FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Phocas the Holy Martyr, Bishop of Sinope
Ezekiel the Prophet
Pelagia the Righteous of Tinos
Hannah the Righteous, mother of Samuel the Prophet
Trophimos & Theophilios and the 13 others martyred in Lycia
St. Anna of Levkadio
The Icons of the Most Holy Theotokos of Pochaev
Icon of the Mother of God "Joy of All That Sorrow"
Τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Φωκᾶ, τοῦ Ἁγίου Προφήτου Ἰεζεκιήλ καί τῆς Ὁσίας Μητρός ἡμῶν Πελαγίας τῆς ἐν Τήνῳ.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 9:13-18
BRETHREN, do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel. But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing this to secure any provision. For I would rather die than have any one deprive me of my ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission. What then is my reward? Just this: that in my preaching I may make the gospel free of charge, not making full use of my right in the gospel.
Πρὸς Κορινθίους α' 9:13-18
Ἀδελφοί, οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι οἱ τὰ ἱερὰ ἐργαζόμενοι ἐκ τοῦ ἱεροῦ ἐσθίουσιν, οἱ τῷ θυσιαστηρίῳ προσεδρεύοντες τῷ θυσιαστηρίῳ συμμερίζονται; Οὕτως καὶ ὁ κύριος διέταξεν τοῖς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον καταγγέλλουσιν ἐκ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου ζῇν. Ἐγὼ δὲ οὐδενὶ ἐχρησάμην τούτων· οὐκ ἔγραψα δὲ ταῦτα ἵνα οὕτως γένηται ἐν ἐμοί· καλὸν γάρ μοι μᾶλλον ἀποθανεῖν, ἢ τὸ καύχημά μου ἵνα τις κενώσῃ. Ἐὰν γὰρ εὐαγγελίζωμαι, οὐκ ἔστιν μοι καύχημα· ἀνάγκη γάρ μοι ἐπίκειται· οὐαὶ δέ μοι ἐστίν, ἐὰν μὴ εὐαγγελίζωμαι. Εἰ γὰρ ἑκὼν τοῦτο πράσσω, μισθὸν ἔχω· εἰ δὲ ἄκων, οἰκονομίαν πεπίστευμαι. Τίς οὖν μοί ἐστιν ὁ μισθός; Ἵνα εὐαγγελιζόμενος ἀδάπανον θήσω τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ Χριστοῦ, εἰς τὸ μὴ καταχρήσασθαι τῇ ἐξουσίᾳ μου ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ.
The Reading is from Matthew 16:1-6
At that time, the Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, "When it is evening, you say, 'It will be fair weather; for the sky is red.' And in the morning, 'It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah." So he left them and departed.
When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 16.1-6
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, προσελθόντες οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ Σαδδουκαῖοι πειράζοντες ἐπηρώτησαν αὐτὸν σημεῖον ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἐπιδεῖξαι αὐτοῖς. ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· ὀψίας γενομένης λέγετε· εὐδία· πυρράζει γὰρ ὁ οὐρανός· καὶ πρωΐ· σήμερον χειμών· πυρράζει γὰρ στυγνάζων ὁ οὐρανός. ὑποκριταί, τὸ μὲν πρόσωπον τοῦ οὐρανοῦ γινώσκετε διακρίνειν, τὰ δὲ σημεῖα τῶν καιρῶν οὐ δύνασθε γνῶναι; γενεὰ πονηρὰ καὶ μοιχαλὶς σημεῖον ἐπιζητεῖ, καὶ σημεῖον οὐ δοθήσεται αὐτῇ εἰ μὴ τὸ σημεῖον ᾿Ιωνᾶ τοῦ προφήτου. καὶ καταλιπὼν αὐτοὺς ἀπῆλθεν. Καὶ ἐλθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ πέραν ἐπελάθοντο ἄρτους λαβεῖν. ὁ δὲ ᾿Ιησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· ὁρᾶτε καὶ προσέχετε ἀπὸ τῆς ζύμης τῶν Φαρισαίων καὶ Σαδδουκαίων.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΚΓ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Φωκᾶ.
Φῶς Κυρίου, ἔνδοξε Φωκᾶ, φωτίσαν,
Σὴν καρδίαν, ἔδειξε φωτὸς δοχεῖον.
Εἰκάδι τῇ τριτάτῃ Φωκᾶ νεκρὸς ἀμφεκομίσθη.
Μνήμη τῆς Ὁσίας Ἄννης, τῆς ἐν τῷ Λευκαδίῳ ἢ Λευκάτῃ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Προφήτου, Ἰεζεκιήλ.
Ἰεζεκιὴλ ἑβράϊζε κἂν πόλω,
Ἀδωναῒ βλέπω σε, φάσκων Κυρίῳ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Ἀπολιναρίου καὶ Βιταλίου, Ἐπισκόπων Ῥαβέννης, καὶ Ἀπολλωνίου Ῥώμης, καὶ τῶν ἐν Καρχηδόνι ἑπτὰ Μαρτύρων, καὶ Ἀνάμνησις τῶν ἐν Βουλγαρίᾳ τελειωθέντων Χριστιανῶν ἐπὶ Νικηφόρου τοῦ Βασιλέως.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
This saint was known for the many miracles he worked and for his apostolic zeal in shepherding the flock of Sinope. He contested for the Faith during the reign of the Emperor Trajan, in the year 102, when he was burned to death in a bath-house. A homily in his honour was composed by Saint John Chrysostom. The translation of his holy relics is celebrated on July 23.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Καί τρόπων μέτοχος, καί θπόνων διάδοχος, τών Αποστόλων γενόμενος, τήν πράξιν εύρες Θεόπνευστε, εις θεωρίας επίβασιν, διά τούτο τόν λόγον τής αληθείας ορθοτομών, καί τή πίστει ενήθλησας μέχρις αίματος, Ιερομάρτυς Φωκά, πρέσβευε Χριστώ τώ Θεώ, σωθήναι τάς ψυχάς ημών.
As a sharer of the ways and a successor to the throne of the Apostles, O inspired of God, thou foundest discipline to be a means of ascent to divine vision. Wherefore, having rightly divided the word of truth, thou didst also contest for the Faith even unto blood, O Hieromartyr Phocas. Intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.
