Wednesday April 21, 2021 / April 8, 2021
Sixth Week of the Great Lent. Tone four.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Holy Apostles of the Seventy: Herodion, Agabus, Asyncritus, Rufus, Phlegon, Hermes, and those with them (1st c.). New Hieromartyr Sergius priest (1933) St. Niphont, bishop of Novgorod (1156). Venerable Rufus the Obedient of the Kiev Caves (14th c.). Martyr Pausilippus of Heraclea in Thrace (117-138). St. Celestine, pope of Rome (432
Isaiah 58:1-11 (6th Hour)
Genesis 43:26-31; 45:1-16 (Vespers, 1st Reading)
Proverbs 21:23-22:4 (Vespers, 2nd Reading)
Saints Herodion (Rodion), Agabus (Ahab), Asinkritos, Rufus, Phlegontos and Hermas
Commemorated on April 8
Saints Herodion (Rodion), Agabus (Ahab), Asinkritos, Rufus, Phlegontos and Hermas are among the Seventy Disciples, chosen by Christ and sent by Him to preach (Sobor-Assemblage of Seventy Disciples – Comm. 4 January).
The holy Disciple Herodion was a kinsman of the Apostle Paul and his companion on many journeys. When Christianity had spread to the Balkan Peninsula, the Apostles Peter and Paul established the Disciple Herodion as Bishop of Patara. The Disciple Herodion zealously preached the Word of God and converted many of the Greek pagans and Jews to Christianity.
Enraged by the preaching of the disciple, the idol-worshippers and Jews with one accord fell upon Saint Herodion, and they began to beat him with sticks and pelt him with stones. One of the mob struck him with a knife, and the saint fell down. But when the murderers were gone, the Lord restored him to health unharmed.
After this, Saint Herodion continued to accompany the Apostle Paul some years further. When the holy Apostle Peter was crucified (+ c. 67), the Disciple Herodion at the same time also and with Saint Olympos was beheaded by the sword.
The holy Disciple Agabus was endowed with the gift of prophecy. He predicted (Acts 11: 27-28) the famine during the time of the emperor Claudius (41-52), and foretold the suffering of the Apostle Paul at Jerusalem (Acts 21: 11). The Disciple Agabus preached in many lands and converted many pagans to Christ.
The Disciple Rufus (Ruphus), to whom the holy Apostle Paul gives greeting in the Epistle to the Romans (Rom. 16: 11-15), was bishop of the Greek city of Thebes. The Disciple Asincritos (Rom. 16: 14) – was bishop in Hyrcania (Asia Minor). The Disciple Phlegontos – bishop in the city of Marathon (Thrace). The Disciple Hermas – bishop in Dalmatia (there is yet another Disciple from the Seventy by the name of Hermas, who occupied a cathedra-seat in the Thracian city of Philippopolis).
All these disciples for their intrepid service to Christ underwent fierce sufferings and were found worthy of a martyr’s crown.
The Monk Ruphii, Hermit of Pechersk
Commemorated on April 8, August 28
The Monk Ruphii, Hermit of Pechersk, asceticised at the Kievo-Pechersk monastery during the XIV Century. He was distinguished for his obedience and glorified as a lover of toil and fasting. He was buried in the Farther Caves. He is celebrated a second time on 28 August, together amidst the Sobor-Assemblage of the Monks of the Farther Caves.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.
HYMNS OF PRAISE
THE HOLY APOSTLES
The holy apostles of God
Ran the race and reached the goal.
They despised the vanity of the world; they strove toward God.
They sacrificed the worldly and acquired the eternal.
Love for Christ, stronger than all other powers,
Shone from them through the darkness of paganism.
The race is over, the battle won,
The army of heroes is brought to Christ.
Many are the wreaths of victory in Christ:
If you desire, you too can be crowned.
Holy apostles, pray to God,
That He deprive us not of the Kingdom of Heaven.
There is heroism above heroism and asceticism above asceticism. St. Epiphanius of Cyprus invited Hilarion the Great to dinner and, in order to show the greatest hospitality to his distinguished guest, set roasted chicken on the table and offered it to him. Hilarion said to him: “Forgive me, but ever since I was tonsured a monk, I have eaten nothing butchered.” To this Epiphanius replied: “And I, ever since I was tonsured a monk, have never lay down in bed until I first forgave my enemy.” Amazed, Hilarion said: “Your virtue is greater than mine, O holy master!” This is a great lesson for all of us. Fasting is an admirable thing, but it is more admirable to forgive insults. Through fasting a man is preparing for charity, but by forgiving insults a man shows charity. Fasting precedes forgiveness, but fasting alone does not save without forgiveness.
Contemplate the resurrected Lord Jesus:
1. In an earthly body before the Resurrection, in a body susceptible to hunger, pain and death;
2. In a heavenly body after the Resurrection, in a body not susceptible to hunger, pain and death.
on the resurrection of the dead
“But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?'” (1 Corinthians 15:35).
The Apostle Paul knows in advance the objections that the unbelievers will make concerning the resurrection from the dead, and he rejects them in advance. Even today, the non-believers–who have not seen with physical eyes the miracle of the resurrection in nature, much less the spiritual resurrection–ask: “How will the dead be raised?” Thou fool! continues the apostle, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die (1 Corinthians 15:36). Unless the seed dies in the ground, the plant will not grow; in other words, something totally different from the seed will sprout up. The unbelievers see through their eyes yet do not see, but ask: “How will a dead man resurrect?” How? In the same way that Christ resurrected. He went down lifeless into the tomb, and rose alive. Even nature manifests resurrection from the dead; but more strongly than nature, it is manifested by the resurrected Lord. In order to make it easier for us to believe and to hope–to believe in the resurrection in general and to have hope in our own resurrection–He Himself resurrected from the grave and, prior to that, resurrected Lazarus the four-days-dead, the son of the widow of Nain, and the daughter of Jarius.
The unbelievers ask: “With what kind of body will the dead rise?” In whatever kind of body God wills. With God there are many kinds of bodies. The Apostle Paul divides all bodies into two groups: earthly bodies and heavenly bodies. Therefore, they who have died in earthly bodies will be clothed with heavenly bodies: the incorruptible will replace the corruptible; the immortal will replace the mortal; the beautiful will replace the ugly. In the heavenly body, man will also recognize himself and others around him, just as man recognizes himself both when he is clothed in beggar’s rags and when he is clothed in royal purple.
Lord, Most-rich, do not give us over to eternal corruption but clothe us as royal sons in the garment of immortality.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.