The Holy and Glorious Apostle Thomas
Eroteis the Martyr of Cappadocia
Makarios the Righteous of Chios
Τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἀποστόλου Θωμᾶ. Τῆς Ἁγίας Μάρτυρος Ἐρωτηΐδος.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 4:9-16
Prokeimenon. Mode 4. Psalm 18.4,1
Their voice has gone out into all the earth.
Verse: The heavens declare the glory of God.
The Reading is from St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 4:9-16
BRETHREN, God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are ill-clad and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become, and are now, as the refuse of the world, the off-scouring of all things. I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me.
Πρὸς Κορινθίους α' 4:9-16
Προκείμενον. Ἦχος πλ β΄. ΨΑΛΜΟΙ 31.11,1
Εὐφράνθητι ἐπὶ Κύριον, καὶ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε δίκαιοι.
Στίχ. Μακάριοι, ὧν ἀφέθησαν αἱ ἀνομίαι.
Πρὸς Κορινθίους α' 4:9-16
Ἀδελφοί, ὁ θεὸς ἡμᾶς τοὺς ἀποστόλους ἐσχάτους ἀπέδειξεν ὡς ἐπιθανατίους· ὅτι θέατρον ἐγενήθημεν τῷ κόσμῳ, καὶ ἀγγέλοις, καὶ ἀνθρώποις. Ἡμεῖς μωροὶ διὰ Χριστόν, ὑμεῖς δὲ φρόνιμοι ἐν Χριστῷ· ἡμεῖς ἀσθενεῖς, ὑμεῖς δὲ ἰσχυροί· ὑμεῖς ἔνδοξοι, ἡμεῖς δὲ ἄτιμοι. Ἄχρι τῆς ἄρτι ὥρας καὶ πεινῶμεν, καὶ διψῶμεν, καὶ γυμνητεύομεν, καὶ κολαφιζόμεθα, καὶ ἀστατοῦμεν, καὶ κοπιῶμεν ἐργαζόμενοι ταῖς ἰδίαις χερσίν· λοιδορούμενοι εὐλογοῦμεν· διωκόμενοι ἀνεχόμεθα· βλασφημούμενοι παρακαλοῦμεν· ὡς περικαθάρματα τοῦ κόσμου ἐγενήθημεν, πάντων περίψημα ἕως ἄρτι. Οὐκ ἐντρέπων ὑμᾶς γράφω ταῦτα, ἀλλʼ ὡς τέκνα μου ἀγαπητὰ νουθετῶ. Ἐὰν γὰρ μυρίους παιδαγωγοὺς ἔχητε ἐν Χριστῷ, ἀλλʼ οὐ πολλοὺς πατέρας· ἐν γὰρ Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ διὰ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου ἐγὼ ὑμᾶς ἐγέννησα. Παρακαλῶ οὖν ὑμᾶς, μιμηταί μου γίνεσθε.
The Holy and Glorious Apostle Thomas
The Gospel of John 20:19-31
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them: "Peace be with you." When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them: "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him: "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them: "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in His side, I will not believe."
Eight days later, His disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said: "Peace be with you." Then He said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing." Thomas answered Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to Him: "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
Κατὰ Ἰωάννην 20.19-31
Οὔσης οὖν ὀψίας τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ τῇ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων, καὶ τῶν θυρῶν κεκλεισμένων ὅπου ἦσαν οἱ μαθηταὶ συνηγμένοι διὰ τὸν φόβον τῶν ᾿Ιουδαίων, ἦλθεν ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς καὶ ἔστη εἰς τὸ μέσον, καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· εἰρήνη ὑμῖν. καὶ τοῦτο εἰπὼν ἔδειξεν αὐτοῖς τὰς χεῖρας καὶ τὴν πλευρὰν αὐτοῦ. ἐχάρησαν οὖν οἱ μαθηταὶ ἰδόντες τὸν Κύριον. εἶπεν οὖν αὐτοῖς ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς πάλιν· εἰρήνη ὑμῖν. καθὼς ἀπέσταλκέ με ὁ πατήρ, κἀγὼ πέμπω ὑμᾶς. καὶ τοῦτο εἰπὼν ἐνεφύσησε καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· λάβετε Πνεῦμα ῞Αγιον· ἄν τινων ἀφῆτε τὰς ἁμαρτίας, ἀφίενται αὐτοῖς, ἄν τινων κρατῆτε, κεκράτηνται.
