Apolytikion for The Dormition of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary
In giving birth, you preserved your virginity; in your dormition, you did not forsake the world, O Theotokos. You were translated unto life, since you are the Mother of Life, and by your intercessions, you do redeem our souls from death.
Prokeimenon. Grave Mode. Psalm 115.15,12.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
Verse: What shall I render to the Lord for all that he has given me?
The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 13:17-21.
Brethren, obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account. Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for that would be of no advantage to you. Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you the sooner. Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in you that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
12th Sunday of Luke
The Reading is from Luke 17:12-19
At that time, as Jesus entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices and said: "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us." When he saw them he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus's feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then said Jesus: "Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" And he said to him: "Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well."
Saint Anthony, the Father of monks, was born in Egypt in 251 of pious parents who departed this life while he was yet young. On hearing the words of the Gospel: "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell what thou hast, and give to the poor" (Matt. 19:21), he immediately put it into action. Distributing to the poor all he had, and fleeing from all the turmoil of the world, he departed to the desert. The manifold temptations he endured continually for the span of twenty years are incredible. His ascetic struggles by day and by night, whereby he mortified the uprisings of the passions and attained to the height of dispassion, surpass the bounds of nature; and the report of his deeds of virtue drew such a multitude to follow him that the desert was transformed into a city, while he became, so to speak, the governor, lawgiver, and master-trainer of all the citizens of this newly-formed city.
The cities of the world also enjoyed the fruit of his virtue. When the Christians were being persecuted and put to death under Maximinus in 312, he hastened to their aid and consolation. When the Church was troubled by the Arians, he went with zeal to Alexandria in 335 and struggled against them in behalf of Orthodoxy. During this time, by the grace of his words, he also turned many unbelievers to Christ.
Saint Anthony began his ascetic life outside his village of Coma in Upper Egypt, studying the ways of the ascetics and holy men there, and perfecting himself in the virtues of each until he surpassed them all. Desiring to increase his labors, he departed into the desert, and finding an abandoned fortress in the mountain, he made his dwelling in it, training himself in extreme fasting, unceasing prayer, and fierce conflicts with the demons. Here he remained, as mentioned above, about twenty years. Saint Athanasius the Great, who knew him personally and wrote his life, says that he came forth from that fortress "initiated in the mysteries and filled with the Spirit of God." Afterwards, because of the press of the faithful, who deprived him of his solitude, he was enlightened by God to journey with certain Bedouins, until he came to a mountain in the desert near the Red Sea, where he passed the remaining part of his life.
Saint Athanasius says of him that "his countenance had a great and wonderful grace. This gift also he had from the Saviour. For if he were present in a great company of monks, and any one who did not know him previously wished to see him, immediately coming forward he passed by the rest, and hurried to Anthony, as though attracted by his appearance. Yet neither in height nor breadth was he conspicuous above others, but in the serenity of his manner and the purity of his soul." So Passing his life, and becoming an example of virtue and a rule for monastics, he reposed on January 17 in the year 356, having lived altogether some 105 years.
In the half-century after the First Ecumenical Council held in Nicea in 325, if there was one man whom the Arians feared and hated more intensely than any other, as being able to lay bare the whole error of their teaching, and to marshal, even from exile or hiding, the beleaguered forces of the Orthodox, it was Saint Athanasios the Great. This blazing lamp of Orthodoxy, which imperial power and heretics' plots could not quench when he shone upon the lampstand, nor find when he was hid by the people and monks of Egypt, was born in Alexandria about the year 296. He received an excellent training in Greek letters and especially in the sacred Scriptures, of which he shows an exceptional knowledge in his writings. Even as a young man he had a remarkable depth of theological understanding; he was only about twenty years old when he wrote his treatise "On the Incarnation." Saint Alexander, the Archbishop of Alexandria, brought him up in piety, ordained him his deacon, and after deposing Arius for his blasphemy against the Divinity of the Son of God, took Athanasios to the First Council in Nicea in 325. Saint Athanasios was to spend the remainder of his life laboring in defense of this Holy Council. In 326, before his death, Alexander appointed Athanasios his successor.
