FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
The Holy Hieromartyrs Hermolaus, Hermippus, and Hermocrates
Paraskeve the Righteous Martyr of Rome
St. Prisca, the Righteous Martyr
Moses the Hungarian
Jacob Netsvetov the Enlightener of Alaska
Τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Ἑρμολάου καί τῶν σύν αὐτῷ Ἑρμίππου καί Ἑρμοκράτους καί τῆς Ἁγίας Ὁσιομάρτυρος Παρασκευῆς.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians 3:23-29; 4:1-5
BRETHREN, before faith came, we were confined under the law, kept under restraint until faith should be revealed. So that the law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian; for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise. I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no better than a slave, though he is the owner of all the estate; but he is under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father. So with us; when we were children, we were slaves to the elemental spirits of the universe. But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
Πρὸς Γαλάτας 3:23-29; 4:1-5
Ἀδελφοί, πρὸ τοῦ δὲ ἐλθεῖν τὴν πίστιν, ὑπὸ νόμον ἐφρουρούμεθα, συγκεκλεισμένοι εἰς τὴν μέλλουσαν πίστιν ἀποκαλυφθῆναι. Ὥστε ὁ νόμος παιδαγωγὸς ἡμῶν γέγονεν εἰς Χριστόν, ἵνα ἐκ πίστεως δικαιωθῶμεν. Ἐλθούσης δὲ τῆς πίστεως, οὐκέτι ὑπὸ παιδαγωγόν ἐσμεν. Πάντες γὰρ υἱοὶ θεοῦ ἐστε διὰ τῆς πίστεως ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. Ὅσοι γὰρ εἰς Χριστὸν ἐβαπτίσθητε, Χριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε. Οὐκ ἔνι Ἰουδαῖος οὐδὲ Ἕλλην, οὐκ ἔνι δοῦλος οὐδὲ ἐλεύθερος, οὐκ ἔνι ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ· πάντες γὰρ ὑμεῖς εἷς ἐστε ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. Εἰ δὲ ὑμεῖς Χριστοῦ, ἄρα τοῦ Ἀβραὰμ σπέρμα ἐστέ, καὶ κατʼ ἐπαγγελίαν κληρονόμοι. Λέγω δέ, ἐφʼ ὅσον χρόνον ὁ κληρονόμος νήπιός ἐστιν, οὐδὲν διαφέρει δούλου, κύριος πάντων ὤν· ἀλλὰ ὑπὸ ἐπιτρόπους ἐστὶν καὶ οἰκονόμους, ἄχρι τῆς προθεσμίας τοῦ πατρός. Οὕτως καὶ ἡμεῖς, ὅτε ἦμεν νήπιοι, ὑπὸ τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου ἦμεν δεδουλωμένοι· ὅτε δὲ ἦλθεν τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ χρόνου, ἐξαπέστειλεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ, γενόμενον ἐκ γυναικός, γενόμενον ὑπὸ νόμον, ἵνα τοὺς ὑπὸ νόμον ἐξαγοράσῃ, ἵνα τὴν υἱοθεσίαν ἀπολάβωμεν.
The Reading is from Mark 5:24-34
At that time, a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, "If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well." And immediately the hemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone forth from him, immediately turned about in the crowd, and said, "Who touched my garments?" And his disciples said to him, "You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, 'Who touched me?'" And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had been done to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease."
Κατὰ Μᾶρκον 5.24-34
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἠκολούθει τῷ Ἰησοῦ ὄχλος πολύς, καὶ συνέθλιβον αὐτόν. Καὶ γυνή τις οὖσα ἐν ῥύσει αἵματος ἔτη δώδεκα, καὶ πολλὰ παθοῦσα ὑπὸ πολλῶν ἰατρῶν καὶ δαπανήσασα τὰ παρ᾿ ἑαυτῆς πάντα, καὶ μηδὲν ὠφεληθεῖσα, ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον εἰς τὸ χεῖρον ἐλθοῦσα, ἀκούσασα περὶ τοῦ ᾿Ιησοῦ, ἐλθοῦσα ἐν τῷ ὄχλῳ ὄπισθεν ἥψατο τοῦ ἱματίου αὐτοῦ· ἔλεγε γὰρ ἐν ἑαυτῇ ὅτι ἐὰν ἅψωμαι κἂν τῶν ἱματίων αὐτοῦ, σωθήσομαι. καὶ εὐθέως ἐξηράνθη ἡ πηγὴ τοῦ αἵματος αὐτῆς, καὶ ἔγνω τῷ σώματι ὅτι ἴαται ἀπὸ τῆς μάστιγος. καὶ εὐθέως ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς ἐπιγνοὺς ἐν ἑαυτῷ τὴν ἐξ αὐτοῦ δύναμιν ἐξελθοῦσαν, ἐπιστραφεὶς ἐν τῷ ὄχλῳ ἔλεγε· τίς μου ἥψατο τῶν ἱματίων; καὶ ἔλεγον αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ· βλέπεις τὸν ὄχλον συνθλίβοντά σε, καὶ λέγεις τίς μου ἥψατο; καὶ περιεβλέπετο ἰδεῖν τὴν τοῦτο ποιήσασαν. ἡ δὲ γυνὴ φοβηθεῖσα καὶ τρέμουσα, εἰδυῖα ὃ γέγονεν ἐπ᾿ αὐτῇ, ἦλθε καὶ προσέπεσεν αὐτῷ καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ πᾶσαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν. ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῇ· θύγατερ, ἡ πίστις σου σέσωκέ σε· ὕπαγε εἰς εἰρήνην, καὶ ἴσθι ὑγιὴς ἀπὸ τῆς μάστιγός σου.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΚΣΤ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Ἱερομαρτύρων Ἑρμολάου, Ἑρμίππου καὶ Ἑρμοκράτους.
Ἕρμιππος, Ἑρμόλαος ἠδ' Ἑρμοκράτης
Ἑρμῆν σέβοντας ᾔσχυναν παρρησίᾳ.
Ἑρμόλεως ἕκτῃ τε καὶ εἰκάδι δειροτομήθη.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῆς Ἁγίας Ὁσιομάρτυρος τοῦ Χριστοῦ Παρασκευῆς.
