Monday, October 29, 2012

October 29, 2012 - 7th Monday of Luke

FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:

Anastasia the Martyr of Rome
Our Righteous Father Abramius

Τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Νέστορος καί τοῦ ἐν Ἁγίοις Πατρός ἡμῶν Κυριακοῦ, Ἀρχιεπισκόπου Κωνσταντινουπόλεως.

READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:

St. Paul's Letter to the Colossians 2:13-20
Prokeimenon. Mode 4. Psalm 103.4,1
Who makes spirits his angels and his angels and his servants flame of fire.
Verse: Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God you are very great.
The Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Colossians 2:13-20
BRETHREN, you who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, Christ made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in him. Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath. These are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, taking his stand on visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world?

Πρὸς Κολοσσαεῖς 2:13-20
Προκείμενον. Ἦχος δ. ΨΑΛΜΟΙ 103.4,1
Ὁ ποιῶν τοὺς ἀγγέλους αὐτοῦ πνεύματα καὶ τοὺς λειτουργοὺς αὐτοῦ πυρὸς φλόγα.
Στίχ. Εὐλόγει, ἡ ψυχή μου, τὸν Κύριον. Κύριε ὁ Θεός μου, ἐμεγαλύνθης σφόδρα.
Πρὸς Κολοσσαεῖς 2:13-20
Ἀδελφοί, Χριστὸς ὑμᾶς νεκροὺς ὄντας ἐν τοῖς παραπτώμασιν καὶ τῇ ἀκροβυστίᾳ τῆς σαρκὸς ὑμῶν, συνεζωοποίησεν ὑμᾶς σὺν αὐτῷ, χαρισάμενος ἡμῖν πάντα τὰ παραπτώματα, ἐξαλείψας τὸ καθʼ ἡμῶν χειρόγραφον τοῖς δόγμασιν, ὃ ἦν ὑπεναντίον ἡμῖν· καὶ αὐτὸ ἦρκεν ἐκ τοῦ μέσου, προσηλώσας αὐτὸ τῷ σταυρῷ· ἀπεκδυσάμενος τὰς ἀρχὰς καὶ τὰς ἐξουσίας, ἐδειγμάτισεν ἐν παρρησίᾳ, θριαμβεύσας αὐτοὺς ἐν αὐτῷ. Μὴ οὖν τις ὑμᾶς κρινέτω ἐν βρώσει ἢ ἐν πόσει, ἢ ἐν μέρει ἑορτῆς ἢ νουμηνίας ἢ σαββάτων· ἅ ἐστιν σκιὰ τῶν μελλόντων, τὸ δὲ σῶμα Χριστοῦ. Μηδεὶς ὑμᾶς καταβραβευέτω θέλων ἐν ταπεινοφροσύνῃ καὶ θρησκείᾳ τῶν ἀγγέλων, ἃ μὴ ἑώρακεν ἐμβατεύων, εἰκῆ φυσιούμενος ὑπὸ τοῦ νοὸς τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ, καὶ οὐ κρατῶν τὴν κεφαλήν, ἐξ οὗ πᾶν τὸ σῶμα, διὰ τῶν ἁφῶν καὶ συνδέσμων ἐπιχορηγούμενον καὶ συμβιβαζόμενον, αὔξει τὴν αὔξησιν τοῦ θεοῦ. Εἰ οὖν ἀπεθάνετε σὺν Χριστῷ, ἀπὸ τῶν στοιχείων τοῦ κόσμου, τί ὡς ζῶντες ἐν κόσμῳ δογματίζεσθε;

The Gospel of Luke 11:29-33
At that time, when the crowds were increasing, he began to say, "This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah became a sign to the men of Nineveh, so will the Son of man be to this generation. The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a bushel, but on a stand, that those who enter may see the light."

Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 11.29-33
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἐπαθροιζομένων ἤρξατο λέγειν· ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη γενεὰ πονηρά ἐστι· σημεῖον ζητεῖ, καὶ σημεῖον οὐ δοθήσεται αὐτῇ εἰ μὴ τὸ σημεῖον ᾿Ιωνᾶ τοῦ προφήτου.καθὼς γὰρ ἐγένετο ᾿Ιωνᾶς σημεῖον τοῖς Νινευΐταις, οὕτως ἔσται καὶ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ σημεῖον.βασίλισσα νότου ἐγερθήσεται ἐν τῇ κρίσει μετὰ τῶν ἀνδρῶν τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης καὶ κατακρινεῖ αὐτούς, ὅτι ἦλθεν ἐκ τῶν περάτων τῆς γῆς ἀκοῦσαι τὴν σοφίαν Σολομῶντος, καὶ ἰδοὺ πλεῖον Σολομῶντος ὧδε.ἄνδρες Νινευῒ ἀναστήσονται ἐν τῇ κρίσει μετὰ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης καὶ κατακρινοῦσιν αὐτήν, ὅτι μετενόησαν εἰς τὸ κήρυγμα ᾿Ιωνᾶ, καὶ ἰδοὺ πλεῖον ᾿Ιωνᾶ ὧδε.

READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:

Τῇ ΚΘ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τῆς Ἁγίας Ὁσιομάρτυρος Ἀναστασίας τῆς Ῥωμαίας.
Κάρας τομὴν ἤνεγκε ῥώμῃ καρδίας,
Βλάστημα Ῥώμης, Μάρτυς Ἀναστασία.
Τλῆ δὲ Ἀναστασίη ἐνάτη ξίφος εἰκάδι ὀξύ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη του Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Ἀβραμίου, καὶ Μαρίας τῆς ἀνεψιᾶς αὐτοῦ.
Σαρκὸς νεκρώσας Ἀβράμιε πᾶν μέλος,
Θανὼν συνοικεῖς τοῖς ἀσάρκοις Ἀγγέλοις.
Ἀφεῖσα σαρκὸς τοὺς ἐραστὰς Μαρία,
Ψυχῶν ἐραστῇ μυστικῶς περιπλέκῃ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Μάρτυρος Κυρίλλου.
Ὑπόσχεσιν μέλλοντος οὖσάν μοι στέφους,
Κύριλλος οἶδα τὴν ἀπειλὴν τοῦ ξίφους.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ὁ Ἅγιος Σάββας ὁ Στρατηλάτης ἔνθεν κἀκεῖθεν κεντηθείς, τελειοῦται.
Σάββας κατ' ἄμφω κλήσεως μέρη Σάββας,
Ὅθεν κατ' ἄμφω νύττεται λόγχαις μέρη.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῆς ὁσίας Μητρὸς ἡμῶν Ἄννης, τῆς μετονομασθείσης Εὐφημιανός.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῆς Ἁγίας Μάρτυρος Μελιτηνῆς.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.

Saint Anastasia, who was young in age and lived in a convent, was seized by the impious. Confessing Christ openly and with boldness and enduring manifold torments, she was beheaded in the year 256, during the reign of Valerian.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Ἡ ἀμνάς σου Ἰησοῦ, κράζει μεγάλῃ τῇ φωνῇ, Σὲ Νυμφίε μου ποθῶ, καὶ σὲ ζητοῦσα ἀθλῶ, καὶ συσταυροῦμαι, καὶ συνθάπτομαι τῷ βαπτισμῷ σου, καὶ πάσχω διὰ σέ, ὡς βασιλεύσω σὺν σοί, καὶ θνῄσκω ὑπὲρ σοῦ, ἵνα καὶ ζήσω ἐν σοί, ἀλλ' ὡς θυσίαν ἄμωμον, προσδέχου τὴν μετὰ πόθου τυθεῖσάν σοι· Αὐτῆς πρεσβείαις, ὡς ἐλεήμων, σῶσον τὰς ψυχὰς ἡμῶν.
O LORD Jesus, unto Thee Thy lamb doth cry with a great voice: O my Bridegroom, Thee I love; and seeking Thee, I now contest, and with Thy baptism am crucified and buried. I suffer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee; for Thy sake I die, that I may live in Thee: accept me offered out of longing to Thee as a spotless sacrifice. Lord, save our souls through her intercessions, since Thou art great in mercy.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Παρθενίας vάμασι, καθηγvισμέvη οσία, μαρτυρίου αίμασιν, Αvαστασία πλυθείσα, παρέχεις τοίς εν ανάγκαις τών νοσημάτων, ίασιν καί σωτηρίαν τοίς προσιούσιν, εκ καρδίας, ισχύν γάρ νέμει, Χριστός ο βρύωv, χάριν αέναοv.
Made most pure, O righteous one, with chaste virginity's waters, and washed in martyric blood, O Anastasia, thou grantest unto those in need the healing of every illness, and to those who come with love thou grantest salvation; for the well-spring of unfailing grace, even Christ God, bestoweth power on thee.

Our Righteous Father Abramius, born in Edessa in Mesopotamia in 296, took up the monastic life and brought many pagans to Christ. Mary, his niece, upon the death of her parents, joined Abramius at his hermitage and under his guidance advanced swiftly in the love of God. Through the wiles of the evil one, however, she fell into sin, and falling from them into despair, she left her uncle and became a harlot. When he learned where his niece was, Abramius put on the clothes of a man of the world and went to visit her in disguise. Through his exhortations, Mary returned to her first hope in the mercy of God, was rescued from the life of harlotry, and ended her life in great holiness. He himself reposed in the year 366. Saints Abramius and Mary were friends of Saint Ephraim the Syrian, and it was he who wrote their account.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Εν σοί Πάτερ ακριβώς διεσώθη τό κατ' εικόνα, λαβών γάρ τόν σταυρόν, ηκολούθησας τώ Χριστώ καί πράττων εδίδασκες, υπεροράν μέν σαρκός, παρέρχεται γάρ, επιμελείσθαι δέ ψυχής πράγματος αθανάτου. Διό καί μετά Αγγέλων συναγάλλεται, Όσιε Αβράμιε τό πνεύμά σου.
The image of God, was faithfully preserved in you, O Father. For you took up the Cross and followed Christ. By Your actions you taught us to look beyond the flesh for it passes, rather to be concerned about the soul which is immortal. Wherefore, O Holy Abramius, your soul rejoices with the angels.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Thou, while living in the flesh, * wast as an angel upon earth;* and through thine ascetic pains,* thou didst become like a great tree* planted by the streams of temp'rance,* increasing greatly;* with the rivers of thy tears, thou didst cleanse away stains. * O Abramius, for this cause, * a godly vessel* of the Good Spirit art thou.