Θωμᾶς δὲ εἷς ἐκ τῶν δώδεκα, ὁ λεγόμενος Δίδυμος, οὐκ ἦν μετ᾽ αὐτῶν ὅτε ἦλθεν ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς. ἔλεγον οὖν αὐτῷ οἱ ἄλλοι μαθηταί· ἑωράκαμεν τὸν Κύριον. ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· ἐὰν μὴ ἴδω ἐν ταῖς χερσὶν αὐτοῦ τὸν τύπον τῶν ἥλων, καὶ βάλω τὸν δάκτυλόν μου εἰς τὸν τύπον τῶν ἥλων, καὶ βάλω τὴν χεῖρά μου εἰς τὴν πλευρὰν αὐτοῦ, οὐ μὴ πιστεύσω. Καὶ μεθ᾽ ἡμέρας ὀκτὼ πάλιν ἦσαν ἔσω οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ Θωμᾶς μετ᾽ αὐτῶν. ἔρχεται ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς τῶν θυρῶν κεκλεισμένων, καὶ ἔστη εἰς τὸ μέσον καὶ εἶπεν· εἰρήνη ὑμῖν. εἶτα λέγει τῷ Θωμᾷ· φέρε τὸν δάκτυλόν σου ὧδε καὶ ἴδε τὰς χεῖράς μου, καὶ φέρε τὴν χεῖρά σου καὶ βάλε εἰς τὴν πλευράν μου, καὶ μὴ γίνου ἄπιστος, ἀλλὰ πιστός. καὶ ἀπεκρίθη Θωμᾶς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ὁ Κύριός μου καὶ ὁ Θεός μου. λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· ὅτι ἑώρακάς με, πεπίστευκας· μακάριοι οἱ μὴ ἰδόντες καὶ πιστεύσαντες. Πολλὰ μὲν οὖν καὶ ἄλλα σημεῖα ἐποίησεν ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς ἐνώπιον τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ, ἃ οὐκ ἔστι γεγραμμένα ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ τούτῳ· ταῦτα δὲ γέγραπται ἵνα πιστεύσητε ὅτι ᾿Ιησοῦς ἐστιν ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ ἵνα πιστεύοντες ζωὴν ἔχητε ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι αὐτοῦ.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΣΤ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἀποστόλου Θωμᾶ.
Ὁ χεῖρα πλευρᾷ σῇ βαλεῖν ζητῶν πάλαι,
Πλευρὰν ὑπὲρ σοῦ νύττεται Θωμᾶς Λόγε.
Δούρασιν οὐτάσθη Θωμᾶς μακροῖσιν ἐν ἕκτῃ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρα, Μνήμη τῆς ἁγίας μάρτυρος Ἐρωτηΐδος.
Ἐρωτηΐδα πυρπολοῦσι παρθένον,
Ἔρωτι Χριστοῦ τὴν προπυρπολουμένην.
Ὁ ἅγιος νέος Ὁσιομάρτυς Μακάριος, ὁ ἐκ Κίου μὲν τῆς Βιθυνίας καταγόμενος, ἐν Προύσῃ δὲ μαρτυρήσας, λιθοβοληθεὶς πρότερον, ὕστερον ξίφει τελειοῦται κατὰ τὸ ἔτος 1590.