Θεῷ παρεσκεύασας ἁγνὸν ὡς δόμον,
Σαυτὴν ἄγουσα, Σεμνή, εἰς κατοικίαν.
Παρασκευὴν ἔκτανεν εἰκάδι χαλκὸς ἐν ἕκτῃ.
Μνήμῃ τῆς ἁγίας μάρτυρος Ὡραιοζήλης.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Ἰγνατίου τοῦ Στειρωνίτου, καὶ τῶν ἐγκαινίων τοῦ ναοῦ τοῦ, Ἀρχαγγέλου Γαβριήλ, πέραν ἐν Χάλδαις, καὶ τῶν Ἁγίων Ἀππίωνος καὶ Ἱερουσαλήμ.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
Saint Hermolaus and those with him were priests of the Church in Nicomedia, living in hiding after the Emperor Maximian had burnt to death the 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia (see Dec. 28). It was Hermolaus who converted Saint Panteleimon to Christ. When Saint Panteleimon was seized as a Christian and was asked by Maximian who it was that had turned him from the idols, the Saint, enlightened by God that the time of his teacher's martyrdom also was at hand, revealed to Maximian that it was Hermolaus the priest. Saint Hermolaus was taken with Saints Hermippus and Hermocrates, and when they had confessed Christ to be the only true God, they were beheaded in the year 305. Saint Hermolaus is one of the Holy Unmercenaries.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Οι Μάρτυρές σου, Κύριε, εν τή αθλήσει αυτών, στεφάνους εκομίσαντο τής αφθαρσίας, εκ σού τού Θεού ημών, σχόντες γάρ τήν ισχύν σου, τούς τυράννους καθείλον, έθραυσαν καί δαιμόνων, τά ανίσχυρα θράση. Αυτών ταίς ικεσίαις, Χριστέ ο Θεός, σώσον τάς ψυχάς ημών.
Thy Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for Thee received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since they possessed Thy strength, they cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.
Kontakion in the Third Tone
Ιερείς θεόφρονες, ως αληθώς δεδειγμένοι, ιερεία έμψυχα, προσήχθητε τή Τριάδι, ρεύμασι, τοίς τών αιμάτων πεφοινιγμένοι, στίγμασι, τοίς ζωηφόροις πεποικιλμένοι, Ερμόλαε θεοφόρε, σύν τώ Ερμίππω καί Ερμοκράτει ομού.
O wise Hermolaus with the God-bearing Hermippus, and august Hermocrates, as sacred priests of the Most High, ye who offered the Unbloody Sacrifice rightly were yourselves stained with your own blood as sacrifices offered up to Christ the One God; and now with boldness ye pray that all may be saved.
Saint Paraskeve, who was from a certain village near Rome, was born to pious parents, Agatho and Politia. Since she was born on a Friday (in Greek, Paraskeve), she was given this name, which means "preparation" or "preparedness" (compare Matt. 27:62, Mark 15:42, Luke 23:54, and John 19:31, where 'Friday' is called "the day of the preparation"). From childhood she was instructed in the sacred letters and devoted herself to the study of the divine Scriptures, while leading a monastic life and guiding many to the Faith of Christ. During the reign of the Emperor Antoninus Pius, she was apprehended because she was a Christian and was urged to worship the idols, but she answered with the words of Jeremias: "Let the gods that have not made heaven and the earth perish from off the earth" (Jer. 10:11). Because of this she endured exceedingly painful torments, and was beheaded in the year 140. The faithful pray to her for the healing of eye ailments.
Apolytikion in the First Tone
Τήν σπουδήν σου τή κλήσει κατάλληλον, εργασαμένη φερώνυμε, τήν ομώνυμόν σου πίστιν εις κατοικίαν κεκλήρωσαι, Παρασκευή αθλοφόρε, όθεν προχέεις ιάματα, καί πρεσβεύεις υπέρ τών ψυχών ημών.
Appropriate to your calling, O Champion Paraskevi, you worshipped with the readiness your name bears. For an abode you obtained faith, which is your namesake. Wherefore, you pour forth healing and intercede for our souls.
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Τόν ναόν σου πάνσεμνε, ως ιατρείον ψυχικόν ευράμενοι, εν τουτώ πάντες οι πιστοί, μεγαλοφώνως τιμώμέν σε, Οσιομάρτυς Παρασκευή αοίδιμε.
O most majestic One, we have discovered your temple to be a spiritual clinic wherein all the faithful resoundingly honor you, O famed and venerable martyr Paraskevi.
Τα θαύματα των Αγίων της Εκκλησίας μας είναι κατορθώματα της πίστεώς των, που ερμηνεύεται σε προσευχή και σε αγία ζωή. Ένας τέτοιος "ευκλεής" καρπός θερμής προσευχής των γονέων της είναι η αγία Παρθενομάρτυς Παρασκευή, της οποίας την μνήμη γιορτάζει σήμερα η Εκκλησία. Σαν καρπός προσευχής που ήταν, σαν θείο δώρο, οι γονείς της την αφιέρωσαν στον Θεό· την ανέθρεψαν "εν παιδεία και νουθεσία Κυρίου", την εκόσμησαν και την ώπλισαν με τα ιερά διδάγματα της χριστιανικής πίστεως, που τα αντλούσαν πλούσια από την καθημερινή μελέτη της Αγίας Γραφής, και την προετοίμασαν για να γίνη μία θερμή ιεραπόστολος. Όλα τούτα τα περιστατικά από τον βίο της Αγίας είναι έργα όχι μόνο βαθειάς πίστεως, αλλά και θερμής προσευχής, είναι ζωντανά μαθήματα για τους χριστιανούς γονείς, που πρέπει να αγιάζουν το μεγάλο και υψηλό έργο της δημιουργίας των ανθρώπων, μέσα στη θεία χάρη της Εκκλησίας.