Kontakion in the Second Tone
Ως θησαυρόν ανέκλειπτον, τής δωρεάς τού Πνεύματος, τών ιερών σου λειψάνων τήν λάρνακα, περικυκλούντες ένδοξε, δυχικών νοσημάτων, καί παντοίων παθών ιάσεις λαμβάνομεν, Φωκά ανευφημούντες, τά θειά σου κατορθώματα.
The Master hath established thee as a divinely-radiant, luminous, and spiritual sun shining upon the multitude of the church's faithful, O glorious Martyr Phocas; for He hath accepted thy life, faith, and contests as fragrant myrrh, since He alone is abundant in mercy.
The Prophet Ezekiel ("God is strong") was the son of Buzi and a priest by rank. He was taken captive and brought to Babylon during the reign of Jechonias. In the fifth year of this captivity, about 594 or 593 B.C., he began to prophesy. Having prophesied for about twenty-eight years, he was murdered, it is said, by the tribe of Gad, because he reproached them for their idolatry. His book of prophecy, divided into forty-eight chapters, is ranked third among the greater Prophets. It is richly filled with mystical imagery and marvelous prophetic visions and allegories, of which the dread Chariot of Cherubim described in the first Chapter is the most famous; in the "gate that was shut," through which the Lord alone entered, he darkly foretold of the Word's Incarnation from the Virgin (44:1-3); through the "dry bones" that came to life again (37:1-14), he prophesied both of the restoration of captive Israel, and the general resurrection of our race.
Apolytikion in the Second Tone
Τού Προφήτου σου Ιεξεκιήλ τήν μνήμην, Κύριε, εορτάζοντες, δι' αυτού σε δυσωπούμεν, Σώσον τάς ψυχάς ημών.
As we celebrate the memory of Thy Prophet Ezekiel, O Lord, through him we beseech Thee to save our souls.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Καταυγασθείς τή θεϊκή επιλάμψει, τής προφητείας, υπεδέξω τήν χάριν, προζωγραφών τά μέλλοντα τώ κόσμω τυπικώς, πύλην αδιόδευτον, προϊδών τήν Παρθένον, εξ ής ο Λόγος έλαμψεν, ως ποιμήν εν τώ κόσμω, Ιεζεκιήλ Προφήτα τού Θεού, καί τής κατάρας ημάς ελυτρώσατο.
O divine Ezekiel, as God's true Prophet, thou foretoldest unto all the Incarnation of the Lord, the Lamb of God, the Artificer, the Son of God, the Eternal made manifest.
The Icon of the Mother of God of Pochaev - Metropolitan Neophytus, a bishop belonging to the see of Constantinople, was traveling through Volhynia in Ukraine where he was given hospitality by a pious woman, Anna Goyskaya. The bishop gave this woman an icon of the holy Theotokos, which began to work miracles, including the healing of her blind brother. In 1597 the icon was given to the monks residing in Pochaev near the border of Galicia, where the Mother of God had appeared in 1340, leaving an imprint of her footprint in the rock, from which a stream gushed forth. In 1675 when the Lavra of Pochaev was besieged by the Moslem Turks, it was saved by the miraculous intervention of the Mother of God through her wonderworking icon. Even though the Lavra of Pochaev came into Uniate hands for over a century, miracles continued to be worked through the holy icon. Since its return to the Orthodox Catholic Church in 1831, the icon has been a grace-bestowing support for Orthodox Christians, especially those in western Ukraine and the Carpathian region.
Apolytikion in the Plagal of the First Tone
They that pray before thy holy icon, O sovereign Lady, are made worthy of healing, receive the gift of understanding of the true Faith, and repel the attacks of the Hagarenes; likewise for us who fall down before thee, do thou ask for forgiveness of our sins. Enlighten our hearts with devout purpose and raise thy prayer to thy Son for the salvation of our souls.
Kontakion in the First Tone
Thine icon of Pochaev, O Theotokos, hath been shown to be a source of healing and a confirmation of the Orthodox Faith. Therefore deliver us who flee to it from danger and temptation; preserve thy Lavra unharmed; strengthen Orthodoxy in the neighbouring lands; and loose thy suppliants from sins; for thou canst do whatsoever thou dost will.
The Icon of the Mother of God "Joy of All That Sorrow" - As with so many other icons of the Theotokos, wonderworking copies of this icon have been found throughout Orthodox Russia, each with its own history and moving collection of miracles. In this icon, the most holy Mother of God is depicted standing full stature sometimes with, sometimes without the Divine Child in her arms; she is surrounded by all manner of the sick and the suffering, to whom Angels of the Lord bear gifts of mercy, consolation, and suitable aid from the most holy Theotokos. The icon "Joy of all that Sorrow" was inspired by the hymn of the same name; see page 222 in Great Compline. Through one copy of this icon, the sister of Patriarch Joachim was healed at the end of the seventeenth century in Moscow, from which time the feast was established. Another copy of the icon was found in Saint Petersburg; on July 23, 1888, during the severe thunderstorm, lightning struck a chapel at a glass factory, burning the interior walls of the church, but leaving the icon unsinged. From the violent disturbance of the air, the icon was knocked to the floor, the poor-box broke open, and twelve copper coins adhered to the icon in various places; afterwards many miracles were worked by the grace of the holy icon.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
To God's Birthgiver let us run now most earnestly, we sinners all and wretched ones, and fall prostrate in repentance, calling from the depths of our souls: Lady, come unto our aid, have compassion upon us; hasten thou, for we are lost in a throng of transgressions; turn not thy servants away with empty hands, for thee alone do we have as our only hope.
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Second Tone
We have no other help, we have no other hope, but thee, O sovereign Lady; do thou help us. In thee do we hope, and of thee do we boast, for we are thy servants. Let us not be put to shame.
