FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Laurence the Holy Martyr & Archdeacon of Rome
Chitus of Athens, Bishop of Rome
Hippolytus the Martyr of Rome
Afterfeast of the Transfiguration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians 1:12-20
BRETHREN, our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience that we have behaved in the world, and still more toward you, with holiness and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God. For we write you nothing but what you can read and understand; I hope you will understand fully, as you have understood in part, that you can be proud of us as we can be of you, on the day of the Lord Jesus.
Because I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a double favor; I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on my way to Judea. Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans like a worldly man, ready to say Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we preached among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No; but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why we utter the Amen through him, to the glory of God
Πρὸς Κορινθίους β' 1:12-20
Ἀδελφοί, ἡ καύχησις ἡμῶν αὕτη ἐστίν, τὸ μαρτύριον τῆς συνειδήσεως ἡμῶν, ὅτι ἐν ἁπλότητι καὶ εἰλικρινείᾳ θεοῦ, οὐκ ἐν σοφίᾳ σαρκικῇ ἀλλʼ ἐν χάριτι θεοῦ, ἀνεστράφημεν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ, περισσοτέρως δὲ πρὸς ὑμᾶς. Οὐ γὰρ ἄλλα γράφομεν ὑμῖν, ἀλλʼ ἢ ἃ ἀναγινώσκετε ἢ καὶ ἐπιγινώσκετε, ἐλπίζω δὲ ὅτι καὶ ἕως τέλους ἐπιγνώσεσθε· καθὼς καὶ ἐπέγνωτε ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ μέρους, ὅτι καύχημα ὑμῶν ἐσμέν, καθάπερ καὶ ὑμεῖς ἡμῶν, ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ. Καὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πεποιθήσει ἐβουλόμην ἐλθεῖν πρὸς ὑμᾶς τὸ πρότερον, ἵνα δευτέραν χάριν ἔχῆτε· καὶ διʼ ὑμῶν διελθεῖν εἰς Μακεδονίαν, καὶ πάλιν ἀπὸ Μακεδονίας ἐλθεῖν πρὸς ὑμᾶς, καὶ ὑφʼ ὑμῶν προπεμφθῆναι εἰς τὴν Ἰουδαίαν. Τοῦτο οὖν βουλευόμενος, μή τι ἄρα τῇ ἐλαφρίᾳ ἐχρησάμην; Ἢ ἃ βουλεύομαι, κατὰ σάρκα βουλεύομαι, ἵνα ᾖ παρʼ ἐμοὶ τὸ Ναὶ, ναὶ καὶ τὸ Οὒ, οὔ; Πιστὸς δὲ ὁ θεός, ὅτι ὁ λόγος ἡμῶν ὁ πρὸς ὑμᾶς οὐκ ἐγένετο Ναὶ καὶ οὔ. Ὁ γὰρ τοῦ θεοῦ υἱὸς Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς ὁ ἐν ὑμῖν διʼ ἡμῶν κηρυχθείς, διʼ ἐμοῦ καὶ Σιλουανοῦ καὶ Τιμοθέου, οὐκ ἐγένετο Ναὶ καὶ Οὔ, ἀλλὰ Ναὶ ἐν αὐτῷ γέγονεν. Ὅσαι γὰρ ἐπαγγελίαι θεοῦ, ἐν αὐτῷ τὸ Ναί, καὶ ἐν αὐτῷ τὸ Ἀμήν, τῷ θεῷ πρὸς δόξαν διʼ ἡμῶν. Ὁ δὲ βεβαιῶν ἡμᾶς σὺν ὑμῖν εἰς Χριστόν, καὶ χρίσας ἡμᾶς, θεός, ὁ καὶ σφραγισάμενος ἡμᾶς, καὶ δοὺς τὸν ἀρραβῶνα τοῦ πνεύματος ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ἡμῶν.
The Reading is from Matthew 22:23-33
At that time, Sadducees, who say that there is no resurrection, came to Jesus; and they asked him a question, saying, "Teacher, Moses said, 'If a man dies, having no children, his brother must marry the widow, and raise up children for his brother.' Now there were seven brothers among us; the first married, and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother. So too the second and third, down to the seventh. After them all, the woman died. In the resurrection, therefore, to which of the seven will she be wife? For they all had her." But Jesus answered them, "You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God, 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?' He is not God of the dead, but of the living." And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.
Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 22.23-33
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, προσῆλθον τῷ Ἰησοῦ Σαδδουκαῖοι, οἱ λέγοντες μὴ εἶναι ἀνάστασιν, καὶ ἐπηρώτησαν αὐτὸν λέγοντες· Διδάσκαλε, Μωσῆς εἶπεν, ἐάν τις ἀποθάνῃ μὴ ἔχων τέκνα, ἐπιγαμβρεύσει ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀναστήσει σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ. ἦσαν δὲ παρ' ἡμῖν ἑπτὰ ἀδελφοί· καὶ ὁ πρῶτος γαμήσας ἐτελεύτησε, καὶ μὴ ἔχων σπέρμα ἀφῆκε τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ· ὁμοίως καὶ ὁ δεύτερος καὶ ὁ τρίτος, ἕως τῶν ἑπτά. ὕστερον δὲ πάντων ἀπέθανε καὶ ἡ γυνή. ἐν τῇ οὖν ἀναστάσει τίνος τῶν ἑπτὰ ἔσται ἡ γυνή; πάντες γὰρ ἔσχον αὐτήν. ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· Πλανᾶσθε μὴ εἰδότες τὰς γραφὰς μηδὲ τὴν δύναμιν τοῦ Θεοῦ· ἐν γὰρ τῇ ἀναστάσει οὔτε γαμοῦσιν οὔτε ἐκγαμίζονται, ἀλλ' ὡς ἄγγελοι Θεοῦ ἐν οὐρανῷ εἰσι. περὶ δὲ τῆς ἀναστάσεως τῶν νεκρῶν οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε τὸ ῥηθὲν ὑμῖν ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ λέγοντος, ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ Θεὸς Ἀβραὰμ καὶ ὁ Θεὸς Ἰσαὰκ καὶ ὁ Θεὸς Ἰακώβ; οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ Θεὸς Θεὸς νεκρῶν, ἀλλὰ ζώντων. καὶ ἀκούσαντες οἱ ὄχλοι ἐξεπλήσσοντο ἐπὶ τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ Ι' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων μαρτύρων Λαυρεντίου Ἀρχιδιακόνου, Ξύστου Πάπα Ῥώμης καὶ Ἱππολύτου.
Τὸν Λαυρέντιον λαύρακα Χριστοῦ λέγω,
Ἐπ' ἐσχάρας ἄνθραξιν ἐξωπτημένον.
Τέλους ἀθλητῶν καὶ κλέους τυχεῖν θέλων,
Ἤθλησας ἆθλον, Ξύστε, τὸν διὰ ξίφους.
Τὸν Ἱππόλυτον ἱπποδέσμιον βλέπω,
Ἐναντίαν πάσχοντα τῇ κλήσει πάθος.
Ὤπτησαν δεκάτῃ Λαυρέντιον ἠΰτε ἰχθύν.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ ὁ ἅγιος Ἥρων ὁ φιλόσοφος ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Ταῖς τῶν Ἁγίων σου πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
This Saint, who was born in Spain, was the Archdeacon of the Church of Rome, caring for the sacred vessels of the Church and distributing money to the needy. About the year 257, a harsh persecution was raised up against the Christians by Valerian. Pope Sixtus, who was from Athens, was commanded to worship the idols, and refused; before his martyrdom by beheading, he committed to Laurence all the sacred vessels of the Church. When Laurence was arrested and brought before the Prefect, he was questioned concerning the treasures of the Church; he asked for three days' time to prepare them. He then proceeded to gather all the poor and needy, and presented them to the Prefect and said, "Behold the treasures of the Church." The Prefect became enraged at this and gave command that Laurence be racked, then scourged with scorpions (a whip furnished with sharp iron points - compare II Chron. 10:11), then stretched out on a red-hot iron grill. But the courageous athlete of Christ endured without groaning. After he had been burned on one side, he said, "My body is done on one side; turn me over on the other." And when this had taken place, the Martyr said to the tyrants, "My flesh is now well done, you may taste of it." And when he had said this, and had prayed for his slayers in imitation of Christ, he gave up his spirit on August 10, 258.
