Wednesday August 12, 2020 / July 30, 2020
10th Week after Pentecost. Tone eight.
Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Apostles Silas and Silvanus of the Seventy and those with them: Crescens, Epenetus, and Andronicus (1st c.). Martyr John the Soldier at Constantinople (4th c.). New Hiero-confessor Anatole II (Potapov, the “Younger”) of Optina (1922). New Hieromartyr John deacon (1918). Uncovering of the relics (1484) of Venerable Herman of Solovki (1479). Hieromartyr Polychronius, bishop of Babylon (251), and Martyrs Parmenius, Helimenas (Elimas), and Chrysotelus presbyters, Luke and Mocius deacons, and Abdon, Sennen, Maximus, and Olympius. Hieromartyr Valentine, bishop of Interamna (Terni) in Italy (273), and Martyrs Proculus, Ephebus, Apollonius, and Abundius, youths. Synaxis of All Saints of Samara
The Scripture Readings
1 Corinthians 16:4-12
The Holy Disciples from the Seventy: Silas, Sylvanus (Siluanos), Crescentius, Epenetos and Andronikos
Commemorated on July 30
The Holy Disciples from the Seventy: Silas, Sylvanus (Siluanos), Crescentius, Epenetos and Andronikos – were disciples of the Saviour.
The Disciple from the Seventy, Saint Silas, was a respected figure in the original Church at Jerusalem, “of the chief men amongst the brethren” (Acts 15: 22). The Council of the Apostles was convened at Jerusalem in the year 51 to deal with the question, whether it be necessary for Christians converted from among the Gentile-pagans to observe the (Old Testament) Mosaic Law [the Law-code contained in the Pentateuch, or Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament]. The Apostles afterwards sent a message with Paul and Barnabas to the Antioch Christians, in which they reported by resolve of the Council, Christians of Gentile-pagan origin were free from having to observe the prescripts of the Mosaic Law. But it was prescribed for them, nonetheless, that they refrain of partaking of foods offered to idols, from things strangled and from blood, to refrain from fornication, and to do naught else than that which be seemly (Acts 15: 20-29). Together with Saints Paul and Barnabas, the Council of the Apostles sent along members of the Jerusalem Church, Saints Silas and Jude, to explain the message in greater detail, since they both were filled with the indwelling grace of the Holy Spirit. Saint Jude thereafter was sent back to Jerusalem, but Saint Silas remained at Antioch and zealously assisted Saint Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, on his missionary journeys preaching the Gospel. They visited Syria, Cilicia, Macedonia.
In the city of Philippi they were accused of inciting unrest among the people, and for this they were arrested, thrashed with canes, and then thrown into prison. At midnight, when the holy saints were at prayer, suddenly there occurred a strong earthquake, their chains fell off from them and the doors of the prison opened. The prison guard, supposing that the prisoners had fled, wanted to kill himself, but was stopped by the Apostle Paul. Then, all atremble he fell down at the feet of the saints, and with faith accepted their “euangelos” (“good-news”) about Christ. He then led them out of the prison and took them to his own home, where he washed their wounds, and was baptised together with all his household.
From Philippi Saints Paul and Silas proceeded on to the cities of Amphypolis, Apollonia and Soluneia (Thessalonika). In each city they made new converts to Christ and built up the Church.
At Corinth the holy Disciple Silas was ordained bishop, and he there worked many a miracle and sign, and there too he finished his life.
The Holy Disciple Sylvanus (Siluanos) preached the Word of God together with the chief Apostles Peter and Paul. In his First OEcumenical Epistle, the holy Apostle Peter makes mention of him: “This in brief have I written to ye through Sylvanus, your true brother, I do think…” (1 Pet. 5: 12). Saint Sylvanus was made bishop at Soluneia (Thessalonika) and died there a martyr, having undergone many a sorrow and misfortune for the Lord’s sake.
About the Holy Disciple Crescentius the holy Apostle Paul makes mention in his Second Epistle to Timothy (2 Tim. 4: 10), saying that Crescentius had gone preaching to Galatia. He was made bishop there, and afterwards he preached the Word of God in Gaul (modern-day France). In the city of Vienna (modern-day Austria) the holy Disciple Crescentius established his student Zacharius as bishop. Having returned to Galatia, he died a martyr under the emperor Trajan (98-117).