Ένας από τους τέσσερις μεγάλους προφήτας της Παλαιάς Διαθήκης είναι ο Προφήτης Ιεζεκιήλ, του οποίου η Εκκλησία σήμερα γιορτάζει την μνήμη. Έζησε στην εποχή της αιχμαλωσίας των Εβραίων στους Βαβυλωνίους κι απέθανε τετρακόσια εβδομήντα επτά χρόνια πριν νάρθη ο Χριστός στον κόσμο. Βρήκε μαρτυρικό θάνατο από τους συμπατριώτες του τους Εβραίους, που δεν ανέχονταν να ελέγχη τις πλάνες και την απιστία τους. Αυτός είναι ο κλήρος όλων που, υπακούοντας στην εντολή του Θεού, θέλουν να ξυπνήσουν τους ανθρώπους. Οι Προφήτες, και μαζί με αυτούς ο Ιεζεκιήλ, είναι οι μεγάλες εκείνες προσωπικότητες που έρχονται στις κρίσιμες ώρες για να ξυπνήσουν το λαό. Το κήρυγμά τους είναι ορμητικό σαν ποτάμι και σαν φωτιά στο δάσος. Έχουν τη συνείδηση πως δεν μιλούν αυτοί αλλά ο Θεός, γι' αυτό αρχίζουν πάντα την προφητεία με αυτά τα λόγια· "τάδε λέγει Κύριος". Και κλείνουν την προφητεία με αυτή τη φράση· "το γαρ στόμα Κυρίου ελάλησε ταύτα".
Ὁ Προφήτης Ἰεζεκιήλ
Ἔζησε στὰ χρόνια του Ναβουχοδονόσορα, κατὰ τὸν ἕκτο αἰῶνα π.Χ. (κατ᾿ ἄλλους τὸ 477π.Χ.). Ὁ πατέρας του ἦταν Ἱερέας καὶ ὀνομαζόταν Βουζί. Ἡ ἀνατροφὴ τοῦ Ἰεζεκιὴλ ὑπῆρξε πολὺ ἐπιμελημένη, μέσα στὰ πλαίσια τῶν αὐστηρῶν ἠθῶν τῆς πατροπαράδοτης θρησκείας. Ἦταν ἀμείλικτος ἐχθρὸς κάθε κακίας καὶ ἁμαρτίας καὶ ἤλεγχε μὲ θάῤῥος τοὺς ὑπερόπτες καὶ ἀλαζονικοὺς ἄρχοντες. Ὁ Ἰεζεκιὴλ ἦταν πολὺ ἀγαπητὸς στὸ λαὸ καὶ πολλοὶ προσέρχονταν σ᾿ αὐτόν, ἀκόμα καὶ πρεσβύτεροι Ἰουδαῖοι, γιὰ νὰ ζητήσουν τὶς συμβουλές του. Οἱ προφητεῖες του ἀναφέρονται κυρίως στὴν καταστροφὴ τῆς Ἱερουσαλὴμ καὶ μετά. Ἡ παράδοση ἀναφέρει ὅτι ὁ Ἰεζεκιὴλ φονεύθηκε ἀπὸ τὴν φυλὴ τοῦ Γάδ, ἐπειδὴ ἤλεγχε τὶς εἰδωλολατρικές τους ροπές. Τάφηκε στὴ σημερινὴ Βαγδάτη τοῦ Ἰράκ. Ἂς ἀναφέρουμε, ὅμως, μερικὰ λόγια του προφήτη, ποὺ δίνουν ἀθάνατα μηνύματα ζωῆς αἰωνίου: «Καὶ ἐγένετο λόγος Κυρίου πρὸς μὲ λέγων... ὅτι πᾶσαι αἱ ψυχαὶ ἐμαὶ εἰσιν ... Ἡ ψυχὴ ἡ ἁμαρτάνουσα, αὐτὴ ἀποθανεῖται. Ὁ δὲ ἄνθρωπος ὃς ἔσται δίκαιος, ὁ ποιῶν κρῖμα καὶ δικαιοσύνην ... ζωὴ ζήσεται, λέγει Κύριος». Δηλαδή, ὁ Κύριος μίλησε σὲ μένα, λέει ὁ Ἰεζεκιήλ, καὶ εἶπε: «κάθε ζωὴ ἀνθρώπου εἶναι δική μου. Αὐτὸς ποὺ ἁμαρτάνει, αὐτὸς καὶ θὰ τιμωρηθεῖ μὲ θάνατο. Ὁ ἄνθρωπος, ὅμως, ποὺ εἶναι δίκαιος, αὐτὸς ποὺ τηρεῖ τὶς ἐντολές μου καὶ φέρεται μὲ δικαιοσύνη, αὐτὸς θὰ ζήσει αἰώνια, λέγει ὁ Κύριος».