In 325, Arius had been condemned by the Council of Nicea; yet through his hypocritical confession of Orthodox belief, Saint Constantine the Great was persuaded by Arius's supporters that he should be received back into the communion of the Church. But Athanasios, knowing well the perverseness of his mind, and the disease of heresy lurking in his heart, refused communion with Arius. The heresiarch's followers then began framing false charges against Athanasios. Finally Saint Constantine the Great, misled by grave charges of the Saint's misconduct (which were completely false), had him exiled to Tiberius (Treves) in Gaul in 336. When Saint Constantine was succeeded by his three sons Constantine II, Constans, and Constantius, in 337, Saint Athanasios returned to Alexandria in triumph. But his enemies found an ally in Constantius, Emperor of the East, and he spent a second exile in Rome. It was ended when Constans prevailed with threats upon his brother Constantius to restore Athanasios (see also Nov. 6). For ten years Saint Athanasios strengthened Orthodoxy throughout Egypt, visiting the whole country and encouraging all: clergy, monastics, and lay folk, being loved by all as a father. After Constans's death in 350, Constantius became sole Emperor, and Athanasios was again in danger. On the evening of February 8, 356, General Syrianus with more than five thousand soldiers surrounded the church in which Athanasios was serving, and broke open the doors. Athanasios's clergy begged him to leave, but the good shepherd commanded that all the flock should withdraw first; and only when he was assured of their safety, he also, protected by divine grace, passed through the midst of the soldiers and disappeared into the deserts of Egypt, where for some six years he eluded the soldiers and spies sent after him.
When Julian the Apostate succeeded Constantius in 361, Athanasios returned again, but only for a few months. Because Athanasios had converted many pagans, and the priests of the idols in Egypt wrote to Julian that if Athanasios remained, idolatry would perish in Egypt, the heathen Emperor ordered not Athanasios's exile, but his death. Athanasios took a ship up the Nile. When he learned that his imperial pursuers were following him, he had his men turn back, and as his boat passed that of his pursuers, they asked him if he had seen Athanasios. "He is not far," he answered. After returning to Alexandria for a while, he fled again to the Thebaid until Julian's death in 363. Saint Athanasios suffered his fifth and last exile under Valens in 365, which only lasted four months because Valens, fearing a sedition among the Egyptians for their beloved Archbishop, revoked his edict in February, 366.
The great Athanasios passed the remaining seven years of his life in peace. Of his fifty-seven years as Patriarch, he had spent some seventeen in exiles. Shining from the height of his throne like a radiant evening star, and enlightening the Orthodox with the brilliance of his words for yet a little while, this much-suffering champion inclined toward the sunset of his life, and in the year 373 took his rest from his lengthy sufferings, but not before another luminary of the truth -- Basil the Great -- had risen in the East, being consecrated Archbishop of Caesarea in 370. Besides all of his other achievements, Saint Athanasios wrote the life of Saint Anthony the Great, with whom he spent time in his youth; ordained Saint Frumentius first Bishop of Ethiopia; and in his Paschal Encyclical for the year 367 set forth the books of the Old and New Testaments accepted by the Church as canonical. Saint Gregory the Theologian, in his "Oration On the Great Athanasios", said that he was "Angelic in appearance, more angelic in mind; ... rebuking with the tenderness of a father, praising with the dignity of a ruler ... Everything was harmonious, as an air upon a single lyre, and in the same key; his life, his teaching, his struggles, his dangers, his return, and his conduct after his return ... he treated so mildly and gently those who had injured him, that even they themselves, if I may say so, did not find his restoration distasteful."
Saint Cyril was also from Alexandria, born about the year 376. He was the nephew of Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria, who also instructed the Saint in his youth. Having first spent much time with the monks in Nitria, he later became the successor to his uncle's throne in 412. In 429, when Cyril heard tidings of the teachings of the new Patriarch of Constantinople, Nestorius, he began attempting through private letters to bring Nestorius to renounce his heretical teaching about the Incarnation. When the heresiarch did not repent, Saint Cyril, together with Pope Celestine of Rome, led the Orthodox opposition to his error. Saint Cyril presided over the Third Ecumenical Council of the 200 Holy Fathers in the year 431, who gathered in Ephesus under Saint Theodosius the Younger. At this Council, by his most wise words, he put to shame and convicted the impious doctrine of Nestorius, who, although he was in town, refused to appear before Cyril. Saint Cyril, besides overthrowing the error of Nestorius, has left to the Church full commentaries on the Gospels of Luke and John. Having shepherded the Church of Christ for thirty-two years, he reposed in 444.
