
Παῦλος καλεῖ σε, Ῥοῦφ', Ἀπόστολος μέγας.
Ἐκλεκτὸν ὄντως· ὢ ἐπαίνου ἀξίου!
Ἀσύγκριτον δὲ πᾶς ἐπαινέσει μάλα.
Τοῦτον γὰρ ἠσπάσατο Παύλου τὸ στόμα.
Ἑρμῇ θανόντι τῷ μαθητῇ Κυρίου,
Ἑρμῷον ἔμπνουν ἐκ λόγων ἀναγλύφῳ.
Ὀγδοάτῃ μετέβησαν Ἀπόστολοι, ἀγγελέες τε.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Κελεστίνου Πάπα Ῥώμης.
Τὸ χάσμα καὶ σὲ παμμάκαρ, Κελεστῖνε,
Χοροῦ διιστᾷ μὴ μεμακαρισμένου.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, Χριστὲ ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
On Sunday, five days before the Passover of the Law, the Lord came from Bethany to Jerusalem. Sending two of His disciples to bring Him a foal of an ass, He sat thereon and entered into the city. When the multitude there heard that Jesus was coming, they straightway took up the branches of palm trees in their hands, and went forth to meet Him. Others spread their garments on the ground, and yet others cut branches from the trees and strewed them in the way that Jesus was to pass; and all of them together, especially the children, went before and after Him, crying out: "Hosanna: Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord, the King of Israel" (John 12:13). This is the radiant and glorious festival of our Lord's entry into Jerusalem that we celebrate today.
The branches of the palm trees symbolize Christ's victory over the devil and death. The word Hosanna means "Save, I pray," or "Save, now." The foal of an ass, and Jesus' sitting thereon, and the fact that this animal was untamed and considered unclean according to the Law, signified the former uncleanness and wildness of the nations, and their subjection thereafter to the holy Law of the Gospel.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Συνταφέντες σοι διὰ τοῦ Βαπτίσματος, Χριστὲ ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν, τῆς ἀθανάτου ζωῆς ἠξιώθημεν τῇ Ἀναστάσει σου, καὶ ἀνυμνοῦντες κράζομεν· Ὡσαννὰ ἐν τοῖς ὑψίστοις, εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος, ἐν ὀνόματι Κυρίου.
As by baptism we were buried with Thee, O Christ our God, so by Thy Resurrection we were deemed worthy of immortal life; and praising Thee, we cry: Hosanna in the highest; blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord.
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Second Tone
Τῷ θρόνῳ ἐν οὐρανῷ, τῷ πώλῳ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, ἐποχούμενος Χριστὲ ὁ Θεός, τῶν Ἀγγέλων τὴν αἴνεσιν, καὶ τῶν Παίδων ἀνύμνησιν προσεδέξω βοώντων σοι· Εὐλογημένος εἶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος, τὸν Ἀδὰμ ἀνακαλέσασθα
In Heaven, He is seated upon a Throne and on earth He rides upon a foal. O Christ our God, accept the praise of the Angels and the hymn of the Children who cry out to You, "Blessed are You who comes to recall Adam."
The Apostle Herodion, whom Saint Paul mentions in his Epistle to the Romans (16:11) and calls his "kinsman," was ordained presbyter and then Bishop of New Patras, where he was slain by Jews and pagans. Saint Agabus is mentioned in Acts 21:10-11, where he prophesied SaintPaul's arrest in Jerusalem at the hands of the Jewish leaders. In Acts 11:27-28 it is mentioned also that this Saint foretold the great famine that would come to pass in the time of Claudius Caesar. Having preached the Gospel throughout various regions, he departed to the Lord. The Apostle Rouphos became Bishop of Thebes in Greece. The Apostles Asynkritos and Phlegon preached Christ in many places, suffered many afflictions at the hands of the pagans and Jews, and departed unto the Lord. The Apostle Hermes is mentioned with them in the Epistle to the Romans (16:13-14).
Apolytikion in the Third Tone
Απόστολοι Άγιοι, πρεσβεύσατε τώ ελεήμονι Θεώ ίνα πταισμάτων άφεσιν, παράσχη ταίς ψυχάς ημών.
O Holy Apostles, intercede with the merciful God that He grant unto our souls forgiveness of offenses.
