FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Eupsychios the Martyr
Vadim the Righteous of Persia
Rafael, Nicholas, Irene, & Olympias of Mytilene
Μεγάλη Δευτέρα: Ἐν ᾗ μνείαν ποιούμεθα Ἰωσήφ τοῦ Παγκάλου καί τῆς ὑπό τοῦ Κυρίου, διά τήν ἀκαρπίαν αὐτῆς, καταρασθείσης καί ξηρανθείσης συκῆς.
Τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Εὐψυχίου τοῦ ἐν Καισαρείᾳ καί τῶν Ἁγίων νεοφανῶν Μαρτύρων Ραφαήλ, Νικολάου καί Εἰρήνης τῶν ἐν Λέσβῳ. (Ἡ Ἑορτή των μετατίθεται τῇ Τρίτῃ τῆς Διακαινησίμου, ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ μαρτυρίου των).
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from Matthew 21:18-43
At that time, Jesus was returning to the city, he was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the wayside he went to it, and found nothing on it but leaves only. And he said to it, "May no fruit ever come from you again!" And the fig tree withered at once. When the disciples saw it they marveled, saying, "How did the fig tree wither at once?" And Jesus answered them, "Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and never doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it will be done. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith. " And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, "By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?" Jesus answered them, "I also will ask you a question; and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? From heaven or from men? " And they argued with one another, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will say to us, 'Why then did you not believe him?' But if we say, 'From men,' we are afraid of the multitude; for all hold that John was a prophet." So they answered Jesus, "We do not know." And he said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things. What do you think? A man had two sons; and he went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' And he answered, 'I will not'; but afterward he repented and went. And he went to the second and said the same; and he answered, 'I go, sir,' but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the harlots believed him; and even when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him.
"Hear another parable. There was a householder who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit; and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them. Afterward he sent his son to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.' And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?" They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons." Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures: 'The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it."
Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 21.18-43
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἐπανάγων ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἰς τὴν πόλιν ἐπείνασεν. καὶ ἰδὼν συκῆν μίαν ἐπὶ τῆς ὁδοῦ ἦλθεν ἐπ᾿ αὐτήν, καὶ οὐδὲν εὗρεν ἐν αὐτῇ εἰ μὴ φύλλα μόνον, καὶ λέγει αὐτῇ· μηκέτι ἐκ σοῦ καρπὸς γένηται εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. καὶ ἐξηράνθη παραχρῆμα ἡ συκῆ.καὶ ἰδόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ ἐθαύμασαν λέγοντες· πῶς παραχρῆμα ἐξηράνθη ἡ συκῆ;ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐὰν ἔχητε πίστιν καὶ μὴ διακριθῆτε, οὐ μόνον τὸ τῆς συκῆς ποιήσετε, ἀλλὰ κἂν τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ εἴπητε, ἄρθητι καὶ βλήθητι εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, γενήσεται·καὶ πάντα ὅσα ἐὰν αἰτήσητε ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ πιστεύοντες, λήψεσθε. Καὶ ἐλθόντι αὐτῷ εἰς τὸ ἱερὸν προσῆλθον αὐτῷ διδάσκοντι οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι τοῦ λαοῦ λέγοντες· ἐν ποίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ ταῦτα ποιεῖς, καὶ τίς σοι ἔδωκε τὴν ἐξουσίαν ταύτην;ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· ἐρωτήσω ὑμᾶς κἀγὼ λόγον ἕνα, ὃν ἐὰν εἴπητέ μοι, κἀγὼ ὑμῖν ἐρῶ ἐν ποίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ ταῦτα ποιῶ.τὸ βάπτισμα ᾿Ιωάννου πόθεν ἦν, ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἢ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων; οἱ δὲ διελογίζοντο παρ᾿ ἑαυτοῖς λέγοντες· ἐὰν εἴπωμεν, ἐξ οὐρανοῦ, ἐρεῖ ἡμῖν, διατί οὖν οὐκ ἐπιστεύσατε αὐτῷ·ἐὰν δὲ εἴπωμεν, ἐξ ἀνθρώπων, φοβούμεθα τὸν ὄχλον· πάντες γὰρ ἔχουσι τὸν ᾿Ιωάννην ὡς προφήτην.καὶ ἀποκριθέντες τῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ εἶπον· οὐκ οἴδαμεν. ἔφη αὐτοῖς καὶ αὐτός· οὐδὲ ἐγὼ λέγω ὑμῖν ἐν ποίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ ταῦτα ποιῶ.
Τί δὲ ὑμῖν δοκεῖ; ἄνθρωπός τις εἶχε τέκνα δύο, καὶ προσελθὼν τῷ πρώτῳ εἶπε· τέκνον, ὕπαγε σήμερον ἐργάζου ἐν τῷ ἀμπελῶνί μου.ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν· οὐ θέλω· ὕστερον δὲ μεταμεληθεὶς ἀπῆλθε.καὶ προσελθὼν τῷ δευτέρῳ εἶπεν ὡσαύτως. ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν· ἐγώ, κύριε· καὶ οὐκ ἀπῆλθε.τίς ἐκ τῶν δύο ἐποίησε τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πατρός; λέγουσιν αὐτῷ· ὁ πρῶτος. λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι οἱ τελῶναι καὶ αἱ πόρναι προάγουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ.ἦλθε γὰρ πρὸς ὑμᾶς ᾿Ιωάννης ἐν ὁδῷ δικαιοσύνης, καὶ οὐκ ἐπιστεύσατε αὐτῷ· οἱ δὲ τελῶναι καὶ αἱ πόρναι ἐπίστευσαν αὐτῷ· ὑμεῖς δὲ ἰδόντες οὐ μετεμελήθητε ὕστερον τοῦ πιστεῦσαι αὐτῷ.
