FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
13th Sunday of Matthew
Mammas the Martyr
John the Abstainer, Patriarch of Constantinople
Ammon & Aeithalas the Martyrs of Thrace
Τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Μάμαντος.
Τῶν ἐν Ἁγίοις Πατέρων ἡμῶν Ἰωάννου τοῦ Νηστευτοῦ καί Παύλου Πατριαρχῶν Κωνσταντινουπόλεως.
Τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρός ἡμῶν Κοσμᾶ, τοῦ Ἐρημίτου.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from Mark 16:1-8
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint Jesus. And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?" And looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back, for it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, "Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you." And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid.
Κατὰ Μᾶρκον 16.1-8
Καὶ διαγενομένου τοῦ σαββάτου Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ καὶ Μαρία ἡ τοῦ ᾿Ιακώβου καὶ Σαλώμη ἠγόρασαν ἀρώματα ἵνα ἐλθοῦσαι ἀλείψωσιν αὐτόν. καὶ λίαν πρωῒ τῆς μιᾶς σαββάτων ἔρχονται ἐπὶ τὸ μνημεῖον, ἀνατείλαντος τοῦ ἡλίου. καὶ ἔλεγον πρὸς ἑαυτάς· τίς ἀποκυλίσει ἡμῖν τὸν λίθον ἐκ τῆς θύρας τοῦ μνημείου; καὶ ἀναβλέψασαι θεωροῦσιν ὅτι ἀποκεκύλισται ὁ λίθος· ἦν γὰρ μέγας σφόδρα. καὶ εἰσελθοῦσαι εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον εἶδον νεανίσκον καθήμενον ἐν τοῖς δεξιοῖς, περιβεβλημένον στολὴν λευκήν, καὶ ἐξεθαμβήθησαν. ὁ δὲ λέγει αὐταῖς· μὴ ἐκθαμβεῖσθε· ᾿Ιησοῦν ζητεῖτε τὸν Ναζαρηνὸν τὸν ἐσταυρωμένον· ἠγέρθη, οὐκ ἔστιν ὧδε· ἴδε ὁ τόπος ὅπου ἔθηκαν αὐτόν. ἀλλ᾿ ὑπάγετε εἴπατε τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ καὶ τῷ Πέτρῳ ὅτι προάγει ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν· ἐκεῖ αὐτὸν ὄψεσθε, καθὼς εἶπεν ὑμῖν. καὶ ἐξελθοῦσαι ἔφυγον ἀπὸ τοῦ μνημείου· εἶχε δὲ αὐτὰς τρόμος καὶ ἔκστασις, καὶ οὐδενὶ οὐδὲν εἶπον· ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ.
The Reading is from St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 16:13-24
BRETHREN, be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. Now, brethren, you know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints; I urge you to be subject to such men and to every fellow worker and laborer. I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicos, because they have made up for your absence; for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. Give recognition to such men. The churches of Asia send greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord. All the brethren send greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss. I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. If any one has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Πρὸς Κορινθίους α' 16:13-24
Ἀδελφοί, γρηγορεῖτε, στήκετε ἐν τῇ πίστει, ἀνδρίζεσθε, κραταιοῦσθε. Πάντα ὑμῶν ἐν ἀγάπῃ γινέσθω. Παρακαλῶ δὲ ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί - οἴδατε τὴν οἰκίαν Στεφανᾶ, ὅτι ἐστὶν ἀπαρχὴ τῆς Ἀχαΐας, καὶ εἰς διακονίαν τοῖς ἁγίοις ἔταξαν ἑαυτούς - ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς ὑποτάσσησθε τοῖς τοιούτοις, καὶ παντὶ τῷ συνεργοῦντι καὶ κοπιῶντι. Χαίρω δὲ ἐπὶ τῇ παρουσίᾳ Στεφανᾶ καὶ Φουρτουνάτου καὶ Ἀχαϊκοῦ, ὅτι τὸ ὑμῶν ὑστέρημα οὗτοι ἀνεπλήρωσαν. Ἀνέπαυσαν γὰρ τὸ ἐμὸν πνεῦμα καὶ τὸ ὑμῶν· ἐπιγινώσκετε οὖν τοὺς τοιούτους. Ἀσπάζονται ὑμᾶς αἱ ἐκκλησίαι τῆς Ἀσίας· ἀσπάζονται ὑμᾶς ἐν κυρίῳ πολλὰ Ἀκύλας καὶ Πρίσκιλλα, σὺν τῇ κατʼ οἶκον αὐτῶν ἐκκλησίᾳ. Ἀσπάζονται ὑμᾶς οἱ ἀδελφοὶ πάντες. Ἀσπάσασθε ἀλλήλους ἐν φιλήματι ἁγίῳ. Ὁ ἀσπασμὸς τῇ ἐμῇ χειρὶ Παύλου. Εἴ τις οὐ φιλεῖ τὸν κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν, ἤτω ἀνάθεμα. Μαρὰν ἀθά. Ἡ χάρις τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ μεθʼ ὑμῶν. Ἡ ἀγάπη μου μετὰ πάντων ὑμῶν ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. Ἀμήν.
The Reading is from Matthew 21:33-42
The Lord said this parable, "There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit; and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them. Afterward he sent his son to them, saying 'They will respect my son.' But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.' And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?" They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons." Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures: 'The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord's doing, and it was marvelous in our eyes?'"
Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 21.33-42
Εἶπεν ὁ Κύριος τήν παραβολὴν ταύτην· ῎Αλλην παραβολὴν ἀκούσατε. ἄνθρωπός τις ἦν οἰκοδεσπότης, ὅστις ἐφύτευσεν ἀμπελῶνα καὶ φραγμὸν αὐτῷ περιέθηκε καὶ ὤρυξεν ἐν αὐτῷ ληνὸν καὶ ᾠκοδόμησε πύργον, καὶ ἐξέδοτο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν.ὅτε δὲ ἤγγισεν ὁ καιρὸς τῶν καρπῶν, ἀπέστειλε τοὺς δούλους αὐτοῦ πρὸς τοὺς γεωργοὺς λαβεῖν τοὺς καρποὺς αὐτοῦ.καὶ λαβόντες οἱ γεωργοὶ τοὺς δούλους αὐτοῦ ὃν μὲν ἔδειραν, ὃν δὲ ἀπέκτειναν, ὃν δὲ ἐλιθοβόλησαν.πάλιν ἀπέστειλεν ἄλλους δούλους πλείονας τῶν πρώτων, καὶ ἐποίησαν αὐτοῖς ὡσαύτως.ὕστερον δὲ ἀπέστειλε πρὸς αὐτοὺς τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ λέγων· ἐντραπήσονται τὸν υἱόν μου.οἱ δὲ γεωργοὶ ἰδόντες τὸν υἱὸν εἶπον ἐν ἑαυτοῖς· οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ κληρονόμος· δεῦτε ἀποκτείνωμεν αὐτὸν καὶ κατάσχωμεν τὴν κληρονομίαν αὐτοῦ.καὶ λαβόντες αὐτὸν ἐξέβαλον ἔξω τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος, καὶ ἀπέκτειναν.ὅταν οὖν ἔλθῃ ὁ κύριος τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος, τί ποιήσει τοῖς γεωργοῖς ἐκείνοις;λέγουσιν αὐτῷ· κακοὺς κακῶς ἀπολέσει αὐτούς, καὶ τὸν ἀμπελῶνα ἐκδώσεται ἄλλοις γεωργοῖς, οἵτινες ἀποδώσουσιν αὐτῷ τοὺς καρποὺς ἐν τοῖς καιροῖς αὐτῶν.λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· οὐδέποτε ἀνέγνωτε ἐν ταῖς γραφαῖς, λίθον ὃν ἀπεδοκίμασαν οἱ οἰκοδομοῦντες,οὗτος ἐγενήθη εἰς κεφαλὴν γωνίας·παρὰ Κυρίου ἐγένετο αὕτη,καὶ ἔστι θαυμαστὴ ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν;
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ Β´ τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Μάμαντος.
Ἀκμαῖος ὢν Τριάδος εἰς πίστιν Μάμας,
Ἀκμαῖς τριαίνης καρτερεῖ τετρωμένος.
Δευτερίῃ χολάδες Μάμαντος χῦντο τριαίνῃ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ ἐν Ἁγίοις Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Ἰωάννου, Πατριάρχου Κωνσταντινουπόλεως τοῦ Νηστευτοῦ.
Τοῖς μὴ ῥέουσιν ἐντρυφᾷς νῦν ἡδέσι,
Νηστευτὰ ῥευστῶν ἡδονῶν Ἰωάννη.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Διομήδης σπαθιζόμενος τελειοῦται.
Σίδηρος εἰς σίδηρον ὢν Διομήδης,
Πρὸς τοὺς σπαθισμοὺς ἀνδρικῶς ἐκαρτέρει.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἰουλιανός, ξύλῳ θλασθεὶς τὴν κεφαλήν, τελειοῦται.
Ἰουλιανός, συντριβεὶς κάραν ξύλῳ,
Τὸν πρὸς Θεὸν νοῦν σῶος εἰς τέλος μένει.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Φίλιππος ξίφει τελειοῦται.
Ἵππον ταχὺν Φίλιππος τὴν τομὴν ἔχων,
Πρὸς τὸν φιλοῦντα θᾶττον ἦλθε Δεσπότην.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Εὐτυχιανὸς ἐν ἐσχάρᾳ πυρὸς τελειοῦται.
Εὐτυχιανός, πυρποληθεὶς ἐσχάρᾳ,
Εἰς εὐτυχῆ μετῆλθε κλῆρον Μαρτύρων.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἡσύχιος ἀπαγχονισθεὶς τελειοῦται.
Ποθῶν τὸν ὄντως Ἡσύχιος Δεσπότην,
Καὶ τὸν δι᾿ αὐτὸν ἡσύχως φέρει βρόχον.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Λεωνίδης πυρὶ τελειοῦται.
Τοῦ πρὸς Θεὸν σε φλὸξ πόθου, Λεωνίδη,
Ἔπειθε ῥᾷστα καὶ φλογὸς φέρειν βίαν.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Εὐτύχιος σταυρωθεὶς τελειοῦται.
Βαίνων κατ᾿ ἴχνος Εὐτύχιος Κυρίου,
Δίκην ἐκείνου καρτερεῖ σταυροῦ πάθος.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Φιλάδελφος, λίθῳ τὸν τράχηλον βαρυνθείς, τελειοῦται.
Σαρκὸς βάρος πᾶν ἐκλιπὼν λίθου βάρει,
Ἀνῆλθε κοῦφος Φιλάδελφος εἰς πόλον.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Μελάνιππος πυρὶ τελειοῦται.
Εἴπερ τι Μελάνιππος εἶχε καὶ μέλαν,
Κάθαρσιν εὗρεν, εἰς τὸ πῦρ βεβλημένος.
Ἡ Ἁγία Παρθαγάπη ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ τελειοῦται.
Θνῄσκεις θαλάσσης ἔνδον, ὦ Παρθαγάπη,
Καὶ δωρεῶν θάλασσαν εὑρίσκεις ἄνω.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν δικαίων ἱερέων, Ἐλεαζάρου καὶ Φινεές, καὶ τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Ἀειθαλᾶ καὶ Ἀμμοῦν.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
Resurrectional Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Τὸ φαιδρὸν τῆς Ἀναστάσεως κήρυγμα, ἐκ τοῦ Ἀγγέλου μαθοῦσαι αἱ τοῦ Κυρίου Μαθήτριαι, καὶ τὴν προγονικὴν ἀπόφασιν ἀπορρίψασαι, τοῖς Ἀποστόλοις καυχώμεναι ἔλεγον· Ἐσκύλευται ὁ θάνατος, ἠγέρθη Χριστὸς ὁ Θεός, δωρούμενος τῷ κόσμῳ τὸ μέγα ἔλεος.
