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Exaltation of the Cross

Exaltation of the Cross

Readings – Vigil

Reading from Exodus (Exodus 15:22-16:1a)

Moses brought up the children of Israel from the Red Sea, and brought them into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water to drink. And they came to Marah, and could not drink of Marah, for it was bitter; therefore he named the name of that place, Bitterness. And the people murmured against Moses, saying: ‘What shall we drink?’ And Moses cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree, and he cast it into the water, and the water was sweetened. There He established to him ordinances and judgements, and there He proved him, and said: ‘If thou wilt indeed hear the voice of the Lord thy God, and do things pleasing before Him, and wilt hearken to His commands, and keep all His ordinances, no disease which I have brought upon the Egyptians will I bring upon thee, for I am the Lord thy God, Who healeth thee.’ And they came to Elim, and there were there twelve fountains of water, and seventy stems of palm trees; and they encamped there by the waters. And they departed from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sin.

Reading from Proverbs (Proverbs 3:11-18)

My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him: for whom the Lord loveth, He rebuketh, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. Blessed is the man who hath found wisdom, and the mortal who knoweth prudence. For it is better to traffic for her, than for treasures of gold and silver. And she is more valuable than precious stones: no evil thing shall resist her; she is well known to all who approach her, and no precious thing is equal to her in value. For length of existence and years of life are in her right hand; and in her left hand are wealth and glory: out of her mouth proceedeth righteousness, and she carrieth law and mercy upon her tongue. Her ways are good ways, and all her paths are peaceful. She is a tree of life to all who lay hold upon her; and she is a secure help to all who stay themselves on her, as on the Lord.

Reading from the Prophecy of Isaiah (Isaiah 60:11-16)

Thus saith the Lord: ‘Thy gates shall be opened continually, O Jerusalem; they shall not be shut day nor night; to bring in to thee the power of the gentiles, and their kings as captives. For the nations and the kings which will not serve thee shall perish; and those nations shall be made utterly desolate. And the glory of Lebanon shall come to thee, with the cypress, and pine, and cedar together, to glorify My holy place. And the sons of those who afflicted thee, and of those who provoked thee, shall come to thee in fear; and thou shalt be called Sion, the city of the Holy One of Israel. Because thou hast become desolate and hated, and there was no helper, therefore I will make thee a perpetual gladness, a joy of many generations. And thou shalt suck the milk of the gentiles, and shalt eat the wealth of kings; and shalt know that I am the Lord Who saveth thee and delivereth thee: the God of Israel.’

Holy Gospel according to John (12:28-36)

The Lord said: ‘Father, glorify Thy name.’ Then there came a voice from Heaven, saying, ‘I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.’ The people therefore who stood by and heard it said that it thundered. Others said, ‘An angel spoke to him.’ Jesus answered and said, ‘This voice came not because of Me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgement of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.’ This He said, signifying what death He should die. The people answered Him, ‘We have heard from the law that Christ abideth for ever; and how sayest thou, “The Son of Man must be lifted up”? Who is this son of man?’ Then Jesus said unto them, ‘Yet a little while is the Light with you. Walk while ye have the Light, lest darkness come upon you; for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have Light, believe in the Light, that ye may be the children of Light.’

Readings – Liturgy

The Reading from the First Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Corinthians (1:18-24)

Brethren: The preaching of the Cross is to those who perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved, it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.’ Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness, but unto those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the Power of God and the Wisdom of God.

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to John (19:6-11, 13-20, 25-28, 30-35)

At that time, the high priests and elders took council against Jesus to put Him to death. And they delivered Him to Pilate saying, ‘Away with him, away with him! Crucify him!’ Pilate saith unto them, ‘Take ye him and crucify him, for I find no fault in him.’ The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.’ When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid. And he went again into the judgement hall and saith unto Jesus, ‘From whence art thou?’ But Jesus gave him no answer. Then saith Pilate unto Him, ‘Speakest thou not unto me? Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?’ Jesus answered, ‘Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above.’ […] When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth and sat down in the judgement seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the Preparation of the Passover and about the sixth hour. And he saith unto the Jews, ‘Behold your King!’ But they cried out, ‘Away with him, away with him! Crucify him!’ Pilate saith unto them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar!’ Then delivered he Him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus and led Him away. And He bearing His Cross went forth into a place called the Place of a Skull (which is called in the Hebrew, Golgotha) where they crucified Him and two other with Him, on either side one and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title and put it on the Cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title then read many of the Jews, for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city, and it was written in Hebrew and Greek and Latin. […] Now there stood by the Cross of Jesus His Mother, and His Mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His Mother and the disciple standing by whom He loved, He saith unto His Mother, ‘Woman, behold thy son!’ Then saith He to the disciple, ‘Behold thy Mother!’ And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, […] bowed His head and gave up the ghost. The Jews therefore, because it was the Preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day (for that Sabbath day was an high day), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers and brake the legs of the first and of the other which was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was dead already, they brake not His legs, but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true.


Troparion of the Exaltation of the Cross (Tone 1)

Save, O Lord, Thy people and bless Thine inheritance; grant Thou unto Orthodox Christians victory over enemies; and by the power of Thy Cross do Thou preserve Thy commonwealth.

Kontakion of the Exaltation of the Cross (Tone 4)

O Thou Who wast lifted up willingly on the Cross, bestow Thy mercies upon the new community named after Thee, O Christ God; gladden with Thy power the Orthodox Christians, granting them victory over enemies; may they have as Thy help the weapon of peace, the invincible trophy.