The Holy Disciple Epenetus was made bishop at Carthage. In his Epistle to the Romans, the holy Apostle Paul writes: “Greet my dear Epenetus, who is from the beginnings in Achaia [alt. Asia] for Christ” (Rom. 16: 5).
The Disciple Andronicus is mentioned also in this same Epistle by the Apostle Paul: “Greet Andronicus and Junia [June], my kinsfolk, famed amongst the Apostles and even before me believing in Christ” (Rom. 16: 7). The holy Disciple Andronicus was bishop in Pannonia (modern-day Hungary) (Comm. of Saints Andronicus and Junia is 17 May).
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.
HYMN OF PRAISE
The pagan ruler, the terrible Emperor Decius,
In fury cried out: “O Polychronius,
Why do you not honor the gods of Rome, O Elder?
The royal commands, why do you not obey?”
But the saint said nothing, and remained silent.
Again the emperor asked him and the saint did not speak.
“This man is a mute!” said Decius.
“Our father is not a mute,” Parmenius replied,
But by not speaking he keeps his mouth pure,
H ekeeps his mouth pure by the command of Christ:
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs,
Neither cast ye your pearls before swine!
The saint is guarding his pearl, keeping it to himself,
That he not sully his mouth by speaking with you.”
Decius was enraged like never before,
And demanded that Parmenius’s tongue be severed.
They cut off his tongue–but to him, what did that mean?
The saint’s speech was now more beautiful, and stronger.
The Lord fights for His zealous servants,
And guards them from shame and the mockery of men.
It is necessary to distinguish a sinner from a penitent. If you have taken it upon yourself to rebuke a sinner, take care that you do not rebuke the penitent also. The Parable of the Prodigal Son demonstrates how dear a repentant sinner is to God. Therefore, let one who has become dear to God, be very dear to you. One time, a monk succumbed to sin, for which he was banished from his monastery. This monk went to St. Anthony, confessed his sin, repented, and remained with Anthony for a period of time. Then Anthony sent him back again to his monastery, but they did not receive him, and again drove him out. Again the penitent went to St. Anthony. Again, Anthony sent him back to the monastery, with a message to the fathers there: “A ship suffered shipwreck and lost its cargo, and only with great difficulty did that boat reach the harbor–and you want to sink even that which was saved from sinking!” Hearing this wise message, the fathers received the penitent brother into the monastery with joy.
To contemplate the miraculous victory of Gideon over the Midianites (Judges 7):
1. How Gideon gathered thirty-two thousand soldiers and set out against the Midianites;
2. How God commanded him to reduce the number, so that the Israelites would not brag about themselves and say that they were victorious, and not God;
3. How Gideon selected only three hundred soldiers, and defeated the Midianites, who were numerous “as grasshoppers” (Judges 7:12).
About the coming of the Dreadful Day of the Lord
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10).
Dreadful is the day of the Lord, Oh, how inexpressibly dreadful! It is dreadful because of its inexorable justice, and its unexpectedness. The Lord Himself commanded: Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour (Matthew 25:13), and the apostle, who heard these words with his own ears, repeats them. He who is afraid of thieves watches every night, so that the thieves will not surprise him. He who fears the Day of the Lord watches every day and every hour, so that the day and the hour will not catch him unprepared, in sin. We are so accustomed to the ordinary flow of time–the predictable passage of day and night–that we cannot comprehend the coming thunder of that day, which will overshadow all other days, which will stop the wheel of time and smash its slender spokes. It will be as if the sun were to thrust its fiery face over millions of wax candles, overwhelming their light and melting them away. Dreadful, dreadful, dreadful is the Day of the Lord! When that day raises its fiery face over the candles of the days of our present lives, these will be snuffed out and darkened; and the heavens, by which the present average days are counted, shall pass away with great noise, and the material elements, including earth, water, air and fire, shall melt with fervent heat. They will cease to be, and everything will be new. Our earthly homeland and all its works will be burned up. They will cease to be. Everything will be new. All our works will burn up–if God does not feel sorry for His works, why should He then feel sorry for our works? God will not seek works, but workers. All workers will appear before Him for judgment; but their works He will burn up. And all will be new. He who is to be condemned, will be condemned; he who is to be rewarded, will be rewarded–for all eternity. Dreadful, brethren, truly dreadful is the Day of the Lord! It is dreadful because of its unexpectedness, and because of the inexorable justice of God.
O Just Lord, make us sober and vigilant! Command Your holy angels to keep us in sobriety and vigilance, so that sin does not inebriate us and lull us to sleep.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.