Πριν από την πτώση τους, οι Πρωτόπλαστοι ήσαν γυμνοί στον Παράδεισο "και ουκ ησχύνοντο". Μετά την παρακοή και την πτώση, ανοίχθηκαν τα μάτια τους και κατάλαβαν πως ήσαν γυμνοί. Τότε "έρραψαν φύλλα συκής και εποίησαν εαυτοίς περιζώματα". Μετά την ετυμηγορία του κατά των Πρωτοπλάστων, "εποίησε Κύριος ο Θεός τω Αδάμ και τη γυναικί αυτού χιτώνας δερματίνους και ενέδυσεν αυτούς". Από τότε, όσο περισσότερο γυμνώνεται ο άνθρωπος, τόσο περισσότερο δείχνει πως του λείπει η ντροπή. Σε παλαιότερη εποχή, που οι άνθρωποι δεν γυμνώνονταν μόνοι τους, για να πομπέψουν κάποιον, τον γύμνωναν και τον εξέθεταν σε κοινή θέα. Γυμνός υψώθηκε στο Σταυρό ο Σωτήρας του κόσμου και γυμνή υποχρεώθηκε να σταθή εμπρός στα μάτια του όχλου και η αγία Μελιτινή, της οποίας την μνήμη γιορτάζει σήμερα η Εκκλησία. Γυμνώθηκαν οι Άγιοι για καταισχύνη από τους ανθρώπους, κι ενδύθηκαν από τον Θεό με τιμή και δόξα.

Ἡ Ἁγία Ἀναστασία ἡ Ῥωμαία, ἡ Ὁσιομάρτυς
Ἡ Ὁσία Ἀναστασία ἔζησε στὰ χρόνια τοῦ Διοκλητιανοῦ καὶ καταγόταν ἀπὸ τὴν Ῥώμη. Ὅταν πέθαναν οἱ πλούσιοι γονεῖς της, διαμοίρασε τὴν περιουσία ποὺ κληρονόμησε στοὺς φτωχοὺς καὶ ἀποσύρθηκε σὲ μοναστήρι. Ὅταν τὴν συνέλαβε ὁ ἡγεμόνας Πρόβος, ὑπενθύμισε στὴν Ἀναστασία τὴν ἀνθηρὴ νεότητά της, γιὰ τὴν ὁποία θὰ ἔπρεπε νὰ ἀρνηθεῖ τὸ Χριστό. Τότε, δυναμικὴ ὑπῆρξε ἡ ἀπάντηση τῆς Ἀναστασίας: «Ἐγὼ, εἶπε, μία ὡραιότητα καὶ νεότητα γνωρίζω, ἐκείνη ποὺ δίνει ὁ Χριστὸς στὶς πιστὲς καὶ γενναῖες ψυχές, ποὺ προτιμοῦν γι᾿ Αὐτὸν τὸ θάνατο ἀντὶ ἄλλων ἐγκόσμιων ἀγαθῶν, ὅταν αὐτὰ προτείνονται γιὰ τὴν προδοσία τοῦ Θεοῦ τους. Πλούτη εἶχα ἄφθονα. Δὲν τὰ θέλησα. Ἀλλὰ τὸ Χριστό μου τὸν θέλω καὶ ἀπ᾿ Αὐτὸν καμία δύναμη δὲ θὰ μπορέσει νὰ μὲ χωρίσει. Ἂν ἀμφιβάλλεις, δοκίμασε». Ἐξαγριωμένος ἀπὸ τὴν ἀπάντηση ὁ Πρόβος, τὴν μαστίγωσε στὸ πρόσωπο καὶ τὴν ἅπλωσε σὲ ἀναμμένα κάρβουνα. Ἔπειτα, τὴν κρέμασε καὶ τῆς ἔσχισε τὸ σῶμα. Μετὰ ἔκοψε τοὺς μαστούς της, ξερίζωσε τὰ νύχια της καὶ τελικὰ τὴν ἀποκεφάλισε. Ἔτσι, ἡ Ἀναστασία πῆρε τὸν ἁμαράντινο στέφανο τοῦ μαρτυρίου.

Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἀβράμιος καὶ Μαρία ἡ ἀνεψιά του
Ἄριστεύς τῆς ἐγκράτειας καὶ τῶν πνευματικῶν ἀσκήσεων, ὁ Ὅσιος Ἀβράμιος ἄφησε τὴν μεγάλη περιουσία ποὺ κληρονόμησε στοὺς φτωχοὺς καὶ ἀφοσιώθηκε ὁλοκληρωτικὰ στὴ διακονία τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ τοῦ πλησίον. Ζοῦσε σὲ ἐρημικὸ τόπο, ὅπου προσευχόταν καὶ μελετοῦσε τὰ ἱερὰ γράμματα. Ἀπὸ κεῖ πήγαινε σὲ διάφορες πόλεις, γιὰ νὰ κηρύξει τὸ λόγο τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ νὰ διακονήσει τὴν βασιλεία τῆς ἀλήθειας καὶ τῆς εἰρήνης τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου. Ἡ πίστη, ἡ ἀγάπη καὶ ἡ ὑπομονή του κατόρθωσαν πολλὲς φορὲς νὰ καταπραΰνουν βάρβαρες καρδιὲς καὶ νὰ ἑλκύσουν στὸ σταυρὸ ψυχὲς ὑπερβολικὰ ἐξαγριωμένες. Πάνω ἀπὸ 70 ἐτῶν ὁ Ἀβράμιος, διατηροῦσε ὅλη τὴν ζωντάνια τῆς ἱεραποστολικῆς δράσης του. Προστατευόμενος μάλιστα καὶ ἀπὸ τὴν ἡλικία του, μπόρεσε νὰ ἀφοσιωθεῖ στὴ σωτηρία ἁμαρτωλῶν γυναικῶν. Κάποτε εὐτύχησε νὰ ἀνασύρει ἀπὸ τὸ βόρβορο τῆς ἁμαρτίας καὶ τὴν κόρη τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ του, τὴν Μαρία. Τὴν εἶδε σὲ κάποιο πανδοχεῖο, χωρὶς νὰ τὴν γνωρίζει, φορτωμένη μὲ κοσμήματα καὶ συντροφιὰ μὲ ἀκόλαστους νέους. Ἡ παραστρατημένη ὅμως νεαρή, δὲν εἶχε ἀποβάλει ἐντελῶς τὶς εὐσεβεῖς ἀναμνήσεις της. Τὴν ἑπομένη, πῆγε στὸ γέροντα ἀσκητὴ καὶ ζήτησε τὴν εὐλογία του. Ἐκεῖνος τῆς ἀπάντησε ὅτι δὲν ὠφελεῖ σὲ τίποτα ἡ εὐλογία τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ὅταν ὁ Θεὸς εἶναι ἀναγκασμένος νὰ μὴ παρέχει τὴν δική Του. Τὰ λόγια αὐτὰ συντάραξαν τὴν Μαρία, μετανόησε, ἐξομολογήθηκε καὶ ἀπὸ τότε ἔζησε ζωὴ ἅγια. Ὁ δὲ Ἀβράμιος πέθανε ὑπέργηρος, ὑπηρετῶντας πιστὰ μέχρι τέλους τὸ Θεό.

Οἱ Ἅγιοι Κύριλλος, Μίνης καὶ Μιναῖος
Μαρτύρησαν διὰ ξίφους. (Ἡ μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μίνη καὶ Μιναίου, ἐπαναλαμβάνεται καὶ τὴν 1η Αὐγούστου).

Ὁ Ἅγιος Σάββας ὁ στρατηλάτης
Μαρτύρησε, ἀφοῦ τὸν θανάτωσαν τρυπῶντας του τὰ πλευρὰ μὲ λόγχη.

Ἡ Ὁσία Ἄννα
Γεννήθηκε στὸ Βυζάντιο ἀπὸ εὐσεβεῖς γονεῖς καὶ ὁ πατέρας της, Ἰωάννης ὀνομαζόμενος, ἦταν Διάκονος στὸν Ναὸ τῆς Θεοτόκου στὶς Βλαχέρνες. Νωρὶς ἔμεινε ὀρφανὴ ἀπὸ γονεῖς καὶ ἡ γιαγιά της τὴν πάντρεψε μὲ κάποιο εὐσεβῆ Διάκονο, μὲ τὸν ὁποῖο ἀπόκτησε δυὸ παιδιά. Ἀλλ᾿ ἀργότερα, ὁ ἄντρας της καὶ τὰ δυό της παιδιὰ πέθαναν καὶ ἔτσι ἡ Ἄννα διαμοίρασε τὰ ὑπάρχοντά της καὶ ἀποσύρθηκε σὲ μοναστήρι. Κατόπιν ὅμως, ὁ εἰκονομάχος Λέων ὁ Ἴσαυρος, διέλυσε τὴν Μονὴ στὴν ὁποία ἀνῆκε ἡ Ἄννα. Στὴν ἀνάγκη αὐτή, ἡ Ὁσία φόρεσε ῥοῦχα ἀνδρικὰ καὶ μπῆκε σὲ ἀνδρικὸ μοναστήρι μὲ τὸ ψευδώνυμο Εὐφημιανός. Ἐκεῖ ἔζησε μὲ μεγάλη προσοχὴ καὶ ἀκρίβεια, καὶ μετὰ τὸν θάνατο τοῦ Λέοντα τοῦ Ἰσαύρου, φόρεσε πάλι γυναικεῖα ῥοῦχα καὶ ἔμεινε σὰν μοναχὴ στὸ Βυζάντιο. Ἐκεῖ ἐπιδόθηκε στὴ διακονία τῶν φτωχῶν καὶ τῶν ἀσθενῶν. Μὲ τέτοια δὲ θεοφιλῆ ἐργασία παρέδωσε τὸ πνεῦμα της στὸν Κύριο.

Ἡ Ἁγία Μελιτινή
Ἀφοῦ βασανίστηκε μὲ τὸν πιὸ φρικτὸ τρόπο, ἐπειδὴ δὲν θυσίαζε στὰ εἴδωλα καὶ ὁμολογοῦσε τὸν Χριστό, τελικὰ μετὰ ἀπὸ πολλὰ χτυπήματα μὲ ξίφος, παρέδωσε τὴν ψυχή της στὸ Θεό.

