Wednesday December 1, 2021 / November 18, 2021
24th Week after Pentecost. Tone six.
Nativity (St. Philip’s Fast). By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Martyr Platon of Ancyra (266). Martyr Romanus the Deacon of Caesarea and child-martyr Barulas of Antioch (303). St. Nicholas confessor, priest (1948). Martyrs Zacchaeus the Deacon and Alphaeus, of Caesarea in Palestine (303). Synaxis of All Saints of Estonia.
The Scripture Readings
The Holy Martyr Romanos
Commemorated on November 18
The Holy Martyr Romanos was deacon at a church in Palestinian Caesarea. During one of the persecutions against Christians he resettled at Antioch, where he encouraged Christians in the faith by his example and fervent preaching.
When the Antioch governor Asklepiades was considering the destruction of the Christian temple, Saint Romanos called out the believers to stand up for their sanctuary. He persuaded them, that if they managed to protect the church, then down here on earth would be rejoicing, in the Church Militant, and if they were to perish in defense of the church, there would still be rejoicing in the Heavenly Church Triumphant. Seeing such a firm resolve amongst the people, the governor did not dare to carry out his plans.
A certain while afterwards, when a pagan celebration had started in the city and many people from the surroundings had come to Antioch, Saint Romanos began denouncing the idol-worship and called on all to follow Christ. They arrested him and subjected him to torture. During the time of tortures the martyr saw in the crowd the holy Christian Lad Barulas and, having directed the governor to him, said: “The young lad is smarter than thee, in thine old age, since that he doth know the True God. Thou however dost worship mere idols”. The governor Asklepiades gave orders to bring the boy to him. To all the questions of the governor, Barulas firmly and without fear confessed is faith in Christ, the True God. Asklepiades in a rage gave orders to fiercely whip the Martyr Barulas, and then behead him. Before his death the holy lad asked his mother, who was present at the execution, to give him something to drink, but the mother quieted him down to endure all the torments for the Lord Jesus Christ. She herself put his head of her son onto the block, and after the execution buried him (+ 303).
The Martyr Romanos was sentenced to burning, but a sudden gust of rain extinguished the fire. The saint began glorifying Christ and insulting the pagan gods. The governor gave orders to cut out his tongue, but even deprived of his tongue Saint Romanos continued loudly to glorify the Lord. Then the torturers sentenced him to hanging (+ 303).
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.
HYMN OF PRAISE
AINT PHILARET THE ALMSGIVER
To the merciful one, God shows mercy;
He never ceases to show mercy.
He hears the prayers of the merciful;
He gives gifts a hundredfold.
Philaret the Merciful
Placed himself wholly in God’s hands.
By his compassion, he amazed the world;
He was faithful to God, even in suffering.
Philaret did not compete
For honor or precedence.
We use this age to purchase
The Eternal Kingdom and blessedness.
The Lord spoke a wondrous word:
“Trade until I return!
When the time is right,
I will repay you with great riches.”
When Philaret became impoverished
Because of almsgiving beyond measure,
Because of truth and goodness–
God visited him from on high:
Visited him and bestowed mercy,
Bestowed mercy and rewarded him,
Just as once upon the faithful Job,
He bestowed mercy and a reward.
Virtue is like a thirst. When a man begins to drink of it, he becomes more thirsty and seeks to drink of it all the more. He who begins to exercise the virtue of compassion knows no measure and acknowledges no limit. St. Philaret was no less generous when he was impoverished than when he was wealthy. When his granddaughter became empress, he became a rich man once again, but no less generous. One day, he told his wife and children to prepare the best feast that they could and said: “Let us invite our King and Lord, with all His noblemen, to come to the feast.” Everyone thought that the old man was thinking of inviting to dinner his son-in-law, the emperor, and they all worked as hard as they could and prepared the feast. Meanwhile, Philaret went around the streets and gathered all the needy, the beggars, the blind, the outcasts, the lame and the infirm, and brought them to the feast. Placing them at the table, he ordered his wife and sons to serve at the table. After the feast was completed, he put a gold coin in the hand of each guest and dismissed them. Then everyone understood that by “the King” he meant the Lord Christ Himself, and by “the noblemen” he meant beggars and those in need. He also said that one need not look at the money that one gives to beggars, but rather one should mix up the money in one’s pocket and give only what the hand removes from the pocket. The hand will draw out whatever God’s providence ordains.
Contemplate the sinful fall of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3):
1. How Eve, when she sinned, did not repent but hurried to make her husband a participant in her sin;
2. How Adam, when he sinned, did not repent but justified himself, blaming his wife before God;
3. How, even today, many sinners seek fellow participants in their sin and justify themselves by blaming others.
on the creation of the world
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Genesis 1:1).
Brethren, this is God’s answer through the mouth of the prophet, the answer to the question that we all thirst to know: “Whence comes this world?” God hears our question, spoken or unspoken; He hears and gives an answer. Just as He gives rain to the dry earth, just as He gives health to a sick person, just as He gives bread and clothing to the body, so also does He give an answer to our spirit. He gives an answer to the question that has caused it hunger and thirst, pain and nakedness, until it (the spirit) is nourished and quenched, restored to health, and is clothed with the true answer. This is the question: “Whence, therefore, comes this world?” This is the answer: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. This world is not of itself, just as nothing in this world is of itself, neither is this world of an evil power, neither is this world of many creators, good and evil, but rather it is of the one gracious God. This answer evokes joy in the heart of every man and incites him to good works. And by this we know, among other things, that this is the only correct and true answer. Every other answer, in contradiction to this, evokes sorrow and fear in us and incites us to evil works, and therefore we know, among other things, that such answers are false. Brethren, the world is from God–let us rejoice and be glad! The world is of divine origin, and consequently its end will also be in God. The world is of a good root, and consequently it will bring forth good fruit. It proceeded from the chamber of light, and it will end in light. When we know that the beginning is good, then we know that it tends toward good and that the end will be good. Behold, in these words about the beginning, the prophecy about the end is already hidden. As was the beginning, so also will be the end. He from Whom the beginning came, in Him also is the end. Therefore, let us hold fast to this saving truth, that we may have shining hope and be strengthened in love toward the One Who, out of love, created us.
O Lord God, our Almighty Creator, One God, One Creator, the good Source of goodness, Thee do we worship, to Thee do we pray; direct us to the good end by Thy Holy Spirit, through the Lord Jesus Christ.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.