When the women Disciples of the Lord had learned from the Angel the joyful message of the Resurrection and had rejected the ancestral decision, they cried aloud to the Apostles triumphantly: Death has been despoiled, Christ God has risen, granting His great mercy to the world.
Seasonal Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Ιωακείμ καί Άννα όνειδισμού ατεκνίας, καί Αδάμ καί Εύα, εκ τής φθοράς τού θανάτου, ηλευθερώθησαν, Άχραντε, εν τή αγία γεννήσει σου, αυτήν εορτάζει καί ο λαός σου, ενοχής τών πταισμάτων, λυτρωθείς εν τώ κράζειν σοι, Η στείρα τίκτει τήν Θεοτόκον, καί τροφόν τής ζωής ημών.
In your holy birth, Immaculate One, Joachim and Anna were rid of the shame of childlessness; Adam and Eve of the corruption of death. And so your people, free of the guilt of their sins, celebrate crying: "The barren one gives birth to the Theotokos, who nourishes our life."
Resurrectional Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Ο Σωτήρ καί ρύστης μου, από τού τάφου, ως Θεός ανέστησεν, εκ τών δεσμών τούς γηγενείς, καί πύλας άδου συνέτριψε, καί ως Δεσπότης ανέστη τριήμερος.
Now hath my Deliverer and mighty Saviour raised the earthborn from the grave and from their bonds, since He is God; and He hath crushed Hades' brazen gates and is arisen the third day as Sovereign Lord.
Saint Mammas was from Gangra of Paphlagonia. He was born in prison, where his parents were suffering for Christ's sake and ended their lives. He was named Mammas because, after he had long remained without speaking, he addressed his foster mother Ammia as "mamma." He contested for Christ about the year 275.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Ο Μάρτυς σου Κύριε, έν τή αθλήσει αυτού, τό στέφος εκομίσατο τής αφθαρσίας, εκ σού τού Θεού ημών, έχων γάρ τήν ισχύν σου, τούς τυράννους καθείλεν, έθραυσε καί δαιμόνων, τά ανίσχυρα θράση, αυτού ταίς ικεσίαις Χριστέ, σώσον τάς ψυχάς ημών.
Thy Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for Thee received the prize of the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since he possessed Thy strength, he cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.
Kontakion in the Third Tone
Εν τή ράβδω Άγιε, τή εκ Θεού σοι δοθείση, τόν λαόν σου ποίμανον, επί νομάς ζωηφόρους, θήρας δέ, τούς αοράτους καί ανημέρους, σύντριψον, υπό τούς πόδας τών σέ υμνούντων, ότι πάντες οι εν κινδύνοις, προστάτην Μάμα, θερμόν σε κεκτήμεθα.
With the staff bestowed on thee by God, O holy Great Martyr, shepherd us thy people now in green and life-giving pastures; swiftly crush with godly power unseen and wild beasts underneath the feet of them that praise thee with longing; for in dangers we all have thee, O Mammas, as our fervent protector and help.
Saint John became Patriarch during the reign of Tiberius, in the year 582, governed the Church for thirteen years and five months, and reposed in peace in 595. It was during this Patriarch's reign, in the year 586, that the title "Ecumenical Patriarch," not used before this, came to be instituted.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Κανόνα πίστεως καί εικόνα πραότητος, εγκρατείας Διδάσκαλον, ανέδειξέ σε τή ποίμνη σου, η τών πραγμάτων αλήθεια, διά τούτο εκτήσω τή ταπεινώσει τά υψηλά, τή πτωχεία τά πλούσια, Πάτερ Ιεράρχα Ιωάννη, πρέσβευε Χριστώ τώ Θεώ, σωθήναι τάς ψυχάς ημών.
A model of faith and the image of gentleness, the example of your life has shown you forth to your sheep-fold to be a master of temperance. You obtained thus through being lowly, gifts from on high, and riches through poverty. John, our father and priest of priests, intercede with Christ our God that He may save our souls.