Exaltation of the Cross

Two events in connection with the Honorable Cross of Christ are commemorated on this day: first, the finding of the Honorable Cross on Golgotha and second, the return of the Honorable Cross from Persia to Jerusalem. Visiting the Holy Land, the holy Empress Helena decided to find the Honorable Cross of Christ. An old Jewish man named Judah was the only one who knew where the Cross was located, and, constrained by the empress, he revealed that the Cross was buried under the temple of Venus that Emperor Hadrian had built on Golgotha. The empress ordered that this idolatrous temple be razed and, having dug deep below it, found three crosses. While the empress pondered on how to recognize which of these was the Cross of Christ, a funeral procession passed by. Patriarch Macarius told them to place the crosses, one by one, on the dead man. When they placed the first and second cross on the dead man, the dead man lay unchanged. When they placed the third cross on him, the dead man came back to life. By this they knew that this was the Precious and Life-giving Cross of Christ. They then placed the Cross on a sick woman, and she became well. The patriarch elevated the Cross for all the people to see, and the people sang with tears: “Lord, have mercy!” Empress Helena had a silver case made and set the Honorable Cross in it. Later, the Persian Emperor Chozroes conquered Jerusalem, enslaved many people, and took the Lord’s Cross to Persia. The Cross remained in Persia for fourteen years. In the year 628 A.D. the Greek Emperor Heraclius defeated Chozroes and, with much ceremony, returned the Cross to Jerusalem. As he entered the city Emperor Heraclius carried the Cross on his back, but suddenly was unable to take another step. Patriarch Zacharias saw an angel preventing the emperor from bearing the Cross on the same path that the Lord had walked barefoot and humiliated. The patriarch communicated this vision to the emperor. The emperor removed his raiment and, in ragged attire and barefoot, took up the Cross, carried it to Golgotha, and placed it in the Church of the Resurrection, to the joy and consolation of the whole Christian world.

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16th Sunday after Pentecost – Venerable Mother Theodora of Alexandria

14th Sunday after Pentecost

Sunday before the Elevation of the Cross, Afterfeast of the Nativity of the All-Holy Theotokos Commemoration 0f Our Venerable Mother Theodora of Alexandria


The Reading from the Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Galatians (6:11-18)

Brethren: See how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand. As many as desire to make a fair showing in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised, only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For not even they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but they desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen

Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Corinthians (II Corinthians 6:1-10)

Brethren: We as workers together with Him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For He saith, ‘I have heard thee at an accepted time, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee.’ Behold, now is the accepted time! Behold, now is the day of salvation!) Give no offense in anything, that the ministry be not blamed; but in all things commending ourselves as the ministers of God in much patience: in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left; through honour and dishonour, through evil report and good report; though counted as deceivers and yet true, as unknown and yet well known, as dying and yet behold we live, as chastened and not killed, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing; as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing and yet possessing all things.

Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Galatians (3:23-29)

Brethren: Before faith came, we were kept under the law, being shut apart from the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Therefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to John (3:13-17)

The Lord said, ‘No man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man Who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.’

Holy Gospel according to Matthew (25: 14-30)

The Lord said this parable: ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to every man according to his several ability, and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them another five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained another two. But he that had received one went and dug in the earth and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and reckoned with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought the other five talents, saying, ‘Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents. Behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.’ His lord said unto him, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.’ He also that had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents; behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.’ His lord said unto him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.’ Then he that had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew thee, that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strewed. And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth. Lo, there thou hast what is thine.’ His lord answered and said unto him, ‘Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strewed. Thou ought therefore to have placed my money with the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with interest. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him that hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him that hath not, shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.’

Holy Gospel according to John (8:3-11)

At that time, the scribes and Pharisees brought unto Him a woman taken in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said unto Him, ‘Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us that such should be stoned but what sayest thou?’ This they said testing Him, that they might have cause to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though He heard them not. So when they continued asking Him, He lifted Himself up and said unto them, ‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.’ And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. And they who heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the eldest even unto the last, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted Himself up and saw none but the woman, He said unto her, ‘Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?’ She said, ‘No man, Lord.’ And Jesus said unto her, ‘Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no more.’


Troparion of the Resurrection (Tone 7)

Thou didst destroy death by Thy Cross, Thou didst open paradise to the thief. Thou didst change the lamentation of the Myrrh-bearers, and Thou didst command Thine Apostles to proclaim that Thou didst arise, O Christ God, and grantest to the world great mercy.

Troparion of the Nativity of the Theotokos (Tone 4)

Thy nativity, O Theotokos Virgin, hath proclaimed joy to all the world; for from thee hath dawned the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, annulling the curse, and bestowing the blessing, abolishing death and granting us life eternal.

Troparion of St Theodora of Alexandria (Tone 8)

In thee, O mother, that which is fashioned according to the image of God was preserved; for, having taken up thy cross, thou didst follow Christ; and by thine example didst teach that the flesh is to be disdained as transitory, but that the soul must be cared for as a thing immortal. Wherefore, thy spirit doth rejoice with angels, O venerable Theodora.

Kontakion of the Resurrection (Tone 7)

No longer will the dominion of death be able to keep men captive, for Christ hath descended, demolishing and destroying the powers thereof. Hades is bound; the prophets rejoice with one voice, saying: A Saviour hath come for them that have faith. Come forth, ye faithful, for the Resurrection.

Kontakion of St Theodora of Alexandria (Tone 2)

Laying waste thy body through fasting, thou didst entreat the Creator with vigils of prayer because of thy sin, that, receiving full forgiveness, thou mightest also receive remission, having come to know the path of repentance.

Kontakion of the Nativity of the Theotokos (Tone 4)

Joachim and Anna were freed from the reproach of childlessness and Adam and Eve from the corruption of death, by thy holy nativity, O immaculate one, which thy people, redeemed from the guilt of offenses, celebrate, by crying to thee: The barren woman giveth birth to the Theotokos, the nourisher of our life.