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Ἑρμόλαος, Ἔρμιππος καὶ Ἑρμοκράτης
Ἀνῆκαν καὶ οἱ τρεῖς στὸν Ἱερὸ κλῆρο τῆς ἐκκλησίας, στὴ Νικομήδεια. Ὅταν ὁ ἅγιος Παντελεήμων ἀνακρινόταν, καὶ ρωτήθηκε ἀπὸ ποιὸν διδάχτηκε τὴν χριστιανικὴ πίστη, ἀπάντησε, ὅτι ἀπὸ τὸν Ἱερέα Ἑρμόλαο. Αὐτὸ ἦταν ἀρκετό, γιὰ νὰ σταλοῦν ἀμέσως στρατιῶτες καὶ νὰ συλλάβουν τὸν Ἑρμόλαο. Μὲ τὴν θέλησή τους, ἀκολούθησαν αὐτὸν μπροστὰ στὸν κριτὴ τῆς Νικομήδειας, οἱ φίλοι καὶ συνεργάτες του ἱερεῖς Ἔρμιππος καὶ Ἑρμοκράτης. Ὁ δικαστής, ἀφοῦ ἐξέτασε πρῶτα τὸν Ἑρμόλαο, ρώτησε ἔπειτα τοὺς ἄλλους δυὸ τί ζητοῦσαν καὶ ἦλθαν σ᾿ αὐτόν. Ἐκεῖνοι ἀποκρίθηκαν, ὅτι ἦταν στρατιῶτες τοῦ Ἑρμολάου κάτω ἀπὸ τὴν σημαία τοῦ Χριστοῦ, καὶ ὅτι τὸν παρακαλοῦσαν νὰ ἔχουν ὅλοι κοινὸ θάνατο, ὅπως εἶχαν καὶ κοινὴ ἀδελφικὴ ζωή. Ἡ ἀπάντηση αὐτή, ἀντὶ νὰ κινήσει τὸ θαυμασμὸ τοῦ δικαστῆ, ἄναψε περισσότερο τὸ θυμό του. Καταδίκασε λοιπὸν καὶ τοὺς τρεῖς σὲ θάνατο. Ἔτσι μὲ τὴν θυσία τῶν κεφαλῶν τους, κέρδισαν τὰ ἀθάνατα βραβεῖα τῶν ἀθλητῶν τῆς πίστεως καὶ τῆς ἀγάπης τοῦ Χριστοῦ.
Ἡ Ἁγία Παρασκευὴ ἡ Ὁσιομάρτυς
Ἡ Ἁγία Παρασκευὴ γεννήθηκε στὴ Ρώμη, ὅταν αὐτοκράτορας ἦταν ὁ Ἀντωνῖνος (138-160 μ.Χ.). Ἦταν κόρη τοῦ Ἀγάθωνα καὶ τῆς Πολιτείας. Χριστιανοὶ καὶ οἱ δυό, ἀνέθρεψαν τὴν κόρη τους ἐν παιδείᾳ καὶ νουθεσίᾳ Κυρίου, διότι δὲν εἶχαν παιδὶ καὶ εὐχήθηκαν, ἂν ἀποκτήσουν, νὰ τὸ ἀφιερώσουν στὸ Θεό. Πράγματι, ὁ Θεὸς τοὺς χάρισε παιδὶ καὶ γεννήθηκε ἡμέρα Παρασκευή. Καὶ ἐπειδὴ ἦταν κόρη, ἔδωσαν τὸ ὄνομα τῆς ἡμέρας αὐτῆς. Μετὰ τὸ θάνατο τῶν γονέων της, ἡ Παρασκευὴ μοίρασε τὰ ὑπάρχοντά της στοὺς φτωχούς, καὶ αὐτή, ἐμπνεόμενη ἀπὸ θερμὴ ἀγάπη πρὸς τὸ Χριστό, γύριζε τὴν Ρώμη καὶ τὰ χωριά, κηρύττοντας τὸ Εὐαγγέλιο. Ἡ δράση της, ὅμως, προκάλεσε τὸν εἰδωλολάτρη βασιλιὰ Ἀντωνῖνο, ὁ ὁποῖος, ἀφοῦ τὴν συνέλαβε, τῆς ὑποσχέθηκε ὅτι θὰ ἔχει πολλὰ ἐπίγεια ἀγαθὰ καὶ ἀπολαύσεις, ἂν θυσιάσει στοὺς θεούς. Τότε ἡ Ἅγια, ὀρθὰ-κοφτὰ ἀπάντησε μὲ τὰ λόγια τοῦ προφήτη Ἱερεμία: «Θεοὶ οἳ τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν οὐκ ἐποίησαν, ἀπολέσθωσαν ἐκ τῆς γῆς». Δηλαδή, θεοὶ ποὺ δὲν δημιούργησαν τὸν οὐρανὸ καὶ τὴν γῆ, ἂς χαθοῦν ἀπὸ τὸ πρόσωπο τῆς γῆς! Τότε ὁ Ἀντωνῖνος διέταξε καὶ τὴν ἔβαλαν σὲ ἕνα λέβητα μὲ καυτὸ λάδι καὶ πίσσα. Ἐπειδὴ ὅμως εἶδε τὴν Ἁγία ἄθικτη, ράντισε τὸ πρόσωπό του μὲ τὸ ὑγρὸ αὐτό, γιὰ νὰ δοκιμάσει ἂν πράγματι εἶναι καυτό, καὶ ἀμέσως τυφλώθηκε. Ἀλλὰ ἡ Ἁγία μὲ προσευχὴ ἔδωσε στὸν Ἀντωνῖνο τὸ φῶς του, μὲ ἀποτέλεσμα νὰ πιστέψει στὸ Χριστό. Ἀργότερα, ἡ Ἁγία Παρασκευὴ ἀξιώθηκε μαρτυρικοῦ θανάτου μὲ ἀποκεφαλισμό.