Πολλοί από τους Αγίους της Εκκλησίας είναι προστάται των χριστιανών, σύμφωνα με το έργο που είχαν στη ζωή τους. Τέτοιος είναι ο άγιος Μάρτυς Μάμας, του οποίου η Εκκλησία σήμερα τιμά την μνήμη. Στο βίο του ήταν ποιμένας και σαν τέτοιος είναι προστάτης των ζώων. Ο Μέγας Βασίλειος, που έχει γράψει εγκώμιο στον άγιο Μάμαντα, λέει γι' αυτόν τα εξής· "Όποιος θυμάται τον ποιμένα, ας μη θαυμάζη τον πλούτο. Δεν συναχθήκαμε για να θαυμάσουμε κανένα πλούσιο, γι' αυτό αν μη φύγη κανείς από δω θαυμάζοντας τον πλούτο, μα την ευσεβή πενία. Ο ποιμένας των προβάτων δεν είναι κανένα μεγάλο και σοφό επάγγελμα... τα εγκώμια όμως του Μάρτυρος είναι ο πλούτος των πνευματικών του χαρισμάτων. Και η Εκκλησία, με τον τρόπο που τιμά εκείνους που έφυγαν από τούτο τον κόσμο, διδάσκει και προτρέπει εκέινους που μένουν". Ας μη θαυμάζωμε λοιπόν τα πράγματα του κόσμου, αλλά την αρετή των Αγίων.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Μάμας
Γεννήθηκε στὴ Γάγγρα τῆς Παφλαγονίας τὸ 260 μ.Χ., ἀπὸ γονεῖς χριστιανούς, τὸ Θεόδοτο καὶ τὴν Ρουφίνα, ὅταν αὐτοὶ ἦταν μέσα στὴ φυλακή, ὅπου πέθαναν προσευχόμενοι. Ὁ Μάμας, βρέφος ἀκόμα, ἔμεινε ὀρφανός. Ὅμως, μία πλούσια χριστιανὴ γυναῖκα, ἡ Ἀμμία, τὸν υἱοθέτησε καὶ τὸν ἀνέθρεψε μὲ στοργὴ μητρικὴ καὶ σύμφωνα μὲ τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου. Ἐπειδὴ δὲ ὀνόμαζε τὴν θετή του μητέρα συνεχῶς μάμα, δηλ. μαμά, ὀνομάστηκε Μάμας. Ὅταν ἔγινε 15 χρονῶν, πιάστηκε ἀπὸ εἰδωλολάτρες, διότι χωρὶς φόβο, δημόσια, ὁμολογοῦσε τὸ Χριστό. Τότε τὸν χτύπησαν ἀλύπητα. Κρέμασαν στὸ λαιμό του μολυβένιο βαρίδιο καὶ τὸν ἔριξαν στὴ θάλασσα. Ὅμως μὲ τὴν δύναμη τοῦ Θεοῦ σώθηκε. Ἔπειτα τὸν ξανασυνέλαβαν καὶ τὸν ἔριξαν σὲ ἀναμμένο καμίνι καὶ μετὰ τροφὴ στὰ θηρία. Ἀλλὰ ἐπειδὴ καὶ ἀπ᾿ αὐτὰ σώθηκε θαυματουργικά, διαπέρασαν τὴν κοιλιά του μὲ τρίαινα. Καὶ ἔτσι μαρτυρικὰ καὶ ἔνδοξα ἀναχώρησε ἀπ᾿ αὐτὴ τὴν ζωή. Μᾶς θυμίζει δὲ τὰ λόγια τοῦ Κυρίου, ποὺ εἶπε: «ὅστις οὖν ταπεινώσει ἑαυτὸν ὡς τὸ παιδίον τοῦτο, οὗτος ἐστὶν ὁ μείζων ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν». Ὅποιος, δηλαδή, ταπεινώσει τὸν ἑαυτό του σὰν τὸ παιδάκι αὐτό, αὐτὸς εἶναι ὁ μεγαλύτερος στὴ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἰωάννης ὁ Νηστευτής, Πατριάρχης Κωνσταντινουπόλεως
Ἀπὸ παιδὶ διακρίθηκε γιὰ τὴν σπάνια ἐγκράτειά του καὶ γιὰ τὸν ἀπὸ φυσικοῦ ἔρωτα πρὸς τὴν νηστεία, πρᾶγμα ποὺ τοῦ ἔδωσε καὶ τὴν προσωνυμία τοῦ Νηστευτῆ. Ὁ ἅγιος Ἰωάννης γεννήθηκε στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη καὶ ὅταν ἔγινε ἔφηβος ἔκανε τὸ ἐπάγγελμα τοῦ χαράκτη. Ἡ καρδιά του ὅμως, ἦταν δοσμένη στὰ θεῖα καὶ κάθε μέρα διάβαζε τὴν Ἁγία Γραφὴ καὶ ἄλλα θρησκευτικὰ βιβλία, πλουτίζοντας ἔτσι τὶς γνώσεις του. Τὰ πλεονεκτήματά του αὐτά, ἐκτίμησε ὁ Πατριάρχης Ἰωάννης ὁ Γ´ καὶ τὸν χειροτόνησε διάκονο. Ἀπὸ τὴν θέση αὐτὴ ἀνέπτυξε ἰδιαίτερα τὴν ἐλεημοσύνη, βοηθώντας πλῆθος φτωχῶν καὶ ἄλλων ἀπόρων. Ἀργότερα ἔγινε πρσβύτερος, καὶ μετὰ τὸ θάνατο τοῦ Πατριάρχη Εὐτυχίου, μὲ κοινὴ ὑπόδειξη ἀρχόντων καὶ λαοῦ, ἐκλέχτηκε διάδοχός του ὁ Ἰωάννης ὁ Νηστευτὴς σὰν Ἰωάννης Δ´ (12-4-582 ἐπὶ βασιλέως Μαυρικίου). Τὸ πόσο ἔλαμψε καὶ σὰν Πατριάρχης ὁ Ἰωάννης, ἔχουμε πολὺ εὔγλωττες μαρτυρίες: ὁ ἐπίσκοπος Σενιλλίας Ἰσίδωρος τὸν παριστάνει σὰν ἅγιο καὶ ὁ Πατριάρχης Ἱεροσολύμων Σωφρόνιος τὸν ἀποκάλεσε «σκήνωμα πάσης ἀρετῆς». Στὸν Ἰωάννη ἐπίσης, Σύνοδος τῶν Πατριαρχῶν ποὺ συνῆλθε στὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη τὸ 587, τοῦ ἀπένειμε τὸν τίτλο «οἰκουμενικός». Σχετικά με τὶς ἐκκλησιαστικὲς ποινὲς ὁ Ἰωάννης θέσπισε σοφὸ κανονικό, ποὺ βρίσκεται στὸ Πηδάλιο. Πέθανε 2 Σεπτεμβρίου τοῦ 595 καὶ τὸ λείψανό του τάφηκε στὸ ναὸ τῶν Ἅγιων Ἀποστόλων.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Διομήδης
Μαρτύρησε, ἀφοῦ θανατώθηκε σπαθιζόμενος.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἰουλιανός
Θανατώθηκε ἀφοῦ τὸν χτύπησαν μὲ ξύλο στὸ κεφάλι καὶ ἔτσι ἔνδοξα μαρτύρησε.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Φίλιππος (ἢ Θεόδοτος ἢ Θεόδωρος)
Μαρτύρησε διὰ ξίφους.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Εὐτυχιανὸς
Μαρτύρησε, ἀφοῦ τὸν ἔψησαν ζωντανὸ πάνω σὲ σχάρα.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἡσύχιος
Μαρτύρησε διὰ ἀπαγχονισμοῦ.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Λεωνίδης
Μαρτύρησε διὰ πυρός.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Εὐτύχιος
Μαρτύρησε διὰ σταυρικοῦ θανάτου.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Φιλάδελφος
Οἱ Συναξαριστὲς γιὰ τὸν τρόπο τοῦ μαρτυρίου του ἀναφέρουν: «λίθῳ τὸν τράχηλον βαρυνθεὶς τελειοῦται».
