Tuesday, July 31, 2012

August 14, 2012 - 11th Tuesday After Pentecost


FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:

Forefeast of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary
The Holy Prophet Michaias (Micah)
Holy Hieromartyr Marcellus, Bishop of Apameia
Holy New Martyr Symeon of Trapezoundos (1653)

READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:

The Reading is from St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians 2:14-17; 3:1-3
BRETHREN, thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word; but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.
Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all men; and you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Πρὸς Κορινθίους β' 2:14-17; 3:1-3
Ἀδελφοί, τῷ δὲ θεῷ χάρις τῷ πάντοτε θριαμβεύοντι ἡμᾶς ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ, καὶ τὴν ὀσμὴν τῆς γνώσεως αὐτοῦ φανεροῦντι διʼ ἡμῶν ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ. Ὅτι Χριστοῦ εὐωδία ἐσμὲν τῷ θεῷ ἐν τοῖς σῳζομένοις καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἀπολλυμένοις· οἷς μὲν ὀσμὴ θανάτου εἰς θάνατον, οἷς δὲ ὀσμὴ ζωῆς εἰς ζωήν. Καὶ πρὸς ταῦτα τίς ἱκανός; Οὐ γάρ ἐσμεν ὡς οἱ λοιποί, καπηλεύοντες τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ· ἀλλʼ ὡς ἐξ εἰλικρινείας, ἀλλʼ ὡς ἐκ θεοῦ, κατενώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ, ἐν Χριστῷ λαλοῦμεν. Ἀρχόμεθα πάλιν ἑαυτοὺς συνιστάνειν; Εἰ μὴ χρῄζομεν, ὥς τινες, συστατικῶν ἐπιστολῶν πρὸς ὑμᾶς, ἢ ἐξ ὑμῶν συστατικῶν; Ἡ ἐπιστολὴ ἡμῶν ὑμεῖς ἐστέ, ἐγγεγραμμένη ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ἡμῶν, γινωσκομένη καὶ ἀναγινωσκομένη ὑπὸ πάντων ἀνθρώπων· φανερούμενοι ὅτι ἐστὲ ἐπιστολὴ Χριστοῦ διακονηθεῖσα ὑφʼ ἡμῶν, ἐγγεγραμμένη οὐ μέλανι, ἀλλὰ πνεύματι θεοῦ ζῶντος, οὐκ ἐν πλαξὶν λιθίναις, ἀλλʼ ἐν πλαξὶν καρδίαις σαρκίναις.

The Reading is from Matthew 23:23-28
The Lord said to the Jews who had come to him, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and rapacity. You blind Pharisee! first cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity."

Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 23.23-28
Εἶπεν ὁ Κύριος πρὸς τοὺς ἐληλυθότας πρὸς αὐτὸν Ἰουδαίους· Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι ὑποκριταί, ὅτι ἀποδεκατοῦτε τὸ ἡδύοσμον καὶ τὸ ἄνηθον καὶ τὸ κύμινον, καὶ ἀφήκατε τὰ βαρύτερα τοῦ νόμου, τὴν κρίσιν καὶ τὸν ἔλεον καὶ τὴν πίστιν· ταῦτα δὲ ἔδει ποιῆσαι κἀκεῖνα μὴ ἀφιέναι.ὁδηγοὶ τυφλοί, οἱ διϋλίζοντες τὸν κώνωπα, τὴν δὲ κάμηλον καταπίνοντες!Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι ὑποκριταί, ὅτι καθαρίζετε τὸ ἔξωθεν τοῦ ποτηρίου καὶ τῆς παροψίδος, ἔσωθεν δὲ γέμουσιν ἐξ ἁρπαγῆς καὶ ἀδικίας.Φαρισαῖε τυφλέ, καθάρισον πρῶτον τὸ ἐντὸς τοῦ ποτηρίου καὶ τῆς παροψίδος, ἵνα γένηται καὶ τὸ ἐκτὸς αὐτῶν καθαρόν.Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι ὑποκριταί, ὅτι παρομοιάζετε τάφοις κεκονιαμένοις, οἵτινες ἔξωθεν μὲν φαίνονται ὡραῖοι, ἔσωθεν δὲ γέμουσιν ὀστέων νεκρῶν καὶ πάσης ἀκαθαρσίας.

READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:

Τῇ ΙΔ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Προφήτου Μιχαίου.
Ἐκ γῆς μὲν ἤρθην, εἰδὲ καὶ πόλον φθάσω,
Χάριν Μιχαίας εἴσομαί σοι τῷ ξύλῳ.
Μιχαίας δεκάτῃ ξύλῳ ἤρθη ἠδὲ τετάρτῃ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Μαρκέλλου Ἐπισκόπου Ἀπαμείας.
Κνίσσαις νοηταῖς τὸν Θεὸν καθηδύνας,
Καὶ σαρκὸς αὐτὸν ἡδύνεις κνίσσῃ Πάτερ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, μνήμη τῆς εἰς τὸ παλάτιον ἀνακομιδῆς τοῦ τιμίου Σταυροῦ.
Λόγους ἀνάψας, ἀντὶ φαιδρῶν λαμπάδων,
Σταυρὸν προπέμπω τῶν ἀνακτόρων ἔσω.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Οὐρσικίου.
Ταῖς τῶν Ἁγίων σου πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Λαοί προσκιρτήσατε, χείρας κροτούντες πιστώς, καί πόθω αθροίσθητε, σήμερον χαίροντες, καί φαιδρώς αλαλάζοντες, πάντες εν ευφροσυνη, τού Θεού γάρ η Μήτηρ, μέλλει τών επιγείων, πρός τά άνω απαίρειν, ενδόξως ήν εν ύμνοις αεί, ως Θεοτόκον δοξάζομεν.
In faith, O ye people, leap for joy while clapping your hands; and gather in gladness on this day with longing and shout in radiant jubilance. For the Theotokos cometh nigh to departing from the earth unto the heights; and we glorify her with glory as the Mother of God in our unceasing hymns

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Τή ενδόξω μνήμη σου η οικουμένη, τώ αϋλω Πνεύματι, πεποικιλνημένη νοερώς, εν ευφροσύνη κραυγάζει σοι, Χαίρε Παρθένε, Χριστιανών τό καύχημα.
In the Immaterial Spirit, the whole world hath been mystically adorned upon the glorious memory; and it doth cry to thee joyously: Rejoice, O Virgin, thou boast of the Christian race.

This Prophet (whose name means "who is like God?"), was a Morasthite from the land of Judah. He prophesied more than fifty years in the days of Joatham, Ahaz, and Hezekias, Kings of Judah. These kings reigned in the eighth century before Christ. From this it is clear that this Michaias is not the one who was the son of Iembla (or Imlah-III Kings 22:8), who censured Ahab and was murdered by Ahab's son Joram, as the Synaxaristes says; for this Joram reigned the ninth century before Christ. Yet Michaias was still prophesying, as mentioned above, in the days of Hezekias, who was a contemporary of Hosea and Esaias, and of Hoshea, the last King of the ten tribes of Israel, when that kingdom was destroyed by Salmanasar (Shalmaneser), King of the Assyrians (IV Kings 17: 1 - 16; 18: 1). This Michaias is sixth in rank among the minor Prophets. His book of prophecy is divided into seven chapters; he prophesied that the Christ would be born in Bethlehem (Michaias 5: 2). In the reign of Saint Theodosius the Great, the holy relics of the Prophets Michaias and Abbacum were found through a divine revelation to Zebennus, Bishop of Eleutheropolis (Sozomen, Eccl. Hist., Book VII, 29).

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

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Τού Αγίου Πνεύματος ταίς λαμπηδόσι, φωτισθείς προέγραψας, τήν συγκατάβασιν Χριστού, δι' ής φθοράς ελυτρώθημεν, οί σέ τιμώντες, Μιχαία θεόπνευστε.
With the Holy Spirit's beams wast thou enlightened, setting forth in prophecy the condescension of Christ God, O blest Michaias; and by His grace we who revere thee are saved from eternal death.