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.
Kontakion in the Second Tone
Πυρί θεϊκώ, φλεχθείς τήν καρδίαν σου, τό πύρ τών παθών, εις τέλος απετέφρωσας, αθλητών εδραίωμα, θεοφόρε Μάρτυς Λαυρέντιε, καί αθλών εβόας πιστώς, Ουδείς με χωρίσει τής αγάπης Χριστού.
Aflame in thy heart, O Laurence, with the fire divine, thou burntest away the fire of passions utterly, O firm staff of athletes, O thou God-bearing Martyr; and thou in truth while contesting didst cry with faith: Nothing shall separate me from the love of Christ.
Apolytikion in the Grave Tone
Μετεμορθώθης εν τώ όρει Χριστέ ο Θεός, δείξας τοίς Μαθηταίς σου τήν δόξαν σου, καθώς ήδυναντο, Λάμψον καί ημίν τοίς αμαρτωλοίς, τό φώς σου τό αϊδιον, πρεσβείαις τής Θεοτόκου, φωτοδότα δόξα σοι.
You were transfigured on the Mount, Christ God revealing Your glory to Your disciples, insofar as they could comprehend. Illuminate us sinners also with Your everlasting light, through the intercessions of the Theotokos. Giver of light, glory to You.
Δίπλα στον πρωτομάρτυρα και πρωτοδιάκονο Στέφανο των Ιεροσολύμων, ένδοξο θύμα των χρόνων των διωγμών, είναι ο πρωτοδιάκονος της Ρώμης Λαυρέντιος, του οποίου σήμερα η Εκκλησία τιμά την μνήμη. Είναι πολύ χαρακτηριστική η πράξη του αγίου Λαυρεντίου, όταν συνελήφθη και διετάχθη να παραδώση τους θησαυρούς της Εκκλησίας. Εμάζεψε όλες τις χήρες και τα ορφανά, τους φτωχούς, τους αναπήρους και τους αρρώστους, τους εφόρτωσε πάνω σε αμάξια και τους έφερε στον Αυτοκράτορα· "Αυτοί, Βασιλιά, είναι οι θησαυροί της Εκκλησίας", είπε. Τούτο είναι ένα μεγάλο δίδαγμα. Ούτε για λαμπρές οικοδομές ούτε για τα πολύτιμα ιερά σκεύη ούτε για τις χρυσοΰφαντες στολές μπορούν να καυχώναι οι κληρικοί. Έχουν βέβαια κάποιο λόγο να υπάρχουν κι αυτά μα ποτέ δεν αξίζουν πιότερο από τους φτωχούς και τους αρρώστους, που μπορεί και πρέπει να περιθάλπη η Εκκλησία. Τίποτα δεν αξίζει όσο ένας άνθρωπος.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Λαυρέντιος Ἀρχιδιάκονος, Ξύστος Πάπας Ρώμης καὶ Ἱππόλυτος
Οἱ Ἅγιοι αὐτοὶ μαρτύρησαν τὸ 253 μετὰ Χριστόν. Ὁ ἀρχιδιάκονος Λαυρέντιος ἦταν ἀπὸ τοὺς πιὸ γνωστοὺς κληρικοὺς τῆς ρωμαϊκῆς Ἐκκλησίας, καὶ τοῦ εἶχαν ἐμπιστευθεῖ τὴν διαχείριση τῆς περιουσίας της. Ὅταν ἔγινε ὁ διωγμὸς κατὰ τῶν χριστιανῶν, ὁ πάπας Ρώμης Ξύστος ἢ Σίξτος ὁ Β´ πρῶτος πρόσφερε θυσία τὸν ἑαυτό του, ὁμολογώντας τὸν Χριστὸ καὶ ἀποκεφαλίστηκε. Κατόπιν συνέλαβαν καὶ τὸ Λαυρέντιο. Ἐπειδὴ ἦταν διαχειριστὴς τῆς Ἐκκλησίας, τὸν διέταξαν νὰ παραδώσει τοὺς θησαυρούς της. Ὁ Λαυρέντιος δέχθηκε, καὶ μετὰ ἀπὸ λίγο ἐπέστρεψε μὲ μία μεγάλη φάλαγγα ἁμαξῶν, γεμάτες φτωχούς, ὀρφανὰ καὶ ἀναπήρους. Καὶ ἀπάντησε στὸν ἡγεμόνα