Theodora was from Alexandria and the wife of a young man. Persuaded by a fortune-teller, she committed adultery with another man and immediately felt the bitter pangs of conscience. She cut her hair, dressed in men’s clothing and entered the Monastery of Octodecatos, under the male name of Theodore. Her labor, fasting, vigilance, humbleness and tearful repentance amazed the entire brotherhood. When a promiscuous young woman slandered her, saying that Theodore had made her pregnant, Theodora did not want to justify herself, but considered this slander as a punishment from God for her earlier sin. Banished from the monastery, she spent seven years living in the forest and wilderness and, in addition, caring for the child of that promiscuous girl. She overcame all diabolical temptations: she refused to worship Satan, refused to accept food from the hands of a soldier, and refused to heed the pleas of her husband to return to him–for all of this was only a diabolical illusion, and as soon as Theodora made the sign of the Cross everything vanished as smoke. After seven years, the abbot received her back into the monastery, where she lived for two more years, and reposed in the Lord. Only then did the monks learn that she was a woman; an angel appeared to the abbot and explained everything to him. Her husband came to the burial, and then remained in the cell of his former wife until his repose. St. Theodora possessed much grace from God: she tamed wild beasts, healed infirmities, and brought forth water from a dry well. Thus, God glorified a true penitent, who with heroic patience repented nine years for just one sin. She reposed in the year 490 A.D.

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Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos

Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos

Readings – Vigil

Reading from Genesis (28:10-17)

Jacob went forth from the well of the oath, and departed unto Harran, and came to a certain place and slept there, for the sun had gone down; and he took one of the stones of the place, and put it at his head, and lay down to sleep in that place, and dreamed, and beheld a ladder fixed on the earth, whose top reached to heaven, and the angels of God ascended and descended on it. And the Lord stood upon it, and said: ‘I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac. Fear not; the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed. And thy seed shall be as the sand of the earth; and it shall spread abroad to the sea, and to the south, and to the north, and to the east; and in thee and in thy seed shall all tribes of the earth be blessed. And behold, I am with thee to preserve thee continually in all the way wherein thou shalt go; and [I will bring thee back to this land; for] I will not desert thee, until I have done all that I have said to thee.’ And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and said: ‘The Lord is in this place, and I knew it not.’ And he was afraid, and said: ‘How fearful is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!’

Reading from the Prophecy of Ezekiel (43:27-44:4a)

Thus saith the Lord: ‘It shall come to pass from the eighth day and onward, that the priests shall offer your wholeburnt-offerings on the altar, and your peace-offerings; and I will accept you,’ saith the Lord. Then He brought me back by way of the outer gate of the sanctuary that looketh eastward; and it was shut. And the Lord said to me: ‘This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall pass through it; for the Lord God of Israel shall enter by it, and it shall be shut. For the Prince, He shall sit in it, to eat bread before the Lord; He shall go in by the way of the porch of the gate, and shall go forth by the way of the same.’ And He brought me in by the way of the gate that looketh northward, in front of the house: and I looked, and, behold! the house was full of the glory of the Lord.

Reading from Proverbs (9:1-11)

Wisdom hath built a house for herself and set up seven pillars. She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine in a bowl and prepared her table. She hath sent forth her servants, calling with a loud proclamation to the feast, saying: ‘Whoso is foolish, let him turn aside to me.’ And to those who want understanding, she saith: ‘Come, eat of my bread, and drink wine which I have mingled for you. Leave folly, that ye may reign forever; and seek wisdom, and improve understanding by knowledge.’ He who reproveth evil men shall get dishonour to himself; and he who rebuketh an ungodly man shall disgrace himself. Rebuke not evil men, lest they should hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give an opportunity to a wise man, and he will be wiser: instruct a just man, and he will receive more instruction. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the counsel of the law is the character of a sound mind. For in this way thou shalt live long, and years of thy life shall be added to thee.

Holy Gospel according to Luke (1:39-49, 56)

In those days Mary arose and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah, and entered into the house of Zacharias and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb, and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. And she spake out with a loud voice and said, ‘Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And why is it granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed; for there shall be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.’ And Mary said, ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden; for behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For He that is mighty hath done to me great things, and holy is His name.’ […] And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.

Readings – Liturgy

The Reading from the Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Philippians (2:5-11)

Brethren: Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion of a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death – even the death of the Cross. Therefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke (10:38-42; 11:27-28)

At that time, Jesus entered into a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His Word. But Martha was encumbered with much serving, and came to Him and said, ‘Lord, dost Thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me.’ And Jesus answered and said unto her, ‘Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and troubled about many things. But one thing is needful, and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.’ […] And it came to pass, as He spoke these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice and said unto Him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore Thee and the breasts which Thou hast sucked.’ But He said, ‘Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it.’


Troparion of the Nativity of the Theotokos (Tone 4)

Thy nativity, O Theotokos Virgin, hath proclaimed joy to all the world; for from thee hath dawned the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, annulling the curse, and bestowing the blessing, abolishing death and granting us life eternal.

Kontakion of the Nativity of the Theotokos (Tone 4)

Joachim and Anna were freed from the reproach of childlessness and Adam and Eve from the corruption of death, by thy holy nativity, O immaculate one, which thy people, redeemed from the guilt of offenses, celebrate, by crying to thee: The barren woman giveth birth to the Theotokos, the nourisher of our life.

Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos

The Holy Virgin Mary was born of aged parents, Joachim and Anna. Her father was of the lineage of David, and her mother of the lineage of Aaron. Thus, she was of royal birth by her father, and of priestly birth by her mother. In this, she foreshadowed Him Who would be born of her as King and High Priest. Her parents were quite old and had no children. Because of this they were ashamed before men and humble before God. In their humility they prayed to God with tears, to bring them joy in their old age by giving them a child, as He had once given joy to the aged Abraham and his wife Sarah by giving them Isaac. The Almighty and All-seeing God rewarded them with a joy that surpassed all their expectations and all their most beautiful dreams. For He gave them not just a daughter, but the Mother of God. He illumined them not only with temporal joy, but with eternal joy as well. God gave them just one daughter, and she would later give them just one grandson–but what a daughter and what a Grandson! Mary, Full of grace, Blessed among women, the Temple of the Holy Spirit, the Altar of the Living God, the Table of the Heavenly Bread, the Ark of God’s Holiness, the Tree of the Sweetest Fruit, the Glory of the race of man, the Praise of womanhood, the Fount of virginity and purity–this was the daughter given by God to Joachim and Anna. She was born in Nazareth, and at the age of three, was taken to the Temple in Jerusalem. In her young womanhood she returned again to Nazareth, and shortly thereafter heard the Annunciation of the Holy Archangel Gabriel concerning the birth of the Son of God, the Savior of the world, from her most-pure virgin body.