Σήμερα η Εκκλησία γιορτάζει την μνήμη του αγίου Προφήτου Μιχαία, που έζησε και προφήτεψε επτακόσια τριάντα χρόνια πριν από την γέννηση του Ιησού Χριστού. Είναι ο τρίτος στη σειρά των δώδεκα μικρών προφητών κι ένας από τους αγίους του Θεού της Παλαιάς Διαθήκης, που με ζωντανό τρόπο, χωρίς δισταγμούς και σκοπιμότητες, χτύπησαν την ηθική και πνευματική κατάπτωση της εποχής των. Όλο το βιβλίο του Προφήτου Μιχαία είναι ένα φλογερό κήρυγμα εναντίον της αδικίας και της αρπαγής και θαρρεί κανείς, όταν διαβάζη εκεί, πως όσα λέει ο Προφήτης είναι γραμμένα για την εποχή μας. Είναι πολύ φυσικό, γιατί ο λόγος των Προφητών είναι λόγος του Θεού έχει αιώνιο κύρος· γράφτηκε βέβαια σε μια εποχή, αλλά είναι για κάθε εποχή στην Ιστορία. "Ακούσατε, λαοί, λόγους..." κηρύττει ο Προφήτης· είναι οι λόγοι του Θεού, για τους οποίους είπεν ο Ιησούς Χριστός ότι "ου μη παρέλθωσι".

Ὁ Προφήτης Μιχαίας
Ὁ προφήτης Μιχαίας ἔζησε στὴν Ἱερουσαλὴμ τὸ 748-696 πρὸ Χριστοῦ, ἐπὶ τῶν βασιλέων Ἰωαθάμ, Ἄχαζ καὶ Ἐζεκίου. Ἀνῆκε στὴ φυλὴ τοῦ Ἰούδα καὶ γεννήθηκε στὴ Μορασθῆ, γι᾿ αὐτὸ καὶ ὀνομάσθηκε καὶ Μορασθίτης. Ὁ Μιχαίας, σχεδὸν σύγχρονος μὲ τὸν προφήτη Ἡσαΐα, εἶναι ἕκτος ἀπὸ τοὺς μικροὺς λεγόμενους προφῆτες. Ἡ προφητεία του ἀποτελεῖται ἀπὸ ἑπτὰ κεφάλαια. Στὰ πρῶτα τρία, προαναγγέλλει τὴν καταστροφὴ τῆς Σαμάρειας. Στὰ ἑπόμενα δυὸ μιλάει γιὰ τὴν ἔλευση τοῦ Μεσσία καὶ στὰ δυὸ τελευταῖα ἐλέγχει τὸ λαὸ τοῦ Ἰσραήλ, ποὺ γιὰ νὰ ἐξιλεωθεῖ ζῆτα νὰ κάνει διάφορες θυσίες στὸ Θεό, ἐνῷ ὁ Μιχαίας τοῦ ὑπενθυμίζει τὸ πραγματικὸ καθῆκον ποὺ ἔχει στὸ Θεό, μὲ τὴν ἑξῆς ἐρώτηση: «Τί Κύριος ἐκζητεῖ παρὰ σοῦ ἀλλ᾿ ἢ τοῦ ποιεῖν κρῖμα καὶ ἀγαπᾶν ἔλεον καὶ ἕτοιμον εἶναι τοῦ πορεύεσθαι μετὰ Κυρίου Θεοῦ σου;». Δηλαδή, τί ζητάει ἀπὸ σένα ὁ Θεός, παρὰ μόνο νὰ εἶσαι δίκαιος, εὐσπλαγχνικὸς καὶ πρόθυμος νὰ πορεύεσαι σύμφωνα μὲ τὶς ἐντολὲς τοῦ Κυρίου τοῦ Θεοῦ σου; Μία διαχρονικὴ ὑπενθύμιση, ποὺ ἀνταποκρίνεται φυσικὰ καὶ στοὺς ἀνθρώπους τῆς ἐποχῆς μας. Γενικά, τὸ βιβλίο τοῦ Μιχαία, ποὺ γράφηκε στὴν ἑβραϊκή, διακρίνεται γιὰ τὴν γλαφυρότητα καὶ τὴν σαφήνεια τῶν φράσεών του. Νὰ ἀναφέρουμε ἐπίσης, ὅτι ὁ Μιχαίας, λόγω τοῦ ὅτι ἦταν σφοδρὸς ἐλεγκτὴς τῶν παρανομιῶν τοῦ Ἀχαάβ, βασιλιᾶ τοῦ Ἰούδα, καταδιώκετο ἀπ᾿ αὐτὸν καὶ σῳζόταν φεύγοντας στὰ ὄρη. Ἀλλ᾿ ὅταν βασίλευσε ὁ γιὸς τοῦ Ἀχαὰβ Ἰωράμ, συνελήφθη ἀπ᾿ αὐτόν, μὴ ἀνεχόμενος τοὺς ἐλέγχους του, κρεμάστηκε καὶ ἔτσι θανατώθηκε. Τὸ δὲ σῶμα του περισυνέλεξαν οἱ συγγενεῖς του καὶ τὸ ἔθαψαν στὴ Μορασθῆ, κοντὰ στὸ πολυανδρίο Ἐνακείμ.