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀπολλινάριος ἐπίσκοπος Ραβέννας
Ὑπῆρξε μαθητὴς καὶ ἀκόλουθος τοῦ ἀποστόλου Πέτρου, τὸν ὁποῖο ἀκολούθησε ἀπὸ τὴν Ἀντιόχεια στὴ Ρώμη. Ἔπειτα ὁ ἴδιος ὁ Ἀπόστολος Πέτρος τὸν χειροτόνησε ἐπίσκοπο Ραβέννας. Ἐκεῖ ὁ Ἀπολλινάριος ἐργάστηκε μὲ πολὺ ζῆλο γιὰ τὴν διάδοση τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου καὶ κατόρθωσε τὸν φωτισμὸ πολλῶν εἰδωλολατρῶν, μὲ ἀποτέλεσμα οἱ ἱερεῖς τῶν εἰδώλων νὰ τὸν συλλάβουν καὶ νὰ τὸν κακοποιήσουν. Ἀργότερα ὁ Ἀπολλινάριος θεράπευσε μὲ τὴν χάρη τοῦ Θεοῦ, τὸν Βονιφάτιο, διακεκριμένο μέλος τῆς κοινωνίας τῆς Ραβέννας, ποὺ ἦταν κωφάλαλος καὶ τὴν κόρη του, ποὺ ἔπασχε ἀπὸ δαιμόνιο. Τὸ γεγονὸς αὐτό, ἔφερε πολλοὺς εἰδωλολάτρες στὴν πίστη τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ οἱ ἱερεῖς τῶν εἰδώλων, ἀφοῦ τὸν συνέλαβαν τὸν βασάνισαν σκληρά. Ἔπειτα ὁ Ἀπολλινάριος ἀναχώρησε στὴν Αἰμυλία, ὅπου ἀνέστησε τὴν κόρη τοῦ πατρικίου Ρουφίνου, ποὺ ὁλόκληρη ἡ οἰκογένειά του προσῆλθε στὸν Χριστό. Τότε ὁ ἔπαρχος τῆς πόλης, ἀφοῦ τὸν βασάνισε τὸν ἔβαλε σ᾿ ἕνα πλοῖο γιὰ νὰ τὸν ἐξορίσει. Τὸ πλοῖο ὅμως ναυάγησε, ὁ Ἀπολλινάριος σώθηκε, βγῆκε στὴ Μοισία τῆς Θρᾴκης καὶ ἀπὸ κεῖ ἐπέστρεψε στὴ Ραβέννα. Μόλις ἔφτασε τὸν συνέλαβαν καὶ τὸν ἔκλεισαν στὴ φυλακὴ μὲ τὴν εὐθύνη κάποιου ἑκατόνταρχου. Ὁ ἑκατόνταρχος ὅμως ἦταν χριστιανὸς καὶ τὸν ἄφησε νὰ φύγει. Ὅταν τὸ ἔμαθαν αὐτὸ οἱ ἱερεῖς τῶν εἰδώλων, ἔστειλαν ἀνθρώπους τους, οἱ ὁποῖοι τὸν πρόλαβαν στὸ δρόμο καὶ τὸν χτύπησαν τόσο ἄγρια, ὥστε τὸ σῶμα του παραμορφώθηκε πνιγμένο στὰ αἵματα. Τὸν νόμισαν πεθαμένο καὶ τὸν ἄφησαν, ἀλλὰ χριστιανοὶ τὸν παρέλαβαν καὶ τὸν περιποιήθηκαν. Μετὰ ἑπτὰ ἡμέρες ὅμως, ἀφοῦ εὐλόγησε τὰ πνευματικά του παιδιά, παρέδωσε τὴν ἁγία του ψυχὴ στὸν στεφανοδότη Θεό.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Βιτάλιος ποὺ μαρτύρησε στὴ Ραβέννα
Μαρτύρησε τὸ ἔτος 62 μ.Χ. Ἔκανε τὸ ἐπάγγελμα τοῦ ὁπλοποιοῦ καὶ ἀνῆκε στοὺς ἔνθερμους Χριστιανοὺς τῶν χρόνων ἐκείνων. Ὅταν κάποτε στὴ Ραβέννα ἦταν παρὼν στὰ βασανιστήρια κάποιου γιατροῦ, Οὐρσικίνου ὀνομαζόμενου, ταράχτηκε καὶ μὲ δυνατὴ φωνὴ ἐνθάῤῥυνε τὸν γιατρὸ στὸ μαρτύριο, μὲ ἀποτέλεσμα ὁ γιατρὸς νὰ ὑποστεῖ μὲ γενναιότητα τὸ μαρτύριο. Τότε ὁ δικαστὴς Παυλῖνος διέταξε νὰ συλλάβουν τὸν Βιτάλιο καὶ νὰ τὸν βασανίσουν. Γεμάτος ἀπὸ αἵματα, ὁ Βιτάλιος, ὁδηγήθηκε σ᾿ ἕνα βαθὺ λάκκο, ὅπου τὸν θανάτωσαν ρίχνοντάς του μεγάλες πέτρες. Ἀλλὰ ἡ θεία δίκη δὲν ἄργησε νὰ ἔλθει. Τὸν Βιτάλιο κατάγγειλε στὸν Παυλῖνο κάποιος ἱερέας τῶν εἰδώλων, ποὺ καὶ αὐτὸς ἦταν ἐκεῖ καὶ ἔριχνε πέτρες στὸν Βιτάλιο. Ξαφνικὰ ὅμως, τὸν κατέλαβε δαιμόνιο καὶ μὲ σπασμοὺς φώναξε μὲ ἄγρια φωνή: «Βιτάλιος ὁ μάρτυς τοῦ Χριστοῦ μὲ κατακαίει σκληρά» καὶ στὴν παραφροσύνη του ρίχτηκε στὸ ρεῦμα τοῦ κοντινοῦ ποταμοῦ καὶ πνίγηκε.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀπολλώνιος Ἱερομάρτυρας ἐπίσκοπος Ρώμης
Μαρτύρησε, ἀφοῦ τὸν θανάτωσαν μὲ ἐκτοξευόμενα βέλη καὶ κατόπιν τὸν ἔριξαν στὴ φωτιά. Ἐπίσκοπος Ρώμης ὅμως μὲ τέτοιο ὄνομα δὲν ὑπῆρξε. Ὁ δὲ Παρισινὸς Κώδ. 223 Coislin καλεῖ τὸν Ἅγιο αὐτὸν ἁπλὰ Ἱερομάρτυρα).
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Μάρτυρες ποὺ θανατώθηκαν ἀπὸ τοὺς Βουλγάρους
Ὁ βασιλιὰς τοῦ Βυζαντίου Νικηφόρος ὁ Πατρίκιος, τὸ 811, βγῆκε ἀπὸ τὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη μὲ ὅλα του τὰ στρατεύματα, τὸν γιό του Σταυράκιο καὶ τὸν γαμπρό του Μιχαήλ, γιὰ νὰ πολεμήσει τοὺς Βούλγαρους. Ἡ μάχη ἦταν σκληρὴ καὶ ὁ Νικηφόρος νίκησε κατὰ κράτος τοὺς Βούλγαρους. Ἀντὶ ὅμως νὰ μεριμνήσει γιὰ τὴν τακτοποίηση τῶν στρατευμάτων του μετὰ τὴν νίκη, ἐπιδόθηκε σὲ τσιμπούσια καὶ οἰνοποσίες. Οἱ Βούλγαροι ἀνασυντάχθηκαν καὶ τὴν νύχτα ἔπεσαν κατὰ τῶν Βυζαντινῶν στρατευμάτων, μὲ ἀποτέλεσμα νὰ τοὺς διαλύσουν. Ὁ ἴδιος ὁ βασιλιὰς θανατώθηκε ἀπὸ τὸν ἀρχηγὸ τῶν Βουλγάρων Κροῦμο. Ὅσοι στρατιῶτες συνελήφθηκαν, οἱ Βούλγαροι τοὺς ἐξεβίαζαν ν᾿ ἀρνηθοῦν τὸν Χριστό. Ἀλλ᾿ ἐπειδὴ αὐτοὶ ἀρνοῦνταν νὰ ἀλλαξοπιστήσουν, ἄλλους θανάτωσαν μὲ ἀποκεφαλισμὸ καὶ ἄλλους μὲ ἀπαγχονισμό.