Ἡ Ἁγία Ὡραιοζήλη
Ἡ Ἁγία αὐτὴ εἶχε πατρίδα τὸ Βυζάντιο καὶ ἔζησε τὸν 1ο αἰῶνα μ.Χ. Στὴν ἀρχὴ ἦταν εἰδωλολάτρισσα, κατόπιν ὅμως ἔγινε χριστιανὴ ἀπὸ τὸ κήρυγμα τοῦ Ἀποστόλου Ἀνδρέα. Ἐπειδὴ ἡ Ὡραιοζήλη ἦταν μορφωμένη γυναῖκα, μπόρεσε καὶ ἔμαθε σωστὰ ὅλες τὶς ἀλήθειες τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου, ἔτσι ὥστε νὰ τὶς διδάσκει καὶ σ᾿ ἄλλες γυναῖκες. Κατόρθωσε νὰ ἑλκύσει πολλὲς ἀπ᾿ αὐτὲς στὸν Χριστό. Ἀλλ᾿ ὅταν ἐπὶ αὐτοκράτορος Δομιτιανοῦ κινήθηκε διωγμὸς κατὰ τῶν Χριστιανῶν, συνελήφθη καὶ αὐτή. Ἐπειδὴ ὅμως ἔμεινε πιστὴ στὴν ἀγάπη τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἀποκεφαλίστηκε καὶ κατατάχθηκε στὸ σεμνὸ χορὸ τῶν Μαρτύρων. Τὸ δὲ νεκρό της σῶμα τὸ ἔριξαν στὴ φωτιά.
Ἡ Ἁγία Ἱερουσαλήμ
Ἡ Ἁγία αὐτὴ ἦταν φίλη τῆς Ἁγίας Ὥραιοζηλης καὶ σύνοικος. Εἶχε ἐπίσης θερμὴ εὐσέβεια καὶ ἄλλες ἀρετές, καὶ τὴν βοηθοῦσε στὴ διάδοση τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου στὴν πόλη τοῦ Βυζαντίου. Ὁπότε συνελήφθη καὶ αὐτὴ μαζὶ μὲ τὴν συναθλήτριά της. Ὁ κριτὴς προσπάθησε νὰ τὴν ἑλκύσει προτείνοντάς της νὰ τὴν παντρέψει μὲ ὡραιότατο εἰδωλολάτρη ἀξιωματικό. Ἀλλ᾿ ἡ πιστὴ παρθένος τὸ ἀπέῤῥιψε καὶ ἔτσι ἀποκεφαλίστηκε, παίρνοντας τὸ ἀμάραντο στεφάνι τοῦ μαρτυρίου.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Γερόντιος ὁ Ἁγιορείτης
Ὁ Ὅσιος αὐτὸς ἦταν ἡγούμενος τῆς παλιᾶς Μονῆς τῶν Βουλευτηρίων τοῦ Ἁγίου Ὄρους. Ἀλλ᾿ ἐπειδὴ ἡ Μονὴ αὐτὴ ἦταν παραλιακὴ καὶ δεχόταν πολλὲς ἐπιδρομὲς βαρβάρων, ἐγκαταλείφθηκε ἀπὸ τοὺς μοναχούς, ποὺ πῆγαν σ᾿ ἄλλα δυσπρόσιτα μέρη τοῦ Ἁγίου Ὄρους. Ἔτσι καὶ ὁ Ὅσιος Γερόντιος, μαζὶ μὲ ἕναν ὑποτακτικό του, ἐγκαταστάθηκε στὸ πάνω μέρος τῆς Σκήτης τῆς ἁγίας Ἄννας, ὅπου ἔκτισε ἡσυχαστήριο μὲ ἐκκλησία στὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Ἁγίου Παντελεήμονα. Ἔτσι ὁ Ὅσιος Γερόντιος εἶναι ὁ πρῶτος, ποὺ δημιούργησε τὴν Σκήτη τῆς Ἁγίας Ἄννας. Ἐκεῖ κοντὰ μάλιστα, ὁ Ὅσιος διὰ ἀποκαλύψεως τῆς Παναγίας, βρῆκε νερὸ (ἐνῷ ὁ τόπος ἐκεῖ ἦταν ἐντελῶς ἄνυδρος), ποὺ καὶ σήμερα ἀναβλύζει καὶ οἱ μοναχοὶ τὸ χρησιμοποιοῦν σὰν ἁγίασμα. Ὁ Ὅσιος Γερόντιος ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικὰ σὲ βαθιὰ γεράματα.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Συμεὼν ὁ ἀρχιμανδρίτης καὶ στυλίτης «ὁ ἐπέκεινα τοῦ Ἀνάπλου»
Ἄγνωστος στὸν Συναξαριστὴ τοῦ Ἁγίου Νικοδήμου. Ἡ μνήμη του ἀναφέρεται στὸν Πατμιακὸ Κώδικα 266 καὶ στὸν Βιέννης Theol. gr. 300, ἀλλὰ καὶ στὸν Συναξαριστὴ Delehaye χωρὶς βιογραφικὸ ὑπόμνημα.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἰάκωβος ὁ ἐν Ἀλάσκᾳ
Λεπτομέρειες γιὰ τὴν ζωὴ αὐτοῦ τοῦ ἁγίου τῆς ὀρθοδοξίας, μπορεῖ νὰ βρεῖ ὁ ἀναγνώστης στὸ βιβλίο «Ἅγιοι τῆς Ἀλάσκας», τοῦ Γ.Ε. Πιπεράκη, Ἐκδ. Ἑπτάλοφος», Ἀθῆναι.
Holy Hieromartyrs Hermolaus (305), Hermippus, and Hermocrates at Nicomedia
They were priests in Nicomedia; it was Hermolaus who converted St Panteleimon (July 27) to Christ. When St Panteleimon, interrogated by Maximian, was asked who had turned him from the idols, he named Hermolaus. (The Great Horologion notes that it had been revealed to Panteleimon that the time of Hermolaus' martyrdom was near at hand). St Hermolaus was arrested allong with Sts Hermippus and Hermocrates and, when they proclaimed Christ to be the only true God, all were beheaded. St Hermolaus, along with his disciple St Panteleimon, is counted as one of the Unmercenary Physicians.
Holy Righteous Martyr Paraskeve (140)
She was born near Rome to pious parents. Since she was born on a Friday, she was named Paraskeve (Friday in Greek; literally "preparation" or "preparedness" because Friday was the Biblical Day of Preparation for the Sabbath). From early childhood she studied the scriptures, consecrated herself to a monastic life, and brought many to faith in Christ by her example and teaching. During the reign of Antoninus she was arrested because she was a Christian. When ordered to worship the idols, she answered "Let the gods that have not made heaven and the earth perish from off the earth" (Jeremiah 10:11). For this, after severe tortures she was beheaded in 140.