Πρέπει να νοσταλγούμε πολύ την εποχή εκείνη, που ήσαν ενωμένοι οι χριστιανοί σε Ανατολή και Δύση, και να προσευχώμαστε να ξαναενωθή η Εκκλησία του Χριστού. Σήμερα, που ζούμε σε χρόνια νέου διωγμού του Χριστιανισμού, αισθανόμαστε την ανάγκη να είναι ενωμένη η Εκκλησία σε ένα ισχυρό μέτωπο εναντίον των νέων ειδωλολατρών. Όταν μελετούμε την Εκκλησιαστική Ιστορία, χαιρόμαστε τα χρόνια εκείνα, που ενωμένη η Εκκλησία σε Ανατολή και Δύση αντιμετώπιζε νικηφόρως τους εξωτερικούς και εσωτερικούς της εχθρούς, τους ειδωλολάτρες και τους αιρετικούς. Σ' εκείνα τα χρόνια έζησε κι αγωνίσθηκε για την ορθή πίστη ο Άγιος Κελεστίνος, Πάπας Ρώμης, του οποίου την μνήμη γιορτάζει σήμερα η Εκκλησία. Η δέηση και η ευχή του Ιησού Χριστού στην αρχιερατική του προσευχή, λίγο πριν από το Πάθος, που την επανέλαβε πέντε φορές, ήταν να είναι η Εκκλησία του ενωμένη - "ίνα ωσιν εν".
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Ἄγαβος, Ῥοῦφος, Φλέγων, Ἀσύγκριτος, Ἑρμῆς (κατ᾿ ἄλλους Ἑρμᾶς) καὶ Ἠρωδίων ἀπὸ τοὺς 70 Ἀποστόλους
Ἀπὸ αὐτοὺς τοὺς ἱεροὺς Ἀποστόλους, ὁ μὲν Ἄγαβος ἦταν ἐκεῖνος ποὺ ἀναφέρει ὁ εὐαγγελιστὴς Λουκᾶς στὶς Πράξεις τῶν Ἀποστόλων, ὁ ὁποῖος ἀφοῦ πῆρε τὴν ζώνη τοῦ Ἀποστόλου Παύλου, τοῦ ἔδεσε τὰ χέρια καὶ τὰ πόδια καὶ προφήτευσε γι᾿ αὐτὸν αὐτά: «Τάδε λέγει τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον. Τὸν ἄνδρα, οὗ ἐστὶν ἡ ζώνη αὐτή, οὕτω δήσουσιν εἰς Ἱερουσαλὴμ οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι καὶ παραδώσουσιν εἰς χεῖρας ἐθνῶν». Πράγματι, ἔτσι καὶ ἔγινε. Διότι ὄχι μόνο ἔδεσαν τὸν Παῦλο οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι, ἀλλὰ καὶ προσπάθησαν νὰ τὸν σκοτώσουν. Ὁ Ἄγαβος, ἀφοῦ κήρυξε τὸ Εὐαγγέλιο στὸ μέρος ὅπου ζοῦσε, ἀποδήμησε εἰρηνικὰ στὸν Κύριο. Τὸν δὲ Ῥοῦφο ἀναφέρει ὁ Παῦλος στὴν πρὸς Ῥωμαίους ἐπιστολή: «Ἀσπάσασθε Ῥοῦφον τὸν ἐκλεκτὸν ἐν Κυρίῳ καὶ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐμοῦ». Αὐτὸς ἀργότερα ἔγινε ἐπίσκοπος Θηβῶν στὴν Ἑλλάδα. Οἱ δὲ Φλέγων καὶ Ἀσύγκριτος, ἀφοῦ κήρυξαν τὸ Εὐαγγέλιο σὲ διάφορα μέρη τοῦ κόσμου, ἔφεραν πολλοὺς ἀπίστους στὴν ἀληθινὴ πίστη. Τελικὰ βασανίστηκαν μὲ διάφορους τρόπους ἀπὸ Ἰουδαίους καὶ Ἕλληνες, μὲ ἀποτέλεσμα νὰ πεθάνουν καὶ οἱ δυὸ τὴν ἴδια μέρα. Ἔτσι, πῆραν ἀπὸ τὸν Κύριο τὰ οὐράνια ἀγαθά, ποὺ προορίζονται γιὰ τοὺς ἀληθινοὺς ἐργάτες τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου. (Γιὰ δὲ τὸν Ἑρμῆ βλέπε 8 Μαρτίου καὶ γιὰ τὸν Ἠρωδίωνα τὴν 28η Μαρτίου).