῎Αλλην παραβολὴν ἀκούσατε. ἄνθρωπός τις ἦν οἰκοδεσπότης, ὅστις ἐφύτευσεν ἀμπελῶνα καὶ φραγμὸν αὐτῷ περιέθηκε καὶ ὤρυξεν ἐν αὐτῷ ληνὸν καὶ ᾠκοδόμησε πύργον, καὶ ἐξέδοτο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν.ὅτε δὲ ἤγγισεν ὁ καιρὸς τῶν καρπῶν, ἀπέστειλε τοὺς δούλους αὐτοῦ πρὸς τοὺς γεωργοὺς λαβεῖν τοὺς καρποὺς αὐτοῦ.καὶ λαβόντες οἱ γεωργοὶ τοὺς δούλους αὐτοῦ ὃν μὲν ἔδειραν, ὃν δὲ ἀπέκτειναν, ὃν δὲ ἐλιθοβόλησαν.πάλιν ἀπέστειλεν ἄλλους δούλους πλείονας τῶν πρώτων, καὶ ἐποίησαν αὐτοῖς ὡσαύτως.ὕστερον δὲ ἀπέστειλε πρὸς αὐτοὺς τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ λέγων· ἐντραπήσονται τὸν υἱόν μου.οἱ δὲ γεωργοὶ ἰδόντες τὸν υἱὸν εἶπον ἐν ἑαυτοῖς· οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ κληρονόμος· δεῦτε ἀποκτείνωμεν αὐτὸν καὶ κατάσχωμεν τὴν κληρονομίαν αὐτοῦ.καὶ λαβόντες αὐτὸν ἐξέβαλον ἔξω τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος, καὶ ἀπέκτειναν.ὅταν οὖν ἔλθῃ ὁ κύριος τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος, τί ποιήσει τοῖς γεωργοῖς ἐκείνοις;λέγουσιν αὐτῷ· κακοὺς κακῶς ἀπολέσει αὐτούς, καὶ τὸν ἀμπελῶνα ἐκδώσεται ἄλλοις γεωργοῖς, οἵτινες ἀποδώσουσιν αὐτῷ τοὺς καρποὺς ἐν τοῖς καιροῖς αὐτῶν.λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· οὐδέποτε ἀνέγνωτε ἐν ταῖς γραφαῖς, λίθον ὃν ἀπεδοκίμασαν οἱ οἰκοδομοῦντες,οὗτος ἐγενήθη εἰς κεφαλὴν γωνίας·παρὰ Κυρίου ἐγένετο αὕτη,καὶ ἔστι θαυμαστὴ ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν; διὰ τοῦτο λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἀρθήσεται ἀφ᾿ ὑμῶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ δοθήσεται ἔθνει ποιοῦντι τοὺς καρποὺς αὐτῆς
The Reading is from Matthew 24:3-35
At that time, as Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?" And Jesus answered them, "Take heed that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the sufferings.
Then they will deliver you up to tribulation, and put you to death; and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because wickedness is multiplied, most men's love will grow cold. But he who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come.
So when you see the desolating sacrilege spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; let him who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house; and let him who is in the field not turn back to take his mantle. And alas for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. Then if anyone says to you, 'Lo, here is the Christ!' or 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Lo, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, 'Lo, he is in the wilderness,' do not go out; if they say, 'Lo, he is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of man. Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away."
Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 24.3-35
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, καθημένου τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἐπὶ τοῦ ῎Ορους τῶν ἐλαιῶν προσῆλθον αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ κατ᾿ ἰδίαν λέγοντες· εἰπὲ ἡμῖν πότε ταῦτα ἔσται, καὶ τί τὸ σημεῖον τῆς σῆς παρουσίας καὶ τῆς συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος;καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· βλέπετε μή τις ὑμᾶς πλανήσῃ.πολλοὶ γὰρ ἐλεύσονται ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματί μου λέγοντες, ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ Χριστός, καὶ πολλοὺς πλανήσουσι.μελλήσετε δὲ ἀκούειν πολέμους καὶ ἀκοὰς πολέμων· ὁρᾶτε μὴ θροεῖσθε· δεῖ γὰρ πάντα γενέσθαι, ἀλλ᾿ οὔπω ἐστὶ τὸ τέλος.ἐγερθήσεται γὰρ ἔθνος ἐπὶ ἔθνος καὶ βασιλεία ἐπὶ βασιλείαν, καὶ ἔσονται λιμοὶ καὶ λοιμοὶ καὶ σεισμοὶ κατὰ τόπους·πάντα δὲ ταῦτα ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων.τότε παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς θλῖψιν καὶ ἀποκτενοῦσιν ὑμᾶς, καὶ ἔσεσθε μισούμενοι ὑπὸ πάντων τῶν ἐθνῶν διὰ τὸ ὄνομά μου.καὶ τότε σκανδαλισθήσονται πολλοὶ καὶ ἀλλήλους παραδώσουσι καὶ μισήσουσιν ἀλλήλους.καὶ πολλοὶ ψευδοπροφῆται ἐγερθήσονται καὶ πλανήσουσι πολλούς,καὶ διὰ τὸ πληθυνθῆναι τὴν ἀνομίαν ψυγήσεται ἡ ἀγάπη τῶν πολλῶν.