Ἡ Ὁσία Ἄννα ἡ ἐν τῷ Λευκαδίῳ (ἢ Λευκάτη)
Ὑπῆρξε στὰ χρόνια τοῦ βασιλιᾶ Θεοφίλου τοῦ εἰκονομάχου (829-842) καὶ ἦταν κόρη πλούσιας καὶ ἐπίσημης οἰκογένειας. Ἡ ἴδια εἶχε ἄφθονα σωματικὰ καὶ πνευματικὰ χαρίσματα διότι ἀνατράφηκε ἐν παιδείᾳ καὶ νουθεσίᾳ Κυρίου. Μετὰ τὸν θάνατο τῶν γονέων της, ἔγινε κληρονόμος τῆς μεγάλης πατρικῆς περιουσίας, ποὺ μέρος της διαμοίρασε στοὺς φτωχούς. Ἀλλὰ τὴν ὡραία αὐτὴ κόρη, ἀγάπησε κάποιος Ἀγαρηνός, ποὺ διέμενε στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη καὶ τὴν ζήτησε σὲ γάμο, μὲ τὴν συγκατάθεση τοῦ βασιλιᾶ Βασιλείου. Ἡ Ἄννα δὲν δέχτηκε καὶ μὲ δάκρυα προσευχόταν στὸν Θεὸ νὰ τὴν ἀπαλλάξει ἀπ᾿ αὐτὸν τὸν πειρασμό. Πράγματι ὁ Θεὸς ἄκουσε τὶς προσευχές της καὶ ὁ Ἀγαρηνὸς πέθανε. Τότε ἡ Ἄννα ἐντάχθηκε σὲ κάποιο μοναστήρι τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, ὅπου ἐπιδόθηκε σὲ σκληρότατη ἄσκηση καὶ προσευχή. Ἔτσι ἀσκητικὰ ἀφοῦ πέρασε γιὰ 50 χρόνια, μετὰ ἀπὸ βραχύχρονη ἀσθένεια, παρέδωσε τὴν μακαρία ψυχή της στὸ Θεό. Τὸ δὲ τίμιο λείψανό της, μετὰ ἀπὸ χρόνια ὅταν ἐκτάφηκε, βρέθηκε σῶο καὶ εὐωδίαζε ὁλόκληρο θεία εὐωδία, καὶ ἔκανε πολλὰ καὶ διάφορα θαύματα.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Συμεὼν τῆς Ἐμμέσας (Ῥῶσος)
Διὰ Χριστὸν σαλός.
Ἡ Ὁσία Πελαγία ἡ Τηνία
Ἡ Πελαγία ἦταν κόρη τοῦ παπᾶ Νικηφόρου Νεγρεπόντη. Ἡ μητέρα της ἦταν ἀπὸ τὸν Τριπόταμο τῆς Τήνου καὶ ἀνῆκε στὴν οἰκογένεια Φραγκούλη. Γεννήθηκε τὸ 1752 στὸ χωριὸ Κάμπο τῆς Τήνου καὶ τὸ κοσμικό της ὄνομα ἦταν Λουκία. Ἀπὸ διάφορα ἔγγραφα φαίνεται ὅτι εἶχε ἀκόμα τρεῖς ἀδελφές. Ἡ οἰκογένειά της διακρινόταν γιὰ τὴν ἁγνὴ πίστη καὶ τὴν προσήλωση στὰ θρησκευτικὰ ἰδεώδη. Λίγα χρόνια μετὰ τὴν γέννηση τῆς Λουκίας ὁ πατέρας της πέθανε. Ἦταν τότε 12 χρονῶν καὶ ἔδειχνε σημάδια ἔντονης ἐπιθυμίας νὰ ἀφιερωθεῖ καὶ νὰ ὑπηρετήσει τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Θεοῦ. Οἱ δυσκολίες τῆς ζωῆς ἔκαναν τὴν μητέρα της νὰ τὴν στείλει στὸν Τριπόταμο, στὴν κάπως πιὸ εὐκατάστατη ἀδελφή της. Ἐκεῖ ἡ Λούκια ἔμεινε τρία χρόνια καὶ συχνὰ ἐπισκεπτόταν τὴν ἄλλη θεία της, ποὺ ἦταν μοναχὴ στὴ Μονὴ Κεχροβουνίου. Ἔνοιωσε τότε ἐπιτακτικὴ τὴν ἀνάγκη ν᾿ ἀκολουθήσει τὸν μοναχικὸ βίο καὶ σὲ ἡλικία 15 χρονῶν μπῆκε στὸ Μονστήρι σὰν δόκιμη, ὑπὸ τὴν ἐπίβλεψη τῆς θείας της μοναχῆς Πελαγίας. Ὅταν ἦλθε ἡ ὥρα ἔγινε καὶ ἡ ἴδια μοναχή με τὸ ὄνομα Πελαγία. Ὡς μοναχὴ ἀφοσιώθηκε μὲ ψυχὴ καὶ σῶμα στὴν λατρεία τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ στὴν ἀνακούφιση τῶν πασχόντων. Ἡ ἁγνότητα τῆς ψυχῆς της, ἡ ὁσιότητα τῆς ζωῆς της, ἡ αὐταπάρνησή της, ἡ μυστικὴ ζωή της κι ὁ πόθος της γιὰ λύτρωση συντέλεσαν ὥστε ἡ μοναχὴ Πελαγία νὰ γίνει τὸ «σκεῦος ἐκλογῆς» γιὰ ν᾿ ἀποκαλυφθεῖ σ᾿ αὐτὴν ἡ Παναγία γιὰ τὴν εὕρεση τῆς Ἁγίας εἰκόνας της στὸν ἀγρὸ τοῦ Δοξαρᾶ στὴν πόλη τῆς Τήνου (30 Ἰανουαρίου 1823), γεγονὸς ποὺ ἔμελλε νὰ κάμει τὴν Τῆνο ἱερὸ νησὶ καὶ νὰ κατατάξει τὴν Πελαγία μεταξὺ τῶν Ἁγίων. Τὸ γεγονὸς δὲ αὐτὸ συνέβη ὅταν ἡ ὁσία ἦταν 73 χρόνων καὶ ἀρχιερέας Τήνου ἦταν ὁ Γαβριήλ. Ἡ Ὁσία Πελαγία ἔκανε, μὲ τὶς πρεσβεῖες τῆς Παναγίας καὶ τὴν χάρη τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἀρκετὰ θαύματα πρὶν καὶ μετὰ τὸν θάνατό της, ὁ ὁποῖος ἦλθε στὶς 28 Ἀπριλίου 1834 καὶ τάφηκε στὸ ναὸ τῶν Ταξιαρχῶν τοῦ μοναστηριοῦ. Τὸ 1973 ὅμως, κτίστηκε μεγαλοπρεπὴς ναὸς στὸ ὄνομά της, ὅπου φυλάσσεται καὶ προσκυνεῖται ἡ ἁγία κάρα της σήμερα. Ἀνακηρύχτηκε ἁγία με Συνοδικὴ Πατριαρχικὴ Πράξη στὶς 11 Σεπτεμβρίου 1970 καὶ ἡ μνήμη της ὁρίστηκε νὰ τιμᾶται στὶς 23 Ἰουλίου, τὴν ἡμέρα δηλ. τοῦ ὁράματός της.