Ὁ Ἅγιος Μελάνιππος
Μαρτύρησε διὰ πυρός.
Ἡ Ἁγία Παρθαγάπη
Μαρτύρησε διὰ πνιγμοῦ μέσα στὴ θάλασσα.
Οἱ Δίκαιοι ἱερεῖς Ἐλεάζαρ καὶ Φινεές
Ἦταν ἱερεῖς τῶν Ἑβραίων. Ὁ μὲν Ἐλεάζαρ ἦταν τρίτος γιὸς τοῦ Ἀαρών, ὁ δὲ Φινεὲς ἦταν γιὸς μὲν τοῦ Ἐλεάζαρ, ἐγγονὸς δὲ τοῦ Ἀαρών. Καὶ ὁ μὲν Ἐλεάζαρ ἦταν ἐπιτηρητὴς τῆς Σκηνῆς (τοῦ Μαρτυρίου) (Ἀριθμ. δ´, 16). Ὁ δὲ Φινεές, γιὰ τὸ ζῆλο ποὺ ἔδειξε θανατώνοντας τὸν Ζαμβρὶ καὶ τὴν Χασβὶ τὴν Μαδιανίτιδα, διότι ἀναίσχυντα ἐκπορνεύονταν προσβάλλοντας τὸν Μωϋσῆ καὶ τὴν συναγωγὴ τῶν υἱῶν Ἰσραήλ, ἔλαβε τὴν διαθήκη αἰωνίου Ἱεροσύνης (Ἀριθμ. κε´, 11-13).
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Ἀειθαλᾶς καὶ Ἀμμών (ἢ Ἀμμοῦν)
Ἦταν ἀπὸ τὴν Ἀδριανούπολη τῆς Θρᾴκης καὶ ἐργάζονταν μὲ θερμότατο ζῆλο γιὰ τὴν ἐξάπλωση τῆς πίστης τοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. Παροιμιώδης δὲ ἦταν καὶ ἡ φιλανθρωπία τους, μὲ τὴν ὁποία εὐεργετοῦσαν καὶ χριστιανοὺς καὶ εἰδωλολάτρες. Τὸ τελευταῖο ὅμως αὐτό, συντελοῦσε πολὺ στὴ μεταβολὴ τῶν εἰδωλολατρῶν πρὸς τὴν ἀλήθεια τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου. Ὁ ἔπαρχος Βάβδος, ὅταν πληροφορήθηκε τὴν δράση αὐτὴ τοῦ Ἀειθαλᾶ καὶ τοῦ Ἀμμών, διέταξε τὴν σύλληψή τους. Καί, ἐπειδὴ ἀρνήθηκαν νὰ θυσιάσουν στὰ εἴδωλα, τοὺς θανάτωσαν μὲ χτυπήματα σκληρότατα, μὲ μαστίγια ἀπὸ νεῦρα βοδιῶν.
Martyr Mamas of Caesarea in Cappadocia (275), and his parents, Martyrs Theodotus and Rufina
He began his life in the cruelest of circumstances: both of his parents were imprisoned for their faith in Christ. First his father, Theodotus, died in prison, then his mother, Rufina, died shortly after his birth, so the infant was left alone in prison beside the bodies of his parents. But an angel appeared to the widow Ammia, telling her to go to the prison and rescue the child. Ammia obtained the city governor's permission to bury the parents and bring the child home. He was called Mamas because he was mute until the age of five and his first word was `Mama'. Despite his late beginning, he showed unusual intelligence and, having been brought up in piety, soon openly proclaimed his Christian faith. When he was only fifteen years old he was arrested and brought before the Emperor Aurelian. The Emperor, perhaps seeking to spare the boy, told him to deny Christ only with his lips, and the State would not concern itself with his heart. Mamas replied `I shall not deny my God and King Jesus Christ either in my heart or with my lips.' He was sent to be tortured, but miraculously escaped and lived in the mountains near Caesarea. There he lived in solitude and prayer and befriended many wild beasts. In time, he was discovered by the persecutors and stabbed to death with a trident by a pagan priest.
St John IV, Patriarch of Constantinople, known as John the Faster (595)
He was born and raised in Constantinople. When he came of age he worked as a goldsmith and an engraver at the mint; but, renouncing worldly things, he was ordained a deacon and given charge of the distribution of alms in Constantinople. He gave freely to all with no consideration of their worthiness. The Synaxarion says 'the more he distributed the more God filled his purse, so that it seemed inexhaustible.'
Upon the death of Patriarch Eutyches in 582, John became Patriarch and reigned for thirteen years, reposing in peace in 595. (It was during his reign that the term "Ecumenical Patriarch" began to be used to refer to the Patriarch of Constantinople.) St John was known for his great asceticism and fasting, and as a powerful intercessor and wonderworker. So generous was he to the poor that he used up all his funds in almsgiving and had to ask the Emperor for a loan, which he used to give more alms. After his repose, his only possessions were found to be an old cassock, a linen shirt and a wooden spoon.
Righteous Eleazar, son of Aaron and second High Priest of Israel
He was the son of Aaron, the first High Priest of Israel, and he in turn became the second High Priest. He reposed in peace.