ὅτι σὲ ὅλους αὐτοὺς τοὺς πάσχοντες εἶναι ἀποταμιευμένοι οἱ θησαυροὶ τῆς Ἐκκλησίας, «ὅπου οὔτε σῆς οὔτε βρῶσις ἀφανίζει, καὶ ὅπου κλέπται οὐ διορύσσουσιν οὐδὲ κλέπτουσιν». Δηλαδή, ὅπου οὔτε σκόρος, οὔτε σαπίλα καὶ σκουριὰ ἀφανίζουν αὐτοὺς τοὺς θησαυρούς, καὶ ὅπου οὔτε κλέφτες μποροῦν νὰ τρυπήσουν τοὺς τοίχους αὐτῶν τῶν θησαυροφυλακίων, γιὰ νὰ κλέψουν τὸ πολύτιμο περιεχόμενό τους. Ἐξαγριωμένοι τότε οἱ εἰδωλολάτρες, ἕψησαν τὸ Λαυρέντιο ζωντανό, πάνω σὲ σιδερένια σχάρα. Τὸ λείψανό του παρέλαβε κάποιος εὐσεβὴς χριστιανός, ὁ Ἱππόλυτος. Ὅταν, ὅμως, τὸ ἔμαθε αὐτὸ ὁ ἡγεμόνας, διέταξε καὶ τὸν ἔσυραν ἄγρια ἄλογα μέσα σὲ ἀγκάθια, καὶ ἔτσι μαρτυρικὰ τελείωσε τὴ ζωή του καὶ ὁ Ἱππόλυτος.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἥρων ὁ φιλόσοφος
Ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικά. (Ἐδῶ ὁρισμένα Ἁγιολόγια, ἀναφέρουν καὶ τὴν μνήμη κάποιου μάρτυρος Ἡραΐδου).
Οἱ Ἅγιοι ἕξι Μάρτυρες οἱ ἐν Βιζύῃ (κατ᾿ ἄλλους Λιβύη)
Μαρτύρησαν, ἀφοῦ ἄλλων συνέτριψαν τὰ ὀστὰ καὶ ἄλλων ξέσχισαν τὶς σάρκες.
Ἡ Ἁγία Ἀγαθονίκη Παρθενομάρτυς ἡ ἐν Καρχηδόνι
Ὁ Ἅγιος Λαυρέντιος τῆς Καλούγας (Ρῶσος)
Διὰ Χριστὸν σαλός.
Holy Martyrs Archdeacon Laurence, Pope Sixtus, and others with them (258)
"This Saint, who was born in Spain, was the Archdeacon of the Church of Rome, caring for the sacred vessels of the Church and distributing money to the needy. About the year 257, a harsh persecution was raised up against the Christians by Valerian. Pope Sixtus, who was from Athens, was commanded to worship the idols, and refused; before his martyrdom by beheading, he committed to Laurence all the sacred vessels of the Church. When Laurence was arrested and brought before the Prefect, he was questioned concerning the treasures of the Church; he asked for three days' time to prepare them. He then proceeded to gather all the poor and needy, and presented them to the Prefect and said, "Behold the treasures of the Church." The Prefect became enraged at this and gave command that Laurence be racked, then scourged with scorpions (a whip furnished with sharp iron points — compare II Chron. 10:11), then stretched out on a red-hot iron grill. But the courageous athlete of Christ endured without groaning. After he had been burned on one side, he said, "My body is done on one side; turn me over on the other." And when this had taken place, the Martyr said to the tyrants, "My flesh is now well done, you may taste of it." And when he had said this, and had prayed for his slayers in imitation of Christ, he gave up his spirit on August 10, 258." (Great Horologion). His icon shows him stretched on the grill.