Ἡ Ἁγία Βάσσα
Καὶ αὐτῆς ἡ μνήμη ἀναφέρεται στὸν Συναξαριστὴ τοῦ Sirmond (Delehaye σελ. 176, 2) ὡς ἑξῆς: «Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ μνήμη τῶν ἁγίων ἀποστόλων καὶ μαρτύρων Πέτρου, Παύλου, Ἰωάννου τοῦ Προδρόμου καὶ Βαπτιστοῦ, Στεφάνου τοῦ πρωτομάρτυρος, Βαρνάβα τοῦ ἀποστόλου, Ἰωσὴφ τοῦ Πατριάρχου, καὶ Κλεώπα, Τροφίμου, Δορυμέδοντος, Κοσμᾶ, Δαμιανοῦ, Βάσσης καὶ τῆς συνοδείας αὐτῶν. Τελεῖται δὲ ἡ αὐτῶν σύναξις ἐν τῷ σεπτῷ ἀποστολείῳ τοῦ ἁγίου καὶ πανευφήμου ἀποστόλου Παύλου ἐν τῷ Ὀρφανοτροφείῳ ἅμα δὲ καὶ τὰ ἐγκαίνια τοῦ αὐτοῦ ναοῦ». (Καὶ Sinaxaria Selecta σελ. 172, 43).

Ὁ Ἅγιος Διομήδης
Τὴ μνήμη του συναντᾶμε στὸν Παρισινὸ Κώδικα 1589 φ. 91α ὡς ἑξῆς: «Τῇ αὑτῇ ἡμέρᾳ μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Διομήδους, μαθητοῦ τοῦ ἐν ἁγίοις πατρὸς ἡμῶν Τριφυλλίου ἐπισκόπου Λευκωσίας». Ἄλλο βιογραφικό του στοιχεῖο δὲν ὑπάρχει.

Κατάθεσις Τιμίας Κεφαλῆς τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἰωάννου Προδρόμου
Τὴ μνήμη αὐτοῦ τοῦ γεγονότος, συναντᾶμε μόνο στὸ Λαυρωτιακὸ Κώδικα Δ´ 14 φ. 15, ὅπου ὑπάρχει καὶ εἰδικὸς Κανόνας γιὰ τὴν γιορτὴ αὐτὴ ἀπὸ ἄγνωστο ποιητή, ποὺ μεταξὺ ἄλλων λέει: «Κάρα τὴν σὴ ῥέοντος πλούτου φανότερον πιστῶς ἐναγλαΐζεται τοῦδε τοῦ ἄστεως ἡ σεπτὴ ἐκκλησία τεῖχος κεκτημένη. Πρόδρομε κῆρυξ Χριστοῦ».

Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀθανάσιος Ἱερομάρτυρας «ἐκ Σπάρτης Ἀτταλίας»
Σύμφωνα μὲ τὸ Νέο Μαρτυρολόγιο, ὁ μάρτυρας αὐτὸς μαρτύρησε στὰ Μουδανιὰ στὶς 29 Ὀκτωβρίου 1653. Κανόνα τοῦ Ἁγίου συνέγραψε ὁ Μελέτιος Συρίγου. Ὁ Otto Meinardus ἀναφέρει σὰν ἡμέρα μνήμης τοῦ νεομάρτυρα τὴν 7η Ἰανουαρίου καὶ συγχέει τὰ περιστατικὰ τοῦ βίου του μὲ αὐτὰ τοῦ Ἀθανασίου ἐξ Ἀτταλίας, ποὺ μαρτύρησε τὸ 1700.

Ὁ Ἅγιος Τιμόθεος ὁ Ἐσφιγμενίτης, ὁ νέος Ὁσιομάρτυρας
Πατρίδα του τὸ χωριὸ Παράορα τῆς ἐπαρχίας Κεσσάνης τῆς Θρᾴκης, καὶ κατὰ κόσμον ὀνομαζόταν Τριαντάφυλλος. Παντρεύτηκε καὶ ἀπόκτησε δυὸ θυγατέρες. Ὕστερα ὅμως ἀπὸ μία περιπέτεια μὲ τὴν σύζυγό του, ἀποχαιρέτησε τὰ παιδιά του καὶ τοὺς συγγενεῖς του καὶ ἀποχώρησε στὴν Αἶνο. Ἐκεῖ ἀποκατέστησε τὴν γυναῖκα του σ᾿ ἕνα γυναικεῖο μοναστήρι καὶ αὐτὸς ἀναχώρησε στὸ Ἅγιον Ὄρος, στὴ Μεγίστη Λαύρα. Ἐκεῖ ἔγινε μοναχὸς μὲ τὸ ὄνομα Τιμόθεος καὶ ἔμεινε ἕξι χρόνια ἀσκούμενος στὶς ἀρετές, ὑπακοή, πραότητα, ταπείνωση, προσευχὴ καὶ νηστεία. Κατόπιν πῆγε στὸ κοινόβιο τοῦ Ἐσφιγμένου, ὅπου ἔγινε μεγαλόσχημος καὶ προπαρασκευάστηκε γιὰ τὸ μαρτύριο. Τελικά, ἀφοῦ πῆρε τὴν εὐχὴ τοῦ ἡγούμενου του Εὐθυμίου, ἀναχώρησε ἀπὸ τὸ Ἅγιον Ὄρος καὶ ἔφτασε στὴν Κεσσάνη. Ἐκεῖ, μαζὶ μὲ τὸν συνοδό του ἱερομόναχο Εὐθύμιο, προσπαθοῦσαν νὰ ἐπαναφέρουν στὴ σωστὴ πίστη ἀρνησίχριστους. Τοὺς πρόδωσαν ὅμως καὶ ἀφοῦ τοὺς συνέλαβαν τοὺς μετέφεραν στὶς φυλακὲς τῆς Ἀδριανουπόλεως. Ἐκεῖ βασανίστηκαν μὲ τὸν πιὸ βάρβαρο τρόπο. Ἀλλ᾿ ἐπειδὴ οἱ Ὅσιοι ἔμεναν σταθεροὶ στὴν πίστη τους, τοὺς μὲν Εὐθύμιο καὶ κάποιον ἄλλο μοναχὸ Βαρνάβα τοὺς ἐλευθέρωσαν καὶ τοὺς ἀπέλασαν, τὸν δὲ Τιμόθεο ἀποκεφάλισαν στὶς 29 Ὀκτωβρίου 1820. Μέρος τῶν αἱματωμένων ἐνδυμάτων του βρίσκεται στὴ Μονὴ Ἐσφιγμένου. (Ὁρισμένοι Συναξαριστές, μαζὶ μ᾿ αὐτοὺς τοὺς Ἁγίους, ἀναφέρουν καὶ κάποιον Ἱερέα Νικόλαο).

Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἀβράμιος Ἀρχιμανδρίτης, ὁ Ῥοστοβίας θαυματουργὸς Ῥῶσος

Holy Virgin Martyr Anastasia of Rome (256)
She lived in Rome during the reigns of the Emperors Decius and Valerian. At an early age she left all to embrace a life of unceasing prayer, entering a small monastery in Rome, directed by a nun named Sophia. For her Christian faith, she was seized and brought before the governor Probus and, when she boldly confessed Christ and refused to honor the idols, was subjected to a series of vicious tortures, under which she died. An angel led Sophia to retrieve her holy relics, which are now venerated at the monastery of Grigoriou on Mt Athos.
  We are sometimes told that monasticism developed in the Church after Christianity became accepted and grew more worldly. The story of St Anastasia is one of many evidences in the lives of the Saints that what we now call monasticism was present from the earliest days of the Church.

Our Holy Father Abramius (366) and his niece Mary (371) of Mesopotamia
Abramius was a Christian of noble birth who, early in life, left all (including a young bride) to live as a solitary monk. This he did for fifty years. When Abramius' brother died, leaving his seven-year-old daughter Mary orphaned and alone, The Saint took her under his care, giving her a monastic cell near his own. Though Mary devoted herself joyfully to the monastic life, when she was about twenty she fell into sin with a corrupt monk who visited the hermitage. Far worse, she then fell into despair, thinking that she had cast away her salvation, and fled the hermitage to become a harlot in a nearby town. Abramius, unaware of what had happened or where she had gone, prayed constantly for her safety and to be shown where she had fled.
  One day a traveler told Abramius what had become of his niece. Immediately he rose up, dressed himself as a soldier and went to the brothel where Mary worked, "for the salvation of a soul meant more to him than hermitage, Habit, ascesis or prayer itself" (Synaxarion). Still disguised, he ordered a meal, his first wine and meat for fifty years, then went with Mary to her room. Only then did he reveal himself, and with tears, not accusing her at all, pleaded with her to leave that place and return with him. "Let us go, my child; let us return to our hermitage. Let your fault be mine. I will answer for it before Christ on the day of judgment." She returned with him and, with repentance, prayed so ardently that she was soon granted not only assurance of forgiveness but the power to work miracles. St Abramius reposed in peace in great old age; Mary followed him into eternal joy five years later.

Menologion 3.0
The Monk Avramii (Abraham), Archimandrite of Rostov, in the world Averkii, in his youth left from his parental home and entered upon the path of Christian asceticism. Having assumed the monastic form, Avramii settled at Rostov on the shore of Lake Nero. In the Rostov lands there were then yet many pagans, and the monk worked intensely at spreading the true faith. Not far off from the cell of the Saint there was a pagan temple, where the pagans worshipped a stone idol of Veles (Volos), which caused fright among the inhabitants of Rostov. In a miraculous vision the Apostle John the Theologian came to stand before Avramii, and gave him a staff crowned with a cross atop, with which the monk destroyed the idol. At the place of the pagan temple, Saint Avramii founded a monastery in honour of the Theophany and became its head. And in memory of the miraculous appearance, the monk erected a church in the name of the Apostle John the Theologian. Many of the pagans were persuaded and baptised by Saint Avramii. Particularly great was his influence with the children: he taught them reading and writing, he instructed them in the law of God, and tonsured monastics from amongst them. Everyone coming to the monastery of the saint was lovingly accepted. His life was a constant work of prayer and toil for the benefit of the brethren: he chopped firewood for the oven, he laundered the monks clothing and carried water for the kitchen. The monk reposed in old age and was buried in the church of the Theophany (+ XI Century). His holy relics were uncovered during the time of Greatprince Vsevolod (1176-1212). In the year 1551 tsar Ivan the Terrible, before his campaign against Kazan, made the rounds of holy places. At the Theophany-Avramiev monastery the showed him that staff, with which the Monk Avramii had destroyed the idol of Veles. The tsar took the staff with him on the campaign, but the cross remained at the monastery. And returning again after the subjugation of the Kazan khanate, Ivan the Terrible gave orders to build at the Avramiev monastery a new stone church in honour of the Theophany, with four chapels, and he sent there books and icons.