Ὁ Ὅσιος Κελεστίνος Πάπας Ῥώμης
Ὁ Κελεστίνος γεννήθηκε στὴ Ῥώμη καὶ τὸν πατέρα του ἔλεγαν Πρίσκο. Νωρίς, σὰ διάκονος, εἶχε διακριθεῖ γιὰ τὴν παιδεία του, τὴν εὐσέβεια καὶ τὸ θερμὸ ζῆλο. Γι᾿ αὐτὸ μετὰ τὸ θάνατο τοῦ Πάπα Βονιφατίου τὸ 422, τὸν διαδέχτηκε στὸν Ποντιφικὸ θρόνο. Ἀμέσως τότε παρενέβη στὴν Ἀφρική, στὴ Γαλατία καὶ στὴ Καλαβρία, γιὰ νὰ ἐπιβάλει τοὺς Ἱεροὺς κανόνες στὴν ἐκλογὴ τῶν ἐπισκόπων. Ὑπῆρξε ἐνεργητικότατος στὴν καταστολὴ διαφόρων αἱρέσεων. Ἐργάστηκε γιὰ τὴν ἐξαφάνιση τοῦ πελαγιανισμοῦ ἀπὸ τὴν Μεγάλη Βρεττανία, καὶ συγχρόνως μὲ κατάλληλη Ἱεραποστολή, πέτυχε νὰ προσέλθει στὸ χριστιανισμὸ ἡ Ἰρλανδία. Στὴν 3η Οἰκ. Σύνοδο, ὁ Πάπας Κελεστίνος μὲ ἀντιπροσωπεία του, καταδίκασε τὴν πλάνη τοῦ Νεστορίου. Γενικὰ ἐπιμελήθηκε τὰ πράγματα τοῦ κλήρου καὶ αὐτὰ τῆς θείας λατρείας, εὐπρεπίζοντας τοὺς ναοὺς μὲ εἰκόνες καὶ διάφορα ἱερὰ σκεύη. Πέθανε, ὅταν αὐτοκράτορας ἦταν ὁ Θεοδόσιος ὁ Β´ τὸ 432 μ.Χ. τὴν 26η ἢ 27η Ἰουλίου, κατὰ τὴν πιὸ πιθανὴ γνώμη.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Παυσίλυπος
Ὁ ἅγιος αὐτὸς ὑπῆρξε στὰ χρόνια του βασιλιᾶ Ἀδριανοῦ (117-138 μ.Χ.) καὶ ἦταν εὐγενὴς καὶ πλούσιος στὴν πόλη τῆς Ῥώμης. Ἐπειδὴ ὅμως ἐνθάῤῥυνε καὶ ὑποστήριζε τοὺς χριστιανοὺς ποὺ βάδιζαν γιὰ τὸ μαρτύριο, συνελήφθη καὶ ὁδηγήθηκε στὸ βασιλιά. Αὐτὸς τὸν ῥώτησε ἂν πιστεύει στὸν Χριστὸ καὶ ὁ Παυσίλυπος ἀπάντησε ὅτι ὄχι μόνο πιστεύει ἀλλὰ εἶναι ἕτοιμος καὶ τὸ αἷμα του νὰ χύσει γι᾿ αὐτόν. Τότε τὸν χτύπησαν τόσο πολὺ στὴν κοιλιά, ποὺ φάνηκαν τὰ ἔντερά του. Ἔπειτα τὸν παραχώρησαν στὸν ἔπαρχο Πράκτο, ποὺ καὶ αὐτὸς τὸν βασάνισε φρικτά. Ἀλλ᾿ ἐπειδὴ ὁ Ἅγιος ἐπέμενε στὴν πίστη του, καταδικάστηκε σὲ ἀποκεφαλισμό. Τελικὰ ὅμως, ἀφοῦ ἔσπασε τὴν ἁλυσίδα ποὺ τοῦ εἶχαν βάλει, δραπέτευσε καὶ ζῶντας μὲ ἀρετὴ παρέδωσε τὴν ψυχή του στὸν Θεό.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἰωάννης ὁ Ναύκληρος