The Falling-Asleep (Dormition-Uspenie) of Righteous Anna, Mother of the MostHoly Mother of God: The God-wise, God-blest and Blessed Anna was the daughter of the priest Nathan and his wife Mary, from the tribe of Levi by descent of Aaron. According to tradition, she died peacefully in Jerusalem at age 79, before the Annunciation of the MostHoly Virgin Mary. During the reign of the holy Saint Justinian the Emperor (527-565), a church was built in her honour at Deutera. And emperor Justinian II (685-695; 705-711) restored her church, since Righteous Anna had appeared to his pregnant wife. And it was at this time that her body and omaphorion (veil) were transferred to Constantinople. (The account about Righteous Joakim and Anna is located under 9 September).
Saint Olympiada the Deaconess was the daughter of the senator Anicius Secundus, and by her mother she was the grand-daughter of the noted eparch Eulalios (he is mentioned in the account about the miracles of Saint Nicholas). Before her marriage to Anicius Secundus, Olympiada's mother had been married to the Armenian emperor Arsak and became widowed. When Saint Olympiada was still very young, her parents betrothed her to a nobleborn youth. The marriage was supposed to take place when Saint Olympiada reached the age of maturity. The bridegroom soon however died, and Saint Olympiada did not wish to enter into another marriage, but instead preferred a life of virginity. After the death of her parents she became the heir to great wealth, which she began top distribute with a general hand to all the needy: the poor, the orphaned and the widowed; she likewise gave significant monies to the churches, monasteries, hospices and shelters for the downtrodden and the homeless.
Holy Patriarch Nektarios (381-397) appointed Saint Olympiada as a deaconess. The blessed saint fulfilled her service honourably and beyond reproach.
Saint Olympiada provided great assistance to hierarchs coming to Constantinople -- Amphylokhios, Bishop of Iconium, Onysimos of Pontum, Gregory the Theologian, Saint Basil the Great's brother Peter of Sebasteia, Epiphanios of Cyprus -- and she attended to them all with great love. Her wealth she did not regard as her own but rather God's, and she distributed not only to good people, but also to their enemies.
Saint John Chrysostom (+ 407, Comm. 13 November) had high regard for Saint Olympiada and he bestowed her his good-will and spiritual love. And when this holy hierarch was guiltlessly and unjustly banished, Saint Olympiada together with the other deaconesses were deeply upset. Leaving the church for the last time, Saint John Chrysostom called out to Saint Olympiada and the other deaconesses Pentadia, Proklia and Salbina, and he said that the matters incited against him would come to an end, but scarcely more would they see him. He asked them not to abandon the church but instead be obedient to the bishop who would be appointed in his place, since the Church is not able to be without bishop. The holy women, shedding tears, fell down before the saint.
The Alexandria patriarch Theophilos (385-412), having repeatedly benefited formerly through the generosity of Saint Olympiada, turned against her for her devotion to Saint John Chrysostom, but also for the additional reason, that she had taken in and fed monks arriving in Constantinople, whom Patriarch Theophilos had banished from the Egyptian wilderness. He levelled unrighteous accusations against her attempted to cast doubt on her holy life.
After the banishment of Saint John Chrysostom, the cathedral church of Saint Sophia caught fire and after this a large part of the city burnt down.
All the supporters of Saint John Chrysostom came under suspicion of arson, and they were summoned for interrogation. And then also did Saint Olympiada suffer. They summoned her to trial, rigourously interrogating her, and although they did not produce any proof, they sentenced her to payment of a large fine of money for the arson, of which she was not guilty. After this the saint left Constantinople and set out to Kyzikos (on the Sea of Marmara). But her enemies did not cease with their persecution: in the year 405 they sentenced her to imprisonment at Nicomedia, where the saint underwent much grief and deprivation. Saint John Chrysostom wrote to her from his exile, consoling her in her sorrow. In the year 409 Saint Olympiada died in imprisonment.
Saint Olympiada appeared in a dream to the Nicomedia bishop and commanded, that her body be placed in a wooden coffin and cast into the sea: "Whither the waves carry the coffin, there let my body be buried", -- said the saint. The coffin was brought by the waves to a place named Brokhti near to Constantinople. The inhabitants, informed of this by God, took the holy relics of Saint Olympiada and put them in the church of the holy Apostle Thomas. Afterwards, during the time of an invasion of enemies, the church was burned, but the relics were preserved and under the Patriarch Sergios (610-638) they were transferred to Constantinople and put at the women's monastery founded by Saint Olympiada. From her relics miracles occurred and healings made.
The Nun Eupraxia was daughter of the Constantinople dignitary Antigonos, a kinsman of the holy Emperor Theodosius the Great (379-395).
Antigonos and his wife Eupraxia were pious and bestowed generous alms on the destitute. A daughter was born to them, whom they likewise named Eupraxia. Antigonos soon died. The mother withdrew from the imperial court and together with her daughter she set out to Egypt under the pretext of looking over her properties. And there near the Thebaid was a women's monastery with a strict monastic rule. The life of the inhabitants attracted the pious widow. She wanted to bestow aid on this monastery, but the hegumeness Theophila refused and said, that the nuns had fully devoted themselves to God and that they did not wish the acquisition of any earthly riches. The hegumeness consented to accept only candles, incense and oil.
The younger Eupraxia was at this time seven years old. She liked the monastic manner of life and she decided to remain at the monastery. Her pious mother did not stand in the way of her daughter's wish. Taking leave of her daughter at the monastery, Eupraxia asked her daughter to be humble, never to dwell upon her nobleborn descent, and to serve God and her sisters fervently. In a short while the mother died. Having learned of her death, the emperor Saint Theodosius sent Saint Eupraxia the Younger a letter, in which he reminded her, that her parents had betrothed her to the son of a certain senator for when she reached age fifteen, and that he desired that she would fulfill the commitment made by her parents. In answer to the letter, Saint Eupraxia wrote to the emperor, that she had already become a bride of Christ and she requested of the emperor to dispose of her properties, distributing the proceeds for the use of the Church and the needy.