The MonasticMartyress Anastasia the Roman in infancy lost her parents, and she was then taken under the care of the head of a women's monastery, named Sophia. The hegumeness raised Anastasia in fervent faith, in the fear of God and obedience. During these times there began the persecution against Christians by the emperor Decius (249-251). The city administrator, Probus, on the orders of the emperor commanded that Anastasia be brought to him. Having been blessed by her eldress-mentor for the deed of suffering for the Name of Christ, the young Martyress Anastasia humbly came out to meet the armed soldiers. Seeing her youth and beauty, Probus at first attempted by false flattery to tempt her and lead her into a renunciation of faith in Christ: "Why waste thine years, deprived of pleasure? What is there to gain in giving thyself over to tortures and death for the Crucified? Worship our gods, get thyself some handsome husband, and live in glory and honour". The saint steadfastly replied: "My Bridegroom, my riches, my life and my happiness -- is my Lord Jesus Christ, and with the threat of torments thou canst not part me from the Lord!" Fiercesome tortures were then begun. The holy martyress bravely endured them, glorifying and praising the Lord. In anger the torturers cut out her tongue. The people, seeing the inhuman and disgusting treatment of the saint, became indignant, and the governor of the city was compelled to bring the torture to a close, by beheading the martyress. The body of Saint Anastasia was thrown out beyond the city for devouring by wild animals, but the Lord did not permit that a mockery should be made with the holy remains. Learning of this through the Lord, the hegumeness Sophia found the torn body of the martyress, and with the help of two Christians she consigned it to earth.

The Monk Abraham the Hermit and Blessed Maria, his niece, asceticised in the village of Chidan, near the city of Edessa. They were contemporaries and of the same country together with the Monk Ephrem the Syrian (Comm. 28 January), who afterwards wrote about their life. The Monk Abraham began his difficult exploit of the solitary life in the prime of youth. He left his parental home and settled in a desolate wilderness place, far off from worldly enticements, and he spent his days in unceasing prayer. After the death of his parents, the saint refused his inheritance and requested his kinsmen to give it away to the poor. By his strict ascetic life, fasting and love for mankind, Abraham attracted to him many, seeking after spiritual light, prayer and blessing. Soon his faith was put to a serious test: he was appointed presbyter in one of the pagan villages of Mesopotamia. For three years, and sparing no efforts, the monk toiled over the enlightenment of the pagans. He tore down a pagan temple and built up a temple of God. Humbly enduring derision and even beating from obstinate idol-worshippers, in prayer he beseeched the Lord: "Look down, O Master, upon Thine servant, hearken unto my prayer, strengthen me and set free Thy servants from diabolical snares and grant them to know Thee, the One True God". The zealous pastor was granted the happiness to see the culmination of his righteous efforts: the pagans came to believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the monk himself baptised them. Having fulfilled his priestly duty, Abraham again withdrew into his wilderness, where he continued to glorify God, and doing His holy will. The devil, put to shame by the deeds of the monk, tried to entrap him with proud thoughts. One time at midnight, when Saint Abraham was at prayer in his cell, suddenly there shone a light and a voice was heard: "Blessed art thou, blessed as is no one amongst mankind!" Confuting the wiles of the enemy, the saint said: "I -- am a sinful man, but I trust on the help and grace of my God and I fear thee not". Another time the devil appeared before the saint in the form of a youth, lighted a candle and began to sing the Psalm: "Blessed is the undefiled on the way that walketh in the law of the Lord". Perceiving, that this also was a demonic temptation, the elder crossed himself and asked: "If thou knowest, what be the undefiled blessed, then why troublest thou them?" The temptor answered: "I provoke them in order to conquer them and turn them away from every good deed". To this the saint replied: "Thou gainest victory over those fallen away from God through their will, but for those loving God thou dost vanish, like smoke in the wind". After these words the devil vanished. And thus did Saint Abraham defeat the enemy, strengthened by Divine grace. After fifty years of ascetic life he peacefully expired to the Lord (+ c. 360).

Saint Abraham's Niece, the Nun Maria, grew up being edified by his spiritual instruction. But the enemy of the race of man tried to turn her from the true path. At twenty-seven years of age she left her cell, went to another city and began to live dissolutely. Learning of this, the Monk Abraham donned himself in soldier's garb, so that he should not be recognised, and he set off to the city. He sought out his niece and brought her to repentance. The Nun Maria returned to her cell and spent all the rest of her days in prayer and tears of repentance. The Lord vouchsafed her the gift of healing the sick. She died five years after the Monk Abraham.

The Holy Martyrs Claudius, Asterias, Neones and Theonilla suffered for Christ in the year 285 in Cilicia, during the reign of the emperor Diocletian. After their father's death, the step-mother, not wanting to give the inheritance over to the children, betrayed them to the persecutors of Christians. The governor of Cilicia named Lysias at length urged the martyrs to renounce Christ and instead worship idols, and employing various means of torture. They crucified the unyielding brothers, and the sister after torture was thrown into the sea.

The Nun Anna asceticised under the name Euphymian. The account about her is located under 13 June.


THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:

1. The Venerable Martyr Anastasia the Roman
She was born in Rome of noble parents, and was left an orphan at the age of three. As an orphan, she was taken to a convent near Rome where the abbess was Sophia, a nun of the highest level of perfection. After seventeen years, Anastasia was well known-among the Christians as a great ascetic, and among the pagans as a rare beauty. Probus, the pagan governor, heard of Anastasia and sent his soldiers to bring her to him. For two hours, the good Abbess Sophia counseled Anastasia how to keep the Faith, how to resist flattering deceits, and how to endure torture. Anastasia said to her: "My heart is ready to suffer for Christ; my soul is ready to die for my Sweet Jesus." Brought before the governor, Anastasia openly expressed her faith in Christ the Lord, and when the governor tried to turn her away from the Faith-first by promises and then by threats-the martyr said to him: "I am ready to die for my Lord not only once, but-oh, if it were only possible-a hundred times!" When they stripped her naked to humiliate her, she cried out to the servants: "Whip me, cut me up and tear me apart, cover my naked body with wounds and cover my shame with blood!" She was beaten, torn and cut up. On two occasions she felt a great thirst and asked for water, and a Christian, Cyril, gave her a drink, for which he was blessed by the martyr of Christ and beheaded by the pagans. Anastasia's breasts and tongue were severed, but an angel of God appeared and sustained her. Finally, she was beheaded outside the city. Blessed Sophia found her body and buried it honorably. Anastasia was crowned with the wreath of martyrdom during the reign of Decius.

2. The Venerable Abramius the Recluse and his niece Mary
Forced to do so by his parents, he married, but on the very day of his wedding he left his bride, his parents' home and all that he possessed, and withdrew into solitude to live a life of strict asceticism. He labored thus for fifty years, and left his cell only twice during that time. The first time, he left at the order of his bishop to convert a pagan village to the Christian Faith. The second time he came out to save his licentious niece Mary. He entered peacefully into rest in the year 360, at the age of seventy. (See "Reflection" below.)

3. The Venerable Martyr Timothy of Esphigmenou
He was from the village of Kessana in Thrace. He was married and had two daughters. His wife was seized by the Turks and became a Moslem. In order to save his wife from the harem, he pretended to become a Moslem. After rescuing his wife, he conducted her to a convent, while he went to the Great Lavra on Mount Athos and then to the Monastery of Esphigmenou. He desired martyrdom for Christ, like Agathangelus of Esphigmenou, and was beheaded in Jedrene on October 29, 1820. His body was thrown into a river, but his clothing was retrieved by Elder Germanus, the spiritual father of Esphigmenou.

HYMN OF PRAISE
The Venerable Abramius the Recluse
St. Abramius left his bride
And dedicated his life to strict asceticism.
By asceticism he worked out his salvation,
And wisely directed others to salvation.
Demonic power attacked the saint,
But in the name of Christ he crushed it.
The demon took on various, horrible guises,
To scare and hinder the man of God.
This man of God did not allow himself to fear,
Or separate his mind from God,
But shone on the world like a candle,
Glorifying the One God, the Most-holy Trinity.
Imprisoned, alone and not wanted by the world,
Abramius became a prisoner for the sake of Christ
For fifty years-fifty years!
Of tears, fasting and struggle-all for the Son of God:
For fifty years-fifty years!
Established on Christ, the firm Foundation.
Glory to Abramius, Christ's soldier,
That, on the mortal earth, he has shown us immortality!

REFLECTION
But he that endureth to the end shall be saved (Matthew 10:22), said the Lord. Faith is the only light of endurance, for endurance in and of itself implies unbearable darkness. Faith is the shining star in this darkness; faith eases the sharpness of suffering; it bears on its wings all the weight of endurance. St. Abramius gives us a beautiful example of perseverance in endurance. The vexation that the devil caused him by a multitude of temptations and terrors would have driven lesser men to leave one place for another. But Abramius did not want to move, so as not to give the evil demon a cause to rejoice; he remained in his place and defeated the devil. The bishop of that region sent Abramius to a pagan village to convert the villagers to the Christian Faith. After long hesitation, Abramius set out, saying: "Let it be as God wills-I will go out of obedience." He first built a church in that village. Then he smashed all the idols in plain sight of the villagers. They beat him and whipped him half to death, and drove him from their village. But he prayed to God with tears for them, that the Lord would open the eyes of their hearts to know the truth of Christ. And so the pagans continually beat and abused him over the course of three years, but he constantly prayed to God for them, and was not angered with them, enduring in the Faith as a firm rock. And only after three years of labor, tears, forgiveness and faith, was he rewarded. Suddenly, the consciences of the villagers were awakened and they all came together to Abramius, bowing before him, and receiving the Christian Faith from him.

CONTEMPLATION
Contemplate the terrible punishment by which Paul punished the magician (Acts 13):
1. How a certain Jewish magician held Sergius the deputy under his dark power;
2. How Paul, by a word, blinded that magician;
3. How the deputy saw that miracle, believed in Christ and was baptized.