The Martyrs ArchDeacon Lawrence, Pope Sixtus, Deacons Felicissimus and Agapitus, the Soldier Romanus, -- Romans, suffered in the year 258 under the emperor Valerian. Holy Pope Sixtus, born at Athens, received a fine education, preached in Spain and was made bishop in Rome following the martyr's death of Holy Pope Stephen (253-257, Comm. 2 August). these were times when a pope occupying the Roman throne, was known to choose death for the faith. In a short while Saint Sixtus also was arrested and put in prison together with his deacons Felicissimus and Agapitus. When the holy archdeacon Lawrence visited Pope Sixtus, whom they held in prison, he cried out with tears: "Whither art thou gone, father? Why hast thou forsaken thine archdeacon, with whom always thou hast offered the Bloodless Sacrifice? Take thy son with thee, that I may be thy companion in having blood shed for Christ!" Saint Sixtus answered him: "I have not forsaken thee, my son. I am old and go to an easy death, but yet greater sufferings await thee. Know, that after three days upon our death thou shalt follow after me. And now go, take the church treasury and distribute it to the poor and needy Christians". Saint Lawrence zealously did the bidding of the sainted-hierarch.
Having heard, that Pope Sixtus had been taken to trial with the deacons, Saint Lawrence went there so as to witness their deed, and he said to the sainted-bishop: "Father, I have already fulfilled thy command, and distributed by hand thine treasury; forsake me not!" Hearing something about treasure, soldiers put him under guard, and the other martyrs were beheaded (+ 6 August 258). The emperor locked up Saint Lawrence in prison and ordered the chief jailer Hyppolitus to keep watch over him. In prison Saint Lawrence with prayer healed the sick gathered together with him and he baptised many. Astonished by this, Hyppolitus himself believed and accepted Baptism from Saint Lawrence together with all his household. Soon the archdeacon Lawrence was again brought to the emperor and commanded to produce the hidden treasure. Saint Lawrence answered: "Give me a period of three days, and I shalt show thee this treasure". During this time the saint gathered up a crowd of the poor and the sick, who ate only because of the charity of the Church, and bringing them he explained: "Here are the vessels in which is contained the treasure. And everyone, who puts their treasure in these vessels, will receive them in abundance in the Heavenly Kingdom".
After this they gave Saint Lawrence over to fierce tortures, urging him to worship idols. The martyr was scourged (with a fine iron flail with sharp needles), they burned his wounds with fire, and struck at him with metal switches. At the time of the martyr's suffering, the soldier Romanus suddenly cried out: "Saint Lawrence, I behold a bright youth, who standeth about thee healing thy wounds. Beseech thy Lord Christ not to forsake me!" After this they stretched Saint Lawrence on a rack and returned him to prison to Hyppolitus. Romanus brought there a waterpot with water and besought the martyr to baptise him. And immediately after the Baptism of the soldier, he was beheaded (+ 9 August). When they took Saint Lawrence to his final torture, Saint Hyppolitus wanted to declare himself a Christian and die together with him, but the confessor said: "Conceal for now thy confession in thy heart. After some length of time I shall summon thee, and thou shalt hear and come unto me. Weep not for me, but rather rejoice, for I go to receive a glorious crown of martyrdom". They placed him in an iron cage, under which they set an intense fire, and the flames of the bon-fire flicked towards the body of the martyr. Saint Lawrence, glancing at the governor, said: "Here now, ye do burn only but one side of my body, turn over the other and do my whole body". Dying, he uttered: "I thank Thee, Lord Jesus Christ, that Thou hast accounted me worthy to enter into Thy gates", -- and with these words he gave up the spirit.
Saint Hyppolitus took the body of the martyr by night, he wrapped it in a shroud with ointments and gave it over to the priest Justin. Over the relics of the martyr in the home of the widow Kyriakia they made an all-night vigil and Divine Liturgy. All the Christians present partook of the Holy Mysteries and with honour they buried the body of the holy martyr Archdeacon Lawrence in a cave on 10 August 258. Saint Hyppolitus and other Christians suffered three days after the death of Saint Lawrence (13 August), as he had foretold them of this.
Blessed Lavrentii, Fool-for-Christ and Kaluzhsk Wonderworker, lived at the beginning of the XVI Century at the distance of an half-verst from old Kaluga near a forest church in honour of the Nativity of Christ, set upon an high hill.