ὁ δὲ ὑπομείνας εἰς τέλος, οὗτος σωθήσεται.καὶ κηρυχθήσεται τοῦτο τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς βασιλείας ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ οἰκουμένῃ εἰς μαρτύριον πᾶσι τοῖς ἔθνεσι, καὶ τότε ἥξει τὸ τέλος.῞Οταν οὖν ἴδητε τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Διανιὴλ τοῦ προφήτου ἑστὼς ἐν τόπῳ ἁγίῳ - ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω -τότε οἱ ἐν τῇ ᾿Ιουδαίᾳ φευγέτωσαν ἐπὶ τὰ ὄρη,ὁ ἐπὶ τοῦ δώματος μὴ καταβαινέτω ἆραι τὰ ἐκ τῆς οἰκίας αὐτοῦ,καὶ ὁ ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ μὴ ἐπιστρεψάτω ὀπίσω ἆραι τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ.οὐαὶ δὲ ταῖς ἐν γαστρὶ ἐχούσαις καὶ ταῖς θηλαζούσαις ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις.προσεύχεσθε δὲ ἵνα μὴ γένηται ἡ φυγὴ ὑμῶν χειμῶνος μηδὲ σαββάτῳ.ἔσται γὰρ τότε θλῖψις μεγάλη, οἵα οὐ γέγονεν ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς κόσμου ἕως τοῦ νῦν οὐδ᾿ οὐ μὴ γένηται.καὶ εἰ μὴ ἐκολοβώθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι ἐκεῖναι, οὐκ ἂν ἐσώθη πᾶσα σάρξ· διὰ δὲ τοὺς ἐκλεκτοὺς κολοβωθήσονται αἱ ἡμέραι ἐκεῖναι.τότε ἐάν τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ, ἰδοὺ ὧδε ὁ Χριστὸς ἢ ὧδε, μὴ πιστεύσητε·ἐγερθήσονται γὰρ ψευδόχριστοι καὶ ψευδοπροφῆται καὶ δώσουσι σημεῖα μεγάλα καὶ τέρατα, ὥστε πλανῆσαι, εἰ δυνατόν, καὶ τοὺς ἐκλεκτούς.ἰδοὺ προείρηκα ὑμῖν.ἐὰν οὖν εἴπωσιν ὑμῖν, ἰδοὺ ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ ἐστί, μὴ ἐξέλθητε, ἰδοὺ ἐν τοῖς ταμείοις, μὴ πιστεύσητε·ὥσπερ γὰρ ἡ ἀστραπὴ ἐξέρχεται ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν καὶ φαίνεται ἕως δυσμῶν, οὕτως ἔσται καὶ ἡ παρουσία τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου·ὅπου γὰρ ἐὰν ᾖ τὸ πτῶμα, ἐκεῖ συναχθήσονται οἱ ἀετοί.
Εὐθέως δὲ μετὰ τὴν θλῖψιν τῶν ἡμερῶν ἐκείνων ὁ ἥλιος σκοτισθήσεταικαὶ ἡ σελήνη οὐ δώσει τὸ φέγγος αὐτῆς,καὶ οἱ ἀστέρες πεσοῦνται ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ,καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις τῶν οὐρανῶν σαλευθήσονται. καὶ τότε φανήσεται τὸ σημεῖον τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, καὶ τότε κόψονται πᾶσαι αἱ φυλαὶ τῆς γῆς καὶ ὄψονται τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐρχόμενον ἐπὶ τῶν νεφελῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ μετὰ δυνάμεως καὶ δόξης πολλῆς.καὶ ἀποστελεῖ τοὺς ἀγγέλους αὐτοῦ μετὰ σάλπιγγος φωνῆς μεγάλης, καὶ ἐπισυνάξουσι τοὺς ἐκλεκτοὺς αὐτοῦ ἐκ τῶν τεσσάρων ἀνέμων ἀπ᾿ ἄκρων οὐρανῶν ἕως ἄκρων αὐτῶν.᾿Απὸ δὲ τῆς συκῆς μάθετε τὴν παραβολήν. ὅταν ἤδη ὁ κλάδος αὐτῆς γένηται ἁπαλὸς καὶ τὰ φύλλα ἐκφύῃ, γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐγγὺς τὸ θέρος·οὕτω καὶ ὑμεῖς ὅταν ἴδητε ταῦτα πάντα, γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐγγύς ἐστιν ἐπὶ θύραις.ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, οὐ μὴ παρέλθῃ ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη ἕως ἂν πάντα ταῦτα γένηται.ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ γῆ παρελεύσονται, οἱ δὲ λόγοι μου οὐ μὴ παρέλθωσι.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ θ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Εὐψυχίου τοῦ ἐν Καισαρείᾳ.
· Ἐκεῖ μετῆλθεν Εὐψύχιον τὸ ξίφος,
· Οὗ Χριστὸς ἦλθε, Καισαρείας εἰς μέρη.
· Φάσγανον ἀμφ' ἐνάτην Εὐψυχίου ἔκταμε λαιμόν.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Βαδίμου τοῦ Ἀρχιμανδρίτου, καὶ τῶν ἑπτὰ μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ.
· Ἑπτὰς μαθητῶν συντέτμηται Βαδίμῳ,
· Εἰς οὐρανοὺς δ' ἔφθασεν, οὗ Θεὸς θρόνος.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν ἁγίων Μαρτύρων, τῶν ἐν τῇ αἰχμαλωσίᾳ τελειωθέντων ἐν Περσίδι.
· Εἰς πυρσολατρῶν γῆν ἐναθλεῖ Περσίδα
· Ἡ χριστολατρῶν αὐχενότμητος φάλαγξ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Αὐδιησοῦς μαχαίρᾳ τελειοῦται.
· Ὢν αἰχμάλωτος Αὐδιησοῦς τὴν τύχην,
· Ἠλευθέρωται, τὴν σφαγὴν διδοὺς λύτρον.
Τῇ ἁγίᾳ καὶ μεγάλῃ Δευτέρᾳ, μνείαν ποιούμεθα τοῦ μακαρίου Ἰωσὴφ τοῦ Παγκάλου, καὶ τῆς ὑπὸ τοῦ Κυρίου καταραθείσης καὶ ξηρανθείσης Συκῆς.