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The Reading from the Acts of the Holy Apostles (13:25-33)

In those days, as John fulfilled his course, he said: ‘Whom think ye that I am? I am not He. But, behold, there cometh One after me, the shoes of Whose feet I am not worthy to loose.’ ‘Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him. And though they found no cause of death in Him, yet desired they Pilate that He should be slain. And when they had fulfilled all that was written of Him, they took Him down from the tree, and laid Him in a sepulchre. But God raised Him from the dead; and He was seen many days of them which came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses unto the people. And we declare unto you glad tidings of the promise which was made unto the fathers: God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that He hath raised up Jesus again.’

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark (6:14-30)

At that time, king Herod heard of Jesus, for His name was spread abroad. And he said ‘John the Baptist is risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in Him.’ Others said, ‘It is Elias.’ And others said, ‘It is a prophet, or as one of the prophets.’ But when Herod heard thereof, he said, ‘It is John, whom I beheaded; he is risen from the dead.’ For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John and bound him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife; for he had married her. For John had said unto Herod, ‘It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.’ Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him and would have killed him, but she could not; for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and kept him safe. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly. And when a convenient day was come, when Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee, and when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, ‘Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee.’ And he sware unto her, ‘Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom.’ And she went forth and said unto her mother, ‘What shall I ask?’ And she said, ‘The head of John the Baptist.’ And she came in straightway with haste unto the king and asked, saying, ‘I will that thou give me by and by on a charger the head of John the Baptist.’ And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath’s sake and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her. And immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded his head to be brought. And he went and beheaded him in the prison, and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the damsel; and the damsel gave it to her mother. And when John’s disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb. And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught.


Troparion of St John the Baptist (Tone 2)

The memory of the righteous is celebrated with hymns of praise, but the Lord’s testimony is sufficient for thee, O Forerunner; for thou hast proved to be truly even more venerable than the prophets, since thou wast granted to baptise in the running waters Him Whom they proclaimed. Wherefore, having contested for the truth, thou didst rejoice to announce the good tidings even to those in hades: that God hath appeared in the flesh, taking away the sin of the world and granting us great mercy.

Kontakion of Beheading of the Forerunner (Tone 5)

The glorious beheading of the Forerunner was a certain Divine dispensation, that the coming of the Saviour might also be preached to those in hades. Lament then, Herodias, that thou hast demanded a wicked murder, for thou didst love neither the law of God nor eternal life, but one false and fleeting.


Herod Antipas (son of the elder Herod who slew the children of Bethlehem at the time of Christ’s birth) was ruler of Galilee when John the Baptist was preaching. He was married to the daughter of Aretas, an Arabian prince. But Herod, an evil sprout of an evil root, put away his lawful wife and unlawfully took Herodias as his concubine. Herodias was the wife of his brother Philip, who was still alive. John the Baptist stood up against this lawlessness and strongly denounced Herod. Herod then cast John into prison. During a banquet in his court at Sebastia in Galilee, Salome–the daughter of Herodias and Philip–danced before the guests. Herod, drunk with wine, was so taken by this dance that he promised Salome anything she asked of him, even if it were half of his kingdom. Salome was persuaded by Herodias to ask for the head of John the Baptist. Herod gave the order, and John was beheaded in prison–and his head was presented to him on a platter. John’s disciples took the body of their teacher by night and honorably buried it, but Herodias pierced John’s tongue with a needle repeadedly, and buried his head in an unclean place. What later happened to John the Baptist’s head can be read on February 24. However, God’s punishment quickly befell this group of evildoers. Prince Aretas, avenging his daughter’s honor, waged war against Herod with his army and defeated him. The defeated Herod was sentenced by the Roman Caesar, Caligula, to exile (at first to Gaul, then later to Spain). Herod and Herodias lived in poverty and humiliation in exile, until the earth opened up and swallowed them. Salome died an evil death on the Sikaris (Sula) River (see “Reflection” below). St. John’s beheading occurred just before Passover [the Pascha] but its celebration on August 29 was established because a church that had been built over his grave in Sebastia (by Emperor Constantine and Empress Helena) was consecrated on August 29. The relics of John’s disciples, Eliseus and Audius, were also placed in that church.

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14th Sunday after Pentecost – Our Venerable Father Job Abbot of Pochaev

14th Sunday after Pentecost

Our Venerable Father Job Abbot of Pochaev


The Reading from the Second Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Corinthians (II Corinthians 1:21-2:4)

Brethren: He Who establisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God, who hath also put His seal upon us, and given us the pledge of the Spirit in our hearts. Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that it was to spare you that I came not as yet unto Corinth, not that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers for your joy. For by faith ye stand. But I determined this within myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. For if I make you sorrowful, who is he then who maketh me glad, but the same who is made sorrowful by me? And I wrote as I did unto you lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from those of whom I ought to rejoice, having confidence in you all that my joy is the joy of you all. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears, not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly for you.

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 (22:1-14)

The Lord said this parable: ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a certain king, who made a marriage for his son. And he sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding, and they would not come. Again he sent forth other servants, saying, ‘Tell them that are bidden, ‘Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready. Come unto the marriage.’‘ But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his farm, and another to his merchandise, and the remnant took his servants and treated them spitefully and slew them. But when the king heard thereof he was wroth, and he sent forth his armies and destroyed those murderers and burned up their city. Then said he to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but they that were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.’ So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered all together as many as they found, both bad and good, and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man who did not have on a wedding garment. And he said unto him, ‘Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.’

Holy Gospel according to Luke (6:17-23a)

At that time, Jesus stood on the plain with the company of His disciples and a great multitude of people out of all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases, and those who were vexed with unclean spirits; and they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for there went virtue out of Him and healed them all. And He lifted up His eyes on His disciples and said, ‘Blessed be ye poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now, for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now, for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in Heaven.’