HOMILY
on the glory of the name of God
And blessed be His glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen (Psalm 72:19).
From the grace-filled heart of the prophet flow words full of grace. The prophet speaks of the King and the King's Son, the most unusual King Who has ever appeared on earth. May His name be blessed forever (Psalm 72:17), the prophet said, and then, as if that were not enough, he said it again and added: His glorious name. The Church of Christ is the glory of Christ. Blessed is His Holy Church-the fruit of His labors, the wreath of His humiliation, the work of His hands, and the flower of His blood! Blessed is the very name of His Church-holy and salvific! And with His Church, that is, with His work and with His glory, the whole earth shall be filled. By the words, Forever and ever, the prophet foretold the immortal work of Christ, that is, His Church. She will be built in time and will be revealed in eternity. She will be built until the end of time, and will be revealed whole in eternity.
O my brethren, let us strive that our souls may be built into Christ's Church, into that living and immortal body whose life has no end, and whose beauty is indescribable. Let us strive that we are not rejected as unsuitable and useless stones, to be cast into the abyss of eternal darkness.
O Lord Jesus Christ, King and Son of the King, write us also in the book of immortality, and remember us in Thy Heavenly Kingdom.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

October 7, 2012 - 3rd Sunday of Luke

FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:

Sergius & Bacchus the Great Martyrs of Syria
Polychronios the Martyr
Julian the Presbyter & Caesarius the Deacon
John the Hermit of Crete

Τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων Σεργίου καί Βάκχου.
Πολυχρονίου Ἱερομάρτυρος.
Ἰουλιανοῦ Πρεσβυτέρου, Καισαρίου καί Διακόνου, Μαρτύρων.
Τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρός ἡμῶν Ἰωάννου, τοῦ Ἐρημίτου.

READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:

The Gospel of John 20:1-10
At that time, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him." Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first; and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.

Κατὰ Ἰωάννην 20.1-10
Τῇ δὲ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ ἔρχεται πρωῒ σκοτίας ἔτι οὔσης εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον, καὶ βλέπει τὸν λίθον ἠρμένον ἐκ τοῦ μνημείου. τρέχει οὖν καὶ ἔρχεται πρὸς Σίμωνα Πέτρον καὶ πρὸς τὸν ἄλλον μαθητὴν ὃν ἐφίλει ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς, καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· ἦραν τὸν Κύριον ἐκ τοῦ μνημείου, καὶ οὐκ οἴδαμεν ποῦ ἔθηκαν αὐτόν. ἐξῆλθεν οὖν ὁ Πέτρος καὶ ὁ ἄλλος μαθητὴς καὶ ἤρχοντο εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον. ἔτρεχον δὲ οἱ δύο ὁμοῦ· καὶ ὁ ἄλλος μαθητὴς προέδραμε τάχιον τοῦ Πέτρου καὶ ἦλθε πρῶτος εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον, καὶ παρακύψας βλέπει κείμενα τὰ ὀθόνια, οὐ μέντοι εἰσῆλθεν. ἔρχεται οὖν Σίμων Πέτρος ἀκολουθῶν αὐτῷ, καὶ εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον καὶ θεωρεῖ τὰ ὀθόνια κείμενα, καὶ τὸ σουδάριον, ὃ ἦν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ, οὐ μετὰ τῶν ὀθονίων κείμενον, ἀλλὰ χωρὶς ἐντετυλιγμένον εἰς ἕνα τόπον. τότε οὖν εἰσῆλθε καὶ ὁ ἄλλος μαθητὴς ὁ ἐλθὼν πρῶτος εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον, καὶ εἶδε καὶ ἐπίστευσεν· οὐδέπω γὰρ ᾔδεισαν τὴν γραφὴν ὅτι δεῖ αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστῆναι. ἀπῆλθον οὖν πάλιν πρὸς ἑαυτοὺς οἱ μαθηταί.

St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians 9:6-11
Prokeimenon. Mode 1. Psalm 32.22,1
Let your mercy, O Lord, be upon us.
Verse: Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous.
The Reading is from St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians 9:6-11
BRETHREN, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work. As it is written, "He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever." He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for great generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

Πρὸς Κορινθίους β' 9:6-11
Προκείμενον. Ἦχος α΄. ΨΑΛΜΟΙ 32.22,1
Γένοιτο, Κύριε, τὸ ἔλεός σου ἐφ' ἡμᾶς.
Στίχ. Ἀγαλλιᾶσθε δίκαιοι ἐν Κυρίῳ
Πρὸς Κορινθίους β' 9:6-11
Ἀδελφοί, ὁ σπείρων φειδομένως, φειδομένως καὶ θερίσει· καὶ ὁ σπείρων ἐπʼ εὐλογίαις, ἐπʼ εὐλογίαις καὶ θερίσει. Ἕκαστος καθὼς προαιρεῖται τῇ καρδίᾳ· μὴ ἐκ λύπης ἢ ἐξ ἀνάγκης· ἱλαρὸν γὰρ δότην ἀγαπᾷ ὁ θεός. Δυνατὸς δὲ ὁ θεὸς πᾶσαν χάριν περισσεῦσαι εἰς ὑμᾶς, ἵνα ἐν παντὶ πάντοτε πᾶσαν αὐτάρκειαν ἔχοντες περισσεύητε εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθόν· καθὼς γέγραπται, Ἐσκόρπισεν, ἔδωκεν τοῖς πένησιν· ἡ δικαιοσύνη αὐτοῦ μένει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. Ὁ δὲ ἐπιχορηγῶν σπέρμα τῷ σπείροντι, καὶ ἄρτον εἰς βρῶσιν χορηγήσαι, καὶ πληθύναι τὸν σπόρον ὑμῶν, καὶ αὐξήσαι τὰ γενήματα τῆς δικαιοσύνης ὑμῶν· ἐν παντὶ πλουτιζόμενοι εἰς πᾶσαν ἁπλότητα, ἥτις κατεργάζεται διʼ ἡμῶν εὐχαριστίαν τῷ θεῷ.

The Gospel of Luke 7:11-16
At that time, Jesus went to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the city, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a large crowd from the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, "Do not weep." And he came and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, "Young man, I say to you, arise." And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all; and they glorified God, saying, "A great prophet has arisen among us!" and "God has visited his people!"

Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 7.11-16
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἐπορεύετο εἰς πόλιν καλουμένην Ναΐν· καὶ συνεπορεύοντο αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἱκανοὶ καὶ ὄχλος πολύς.ὡς δὲ ἤγγισε τῇ πύλῃ τῆς πόλεως, καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐξεκομίζετο τεθνηκὼς υἱὸς μονογενὴς τῇ μητρὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ αὕτη ἦν χήρα, καὶ ὄχλος τῆς πόλεως ἱκανὸς ἦν σὺν αὐτῇ.καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτὴν ὁ Κύριος ἐσπλαγχνίσθη ἐπ᾿ αὐτῇ καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῇ· μὴ κλαῖε·καὶ προσελθὼν ἥψατο τῆς σοροῦ, οἱ δὲ βαστάζοντες ἔστησαν, καὶ εἶπε· νεανίσκε, σοὶ λέγω, ἐγέρθητι.καὶ ἀνεκάθισεν ὁ νεκρὸς καὶ ἤρξατο λαλεῖν, καὶ ἔδωκεν αὐτὸν τῇ μητρὶ αὐτοῦ.ἔλαβε δὲ φόβος πάντας καὶ ἐδόξαζον τὸν Θεόν, λέγοντες ὅτι προφήτης μέγας ἐγήγερται ἐν ἡμῖν, καὶ ὅτι ἐπεσκέψατο ὁ Θεὸς τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ.καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ὁ λόγος οὗτος ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ᾿Ιουδαίᾳ περὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐν πάσῃ τῇ περιχώρῳ.

READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:

Τῇ Ζ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων μεγάλων Μαρτύρων, Σεργίου καὶ Βάκχου.
Στίχοι
Χαλκᾶ σὰ νεῦρα, Βάκχε, πρὸς νεύρων βίαν,
Καὶ πρὸς ξίφος, Σέργιε, πῦρ σὴ καρδία.
Σέργιον ἑβδομάτῃ ξίφος ἔκτανε, νεῦρα δὲ Βάκχον.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τῶν Ἁγίων Μαρτύρων, Ἰουλιανοῦ Πρεσβυτέρου, καὶ Καισαρίου Διακόνου.
Στίχοι
Σάκκῳ δοθείσι καὶ βυθῷ, Θεὸς Λόγος,
Διττοῖς Ἀθληταῖς, σάκκον εἰς χαρὰν στρέφει.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἱερομάρτυρος Πολυχρονίου.
Στίχοι
Κτείνουσι πολλὰ Πολυχρόνιον ξίφη.
Πρὸς τὰ ξίφη δὲ λήψεται, καὶ τὰ γέρα.
Ὁ Ἁγιος Λεόντιος ὁ Ὑπατικός, τῷ Χριστῷ πιστεύσας καὶ ἐπευξάμενος, ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦται.
Οἱ ἅγιοι Μάρτυρες Εὐσέβιος Πρεσβύτερος καὶ Φῆλιξ ξίφει τελειοῦνται.
Οἱ Ὅσιοι ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα πατέρες, οἱ ἐν τῇ νήσῳ Κρήτη ἀσκήσαντες, ἐν εἰρήνῃ τελειοῦνται.
Ταῖς τῶν Ἁγίων σου πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.

Resurrectional Apolytikion in the First Tone
Τοῦ λίθου σφραγισθέντος ὑπὸ τῶν Ἰουδαίων, καὶ στρατιωτῶν φυλασσόντων τὸ ἄχραντόν σου σῶμα, ἀνέστης τριήμερος Σωτήρ, δωρούμενος τῷ κόσμῳ τὴν ζωήν. Διὰ τοῦτο αἱ Δυνάμεις τῶν οὐρανῶν ἐβόων σοι Ζωοδότα· Δόξα τῇ ἀναστάσει σου Χριστέ, δόξα τῇ Βασιλείᾳ σου, δόξα τῇ οἰκονομίᾳ σου, μόνε Φιλάνθρωπε.
The stone had been secured with a seal by the Judeans, * and a guard of soldiers was watching Your immaculate body. * You rose on the third day, O Lord * and Savior, granting life unto the world. * For this reason were the powers of heaven crying out to You, O Life-giver: * Glory to Your resurrection, O Christ; * glory to Your eternal rule; * glory to Your dispensation, only One who loves mankind.