Στίχοι εἰς τὸν Πάγκαλον Ἰωσὴφ
· Σώφρων Ἰωσήφ, δίκαιος κράτωρ ὤφθη,
· Καὶ σιτοδότης, ὧ καλῶν θημωνία!
Ἕτεροι, εἰς τὴν ξηρανθεῖσαν Συκῆν
· Τὴν Συναγωγήν, συκῆν Χριστός, Ἑβραίων,
· Καρπῶν ἄμοιρον πνευματικῶν εἰκάζων,
· Ἀρᾷ ξηραίνει, ἧς φύγωμεν τὸ πάθος.
Ταὶς τοῦ Παγκάλου Ἰωσὴφ πρεσβείαις, Χριστὲ ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς.
The holy Passion of our Saviour begins today, presenting Joseph the all-comely as a prefiguring of Christ. He was the eleventh son of Jacob, and his first son by Rachel; because he was so beloved of his father, his own brethren came to envy him and cast him into a pit. Later they sold him to foreigners for thirty pieces of silver, who later sold him again in Egypt. Because of his virtue, his master gave him much authority in governing his house; because he was fair of countenance, his master's wife sought to draw him into sin with her; because of his chastity, he refused her, and through her slanders was cast into prison. Finally, he was led forth again with great glory and was honoured as a king. He became lord over all Egypt and a provider of wheat for all the people. Through all this, he typifies in himself the betrayal, Passion, death, and glorification of our Lord Jesus Christ (see Gen., chapters 37, 39 41).
To the commemoration of Patriarch Joseph is added also the narration concerning the fig tree, which on this day was cursed and subsequently dried up because of its unfruitfulness. It portrayed the Jewish synagogue, which had not produced the fruit demanded of it, that is, obedience to God and faith in Him and which was stripped of all spiritual grace by means of the curse (Matt. 21:18-20).
Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Ἰδοὺ ὁ Νυμφίος ἔρχεται ἐν τῷ μέσῳ τῆς νυκτός, καὶ μακάριος ὁ δοῦλος, ὃν εὑρήσει γρηγοροῦντα, ἀνάξιος δὲ πάλιν, ὃν εὑρήσει ῥαθυμοῦντα. Βλέπε οὖν ψυχή μου, μὴ τῶ ὕπνω κατενεχθής, ἵνα μῄ τῶ θανάτω παραδοθής, καὶ τῆς βασιλείας ἔξω κλεισθής, ἀλλὰ ἀνάνηψον κράζουσα. Ἅγιος, Ἅγιος, Ἅγιος εἶ ὁ Θεός, διὰ τῆς Θεοτόκου ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς.
Behold the Bridegroom cometh in the middle of the night, and blessed is that servant whom He shall find watching; and again unworthy is he whom He shall find heedless. Beware, therefore, O my soul, lest thou be borne down with sleep, lest thou be given up to death, and be shut out from the Kingdom. But rather rouse thyself and cry: Holy, Holy, Holy art Thou, O our God; by the protection of the Bodiless Hosts, have mercy on us.
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Ὁ Ἰακὼβ ὠδύρετο, τοῦ Ἰωσὴφ τὴν στέρησιν, καὶ ὁ γενναῖος ἐκάθητο ἅρματι, ὡς βασιλεὺς τιμώμενος· τῆς Αἰγυπτίας γὰρ τότε ταῖς ἡδοναῖς μὴ δουλεύσας, ἀντεδοξάζετο παρὰ τοῦ βλέποντος τὰς τῶν ἀνθρώπων καρδίας, καὶ νέμοντος στέφος ἄφθαρτον.
Jacob mourned the loss of Joseph, while the noble one rode in a chariot, honored as royalty. For having spurned the enticements of the Egyptian woman, he was in turn glorified by Him who knows the hearts of men and bestows an incorruptible crown.
This holy Martyr was from the parts of Cappadocia, and lived a blameless life with his wife. During the reign of Julian the Apostate, this blessed one was filled with divine zeal and, with other Christians, destroyed the pagan temple dedicated to Fortune. Because of this he received the crown of martyrdom by beheading in the year 362.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Ο Μάρτυς σου Κύριε, έν τή αθλήσει αυτού, τό στέφος εκομίσατο τής αφθαρσίας, εκ σού τού Θεού ημών, έχων γάρ τήν ισχύν σου, τούς τυράννους καθείλεν, έθραυσε καί δαιμόνων, τά ανίσχυρα θράση, αυτού ταίς ικεσίαις Χριστέ, σώσον τάς ψυχάς ημών.
Thy Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for Thee received the prize of the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since he possessed Thy strength, he cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.
