21st Sunday after Pentecost
Commemoration of the Holy Martyr Longinus, the Centurion Who Stood at the Foot of the Cross of the Lord
Holy Gospel according to John (20:1-14)
At that time, Jesus showed Himself to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way showed He Himself: There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of His disciples. Simon Peter said unto them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said unto him, ‘We also go with thee.’ They went forth and entered into a boat immediately; and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus said unto them, ‘Children, have ye any meat?’ And they answered Him, ‘No.’ And He said unto them, ‘Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and ye shall find.’ They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it in for the multitude of fishes. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said unto Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girded his fisher’s coat unto him (for he was naked) and cast himself into the sea. And the other disciples came in a little boat (for they were not far from land, but, as it were, two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fishes. As soon then as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon and bread. Jesus said unto them, ‘Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.’ Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of great fishes, a hundred and fifty three; and though there were so many, yet the net was not broken. Jesus said unto them, ‘Come and dine.’ And none of the disciples dared ask Him, ‘Who art Thou?’ knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then came and took bread and gave it to them, and fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was risen from the dead.
Brethren: Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid! For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to Timothy (2:1-10)
Timothy my child: Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke (8:5-15)
The Lord said this parable: ‘A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside, and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock, and as soon as it had sprung up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up and bore fruit a hundredfold.’ And when He had said these things, He cried, ‘He that hath ears to hear, let him hear!’ And His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘What might this parable mean?’ And He said, ‘Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; but to others in parables, that ‘seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.’ Now the parable is this: The seed is the Word of God. Those by the wayside are they that hear; then cometh the devil and taketh away the Word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. The seed on the rock are they that, when they hear, receive the Word with joy, but they have no root: they for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they that, when they have heard, go forth and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they that, in an honest and good heart, having heard the Word, keep it and bring forth fruit with patience.’ And He said, ‘He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.’
Holy Gospel according to Matthew (27:33-54)
At that time, when the soldiers were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a Place of a Skull, they gave Jesus vinegar to drink mingled with gall. And when He had tasted thereof, He would not drink. And they crucified Him and parted His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: ‘They parted My garments among them, and upon My vesture did they cast lots.’ And sitting down, they watched Him there, and set up over His head His accusation, written: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then were there two thieves crucified with Him, one on the right hand and another on the left. And those who passed by reviled Him, wagging their heads and saying, ‘Thou that destroyest the temple and buildest it in three days, save thyself! If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross!’ Likewise also the chief priests mocking Him, with the scribes and elders said, ’He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver him now, if He will have him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’’ The thieves also, who were crucified with Him, cast the same in His teeth. Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is to say, ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’ Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, ‘This man calleth for Elijah.’ And straightway one of them ran and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed and gave Him to drink. The rest said, ‘Let be; let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.’ Jesus, when He had cried out again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And behold, the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom, and the earth quaked and the rocks rent. And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who slept arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the Holy City and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and those who were with him watching Jesus, saw the earthquake and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, ‘Truly, this was the Son of God!’
Troparion of the Resurrection (Tone 4)
Having learned the joyful proclamation of the Resurrection from the angel, and having cast off the ancestral condemnation, the women disciples of the Lord spake to the apostles exultantly: Death is despoiled and Christ God is risen, granting to the world great mercy.
Troparion of the Holy Martyr Longinus (Tone 4)
In his sufferings O Lord, Thy martyr Longinus hath received an imperishable crown from Thee, our God; for, possessed of Thy might, he set at nought his tormentors and crushed the feeble audacity of the demons. By his supplications save Thou our souls.
Kontakion of the Resurrection (Tone 4)
My Saviour and Redeemer hath, as God, raised up the earthborn from the grave and from their fetters, and He hath broken the gates of hades, and, as Master, hath risen on the third day.
Kontakion of the Holy Martyr Longinus (Tone 8)
The Church hath rejoiced in gladness on the day of the commemoration of the ever-memorable athlete Longinus, crying out: Thou art my might and confirmation, O Christ!
THE HOLY MARTYR LONGINUS
The divine Matthew the Evangelist, in describing the passion of the Lord Jesus Christ, says: Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God (Matthew 27:54). That centurion was this blessed Longinus, who with two other of his soldiers came to believe in Jesus, the Son of God. Longinus was chief of the soldiers who were present at the Crucifixion of the Lord on Golgotha, and was also the chief of the watch that guarded the tomb. When the Jewish elders learned of the Resurrection of Christ, they bribed the soldiers to spread the false news that Christ did not resurrect, but rather that His disciples stole His body. The Jews also tried to bribe Longinus, but he did not allow himself to be bribed. Then the Jews resorted to their usual strategy: they decided to kill Longinus. Learning of this, Longinus removed his military belt, was baptized with his two companions by an apostle, secretly left Jerusalem and moved to Cappadocia with his companions. There, he devoted himself to fasting and prayer and, as a living witness of Christ’s Resurrection, converted many pagans to the true Faith by his witness. After that, he withdrew to a village on the estate of his father. Even there, however, the malice of the Jews did not leave him in peace. Due to the calumnies of the Jews, Pilate dispatched soldiers to behead Longinus. St. Longinus foresaw in the spirit the approach of his executioners and went out to meet them. He brought them to his home, not telling them who he was. He was a good host to the soldiers, and soon they lay down to sleep. But St. Longinus stood up to pray, and prayed all night long, preparing himself for death. In the morning, he called his two companions to him, clothed himself in white burial clothes, and instructed the other members of his household to bury him on a particular small hill. He then went to the soldiers and told them that he was that Longinus whom they were seeking. The soldiers were perplexed and ashamed, and could not even contemplate beheading Longinus, but he insisted that they fulfill the order of their superior. Thus, Longinus and his two companions were beheaded. The soldiers took Longinus’s head to Pilate, and he turned it over to the Jews. They threw it on a dung heap outside the city.