Wednesday November 3, 2021 / October 21, 2021
20th Week after Pentecost. Tone two.
Fast. Food with Oil
Venerable Hilarion the Great of Palestine (371). Translation of the relics (1206) of St. Hilarion, bishop of Meglin, Bulgaria (1164). New Hieromartyrs Paulinus bisop of Mogilev, Arkadius bishop of Ekaterinburg and with them Anatolius and Nicander priests and Martyr Cyprian (1937). New Hieromartyr Damian bishop of Kursk (1937). New Hieromartyrs Constantine, Sergius, Basil, Theodore, Vladimir, Nicholas, John, Basil, Alexander, Demetrius and Alexis priests, Sergius and John deacons and Martyrs Sophronius and Neophytus (1937). New Woman-Hieromartyr Pelagia (1944). Venerable Hilarion of the Kiev Caves (1067). Venerable Hilarion, abbot, of Pskov (1476). Venerables Theophilus and James, abbots of Omutch on Pskov Lake (1412). Martyrs Dasius, Gaius, and Zoticus at Nicomedia (303
The Monk Ilarion the Great
Commemorated on October 21
The Monk Ilarion the Great was born in the year 291 in the Palestinian village of Tabath. He was sent for study to Alexandria, where he became acquainted with Christianity and accepted holy Baptism. Hearing an account of the angelic life of the Monk Anthony the Great (Comm. 17 January), Ilarion set out to him, in order to study that which is pleasing to God. Ilarion soon returned to his native-land. His parents had already died. Having distributed his familial inheritance to the poor, Ilarion set out into the wilderness surrounding he city of Maium. The monk struggled intensely with impure thoughts, vexations of the mind and the burning of the flesh, defeating them with heavy toil, fasting and fervent prayer. The devil sought to terrorise the saint with phantoms and apparitions. During times of prayer Saint Ilarion heard children crying, women wailing, and the growling of lions and other wild beasts. The monk perceived that it was the demons causing these terrors, in order to drive him away from the wilderness, and therefore he overcame his fear with the help of fervent prayer.
One time robbers fell upon the Monk Ilarion, and he by the power of his words persuaded them to forsake the life of crime
Soon all Palestine learned about the holy ascetic. The Lord vouchsafed to the Monk Ilarion the power to cast out unclean spirits. With this graced gift he loosed the bounds of many of the afflicted. The sick came for healing, and the monk cured them free of charge, saying, that the grace of God is not for sale. By means of smell the saint learned with which passion this or that man was afflicted. And they came to the Monk Ilarion wanting to save their soul under his guidance. With the blessing of the Monk Ilarion, monasteries began to spring up throughout all of Palestine. Going from one monastery to another, he set in them a strict ascetic manner of life. About seven years before his death (+ 371-372) the Monk Ilarion resettled to Cyprus, where he asceticised in a solitary place, until the Lord summoned him to Himself.© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.
HYMN OF PRAISE
THE VENERABLE HILARION THE GREAT
Holy Hilarion, like a brilliant comet,
Fleeing from men, traveled half the world.
But such a star hides in vain:
Its own light reveals it to the world.
Hilarion wished to escape earthly glory,
But from glory the saint could not flee.
Where God did not proclaim him, the demons did,
Being terrified by the saint, who cast them out.
Wherever he settled, Hilarion the Wonderful
Worked miracles and healed the sick,
Conquered his weakness and passions.
A conqueror of the world, he subdued the demons.
He hid in caves, yet was proclaimed by all.
He shunned all, but was glorified by all.
The Lord glorifies His glorifiers,
And crowns victorious runners with wreaths.
When the race of earthly life passes,
The wreaths of everlasting life are given.
The aged Hilarion, ever young in spirit,
Now takes delight in the Lord face to face.
Even now his prayers wage war for us,
That in His compassion the Lord would have mercy on us.
The All-seeing eye of God watches over all men and, in a wondrous manner, guides the faithful to salvation. That which seems to the faithful a great loss can show itself over time to be a great gain. The case of St. Philotheus and his brother, who were lost to their mother, is similar to the case of St. Xenophont (January 26), and the case of St. Eustathius and his wife and sons (September 20). When St. Philotheus and his brother were sitting in a Turkish prison in Macedonia, the Most-holy Theotokos appeared to them in the form of their mother and said, “Arise, my dear children, and follow me!” and suddenly the young men found themselves in a monastery in the town of Neapolis in Asia Minor. When the young men related to the abbot what had happened to them, he understood that this was from God, and he received the young men and tonsured them. A long time passed after this. Their mother grieved for them but overcame her loss. Finally, she decided to enter a convent and dedicate herself to God. God’s providence brought her near the monastery where her sons were. Once, during the patronal celebration of this monastery she came with the other nuns for the celebration. She saw her sons in church but did not recognize them. Just then, one of the brothers called the other by his secular name. The mother’s heart was touched by that name, which was dear to her, and she looked carefully into their faces. Then she recognized them and they recognized her. Their joy was exceedingly great, and they gave heartfelt thanks to God. Believing Christians should not despair over even the greatest loss.
Contemplate the wondrous healing of the blind Saul by Ananias (Acts 9):
1. How Ananias placed his hands on Saul, mentioning the name of the Lord Jesus;
2. How the blindness departed from Saul like scales falling from his eyes, and he saw and was baptized, and became Paul.
on the God-inspired heart and tongue
My heart will pour forth good words; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer (Psalm 45:1).
Behold the inspiration of the Spirit of God! The prophet wants to speak of Christ the Lord and his heart swells with power and wisdom. That is why the prophet does not say: “My heart will speak or will pronounce good words, but rather will pour forth as though a part of his own heart rushes out like a torrent of water from an overflowing well. A torrent of water is narrow underground, but when it reaches the opening of the spring, it bursts out in a large stream. Such is the heart of the prophet when he wants to speak of Christ. Such is the power of grace confined in the heart of man. If it does not manifest itself in powerful words or if it does not manifest itself in miraculous works, it will shine within man and work wonders. But when it comes out in words, the tongue of the prophet will become as a reed, as a pen of a ready writer. For such a man does not struggle to formulate his thoughts, nor does he struggle to clothe his thoughts in the garment of words, but grace itself pours out thoughts and words, already prepared, through his tongue. Where does such a power in man come from? From God the Holy Spirit. Why does such a power exist? The prophet wants to speak to the King about Himself: I speak of things which I have made touching the King (Psalm 45:1). Actions and words here are identical, as it often happens in Holy Scripture. Where the Spirit speaks, He also acts; and where He acts, He also speaks. One speaks most powerfully through action. The prophet takes from Christ the King, and gives to Christ the King. He speaks enthusiastically of love for the Savior of the world; he speaks from a heart burning with the zeal of divine love. From the distance of time, he sees the Incarnate Son of God, and his heart dances with joy like a weary night-traveler when he sees the beautiful dawn in the east!
O Lord God, the Holy Spirit, do not deny us Thy holy and powerful grace, that we may be cleansed from sins and made worthy of the Kingdom of Christ.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.