Wednesday August 11, 2021 / July 29, 2021
8th Week after Pentecost. Tone six.
Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits
)Martyr Callinicus of Gangra in Asia Minor (250). New Hieromartyrs Venerables Seraphim (Bogoslovsky) and Theognost (1921). New Hieromartyr Anatole (1930-1935). New Hieromartyr Alexis priest, and Martyr Pachomius (1938). Venerables Constantine and Cosmas, abbots of Kosinsk (Pskov) (13th c.). Martyr Daniel of Cherkassk (1776). Virgin-martyr Seraphima (Serapia) of Antioch (2nd c.). Martyr Theodota and her three sons, in Bithynia (304). St. Lupus the Confessor, bishop of Troyes (479). Martyr Michael (9th c.). Martyr Eustathius of Mtskheta in Georgia (589) (Georgia).
The Holy Martyress Theodotia and her Three Young Children
Commemorated on July 29
The Holy Martyress Theodotia and her Three Young Children lived during the reign of the emperor Diocletian (284-305). She was a Christian, a native of the city of Nicea Bithynia. Having been widowed, Saint Theodotia led a pious manner of life and raised her sons in the Christian faith. She was in spiritual friendship with Saint Anastasia the Alleviatrix-of-Captives (Comm. 22 December). When the persecution against Christians began, they arrested the holy women. At the trial, the dignitary Leucadius was captivated by the beautiful Theodotia and he decided to take her home with him, intending to marry her. Finding herself with her children in the home of Leucadius, Saint Theodotia kept herself in purity, yielding neither to inducements nor charms, nor threats by the pagan. Angered at the steadfastness of the saint, Leucadius sent her off with her children to Bithynia, to the district governor Niketas. At the interrogation, when the judge began to threaten her with torture, Saint Theodotia’s eldest son Evodus said, that Christians fear not tortures, but fear instead being forsaken by God. They cruelly beat the boy before the eyes of his mother, such that he began to flow with blood. Saint Theodotia prayed, that the Lord would strengthen her son in his sufferings, and rejoiced in that he was being vouchsafed a martyr’s end for truth. They gave Saint Theodotia over for defilement, but the Lord preserved her. Before the eyes of everyone occurred a miracle: an Angel of the Lord blocked the path for defilement, holding back everyone from approaching the saint. Imputing it to a work of sorcery, the judge sentenced the saint and her children to burning in a bon-fire (+ 304).
The memory of the holy Martyrs Theodotia, the Lad Evodus and her other two small sons is celebrated also under 22 December, together with the memory of Saint Anastasia the Alleviatrix-of-Captives.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.
HYMN OF PRAISE
Seraphima, dear to the angels,
Completely innocent in soul and body,
In all thoughts, kindly,
Was tormented for many days
For Christ the Lord, the Immortal.
The godless prince, to the temple brought her
To offer sacrifice to the idols:
Saint Seraphima replied:
“Of the One God, I am a handmaiden,
Of the Holy Spirit, my body is a temple!
In virginity, my body I preserve,
That, a sacrifice to God, I might offer:
The temple of my body as a sacrifice to the Lord.
As much you like, torture my body,
But my soul you will never kill.
The soul is alive both before and after death;
By fire or sword, destroy it you cannot.
For the soul, the body was created,
And by the soul, the body is blessed.
From God, the soul into the world comes,
That, while in the body, the Lord it may glorify.
Glory to God, the Triune God!
Glory to God, my Creator!”
By true repentance, tears, prayer and good works, the most defiled soul can be completely cleansed and changed. Therefore, be careful that you do not maliciously recall the sins of a repentant sinner, but offer thanksgiving to God, and be astonished at how light is made from darkness, and pure water from a stagnant pool. The Egyptian Pharaoh Amases was of lowly birth,. When he became king, men respected him very little, remembering his origin. In order to outwit the people and to gain their respect, he took a metal basin in which, according to custom, the feet of the visitors to the palace were washed. He ordered the basin to be melted down, and from its metal, to make a likeness of a certain idol. The pharaoh then placed this idol on the street. Seeing this idol, the people began to worship it, and render it divine honor. Then the pharaoh revealed what this idol had been made from. The people understood that the pharaoh wanted to show them that they should no longer dwell on the what he once was, but what he was now–and they began to render the pharaoh the respect due to royalty.
To contemplate the miraculous sign that God showed Gideon (Judges 6):
1. How one night only the fleece was wet with dew and the remaining ground was dry; and how the second night, all the ground was wet with dew, and the fleece was dry;
2. How the first signified the Israelites in the midst of the pagan world (until the coming of Christ) and after that, the pagan world under grace, and Israel without grace (after the coming of Christ).
About the delaying of the Dreadful Day, by God’s mercy
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness: but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
Brethren, the mercy of God delays that day which burns like a furnace (Malachi 4:1), according to the words of the Prophet Malachi. Therefore, let the scoffers be ashamed, who scoff at the promise of God and say: Where is the promise of His coming? (2 Peter 3:4). God has not forgotten His promise–the sinners themselves have forgotten it. According to His immeasurable mercy, God is waiting for sinners to come to their senses, repent and prepare themselves for that day that will not be repeated. Behold, that day is not like the many days that are given to men for the sake of repentance, and to prepare for their encounter with God. That day is unique, and it differs from all other days, for it does not come for the sake of repentance, but rather, for judgment. Just as the Dreadful Judgment is unique and unrepeatable, so is that day unique and unrepeatable.
God does not desire that any man be lost. He did not create man for death, but for salvation. Is there a gardener who sows vegetables, yet desires that his vegetables dry out and perish? God is wiser and more compassionate than all men. God has only one desire: that all men repent and turn away from evil. How the husbandman rejoices when a withered vine comes back to life, becomes green again, and brings forth fruit! How much more, then, is the joy of God and His angels when the souls of men, withered from sin, turn to Him and become young again with tears of repentance, and bring forth the fruit of repentance!
O Lord, merciful Lover of Mankind, help sinners to feel Your mercy and pity for them–to feel it and repent, and to turn away from their wicked ways.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.