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Announcements for February 7, 2021
Special Occasions This Week
Saints for the Week: We have many saints with interesting write-ups in this week's bulletin. Be sure to check out the rest of this bulletin, online on the church's website, OrthodoxSanAngelo.org.
Second Orthros Gospel
The Reading is from Mark 16:1-8
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint Jesus. And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?" And looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back, for it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, "Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you." And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid.
16th Sunday of Matthew
The Reading is from St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians 6:1-10
Brethren, working together with him, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, "At the acceptable time I have listened to you, and helped you on the day of salvation." Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in any one's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, tumults, labors, watching, hunger; by purity, knowledge, forbearance, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
16th Sunday of Matthew
The Reading is from Matthew 25:14-30
The Lord said this parable: "A man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.' And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.' He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' But his master answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth." As he said these things he cried out: "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
Saint Parthenius was born in Melitopolis on the Hellespont, the son of a deacon named Christopher. Because of the miracles that he wrought even as a young man, he was ordained a priest and then Bishop of Lampsacus in the days of Saint Constantine the Great, from whom he received great gifts and authority both to overturn the altars of the idols and to raise up a church to the glory of Christ. Working many miracles throughout his life, he reposed in peace an old man and full of days.
Saint Luke was the descendant of a family from Aegina which, because of the frequent invasions of the Saracens, left Aegina and dwelt in Phocis, where the Saint was born in 896. From his earliest childhood Luke ate neither flesh, nor cheese, nor eggs, but gave himself over with his whole soul to hardship and fasting for the love of heavenly blessings, often giving away his clothing to the poor, for which his father punished him. After his father's death he secretly left home to become a monk, but the Lord, inclining to the fervent prayers of his mother, made him known, and he returned to her for a time to care for her. For many years he lived as a hermit, moving from place to place; he spent the last part of his life on Mount Stirion at Phocis, where there is a city named Stiris. The grace of God that was in him made him a wonder-worker, and his tomb in the monastery of Hosios Loukas, famous for its mosaics, became a source of healings and place of pilgrimage for the faithful. According to some he reposed in the year 946; according to others, in 953.
The holy Martyr Theodore was from Euchaita of Galatia and dwelt in Heraclea of Pontus. He was a renowned commander in the military, and the report came to the Emperor Licinius that he was a Christian and abominated the idols. Licinius therefore sent certain men to him from Nicomedia, to honor him and ask him to appear before him. Through them, however, Saint Theodore sent back a message that it was necessary for various reasons, that Licinius come to Heraclea. Licinius, seeing in this a hope of turning Saint Theodore away from Christ did as was asked of him.
When the Emperor came to Heraclea, Saint Theodore met him with honor, and the Emperor in turn gave Theodore his hand, believing that through him he would be able to draw the Christians to the worship of his idols. Seated upon his throne in the midst of the people, he publicly bade Theodore offer sacrifice to the gods. But Theodore asked that the emperor entrust him with the most venerable of his gods, those of gold and silver, that he might take them home and himself attend upon them that evening, promising that the following day he would honor them in public. The Emperor, filled with joy at these tidings, gave command that Theodore's request be fulfilled.
When the Saint had taken the idols home, he broke them in pieces and distributed the gold and silver to the poor by night. The next day a centurion named Maxentius told Licinius that he had seen a pauper pass by carrying the head of Artemis. Saint Theodore, far from repenting of this, confessed Christ boldly. Licinius, in an uncontainable fury, had the Saint put to many torments, then crucified. While upon the cross, the holy Martyr was further tormented -- his privy parts were cut off, he was shot with arrows, his eyes were put out, and he was left on the cross to die. The next day Licinius sent men to take his corpse and cast it into the sea; but they found the Saint alive and perfectly whole. Through this, many believed in Christ. Seeing his own men turning to Christ, and the city in an uproar, Licinius had Theodore beheaded, about the year 320. The Saint's holy relics were returned to his ancestral home on June 8, which is also a feast of the Great Martyr Theodore.