Hieromartyr Apollinarius, bishop of Ravenna (75)
He was a disciple of St Peter, born in Antioch. St Peter took him to Rome (he was bishop of Antioch before being bishop of Rome, so Antioch is as much the 'see of Peter' as is Rome) and made him Bishop of Ravenna. In Ravenna, he healed the wife of the military governor of a grave illness, after which the governor and his household confessed Christ and were baptized. Apollinarius was able to form a house church in the governor's home, from which he labored for the Gospel for twelve years. Eventually, he was condemned to exile in Illyria for his faith, and began a life of missionary travel in the Balkans, travelling as far as the Danube. After twelve years of this work, he was driven back to Italy by the hostility of some of the pagans. He was received with joy by the people of Ravenna, which aroused the envy of the pagan elders, who denounced him to the Emperor Vespasian. When the elders asked permission to kill Apollinarius, the Emperor only gave them permission to drive him from the city, wisely saying 'It is not seemly to take revenge on behalf of the gods, for they can themselves be revenged on their enemies if they are angered.' But, in defiance of the Imperial decree, the pagan leaders attacked and killed Apollinarius with knives. His holy relics are preserved in Ravenna, in a church dedicated to him.
Holy Prophet Ezekiel (6th c. BC)
He is counted as the third-ranked of the Major Prophets. Read the Old Testament book that bears his name, in which the Church recognizes prophecies of the Lord's Incarnation by the Virgin and of the general resurrection of mankind.
Righteous Anna (Hannah), mother of the prophet Samuel Righteous Anna (Hannah), mother of the prophet Samuel
The Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God is among the most venerable sacred items of the Russian Church. It is reknown throughout all the Slavic world: they venerate it in Russia, in Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria and other places. Christians also of other confessions come for veneration of the wonderworking image of the MostHoly Mother of God, alongside the Orthodox. At the Pochaev Lavra, an ancient rampart of Orthodoxy, the wonderworking icon has resided about 400 years. (The account about the transfer of the icon to the Pochaev monastery is located under 8 September). The miracles, which issued forth from the holy icon, are numerous and are testified to in the monastery books with the inscriptions of the faithful, who with prayer have met with deliverance from unclean spirits, liberation from captivity, and sinners brought to their senses.
The celebration in honour of the Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God on 23 July was established in memory of the deliverance Uspenie-Dormition Lavra monastery from a Turkish siege on 20-23 July 1675.
In the Summer of 1675 during the time of the Zbarazhsk War with the Turks, during the reign of the Polish king Jan Sobesski (1674-1696), regiments composed of Tatars under the command of khan Nurredin via Vishnevets fell upon the Pochaev monastery, surrounding it on three sides. The weak monastery walls, just like some of the stone buildings of the monastery, did not offer much defense against a siege. The hegumen Iosif Dobromirsky urged the brethren and laypeople to turn themselves to Heavenly intercessors: to the MostHoly Mother of God and the Monk Job of Pochaev (Comm. 28 October). The monks and the laypeople prayed fervently, prostrating themselves before the wonderworking image of the Mother of God and the reliquary with the relics of the Monk Job. On the morning of 23 July with the rising of the sun, as the Tatars were holding a final meeting about an assault on the monastery, the hegumen ordered the singing of an akathist to the Mother of God. With the first words, "O Queen of the Heavenly Hosts", suddenly there appeared over the church the MostHoly Mother of God Herself, in "an unfurled gleaming-white omophor", with heavenly angels holding unsheathed swords. The Monk Job was beside the Mother of God, bowing to Her and beseeching the defense of the monastery. The Tatars took the heavenly army for an apparition, and in confusion they began to shoot arrows at the MostHoly Mother of God and the Monk Job, but the arrows fell backwards and wounded those who shot them. Terror seized the enemy. In a flight of panic and without looking, they trampled upon and killed each other. The defenders of the monastery attempted pursuit and took many prisoner. Some of the prisoners afterwards accepted the Christian faith and remained at the monastery thereafter.
In the year 1721 Pochaev was occupied by Uniates. But even in this difficult time for the Lavra, the monastery chronicle notes 539 miracles from the glorified Orthodox sacred image. During the time of the Uniate rule in the 2nd half of the XVIII Century, for example, the Uniate nobleman count Nicholas Pototski became a benefactor of the Pochaev Lavra through the following miraculous circumstance. Having accused his coachman for overturning the carriage with frenzied horses, the count took out a pistol to shoot him. The coachman, turning towards Pochaev Hill, reached his hands upwards and cried out: "Mother of God, manifest in the Pochaev Icon, save me!" Pototski several times tried to shoot the pistol, which had never let him down, but the weapon misfired. The coachman remained alive. Pototski then immediately set off to the wonderworking icon and decided to devote himself and all his property to the building-up of the monastery. From his wealth was built the Uspenie-Dormition cathedral and buildings for the brethren.