Troparion of the Resurrection (Tone 5)

Let us, O faithful, praise and worship the Word Who is co-unoriginate with the Father and the Spirit, and Who was born of the Virgin for our salvation; for He was pleased to ascend the Cross in the flesh and to endure death, and to raise the dead by His glorious Resurrection.

Troparion of St Job of Pochaev (Tone 4)

Having acquired the patience of thy long-suffering forefather, and having resembled the Baptist in abstinence, and having shared the divine zeal of both, thou wast vouchsafed to receive their names, and thou wast a fearless preacher of the true Faith. In this way thou didst bring a multitude of monastics to Christ, and thou didst strengthen all the people in Orthodoxy, O Job, our holy father. Pray thou that our souls be saved.

Kontakion of the Resurrection (Tone 5)

Unto hades, O my Saviour, didst Thou descend, and having broken its gates as one omnipotent, Thou, as Creator, didst raise up the dead together with Thyself. And Thou didst break the sting of death, and didst deliver Adam from the curse, O Lover of mankind. Wherefore, we all cry unto Thee: Save us, O Lord.

Kontakion of St Job of Pochaev (Tone 4)

Thou wast a pillar of the true Faith, a zealot for the commandments of the Gospel, a convicter of pride, an intercessor and teacher of the humble; wherefore, ask for forgiveness of sins for them that bless thee; and do thou keep thy community unharmed, O Job, our father, who dost resemble the long-suffering patriarch.



The future saint Job was born Ivan Zhelezo in 1551 to pious parents, Ioann and Agafia, in Pokut’a in Galicia, near the city of Kolomia. As a child he developed high spiritual aspirations, and used the lives of Ss Sava and John of Damascus as well as the “Ladder” of St John Climacus as models of virtuous life. At the age of ten, Ivan left his parents and asked the abbot of the Transfiguration Ugornits Monastery, in the village of Pidhora near the town of Terebovlya, to accept him so that he could serve his “brothers.” He was tonsured a monk two years later, at the age of 12, and was given the name Job. He lived a life of great piety and strict asceticism. About 1581, when he reached the age of 31, he was offered and accepted the dignity of the priesthood. At about the same time he accepted the urgings of Prince Constantine of Ostrozhsh, who was famed as a defender of Orthodoxy, to become abbot of the Monastery of the Elevation of the Holy Cross outside the city of Dubno. For the next twenty years, Hieromonk Job served as the the abbot (hegumen) of this monastery and engaged himself in writing and publishing theological works in an atmosphere of increased tensions. These tensions between the Orthodox and Roman Catholics heightened after the Union of Brest in 1596. His works were collected into The Book of the Venerable Job of Pochaev, Written by His Own Hand. The book contained 80 teachings, conversations, and sermons as well as excerpts of writings from the Holy Fathers. In his writings Fr. Job also defended Orthodoxy against the Protestant heresies presented by missionaries. In his works he presented the Orthodox view of the dogmas of the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the Mother of God, Baptism, and other matters that particularly were rejected by Protestant missionaries.


Moses was an Ethiopian by birth. In the world, he was a thief and the leader of a band of thieves, and yet he became a penitent and a great ascetic. Moses was once a slave, who escaped and joined the thieves. Because of his great physical strength and daring, the robbers chose him as their leader. Then one day he was suddenly overcome with pangs of conscience and repented for his misdeeds. He left the thieves, entered a monastery, and gave himself over completely to obeying his spiritual father and the monastic rule. He benefited much from the teachings of Saints Macarius, Arsenius and Isidore. Later he withdrew to solitude in a cell, where he dedicated himself completely to physical labor, prayer, vigils and contemplating God. Tormented by the demon of lust, Moses confessed to Isidore, his spiritual father, who gave him counsel to increase his fasting, and even when eating to avoid satisfying his appetite. When this regimen did not help, he was counseled to keep all-night vigil and to pray standing. Then he also began the practice of bringing water to the elderly monks from a distant well, all night long. After six years of terrible struggles, St. Isidore miraculously healed him of lustful thoughts, fantasies and dreams perpetrated on him by the demon. Moses was ordained a priest in old age. He founded his own monastery, had seventy-five disciples, and lived to the age of seventy-five. He foresaw his death: one day he told his disciples to flee, for the barbarians were about to attack the monastery. When the disciples urged him to escape with them, Moses said that he had formerly been violent, and had to suffer violence himself, according to the words: For all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword (Matthew 26:52). He remained at the monastery with six brethren, and the barbarians slew them. One of the brethren, hiding nearby, saw seven shining wreaths descend from heaven upon the seven martyrs


Sava was a Serb by descent. He lived a life of asceticism in the Monastery of the Holy Theotokos in Pskov, and then became abbot of that monastery. But they praised him, and so, fleeing the glory of men, he withdrew to the shores of Lake Krypetsk, where he founded a new community dedicated to St. John the Theologian. Nevertheless, he was unable to conceal his fame and prominence even there. He was visited by Prince Yaroslav of Pskov and his wife. Sava would not allow the wife to enter the monastery, but he blessed her and prayed to God for her, and healed her of a disease outside the monastery. This saint of God found rest in the year 1495 A.D. and his relics have retained miracle-working power. Abbot Dositheus was one of his visitors at Krypetsk.

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7th Sunday after Pentecost – Our Venerable Father Anthony of the Caves Of Kiev

7th Sunday after Pentecost

Our Venerable Father Anthony of the Caves Of Kiev


The Reading from the Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Romans (15:1-7)

Brethren: We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not Himself, but as it is written: ‘The reproaches of them that reproached Thee fell on Me.’ For whatsoever things were written in times past, were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another, according to Christ Jesus, that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore receive ye one another as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.