Ὁ Ἅγιος Μάρκελλος Ἱερομάρτυρας ἐπίσκοπος Ἀπαμείας
Καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Κύπρο καὶ ἔζησε στὰ χρόνια τοῦ μεγάλου Θεοδοσίου (379 μ.Χ.). Ἀνεπτυγμένος, εὐσεβής, δίκαιος, καὶ μὲ μεγάλη διοικητικὴ ἱκανότητα ὁ Μάρκελλος, στὴν ἀρχὴ διακρίθηκε στὴν πολιτική, ὅπου θὰ μποροῦσε νὰ εἶχε λαμπρὸ μέλλον. Ἀλλ᾿ αὐτὸς προτίμησε νὰ ἀφιερώσει τὸν ἑαυτό του στὴν ὑπηρεσία τῆς Ἐκκλησίας. Τέτοιος ταλαντοῦχος κληρικός, ἑπόμενο ἦταν ὅτι θὰ καταλάμβανε ἀρχιερατικὸ θρόνο. Ἔγινε λοιπὸν ὁ Μάρκελλος ἐπίσκοπος τῆς Ἀπαμείας, ποὺ βρίσκεται στὴ Συρία. Καὶ διακρίθηκε ὄχι μόνο γιὰ τὴν καθαρότητα τῆς ζωῆς του καὶ τὴν διδακτικότητα, ἀλλὰ καὶ γιὰ τὰ ἀρχηγικὰ καὶ διοικητικά του χαρίσματα. Γνωρίζοντας νὰ ἐμπνέει καὶ νὰ διεγείρει τὸ εὐσεβὲς φρόνημα, μόρφωσε πιστοὺς ἔνθερμους καὶ ἀνδρείους, ἕτοιμους νὰ χύσουν καὶ τὸ αἷμα τους γιὰ τὸ Χριστὸ καὶ τὴν Ἐκκλησία. Μπόρεσε ἀκόμα, νὰ ἑλκύσει στὴν ἀλήθεια τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου πολλοὺς ἐθνικούς. Ὅμως οἱ ἐπιτυχίες του αὐτές, προκάλεσαν ἐναντίον του τὴν μανία τῶν εἰδωλολατρῶν. Καὶ κάποια μέρα, τὸν συνέλαβαν καὶ τὸν ἔριξαν στὴ φωτιά. Ἔτσι ὁ Μάρκελλος, ἀφοῦ στὴ ζωή του πολιτεύτηκε σὰν ἅγιος, ἀξιώθηκε ἀπὸ τὸν Θεὸ νὰ πεθάνει καὶ σὰν μάρτυρας. (Κατὰ τὸν Delehaye, ἀναφέρεται σὰν ἐπίσκοπος Ἀπαμείας τῆς Συρίας μετὰ τῶν 70 μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ).