There was a long underground entrance from his dwelling to the church, where he heard Divine-services. He lived also at the home of the Kaluzhsk prince Simeon Ioannovich. It is conjectured, that Blessed Lavrentii was descended from the noble Khitrov boyar lineage, since his name initiates their lineage memorial at the Peremyshl'sk Liotykov monastery, situated in the Kaluzhsk diocese. Blessed Lavrentii went barefoot both winter and summer, in a shirt and sheepskin coat. By the deeds of his own doing he so raised himself up, that while still alive he was glorified by gifts of grace.
When the Crimean Tatars fell upon Kaluga in May 1512, Blessed Lavrentii, then in the home of the prince, suddenly shouted out in a loud voice: "Give me my sharp axe, for the curs fall upon prince Simeon and it is necessary to defend him!" Saying this, he seized the axe and left. Suddenly having come on board ship next the prince, Righteous Lavrentii inspired and encouraged the soldiers, and in that very hour they defeated the enemy. He is depicted in icons with an axe in his right hand, set upon a long axe-handle. It is certain that prince Simeon (+ 1518), owing him his safety, built in his memory a monastery on the place of the saint's deeds.
Blessed Lavrentii died on 10 August 1515, evidently, on his nameday. It is known, that the memory of the saint is honoured also on 8 July.
Blessed Lavrentii was glorified, it seems, in the second half of the XVI Century. Thus, tsar Ivan the Terrible in a gramota of donation to the monastery (1565) wrote: "Monastery of the Nativity of Christ, wherein lieth Lavrentii, Fool-for-Christ". In the Life, the first posthumous miracle is recorded under the year 1621 -- the healing of the paralysed boyar Kologrivov, who became well after doing a molieben to the saint.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE HOLY MARTYRS LAWRENCE AND SIXTUS, POPE OF ROME, AND OTHERS WITH THEM
When Pope Stephen was slain (August 2), then St. Sixtus, who was an Athenian by birth, was appointed in his place. At first, Sixtus was a philosopher and, after that, a Christian. At that time, the Bishops of Rome were slain one after the other, so that, to become Bishop of Rome meant to be taken out to death. Emperor Decius was determined to destroy Christianity and Pope Sixtus was quickly brought to trial with two of his deacons, Felicicius and Agapitus. As they were led to prison, Lawrence said to the pope: "Where are you going Father, without your son? Where O bishop, without your Archdeacon?" The pope consoled him, prophesying to Lawrence that he will undergo even greater tortures for Christ and that he [Lawrence] will shortly follow him [Sixtus]. And indeed, as soon as they had beheaded Sixtus and his two deacons, Lawrence was apprehended. Beforehand, Lawrence had placed all of his affairs and the affairs of the church in order. As treasurer and Oikonomos [steward] of the church, he removed all of the church's valuables to the home of the widower, Cyriacus. On that occasion, he healed Cyriacus of a terrible head pain by the touch of his hand and restored the sight of a blind man, Crescention. Thrown into prison, even there Lawrence healed Lucillus, a prisoner of many years, of blindness and after that baptized him. Witnessing this Hippolytus, the jailer, was also baptized, and later suffered for Christ (August 13). Since Lawrence did not want to deny Christ but, on the contrary, advised Emperor Decius to reject his false gods, he was beaten on the face with stones and beaten on his entire body with a scorpion [a whip, curved at the end like the tail of a scorpion] i.e., by a chain with sharp teeth. Romanus, a soldier present at the torture, believed in Christ and was immediately beheaded. Finally, they placed Lawrence naked on a gridiron and lighted a fire. Roasting in the fire, St. Lawrence thanked God and mocked the emperor for his paganism. After Lawrence gave up his pure and heroic soul to God, his body was removed at night by Hippolytus and taken, at first, to the home of Cyriacus and afterwards to a cave where Hippolytus honorably buried him. St. Lawrence, with the others, suffered in the year 258 A.D.
2. SAINT HIRON
Hiron was a Christian philosopher. He is mentioned by St. Gregory the Theologian in his books. He died peacefully and took up habitation with the Lord.
