3rd Sunday after Pentecost
Saints Onuphrius the Great and Peter of Mount Athos
The Reading from the Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Romans (5:1-10)
Brethren: Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope; and hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely will one die for a righteous man, yet perhaps for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Galatians (5:22-6:2)
Brethren, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vainglory, provoking one another and envying one another. Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye who are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew (6:22-33)
The Lord said: ‘The light of the body is the eye. If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They toil not, neither do they spin, and yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Therefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘Wherewith shall we be clothed?’ (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek.) For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.’
Holy Gospel according to Matthew (11:27-30)
The Lord said to His disciples: ‘All things are delivered unto Me by My Father, and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him. Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.’
Troparion of the Resurrection (Tone 2)
When Thou didst descend unto death, O Life Immortal, then didst Thou slay Hades with the lightning of Thy Divinity. And when Thou didst also raise the dead out of the nethermost depths, all the Hosts of the heavens cried out: O Life-giver, Christ our God, glory be to Thee.
Troparion of Saints Onuphrius and Peter (Tone 4)
O God of our fathers, deal ever with us according to Thy gentleness, take not Thy mercy from us, but by their supplications direct our life in peace.
Kontakion of the Resurrection (Tone 2)
Thou didst rise from the tomb, O omnipotent Saviour, and Hades was terrified on beholding the wonder; and the dead arose, and creation at the sight thereof rejoiceth with Thee. And Adam also is joyful, and the world, O my Saviour, praiseth Thee forever.
Kontakion of St Onuphrius (Tone 3)
Illumined by the radiance of the all-holy Spirit, O divinely wise one, thou didst forsake all the tumults of life; and on reaching the desert, O venerable father, thou didst gladden God the Creator, Who is over all things. Wherefore, Christ, the great Bestower of gifts, doth glorify thee, O blessed one.
Kontakion of St Peter the Athonite (Tone 2)
Having withdrawn thyself from human companionship, out of divine desire and love for thy Lord, O Peter, thou didst dwell in caves of stone and deep ravines; and thou didst receive from Him a crown. Pray thou unceasingly, that we be saved.
THE VENERABLE ONUPHRIUS THE GREAT
This saintly hermit had been living in the desert for sixty full years when the monk Paphnutius visited him. His hair and beard reached to the ground and his body, due to a long period of nakedness, was covered with long hair. All his hair was white as snow and his entire appearance was brilliant, sublime and awesome. Seeing Paphnutius, Onuphrius called him by name and recounted to him his [Onuphrius’s] life in the wilderness. His guardian angel had appeared to him and brought him to this place in the wilderness. For a long time he had eaten only vegetables, which could rarely be found in the wilderness. After he had endured violent combat with the temptations of the demons, and his heart had been completely strengthened in the love of God, an angel of God brought him bread for nourishment. Besides that, by the good providence of God, there grew up next to his cell a palm tree that brought forth dates abundantly, and a spring of living water began to flow there. “However,” Onuphrius said: “I mostly nourish myself and quench my thirst with the sweet words of God.” To Paphnutius’s question as to how he received Holy Communion, the hermit answered that an angel of God brought him Holy Communion every Saturday. The next day the elder told Paphnutius that it was the day of his departure from this world; he knelt down, prayed to God and gave up his spirit unto God. At that moment Paphnutius saw a heavenly light illuminating the body of the reposed saint and heard the singing of angelic hosts. Having honorably buried the body of Onuphrius, Paphnutius returned to his monastery, that as a living witness he might narrate to others, for their benefit, the wondrous life of this man and the greatness of God’s providence toward those who have completely given themselves over to the service of God. Onuphrius died in the year 400 A.D.
VENERABLE PETER THE ATHONITE
Peter was a Greek by birth and a soldier by profession. Once, in battle against the Arabs, Peter was captured, bound in chains, and cast into prison. Peter remained imprisoned a long time in the town of Samara on the Euphrates River, and he constantly prayed that God would free him from prison and take him to a wilderness, where he would dedicate himself completely to a life of prayerful asceticism. St. Simeon the Receiver of God, together with St. Nicholas, appeared to him in prison and touched his iron chains with his staff; they melted like wax and Peter suddenly found himself in a field outside the town. He immediately set out for Rome, where he was tonsured a monk by the pope himself at the tomb of St. Peter. After this he again departed by boat for the east. The All-Holy Birth-giver of God, along with St. Nicholas, appeared to him in a dream, and the Birth-giver of God told St. Nicholas that she had designated Mt. Athos for Peter to live on in asceticism. Up to this time Peter had never heard of Mount Athos. Disembarking therefore on the Holy Mountain, Peter settled in a cave, where he remained for fifty-three years in difficult ascetic labors, in a struggle with hunger and thirst, with heat and cold, and especially with deomonic powers, until he had overcome all with the help of God. After he had endured the first temptations and had successfully passed the first difficult tests before God, an angel of God began to bring him bread every forty days.
On several occasions, the tempter–the devil–appeared to him under the guise of an angel of light, but Peter repelled him with the sign of the Cross and the name of the All-Holy Birth-giver of God. About a year before his death he was discovered by a hunter who was hunting deer around Athos, and from the mouth of the saint heard his life’s story. He died in the year 734 A.D. His relics were translated to Macedonia.