Ἀνακομιδὴ Τιμίου Σταυροῦ στὸ Παλάτι
Κατὰ τὴν ἡμέρα αὐτὴ ἀπετίθετο καὶ πάλι ὁ Τίμιος Σταυρὸς στὰ ἀνάκτορα, ὁ ὁποῖος ἦταν ἐκτεθειμένος ἀπὸ τοῦ τέλους Ἰουλίου ἢ τὶς ἀρχὲς Αὐγούστου προκειμένου νὰ τὸν προσκυνήσουν οἱ πιστοί.

Ὁ Ἅγιος Οὐρσίκιος
Ὑπῆρξε στὰ χρόνια τοῦ βασιλιᾶ Μαξιμιανοῦ (286-305) καὶ καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν πόλη Σιβεντοὺ τῆς Ἄνω Ἰλλυρίας. Ἦταν στρατιωτικὸς καὶ εἶχε φτάσει μέχρι καὶ τὸ βαθμὸ τοῦ τριβούνου. Καταγγέλθηκε στὸν Μαξιμιανὸ ἀπὸ κάποιον Οὔαλεντα ὅτι εἶναι χριστιανὸς καὶ παραπέμφθηκε στὸν ἔπαρχο Ἀριστείδη γιὰ ἀνάκριση. Ἀλλ᾿ ὁ Οὔρσικιος ὁμολόγησε μὲ θάρρος τὴν χριστιανική του πίστη καὶ βασανίστηκε σκληρὰ καὶ ποικιλοτρόπως. Ἐπειδὴ ὅμως ἐπέμενε νὰ ὁμολογεῖ τὸν Χριστό, ἀποκεφαλίστηκε καὶ ἔτσι ἔλαβε ἔνδοξα τὸ στεφάνι τοῦ μαρτυρίου.

Ὁ Ἅγιος Λούκιος ὁ στρατιώτης
Μαρτύρησε διὰ πυρός.

Ὁ Ἅγιος Συμεὼν ὁ Τραπεζούντιος, ὁ χρυσοχόος
Καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Τραπεζοῦντα, ἀλλὰ ζοῦσε καὶ ἔκανε τὸ ἐπάγγελμα τοῦ χρυσοχόου στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη. Κάποτε λοιπὸν βρέθηκε σὲ μία συμπλοκή, μεταξὺ χριστιανῶν καὶ τουρκοεβραίων, καὶ συκοφαντήθηκε ὅτι δῆθεν μαχαίρωσε ἕνα τουρκοεβραῖο. Ὁπότε συνελήφθη καὶ κλείστηκε στὴ φυλακή, ὅπου παρέμεινε γιὰ 40 ἡμέρες. Μόλις βελτιώθηκε ἡ ὑγεία τοῦ τραυματισμένου τουρκοεβραίου, ὑποχρεώθηκε ὁ Συμεὼν νὰ καταβάλει στὸν παθόντα γιὰ νοσήλια 280 γρόσια. Μετὰ 10 ἡμέρες ἀπὸ τὴν ἀποφυλάκιση τοῦ Συμεών, ὁ τουρκοεβραῖος, παρὰ τὴν βελτίωση τῆς ὑγείας του, ὑπέκυψε στὰ τραύματά του. Τότε ὁ Συμεὼν συνελήφθη καὶ πάλι, καὶ ὁ κριτὴς τὸν πίεζε νὰ γίνει μωαμεθανὸς προκειμένου ν᾿ ἀποφύγει τὴν θανατικὴ καταδίκη. Ἀλλ᾿ ὁ μάρτυρας θαρραλέα ἀπάντησε: «Ἂν καὶ μύριους θανάτους μοῦ δώσετε, ἀπὸ τὴν πίστη καὶ τὴν ἀγάπη τοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, τὸν Κύριό μου καὶ Θεό μου δὲν χωρίζω». Τότε στὶς 14-8-1653 τὸν κρέμασαν κάτω ἀπὸ ἕναν πλάτανο στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη. Μαρτύριο τοῦ Ἁγίου αὐτοῦ νεομάρτυρα συνέγραψε ὁ Ἰωάννης Καρυοφύλλης.