Ταῖς αὐτῶν ἁγίαις πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
The name Thomas means, "twin." He was one of the Twelve, a Galilean by birth. Sophroneus (not the famous Patriarch of Jerusalem [7th Century, celebrated March 11], but a friend of Jerome's), quoted also by Jerome, says that Saint Thomas preached to the Parthians, Pesians, Medes, Hyrcanians, Bactrians, and neighbouring nations. According to Heracleon, the Apostle died a natural death; according to other accounts, he was martyred at Meliapur His tomb was known by Saint John Chrysostom to be at Edessa in Syria, to which city his holy relics may have been translated from India in the fourth century.
Apolytikion in the Third Tone
Απόστολε Άγιε Θωμά, πρέσβευε τώ ελεήμονι Θεώ ίνα πταισμάτων άφεσιν, παράσχη ταίς ψυχάς ημών.
O Holy Apostle Thomas, intercede to our merciful God, that He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Ο τής θείας χάριτος πεπληρωμένος, τού Χριστού Απόστολος, καί υπηρέτης αληθής, εν μετανοία εκραύγαζε. Σύ μου υπάρχεις, Θεός τε καί Κύριος.
Christ's Apostle, who was filled with God's divine grace, he who was His genuine and faithful servant in all truth, all-lauded Thomas exclaimed aloud in deep repentance: Thou art both my God and Lord.
Μέσα στον κύκλο των δώδεκα Αποστόλων, έβδομος στη σειρά, είναι ο άγιος Απόστολος Θωμάς, του οποίου η Εκκλησία σήμερα γιορτάζει την μνήμη. Απ' όλα τα περιστατικά που μας αναφέρουν τα ιερά Ευαγγέλια για τον Απόστολο Θωμά, το πιο γνωστό και το πιό σπουδαίο είν' εκείνο που συνέβη μετά την θείαν Ανάσταση. Η θεία Πρόνοια οικονόμησεν έτσι τα πράγματα, ώστε ο άγιος Θωμάς να μην είναι μαζί με τους άλλους Αποστόλους την πρώτη ημέρα της Αναστάσεως, όταν παρουσιάσθηκε σ' αυτούς ο αναστάς Κύριος. Όταν του έλεγαν οι Απόστολοι· "εωράκαμεν τον Κύριο!", εκείνος δεν πίστευε και ζητούσεν αποδείξεις. Έπειτα από οκτώ ημέρες, όταν ήσαν πάλι μαζεμένοι οι Απόστολοι και μαζί τους κι ο Θωμάς, ξαναπαρουσιάσθηκε ο Κύριος και τότε ο Θωμάς εκήρυξε και είπεν· "Ο Κύριός μου και ο Θεός μου!". Μία από τις μεγάλες αποδείξεις και μαρτυρίες της θείας Αναστάσεως είναι κι αυτή του αγίου Θωμά.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Θωμᾶς ὁ Ἀπόστολος
Ἦταν μεταξὺ τῶν δώδεκα μαθητῶν τοῦ Κυρίου καὶ ἀνῆκε σὲ οἰκογένεια ἁλιέων. Ὁ Θωμᾶς, λοιπόν, μετὰ τὴν Ἀνάσταση τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ τὴν πρώτη ἐμφάνισή Του στοὺς μαθητές, δυσπιστοῦσε σ᾿ αὐτὰ ποὺ τοῦ ἔλεγαν αὐτοί. Ἀλλὰ ὁ Κύριος ἐπανεμφανίστηκε στοὺς μαθητὲς μέσα στὸ ὑπερῷον, ὅταν μεταξύ τους βρισκόταν καὶ ὁ Θωμᾶς. Τότε ὁ Κύριος προέτρεψε τὸ Θωμᾶ νὰ ψηλαφήσει τὶς πληγὲς ἀπὸ τὰ καρφιὰ ποὺ Τὸν