Wednesday August 5, 2020 / July 23, 2020
9th Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Fast. Food with Oil
“Pochaev” (1675) Icon of the Mother of God. Martyrs Trophimus, Theophilus, and 13 others in Lycia (305). St. Theodore of Sanaskar (Glorification 2001). New Hieromartyr Michael priest and Martyr Andrew (1938). Hieromartyr Apollinaris, bishop of Ravenna (75). Icons of the Most Holy Theotokos “The Joy of All Who Sorrow” (with coins) in St. Petersburg (1888)
The Scripture Readings
The Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God
Commemorated on July 23, September 8 and on the Friday of the Bright Week
The Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God is among the most venerable sacred items of the Russian Church. It is reknown throughout all the Slavic world: they venerate it in Russia, in Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria and other places. Christians also of other confessions come for veneration of the wonderworking image of the MostHoly Mother of God, alongside the Orthodox. At the Pochaev Lavra, an ancient rampart of Orthodoxy, the wonderworking icon has resided about 400 years. (The account about the transfer of the icon to the Pochaev monastery is located under 8 September). The miracles, which issued forth from the holy icon, are numerous and are testified to in the monastery books with the inscriptions of the faithful, who with prayer have met with deliverance from unclean spirits, liberation from captivity, and sinners brought to their senses.
The celebration in honour of the Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God on 23 July was established in memory of the deliverance Uspenie-Dormition Lavra monastery from a Turkish siege on 20-23 July 1675.
In the Summer of 1675 during the time of the Zbarazhsk War with the Turks, during the reign of the Polish king Jan Sobesski (1674-1696), regiments composed of Tatars under the command of khan Nurredin via Vishnevets fell upon the Pochaev monastery, surrounding it on three sides. The weak monastery walls, just like some of the stone buildings of the monastery, did not offer much defense against a siege. The hegumen Iosif Dobromirsky urged the brethren and laypeople to turn themselves to Heavenly intercessors: to the MostHoly Mother of God and the Monk Job of Pochaev (Comm. 28 October). The monks and the laypeople prayed fervently, prostrating themselves before the wonderworking image of the Mother of God and the reliquary with the relics of the Monk Job. On the morning of 23 July with the rising of the sun, as the Tatars were holding a final meeting about an assault on the monastery, the hegumen ordered the singing of an akathist to the Mother of God. With the first words, “O Queen of the Heavenly Hosts”, suddenly there appeared over the church the MostHoly Mother of God Herself, in “an unfurled gleaming-white omophor”, with heavenly angels holding unsheathed swords. The Monk Job was beside the Mother of God, bowing to Her and beseeching the defense of the monastery. The Tatars took the heavenly army for an apparition, and in confusion they began to shoot arrows at the MostHoly Mother of God and the Monk Job, but the arrows fell backwards and wounded those who shot them. Terror seized the enemy. In a flight of panic and without looking, they trampled upon and killed each other. The defenders of the monastery attempted pursuit and took many prisoner. Some of the prisoners afterwards accepted the Christian faith and remained at the monastery thereafter.
In the year 1721 Pochaev was occupied by Uniates. But even in this difficult time for the Lavra, the monastery chronicle notes 539 miracles from the glorified Orthodox sacred image. During the time of the Uniate rule in the 2nd half of the XVIII Century, for example, the Uniate nobleman count Nicholas Pototski became a benefactor of the Pochaev Lavra through the following miraculous circumstance. Having accused his coachman for overturning the carriage with frenzied horses, the count took out a pistol to shoot him. The coachman, turning towards Pochaev Hill, reached his hands upwards and cried out: “Mother of God, manifest in the Pochaev Icon, save me!” Pototski several times tried to shoot the pistol, which had never let him down, but the weapon misfired. The coachman remained alive. Pototski then immediately set off to the wonderworking icon and decided to devote himself and all his property to the building-up of the monastery. From his wealth was built the Uspenie-Dormition cathedral and buildings for the brethren.