Ὁ Κῶος αὐτὸς ναύκληρος ἐξισλαμίστηκε μὲ τὴν βία ἀπὸ τοὺς Τούρκους στὴν Κῶ. Αὐτὸς ὅμως, πέταξε τὰ Τούρκικα ῥοῦχα καὶ ζοῦσε χριστιανικά. Οἱ Τοῦρκοι τὸν ἀντελήφθησαν, τὸν συνέλαβαν καὶ τὸν μαστίγωσαν ἀνελέητα, καὶ κατόπιν τὸν φυλάκισαν. Μέσα στὴ φυλακή, οἱ Τοῦρκοι προσπαθοῦσαν νὰ τὸν μεταπείσουν στὸν μουσουλμανισμό, ἀλλὰ ὁ νεομάρτυρας ἀπαντοῦσε: «Ἐγὼ στὸν Κύριό μου Ἰησοῦ Χριστὸ πιστεύω καὶ αὐτὸν ὁμολογῶ γιὰ Θεὸ ἀληθινό, μὲ ὅλη μου τὴν ψυχὴ καὶ τὴν καρδιά. Τὴ δὲ δική σας θρησκεία ἀποστρέφομαι καὶ εἶμαι ἕτοιμος νὰ ὑπομείνω ὅσα βασανιστήρια καὶ ἂν μοῦ κάνετε γιὰ τὴν ἀγάπη τοῦ Χριστοῦ μου». Βλέποντας τὸ ἀμετάθετο τῆς γνώμης του οἱ βασανιστές του, τὸν ὁδήγησαν μὲ βασανισμοὺς στὸν κριτή, ποὺ διέταξε τὸν ἀνηλεῆ δαρμό του καὶ τὸν καταδίκασε νὰ καεῖ ζωντανός. Ἔτσι, μ᾿ αὐτὸν τὸν τρόπο, στὶς 8 Ἀπριλίου 1669, μαρτύρησε ὁ Ἅγιος αὐτὸς νεομάρτυρας τῆς Κῶ. Ἀκολουθία τοῦ Ἁγίου συνέταξε ὁ Γεράσιμος Μοναχὸς Μικραγιαννανίτης. Ἐπίσης, τὸ Ἱστορικὸ ἐκκλησίδιο τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἰωάννη τοῦ Προδρόμου, μετονομάστηκε ἐπ᾿ ὀνόματι τοῦ Νεομάρτυρα αὐτοῦ, καθὼς καὶ ἡ ὁδὸς ποὺ ὁδηγεῖ στὸ Ναΰδριο αὐτὸ φέρει τὸ ὄνομά του.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἰωάννης ὁ Κουλικᾶς
Ὁ Νεομάρτυρας αὐτός, ἦταν ἄνθρωπος πολὺ φρόνιμος καὶ ζηλωτής. Κάποια μέρα ὅμως, εἶχε ἔντονη συζήτηση γιὰ τὴν πίστη μὲ τοὺς Τούρκους. Αὐτοὶ ἀπὸ φθόνο, τὸν κατηγόρησαν στὸν κριτή, ὅτι δῆθεν ἔβρισε τὴν μουσουλμανικὴ θρησκεία. Ὁ κριτὴς πρότεινε στὸν Ἰωάννη νὰ ἀρνηθεῖ τὸν Χριστὸ καὶ νὰ γίνει μουσουλμάνος γιὰ ν᾿ ἀποφύγει τὸν θάνατο. Ὁ Ἰωάννης ἀποκρίθηκε θαῤῥαλέα, ὅτι δὲν ἀρνεῖται τὸν Χριστὸ καὶ ἂν μύριους θανάτους ὑποστεῖ. Τότε ὁ κριτὴς διέταξε καὶ τὸν ἔριξαν μέσα σὲ τσιγγέλια (γάντσους), ὅπου ὁ Νεομάρτυρας βρῆκε φρικτὸ ἀλλὰ ἔνδοξο τέλος στὶς 8 Ἀπριλίου 1564. (Τὸ Μ. Εὐχολόγιο στὴ σελίδα 442 ἀναφέρει τὴν μνήμη τοῦ μάρτυρος τὴν 8η καὶ 18η Ἀπριλίου, στὴ δὲ σελ. 470 τὴν 1η Ἀπριλίου (1564). Οἱ δὲ Σ. Εὐστρατιάδης καὶ Ἁγ. Νικόδημος Ἁγιορείτης, ἀναφέρουν τὴν μνήμη του κατὰ τὴν 18η Ἀπριλίου. Ἑπομένως ὑπάρχει πρόβλημα ὅσον ἀφορᾷ τὴν ἡμέρα τοῦ μαρτυρίου του).