σταύρωσαν, καὶ νὰ μὴ γίνεται ἄπιστος, ἀλλὰ πιστός. Ἔκθαμβος ὁ Θωμᾶς, προσκύνησε καὶ ἀνεβόησε: «Ὁ Κύριός μου καὶ ὁ Θεός μου». Ἡ δὲ ἀπάντηση τοῦ Κυρίου ἦταν τέτοια, ποὺ θὰ διδάσκει ὅλους ὅσους θέλουν νὰ δυσπιστοῦν στὴν ἀλήθεια τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου. Εἶπε, λοιπόν, ὁ Κύριος: «ὅτι ἔωρακάς με, πεπίστευκας· μακάριοι οἱ μὴ ἰδόντες καὶ πιστεύσαντες». Δηλαδή, λέει ὁ Κύριος στὸ Θωμᾶ, πίστεψες ἐπειδὴ μὲ εἶδες. Μακαριότεροι καὶ περισσότερο καλότυχοι εἶναι ἐκεῖνοι, ποὺ ἂν καὶ δὲν μὲ εἶδαν, πίστεψαν. Ἡ παράδοση ἀναφέρει ὅτι ὁ Θωμᾶς μετὰ τὴν ἐπιφοίτηση τοῦ Ἁγίου Πνεύματος πῆγε καὶ κήρυξε τὸ Εὐαγγέλιο στοὺς Πέρσες, Μήδους καὶ Ἰνδούς. Στὴ χώρα δὲ τῶν τελευταίων, μαρτύρησε μὲ θάνατο διὰ λογχισμοῦ. Ἔτσι, τὸν ἀξίωσε ὁ Θεὸς ὄχι μόνο νὰ κηρύξει τὸ Εὐαγγέλιό Του, ἀλλὰ καὶ νὰ δώσει τὴ ζωή του γι᾿ Αὐτόν.
Ἡ Ἁγία Ἐρωτηΐς
Μαρτύρησε διὰ πυρός.
Ὁ Ὅσιος Κενδέας
Ἄγνωστος στοὺς Συναξαριστές, γνωστὸς ὅμως στὴν Ἐκκλησία τῆς Κύπρου. Γερμανὸς στὴν καταγωγή, πῆγε νὰ προσκυνήσει τοὺς Ἁγίους Τόπους, ὅπου ἔγινε μοναχὸς στὴν ἔρημο τοῦ Ἰορδάνη. Ἀπὸ κεῖ πῆγε στὴν Κύπρο καὶ μόνασε σὲ κάποια Μονὴ κοντὰ στὴν Πάφο, ὅπου, ὁσιακὰ ἀφοῦ ἔζησε, ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικά.
Ὁ Ἅγιος Μακάριος ὁ νέος ὁσιομάρτυρας ἀπὸ τὴν Κίο τῆς Βιθυνίας
Γεννήθηκε στὴν Κίο τῆς Βιθυνίας καὶ ὀνομαζόταν Μανουήλ. Ὁ πατέρας του ὀνομαζόταν Πέτρος καὶ ἡ μητέρα του Ἀνθοῦσα. Σὲ μικρὴ ἡλικία οἱ γονεῖς του τὸν παρέδωσαν σὲ κάποιο εὐσεβῆ ῥάφτη, γιὰ νὰ μάθει κοντά του τὴν τέχνη. Ἀπροσδόκητα ὁ πατέρας του ἀρνήθηκε τὸν Χριστὸ καὶ πῆγε στὴν Προῦσα. Ὅταν κάποτε ὁ Μανουὴλ πῆγε καὶ αὐτὸς στὴν Προῦσα, συνελήφθη ἀπὸ τὸν πατέρα του, ποὺ τὸν ὁδήγησε στὸν κριτὴ μὲ τὴν ψευδὴ κατηγορία, ὅτι δῆθεν ὁ Μανουὴλ ὑποσχέθηκε ὅτι θὰ γίνει Τοῦρκος. Παρὰ τὶς ἀντιῤῥήσεις τοῦ Μανουήλ, οἱ Τοῦρκοι, ἀφοῦ τὸν ἔδειραν, τοῦ ἔκαναν περιτομὴ μὲ τὴν βία. Μετὰ ἀπὸ λίγες ἡμέρες ὁ Μανουὴλ κατάφερε καὶ ἔφυγε γιὰ τὸ Ἅγιον Ὄρος. Ἐκεῖ στὴ Σκήτη τῆς ἁγίας Ἄννας, ἐκάρη μοναχός με τὸ ὄνομα Μακάριος. Ὕστερα ἀπὸ 12 χρόνια παραμονῆς του στὸ Ἅγιον Ὄρος, πῆρε τὴν εὐλογία νὰ μαρτυρήσει γιὰ τὴν πίστη. Ἔτσι μέσῳ Κωνσταντινουπόλεως ἔφτασε στὴν Προῦσα, ὅπου τὸν συνέλαβαν καὶ τὸν ὁδήγησαν στὸ κριτήριο. Ἀπολογούμενος ὁμολόγησε τὸν Χριστὸ καὶ ἤλεγξε τὴν μωαμεθανικὴ θρησκεία λέγοντας: «Τὸ νὰ ἀρνηθῶ ἐγὼ τὴν πίστη μου τὴν ἀληθινὴ καὶ νὰ πιστέψω τὴν δική σας ψεύτικη δὲν τὸ κάμνω ποτέ, διότι δὲν θὰ ἀφήσω τὸ φῶς γιὰ νὰ ἔλθω στὸ σκοτάδι». Τότε ὁ Ἅγιος βασανίστηκε φρικτά. Τελικὰ ἀφοῦ τὸν λιθοβόλησαν ἄγρια, τὸν ἀποκεφάλισαν στὶς 6 Ὀκτωβρίου 1590. Ἀργότερα ἡ κάρα του μεταφέρθηκε στὴ Σκήτη τῆς Ἁγίας Ἄννας τοῦ Ἁγίου Ὄρους.
Holy Apostle Thomas