Seasonal Kontakion in the Second Tone
Προστασία τῶν Χριστιανῶν ἀκαταίσχυντε, μεσιτεία πρὸς τὸν Ποιητὴν ἀμετάθετε. Μὴ παρίδῃς ἁμαρτωλῶν δεήσεων φωνάς, ἀλλὰ πρόφθασον, ὡς ἀγαθή, εἰς τὴν βοήθειαν ἡμῶν, τῶν πιστῶς κραυγαζόντων σοι· Τάχυνον εἰς πρεσβείαν, καὶ σπεῦσον εἰς ἱκεσίαν, ἡ προστατεύουσα ἀεί, Θεοτόκε, τῶν τιμώντων σε.
O Protection of Christians that cannot be put to shame, mediation unto the creator most constant: O despise not the voices of those who have sinned; but be quick, O good one, to come unto our aid, who in faith cry unto thee: Hasten to intercession and speed thou to make supplication, O thou who dost ever protect, O Theotokos, them that honor thee.

Resurrectional Kontakion in the First Tone
Εξανέστης ως Θεός εκ τού τάφου εν δόξη, καί κόσμον συνανέστησας, καί η φύσις τών βροτών ως Θεόν σε ανύμνησε, καί θάνατος ηφάνισται, καί ο Αδάμ χορεύει Δέσποτα, καί η Εύα νύν εκ τών δεσμών λυτρουμένη, χαίρει κράζουσα. Σύ εί ο πάσι παρέχων, Χριστέ τήν Ανάστασιν.

These holy Martyrs were Romans of high rank in the service of the Emperor Maximian, to whom it was reported that they did not take part in the festivals of the idols. When he called them into his presence, they confessed their Faith in the one God. He had them arrayed in women's clothes and paraded through the streets in mockery. They were afterwards scourged, from which Saint Bacchus died. This was about the year 296. Saint Sergius was then taken to Resapha in Syria, where he was tortured and beheaded. His tomb in Resapha became a very famous shrine, to which pilgrims came from as far away as Western Europe; Resapha was later renamed Sergiopolis in his honour.

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
Τόν νούν πρός εχθρούς ανδρείως παρατάξαντες, τήν πάσαν αυτώv απάτην κατελύσατε, καί τήν νίκην άνωθεv, ειληφότες Μάρτυρες πανεύφημοι, ομοφρόνως εκράζετε. Καλόν καί τερπνόν τό συνείναι Χριστώ.
As we gather, let us crown with sacred hymns of laudation those two brethren in the Faith, the great and valorous martyrs: Sergius was the Triune Godhead's most steadfast warrior; and with him, wise Bacchus manfully suffered torments; and they both confessed Christ Saviour as God, the Maker and sacred Trainer of all.

Διαβάζομε στα ιερά Ευαγγέλια το εξής χαρακτηριστικό, ότι δηλαδή ο Χριστός προσκάλεσε τους μαθητάς του "και ήρξατο αυτούς αποστέλλειν δύο δύο". Ήταν όταν τους προετοίμαζε για το αποστολικό τους έργο και τους έστελνε για πρώτη φορά και δοκιμαστικά στο κήρυγμα. Μας κάνει εντύπωση αυτό το "δύο δύο" και μας θυμίζει μια κοινή παροιμία, που λέει· "αγαθοί οι δύο υπέρ το ένα". Ο ένας "ούτε τα υστερήματα εαυτού γνωρίζει ούτε την εν τοις έργοις προκοπήν επιγινώσκει", λέει ο Μέγας Βασίλειος. Πολλά παραδείγματα μεγάλης και πιστής φιλίας αναφέρει η ιστορία δύο ανθρώπων, που ο ένας στάθηκε στον άλλο και φύλακας και βοηθός. Και στην ιστορία του χριστιανικού μαρτυρίου έχομ' επίσης τέτοια παραδείγματα δύο Μαρτύρων, που πορεύθηκαν μαζί προς τον θάνατο, ο ένας ενισχύοντας τον άλλο, και που μνημονεύονται μαζί κι αχώριστα από την Εκκλησία. Τέτοιοι είναι οι άγιοι Μάρτυρες Σέργιος και Βάκχος, που συνεορτάζονται σήμερα.

Οἱ Ἅγιοι Σέργιος καὶ Βάκχος
Ὑπηρετοῦσαν στὶς στρατιωτικὲς τάξεις τοῦ αὐτοκράτορα Μαξιμιανοῦ. Τοὺς διέκρινε μεγάλη ἀνδρεία στὰ πεδία τῶν μαχῶν, ἀλλὰ καὶ σωφροσύνη στὴν καθημερινή τους ζωή. Γι᾿ αὐτὸ καὶ ὁ αὐτοκράτορας τοὺς ἀπένειμε τὰ ἀξιώματα τοῦ πριμικηρίου καὶ τοῦ σεκουνδουκηρίου, ἀντίστοιχα, ὅταν ὅμως ἔμαθε ὅτι οἱ δυὸ ἐπίλεκτοι στρατιῶτες του ἦταν χριστιανοί, δὲν ἤθελε μὲ κανένα τρόπο νὰ τὸ πιστέψει. Γιὰ νὰ πεισθεῖ λοιπὸν χειροπιαστά, ὀργάνωσε τελετὲς μὲ θυσίες σὲ εἰδωλολατρικὸ ναὸ καὶ κάλεσε νὰ παραστοῦν σ᾿ αὐτὲς οἱ Σέργιος καὶ Βάκχος. Οἱ δυὸ χριστιανοὶ στρατιῶτες ἀρνήθηκαν καὶ ὁμολόγησαν τὸ Χριστὸ μὲ θαῤῥαλέο φρόνημα. Ἐξοργισμένος τότε ὁ αὐτοκράτορας, διέταξε καὶ τοὺς ἀφαίρεσαν τὰ διάσημα τῶν ἀξιωμάτων τους. Ἔπειτα, ἀφοῦ τοὺς ἐνέπαιξαν καὶ τοὺς διαπόμπευσαν μὲ διάφορους τρόπους, τοὺς ἔστειλαν σὲ ἕνα σκληρὸ δούκα τῆς Ἀνατολῆς, τὸν Ἀντίοχο. Αὐτὸς μὲ πρωτοφανῆ ὠμότητα μαστίγωσε μέχρι θανάτου τὸ Βάκχο. Στὸ δὲ Σέργιο, ἐπειδὴ κάποτε τὸν εἶχε εὐεργετήσει, πρότεινε, ἀφοῦ ἀρνηθεῖ τὸ Χριστό, νὰ τοῦ χαρίσει τὴ ζωή. Ἡ γενναία ἀπάντηση τοῦ Σεργίου ἦταν τὰ λόγια τοῦ Ἀποστόλου Παύλου: «Ἐμοὶ τὸ ζῆν Χριστὸς καὶ τὸ ἀποθανεῖν κέρδος». Σὲ μένα, εἶπε ὁ Σέργιος, ζωὴ εἶναι ὁ Χριστός. Ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ νὰ πεθάνω εἶναι κέρδος, διότι ἔτσι θὰ ἑνωθῶ πλήρως μὲ τὸ Χριστό. Τότε, ὁ Ἀντίοχος ἀμέσως ἔδωσε διαταγὴ καὶ τὸν ἀποκεφάλισαν.

Οἱ Ἅγιοι Ἰουλιανός ὁ Πρεσβύτερος καὶ Καισάριος ὁ Διάκονος
Ἔζησαν στὰ χρόνια τοῦ Καίσαρα Κλαυδίου (270 μ.Χ.). Ὁ Καισάριος ἦταν ἀπὸ τὴν Ἀφρικὴ καὶ κάποτε ἦλθε στὴν πόλη Ταρακηνὴ τῆς Ἰταλίας. Ὅταν εἶδε τοὺς εἰδωλολάτρες νὰ θυσιάζουν στὰ εἴδωλα, τοὺς ἔκανε δριμύτατες παρατηρήσεις. Ἀμέσως τότε συνελήφθη καὶ ὁδηγήθηκε στὸν ἀνθύπατο, ὁ ὁποῖος τὸν φυλάκισε. Κατόπιν, μὲ συνοδεία στρατιωτῶν, ὁδηγήθηκε στὸν ναὸ τοῦ Ἀπόλλωνα, ὅπου ὁ Ἅγιος με τὴν προσευχή του γκρέμισε τὸν ναό. Ὅταν εἶδε αὐτὸ τὸ θαῦμα ὁ ὑπατικὸς Λεόντιος, ἔπεσε στὰ πόδια τοῦ Ἁγίου καὶ ζήτησε νὰ βαπτιστεῖ Χριστιανός. Πράγματι, ὁ Πρεσβύτερος Ἰουλιανὸς βάπτισε τὸν Λεόντιο, ὁ ὁποῖος μόλις κοινώνησε τῶν ἀχράντων μυστηρίων, ἐξέπνευσε. Μετὰ ἀπ᾿ αὐτὸ ὁ τύραννος, διέταξε νὰ βάλουν τὸν Καισάριο καὶ τὸν Ἰουλιανὸ μέσα σὲ σάκους καὶ νὰ τοὺς πετάξουν στὴ θάλασσα. Ἔτσι οἱ Ἅγιοι αὐτοὶ παρέδωσαν τὴν μακαρία ψυχή τους στὸ Θεό. Δυὸ χριστιανοὶ ὅμως, ὁ Εὐσέβιος ὁ Πρεσβύτερος καὶ ὁ Φήλιξ, βρῆκαν τὰ σώματα τῶν Ἁγίων αὐτῶν καὶ τὰ ἔθαψαν μὲ τὴν ἁρμόζουσα τιμή. Ὅταν τὸ ἔμαθε αὐτὸ ὁ τύραννος, ἐξοργισμένος τοὺς ἀποκεφάλισε.

Οἱ Ἅγιοι Λεόντιος ὁ Ὑπατικός, Εὐσέβιος ὁ Πρεσβύτερος καὶ Φήλιξ
Βλέπε τὸ προηγούμενο βιογραφικὸ σημείωμα Ἁγίων Ἰουλιανοῦ καὶ Καισαρίου.