Forefeast of the Dormition
† Translation of the Relics of St Theodosius of the Kiev Caves
Holy Prophet Micah (8th c. BC)
Read his prophecies (which include the prophecy that Christ would be born in Bethlehem, Micah 5:2) in the Old Testament book that bears his name. He was a contemporary of the prophets Isaiah, Amos and Hosea, and is ranked sixth among the "minor" prophets. It was he who prophesied that the Christ would be born in Bethlehem. (This is a different Micah from the one mentioned in 1 Chronicles 22:8, who lived earlier). Micah was buried in his home village of Morasth in the land of Judah; his holy relics were found along with those of the prophet Habbakuk during the reign of St Theodosius the Great — their location was given by a revelation to Zebennus, Bishop of Eleutheropolis.

Hiormartyr Marcellus, Bishop of Apamea (389)
He was born to an eminent family in Cyprus, and was well-educated. He was married and had children, but when his wife died he left his family to live as a monk in Syria. There he became known and loved for his learning, humility and kindness to all, and the people of Apamea chose him as their bishop. As bishop, he worked with evangelical fervor to bring the mostly-pagan people to Christ. When a pagan temple was burned down, some pagans blamed Marcellus, seized him, and threw him into the fire, where he perished.

Menologion 3.0
The Prophet Micah, the 6th of the Twelve Minor Prophets, was descended from the Tribe of Judah and was a native of the city of Morastha, to the south of Jerusalem, wherefore he was called a Morasthite. His prophetic service began around the year 778 before the Birth of Christ and continued for almost 50 years under the kings of Judah -- Joatham, Akhaz, and Righteous Hezekiah (721-691 B.C., Comm. 28 August).
He was a contemporary of the Prophet Isaiah. His denunciations and predictions were in regard to the separate kingdoms both of Judah and of Israel. He foresaw the misfortunes, threatening the kingdom of Israel before its destruction, and to Judah, during the incursions under the Assyrian emperor Sennacherib. To him belongs a prophecy about the birth of the Saviour of the world: "And thou, Bethlehem, house of Euphratha, though small wilt be in the thousands of Judah, from thee to Me wilt come an eldest, that will be King in Israel, Whose coming forth is from the beginning of days forever" (Mic. 5: 2). From the words of the Prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 26: 18-19), the Jews evidently were afraid to kill the Prophet Micah. His relics were discovered in the IV Century after the Birth of Christ at Baraphsatia, through a revelation to the bishop of Eleutheropolis, Zeuinos.

The Monk Theodisii (Feodosii) of Pechersk --the account about him is located under 3 May.

The Monk Arkadii of Vyazemsk and Novotorzhsk -- the account about him is located under 13 December.

The PriestMartyr Marcellus, Bishop of Apameia, was born of illustrious parents on the island of Cyprus. Having received a fine education, he occupied an high civil office, giving all to marvel at his purity of life, mildness, kindness and eloquence. In about the year 375, having left behind his wife and children, the saint devoted himself to a wilderness-monastic life in Syria. The people of Apameia, having gotten him to come to the city on some practical matter, chose him as bishop. From the account of Theodorit of Cyr it is known about him, that having received permission from the holy emperor Saint Theodosius the Great (379-395) to destroy a strongly built temple of Jupiter at Apameia, the saint was puzzled on how to accomplish this. A certain worker promised to help him. He undermined three of the huge columns, propping them up for the while with olive wood, and then he tried to set them afire, but the wood would not burn. When Saint Marcellus learned about this, he made in church the lesser order of the Blessing of Water, and he commanded that this water be faithfully sprinkled about the wood. After this the wood burned quickly, the columns fell down and the whole pagan temple collapsed in upon itself. When soldiers near Aulona in the Apameia district demolished still another pagan temple, the saint, watching from a distance, was seized by pagans and thrown into a fire (+ c. 389). The killers were found, and the sons of the saint wanted to take revenge, but the Local Council forbade them this, decreeing that it would be wrong to avenge suchlike a death as the saint had received, in that for such one mustneeds give thanks to God.