Πολλοί από τους χριστιανούς έχουν μια νοθευμένη πίστη, που δεν είναι καν πίστη χριστιανική, αλλά πρόληψη και δεισιδαιμονία. Άλλοι πιστεύουν κι άλλοι φοβούνται τις μαγείες, άλλοι συμβουλεύονται τα χαρτιά και τον καφέ και τέλος άλλοι πιστεύουν στην Τύχη. Όλα αυτά είναι απομεινάρια της ειδωλολατρίας, Για τους χριστιανούς όμως δεν υπάρχει ούτε Τύχη ούτε Μοίρα, μα καθώς λέει σε μια του επιστολή ο Απόστολος Παύλος "εις Θεός ο πατήρ, εξ ου τα πάντα και ημείς εις αυτόν, και εις Κύριος Ιησούς Χριστός, δι' ου τα πάντα και ημείς δι' αυτού". Η Τύχη και η Μοίρα και τα μάγια είναι είδωλα, που οι πιστοί τα γκρεμίζουν και τα πετούν από τον δρόμο της ζωής τους. Έτσι έκαμεν ο Άγιος Μάρτυς Ευψύχιος, του οποίου την μνήμη γιορτάζει σήμερα η Εκκλησία ξεκίνησε επικεφαλής των χριστιανών και γκρέμισαν το ναό της θεάς Τύχης στην Καισάρεια της Καππαδοκίας
Ὁ Ἅγιος Εὐψύχιος ποὺ μαρτύρησε στὴν Καισάρεια
Ἔζησε στὰ χρόνια του Ἰουλιανοῦ τοῦ Παραβάτη. Ἂν καὶ νιόπαντρος, αὐτὸ δὲν τὸν ἐμπόδισε νὰ δείξει ἔμπρακτα τὴν μεγάλη ἀγάπη του στὸ Χριστό. Στὴν Καισάρεια τῆς Καππαδοκίας, ὁ Ἰουλιανὸς εἶχε κτίσει ἕνα εἴδωλο τῆς θεᾶς Τύχης, ποὺ προσκυνοῦσαν κάθε μέρα ἐπιδεικτικὰ οἱ εἰδωλολάτρες. Ὁ Εὐψύχιος, ἀφοῦ πῆρε μαζί του καὶ μερικοὺς ἄλλους τολμηροὺς νέους, πῆγε καὶ γκρέμισε τὸ εἴδωλο. Ὅταν συνελήφθη, εἶπε στὸν ἀξιωματοῦχο ὅτι ὁ Ἰουλιανὸς δὲν ἔχει κανένα δικαίωμα νὰ ἐνεργεῖ εἰδωλολατρικὰ πράγματα στὴ χριστιανικὴ Καισάρεια. Βέβαια, ὁ Εὐψύχιος ἐκ τῶν προτέρων γνώριζε ὅτι ἡ ἀπόφαση θὰ ἦταν καταδικαστική. Πράγματι, οἱ συνεργάτες του καταδικάστηκαν σὲ βασανισμοὺς καὶ ἐξορία. Ἐνῷ ὁ ἴδιος, σὰν ἀρχηγὸς τῆς πράξης, καταδικάστηκε σὲ θάνατο μὲ ἀποκεφαλισμό. Ἔτσι, ὁ Εὐψύχιος κατατάχθηκε σ᾿ ἐκείνη τὴν μερίδα τῶν ἀνθρώπων, γιὰ τὴν ὁποία ὁ Κύριος εἶπε: «Ὁ ἀπολέσας τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ εὑρήσει αὐτήν». Ἐκεῖνος, δηλαδή, ποὺ θὰ χάσει τὴν ζωή του γιὰ τὴν πίστη του σ᾿ ἐμένα, θὰ κερδίσει τὴν μακάρια καὶ ὑψηλότερη ζωή.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Βάδιμος Ὁσιομάρτυρας καὶ οἱ ἑπτὰ Μαθητές του
Ἔζησε ὅταν βασιλιὰς τῆς Περσίας ἦταν ὁ Σαπὼρ ὁ Β´. Πέρσης στὴν καταγωγὴ καὶ ἀπὸ γένος ἐπίσημο, ἄφησε πλούτη καὶ γοητευτικὸ κοσμικὸ μέλλον γιὰ νὰ ὑπηρετήσει στὸ Χριστό. Ἔγινε Ἱερέας καὶ ἐργάστηκε γιὰ τὴν διάδοση τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου. Συγκέντρωσε μάλιστα καὶ μία ὁμάδα ἑπτὰ μαθητῶν, ποὺ τοὺς προετοίμαζε ἐργάτες τοῦ χριστιανικοῦ φωτισμοῦ. Καταγγέλθηκε ὅτι ἀποσπᾷ στὸ Χριστὸ πολλοὺς Πέρσες ἀπὸ τὴν πάτρια θρησκεία, καὶ φυλακίστηκε μὲ τοὺς μαθητές του γιὰ τέσσερις μῆνες. Ἐπειδὴ ὅμως κατὰ τὸ διάστημα αὐτὸ ἀρνήθηκε νὰ ἐγκαταλείψει τὴν πίστη του, καταδικάστηκε μαζὶ μὲ τοὺς μαθητές του σὲ ἀποκεφαλισμό. Τὴν ἐκτέλεση τῆς θανατικῆς ποινῆς, ἀνέλαβε κάποιος ποὺ μπροστὰ στὰ βασανιστήρια ἀρνήθηκε τὸ Χριστό, ὁ Νιρσᾶν. Παρὰ τὸν ἔλεγχο ποὺ τοῦ ἔκανε ὁ ἅγιος Βάδιμος, αὐτὸς μὲ τρεμάμενα χέρια ἐξετέλεσε τὴν ποινή. Ἡ θεία δίκη ὅμως δὲν τὸν ἄφησε ἀτιμώρητο. Κάποια μέρα, ποὺ κάποιος εἰδωλολάτρης θύμωσε ἐναντίον του, τὸν σκότωσε μὲ μαχαῖρι.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Μάρτυρες οἱ αἰχμάλωτοι, ποὺ μαρτύρησαν στὴν Περσία