Saint Eupraxia, having reached the age of maturity, intensified her ascetic efforts all the more. At first she partook of food once a day, then after two days -- three days or more and finally, once a week. She combined her fasting with the fulfilling of all her monastic obediences: she toiled humbly in the kitchen, she washed dishes, she swept the premisses and served the sisters with zeal and love. And the sisters loved the unpretentious Eupraxia. But one of them envied her and explained away all her efforts as a desire for glory. This sister began to trouble and to reproach her, but the holy virgin did not answer her back, and instead humbly asked forgiveness.
The enemy of the human race caused the saint much misfortune. One time in getting water she fell into the well, from which the sisters extracted her; another time Saint Eupraxia was chopping wood for the kitchen and cut herself on the leg with an axe. When she carried an armload of wood up upon the ladder, she stepped on the hem of her garment, she fell and a sharp splinter cut her near the eyes. All these woes Saint Eupraxia endured with patience, and when they asked her to give herself a rest, she would not consent. For her efforts, the Lord granted Saint Eupraxia a gift of wonderworking: through her prayer she healed a deaf and dumb crippled child, and she delivered from infirmity a demon-oppressed woman. They began to bring the sick for healing to the monastery. The holy virgin humbled herself all the more, reckoning herself least among the sisters. Before the death of Saint Eupraxia, the hegumeness had a vision. The holy virgin was transported into a resplendid palace and was greeted with a spot before the Throne of the Lord surrounded by holy Angels, and the All-Pure Virgin showed Saint Eupraxia about the luminous chamber and said to her, that She had made ready for her and that she would come into this habitation after the space of ten days.
The hegumeness and the sisters wept bitterly, not wanting to lose Saint Eupraxia. The saint herself, in learning about the vision, wept that she was not prepared for going into eternity, and she besought the hegumeness to implore the Lord to leave her alive even one year more for repentance. The hegumeness consoled Saint Eupraxia and said, that the Lord would grant her His great mercy. Suddenly Saint Eupraxia sensed herself not well, and having sickened, she soon peacefully died at age thirty (+ 413).
The Monk Makarii of Zheltovodsk and Unzhensk was born in the year 1349 at Nizhni-Novgorod into a pious family. At twelve years of age he secretly left his parents and accepted monastic tonsure at the Nizhegorodsk Pechersk monastery under Saint Dionysii (afterwards Archbishop of Suzdal'; + 1385, Comm. 26 June). With all the intensity of his youthful soul he gave himself over to the work of salvation: extremely strict fasting and exact fulfilling of the monastic rule distinguished him amongst the brethren.
The parents of the Monk Makarii only learned three years later where he had taken himself off to. His father went to him and tearfully besought his son merely that he would come forth and show himself. The Monk Makarii conversed with his father through a wall and said, that he would see him in the future life. "Extend me at least thine hand," -- implored the father. The son fulfilled this small request and the father, having kissed the extended hand of his son, returned home. Burdened by fame, the humble Makarii set out to the shores of the River Volga and here he pursued asceticism near the waters of Lake Zhelta. Here by firm determination and patience he overcame the abuse of the enemy of salvation. Lovers of solitude gathered to the Monk Makarii, and in 1435 he organised for them a monastery in the Name of the MostHoly Trinity. Here also he began to preach Christianity to the surrounding Cheremis and Chuvash peoples, and he baptised both Mahometans and pagans in the lake, which received its name from the saint. When the Kazan Tatars destroyed the monastery in 1439, they took captive the Monk Makarii. Out of respect for his piety and charitable love, the khan released the saint from captivity and set free together with him nearly 400 Christians. But in return they accepted the word of the Monk Makarii not to settle by Lake Zhelta. The Monk Makarii reverently buried those killed at his monastery, and he set out 200 versts to the Galich border. During the time of this resettlement all those on the way were fed in miraculous manner through the prayers of the monk. Having arrived at the city of Unzha, the Monk Makarii 15 versts from the city set up a cross and built a cell on the shores of Lake Unzha. And here he founded a new monastery. During the fifth year of his life at Lake Unzha the Monk Makarii took sick and reposed at age 95.
While yet alive, the Monk Makarii was granted a graced gift: he healed a blind and demon-afflicted girl. After the death of the monk, many received healing from his relics. The monks erected over his grave a temple and established a life-in-common rule at the monastery. In 1522 Tatars fell upon Unzha and wanted to tear apart the silver reliquary in the Makariev monastery, but they fell blind, and in a panic they took to flight. Many of them drowned in the Unzha. In 1532, through the prayers of the Monk Makarii, the city of Soligalich was saved from the Tatars, and in gratitude the inhabitants built a chapel in the cathedral church in honour of the saint. More than 50 people received healing from grievous infirmities through the prayers of the Monk Makarii, -- this was certified to by a commission, dispatched by Patriarch Philaret in 1619.
The Monk Christopher of Sol'vychegodsk and Koryazhemsk was a student and novice under the Monk Longin, hegumen of the Koryazhemsk monastery. After the death of his teacher, the Monk Christopher dwelt for yet another ten years at the Koryazhemsk monastery, and then he settled along the upper tributaries of the Large Koryazhemka, where he lived in solitude.
When novices began to come to him, the Monk Christopher founded a monastery and built a church in honour of the Hodegetria Icon of the Mother of God, which he brought with him to this place, and from which they received many healings. The monastery of the Monk Christopher was famed for the strictness of life of its residents, and also for a curative water-spring, from which there was received a relief from illness by Anastasia (1457-1460), the spouse of Ivan the Terrible (1533-1584). In 1572 the Monk Christopher left the monastery and he secretly settled alone in an unknown place. They say, that the Monk Christopher died between the years 1572-1582.
The Holy Martyrs Sactus (Sanctus), Maturus, Attalus, Blandina, Biblius (Viblius), Vittius, Epagathus, Pontinus, Alexander and 43 Others were tortured by the pagans for their belief in Christ in the city of Lyons (then named Lugdunum) under the emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180), in the year 177. After a vicious death, their bodies were burned, and the ashes thrown into the River Rhone.