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 (9:27-35)

At that time, when Jesus had departed thence, two blind men followed Him, crying and saying, ‘Thou Son of David, have mercy on us!’ And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him, and Jesus said unto them, ‘Believe ye that I am able to do this?’ They said unto Him, ‘Yea, Lord.’ Then He touched their eyes, saying, ‘According to your faith, be it unto you.’ And their eyes were opened, and Jesus strictly charged them, saying, ‘See that no man know it.’ But they, when they had departed, spread abroad His fame in all that country. As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a man, dumb and possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spoke; and the multitudes marvelled, saying, ‘It was never so seen in Israel.’ But the Pharisees said, ‘He casteth out the devils through the prince of the devils.’ And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

THoly Gospel according to Matthew (4:25-5:12a)

At that time, there followed Jesus great multitudes of people from Galilee and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and from Judea, and from beyond the Jordan. And seeing the multitudes, He went up onto a mountain; and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him. And He opened His mouth and taught them, saying, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in Heaven.’


Troparion of the Resurrection (Tone 6)

Angelic hosts were above Thy tomb, and they that guarded Thee became as dead. And Mary stood by the grave seeking Thine immaculate body. Thou didst despoil hades and wast not tempted by it. Thou didst meet the Virgin and didst grant us life. O Thou Who didst rise from the dead, O Lord, glory be to Thee.

Troparion of St Anthony of the Kiev Caves (Tone 4)

ILeaving behind the tumult of the world, in accordance with the Gospel thou didst follow after Christ, rejecting the world; and living an angelic life, thou didst attain unto the calm haven of Holy Mount Athos, from whence, with the blessing of the fathers, thou didst go to Mount Kiev; and living there an industrious life, thou didst enlighten thy homeland; and showing a multitude of monastics the path which leadeth to the kingdom of heaven, thou didst lead them unto Christ. Him do thou beseech, O venerable Anthony, that He save our souls.

Kontakion of the Resurrection (Tone 6)

Kontakion of the Resurrection (Tone 6)
Having by His life bestowing hand raised up all the dead out of the dark abysses, Christ God, the Giver of life, hath bestowed the Resurrection upon the fallen human race; for He is the Saviour of all, the Resurrection, and the Life, and the God of all.

Kontakion of St Anthony of the Kiev Caves (Tone 8)

Having cleaved unto God, Whom from thy youth thou didst love above all, O venerable one, with love thou didst follow Him with all thy soul; and holding the corrupt world to be as nought, thou didst make a cave in the ground, and, having struggled well therein against the snares of the invisible foe, thou didst shine forth like the radiant sun upon all the ends of the earth. Wherefore, in gladness thou didst pass over to the mansions of heaven. Standing now with the angels before the throne of the Master, be thou mindful of us who honour thy memory, that we may cry out to thee: Rejoice, O Anthony our father!



The founder and father of monasticism in Russia, Anthony was born in the small town of Lyubech near Chernigov. At an early age he left his home and went to Athos, the Holy Mountain, where he was tonsured a monk and lived in asceticism in the Monastery of Esphigmenou. In obedience to a heavenly apparition, the abbot sent Anthony to Russia to establish monasticism there. Anthony chose a cave near Kiev. When those who were desirous of a monastic life gathered around him, he appointed Theodosius abbot, and he himself remained in the cave as a hesychast (silentary). Through the blessing of God, the monastery grew and became the mother of Russian monasticism. Anthony endured much evil from men and from demons, but he conquered all by his humility. He possessed the great gift of clairvoyance and of healing the sick. He reposed in the Lord in the year 1073 A.D., at the age of ninety, leaving his spiritual seedbed (nursery) to bring forth good fruit throughout the ages for the Orthodox people of Russia.


During the reign of the wicked Emperor Licinius, who ruled the eastern half of the Byzantine Empire, there was a great persecution of Christians. In Armenian Nicopolis, St. Leontius, with several of his friends, appeared before Lysius, the representative of Emperor Licinius, and he declared that they were Christians. “And where is your Christ?” Lysius asked. “Was He not crucified and did He not die?” To this St. Leontius replied: “Since you know that our Christ died, know also that He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.” After a lengthy discussion about the Faith, Lysius scourged them and threw them into prison, where they were given neither food nor drink. A highborn Christian woman, Vlassina, brought them water, handing it to them through the window of the prison. And an angel of God appeared to them to comfort and encourage them. When the time came for sentencing, two jailers appeared before Lysius as Christian converts, and many others as well, numbering forty-five in all. The judge sentenced all of them to death, ordering that their arms and legs be severed with an axe and their torsos then be thrown into the fire. This horrible punishment was carried out, and the souls of the holy martyrs took flight to their Lord, entering into eternal life. They honorably suffered and inherited the Kingdom in the year 319 A.D.


At the time of the suffering of our Lord Jesus for mankind, there was among the ranks of the Roman army in Jerusalem a Georgian named Elioz from the town of Mtskheta. His mother had heard of Christ, and believed in Him in her heart. Seeing her son off to the army in Palestine, she had counseled him not to do anything against Christ. When the Lord was nailed to the Cross, the sound of the hammer on Golgotha reached the ears of Elioz’s mother in the town of Mtskheta. Hearing this sound, she cried out: “Woe is me, that I did not die before this time. Death would have rescued me from this dreadful sound!” And saying this, she fell dead. At that time Elioz was beneath the Cross, and with the other soldiers he was casting lots for the tunic [robe] of Christ. He won the vesture, and brought it to Mtskheta, giving it as a gift to his sister Sidonia. Hearing about the death of the Lord, and that her brother had been a participant in the shedding of innocent blood, she fell dead, holding the tunic of the Lord firmly in her hands, such that no one was able to tear it away and they were compelled to bury the tunic with her. A cedar tree sprouted from her grave and it poured forth a sweet-smelling healing myrrh. In time, the cedar tree was cut down and carved into a pillar. At St. Nina’s prayers an angel raised this pillar, which blazed like a column of fire, over the grace, and it came to rest on the pedestal carved from the stump. King Mirian, upon being baptized, erected a church there, dedicating it to the Holy Apostles. In the year 1625 A.D., Shah Abbas took the tunic and sent it to Moscow as a gift to Prince Michael Fyodorovich and Patriarch Philaret, and it was placed in the Cathedral Church of the Dormition [Assumption] of the Blessed Virgin in Moscow.