Ὅταν ὁ βασιλιὰς τῶν Περσῶν Σαπὼρ ὁ Β´ (325-379), κατὰ τὸ 53ο ἔτος τῆς βασιλείας του, κυρίευσε τὴν χώρα Βυζάτη, θανάτωσε ὅλους ὅσους ἔφεραν ὅπλα. Τὶς δὲ γυναῖκες, παιδιά, γέρους, τὸν ἐπίσκοπο Ἠλιόδωρο καὶ τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους Δησᾶν, Μαριὰβ καὶ ὅλους τους κληρικούς, ἄφησε ζωντανοῦς. Ὅταν ὁ ἐπίσκοπος Ἠλιόδωρος κατάλαβε ὅτι θὰ πεθάνει, χειροτόνησε ἐπίσκοπο τὸν πρεσβύτερο Δησᾶν. Ὁ ὁποῖος ἐπεξέτεινε τὸ Χριστιανικὸ κήρυγμα καὶ πρὸς τοὺς Πέρσες. Τότε ὁ ἀρχιμάγος Ἀδεφάρ, διέβαλε τὸν Δησᾶν στὸν βασιλιά, ὅτι δῆθεν αὐτὸς καὶ ὅλοι οἱ χριστιανοὶ γύρω ἀπ᾿ αὐτὸν βλασφημοῦν τὴν Περσικὴ θρησκεία. Τότε ὁ Σαπὼρ ἔδωσε διαταγὴ νὰ συλληφθοῦν ὅλοι καὶ νὰ προσκυνήσουν τὸν ἥλιο καὶ τὴν φωτιά. Ἐπειδὴ ὅμως οἱ χριστιανοὶ αὐτοὶ δὲν τὸ ἔπραξαν, ἀποκεφαλίστηκαν ὅλοι. Καθ᾿ ὁδὸν μόνο πέντε ἀπ᾿ αὐτοὺς μικροψύχησαν καὶ δέχτηκαν τὴν θρησκεία τῶν εἰδώλων.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Αὐδιήσιος (ἢ Ἀβδιησοῦς ἢ Ἀδιησοῦς)
Ὁ Ἅγιος αὐτὸς ἀνῆκε στὴν παραπάνω ὁμάδα ἀποκεφαλισθέντων χριστιανῶν στὴν Περσία. Ἀλλὰ τὸ κτύπημα ποὺ δέχτηκε δὲν ἦταν θανατηφόρο καὶ τὴν νύκτα σηκώθηκε καὶ κατόπιν κήρυττε πάλι θαῤῥαλέα τὸν Χριστό. Τότε κάποιος φανατικὸς εἰδωλολάτρης, ὅρμησε καὶ τὸν θανάτωσε μὲ μαχαῖρι.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Ῥαφαήλ, Νικόλαος, Εἰρήνη καὶ οἱ σὺν αὐτοῖς
Οἱ Ἅγιοι αὐτοὶ μαρτύρησαν τὸ 1463 στὸ χωριὸ Θερμή της Λέσβου, στὴν ἐκεῖ τιμωμένη Μονὴ τῶν Γενεθλίων τῆς Θεοτόκου, ποὺ βρίσκεται στὴν τοποθεσία Καρυές. Τὸ ἔτος 1959, ἀποκαλύφθηκαν ἀπὸ τὰ ἔγκατα τῆς γῆς θαυματουργικά. Εἶπε λοιπὸν σὲ κάποιο εὐσεβῆ, ποὺ τοῦ παρουσιάστηκε, ὁ Ἅγιος Ῥαφαήλ, ὅτι λέγεται Ῥαφαήλ. Πατρίδα του ἦταν τὸ νησὶ Ἰθάκη καὶ τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ πατέρα του Διονύσιος, ποὺ τὸν ἀνέθρεψε μὲ μεγάλη χριστιανοπρέπεια καὶ τὸν σπούδασε ἀρκετά. Τὸ κοσμικό του ὄνομα ἦταν Γεώργιος, ἀλλ᾿ ὅταν ἔγινε μοναχὸς ὀνομάσθηκε Ῥαφαήλ. Εἶχε τὸν βαθμὸ τοῦ Πρεσβυτέρου καὶ τὸ ὀφφίκιο τοῦ Ἀρχιμανδρίτη καὶ τοῦ Πρωτοσυγγέλου. Ὅταν ἔγινε ἡ ἅλωση τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως (1453), αὐτὸς μόναζε μαζὶ μὲ τὸν Διάκονο Νικόλαο στὴ Μακεδονία. Κατόπιν μέσῳ Ἀλεξανδρουπόλεως πῆγαν τὸ 1454 στὴ Λέσβο καὶ ἐγκαταστάθηκαν στὴ Μονὴ τῆς Θεοτόκου, ὅπου ὁ Ῥαφαὴλ ἔγινε ἡγούμενος. Τὸ 1463 ἐπέδραμαν οἱ Τοῦρκοι στὴ Μονὴ καὶ ἀφοῦ τοὺς συνέλαβαν τοὺς θανάτωσαν μὲ διάφορους τρόπους. Τὸν μὲν Ῥαφαὴλ ἔσφαξαν μὲ πριόνι ἀπὸ τὸ στόμα, τὴν Τρίτη Διακαινησίμου 9 Ἀπριλίου, τὸν δὲ Νικόλαο θανάτωσαν μετὰ ἀπὸ φρικτὰ βασανιστήρια. Μαζὶ μ᾿ αὐτούς, μαρτύρησε καὶ ἕνα δωδεκάχρονο κορίτσι, ἡ Εἰρήνη, κόρη τοῦ προεστοῦ τοῦ χωριοῦ Θερμῆς Βασιλείου. Καὶ ἡ Εἰρήνη μαρτύρησε μὲ φρικτὸ τρόπο. Ἀφοῦ τῆς ἔκοψαν τὰ χέρια, τὴν ἔβαλαν μέσα σ᾿ ἕνα πιθάρι καὶ τὴν ἔκαψαν ζωντανή, μπροστὰ στὰ μάτια τῶν γονιῶν της. Ἡ μνήμη τους γιορτάζεται πανηγυρικὰ στὴ Μονὴ ποὺ φέρει τὴν ὀνομασία τους στὴ Λέσβο.
Martyr Eupsychius of Caesarea in Cappadocia (362)
This holy martyr was a married man, living in Cappadocia. During the reign of Julian the Apostate he, along with some other Christians, destroyed the pagan temple to the goddess Fortuna. (The Prologue says that it was his wedding day). For this he and his companions were cruelly tortured, then beheaded.