One of the Twelve Apostles, he was a Galilean by birth. His name means "twin." The twentieth chapter of St John's Gospel describes how, when he doubted the appearance of the Risen Lord, Christ appeared to him again, saying "Reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing," at which Thomas cried out "My Lord and my God. Through this one event the Holy Scriptures attest that Christ is risen bodily, not merely as a spirit, as some heresies claim; and that He is in fact God. After Pentecost, St Thomas proclaimed the Gospel in the East, and established the Christian faith as far as India, where the small remnant of the ancient Church still traces its foundation to him. According to some accounts he met a martyr's end; according to others, he reposed in peace. St John Chrysostom mentions that his tomb was in Edessa in Syria; his relics may have been translated there from India in the fourth century.
The Holy Apostle Thomas was born in the Galileian city of Pansada and plied the trade of fisherman. Hearing the good tidings of Jesus Christ, he left all and followed after Him. The Apostle Thomas is included in the number of the holy Twelve Apostles, the 12 closest disciples of the Saviour.
By the account of Holy Scripture, the holy Apostle Thomas did not believe the reports of the other disciples about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ: "Unless I see in His hand the wound of the nail, and place my finger into the wound of the nail, and place my hand in His side, I shalt not believe" (Jn. 20: 25). On the eighth day after the Resurrection the Lord appeared to the Apostle Thomas and shew His wounds. "My Lord and my God" -- cried out the holy apostle (Jn. 20: 28). "Thomas, being once weaker in faith than the other apostles, -- says Saint John Chrysostom, -- toiled through the grace of God more bravely, more zealously and tirelessly than them all, such that he went preaching almost over nearly all the earth, not fearing to announce the Word of God to savage nations". According to Church Tradition, the holy apostle Thomas founded Christian churches in Palestine, Mesopotamia, Parthia, Ethiopia and India. Preaching the Gospel earned the apostle a martyr's death. For having converted the wife and son of the governor of the Indian city of Meliapur (Melipur), the holy apostle was locked up in prison, suffered torture, and finally, having been pierced with five spears, he expired to the Lord. Part of the relics of the holy Apostle Thomas are in India, in Hungary and on Athos. With the name of the Apostle Thomas is connected the Arabian (or Arapet) Icon of the Mother of God (Comm. 6 September).