The "Conversing" ("Besedna") Icon of the Mother of God is so named since it depicts the Mother of God and Saint Nicholas of Myra conversing with the sacristan Georgii. This event occurred soon after the appearance of the Tikhvinsk Icon of the MostHoly Mother of God, in 1383, when the MostHoly Mother of God Herself commanded sacristan Georgii to say, that they should place a wooden rather than metal cross over the newly-constructed temple in Her honour at Tikhvin. On the place of this vision was built a chapel in honour of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker. The chapel burned several times (the first time was in 1390 simultaneously with the church, in which was housed the Tikhvinsk Icon of the MostHoly Mother of God). In 1515 a wooden church was built and a monastery founded in honour of this holy icon.

The Narva Icon of the MostHoly Mother of God became famous in the year 1558, when the Russian army made their assault on the city of Narva. In one of the houses where earlier Russian merchants had lived, drunken Germans grabbed hold of an icon of the Mother of God that had been left behind. Mocking at the holy thing, they threw it into a fire under a kettle, in which they were brewing beer. Flames shot out from the kettle and engulfed the roof of the house. At this very moment a storm blew up, and the conflagration spread throughout all the city. Taking advantage of the confusion, the Russian army made its assault and took the city. The Wonderworking Icon of the MostHoly Mother of God, and with it an icon of Saint Nicholas, was found amidst the ashes unharmed.

THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:

1. THE HOLY PROPHET MICAH [MICHEA]
Micah was of the tribe of Judah and from the village of Morasth for which he is called the "Morasthite." He was a contemporary of the prophets Isaiah, Amos, Hosea and the Jewish kings Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. Micah rebuked the vices of his people and rebuked the false prophets who prophesied "of wine and of strong drink" (Micah 2:11). He foretold the destruction of Samaria. He also foretold the destruction of Jerusalem, which will come because their leaders accept bribes, the priests teach for lucre and its prophets tell fortunes for money. "Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field and Jerusalem shall become as heaps" (Micah 3:12). But, of all his prophecies, the most important prophecy is that of the Messiah, especially the place of His birth. He mentioned Bethlehem as the birthplace of the Messiah, "Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting" (Micah 5:2). It is not known exactly whether this prophet was slain by the Jews or whether he died a peaceful death. "Micah the Morasthite prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah and spoke to all the people of Judah saying, Thus said the Lord of hosts; Zion shall be plowed like a field and Jerusalem shall become heaps and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest. Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him at all to death? Did he not fear the Lord and besought the Lord and the Lord repented him of the evil which he had pronounced against them? Thus might we procure great evil against our souls" (Jeremiah 26:18-19). However, it is known that he was buried in his village and his relics were found, together with the relics of the Prophet Habakkuk, during the reign of Emperor Theodosius the Great according to a mysterious revelation, which Bishop Zevin of Eleutheropolis received.

2. THE PRIESTLY-MARTYR MARCELLUS, THE BISHOP OF APAMAEA
Marcellus was born on Cyprus of wealthy and eminent parents and he was highly- educated. He entered into marriage and had children. When his wife died, Marcellus withdrew to the monastic life in Syria, leaving his children to the Providence of God. He became famous because of his compassion, meekness and spiritual knowledge because of which the Ampamaens elected him as their bishop. As a bishop, Marcellus zealously labored to convert pagans to the Christian Faith. When an idolatrous temple was burned the idolaters seized Marcellus, supposedly as the one who had caused the fire, and burned him in fire about the year 389 A.D. Especially instructive in the life of St. Marcellus is that the blessing of water and the use of blessed water is mentioned there.