Saint Macarius the Great was from the Thebaid of Egypt, a disciple, as some say, of Saint Anthony the Great. He was born about 331 and struggled in asceticism in the desert at Scete. Although young, he was called "the child elder" because of his great wisdom and austere manner of life. He was ordained presbyter and reposed in 391, at the age of sixty. There are fifty homilies ascribed to him.
It is said of Saint Macarius that he became as a God upon earth, for even as God protects the whole world, so did he cover the faults he saw as if he did not see them. Once he came back to his cell to find a thief taking his things and loading them on a camel. Macarius' non-possessiveness was so great that he helped the thief load the camel. When the camel refused to rise, Macarius returned to his cell and brought a small hoe, said that the camel wanted the hoe also, loaded it on, and kicked the camel telling it to get up. The camel obeyed Macarius' command, but soon lay down again, and would not move until everything had been returned to Macarius. His contemporary, Saint Macarius of Alexandria, was so called because he came from Alexandria and was therefore of that Greek-speaking colony; while Saint Macarius the Great is also called "of Egypt," that is, he belonged to the ancient race native to Egypt, the Copts.
The great teacher and invincible defender of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, Saint Mark, was the offspring and scion of the imperial city, Constantinople. Reared by most pious parents, and instructed in secular and spiritual wisdom, he became preeminent in both. Saint Mark lived as an ascetic on the Prince's Islands and later in the monastery of Saint George Magana in Constantinople. He passed through all the degrees of the priesthood, and was finally advanced to the dignity of Archbishop and the lofty throne of the Metropolis of Ephesus. At the insistence of Emperor John Paleologos, the Saint was sent to the council of the Latins in Florence, to unite the churches that had been divided for so many years. He astounded the papal teachers with the divine wisdom of his words, and was the only one who did not sign the blasphemous decree of that false council. Because of this, the Holy Church of Christ has ever honored this great man as a benefactor, teacher, sole defender, and invincible champion of the Apostolic Confession. He reposed in 1443.
Saint Arsenius, who had Palestine as his homeland, was born in 876, the son of devout parents. From childhood he was consecrated to God and assumed the monastic habit. He studied in Seleucia, where he also received the dignity of the priesthood. After he had moved from thence to Constantinople, he was appointed Metropolitan of Corfu. He adorned the throne there by his virtue and instruction. When advanced in age, he returned to Constantinople and appeased the unjust rage of Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus against the leaders of Corfu. Finally, during his journey back to his see, he fell ill at Corinth and reposed in the Lord about the middle of the tenth century.
Saint Macarius of Alexandria, was so called because he came from Alexandria and was therefore of that Greek-speaking colony; while Saint Macarius the Great is also called "of Egypt," that is, he belonged to the ancient race native to Egypt, the Copts. Whenever Saint Macarius of Alexandria heard of a virtue practiced by any man, he strove to practice it even more fully himself. When he was already old, he visited the community of Saint Pachomius in Tabennisi and, without revealing who he was, asked admittance. Saint Pachomius, on account of Macarius' age, was reluctant to receive him, but after-wards yielded to his entreaties. Shortly thereafter Great Lent began, and Macarius followed such a severe rule of fasting and prayer that many in the brotherhood complained to Pachomius asking if he had brought this old man to put them to shame. Learning Macarius' identity in a revelation, Saint Pachomius thanked him for breaking the pride of his monks and sent him away in peace.
This Saint, who was from Melitene in Armenia, was the son of pious parents named Paul and Dionysia. He was born about 377. Since his mother had been barren, he was named Euthymius-which means "good cheer" or "joy"-for this is what his parents experienced at his birth. He studied under Eutroius, the Bishop of Melitene, by whom he was ordained and entrusted with the care of the monasteries of Melitene. Then, after he had come to Palestine about the year 406, he became the leader of a multitude of monks. Through him, a great tribe of Arabs was turned to piety, when he healed the ailing son of their leader Aspebetos. Aspebetos was baptized with all his people; he took the Christian name of Peter, and was later consecrated Bishop for his tribe, being called "Bishop of the Tents." Saint Euthymius also fought against the Nestorians, Eutychians, and Manichaeans. When Eudocia, the widow of Saint Theodosius the Younger, had made her dwelling in Palestine, and had fallen into the heresy of the Monophysites which was championed in Palestine by a certain Theodosius, she sent envoys to Saint Symeon the Stylite in Syria (see Sept. 1), asking him his opinion of Eutyches and the Council of Chalcedon which had condemned him; Saint Symeon, praising the holiness and Orthodoxy of Saint Euthymius near whom she dwelt, sent her to him to be delivered from her error (the holy Empress Eudocia is commemorated Aug. 13). He became the divine oracle of the Church, or rather, "the vessel of divine utterance," as a certain historian writes. He was the instructor and elder of Saint Sabbas the Sanctified. Having lived for ninety-six years, he reposed in 473, on January 20.