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. The Holy Apostle Thomas
Thomas was one of the Twelve Apostles. Through his doubt in the Resurrection of Christ the Lord, a new proof was given of that wonderful and saving event. The resurrected Lord appeared to His disciples a second time, in order to convince Thomas. The Lord said to Thomas: Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas replied: My Lord and my God (John 20:27-28). After the descent of the Holy Spirit, when the apostles cast lots to see where they would each go to preach, the lot fell to Thomas to go to India. He was a little saddened that he had to go so far away, but the Lord appeared to him and encouraged him. In India, St. Thomas converted many, both aristocrats and poor, to the Christian Faith, and established the Church there, appointing priests and bishops. Among others, Thomas converted two sisters to the Faith-Tertiana and Migdonia-both wives of Indian princes. Because of their faith, both sisters were ill-treated by their husbands, with whom they no longer wanted to live after their baptism. Eventually, they were allowed to go. Being freed of marriage, they lived God-pleasing lives until their repose. Dionysius and Pelagia were betrothed, but when they heard the apostolic preaching they did not marry, but devoted themselves to the ascetic life. Pelagia ended her life as a martyr for the Faith, and Dionysius was ordained a bishop by the apostle. Prince Mazdai, Tertiana's husband, whose son, Azan, was also baptized by Thomas, condemned the apostle to death. Mazdai sent five soldiers to kill Thomas. They ran him through with their five spears, and thus the Holy Apostle Thomas rendered his soul into the hands of Christ. Before his death, he and the other apostles were miraculously brought to Jerusalem for the burial of the Most-holy Theotokos. Arriving too late, he wept bitterly, and the tomb of the Holy Most-pure One was opened at his request. The Theotokos' body was not found in the tomb: the Lord had taken His Mother to His heavenly habitation. Thus, in his tardiness St. Thomas revealed to us the wondrous glorification of the Mother of God, just as he had once confirmed faith in the Resurrection of the Lord by his unbelief.
2. The Venerable New Martyr Macarius
Macarius was born in the town of Kios, in Bithynia. His parents, Peter and Anthusa, were Christians, and he was baptized with the name of Manuel. In his youth, he was sent to learn tailoring as a trade. In the meantime, his father embraced Islam and moved to Brussa. There came a time when Manuel came to Brussa on business, and his father found him and exerted great pressure on him to become a Moslem. Manuel resisted in vain: the Turks circumcised him by force. Manuel then fled to the Holy Mountain and was tonsured a monk in the Skete of St. Anna. His monastic name was Macarius. For twelve years he was an excellent monk, but he never had peace of soul. Whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven (Matthew 10:33)-Christ's words continually echoed in Macarius's mind. Finally, with the blessing of his elder, he went to Brussa and openly confessed his Faith in Christ before the Turks, calling Mohammed a false prophet. After being flogged for 130 days and enduring other harsh tortures, he was beheaded there, on October 6, 1590. A part of his miracle-working relics is preserved in the Skete of St. Anna on Mount Athos.
HYMN OF PRAISE
The Holy Apostle Thomas
The Apostle Thomas, by his unbelief,
Strengthened his faith: the Lord appeared to him.
Thomas witnessed Him and rejoiced,
And joyfully glorified Christ.
India became Thomas's vineyard,
And he cultivated that land with the Cross:
Preaching Christ to the mighty and the lowly,
Preaching His wisdom and His works.
O wise sons of India,
Your wisdom is but a snake in the grass.
Lo, true Wisdom has descended from heaven for you-
The Wisdom of God has appeared in the flesh!
Thomas spoke and worked miracles,
And a multitude of people followed him,
In hearing his wisdom, and beholding the wonders
That Thomas worked in the name of the Lord.
Thomas endured great torments,
But shattered the gates of the darkness of idolatry,
And suffered, like Christ, five cruel wounds,
Which he received in his body for the sake of the truth.
Five bitter wounds, for the number of the senses-
Which is a lesson in mystical wisdom:
He who subdues not all his senses
Will taste of no spiritual sweetness.