At that time St Basil the Great governed the Church in that part of Cappadocia. When the apostate Emperor, going to fight the Persians, came to the town in which Eupsychius was martyred, St Basil went to meet him, bringing three barley loaves as a sign of honor and welcome. The Emperor, ever hostile to Christians, ordered that the bishop be given a fistful of hay in return. Saint Basil said to the Emperor 'You ridicule us now, O King; we bring you bread, by which we are fed, and you give us miserable food that you, with all your power, are unable to turn into nourishment for men.' The Emperor perished in the Persian campaign.
The Holy Martyr Eupsychios was born in the city of Caesarea Cappadocia and received a Christian upbringing by his illustrious parents.
During the time of the reign of Julian the Apostate (361-363), Saint Eupsychios entered into Christian wedlock.
At Caesarea there was then a pagan temple to the goddess Fortuna [i.e. "fortune" or "luck"], very revered by Julian the Apostate. At the same time as Eupsychios was going in to the wedding ceremony, the pagans were making offering of sacrifice to the goddess Fortuna.
Saint Eupsychios was ardent with zeal for the Lord, and he gathered the people and destroyed the temple. He knew, that this would inevitably result in punishment for him. Saint Eupsychios distributed all his substance to the poor and prepared himself for the act of martyrdom.
The enraged emperor Julian hurled his wrath not only upon Saint Eupsychios, but against all the inhabitants of this city. Some of the citizens he executed, the more respectable he sent into exile, Christian clergy were conscripted into military service, and from the churches he looted anything of value. The city was deprived of its title Caesarea (i.e. "Imperial") and turned into a simple village with its original name of Maza, and on the inhabitants he imposed a grievous tribute-tax. The emperor threatened to annihilate the city altogether, if the people did not build a new pagan temple in place of the one destroyed.
Julian ordered Saint Eupsychios to be compelled by tortures to offer sacrifice to idols. Over the course of many days they tormented the saint upon a rack, and likewise with iron claws. But his faith was firm, and the judge gave sentence to behead the martyr with the sword (+ 362). At this time Julian, having set out on a campaign against the Persians, marched through Cappadocia and approached Carsarea. Danger threatened the city, since the emperor intended to raze it to its foundations. But then the archbishop of the city, Sainted Basil the Great (+ 379, Comm. 1 January), showing Julian the proper respect as sovereign authority, came out to meet him carrying with him three loaves of barley bread, which he himself ate from. The emperor ordered his retainers to take the loaves, and to give Saint Basil a pinch of hay with the words: "Thou hast given us barley, cattle feed, so in return receive hay from us". The saint answered: "O emperor, we bring thee that which we ourselves do eat, and thou dost give us cattle feed; thou dost make mockery over us, since thou art not able by thy might to transform hay into bread -- the essential food of mankind". Julian angrily replied: "Know thou, that this hay I shalt shove down thy throat, when I am returned hence from Persia. And I shalt raze this city to its very foundations and on its place plow over the ground and turn it into a field. I do very well know, that it was through thine advice, that the people dared to destroy the statuary and temple of Fortuna".
After this the emperor continued on his way, but soon perished in his campaign against the Persians. He was struck down in the year 363 by the holy GreatMartyr Mercurius (Comm. 24 November, q.v.).
And after the emperor's demise, the Christians of the city of Caesarea erected a splendid church over the grave of Saint Eupsychios, and from his relics they received help and healing.
The Holy Martyrs Bishop Dysan, Presbyter Maryab, Habdies and 270 Others accepted a martyr's death (+ c. 362-364) under the Persian emperor Sapor II. Imprisoned, they refused to recant the Christian faith. In their number also was the Martyress Iya, who is commemorated also on 11 September.
The Holy MonkMartyr Vadim the Archimandrite was born in the IV Century in the Persian city of Bythlapata, and was descended from a rich and illustrious family. In his youthful years he was enlightened with the Christian teaching. The saint gave away part of his substance and withdrew into the wilderness, where on his means he founded a monastery. For solitary prayer he would go up on a mountain, and once was vouchsafed to behold the Glory of God. During this period the Persian emperor Sapor (310-381) began to persecute Christians. They arrested Saint Vadim together with his seven disciples and daily they tortured them in the prison, seeking to have them renounce Christ and instead worship the sun and fire. But the Monk Vadim and his disciples held firmly to their Christian faith. The confessors spent four months locked up. All this time Saint Vadim was a spiritual leader and support for the Christians living in Persia.
