Wednesday July 1, 2020 / June 18, 2020
4th Week after Pentecost. Tone two.
Apostles’ (Peter & Paul) Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)Martyr Leontius, and with him Martyrs Hypatius and Theodulus, at Tripoli in Syria (73). New Hieromartyrs Nicanor, Basil, Alexander, Basil and Sergius priests (1938). Uncovering of the relics of St. Victor confessor, bishop of Glazov (1997). Venerable Leontius, canonarch of the Kiev Caves (14th c.). “Bogoliubov” (1157) Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos. Reverence list of an “Bogoliubov” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos: “Zimarovsky” (13th c.), Moscow (1157), “Uglich” and “Iur’evsk”. The Meeting of the “Piukhtinsk” (“At the Source”) Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (1946
The Scripture Readings
The Bogoliubsk Icon of the Mother of God
Commemorated on June 18
The Bogoliubsk Icon of the Mother of God, one of the most ancient wonderworking icons of Russia, was written in the XII Century at the request of holy Prince Andrei Bogoliubsky (Comm. 4 July), in memory of an appearance to him by the Mother of God.
In the year 1155 holy Prince Andrei, having resettled from Vyshgorod to the Suzdal’ lands, brought with him a wonderworking image of the Mother of God, written by the Evangelist Luke (this afterwards was called the Vladimir Icon). At seven versts distance from Vladimir by horse, the carrying cart with the wonderworking Icon stopped and was not able to be moved from the place. Holy Prince Andrei besought the priest Nikolai, who accompanied him, to make a molieben before the Icon of the Mother of God, and for a long time he prayed with tears in front of the venerable image. Later he went into his travelling quarters, but ceasing not in his fervent prayer. The MostHoly Mother of God during this point appeared to him with a small scroll in Her hand and commanded the pious prince, that Her image brought from Vyshgorod should remain at Vladimir, and that on the location of Her miraculous appearance there should be built a church and holy monastery. She then prayerfully pointed Her hand to Heaven, and having received blessing from Christ the Saviour, Who appeared at this time over the earth, and with His blessing to Her the vision ended.
In fulfilling the command, holy Prince Andrei built upon the indicated place a stone church in honour of the Nativity of the MostHoly Mother of God, and also a monastery formed there. And afterwards the holy prince commissioned talented iconographers and asked that the Mother of God be depicted such as he had seen Her in the vision: in full stature and with the scroll in Her right hand, and Her face turned towards the Saviour. When the construction of the church was completed, the image was installed in it and a yearly celebration in honour of the appearance of the Mother of God was established under 18 June, which then came into useage in the Russian Church. The monastery, and the city which formed around the monastery, was named Bogoliubov by Saint Andrei, because in his own words, “the Mother of God loves this place”, and the prince himself came to be called Bogoliubsky or “God-lover”. The wonderworking image of the Mother of God, brought from Vyshgorod, was afterwards transferred from the Bogoliubovsk monastery to Vladimir into the Uspenie-Dormition cathedral, but the icon of the Appearance remained at Bogoliubov and was called the Bogoliubsk (at the present time of 1978 the icon is in the Vladimir-Suzdal’ Museum collection).
The image of the Bogoliubsk Mother of God was glorified by innumerable miracles, and over the space of many centuries manifest its grace-bearing help to the believing amongst the Russian nation. The fame of the miracles and signs wrought by the icon impelled believers of many places in Russia to avail themselves of copies of the venerable image, widely distributed and graced in power.
HYMN OF PRAISE
Leontius, with the heart of a lion:
A lion’s heart and a lion’s name.
Of his God, he was not ashamed
But, before all, confessed Christ–
The Savior of the world, Christ God.
Youth, strength and commander he scorned
For the sake of the truth of Christ crucified
And from death resurrected gloriously.
Flattered, honored, glorified and favored with gifts,
He, his God, did not deny.
Flogged, spat upon, scraped and crucified,
He, his God, did not deny.
But the greater the torment and mockery,
The flame of faith, the greater and brighter.
The Roman Empire and all the powers of hades
Against him had turned,
But he knew that alone he was not.
And that beside him stood Christ.
A pillar of stone amidst angry reeds,
A pillar of fire amidst slaves of darkness.
By his faith he amazed the people;
To live eternally his life he gave.
As a scientist examines natural phenomenon with great attention, so should we, with even greater attention, examine the phenomena and actions of the grace of God. Behold what one of the great spiritual fathers witnesses about the act of Holy Communion. Father John of Kronstadt writes: “I am amazed at the greatness and the life-giving power of Divine Communion. An elderly woman, who was spitting blood and was so completely exhausted that she was unable to eat, began to recover the day that she received Communion from me. A young girl close to death began to recover, eat, drink and speak after Communion, whereas before that she had been unconscious, in convulsions and was not eating or drinking anything.” Oh, if every priest, with the attention of a scientist and the love of a prayerful man, would observe and follow the actions of the grace of Holy Communion as did Father John!
To contemplate the miraculous healing of the young man whom the devil tormented, at times throwing him into the fire and at times into the water: Lord, have pity on my son: for he is a lunatic and suffers severely; for often times he falls into the fire and often times into the water (St. Matthew 17:14):
1. How the Lord rebuked the devil, and the young man was made whole;
2. How the evil spirit also casts me at times into the fire of passions and at times into the water of carnality;
3. How the Lord can also save me from falling into the fire and into the water, if only I pray to Him.
About God’s indebtedness
“He who has compassion on the poor lends to God and He will repay Him for his good deed” (Proverbs 19:17).
The poor man who begs and the rich man who gives–both make the Lord their debtor, but only under the condition that the poor man begs in the name of the Lord with humility and that the rich man gives in the name of the Lord with compassion. Everyone who receives should know that he receives that which belongs to God, and everyone who gives should know that he gives that which belongs to God. Such giving has a price and such receiving has a price. All of us enter this world naked, and naked shall we leave this world. All of us are beggars before the Lord, for we possess nothing that we have not received from the Lord. Therefore, give to the poor man as God has given to you. You take what is another’s and you give to your own when you perform charity (give alms). The poor man is closer to you than all of your goods, even as to God, the Creator of men, every man is incomparably more precious than all of his goods. If you have been given riches, they have been given to you for temptation: that your heart be tempted! That God and all the heavenly hosts might see whether you understood from whom are all your riches and why they were given to you. Blessed are you if you know that your goods are from God and belong to God! Blessed are you if you consider the poor as your companions, as members of your family, and share with them that which God has entrusted to you!
Oh, how immeasurable is God’s love for mankind! Behold, all that you have belongs to God, and yet God considers Himself your debtor if you take from Him and give to the poor, and He will repay you for your good. What kind of mercy can be compared to this!
O man-loving Lord, open our minds to understand the mystery of Your mercy, and soften our hearts like wax, that as wax they may burn and shine with the reflection of Your inexpressible mercy!
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.