The Prophet Zacharias was the son of Barachias, and a contemporary of the Prophet Aggeus (Dec. 16). In the days of the Babylonian captivity, he prophesied, as it says, in the book of Ezra, "to the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem" (Ezra 5: 1); he aided Zerubbabel in the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. In the book of Ezra he is called "Zacharias the son of Addo (or Iddo)" but in his own prophetic book he is called more fully "Zacharias, the son of Barachias, the son of Addo the Prophet" (Zach. 1:1). When the captives returned from Babylon, he came to dwell in Jerusalem in his old age. His book of prophecy is divided into fourteen chapters and has the eleventh place among the books of the minor Prophets; his name means "Yah is renowned." Sozomen reports that under the Emperor Honorius, Zacharias' holy relics were found in Eleutheropolis of Palestine. The Prophet appeared in a dream to a certain Calemerus, telling him where he would find his tomb. His body was found to be incorrupt (Eccl. Hist., Book IX, 17).
This Martyr, who was from Antioch in Syria, contested during the reign of Gallienus, about the year 260. Through the working of the evil one, his friendship with a certain Christian priest named Sapricius was turned to bitter hatred. Nicephoros, repenting of his enmity, tried both through intermediaries and in person to be reconciled with Sapricius, but to no avail. Later, when the persecution broke out under Valerian and Gallienus, Sapricius was seized as a Christian. When Saint Nicephoros learned that Sapricius had been arrested by the pagans and was enduring torments for Christ, he sent intermediaries to Sapricius, begging his forgiveness; but Sapricius would not forgive him. Later, as Sapricius was being taken to beheading, Nicephoros, hoping that Sapricius, at his end, in such a holy hour, would at last forgive him, met him on the way, fell before him, and fervently asked his forgiveness; but Sapricius forgave him not. Wherefore, though Sapricius had passed through many sufferings, and the crown of martyrdom was now awaiting him, because he disdained the chief commandments of love and forgiveness, the grace of God, which had been strengthening him in his torments, departed from him, and he told his executioners he would sacrifice. Nicephoros immediately confessed Christ before them, and being himself beheaded, took the crown that Sapricius had cast away.
Should the Apodosis of the Feast of the Meeting in the Temple fall on this day the service to Saint Nicephoros is chanted on the 8th.
This Saint was a priest of the Christians in Magnesia, the foremost city of Thessaly, in the diocese having the same name. He contested during the reign of Alexander Severus (222-235), when Lucian was Proconsul of Magnesia. At the time of his martyrdom the Saint was 103 years of age.
St. Haralambos is commemorated on February 10th, with the exception when this date falls on the Saturday of the Souls preceding Lent or on Clean Monday (the first day of Lent), in which case the feast is celebrated on February 9th.
Saint Blaise was Bishop of Sebastia. Divine grace, through which he healed the diseases of men and beasts, and especially of infants, made his name famous. He contested for the Faith under Licinius in the year 316. Saint Blaise is invoked for the healing of throat ailments.
As for the renowned Empress Theodora, she was from Paphlagonia and was the daughter of a certain Marinus, the commander of a military regiment. While being the wife of the Emperor Theophilus, the last of the Iconoclasts, she adorned the royal diadem with her virtue and piety; as long as her husband Theophilus lived, she privately venerated icons, despite his displeasure. After his death, she restored the holy icons to public veneration; this is commemorated on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the First Sunday of the Great Fast. She governed the Empire wisely for fifteen years, since her son Michael was not yet of age. But in 857 she forsook her royal power and entered a certain convent in Constantinople called Gastria, where she finished the course of her life in holiness and reposed in the Lord. Her sacred incorrupt remains are found in Corfu, in the Church of the Most Holy Theotokos of the Cave, in the capital city of the island (see also Dec. 12).