Repose of Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) of Platina (1982). (August 20 OC)
This modern-day pioneer of Orthodoxy and monasticism in America has not been glorified as a Saint of the Church, though many individuals ask his prayers and icons of him have been painted.
Eugene Rose was born in 1934 in California, where he spent all his life. Following an intense spiritual search that took him through study of several Eastern Religions (he earned a graduate degree in Chinese Philosophy), he providentially encountered the Russian Orthodox community in San Francisco, and in 1962 was received into the Orthodox Church. The sanctity of Archbishop (now Saint) John Maximovich was especially important to his development in the Faith.
After a few more years living in the world, he and his friend Gleb Podmosensky founded a small monastic brotherhood in the wilderness of far northern California; in time they were tonsured as monks and ordained as priests: Fr Seraphim and Fr Herman. At a time when Orthodoxy was almost invisible in North America, the monastery became a a beacon of Orthodoxy for Americans seeking an authentic Christian faith.
Fr Seraphim reposed in 1982 at the age of forty-eight. Many of his writings are still in print. A biography, Father Seraphim Rose: His life and works, by Hieromonk Damascene, is highly recommended.
The Holy Martyr Mamant was born in Paphlagonia of pious and illustrious parents, the Christians Theodotos and Ruphina. For their open confession of their faith, the parents of the saint were arrested by the pagans and locked up in prison in Caesarea Cappadocia. Knowing his own bodily weaknesses, Theodotos prayed, that the Lord would take him before being martyred. The Lord heard his prayer and he died in prison. Saint Ruphina died also after him, having given birth to a premature son, whom she prayerfully entrusted to God, beseeching that He be the Protector and Defender of the orphaned infant. God hearkened to the death-bed prayer of Saint Ruphina: a rich Christian widow named Ammea reverently buried the bodies of Saints Theodotos and Ruphina, and she took the boy into her own home and surrounded him with motherly care. Saint Mamant grew up in the Christian faith. His foster mother concerned herself with the developing of his natural abilities and early on she sent him off to study his grammar. The boy learned easily and willingly. He was not of an age of mature judgement but distinguished himself by maturity of mind and of heart. By means of prudent conversations and personal example young Mamant converted many of his own peers to Christianity. There was a denunciation about this to the governor, named Democritus, and the youth was arrested and brought to trial. In deference to his illustrious parentage Democritus decided not to subject him to torture, but instead sent him off to the emperor Aurelian (270-275). The emperor tried at first kindly, but then with threats to turn Saint Mamant back to the pagan faith, but all in vain: the saint bravely confessed himself a Christian and pointed out the madness of the pagans in their worship of mindless idols. Infuriated, the emperor subjected the youth to cruel tortures. They eventually wanted to drown the saint, but an Angel of the Lord saved Saint Mamant and bid him live on an high mountain in the wilderness, located not far from Caesarea. Bowing to the will of God, the saint built there a small church and began to lead a life of strict temperance, in exploits of fasting and prayer.
Soon he received a remarkable power over the forces of nature: wild beasts inhabiting the surrounding wilderness gathered at his abode and listened to the reading of the Holy Gospel. Saint Mamant nourished himself on the milk of wild goats and deer.
The saint did not ignore the needs of his neighbours: preparing cheese from this milk, he gave it away freely to the poor. Soon the fame of Saint Mamant's life spread throughout all of Caesarea. The governor in concern sent a detachment of soldiers to arrest him. Coming across Saint Mamant on the mountain, the soldiers did not recognise him, and mistook him for a simple shepherd. The saint then invited them to his dwelling, gave them a drink of milk and then told them his name, knowing that a suffering death for Christ awaited him. In surrendering himself over into the hands of the torturers, Saint Mamant was brought to trial under a deputy governor named Alexander, who subjected him to intensive and prolonged tortures. But they did not break the Christian will of the saint. He was strengthened by the words addressed to him from above: "Be strong and take courage, Mamant". When they gave Saint Mamant over for devouring by wild beasts, these creatures would not touch him. Finally, one of the pagan-priests struck at him with a trident-spear. Mortally wounded, Saint Mamant went out beyond the city limits. There, in a small stone cave, he offered up his spirit to God, Who in the hearing of all summoned the holy Martyr Mamant into the habitation on high (+ 275). He was buried by believers at the place of his death.
Christians soon began to receive from him blessings of help in their afflictions and sorrows. Saint Basil the Great speaks thus about the holy Martyr Mamant in a sermon to the people: "Commemorate ye the holy martyr: those, who saw him in a vision, who from amongst the living here have him as an helper, those whom in calling on his name he hath helped in some matter, those whom he hath guided out of a prodigal life, those whom he hath healed of infirmity, those whose children already dead he hath restored to life, those whose life he hath prolonged -- all of ye, gathered as one, praise ye the martyr".
Saint John IV the Faster, Patriarch of Constantinople (582-595), is famed in the Orthodox Church as the compiler of a Penitential nomokanon (i.e. Law-Canon of penances), which has come down to us in several distinct versions. But their foundation is one and the same. This -- is an instruction for priests, how to hear a secret confession of secret sins, be this a sin already committed or constituting merely a sin of intent. Ancient churchly rules address the manner and duration of churchly public penances, established for obvious and evident sinners. But it was necessary to effectively adapt these rules for the secret confession of undetected things being repented of. Saint John the Faster because of this issued his Penitential nomokanon (or "Canonaria"), so that the good-intentioned confession of secret sins, unknown to the world, already testifies to the disposition of the sinner and his conscience in being reconciled to God, and therefore the saint shortened the penances by the ancient fathers by half or more. Yet on the other hand, he set more exactly the character of the penances: severe fasting, daily performing of an established number of prayerful prostrations to the ground, the distribution of alms. The length of penance is determined by the priest. The main purpose of the nomocanon, compiled by the holy Patriarch, consists in establishing penances not simply by the measure of sins, but by the measure of admitting the confessed, and through the appraisement of penitence not by continual punishment, but through the extent of the experience to be confessed, one's spiritual state.