The return of Pochaev into the bosom of Orthodoxy in 1832 was marked by the miraculous healing of the blind maiden Anna Akimchukova, who had come on pilgrimage to the holy things together with her 70 year old grandmother, from Kremenets-Podol’sk 200 versts away. In memory of this event, the Volynia archbishop and Lavra archimandrite Innokentii (1832-1840) established weekly on Saturdays the reading of the cathedral akathist before the wonderworking icon. During the time of the rule of the Lavra by archimandrite Agathangel, archbishop of Volynia (1866-1876), there was constructed a separate chapel in the galleries of the Holy Trinity church in memory of the victory over the Tatars, which was dedicated on 23 July 1875.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.
HYMN OF PRAISE
For the sake of Christ God,
Apollinarius endured sufferings, many and great
Without anger, without astonishment,
For he knew that there is no salvation without suffering;
He knew that the Lord’s way was suffering,
And saw Peter’s pierced hands.
He knew of many, slaughtered like lambs–
By a sword, into the Kingdom of God, sent.
And with his soul set right, for that he was prepared:
For the Living Christ, to endure public shame,
And all that the powers of hades
Had prepared for the torture of the faithful.
The saint endured, and with faith bore it all,
And he grew steadily older under cruel torture.
Even in his old age, torment did not pass him by.
Under brutal tortures, for Christ he died,
And with his heroism, many generations he astonished;
And did not die, but departed–to eternal life.
The great teachers of the Church endeavored to teach men great truths, not only by words but by obvious examples as well. Thus, in order to teach the monks, Abba Isaiah said that no one would receive a reward from God who did not labor for God in this life. He brought his disciples to a threshing floor, where a farm laborer was gathering the winnowed wheat. He said, “Give me some wheat!” The laborer replied: “Did you reap, Father?” “I did not”, replied the elder. “How do you expect to get wheat, when you did not reap?” To this, the elder replied: “Then he who did not reap does not receive wheat?” “He does not,” replied the laborer. Hearing such an answer, the elder silently turned away. When the disciples begged him to explain his action, the elder said: “I did this with the intention of showing you that he who has not lived a life of asceticism will not receive a reward from God.”
To contemplate the suffering of the entire people because of the sin of one man (Joshua 7):
1. How the Israelites were prohibited by God from taking any of the possessions belonging to the conquered people of Jericho;
2. How one man took something of the spoil, and because of this the Israelites were defeated by the Ai;
3. How, even today, many suffer because of one man’s transgression of the law of God.
About waterless wells
“These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved forever” (2 Peter 2:17).
The apostle calls impure men wells without water–those who walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities… But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not (2 Peter 2:10, 12). O waterless wells, adorned on all sides but nonetheless waterless, why are you called “wells,” when nothing comes out of you but thirst? O you mere clouds and mist, why do you proudly inflate yourselves as though you would flood the entire world, when there is not even one drop of water in you–and when a breath of the Spirit of God will destroy and disperse you into nothing in one terrible moment? You care nothing for purity, and so you roll around in fleshly impurity; neither do you care about order, and so you detest authority; neither do you care about honor, and so you are shameless; neither do you care about God’s will, and so you are self-willed; neither do you care about the knowledge of truth, and so you criticize that which you have never labored to understand. The mist of darkness is reserved forever for you. That is not God’s will, but your own will. God did not ordain that road for you; you yourself chose it. God is just and will not be sinned against, but will render unto all according to their sins, and according to their unrepentant hearts.
What, brethren, are the fleshly desires of those who are wells without water and dry clouds and mist? What fruit comes from them but thistles and thorns that need no rain? Men with fleshly desires are no better than their desires, and they are blind because of them, and will be judged according to them.
O Lord, Creator of our souls and bodies, give us the grace of Your Holy Spirit, that we may preserve our bodies and souls in purity, and that in the Day of Judgment we may present both in purity to You, our Creator.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.