Οἱ Ἅγιοι Μάρτυρες Φήλιξ ὁ ἐκ Σωλιὲν Γαλλίας, Ἀνδέχιος καὶ Θύρσος (+ 2ος αἰ.)

Ὁ Ἅγιος Πολυχρόνιος ὁ Ἱερομάρτυρας
Δυναμικὸς κληρικὸς τοῦ 4ου μ.Χ. αἰῶνα (ἐκ τῆς ἐπαρχίας Γαμφανήτιδος), ποὺ θυσιάστηκε γιὰ τὰ ὀρθόδοξα δόγματα τῆς Ἐκκλησίας μας. Ὁ πατέρας του Βαρδάνιος ἦταν γεωργὸς στὸ ἐπάγγελμα, καὶ φρόντισε ὁ γιός του νὰ ἀνατραφεῖ ὄχι μόνο μὲ τὰ διδάγματα τῆς πίστης, ἀλλὰ τοῦ παρεῖχε ἀρκετὴ κοσμικὴ μόρφωση. Ἔτσι ἐνῷ ὁ πατέρας καλλιεργοῦσε τὶς ἀμπελοφυτεῖες του, ὁ γιὸς μὲ ζῆλο καὶ θέρμη καλλιεργοῦσε τὸν ἀμπελῶνα τοῦ Κυρίου, διδάσκοντας τὰ θεῖα λόγια καὶ ἀγωνιζόμενος στὸν πολλαπλασιασμὸ τῆς καρποφορίας τοῦ θείου σπόρου. Ἦταν μάλιστα ἰκανότατος συζητητὴς καὶ πολλὲς φορὲς εἶχε καταντροπιάσει σοφοὺς τῶν εἰδωλολατρῶν σὲ συζητήσεις φιλοσοφικὲς γιὰ τὴν ἀλήθεια καὶ τὴν θρησκεία. Κατόπιν ὁ Πολυχρόνιος πῆγε στὴν ἕδρα τῆς σοφίας καὶ τῶν γραμμάτων, τὴν Κωνσταντινούπολη. Ἐκεῖ ἔγινε διάκονος καὶ ἔπειτα πρεσβύτερος. Ἀπὸ τὸ ἀξίωμα αὐτὸ δὲν ἔπαψε νὰ διδάσκει καὶ μὲ πολλοὺς τρόπους μοχθοῦσε γιὰ τὴ χριστιανικὴ ἀνατροφὴ τῶν ἐνοριτῶν του. Ὅταν ὅμως ἔγινε αὐτοκράτορας ὁ ἀρειανόφιλος γιὸς τοῦ Μ. Κωνσταντίνου, Κωνστάντιος, ὁ Πολυχρόνιος ἔμεινε στὴ μερίδα τῶν κληρικῶν ἐκείνων, ποὺ γιὰ τὸ ὀρθὸ δόγμα ἔμειναν ἀπτόητοι μπροστὰ στοὺς διωγμοὺς καὶ τὶς ἐξορίες ποὺ ἐπέβαλε ὁ αἱρετικὸς αὐτοκράτορας. Ἔτσι οἱ Ἀρειανοί, ἀνέλαβαν αὐτοὶ οἱ ἴδιοι νὰ ἀπαλλαγοῦν μία κι ἔξω ἀπ᾿ αὐτόν. Κάποια μέρα λοιπὸν ποὺ ὁ Πολυχρόνιος ἱερουργοῦσε, μία ὁμάδα ἀπὸ Ἀρειανοὺς εἰσέβαλε στὸν ναὸ καὶ τὸν ἔσφαξαν πάνω στὴ Ἁγία Τράπεζα, καὶ ἔτσι ἔγινε τίμιο ὁλοκαύτωμα γιὰ τὴν πίστη τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ποὺ μὲ τὴν δική Του θυσία σήκωσε τὴν δική μας σωτηρία.

Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἰωάννης καὶ οἱ Ὅσιοι 99 Πατέρες ποὺ ἀσκήτευσαν στὴν Κρήτη
Μόνο ὁ Ἅγιος Νικόδημος τοὺς ἀναφέρει. Ἀκολουθία τους ἐκδόθηκε στὸ Ἡράκλειο τὸ 1879. Πάντα σύμφωνα μὲ τὴν ἀκολουθία τους, ἀπεβίωσαν εἰρηνικὰ συγχρόνως καὶ οἱ 99 μαζί. Κατάγονταν ἀπὸ διάφορα μέρη τῆς λεκάνης τῆς Μεσογείου καὶ ἀσκήτευαν στὴν Κρήτη. Τὸν κυριότερο ἀπ᾿ αὐτοὺς ἔλεγαν Ἰωάννη καὶ γιορτάζεται τοπικὰ στὴν Κρήτη.

Ὁ Ὅσιος Σέργιος «ὁ ἐν τῷ Σπηλαίῳ» (Ρῶσος)
Οἱ Ἅγιοι Παρμενίας, Πολυτέλειος, Ἐλυμᾶς, Μώκιος, Χρυσοτέλης, Μάξιμος, Λουκᾶς, Ἀβδίας, Σέμνιος καὶ Ὀλυμπιάδας, Συναθλητὲς Ἁγ. Πολυχρονίου (+ 4ος αἰ.)

Μνήμη Παναγίας «Ναυπακτιώτισσας»
Στὶς 7 Ὀκτωβρίου ἢ τὴν πρώτη Κυριακὴ μετὰ τὶς 7 Ὀκτωβρίου, ἑορτάζεται στὴ Ναύπακτο ἡ Παναγία τῆς Ναυπάκτου, εἰς μνήμην τῆς Ναυμαχίας τῆς Ναυπάκτου, ποὺ ἔγινε 7-9-1571 καὶ ὁ χριστιανικὸς εὐρωπαϊκὸς στόλος - μαζὶ μὲ τοὺς Ἕλληνες - κατέστρεψε τὸν ἀντίστοιχο Μουσουλμανικό.

Holy Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus (296/303)
"These holy and wonderful martyrs and heroes of the Christian faith were at first nobles at the court of the Emperor Maximian. The Emperor himself valued them greatly for their courage, wisdom and zeal, but, when he heard that these great nobles of his were Christians, his love for them turned to fury. And once, when there was a great offering of sacrifices to idols, the Emperor summoned Sergius and Bacchus to offer sacrifice together with him, and they openly refused to obey him in this. Beside himself with anger, the Emperor ordered that their robes, rings and marks of eminence be stripped from them and they be dressed in women's clothing. He then put iron yokes on their necks and led them thus through the streets of Rome, to be mocked by each and all. The Emperor then sent them to Asia, to Antiochus the governor, for torture. Antiochus had achieved his distinguished rank with the help of Sergius and Bacchus, who had at one time recommended him to the Emperor. When Antiochus began to urge them to deny Christ and save themselves from dishonourable suffering and death, the two saints replied: 'Both honour and dishonour, both life and death — all are one to him who seeks the heavenly Kingdom.' Antiochus threw Sergius into prison and ordered that Bacchus be tortured first. The servants took turns beating holy Bacchus until his whole body was broken into fragments. His holy spirit went forth from his broken and bloodstained body and was borne to the Lord by angels. St Bacchus suffered in the town of Varvallis. Then holy Sergius was led out. Iron shoes studded with nails were put on his feet, and he was driven out into the Syrian town of Resapha, and there beheaded with the sword. His soul went to Paradise where, together with his friend Bacchus, he received the wreath of immortal glory from Christ his King and Lord. These two glorious knights suffered for the Christian faith in about 303." (Prologue) The Great Horologion gives 296 as the date of their repose. One of the most beautiful churches in Constantinople, still standing, is dedicated to Sts Sergius and Bacchus.

Holy Hieromartyr Polychronius (4th c.)
The son of peasants, he was known from his childhood for his piety and asceticism. Once, by his prayers, a spring of water sprang up near his village, where it was needed for the town's survival. When he came of age, Polychronius went to work in some vineyards near Constantinople. Even though he labored all day, he would eat only every two or three days. The master of the vineyard, seeing his strict and prayerful way of life, gave him a large sum of money and said 'Man of God, go home and pray for me.' With the money, Polychronius built a church, settled near it, and a few years later was ordained to be a priest in the church he had built. Polychronius appeared at the First Ecumenical Council in 325 as a fervent defender of Orthodoxy. Because of this, some Arian heretics determined to take revenge. One day, after the death of the Emperor Constantine, the Arians attacked Polychronius at the altar as he was celebrating the Divine Liturgy, thus mingling his blood with the very blood of the Savior.

The Ninety-nine Fathers of Crete (date unknown)
Saint John the Hermit and thirty-five companions lived in Egypt, but took ship as a group for Cyprus in order to practice ascesis in exile. At Cyprus they met a party of thirty-nine others who also sought to live the ascetic life more fully, and the two groups joined. "In order that these ascetics, too, might taste of the graces of voluntary exile" (Synaxarion), they travelled to Attalia in Pamphylia. There, twenty-four more monks joined them, so that their company now numbered ninety-nine. (This number was ordained by God, so that Christ Himself, their Head, would complete their number at one hundred.) After some time they took ship again for Crete, where they lived in two caves in a remote, deserted area, living only on the plants that grew wild there.
  Saint John sought his brothers' blessing to live as a hermit. On the day of his departure they prayed that they all might repose on the day of John's death, and enter together into the Kingdom of God. John's asceticism was so severe that after awhile he could no longer walk, but crawled from his cave to gather the small quantities of food he allowed himself. A shepherd, seeing him from a distance, thought that he was some animal, and shot him with an arrow. Finding the dying John, the shepherd was stricken with horror and grief, and threw himself at the hermit's feet, begging forgiveness. The saint only lived long enough to give the young man his pardon and blessing before surrendering his soul to God. The prayer of his ninety-eight brethren was mysteriously granted: between the third and seventh hour of that day, they all, one after another, fell asleep in peace.