Ὁ Ὅσιος Νήφων ὁ Ῥῶσος ὁ θαυματουργός
Ἐπίσκοπος Νοβογοροδίας ἐν τῷ Σπηλαίῳ.
Holy Apostles Herodion, Agabus, Rufus, Asyncritus, Phlegon and Hermas
All of these are numbered among the Seventy, and all are mentioned in the Epistles of St Paul.
Herodion was a kinsmen of St Paul: 'Salute Herodion my kinsman' (Romans 16:11). After many sufferings for the Gospel, he worked with the Apostle Peter in Rome, and was beheaded with him.
Agabus was granted a spirit of prophecy: two of his prophecies are important in the Acts of the
Apostles (Acts 11:28, 21:11).
Rufus was Bishop of Thebes. 'Salute Rufus, chosen in the Lord' (Romans 16:13).
Asyncritus (Romans 16:14) was Bishop of Hyrcania in Asia.
Phlegon, (Romans 16:14) was Bishop of Marathon in Thrace.
Hermas (Romans 16:14) was a bishop in Dalmatia.
Saint Celestine, Pope of Rome (432)
A champion of the Orthodox faith, he sent an epistle to the Third Ecumenical Council, refuting and condemning the Nestorian heresy. He reposed in peace.
Saints Herodion (Rodion), Agabus (Ahab), Asinkritos, Rufus, Phlegontos and Hermas are among the Seventy Disciples, chosen by Christ and sent by Him to preach (Sobor-Assemblage of Seventy Disciples -- Comm. 4 January).
The holy Disciple Herodion was a kinsman of the Apostle Paul and his companion on many journeys. When Christianity had spread to the Balkan Peninsula, the Apostles Peter and Paul established the Disciple Herodion as Bishop of Patara. The Disciple Herodion zealously preached the Word of God and converted many of the Greek pagans and Jews to Christianity.
Enraged by the preaching of the disciple, the idol-worshippers and Jews with one accord fell upon Saint Herodion, and they began to beat him with sticks and pelt him with stones. One of the mob struck him with a knife, and the saint fell down. But when the murderers were gone, the Lord restored him to health unharmed.
After this, Saint Herodion continued to accompany the Apostle Paul some years further. When the holy Apostle Peter was crucified (+ c. 67), the Disciple Herodion at the same time also and with Saint Olympos was beheaded by the sword.
The holy Disciple Agabus was endowed with the gift of prophecy. He predicted (Acts 11: 27-28) the famine during the time of the emperor Claudius (41-52), and foretold the suffering of the Apostle Paul at Jerusalem (Acts 21: 11). The Disciple Agabus preached in many lands and converted many pagans to Christ.
The Disciple Rufus (Ruphus), to whom the holy Apostle Paul gives greeting in the Epistle to the Romans (Rom. 16: 11-15), was bishop of the Greek city of Thebes. The Disciple Asincritos (Rom. 16: 14) -- was bishop in Hyrcania (Asia Minor). The Disciple Phlegontos -- bishop in the city of Marathon (Thrace). The Disciple Hermas -- bishop in Dalmatia (there is yet another Disciple from the Seventy by the name of Hermas, who occupied a cathedra-seat in the Thracian city of Philippopolis).
All these disciples for their intrepid service to Christ underwent fierce sufferings and were found worthy of a martyr's crown.
Sainted Celestine (Celestinus), Pope of Rome (422-432), a zealous champion of Orthodoxy, lived during the reign of the holy Emperor Theodosius the Younger (408-450). He received quite excellent an education, and he knew philosophy well, but most of all he studied the Holy Scripture and pondered over theological questions. The virtuous life of the saint and his authority as a theologian won him the general esteem and love of the clergy and people. After the death of holy Pope Saint Boniface (418-422), Saint Celestine was chosen to the cathedra-chair of Bishop of Rome.