Among the Greeks, and afterwards also in the Russian Church the rules of Saint John the Faster are honoured on a level "with other saintly rules", and the law-canons of his book are accounted "applicable for all the Orthodox Church". The Monk Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain (Nikodim Svyatogorets, Comm. 1 July) included him in the Greek handbook for priests (Exomologitaria), first published in 1796, and in the Greek "Rudder Book" (Pedalion), published by him in 1800.
The first Slavonic translation was done quite possibly by the holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Methodios, at the same time as he produced the "Nomocanon in 50 Titles" of the holy Patriarch John Scholastikos, whose successor on the Constantinople cathedra-seat was Saint John the Faster. This ancient translation was preserved in Rus' in the "Ustiug Rudder" (XIII), published in 1902.
From the XVI Century in the Russian Church was circulated the nomocanon of Saint John the Faster in another redaction, compiled by priest-monks and clergy of Holy Mount Athos. In this form it was repeatedly published at the Kievo-Pechersk Lavra (in 1620, 1624, 1629). In Moscow the Penitential Nomokanon was published in the form of a supplement to the Trebnik ("Book of Needs"): under Patriarch Joasaph in 1639, under Patriarch Joseph in 1651, and under Patriarch Nikon in 1658. The last edition since that time invariably is that printed in the Large Trebnik. A scholarly edition of the nomocanon with parallel Greek and Slavonic texts and with detailed historical and canonical commentary was done by A. S. Pavlov (Moscow, 1897).
The 3628 Martyrs in Nicomedia suffered under the co-emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian (284-305). These were Christians who had come from Alexandria. They had come to believe in Christ following the killing of Saint Peter, Archbishop of Alexandria (Comm. 25 November). Having taken with them their wives and children, they arrived in Nicomedia and voluntarily gave themselves over for martyrdom, exclaiming: "We are Christians". Diocletian at first attempted to plead with them to renounce Christ, but seeing their firmness, he ordered them all to be beheaded, and their bodies to be thrown into a fiery pit. Many years later the relics of the holy martyrs were discovered through various manifestations of grace.
The Appearance of the Kaluzhsk Icon of the Mother of God occurred in 1748 in the village of Tinkova, near Kaluga, at the home of the landowner Vasilii Kondrat'evich Khitrov. Two servants of Khitrov were examining old things in the attic of his home. One of them, Evdokia, noted for her unconstrained temper, was given to rough and even indecorous language. Her companion began to admonish her and while arguing she discovered a large package covered in a grimy sackcloth. Undoing it, the girl saw the picture of a woman in dark garments with a book in her hands. Considering it to be the portrait of a woman monastic and wanting to bring Evdokia to her senses, she accused her of being disrespectful to the hegumeness. Evdokia answered the scolding words of her companion, and becoming increasingly angry, she spit at the picture. Immediately she became convulsed and fell down senseless. Her frightened companion reported about what had happened throughout the household. The next night, The Queen of Heaven appeared to Evdokia's parents and told them, that their daughter had jeered at Her blasphemously and She ordered them to make a molieben before the insulted icon, and to sprinkle the invalid with holy water at the molieben. After the molieben Evdokia recovered, and Khitrov took the wonderworking icon into his own home, where abundantly issued forth healings to those approaching it with faith. Afterwards they conveyed the icon to the parish temple in honour of the Nativity of the MostHoly Mother of God in the village of Kaluzhka. A copy of it was dispatched to Kaluga. At the present time it is situated in the cathedral church of Kaluga.
Through this icon the Mother of God has repeatedly manifest Her protection of the Russian Land during its difficult times. The celebration of the Kaluga Icon on 2 September was established in remembrance of the deliverance from an ulcerous plague in 1771. A second celebration was established 12 October, in memory of the saving of Kaluga from the French invasion of 1812. In 1898 there was established a celebration on 18 July in gratitude to the Mother of God for safe-guarding against cholera. Celebration is made likewise on the 1st Sunday of the Peter fast.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. The Holy Martyr Mamas
He was born in Paphlagonia of renowned Christian parents, Theodotus and Rufina. His parents were cast into prison for Christ's name. His father died first in prison, and as soon as Rufina bore Mamas, she also died. Thus the newborn child was left alone between the dead bodies of his parents. However, God the Provider sent an angel to a noble widow, Ammia. Ammia saw the angel in a dream: he told her to go to the prison and take the child in. The local eparch granted Ammia permission to bury the dead and to take the child to her home. When Mamas reached his fifth year, he began to talk and his first word was ``Mama!''-for which he received the name ``Mamas.'' In school, Mamas displayed unusual intelligence, and as he had been reared in a Christian spirit, he did not hide his faith, but confessed it to the other children and laughed at the idols. During the reign of Aurelian there was a bitter persecution of Christians. The pagans did not even spare the Christian children. Mamas was fifteen years old when he was brought before the emperor. The emperor told him that he needed only to deny Christ verbally. Mamas replied: ``Neither in my heart nor with my lips will I renounce my God and King, Jesus Christ.'' The emperor ordered him to be beaten, burned with torches, and finally thrown into the sea. But an angel of God saved him, and took him to a high mountain near Caesarea. There he lived in solitude and prayer. Even the wild beasts were tamed by his sanctity. He was finally discovered by his persecutors and subjected to torture again. When he had overcome torture both by fire and by wild beasts, St. Mamas was run through with a trident by a pagan priest. Thus he gave his holy soul to God, to Whom he had been faithful during all of his tortures. From his relics many healings of the sick have taken place.