The Fifth OEcumenical Council (Constantinople II) was at Constantinople, held under the holy Emperor Saint Justinian I (527-565) in the year 553, to resolve the question about the Orthodoxy of three long-since dead bishops: Theodore of Mopsuetia, Theodoret of Kyr (Cyr) and Ibas of Edessa, who had expressed Nestorian opinions in their writings way back in the time of the Third OEcumenical Council (at Ephesus in year 431, Comm. 9 September). These three bishops had not been condemned later at the Fourth OEcumenical Council (at Chalcedon in year 451, Comm. 16 July), which condemned the Monophysites, and in turn had been accused by the Monophysites of Nestorianism. And therefore, to remove from the Monophysites the stance of accusing the Orthodox of sympathy for Nestorianism, and also to dispose the heretical party towards unity with the followers of the Chalcedon Council, the emperor Saint Justinian issued an edict: in it were condemned three "Chapters" of the three deceased bishops. But since the edict was issued on the emperor's initiative, and since it was not acknowledged by representatives of all the Church (particularly in the West, and in part, in Africa), a dispute arose about the "Three Chapters". The Fifth OEcumenical Council was convened for resolving this dispute.
At this Council were present 165 bishops. Pope Vigilius, while being present in Constantinople, refused to participate in the Council, although he was three times asked to do so by official deputies in the name of the gathered bishops and the emperor himself. The Council was opened with Sainted Eutykhios, Patriarch of Constantinople (552-565, 577-582), presiding. In accordance with the imperial edict, the matter of the "Three Chapters" was carefully examined in eight prolonged sessions from 4 May to 2 June 553. Anathema was pronounced against the person and teachings of Theodore of Mopsuetia unconditionally. But as regards Theodore and Ibas the condemnations were confined only to certain of their treatises, while they as persons had been cleared without doubt by the Chalcedon Council because of repentance, and they were thus spared from anathema. The need of this measure was that certain of the proscribed works contained expressions used by the Nestorians to interpret to their own ends the definitions of the Chalcedon Council. But the leniency of the fathers of this Fifth OEcumenical Council, in a spirit of moderating economy as regards the persons of bishops Theodore and Ibas, instead embittered the Monophysites against the decisions of the Council. Besides which, the emperor had given the orders to promulgate the Conciliar decisions together with a chastening of excommunication against Pope Vigilius, as being like-minded with the heretics. The Pope afterwards concurred with the general frame of mind of the fathers and gave his signature on the Conciliar definition. But the bishops of Istria and all the region of the Aquilea metropolia remained more than a century in schism.
At the Council the fathers likewise examined the errors of presbyter Origen, a long since dead reknown Church teacher of the III Century. His teaching about the pre-existence of the human soul was condemned. Other heretics were also condemned, who did not admit of the universal resurrection of the dead.
[trans. note: Both the Monophysite and the Nestorian heresies ultimately deny the Chalcedon Fourth OEcumenical Council's definition of the Son of God our Lord Jesus Christ as One Divine Person -- the 2nd Person of the Holy Trinity -- in a mysteried hypostatic union (without mixture or confusion) of His perfect Divine Nature and His perfect Human Nature. The Monophysite (OneNature) heresy affirms only the Divine Nature of Christ, and denies His Human Nature. At the opposite pole, the earlier Nestorian heresy in various forms asserts that there are two persons in Christ: the one Divine, the other Human; which is to say that there is a Christ Who is God and a Christ Who is man -- but they are not one and the same Person, which is ultimately to say that the Only-Begotten Son of God did not truly become humanly the Son of Man, but remains separate. Nestorianism is also a Mariological heresy, asserting that Mary is only "Christotokos" (bearer of Christ), but that She is not "Theotokos" ("Bogoroditsa", i.e. Mother of God, "Bogomater", "Mater tou Theou"). Both these heresies originate in an attempt to quell the "intellectual scandal", that in Christ, God truly has become Man, while perfectly preserving the dignity and integrity of both the Divine and the Human Natures -- that our Lord Jesus Christ is truly the God-Man, rather than being "merely God" or "merely Man". Both heresies are imperfect attempts to deal with the abyss separating God and man -- which is overcome in the salvific Divine Person of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The imperial intrusion of Justinian on the Church's perogatives obviously but worsened matters. The innovation of retroactively anathemising those long since dead was in general greeted with dismay by many, and Justinian himself is alleged to have for a time flirted with the Monothelite heresy whilst persecuting the Orthodox. The secular considerations of restoring under Justinian's rule the Roman "Western Empire" underlay the captivity and rough treatment of Pope Vigilius, and the need for Byzantium to placate Monophysite Egypt, in vain, as indeed our account relates. But amidst all the external considerations, it pleased the Lord that the Holy Spirit should inspire the fathers of the Council in a further definition of Orthodoxy, that preserves the integrity and dignity both of God and of mankind, without the distortion of either that transpires within the Nestorian or Monophysite heresies.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE PRIESTLY-MARTYR HERMOLAUS
Hermolaus was a priest in Nicomedia during the reign of Emperor Maximian. He was among the two thousand martyrs whom the emperor condemned to be burned together with the church (December 28). Somehow Hermolaus, on that occasion, escaped death with two other priests, Hermippas and Thermocrates. Hermolaus baptized Saint Pantaleon with whom he was brought to trial, tortured and finally beheaded. Hermippas and Thermocrates suffered with them and all were crowned with the wreaths of victory and glory in the Kingdom of Christ. They honorably suffered about the year 304 A.D.
2. THE VENERABLE FEMALE MARTYR PARASCEVA [PARASCEVE]
Parasceva was born in Rome of Christian parents and from her youth was instructed in the Faith of Christ. With great fervence, St. Parasceva endeavored to fulfill all the commandments of God in her life. Believing strongly and living according to her faith, Parasceva directed others on the path [of salvation] with the help of the True Faith and pious living. When her parents died Parasceva distributed all of her property to the poor and was tonsured a nun. As a nun she preached the Faith of Christ with an even greater zeal, not hiding from anyone, even though at that time the Roman authorities bloodily persecuted the Faith of Christ. First the pernicious Jews accused St. Parasceva of preaching the prohibited Faith. She was brought to trial before Emperor Antoninus. All the flatteries of the emperor did not help in the least to cause her to waver in the Faith. They then subjected her to fiery torments and placed a red-hot helmet on her head. The Lord miraculously saved her and Parasceva was delivered and left Rome. She again traveled from city to city to convert the pagan people there to the True Faith. In two more cities she was brought before princes and judges and was tortured for her Lord, at the same time working great miracles and by the power of God quickly recuperated from her pains and wounds. The pagans, as always, ascribed her miracles to magic and her power of recovery to the mercy of their gods. St. Parasceva once said to the prince who tortured her: "It is not your gods, O prince, who healed me but my Christ the True God." Finally Prince Tarasius beheaded her. Thus this saint gloriously ended her fruitful life. Her relics were later translated to Constantinople. She suffered honorably for Christ in the second century.