One of the associates of the emperor Sapor, Nirsanes, having confessed Christianity and suffering imprisonment for this, did not hold up under torture and recanted from Christ. He promised to fulfill whatever might be the orders of the emperor. Sapor demanded of Nirsanes, that he personally should chop off the head of Saint Vadim. For this he was promised a reprieve and rewards. Nirsanes was not able to overcome in himself the fear of new tortures and he agreed to enter upon the path of betrayal walked by Judas. When they brought Saint Vadim to him, he took the sword and turned towards him, but overcome by conscience, he trembled and stood petrified. Saint Vadim said to him: "Is thine misdeed, Nirsanes, now come to this, that thou shouldst not only renounce God, but also begin to murder His servants? Woe to thee, accursed one, what wilt thou do on that day, when thou standest before the Dread Judgement-Seat to give answer to God? It is with joy that I die a martyr for Christ, but I want not to accept death at thy hand". Beside himself, Nirsanes struck with the sword. But his hands shook, and he could not again strike at the head of the saint, and the fire-worshippers began to call him a coward. The MonkMartyr Vadim stood motionless, enduring the terrible blows, until the murderer succeeded in cutting off his head (+ 376). The just rewards for apostasy were not slow to overtake the hapless fellow: torn by conscience, he did away with himself, having thrown himself on a sword. After the death of the emperor Sapor, the seven disciples of the MonkMartyr Vadim were released from prison.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE HOLY MARTYR EUPSYCHIUS
Eupsychius was of noble birth and was well instructed in pious beliefs. During the reign of Julian the Apostate and when St. Basil the Great governed the Church of God in Caesarea, Eupsychius entered into marriage with a prominent maiden. However, it was not given to him to live even one day in marriage. For at the time of his wedding, it so happened that there was a pagan feast with sacrificial offerings to the idol Fortune. Eupsychius, with his companions, entered the temple and smashed all the idols and even demolished the temple itself. Hearing of this, Julian became greatly enraged and ordered the culprits beheaded; that many Christians be inducted into the army; that an enormous tribute be imposed upon all Christians; that, at the expense of the Christians, the temple of Fortune be rebuilt again and, that the city be deprived of its honorary name `Caesarea' given it by Caesar Claudius and to be called by its former name, Maza. At first, Eupsychius was tied to a tree, brutally tortured and later was beheaded in the year 362 A.D. Shortly after that, the wicked Emperor Julian visited this city (Maza) on his way to Persia against whom he was waging war. St. Basil the Great went out to meet him and carried three loaves of barley bread as a sign of respect and hospitality. The emperor ordered that a handful of hay be given to the saint as a reciprocal gift. St. Basil said to the emperor: "You make jest of us O Emperor. We offer you bread by which we feed ourselves and you, in turn, give us food for livestock which you, by your authority cannot change into food for men." To that the emperor replied: "Know that I will feed you this hay when I return from Persia." However, the wicked apostate did not return from Persia, for he died a deserving and unnatural death.
2. THE VENERABLE MARTYR VADIM
During the reign of the Persian Emperor Sapor, Vadim, the abbot of a certain monastery and a man famous for his generosity was cast into prison with seven of his disciples. With them in prison was a certain Prince Nirsan who was also a Christian. Everyday they were taken out and beaten. Prince Nirsan became terrified and promised to deny the Faith and worship the sun. This was gratifying to Sapor and he promised to give Nirsan, among other things, the entire estate of Vadim's monastery if he would behead Vadim by his own hand. Nirsan agrees to this. With a quivering hand and frightened by the majestic countenance of St. Vadim, he struck this holy man with the sword many times on the neck until he finally beheaded him. Shortly after that, Nirsan succumbed to despair and stabbed himself with the sword and received at his own hand, the due punishment for the murder of the righteous one. St. Vadim suffered in the year 376 A.D.
HYMN OF PRAISE
THE VENERABLE MARTYR VADIM
The courageous Vadim, looks death in the eyes
And feels sorry for Nirsan because misery befell him.
Nirsan, with a bare sword before Vadim stands,
Of God he is not afraid, but is afraid of the saint.
Brandishing the sword and, brandishing, lowers it!
Before the knight of God; in truth, a sheer coward!
Nirsan, Nirsan! Vadim, to him, speaks:
On the road to eternity, Vadim to you, speaks:
You denied Christ; falsehood, you embraced,
By yourself alone, your soul you lost [destroyed].
Death, I eagerly await every godly-hour,
That the gate of the eternal kingdom, He opens to me.
But, from your hand, I was sorry to die,
And, never more, to see you O prince.
Any traitor of Christ, eternal darkness will cover
And, twice as black - one who slays Christians.
That, the saint uttered and with silence became silent,
And Nirsan slew him with a quivering hand.
Such a lion died from a frightened rabbit!
But, who did Nirsan slay? Himself or the saint?
Eternal justice speaks: the thief judges himself,
And to the saint of God, no harm came to him.
It is said about Pericles that he was a man of almost perfect human beauty but that his head was oblong and resembled a squash, so that he incurred being ridiculed when he appeared bareheaded in public. In order to conceal the defect of this great man of his people, Greek sculptors always portrayed him with a helmet on his head. When some, among the pagans, knew how to conceal the defects of their friends, how much more, therefore, are we as Christians obligated to do the same? "Love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor" (Romans 12:10), commands the apostle to those who cling to Christ. How can we say that we adhere to the meek and All-pure Christ, if we daily poison the air with tales about the sins and shortcomings of others? To conceal your own virtue and the shortcomings of others, this is the preeminent spiritual wisdom.
To contemplate the resurrected Lord Jesus:
1. How He appears to Mary Magdalene in the Garden and at first glance, Mary does not recognize Him;
2. How He tenderheartedly addresses Mary and Mary recognizes Him, rejoices in Him and she imparts her joy to the disciples.
About the need for death in order to bring forth much fruit
"Amen, Amen I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit" (St. John 12:24).
Why does the sower throw wheat into the ground? Does he do this so that the wheat will die and rot? No, he does this so that it would live and bear fruit. In sowing the seed, the sower does not think about the death and decay of the seed, but rather about its life and its yield. Indeed, with joy does the sower sow his seed, not thinking about the death of the seed, but rather about life and fruit-bearing yield.
The Sower is Christ the Lord and men are His wheat. He was pleased to call us wheat. There are many other types of seed on earth but nothing is more priceless than wheat. Why did the Lord sow us throughout the world? So that we should die and decay? No, rather that we should live and bring forth fruit. He alludes to our death along the way. He alludes to death only as a condition for life and multiple yield. The goal of sowing is not death but life. The seed must first die and decay. He only mentions this because He knows that we are fully aware of this. He reminds us of this along the way, whereas His Gospel is primarily a narrative of life, about life and about bringing forth good fruit. He speaks to us a great deal about the latter because He knows that we are not aware of this and that we are suffocating from ignorance and doubt. Not only does He speak to us abundantly about life but He also shows us life. By His resurrection, He demonstrates to us life and the multitude of fruit which is brighter than the sun. The entire history of His Church is a clear map of life.
O Lord of Life, Invincible, save us from a sinful death. Redeem us from a spiritual death.