Wednesday December 2, 2020 / November 19, 2020
26th Week after Pentecost. Tone eight.
Nativity (St. Philip’s Fast). Food with Oil
Prophet Obadiah (Abdias) (9th c. B.C.). Martyr Barlaam of Caesarea in Cappadocia (304). Venerables Barlaam and loasaph, prince of India, and St. Abenner the King, father of St. loasaph (4th c.). St. Philaret, metropolitan of Moscow (1867). New Hieromartyr priest John Vishnevsky (1920). New Hieromartyrs Sergius Mikhaev, Michael Dmitriev, Alexandra Mishutina, John Malinovsky, Constantine Mikhailovsy, Alexander Serebrov, Ignatius Teslin, John Piramidin, Simeon Krivosheev, John Florovky, Jacob Briliantov, Demetrius Kuklin, Jacob Peredery priests, New Hieromartyrs Ioasaph Krimzin, Gennady Rebeza, Peter Mamontov, Gerasim Sukhov, Michael Kvanin, Martyr Valentine Kornienko, Peter Antonov, Leonid Salkov, Timothy Kucherov (1937). St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia (1991). Venerable Barlaam, abbot of the Kiev Caves (1065). Uncovering of the relics (1626) of Monk-martyr Adrian, abbot of Poshekhonye (1550). Martyr Azes of Isauria, and with him 150 soldiers (284). Martyr Heliodorus in Pamphylia (273). Venerable Hilarion of Georgia, wonderworker of Thessalonica (875) (Georgia). “The Joy of All who Sorrow” (1863) Icon of the Mother of God.
The Scripture Readings
The Holy Prophet Obadiah (or Avdi)
Commemorated on November 19
The Holy Prophet Obadiah (or Avdi) was from the 12 Minor Prophets, and he lived during the IX Century B.C. He was a native of the village of Betharam, near Sichem, and he served as house-governor of the impious Israelite king Ahab. In these times the whole of Israel had turned away from the True God and had begun to offer sacrifice to Baal. But Obadiah-Avdi in secret faithfully served the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. When the impious and dissolute Jezebel, the wife of Ahab, set about the exterminating of all the prophets of the Lord, Obadiah-Avdi meanwhile in turn gave them shelter and food (3  Kings 18:3ff). Ahab’s successor king Okhoziah (Ahaziah) sent 3 detachments of soldiers to arrest the holy Prophet Elias (Elijah or Ilias, Comm. 20 July). One of these detachments was headed by Saint Obadiah-Avdi. Through the prayer of Saint Elias, two of the detachments were consumed by Heavenly fire, but Saint Obadiah-Avdi and his detachment were spared by the Lord (4  Kings 1). From this moment Saint Obadiah resigned military service and became a follower of the Prophet Elias. Afterwards he himself received the gift of prophecy. The God-inspired work of Saint Obadiah-Avdi – the Book of Prophecies under his name, is the fourth in order of the Books of the Twelve Minor Prophets in the Bible. It contains predictions about the New Testament Church. The holy Prophet Obadiah-Avdi was buried in Samaria.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.
Troparion — Tone 2
We celebrate the memory / of Your prophet Obadiah, O Lord; / through him we beseech You: / “Save our souls.”
Kontakion — Tone 1
The great Obadiah, acquiring a mind luminous with divine splendor, / speaks through the Holy Spirit, proclaiming things to come. / Today we honor him with faithful minds, / celebrating his holy memory which enlightens the hearts of men.
HYMN OF PRAISE
THE VENERABLE BARLAAM AND IOASAPH THE HEIR
When Ioasaph witnessed illness, old age and death,
He was sincerely ashamed of this life.
“Behold, even I can be ill like that,
And old age can make me stooped like this,
And death may come when I least expect it!
In the suffering of others I bitterly suffer.
Is there anyone living who knows the secret of the mystery
And can reveal a better life?”
Then, from the dense mountain, Barlaam descended,
And spoke truth to the young heir.
And the elder told him of the One God–
Of the Father Who reigns with the Spirit and the Son–
Of the creation of the world, and Paradise, most beautiful;
Of the first Adam, in the effulgence of Paradise;
Of cursed sin that brought us death;
Of Christ Who bore the heavy Cross for us;
Of life eternal, better than this;
Of the infinite glory of the Kingdom of Christ.
When Ioasaph had heard the all-wise Barlaam,
A bright day dawned for him, and the darkness of night passed away.
A tale of the Elder Barlaam to Ioasaph: A man was fleeing from a terrifying unicorn. Fleeing thus, he fell into a pit, but grabbed hold of a tree. Just when he thought that he was out of danger, he looked down below the tree and saw two mice, one black and one white, gnawing alternately but continuously at the roots of the tree, so as to gnaw through and bring the tree crashing down. Looking down even further, he saw a huge, terrifying serpent which, with its jaws wide open, was waiting to devour the man when the tree would fall down. He then saw four smaller poisonous snakes around his feet. Looking upward, the man saw a little bit of honey on a branch, and forgetting all the danger that surrounded him, extended his hand to reach that little bit of sweetness in the tree. The interpretation is this: The unicorn represents death, which from Adam to now pursues every man to kill him; the pit filled with all sorts of dangers is this world; the tree is the path of our life; the white and black mice are days and nights, that continue one after the other to shorten our life; the huge and horrible snake is hell; the four poisonous snakes are the four elements from which the body of man is composed; the little bit of honey on the branch of the tree is the little sweetness that this life offers to man. Oh, if only men would not be captivated by that inconsequential sweetness, forgetting the terrible dangers that surround them and draw them down to eternal ruin!
Contemplate the wondrous creation of the world (Genesis 1):
1. How on the sixth day God created the cattle and the small creatures and the wild beasts after their own kind;
2. How God saw that it was good.
on glorifying God because of Christ the Lord
Unto Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (Ephesians 3:21).
Glory be to God! Glory be to God in the Church! Glory be to Him because of Christ Jesus! Glory be to Him throughout all generations! Glory be to Him unto ages of ages! No one befits being glorified as does God, nor does anyone glorify God as does the Church of God. Christ is the revealer of God: hence, all the glory given to God must go through Christ the Lord. The Church will endure beyond all races and generations to the end of time; the Church is the most pure body of Christ, filled with might, wisdom and miracle-working; and hence the glory of God is proclaimed from the Church: from the holy place to the Holy One, from purity to the Pure One. Glorification from the Church is most pleasing to God also, because there are many souls and voices in the Church, but they are all of one accord and of one voice. Therefore, let no one separate himself from the common glorification of God, and let no one even think that his own glorification of God in isolation and separation is better than the glorification of God in the unity and fullness of all the faithful. It is not true that one member is lost in the multitude, that his voice is not heard before God. Does not the hand do its work only when it is inseparably bound to the body? And so it is with each member of the body, just as it is with each of the faithful. When he prays in and with the Church (and even if he is in the desert he can pray in and with the Church), not separating himself from the Church, he is better heard and seen by God. His soul finds a much repeated echo in the souls of the other faithful, and so he is greatly distinguished and recognized in his prayer within the unity of the body of the Church rather than outside of it.
O Lord Jesus, only from Thee, in Thee, and through Thee can we glorify God.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.