During these times emerged the heresy of Nestorius. At the Local Council in Rome in the year 430, Saint Celestine denounced this heresy and condemned Nestorius as an heretic. After the Council Saint Celestine wrote a missive to Saint Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria (Comm. 18 January), stating that if Nestorius after 10 days did not recant his false teachings, then he should be deposed and excommunicated.
Saint Celestine directed also a series of missives to other Churches, Constantinople and Antioch, in which he unmasked and denounced the Nestorian heresy.
The following two years after the Council, Saint Celestine preached incessantly the true teaching about Christ the God-Man, and thus he died at peace on 6 April 432.
The Monk Ruphii, Hermit of Pechersk, asceticised at the Kievo-Pechersk monastery during the XIV Century. He was distinguished for his obedience and glorified as a lover of toil and fasting. He was buried in the Farther Caves. He is celebrated a second time on 28 August, together amidst the Sobor-Assemblage of the Monks of the Farther Caves.
The Holy Martyr Pausilipos suffered under the emperor Adrian (117-138). Through denunciation by pagans he was led to trial before the emperor and staunchly declared himself a Christian. They beat him with iron rods and handed over to the governor named Precius, who for a long time attempted to make the martyr offer sacrifice to idols. The martyr remained steadfast, and finally the governor gave orders to fetter him and take him off to execution. Along the way Saint Pausilipos prayed fervently, that the Lord would spare him from the hand of the executioner and send him a quick death. The Lord hearkened to him: the martyr, beaten up and weak, had such a sensation of power, that the iron fetters shattered and freed him from their hold. These were thrown behind him, but Saint Pausilipos died in flight. Christians buried the body of the martyr with reverence.
The Holy Martyr John the Shipmaster (Naukleros) suffered a psychological sickness. One time, when he was found in an unconscious state, the Turks made over him the rite of conversion to their religion. Coming to his senses, the saint angrily threw from his head the symbol of Islam -- the turban. He bitterly bewailed the indignity that had occurred and continued to live as a Christian. The Turks then threw the martyr into prison. Neither lecturings, nor beatings, nor threats could bend the will of the saint, and he repeatedly replied: "I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and I refuse your faith". After many torments they burnt the martyr in the city of Koe on 8 April 1669.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE HOLY APOSTLES HERODIAN, AGABUS, RUFUS, ASYNCRITUS, PHLEGON AND HERMES
They were all numbered among the Seventy [Lesser] Apostles. All were mentioned by the Apostle Paul in his epistles. Herodian was a kinsman of Paul. "Greet," writes St. Paul to the Romans, "my relative Herodian" (Romans 16:11). As the Bishop of Neo-Parthia, Herodian suffered much at the hands of the Jews. They beat him over the head with rods, they struck him on the mouth with stones and stabbed him with knives. After they left him for dead, St. Herodian arose and continued to serve the apostles. He assisted the Apostle Peter in Rome and was beheaded along with many other Christians the same day that St. Peter was crucified.
St. Agabus possessed a prophetic spirit. Two of his prophecies are recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. First, he prophesied a great famine throughout the world which came true during the reign of Caesar Claudius: "And one of them named Agabus stood up and predicted by the Spirit that there would be a severe famine all over the world and it happened under Claudius" (Acts of the Apostles 11:28). Second, when he met with the Apostle Paul in Caesarea, who was enroute to Jerusalem, Agabus took Paul's belt and bound his own hands and feet saying: "Thus says the Holy Spirit: This is the way the Jews will bind the owner of this belt in Jerusalem, and they will hand him over to the Gentiles" (Acts of the Apostles 21:11).
St. Rufus was a Bishop of Thebes in Greece. St. Paul also mentions him. "Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord" (Romans 16:13).
St. Asyncritus was Bishop of Hyrcania in Asia and is mentioned along with the others in Romans 16:14.
St. Phlegon is also mentioned in the same epistle. "Greet ASYNCRITUS, PHLEGON, HERMES, PATROBAS and HERMAS and the brothers who are with them" (Romans 16:14). He was a bishop in the Thracian city of Marathon.
