Tuesday November 17, 2020 / November 4, 2020
24th Week after Pentecost. Tone six.
Venerable Ioannicius the Great of Bithynia (846). Hieromartyrs Nicander, bishop of Myra, and Hermas, presbyter (1st c.). Martyr Nicholas confessor and priest (1931). Virgin-martyr Eugene (1935). New Hieromartyr Alexander priest (1937). New Hieromartyr Ismail priest (1941). Venerable Mercurius, faster of the Kiev Caves (14th c.). Venerable Nicander, abbot of Gorodensk (Novgorod) (1607). Blessed Simon of Yurievets (1584)
The Scripture Readings
The Holy PriestMartyrs Nikander, Bishop of Myra, and the Presbyter Hermes (I)
Commemorated on November 4
The Holy PriestMartyrs Nikander, Bishop of Myra, and the Presbyter Hermes (I), were disciples of the holy Apostle Paul’s follower and co-ascetic, the holy Disciple Titus (Comm. 25 August), and they were ordained by him to the priestly dignity. Asceticising amidst incessant pastoral works, the saints converted many pagans to Christ. For this they were arrested and brought before the city governor, named Libanius. Neither flattery nor threats swayed the holy martyrs to renounce Christ. Then Libanius gave orders that they be tortured. The saints endured fierce and inhuman torments: they were bound to horses, dragged over stones, their bodies were lacerated with iron hooks and they were cast into an hot oven. The Lord helped them endure things, that a mere man by his own strength could not endue. Towards the end the martyrs were pierced in head and heart with spears, and thrown into a pit, they were covered over with ground.
Blessed Simon of Yur’evetsk
Commemorated on November 4
Blessed Simon of Yur’evetsk was born in the city of Yur’evetsa in the Povolzhsk or Volga region. Forsaken by his parents, the saint took upon himself the exploit of fool-for-Christ. Both winter and summer he went barefoot, in a single shirt, so that his skin became blackened and withered from fasting. Unthinking people often were cruel to him. Blessed Simon was fond of praying in the porticos of various churches. The ascetic exploit of self-denial cleansed his soul, and he received from God the gift of foresight: he foresaw many things and predicted the future. And contemporaries, mentioning his name, beheld various miraculous signs. Just before his end the saint went to the house of the voevoda (military commander) Feodor Petelin. Here, not knowing the saint, in a fit of anger he gave orders to give him a beating. Saint Simon fell grievously ill. He summoned a priest, made his confession, received the Holy Mysteries of Christ and consigned his soul to God. The voevoda became remorseful in his sinfulness. And amidst this, all the city gathered for the funeral of the saint. The body of Blessed Simon was buried in Theophany monastery. This occurred on 4 November 1584. In the year 1635 Patriarch Joasaph ordered the Theophany hegumen Dionysii to compile an account of the life and miracles of Blessed Simon and gave blessing to write his icon. The celebration of Blessed Simon has been made since he year 1635.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.
HYMN OF PRAISE
THE VENERABLE IOANNICIUS THE GREAT
Ioannicius served the people,
The people and the prince, with great zeal,
And then withdrew from all and everything
To serve the glory of the Heavenly King.
Ioannicius was a great soldier
For the holy Faith and for pure justice;
With tears and labors for half a century
He prayed and prayed to Christ.
Glorious Ioannicius was a rich man,
Rich and more than abundant with the power of heaven,
Leading the struggle, and chanting Psalms,
Against every dark and deceitful power.
The wondrous saint, Ioannicius,
Worked many wonderful miracles
In the name of Christ and by the power of the Cross,
Mightily destroying the demons’ schemes.
O Saint of God, Ioannicius,
You found mercy in the Lord Jesus Christ:
Beg mercy also for us sinners,
And from the Holy Spirit, holy grace.
Mercy is the fruit of faith. Where there is true faith, there also is true mercy. St. Ioannicius was walking past a monastery one day. Among the many nuns, there were a mother and daughter. Evil spirits continually assaulted the young daughter with bodily temptations, and inflamed the passion of lust in her to such a degree that she wanted to leave the convent to marry. In vain did her mother counsel her to stay. Her daughter would not even hear of it. When the mother saw St. Ioannicius, she begged him to counsel her daughter to remain in the monastery and not expose her soul to perdition in the world. Ioannicius summoned the maiden and said: “Daughter, place your hand on my shoulder!” She did so. Then the compassionate saint prayed to God with a fervent heart that He deliver her from temptation, and that her bodily lust be transferred to him. Thus, it happened. The maiden was completely calmed and remained in the monastery, and the saint of God went on his way. But as he went, the passion of lust was inflamed in him, and his blood began to boil as though on fire. He desired to die rather than to give the passion its way and, seeing a large poisonous snake, ran to it so as to be bitten and to die. But the snake would not bite him. He provoked it to make it bite him, but as soon as he touched it the snake died. At that moment the flame of lust disappeared from Ioannicius.
Contemplate the Lord’s coming to Paul in a vision at night (Acts 18):
1. How the Lord came to Paul at Corinth, in a nighttime vision;
2. How He told him to fear not and to preach, for He said: I have much people in this city;
3. How Paul obeyed and remained there for a year and a half.
on the heirs of the Kingdom through Christ the Lord
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance (Ephesians 1:11).
All is from the Lord Jesus Christ, all is through the Lord Jesus Christ, and all is of the Lord Jesus Christ. Without Him, we have no proper ties or normal relationships with God, with men or with other created beings. He is our head and our mind, and through Him we have obtained an inheritance. What do we inherit? The Kingdom of God. Why are Christians often called heirs in the New Testament? Inheritance is always associated with someone’s passing from this earth. One must die for his heir to inherit. Christians even become heirs while still in this life, for the old man in them dies and the new man comes in his place as heir. The one who outlives the other is the one who inherits. When the body dies, the soul outlives it; the soul therefore inherits all that a man has gathered while in the body, be it good works for salvation or evil works for condemnation. Through the Lord Jesus Christ the inheritance that the Lord Himself rejoiced in is opened to us: the Immortal Kingdom of God. We inherit that Kingdom when we leave the earthly kingdom–when we die to this earth, we will inherit heaven; when we break off the alliance with Satan, we will become fellow heirs in Christ. O my brethren, just think what a rich inheritance awaits us! But let us not sell it cheaply, as Esau sold his birthright!
O Lord Jesus Christ, our God and our Savior, have mercy on us to the end, and save us.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.