The divine Maximus, who was from Constantinople, sprang from an illustrious family. He was a lover of wisdom and an eminent theologian. At first, he was the chief private secretary of the Emperor Heraclius and his grandson Constans. When the Monothelite heresy became predominant in the royal court, out of hatred for this error the Saint departed for the Monastery at Chrysopolis (Scutari), of which he later became the abbot. When Constans tried to constrain him either to accept the Monothelite teaching, or to stop speaking and writing against it - neither of which the Saint accepted to do - his tongue was uprooted and his right hand was cut off, and he was sent into exile where he reposed in 662. At the time only he and his few disciples were Orthodox in the East (See also August 13).
The Martyr Neophytos, who was from Nicea in Bithynia, was the son of pious parents, Theodore and Florence. Led by grace from his childhood, he took up his dwelling in a cave upon Mount Olympus at the age of nine and lived there in asceticism and prayer. At the age of fifteen, during the reign of Diocletian about the year 290, he presented himself to the local Governor named Decius. Roused to fury by his unexpected boldness, Decius had him scourged, then laid out on a bed of fire. When he had been preserved by grace through these torments, he gave him up to wild beasts. But since the Saint remained unharmed, a certain pagan fell on him with a sword and slew him.
The Apostle Timothy, who was from Lystra of Lycaonia, was born of a Greek (that is, pagan) father and a Jewish mother. His mother's name was Eunice, and his grandmother's name was Lois (II Tim. 1:5). He became the disciple of the Apostle Paul when the latter first preached there, and he followed St. Paul during the whole period of the Apostle's preaching. Afterwards, Timothy was consecrated by him as first Bishop of the church in Ephesus. Under the supervision of John the Evangelist, who governed all the churches in Asia, he completed his life as a martyr in the year 97. He was stoned to death by the heathens, because, as some surmise, he opposed the festival held in honor of Artemis (Diana). The Apostle Paul's First and Second Epistles to Timothy were written to him.
Saint Anastasius was a Persian by race, the son of a Magus, and a soldier in the Persian army in the days of Chosroes II, King of Persia, and Heraclius, Emperor of New Rome. The Saint's Persian name was Magundat.
When Chosroes captured Jerusalem in the year 614 and took the Precious Cross away captive, Magundat heard the report of the miracles that came to pass through the Cross of our salvation. Being of a prudent mind, perplexed that an instrument of torture should be so highly honored by the Christians, yet seized with longing to learn their Faith, he diligently sought out instruction in the whole divine dispensation of Christ: His Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection. When he learned what he sought to know, his soul was filled with wonder and joy. Withdrawing to the Holy City, he was baptized by Saint Modestus, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and became a monk, receiving the new name of Anastasius.
As he read the lives of the Saints and the accounts of the holy Martyrs, his heart was kindled with love for them to such a degree that he prayed to be counted worthy of a martyr's end like unto theirs. Finally, unable to contain his longing, he left his monastery. Encountering certain Persian Magi at Caesarea, he rebuked them for their delusion. Since Palestine was still held in the captivity of the Persians, he was taken before the Persian ruler, questioned, beaten, and imprisoned. He was then taken with other captives to Persia, where, after many tortures, refusing to espouse again the error of his fathers, he was hanged up by one hand, strangled with a noose, and beheaded. The translation of his holy relics is celebrated on the 24th of this month.
Saint Clement, who was from Ancyra in Galatia, was the son of an unbelieving father, but a believing mother whose name was Sophia. At first he lived as a monk, later he became the bishop of his city. He suffered so many things in confession of the Faith in Christ, that the time of his sufferings and struggles stretched out over a period of twenty-eight years. Finally he and Saint Agathangelus (who was from Rome) were beheaded together during the reign of Diocletian and Maximian, in the year 296.
Saint Agathangelus (who was from Rome) along with Saint Clement, Bishop of Ancyra, were beheaded together during the reign of Diocletian and Maximian, in the year 296.
January 19 Bible Study 10:30am
January 23 Saturday Evening Vespers 4pm
January 30 Three Hierarchs Divine Liturgy 10am
January 30 Saturday Evening Vespers 4pm