The return of Pochaev into the bosom of Orthodoxy in 1832 was marked by the miraculous healing of the blind maiden Anna Akimchukova, who had come on pilgrimage to the holy things together with her 70 year old grandmother, from Kremenets-Podol'sk 200 versts away. In memory of this event, the Volynia archbishop and Lavra archimandrite Innokentii (1832-1840) established weekly on Saturdays the reading of the cathedral akathist before the wonderworking icon. During the time of the rule of the Lavra by archimandrite Agathangel, archbishop of Volynia (1866-1876), there was constructed a separate chapel in the galleries of the Holy Trinity church in memory of the victory over the Tatars, which was dedicated on 23 July 1875.
The Holy Martyrs Trophymos, Theophilos, and Thirteen Holy Martyrs with them, suffered during the time of the persecution against Christians under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). Brought to trial, they bravely confessed themselves Christians and refused to offer sacrifice to idols. After fierce tortures, they threw the holy martyrs with broken legs into a fire. Strengthened by the Lord, they came out of the fire completely unharmed, and still all the moreso did they glorify Christ. Then in despair of breaking the will of the holy confessors, the torturers beheaded them.
The PriestMartyr Apollinarius, Bishop of Ravenna: During the reign of the Roman emperor Claudius (41-54), the holy Apostle Peter came to Rome from Antioch, and he ordained the Antiochene Apollinarius, who had come with him, to be bishop of Ravenna. Arriving in Ravenna as a stranger, Saint Apollinarius asked shelter of a local inhabitant, the soldier Ireneius, and in conversation with him revealed also for what purpose he had come. Ireneius had a blind son, whom Saint Apollinarius healed, having turned to the Lord with prayer. The soldier Ireneius and his family were the first in Ravenna to believe in Christ. The saint stayed at the house of Ireneius and preached about Christ to everyone wanting to hear what he said. One of the miracles of healing, done by Saint Apollinarius, was the healing of the incurably sick wife of the Ravenna tribune, Thecla. After she stood up from her bed completely healthy -- through the prayers of the saint, not only did she believe in Christ, but so also did the tribune. At the house of the tribune Saint Apollinarius constructed a small church, where he made Divine Liturgy. For the newly-baptised people of Ravenna Saint Apollinarius ordained two presbyters -- Aderetus and Calocyrus, and also two deacons.
Saint Apollinarius preached the Gospel at Ravenna for twelve years, and the number of Christians steadily increased. Pagan priests made complaint against the bishop to the governor Saturninus. Saint Apollinarius was brought to trial and subjected to grievous tortures. Thinking that he had died, the torturers took him out of the city to the sea-coast and threw him in. But the saint was alive. A certain pious Christian widow rendered him aid and gave him shelter in her home. Saint Apollinarius stayed at her home for six months and continued secretly to preach about Christ. The whereabouts of the saint became known, when he healed the loss of speech of an illustrious resident of the city named Boniface, at the request of his wife, who besought the help of the saint for her husband. After this miracle many pagans were converted to Christ, and they again brought Saint Apollinarius to trial and tortured him, setting his bared-feet on red-hot coals. They removed him from the city a second time, but the Lord again kept him alive. The saint did not cease preaching until they expelled him from the city. For a certain while Saint Apollinarius found himself elsewhere in Italy, where as before he continued to preach the Gospel. And again having returned to Ravenna to his flock, Saint Apollinarius again went on trial and was sentenced to banishment. In heavy fetters he was put on a ship sailing to Illyrica to the River Dunaj-Danube. Two soldiers were responsible to convey him to his place of exile. Three of the clergy voluntarily followed their bishop into exile. Along the way the vessel suffered shipwreck and all drowned, except for the rescued Saint Apollinarius, his acompanying clergy and the two soldiers. The soldiers, listening to Saint Apollinarius, believed in the Lord and accepted Baptism. Nowhere having found shelter, the travellers came to Mycea, where Saint Apollinarius healed a certain illustrious inhabitant from leprosy, and for which both he and his companions received shelter at his home. In this land Saint Apollinarius likewise preached tirelessly about Christ and he converted many of the pagans to Christianity, for which he was subjected to persecution on the part of unbelievers. They beat up the saint mercilessly, and boarding him on a ship sailing for Italy, they sent him back. After a three year absence, Saint Apollinarius returned to Ravenna and was joyfully received by his flock. The pagans, however, having fallen upon the church where the saint made Divine Liturgy, scattered those at prayer, and dragged the saint to the idolatrous priests in the pagan temple of Apollo, where the idol fell just as they brought in the saint, and it shattered. The pagan priests brought Saint Apollinarius for trial to the new governor of the district, named Taurus. Apollinarius worked here a new miracle -- he healed the son of the governor, who had been blind from birth. In gratitude for the healing of his son, Taurus strove to shelter Saint Apollinarius from the angry crowd. He dispatched him to his own estate outside the city, where the son and wife of Taurus were baptised, but he himself fearing the anger of the emperor did not accept Baptism, but conducted himself with gratitude and love towards his benefactor. Saint Apollinarius lived for five years at the estate of Taurus and preached without hindrance about salvation. During this time pagan priests dispatched letters of denunciation to the emperor Vespasian with a request for a sentence of death or exile of the Christian "sorcerer" Apollinarius. But the emperor answered the pagan priests, that the gods were sufficiently powerful to take revenge for themselves, if they reckoned themselves insulted. All the wrath of the pagans fell upon Saint Apollinarius: they caught hold of him when the saint left the city setting out for a nearby settlement, and they beat him fiercely. Christians found him barely alive and took him to the settlement, where he survived for seven days. During the time of his pre-death illness the saint did not cease to teach his flock and he predicted, that after persecution Christians would enter upon better times, when they could openly and freely confess their faith. Having given those present his archpastoral blessing, the PriestMartyr Apollinarius expired to the Lord. Saint Apollinarius was bishop of Ravenna for 28 years and he died in the year 75.