Menologion 3.0
The Holy Martyrs Sergios and Bakkhos were appointed to high positions in the army by the emperor Maximian (284-305), who did not know that they were Christians. Malevolent persons made a denunciation to Maximian, that his two military-commanders did not honour the pagan gods, and this was considered a crime against the state.
The emperor, wanting to convince himself of the veracity of the denunciation, ordered Sergios and Bakkhos to offer sacrifice to the idols, but they answered, that they honoured but the One God and Him only did they worship.
Maximian commanded that the martyrs be stripped of the insignia of military rank, and then having dressed them in feminine clothing to lead them through the city with an iron chain on the neck, for the mockery by the people. Then he again summoned Sergios and Bakkhos to him and in a friendly approach advised them not to be swayed by Christian fables and instead return to the Roman gods. But the saints remained steadfast. Then the emperor commanded that they be dispatched to the governor of the eastern part of Syria, Antiochus, a fierce hater of Christians. Antiochus had received his position with the help of Sergios and Bakkhos. "My fathers and benefactors! -- he addressed the saints, -- have pity not only upon yourself, but also on me: I want not to condemn ye to martyrdom". The holy martyrs replied, that for them life -- is Christ, and death for Him -- its acquisition. In a rage Antiochus ordered Bakkhos to be mercilessly beaten, and the holy martyr expired to the Lord. They shod Sergios with iron shoes inset with nails and sent him off to another city, where he as beheaded with the sword (c. year 300).

The Monk Sergei of Obnorsk and Nuromsk, Vologda Wonderworker, began his monastic exploits on Holy Mount Athos. Then he arrived in Russia and settled in the monastery of the Life-Originating Trinity under the guidance of the Monk Sergei of Radonezh (Comm. 5 July and 25 September). After several years, with the blessing of the hegumen, the Monk Sergei to the Vologda forests and settled at the bank of the River Nurma. There he erected a cross and built a chapel with a cell, in which he ascetic in deep silence, "going forth in like-angelic life", and with patience enduring temptation from demons and malevolent people.
It pleased the Lord to summon the saint from his solitude, so that he in his attainment of wisdom and spiritual experience should serve unto the salvation of others. From various places gathered to him 40 men, thirsting for the pious life. By their common efforts, the brethren built a large temple in honour of the Carrying-Forth of the Venerable Wood of the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord (Comm. 1 August). Around the church were built the monastic cells.
The Monk Paul of Obnorsk (Comm. 10 January) asceticised not far from the Nuromsk monastery, and the Monk Sergei often visited him for discourse to benefit of soul. The Monk Sergei died on 7 October 1412, and in the year 1546 began the churchly veneration of the saint.

The Monk Martinian of Belozersk (Uncovering of Relics 1514): The account about him is located under 12 January.

The Holy Martyr Polychronios the Presbyter -- was the son of a landowner. He was raised with a love for work and in Christian piety. Reaching maturity, Polychronios left his parental home for Constantinople and began to work for one of the rich vineyard owners. The vineyard owner was amazed at the love for toil and the ascetic life of the youth. For his fine work the saint received much money, with which he built a church. Soon he was ordained to the dignity of presbyter. According to tradition, Saint Polychronios participated in the acts of the First OEcumenical Council. He was murdered by heretics (Arians) at the altar of the church (IV Century).

The Holy Martyrs Julian the Presbyter and Caesarius the Deacon suffered for Christ in the I Century. Saint Caesarius was thrown into prison in the Italian city of Terracinium for insulting the pagan gods. They later took him bound to the temple of Apollo, but before they got him near the pagan temple it collapsed, killing the pagan priests and many of the people. At about this same time the idolators arrested the Christian priest Julian. By order of the emperor, the holy martyrs were cast into the sea, but their bodies floated up, and Christians buried the sufferers. The relics of Saint Caesarius are situated at Rome.

THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:

1. The Holy Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus
These holy and wonderful martyrs and heroes of the Christian Faith were at first noblemen at the court of Emperor Maximian. The emperor himself esteemed them greatly because of their courage, wisdom and fidelity. But when the emperor heard that his two noblemen were Christians, his love for them turned into rage. Once, when there was a great sacrificial offering to idols, the emperor demanded that Sergius and Bacchus offer sacrifices with him, but they openly refused to obey the emperor in this. Beside himself with rage, the emperor commanded that their military garments, rings and emblems be stripped from them and that they be dressed in women's clothing. He then placed iron hoops around their necks and paraded them through the streets of the city of Rome, to be mocked by everyone. Afterward, he sent them to Antiochus, his deputy in Asia, for torture. Antiochus had risen to his position with Sergius and Bacchus's help, as they had at one time recommended him to the emperor. When Antiochus implored them to deny Christ and save themselves from dishonorable suffering and death, these saints replied: "Both honor and dishonor, both life and death-all are the same to him who seeks the Heavenly Kingdom." Antiochus cast Sergius into prison and ordered that Bacchus be tortured first. His minions took turns beating the holy Bacchus until his whole body was broken. Bacchus's holy soul departed his broken and bloodied body, and in the hands of angels was borne to the Lord. St. Bacchus suffered in the town of Barbalissos. Then St. Sergius was led out and shod in iron shoes with inward-protruding nails. He was driven, on foot, to the town of Rozapha, in Syria, and was beheaded there with the sword. His soul went to Paradise where, together with his friend Bacchus, he received a crown of immortal glory from Christ, his King and Lord. These two wondrous knights of the Christian Faith suffered in about the year 303.

2. The Holy Martyr Polychronius
Polychronius was born in the district of Gamphanitus, of peasant parents. As a young man, he worked as a day-laborer in the vineyard of a certain Constantinopolitan. But even as a day-laborer Polychronius devoted himself to the ascetic life of prayer and fasting day and night. Seeing his life, angelic in its purity and abstinence, the vintner was amazed, and gave him much more money than he earned. St. Polychronius took the money and built a church. At the time of the Nicaean Council (325), Polychronius was a church reader. He showed such zeal in the defense of Orthodoxy against the Arians that he was ordained a priest. Later, these evil heretics sought revenge, and attacked St. Polychronius inside the church itself, and chopped him into pieces. Thus, this great defender of the truth and purity of Orthodoxy suffered and received a wreath of glory from his Most-glorious Lord.

HYMN OF PRAISE
The Holy Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus
The royal men, Sergius and Bacchus
Served the King, but not the earthly one-
Rather, Jesus, the Immortal King.
The earthly king mocked the saints
And removed the belts from their waists,
But the Lord girded them with strength.
The emperor removed their noblemen's togas,
But the Savior clothed them more beautifully
In an incorrupt garment of immortality;
The emperor removed their rings from their right hands,
But the Lord gave them far more glorious ones,
In betrothing their souls to Himself.
The emperor banished them from his court,
But God welcomed them into the heavenly courts.
The earth tortured these knights of Christ,
The earth tortured them, but heaven gave them repose.
Decay rejects purity,
Evil rejects goodness,
But Saints Bacchus and Sergius
Returned all earthliness to the earth,
And gave their holy souls over to God!
Though exiled from the earthly kingdom,
They illumine the earth even now;
By their suffering, they conquered malice;
By their death for the Cross, they are glorified.
As victors over the powers of darkness,
They show us the path to victory.

REFLECTION
A vision of St. Andrew the Fool-for-Christ: Once, St. Andrew was sitting with his disciple Epiphanius, talking about the salvation of the soul. Just then, a demon approached Epiphanius and began setting traps to distract his thoughts, but did not dare to approach Andrew. Andrew cried out: "Depart from here, impure adversary!" The devil drew back and replied maliciously: "You are my adversary, such as no other in all of Constantinople!" Andrew did not drive him away immediately, but permitted him to speak. And the devil began: "I feel that the time is coming when my work will be finished. At that time, men will be worse than I, as children will be even more wicked than adults. Then I will rest and will not teach men anything anymore, since they themselves will carry out my will in everything." Andrew asked him: "In what sins do your kind rejoice the most?" The devil replied: "The service of idols, slander, malice against one's neighbor, the sodomite sin, drunkenness and avarice-in this we rejoice the most." Andrew further asked him: "And how do you tolerate it when someone who first served you rejects you and your works?" The devil replied: "You know that better than I do; we find it difficult to tolerate, but we are comforted by this: we will probably bring them back to us-for many who have rejected us and turned to God have come back to us again." After the evil spirit had said this and much more, St. Andrew breathed on him and he disappeared.

CONTEMPLATION
Contemplate the righteousness of King Josiah, and God's reward to him (II Chronicles 34):
1. How King Josiah rooted out the idols, and did all that which is good in the sight of the Lord;
2. How God's blessing was poured out upon him and his people during his long reign.

HOMILY
on children and their praise of the Lord
Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast ordained strength, because of Thine enemies (Psalm 8:2).
At the glorious Entry of the Lord Jesus into Jerusalem, and even in the Temple itself, the children cried out: Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord! (Matthew 21:9). It seems that nothing irritated the Jewish elders so much as this praising of Jesus by young children. Hearest thou what these say? (Matthew 21:16), they asked Him maliciously. And Jesus answered them meekly: Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise? (Matthew 21:16). Thus, it is as clear as day that these prophetic words of David pertain to the wonder that occurred at the Entry of the Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem: this wondrous praising of the Lord by little children. It is obvious that, as this event was prophesied, so it was literally fulfilled. It is also obvious from this that the Lord Himself was then referring to that prophecy of King David: Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise. There can be no doubt that it was a great wonder, inspired by the Spirit of God and carried out by the power and will of God. While the princes, scribes, elders and priests were not able to recognize Christ the Lord, the little children both recognized and proclaimed Him! In truth, this is a miracle, unique throughout the Old and New Testaments; and no less of a miracle than the resurrection of the dead. In fact, during the first miracle [Christ's Entry into Jerusalem] and during the second [Christ's Resurrection], the same power of God was acting-the same Spirit and the same providence of God. And the prophet wanted especially to emphasize this power and majestic glory of God by the event with the little children, which event he places parallel with the wonders of the starry universe, created by the same power of God. When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained (Psalm 8:3).
Besides this, among those little children should be numbered the apostles themselves-and many saints, ascetics, martyrs for Christ, and virgins-thousands, thousands and thousands of those who, with innocence and open hearts, recognized Christ as the Son of God and their Savior, who embraced Him with wholehearted love and endured difficult suffering for Him. Why, exactly, did the Lord ordain praise for Himself from their mouths, and not from the mouths of nobles, philosophers and rhetoricians? He accepted their praise because of their meekness, and rejected the others because of their pride; for the proud are the greatest enemies of God. That is why Christ miraculously loosed the tongues of children, simple fisherman and peasants-to proclaim the truth contrary to their enemies, that is, the proud and empty princes and scribes of the Jews.
O Lord Most-powerful, Almighty God; loose our tongues also, that with strong faith and childlike joy we too may proclaim Thine endless glory.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.