We have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (II Corinthians 5:1), says the discerning Apostle Paul. All our efforts for God on earth have this purpose: to merit, according to our power, this eternal house in the heavens not made by hands. The Indian King Gundafor decided to build himself a magnificent palace, unlike any other on earth. When Abban, his envoy, sought a skilled craftsman to build the king's palace, he met the Apostle Thomas by God's providence. St. Thomas told him that he was a craftsman, and that no one else could build what the king wanted. Thomas therefore received much gold from the king for the building of this palace. As soon as he departed from the king, he distributed all the gold to the poor. The palace site was some distance from the king's capital, and after two years the king sent servants to ask Thomas if the palace was completed. Thomas replied: ``Everything is ready except the roof,'' and he sought more money from the king; and the king gave it to him. Again, Thomas distributed it all to the poor, and went throughout the kingdom doing his work, preaching the Gospel. The king, learning that Thomas had not even begun to build the palace, seized him and threw him into prison. That night, the king's brother died, and the king fell into great sorrow. An angel took the soul of the deceased and, leading him through Paradise, showed him a magnificent palace, such as the mind of man could not imagine. The soul of the deceased wished to enter that palace, but the angel told him that he could not, for it was his brother's palace, which the Apostle Thomas had built with his alms. Then the angel returned the brother's soul to his body. When he came to himself, he said to the king: ``Swear to me that you will give me anything I ask.'' And the king swore. Then the brother said: ``Give me the palace that you have in the heavens.'' The king was amazed that he had a palace in the heavens. When the brother described everything in detail, the king believed and immediately released Thomas from prison. Then, when he heard the apostle's preaching of salvation and eternal life, the king and his brother were baptized. King Gundafor undertook new works of charity, and built an even more magnificent palace in the heavens for himself.
Contemplate the injustice of King Amon and God's punishment of him (II Chronicles 33):
1. How Amon, the son of Manasseh, turned from God and did that which is evil in the sight of the Lord;
2. How he reigned for only two years, and was slain by his servants.
on the king's repentance
I am weary with my groaning; all night I wash my bed; I water my couch with my tears (Psalms 6:6).
Day replaces night, and night replaces day. Let our daily repentance be succeeded by nightly repentance, and our nightly repentance by daily repentance. Daily repentance is shown primarily in good works; and nightly repentance in prayer, sighing and weeping. Thus, we repay our debt both day and night, by filling them with that which is most worthwhile before the Lord, and that which will go with us to the Judgment of God. Look at King David and behold an example of true repentance. It is not enough to confess one's sin before a priest and consider it forgiven. Behold, even David acknowledged his sin before the Prophet Nathan, saying: I have sinned against the Lord (II Samuel 12:13). However, the great king did not consider this enough, but continually sighed in prayer before God, and washed away his sin every night with tears of repentance. Even lying in bed did not serve as rest for him, but as exhaustion from tearful repentance and tearful sighing. Do not say: ``David committed murder and adultery, and therefore he had much to repent for.'' Do you not kill men by your hatred, and commit adultery by your impure thoughts and desires? Brethren, this life is not to justify ourselves but to condemn ourselves. Blessed is he whom God will justify at the Dread Judgment.
Repentance is not a matter for one hour or for one day. Repentance should be our inner occupation to the end of life. All night I water my couch, said King David. That does not mean that there is no need for repentance during the day, but that the outpouring of spiritual repentance is more suited to the night than the day. In the stillness of the night, both our sins and God's judgment come more clearly into focus. Doesn't the night remind us more clearly of death than the day? Doesn't the bed remind us of the nearness of the grave?
O Lord, just and wonderful, truly we cannot repent without Thy help. Help us, O All-good One, that we might see our sinful wounds, and smell the stench from them, and weep over ourselves-before our kinsmen begin to weep over our dead bodies, and before our guardian angels begin to weep over the carrion of our souls, when they are cast into the unquenchable fire. Help us and save us, O our God.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.