3. THE VENERABLE MOSES OF URGIN
He was at the court of the young Russian Prince Boris. When the godless Svyatopolk murdered Boris, Moses escaped and fled to Kiev. A little later he was taken to Poland as a slave by the Polish King Boleslav and there was sold for a thousand gold coins to a young and depraved widow, the wife of one of Boleslav's commanders who was slain. This wicked woman tempted Moses to commit adultery but Moses would not be tempted for he vowed to live chastely before the Lord. She then suggested marriage to him but he rejected that also. Moses secretly received the monastic tonsure from an Athonite monk and he appeared before the lady in the monastic habit. She bound him, ordered that he be flogged and to have his private organ severed. This unsuccessful seduction by this shameful woman lasted for five years - five years of pain and torture! However, King Boleslav was slain unexpectedly in an uprising during which this woman was also killed. Then Moses was free to go to Kiev where, at the monastery of St. Anthony, he devoted his life to prayer and silence. Completely conquering the shameful vice in himself, Moses assisted many to also be saved from it. His holy relics helped many (St. John, the much suffering July 8). After ten years of silence in the Monastery of the Caves, St. Moses found rest on July 26, 1043 A.D. and took up habitation in the eternal virginal Kingdom of Christ.
HYMN OF PRAISE
SAINT MOSES OF UGRIN
Purity before God, Moses vowed,
Free in the spirit, inspite of being shackled,
Replied to the rich and loathsome woman,
Shackled by passion, slave to debauchery:
What man until now, listening to a woman
Saved his soul conquered by passions?
Because of a woman, Adam had been expelled from Paradise
Because of Delilah, Samson was destroyed without splendor,
Solomon the all-wise, by a woman was seduced,
To idolatrous stupidity was lowered
Herod's head, by a woman was charmed,
The honorable head of the Forerunner John, beheaded.
God's servant I am O woman, leave me alone,
And for yourself, seek a companion throughout the world.
To your will, I will not submit,
With you in a bond, I see no happiness.
To be pure in body, this is a necessity O woman,
Before the Lord, that is my holy obligation.
Neither flattery, nor gold, nor your authority all
Neither mind nor body will lead me astray.
The Lord is Almighty, help me, He will
That my vows I will be able to honorably keep:
God is the God of purity, pure He created us
He wants us to be pure and, as pure, He saves us,
To a Christian O woman, purity is glory.
Not one passion is conquered without a great struggle. The Holy Fathers have referred to adulterous passion as death. When the adulterer is saved from an adulterous passion it is as though he resurrected from the dead. For those who live in the world the passion of adultery is inflamed principally by seeing and for those who live a life of asceticism in the wilderness that passion is inflamed by thoughts and by imagination. Saint Sarah, a great female ascetic, was tortured by the insane passion of adultery for thirty years. She always defeated it by prayer and drove it away from her. At one time, the foul insanity of adultery came to her in bodily form and said to her: "Sarah, you have defeated me!" Sarah humbly answered: "I have not defeated you but the Lord Christ has defeated you." From that time on, the thought of adultery left her forever. When Saint Pimen was asked how can a man struggle against the adulterous insanity, he replied: "If man surpresses his stomach and tongue then he will be able to rule over himself." St. Anthony said that there exists three kinds of movements in the body: "First, the natural movement, second, unrestrained in food, and third, from the demons." Again, others have said that the vice of adultery is strengthened by anger and pride. However, all agree that along with man's sobriety and effort the help of God is necessary in order that this repulsive passion be uprooted completely. And that it is possible for man to preserve himself in purity, witness, among many others, St. Moses of Urgin, who lived fifty years in the world and ten years in the monastery, altogether a total of sixty years in completely virginal purity.
To contemplate the miraculous victory over the Amorites (Joshua 24):
1. How God sent hornets against the Amorites and they all became confused and were defeated by the Israelites;
2. How mighty is the Lord God and how, with the help of little things, He destroys the prideful unjust ones.
About the misfortune of those who come to Christ and then apostatize from Him
"For if after they have escaped the pollution's of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them then the beginning" (2 Peter 2:20).
Brethren, bright is the sun but brighter still are the words of the apostle. Brethren, the sun illumines bodies but it cannot illumine souls, while the apostolic words illumine the souls. The apostle clearly sees the heights and depths of a soul and he illumines it for us out of fervent love, in order to lead us on the pure path of salvation. In a few words, he gives us two great instructions. The first instruction: one cannot flee from the impurity of this world in any other way except through the knowledge of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. First of all, without knowledge of the Lord Jesus one is unable to see or to know the impurity of this world, and second, man is unable to be cleansed from this impurity without the knowledge of the Lord Jesus. The second instruction: when man flees from the impurity of this world by knowing the Lord Jesus and, again, becomes entangled in it, then for him "the latter end is worse than the beginning." For knowing the light, he again returns into the darkness and the darkness becomes even darker, and, recognizing justice, he again sinks into injustice and his punishment is more severe; and recognizing holiness he again falls into beastliness and the animal is still more furious. The holy apostle does not hesitate to equate this turning back with a dog who returns to his own vomit and with the sow, who having been washed returns to wallow in the mire.
Whoever recognized the Lord Jesus Christ also recognized all that is needed for his salvation; he received a binocular to see the impurity, lies and injustice and received the power to flee from all of that. Therefore let him not turn back so that eternal death does not swallow him up. Let him not tempt God countless times. For if God was quick to save him the first time He will be slower the second time, and even slower the third time. My brethren, illuminating are the apostolic words.
O Lord Jesus, Savior, Almighty and All-Good, do not depart from us in the hours of our weaknesses and deliver us when the impurities of this world again draw us to themselves.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.