HYMN OF PRAISE
MICAH
Micah, God's prophet, with the Spirit of God burns,
Salvation speaks and punishment prophesies:
"Hear, you leaders of the house of Jacob" [Micah 3:1],
When fire erupts, the chaff is not saved.
You hate readily and evil, evil you relish,
God's people, you heartlessly fleece,
The prophets of old and the law you have abandoned,
To God you do not harken, to the fortune-tellers you harken!
But misfortune, pain and weeping will come,
To cry out to heaven, in vain and too late,
For the Assyrians, Samaria will be the threshing floor
For the rabid Chaldeans, Jerusalem, the threshing floor.
"And you Bethelem Ephratha small" [Micah 5:1],
To me, you are the dearest, even though you are the least
From you, the Leader whom we need, will come forth
His coming, from the depths of heaven,
Out of burning love, He will come willingly
With His mighty staff, His flock He will tend.
"His greatness [authority] shall reach to the ends of the earth" [Micah 5:3].
The earth, with the heavens, to Him with mercy shall sing
And peace will reign, He, that peace will be,
By Himself, He will glorify the human race.

REFLECTION
Beware of a parent's curse for a parental curse is a dreadful thing. Appreciate and seek a parental blessing for it will accompany you throughout your entire life. The all-wise Sirach speaks: "For the blessing of the father establishes the houses of children but curse of the mother rooteth out foundations" (Sirach 3:9 Ecclesiasticus 3:9). The curse by which Noah cursed the descendants of Ham still follows the unfortunate Hamites today. However, to the sons of Jacob, it was the same as their father blessed them in their life. St. Sergius, as a young man, begged his parents for their blessing in order for him to become a monk. But, the aged parents begged their son to wait awhile and to labor around them until their death and after that to become tonsured a monk. Sergius obeyed his parents and was blessed until his death. Bishop Hermogenes relates an incident how a son mistreated his wife. When his mother, with tears, began to scold him because of this, the son attacked his mother, beat her and smashed her head against a wall. The sorrowful mother cried out: "Lord, may my son be cursed and may he not have my blessing nor Your blessing." That same day, the son began to tremble throughout his entire body and for thirteen years he lived in this state of trembling not even able to raise a spoon to his mouth. After thirteen years, he made his confession and received the Sacrament of Holy Communion which made it somewhat easier for him and soon after that he died.

CONTEMPLATION
To contemplate the wondrous assistance of God to Saul in battle with the Ammonites (1 Samuel 11 1 Kings 11):
1. How the powerful Nahash [Naas], the leader of the Ammonites, threatened to pluck out the right eye of all the Israelites;
2. How the people of Israel wept before the Lord;
3. How Saul and Samuel, with God's help, destroyed the Ammonites for the Spirit of God was upon Saul and Samuel.

HOMILY
About the prophesied light in darkness
"The people that walked in the darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined" (Isaiah 9:2).
There where it is the darkest, the prophet fortells there will appear the light-bearing Messiah. The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali were considered as the darkest lands. There, the pagans were intermingled with the Jews; the yoke of external and internal slavery is the most difficult; the darkness of the pagans and the darkness of the Pharisees covered the people with the shadow of death. The Light of Heaven shown first in Bethlehem Christ the Lord was born there. That Light was seen from afar by eastern Magi and, in the vicinity, by the shepherds of Bethlehem. But that Light was driven out of Bethlehem by the bloody sword of Herod and the Light withdrew to Egypt. After that, the Light shown in full radiance in this land of darkness and the shadow of death, in the land of Zebulun and Naphtali. In this land, alongside the lake, there lived fishermen whom our Lord chose for His disciples. In this land is the Mount of the Beatitudes from which the Lord proclaimed His first great sermon about the blessed. There, also, is Cana of Galilee where the Lord worked His first miracle. There, He began His work for the salvation of mankind by His powerful word and by His powerful deeds. Men saw this great Light and were astonished. Many were scandalized at the Lord and many mocked Him. But these men of darkness did not kill Him. There was another darker spot in the land of the Jews, which raised its hand against the Creator and killed Him. That is the same spot from which Herod, thirty-three years earlier, raised his bloody sword, to extinguish this great Light by blood, i.e., Jerusalem. Of all the darkness, the darkness of Jerusalem was the darkest. Perhaps the darkest because she [Jerusalem] named herself as the light.
O Lord, our Great and All-great Light, encompass us by Your light in this short period of time and receive us after death into Your Light, glorious and immortal.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.