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Неделя 6-я по Пятидесятнице: Митрополит Филарет

Неделя 6-я по Пятидесятнице:

Митрополит Филарет

Святое Евангелие повествует нам о множестве чудес, которые сотворил во всей Своей земной жизни Господь наш Иисус Христос. Но то чудо, о котором мы слышали в сегодняшнем Евангелии, имеет особый характер, почему, между прочим, оно в году читается дважды: один раз – в Великом Посту и потом еще раз – в один из воскресных дней (уже не во время поста).

В этом чуде мы видим, как вера человека дает ему силу, мужество и решимость добиться своей цели, если даже встречаются несомненные препятствия.

Один человек заболел болезнью, которая в Евангелии именуется расслаблением (по нашему – паралич), и его друзья решили во что бы то ни стало принести его к Божественному Чудотворцу, о Котором слава гремела уже тогда по всей Палестине. Но когда друзья принесли его к дому, где учил Господь, то оказалось, что нет никакой возможности приблизиться к Нему, потому что Его окружала масса народа. У них была тяжелая ноша – они несли своего больного друга в переносной постели, или на носилках, – и увидели, что им никак к Нему не пройти.

И вот тогда они не остановились перед совершенно необычным средством: поднявшись на плоскую, сделанную из черепицы крышу, они ее разобрали; быть может, хозяева дома особого удовольствия не испытывали, видя это, но они сделали свое дело и таким чрезвычайным способом добились того, что переносную постель, на которой лежал расслабленный, опустили прямо к ногам Спасителя.

Но как назидательно дальнейшее повествование об этом чуде! Евангелист говорит, что Спаситель, видя веру их, говорит расслабленному: “Отпускаются тебе грехи твои.” Обратите внимание на слова “веру их;” не сказано “веру его,” т.е. самого расслабленного. Возможно, слова “веру их” относились и к нему, а м. б. и нет, потому что паралич мог его привести в полное расслабление и душевных и телесных сил. У него самого вера могла и поколебаться, м. б. у него и не было твердой веры, но

Господь видит “веру их,” тех, кто принес этого больного и свою веру уже доказал своей решимостью и настойчивостью.

Видя веру их, Господь обращается к больному, но не говорит ему сразу “встань,” а говорит ему: “Чадо, отпускаются тебе грехи твои.” Этим Господь сразу дает нам урок, что нужно смотреть, как говорят, в корень дела и прежде, чем врачевать тело человека, нужно уврачевать его душу. Болезнь, прямо или косвенно, всегда есть результат греха. Если бы люди не грешили, то и не болели бы. И вот Господь показывает нам, как врачуется этот корень, и сначала исцеляет душу от греха, от болезни греховной.

Но тут получилась неожиданная “реакция” на слова Спасителя. Когда Он говорил “отпускаются тебе грехи твои,” то среди окружавших Его в это время, были и Его враги, книжники и фарисеи, которые и из этого случая не замедлили извлечь для себя повод к осуждению и порицанию. Они стали думать, что Он богохульствует, отпуская грехи, т. к. кто же может отпускать грехи, кроме одного Бога, и не подозревая того, что они в данном случае правы, потому что Отпускавший грехи был именно Бог воплощенный.

Тогда Господь показал им, что Он видит их мысли и сказал: “Что вы думаете в сердцах своих?” Скажите, что легче, по вашему, сказать: “отпускаются тебе грехи,” или “встань, возьми постель твою и иди?” – По существу, сказать первое труднее. Ибо, действительно, отпускать грехи может только Бог или Его служитель, имеющий на это от Него власть и право. Сказать же “возьми постель твою и ходи” – значит действовать уже в порядке обычной нашей жизни. Но это – по существу.
А с внешней стороны – как и думали книжники и фарисеи, и многие из народа – конечно, труднее сказать второе. Потому что сказать “отпускаются тебе грехи,” легко, а отпущены они или нет – кто может проверить? Сказал – и сказал… А если сказать больному “возьми постель твою и иди,” а он не встанет и не пойдет, то получится нехорошо. Поэтому, с человеческой точки зрения, судящей по внешности, труднее сказать второе.

Вот Господь и говорит: “Чтобы вы знали, что Сын Человеческий имеет власть отпускать грехи – Тебе говорю” – обращается Он к расслабленному – “возьми постель твою и иди в дом твой” (Т.е. – чтобы вы знали, что у Меня есть та власть, о которой вы говорите и которая принадлежит только Богу, Я делаю на ваших глазах то, что с вашей точки зрения гораздо труднее – исцеляю расслабленного).

Но я еще раз хочу повторить то, что для нас с вами необходимо всегда помнить: врачевать больного человека нужно с основы.

Вот почему верующие люди, когда они серьезно заболевают и когда вокруг них идут разговоры о том, чтобы пригласить врача, а может быть созвать и консилиум, говорят: “Сначала призовите служителя Церкви, он укрепит меня таинствами церковными – исповедью, принятием св. Таин и соборованием (или елеосвящением – таинством, специально назначенным для врачевания). И когда душа моя будет освобождена от тяжести греховной, тогда лечите и мое тело.” Так и нужно всегда поступать.
А ведь нам, духовникам, сплошь и рядом приходилось встречаться с печальными случаями, когда человек болен тяжело и опасно, ему грозит смерть, а окружающие его и родные не приглашают к нему священника, говоря: “Мы боимся его испугать.”

Разве можно руководиться такими соображениями, когда человек, быть может, стоит вплотную перед концом своей жизни? Как же лишить его главного – того, что необходимо для отходящей души?! Нет! Не приглашают служителя Церкви! Говорят: “Боимся испугать.”