This holy Father, who was from Melitene of Armenia, was a blameless man, just, reverent, sincere, and most gentle. Consecrated Bishop of Sebastia in 357, he was later banished from his throne and departed for Beroea of Syria (this is the present-day Aleppo). After the Arian bishop of Antioch had been deposed, the Orthodox and the Arians each strove to have a man of like mind with themselves become the next Bishop of Antioch. Meletius was highly esteemed by all, and since the Arians believed him to share their own opinion, they had him raised to the throne of Antioch. As soon as he had taken the helm of the Church of Antioch, however, he began preaching the Son's consubstantiality with the Father. At this, the archdeacon, an Arian, put his hand over the bishop's mouth; Meletius then extended three fingers towards the people, closed them, and extended one only, showing by signs the equality and unity of the Trinity. The embarrassed archdeacon then seized his hand, but released his mouth, and Meletius spoke out even more forcibly in defense of the Council of Nicaea. Shortly after, he was banished by the Arian Emperor Constantius, son of Saint Constantine the Great. After the passage of time, he was recalled to his throne, but was banished again the third time by Valens. It was Saint Meletius who ordained Saint John Chrysostom reader and deacon in Antioch (see Nov. 13). He lived until the Second Ecumenical Council in 381 (which was convoked against Macedonius, Patriarch of Constantinople, the enemy of the Holy Spirit), over which he presided, being held in great honor as a zealot of the Faith and a venerable elder hierarch.
Some time before, when the Emperor Gratian had made the Spanish General Theodosius commander-in-chief of his armies in the war against the barbarians, Theodosius had a dream in which he saw Meletius, whom he had never met, putting upon him the imperial robe and crown. Because of Theodosius's victories, Gratian made him Emperor of the East in Valens' stead in 379. When, as Emperor, Saint Theodosius the Great convoked the Second Ecumenical Council in Constantinople two years later, he forbade that anyone should tell him who Meletius was; and as soon as he saw him, he recognized him, ran to him with joy, embraced him before all the other bishops, and told him of his dream.
While at the Council, Saint Meletius fell ill and reposed a short while after. Saint Gregory of Nyssa, among others, gave a moving oration at his funeral; bewailing the loss of him whom all loved as a father, he said, "Where is that sweet serenity of his eyes? Where that bright smile upon his lips? Where that kind right hand, with fingers outstretched to accompany the benediction of the mouth?" (PG 46:8-6). And he lamented, "Our Elias has been caught up, and no Elisseus is left behind in his place." (ibid., 860). The holy relics of Saint Meletius were returned to Antioch and were buried beside Saint Babylas the Martyr (see Sept. 4), in the Church dedicated to the Martyr which Meletius, in his zeal for the Martyr's glory, had helped build with his own hands.
Saint Martinian, who was from Caesarea of Palestine, flourished about the beginning of the fifth century. He struggled in the wilderness from his youth. After he had passed twenty-five years in asceticism, the devil brought a temptation upon him through a harlot, who when she heard the Saint praised for his virtue, determined to try his virtue, or rather, to undo it. Coming to his cell by night as it rained, and saying she had lost her way, she begged with pitiful cries to be admitted in for the night, lest she fall prey to wild beasts. Moved with compassion, and not wishing to be guilty of her death should anything befall her, he allowed her to enter. When she began to seduce him, and the fire of desire began to burn in his heart, he kindled a fire and stepped into it, burning his body, but saving his soul from the fire of Gehenna. And she, brought to her senses by this, repented, and, following his counsel, went to Bethlehem to a certain virgin named Paula, with whom she lived in fasting and prayer; before her death, she was deemed worthy of the gift of wonder-working. Saint Martinian, when he recovered from the burning, resolved to go to some more solitary place, and took a ship to a certain island, where he struggled in solitude for a number of years. Then a young maiden who had suffered a shipwreck came ashore on his island. Not wishing to fall into temptation again, he departed, and passed his remaining time as a wanderer, coming to the end of his life in Athens.
Saint Symeon (in the world, the ruler Stephen Nemanja), after capably governing Serbia in piety, wisdom, and justice for many years during the second half of the twelfth century, renounced all rule and earthly glory to become a monk, to struggle in fasting and prayer. Thereafter he went to the Holy Mountain Athos where, together with his son Saint Sabbas (see Jan. 14), he founded the Monastery of Hilandar. After his death, a fragrant and healing myrrh came forth from his holy relics. When Stephen Nemanja put on the monastic habit with the name of Symeon, his wife Anna followed his example, receiving the monastic name of Anastasia; she is commemorated as a Saint on June 21.