HYMN OF PRAISE
THE HOLY MARTYR, SAINT LAWRENCE
Lawrence, the evil emperor asks:
"Where are you from? What is your rank?
Lawrence, to the emperor replies:
"From Spain, educated in Rome,
And of the One God, a servant, I am."
"Of the Church's treasure, are you the guardian?"
"Of that good treasure, I am, O emperor."
Give us the treasure and your life, save!
The treasure of the Church, in heaven, is,
In the Lord Jesus, believe ye also,
And, of that treasure, an heir, you will be."
Lawrence, deny Christ!
"You, O Emperor, deny the idols!"
And the Emperor became infuriated and to the servants motioned,
Lawrence, they beat and crushed,
And on a fiery gridiron, they placed him.
This fire to me, it is cool,
And [the fire] for you in the midst of Hades is prepared!
Lawrence, deny Christ!
Are you not sorry, to die young?
Christ, on the Cross, suffered for me,
For me, He died; I, for Him, die
One side of the body, entirely burned,
Lawrence, to the executioners, speaks:
Half of the body is roasted,
Turn it over, behold food for you,
Turn it over, let the other side roast!
This said, he flew away
Into the sweet heavenly mansions.
How can we overcome the enmity of our enemies? By renunciation, meekness and prayer. Renunciation in everything, except in faith and purity of life, meekness and prayer, always and always. St. Ambrose writes: "This is the weapon of the righteous ones that in retreating they conquer, just as the skillful archers have the custom that by fleeing, they shoot those stronger than themselves." A brother was offended by his friend but, nevertheless, desiring peace with him, went to him to be reconciled. However, his friend did not even want to open the door for him and scolding him from within, chased him away from his house. The brother then complained to a spiritual father who said to him: "Going to your friend to be reconciled, all along the way, you condemned him in your thoughts and justified yourself. I counsel you, even though your friend sinned against you, establish the thought in yourself that you have sinned against him and, in this manner, go to him and in your thoughts justify him and condemn yourself." Thus, the brother proceeded. And what happened? Just as the brother approached the house of his friend, he opened wide the door, ran up to him and embraced the offended brother and made peace with him.
To contemplate the misery, which overcame the Philistines because of the captured Ark of the Covenant (1 Samuel 5:6 1 Kings 5:6):
1. How the people were afflicted with emerods [hemorrhoids] and mice in the crops wherever the Philistines set down the Ark of the Covenant;
2. How the frightened Philistines themselves returned the Ark of the Covenant to the land of Israel;
3. How the sacred thing of God punishes those who keep it [the Ark] in an unclean land of idols or in a heart, unclean by passions.
About the weakness of sinful ones
"As for my people, children are their oppressors and women rule over them" (Isaiah 3:12).
All that is of God is most beautiful and most wise. Everything created by God travels obediently along the path for which God has ordained it. The stars move, animals live and the atmospheric currents conform - all according to the order established by God. Only man, the most intelligent creature, frequently falls into ignorance and leaving the path of God, invents new paths according to his thinking. Because of that, it could happen that instead of the elders, children become leaders and instead of the husbands, wives begin to rule. When children rule oppression reigns and when women rule, disorder usually reigns. When this is permitted by God because this does not occur without the sin of a people and without the permission of God then the people find themselves under punishment for their sins, in the same way as when war comes and the enemy subdues the land, for all oppression is war and every disorder is a punishment for sin.
Just as oppression and disorder are able to reign in a nation so, in the same way, they are able to reign in the soul of man. Immature and impious thoughts represent children and physical sensual theorizing, represent women. When immature and impious thoughts prevail, then they oppress man and drag him from evil to evil as when children judge; and when physical theorizing prevails over the spiritual, masculine wisdom, which is from God, then they rule over man as an evil woman. Under "women", the prophet understands not only females, but also men with women's weaknesses.
So that children's ignorance and women's whims do not overtake man, or a nation, it is necessary to strictly adhere to the law of God, prescribed by God for men as all created things adhere to the law of God, prescribed for them by God.
O Lord, Creator and our Lawgiver, illumine us and strengthen us. Illumine us with the grace of the Spirit that we may always know Your law and strengthen us with the power of the Spirit to always adhere to Your law.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.