А между прочим, нужно иметь в виду и то, что человек, который сознает, что его болезнь может кончиться смертью, уже совсем по-другому смотрит на все – у него иное восприятие. Мне, грешному, приходилось причащать за долгие годы священства многие сотни, а м. б. и тысячи больных, и я не помню ни одного случая, чтобы больной испугался. Наоборот – больные всегда с радостью встречают служителя Церкви, несущего им благодатное укрепление и освящение.

Это и есть то первое и главное, что необходимо сделать для больного, а потом уже делать все остальное, т.е. врачевать его земными лекарствами. Но прежде всего надо уврачевать его бессмертную душу. Аминь.

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6th Sunday after Pentecost – Sunday of the Paralytic – Blessed Theophylact

6th Sunday after Pentecost

Sunday of the Paralytic – Blessed Theophylact

From The Explanation of the Gospel of St. Matthew

1-2. And He entered into a boat, and passed over, and came into His own city. And, behold, they brought to Him a paralytic, lying on a bed.— His own city means Capernaum, for it was there that He was living. He was born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, and lived for an extended length of time in Caperna-um. This paralytic is not the same as the one mentioned in John [5:2-9], for that one was beside the Sheep’s Pool in Jerusalem, while this one was in Capernaum. And that one had no one to help him, while this one was carried by four men, as Mark says [Mk. 2:3-12], who lowered him through the roof, a fact which Matthew omits.

And Jesus seeing their faith.— Either the faith of the men who brought the paralytic, for Jesus often worked a miracle on account of the faith of those who brought the one sick; or, of the paralytic himself. Said to the paralytic, Take courage, child; thy sins be forgiven thee.— Jesus calls him child, either as one of God’s creatures, or because he believed. To show that the man’s paralysis is a result of his sins, Jesus first forgives him his sins.

3-5. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For which is easier to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?— By knowing their thoughts, Jesus shows that He is God. He rebukes them by saying, “You think that I am blaspheming by promising to forgive sins, which is a great thing, and that I resort to this because it is some-thing which can not be verified. But by healing the body, I shall guarantee that the soul has been healed as well. By doing the lesser deed, though it appears to be more difficult, I shall also confirm the remission of sins, which is indeed something great even though it appears easier to you since it is not visible to the eye.”

6-8. But that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins—then saith He to the paralytic—Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God Who had given such power unto men. —Jesus commanded him to carry his bed so that the event would not appear to have been imaginary, and also, so that the multitudes would see the miracle. For they thought that Jesus—Who is greater than all—was only a man.

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6th Sunday after Pentecost – Holy Martyr Hyacinth

6th Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Martyr Hyacinth


The Reading from the Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Romans (12:6-14)

Brethren: Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us: if prophecy, let us prophesy according to our portion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation; he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Have kindly affection one for another with brotherly love, in honour preferring one another; not slothful in business; fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing instant in prayer; distributing to the necessity of saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not.

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew (9:1-8)

At that time, Jesus entered into a boat, and passed over and came into His own city. And behold, they brought to Him a man sick with the palsy, lying on a bed. And Jesus, seeing their faith, said unto the one sick with the palsy, ‘Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.’ And behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, ‘This man blasphemeth.’ And Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, ‘Why think ye evil in your hearts? For which is easier: to say, ‘Thy sins be forgiven thee,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? But that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins,’– (then said He to the one sick with palsy) ‘Arise, take up thy bed and go unto thine house.’ And he arose and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled and glorified God, who had given such power unto men.


Troparion of the Resurrection (Tone 5)

Let us, O faithful, praise and worship the Word Who is co-unoriginate with the Father and the Spirit, and Who was born of the Virgin for our salvation; for He was pleased to ascend the Cross in the flesh and to endure death, and to raise the dead by His glorious Resurrection.

Troparion of the Holy Martyr Hyacinth (Tone 4)

In his suffering O Lord, Thy martyr Hyacinth received an imperishable crown from Thee, our God; for, possessed of Thy might, he cast down the tormentors and crushed the feeble audacity of the demons. By his supplications save Thou our souls.

Kontakion of the Resurrection (Tone 5)

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 the Holy Martyr Hyacinth (Tone 6)

Having acquired Thy Faith like a tree of life in the midst of his soul, Thy martyr, O Christ, became more honourable than the Garden of Eden, by his spirit boldly destroying the tree of the serpent’s deception; and he was crowned with Thy glory, O greatly Merciful One.


A young man and a courtier at the court of Emperor Trajan, Hyacinth was a secret Christian. Once, when Emperor Trajan and his entire court solemnly offered sacrifices to the idols, Hyacinth refrained from this abominable activity. For that he was accused and brought before the emperor to be judged. The emperor counselled him to deny Christ and offer sacrifices to the idols. But Hyacinth remained as firm as a diamond and said to the emperor: “I am a Christian and I honour Christ. I worship Him, and to Him alone do I offer myself as a living sacrifice.” Beaten, spat upon and flayed, this holy martyr was thrown into prison. By order of the emperor, he was given nothing to eat except sacrifices offered before the idols. Hyacinth refused to partake of them and after eight days died in prison. Then the prison guards saw two radiant angels in the prison: One angel covered the body of the martyred Hyacinth with his radiant vesture, and the other angel placed a glorious wreath on his head. The entire prison was illuminated and fragrant. The youthful Hyacinth honourably suffered and was crowned with eternal glory in the year 108 A.D.


Anatolius was at first a presbyter in the Church at Alexandria, but following the death of Patriarch Flavian, he was elevated to the patriarchal throne of Constantinople, in the year 449 A.D. During his time, the throne of Constantinople was recognized as equal to the throne of Rome, by the Ecumenical Council held in Chalcedon in 451 A.D. He struggled greatly for the purity of the Orthodox Faith and suffered much at the hands of the heretics, until he was slain by them in the year 458 A.D., during the reign of Pope Leo the Great. Anatolius governed the Church for nearly nine years, and took up his heavenly habitation among the holy hierarchs in the Kingdom of God.

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3rd Sunday after Pentecost – Saints Onuphrius the Great and Peter of Mount Athos

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.


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.


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.