2. Saint John the Faster, Patriarch of Constantinople
He is also celebrated on August 30. He was at first a goldsmith, but because of his great and many acts of mercy-and by God's providence-he was ordained a priest. Once, when he was a young man, John was walking with Eusebius, an old monk from Palestine. Suddenly, a bodiless voice spoke to Eusebius: ``Abba, do not walk to the right of the great John.'' It was the voice of God, foretelling the great service to which John would shortly be called. After the Blessed Eutychius, John was chosen to be Patriarch of Constantinople. He did not want to accept this but, having been frightened by a certain heavenly vision, he accepted. He was a great faster, intercessor and miracle-worker right up to his death. He reposed in the year 595. After his death, his only personal possessions were found to be a wooden spoon, a linen shirt and an old garment. His writings on repentance and confession are well known.
3. Saint Eleazar
Eleazar was the son of Aaron, and second in order of the high priests of Israel. He assisted Moses during the census of the people of Israel, and assisted Joshua the son of Nun in apportioning the Promised Land among the Twelve Tribes. He faithfully guarded the Ark of the Covenant in Shiloh and reposed peacefully.
4. The Feast of the Miracle of the Kaluga Icon of the Mother of God.
[See the ``Reflection'' below.]
HYMN OF PRAISE
The Holy Martyr Mamas
Mamas the pious was born in prison,
And was kindred with Christ from his first day;
His father and mother, martyrs for God,
Birthed their only child in prison darkness.
For fifteen years, orphaned Mamas
Was alone in the prison of the world.
His only comfort and his only light
Shone upon him from the countenance of the Son of God:
This was his fulfillment and his wealth.
Mamas glorified Christ his God,
He glorified Him in word and in deed
By his prayerful soul and innocent body.
His friendship with God was more dear to him
Than the devious world that torments and lies.
He loved God and His pure Christ
And he became a friend to pure nature-
To the wilderness and forest and wild beasts,
To wild goats and fierce lions.
And God endowed his friend
With wondrous gifts of the Holy Spirit.
And Mamas shamed his persecutors,
And turned many torturers to Christ.
The emperor and the empire were against this boy,
But the right hand of God sustained him-
And, enduring torments, Mamas glorified the Savior.
The emperor and the empire collapsed to nothing,
While Mamas reigns, even now, with Christ,
And rejoices with the angels of God in heaven.
The life of the Orthodox Church provides us with numerous examples of how Almighty God manifests His power through small and lifeless things-especially those things that serve as signs of the Incarnation, life and suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ. Such things include the Cross, icons of the Theotokos and the saints, holy water, oil, myrrh, and so forth. For example, a miracle was wrought through an icon of the Holy Mother of God in the year 1748, in the home of a boyar named Khitrov, near the Russian city of Kaluga. Two of the boyar's servants, rummaging in Khitrov's attic one day, came upon a rolled-up piece of cloth that depicted the beautiful image of a woman's face. The image emanated holiness and piety. One of the servants was humble and modest, while the other was vain and talkative. The former, looking at the image on the cloth, called it ``The Abbess.'' Evdokia-the vain and talkative one, whose name we know-did not honor this name, but coarsely mocked her humble companion. To give even more force to her vulgarity, she spat on the painting. At that instant Evdokia fell to the ground, writhing with her whole body, blind and dumb, and began foaming at the mouth. That night the Theotokos appeared to the parents of the unfortunate girl, and told them what had happened to their daughter. She told them to get a priest and have him pray before the image that had been found and sprinkle the girl with holy water, and then she would be healed. When this was done, Evdokia was healed, and from then on she amended her disposition and was more modest. Thus was a miracle-working icon of the Holy Theotokos discovered. This icon was taken to a church in Kaluga, where it can be found today, still working miracles.
Contemplate God's punishment of David for his adultery and murder (II Samuel 12):
1. How God, speaking through the prophet Nathan, told David that because he took another's wife, his own wives would be taken by other men;
2. That his son would die;
3. That the sword would not depart from his house-all of which came to pass.
on the Word of God, the Creator of the world
It [the Word] was in the beginning in God. Everything came into existence by Him (John 1:2-3).
Brethren, the Evangelist is speaking of the wondrous Logos of God, of the rational, intelligent Word, of the eternal Wisdom of God, of the co-eternal Son of God. This wondrous Word is of one Essence with the Father and the Holy Spirit, yet hypostatically different from the Father and the Spirit, for He was begotten of the Unbegotten Father. He always was, is, and shall be. When was the Word in God? The Evangelist says: In the beginning. What does In the beginning mean? It means the same as ``first'' or ``first of all.'' So, first of all, the Word of God was in God, and has always been of one being with the Father, and has always been the Son, in hypostasis, but not yet incarnate. Later, the Word of God became incarnate, and appeared in a body for the sake of mankind. When He was still the unincarnate Word in God, everything came into existence by Him. Heaven and earth, and the whole inhabited heavenly and earthly worlds-everything came into existence by Him, by the Word of God, when He was in God, and not yet incarnate. Without the Word of God, no created thing came into existence. He was Life and Light, and the Light shone in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not (John 1:5). First of all, death and sin represent darkness. That darkness did not overcome the Son of God. The whole created world itself is darkness before God, yet in this darkness shines the Word of God, the Wisdom of God, rational, intelligent and majestic. All of creation would be in utter darkness if the mystical light of the Son of God-by Whom all things were created-did not illuminate it.
It [the Word] was in the beginning in God-then what happened? And the Word was made flesh (John 1:14). The history of the creation of the world leads up to this point, and from this point the history of man's salvation begins. In taking on flesh, the Word of God did not estrange Himself from God the Father and God the Holy Spirit-for the Divine Trinity is undivided-but, rather, He clothed Himself in the body and soul of man, so that, in the shadow of the body, He, the Sun of suns, could draw near to men and save men.
O my brethren, how sweet and inexpressibly wonderful is the mystery of the Incarnation of God. If we embrace this mystery with our heart, it will be easier to approach it with our mind.
O Lord, gentle Savior, the glory of the Father and the joy of the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us and save us.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.