St. Hermas, mentioned with the others, was a bishop in Dalmatia.
All of them, like bees for Christ, spread the honey of the Gospel into the various regions, suffering much for the love of Christ. All were translated into the eternal kingdom of Christ the beloved.
2. SAINT NIPHON, BISHOP OF NOVGOROD
Niphon was distinguished by his great enthusiasm in constructing and restoring the churches of God and by showing great courage in opposing the stances of the tyrannical princes. Thirteen days before his death, St. Theodosius appeared to Niphon and announced his imminent passing over to the other world. He died in the year 1156 A.D.
3. SAINT CELESTINE, POPE OF ROME
A great champion of the Orthodox Faith. At the time of the Third Ecumenical Council (Ephesus, 431 A.D.), Celestine wrote an epistle against Nestorius, the heretic. He died peacefully in the year 432 A.D.
HYMN OF PRAISE
THE HOLY APOSTLES
Holy apostles, chosen ones of God,
You ran the race and reached the goal.
he vanity of the world, they despised; to God, they reached out,
The worldly they sacrificed, the eternal, they acquired.
Their love for Christ, stronger than all other powers,
To them, it shone through the darkness of paganism.
The race is over, the battle obtained,
The army of heroes brought to Christ.
In Christ there are many victorious wreaths,
Even if you want, you could be wedded.
Apostles holy, pray to God,
That He deprive us not of the Kingdom of Heaven.
There is heroism above heroism and asceticism above asceticism. St. Epiphanius of Cyprus invited Hilarion the Great to dinner and in order to show the greatest hospitality to his distinguished guest, placed fried chicken on the table and offered it to him. Hilarion said to him: "Forgive me, but ever since I was tonsured a monk, I have eaten nothing butchered." To that Epiphanius replied: "And I, ever since I was tonsured a monk, have never lay down in bed until I first forgave my enemy." Amazed, Hilarion said: "Your virtue is greater than mine, Oh holy master!" This is a great lesson for all of us. Fasting is an admirable thing but it is more admirable to forgive insults. Through fasting, man is preparing for charity but, by forgiving insults, man shows charity. Fasting precedes forgiveness but fasting alone, does not save without forgiveness.
To contemplate the resurrected Lord Jesus:
1. In the earthly body before the resurrection; in the body susceptible to hunger, pain and death;
2. In the Heavenly Body after the resurrection; in the body not susceptible to hunger, pain and death.
About the resurrection of the dead
"But someone may say, `How are the dead raised?' With what kind of body will they come back?" (1 Corinthians 15:35).
The Apostle Paul knows in advance the objections which the unbelievers will make concerning the resurrection from the dead and, in advance, he rejects them. Even today, the non-believers who have not seen with the physical eyes the miracle of the resurrection in nature, much less the spiritual resurrection, ask: "How will the dead be raised?" "You fool!" continues the apostle, "What you sow is not brought to life unless it dies" (1 Corinthians 15:36). Until the seed dies in the ground, the plant will not grow, in other words, something totally different than the seed will sprout up. The non-believers see through their eyes and do not see, but further ask: "How will a dead man resurrect?" How? In the same way that Christ resurrected. He lowered Himself lifeless in the tomb and rose alive. Even nature manifests the resurrection from the dead; but stronger than nature, it is manifested by the resurrected Lord. In order to make it easier for us to believe and to hope - to believe in the resurrection in general and to have hope in our own resurrection, He Himself, resurrected from the grave and prior to that resurrecting Lazarus who lay in the grave for four days, the son of the widow of Nain and the daughter of Jarius.
The non-believers ask: "With what kind of body will the dead rise?" In that kind of body which God wills. With God there are many kinds of bodies. The Apostle Paul divides all bodies into two groups: into earthly bodies and into heavenly bodies. Therefore, they who have died in earthly bodies will be clothed with heavenly bodies: the incorruptible will replace the corruptible, the immortal will replace the mortal, the beautiful will replace the ugly. In this heavenly body man will also recognize himself and others around him as man recognizes himself or even when he is clothed in beggar's rags or even when he is clothed in royal purple.
Lord, All-plentious, do not hand us over to eternal corruption but, as royal sons, clothe us in the garment of immortality.