The Icon of the Mother of God "Joy of All Sorrowing" ("With Petty Change") was glorified in the year 1888 in Peterburg, when during the time of a terrible thunderstorm lightning struck in a chapel, but the icon of the Queen of Heaven situated in it remained unharmed; to it however was melted small metal coins (half-kopeck pieces), laying before the icon. A church was built in 1898 on the spot of the chapel.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE HOLY MARTYRS TROFIMUS AND THEOPHILUS AND THIRTEEN OTHERS WITH THEM
They all suffered in Lycia during the reign of Emperor Dioceletian. Because they would not, in any way, deny Christ nor offer sacrifices to the idols, they were subjected to various tortures: they were beaten with stones; they were scrapped with sharp irons; their knees were broken; and finally, so tortured, they were more dead than alive and were thrown into the fire. The power of God preserved them and they remained unharmed. They were then taken out and beheaded. The Lord glorified them both on earth and in His heavenly kingdom. They suffered honorably in Lycia in the year 308 A.D.
2. THE HOLY PRIESTLY-MARTYR APOLLINARIUS
Apollinarius was a disciple of the Apostle Peter and was born in the city of Antioch. St. Peter took Apollinarius with him from Antioch to Rome and, in Rome, consecrated him as the bishop of Ravenna. Arriving in Ravenna, Apollinarius entered the home of the soldier Ireneaus, whose son he healed of blindness and through that converted his entire household to the Faith of Christ. He also cured the wife of the military commander of Ravenna of a terrible malady and baptized his entire household. At the wish of the military commander, Apollinarius remained in his home. There they constructed a small domestic chapel. Apollinarius remained there for twelve years preaching the Good News and baptizing unbelievers. On many occasions he was cruelly tortured by the pagan elders but the all-powerful right hand of the Lord sustained and saved him. Finally, he was sentenced to exile in Illyria in the Balkans. The boat upon which Apollinarius traveled was shipwrecked in a storm and sunk and of all the passengers aboard only St. Apollinarius, along with two soldiers and three of his clerics, was saved. Being miraculously saved, the soldiers believed in the power of Apollinarius' God and were baptized. Apollinarius then went to preach the Holy Gospel throughout all the Balkans descending as far as the Danube river. After this, he set out for Thrace where, under great pressure, he also spread the Gospel of the Lord. After three years of labor in the Balkans he was again banished to Italy. He arrived in Ravenna where all the faithful exceedingly rejoiced at his return. Hearing about this, the pagan elder wrote to Emperor Vespasian about Apollinarius as being a magician and asked him whether they should give him over to death as an enemy of their gods. The emperor replied that they should not kill him but only ask him to offer sacrifice to the gods or to banish him from the city for, says the emperor: "It is not dignified to seek revenge against anyone for the gods, for they themselves can avenge against their own enemies if they are angered". In spite of this order from the emperor the pagans attacked Apollinarius and pierced him with knives. This servant of God died of severe wounds and was received into the Kingdom of God. The relics of St. Apollinarius repose in the church dedicated to him in Ravenna, Italy.
HYMN OF PRAISE
Apollinarius, for the sake of Christ the God
Endured sufferings, great and many
Without any kind of anger, without any surprise,
For he knows that there is no salvation without suffering;
He knows that without suffering the Lord did not go
And saw Peter's pierced hands.
Knows about many, slaughtered as lambs
And by a sword into the Kingdom of God sent
And with the soul disposed, for that he was prepared,
That for the Living Christ, to endure public shame,
And the saint, all that the powers of Hades
Had prepared for the torturing of the faithful,
The saint endured all; with faith bore
And growing older, growing older, under the bitter torture
And even when he became old, the torturing did not pass,
Under bitter tortures, for Christ died,
By his heroism, many generations he astonished
Did not die but went to live eternally.
The great teachers of the Church endeavored to teach men great truths, not only by words but also by obvious examples. Thus Abba Isaiah, in order to teach the monks, said that no one would receive a reward from God who, in this life did not labor for God, brought his disciples to a threshing floor where a farm laborer gathered the winnowed wheat. "Give me some wheat also!" said Isaiah to the farm hand. "Did you reap, Father?" "I did not", replied the elder. "How do you expect to obtain wheat when you did not reap?" To that the elder replied: "Does he who did not reap receive wheat?" "He does not receive wheat", replied the farm hand. Hearing such an answer, the elder silently turned away. When the disciples begged him to explain his action, the elder said: "I did this with the intention to show you that he who has not lived a life of asceticism will not receive a reward from God."
To contemplate the suffering of the entire people because of the sin of one man (Joshua 7):
1. How the Israelites were prohibited by God to take any of the possessions belonging to the conquered people of Jericho;
2. How one man took some of the possessions of the inhabitants of Jericho and because of this the Israelites were defeated by the Hai;
3. How even today, because of the transgressing of the law of God by one man, many suffer.
About waterless wells
"These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved forever" (2 Peter 2:17).
The apostle calls impure men "wells without water" those, "that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities" (2 Peter 2:10). "But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not" (2 Peter 2:12). O "wells without water," which are adorned on all sides but you do not give water why are you then called wells when nothing comes out of you except thirst? O clouds and mist why do you bristle, as though you will flood the entire world, when there is not even one drop of water in you and when a breath of the Spirit of God will destroy and disperse you into nothing at that awesome hour? You are not concerned about purity, that is why you roll around in bodily impurity; neither are you concerned about order, that is why you detest authority; neither are you concerned about saving face [reputation], that is why you are presumptuous [self-willed]; neither are you concerned about knowing the truth, that is why you blaspheme that which you have not made any effort to understand. "The mist of darkness is reserved forever" for you. That is not God's will that is your will. God did not ordain that road, you yourself chose it. God is just and He will not commit a sin but will render to him according to his sin, and according to his unrepentant heart.
Brethren, what are physical desires except "wells without water" and dry clouds and mist? What type of fruit sprouts and blossoms from them except thistles and thorns, which do not require rain? Men with their physical desires are equal to their physical desires and they are blind because of these desires and will be judged according to them.
O Lord, Creator of our souls and bodies, give us the grace of Your Holy Spirit, that we may preserve our body and soul in purity and, in the day of judgment, may present both in purity to You, our Creator.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.