Holy Martyr Ludmila, Grandmother of St. Wenceslaus, Prince of the Czechs

Troparion — Tone 3
Your holy martyr Ludmilla, O Lord, / through her sufferings has received an incorruptible crown from You, our God. / For having Your strength, she laid low her adversaries, / and shattered the powerless boldness of demons. / Through her intercessions, save our souls!

Wednesday September 29, 2021 / September 16, 2021

15th Week after Pentecost. Tone five.
Fast. Food with Oil
Great-martyr Euphemia the All-praised, of Chalcedon (304). New Hieromartyr Gregory Raevsky priest (1937). New Hieromartyr Sergius priest (1942). Translation of the relics of St. Alexis of Moscow (2001). Repose of St. Cyprian, metropolitan of Kiev (1406). St. Photius, metropolitan of Kiev (1431). St. Kushka of Odessa confessor (1964). St. Sebastiana, disciple of St. Paul the Apostle, martyred at Heraclea (86). Martyr Melitina of Marcianopolis (2nd c.). Martyrs Victor and Sosthenes at Chalcedon (304). Venerable Dorotheus, hermit of Egypt (4th c.). Martyr Ludmilla (927), grandmother of St. Wenceslaus, prince of the Czechs. Venerable Procopius, abbot, of Sazava in Bohemia (1053). New Martyrs Isaac and Joseph, who suffered at Karnu, Georgia (808) (Georgia). The Icon of the Mother of God, named “Support of the Humble” (1420).

The Scripture Readings

Galatians 3:15-22
Mark 6:7-13

The Holy Martyress Liudmila

Commemorated on September 16

      The Holy Martyress Liudmila, a Czech (Bohemian) princess, was married to the Czech prince Borivoy. Both spouses received holy Baptism from Saint Methodios, Archbishop of Moravia and Enlightener of the Slavs (Comm. 11 May). As Christians, they showed concerned for the enlightening of their subjects with the light of the true faith, they built churches and invited priests therein to make Divine-services. Prince Borivoy died early at age 36. Saint Liudmila as a widow led an austere pious life and continued to be concerned for the Church during the reign of her son Bratislav, which lasted for 33 years. Bratislav was married to Dragomira, from whom he had a son Vyacheslav. After the death of Bratislav, 18 year old Vyacheslav came on the throne. Taking advantage of the inexperience and youth of her son, Dragomira began to propagate pagan manners and customs in the country. Saint Liudmila of course opposed this. Dragomira came to hate her mother-in-law and tried to destroy her. When Saint Liudmila moved away to the city of Techin, Dragomira sent there two boyars in secret to murder her. At the time Saint Liudmila was praying, and the two assassins entered the house, carrying out Dragomira’s orders. The relics of the holy Martyress Liudmila was buried in Techin in the city wall. From her grave there occurred numerous healings. Prince Vyacheslav transferred the body of Saint Liudmila to the city of Prague and placed it in the church of Saint George.

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

HYMN OF PRAISE

THE HOLY GREAT-MARTYR EUPHEMIA
 All-blessed Euphemia, the holy virgin, 

Offered herself to God as a sacrificial lamb.

 She neither gasped, nor sighed, nor sorrowed, 

But gave warm thanks to God for her tortures. 

Angels appeared to her in the flame, 

And extinguished the embers with cool heavenly dew. 

Oh, such is our Faith–invincible! 

Oh, such is the love for God–unquenchable! 

Euphemia, wise virgin, virgin of Christ,  

Christ the Lord gave you the Kingdom for your suffering. 

You have boldness before the Mother of God and Christ our God, 

And help Their work by your holy prayers. 

O Euphemia, pray for all sinners, 

And convert them,

O saintly one, to repentance.

REFLECTION

Often unexpected misfortune befalls us, and in vain we ask “why?” The Church of Christ alone knows how to explain the cause of every misfortune. The Church basically classifies misfortunes into two groups. Some misfortunes befall the sinner because of old, unrepented sins. Other misfortunes assault the righteous and serve, according to the words of St. John Chrysostom, “as a means of receiving a wreath, as was the case with Lazarus and Job.” The Empress Eudocia secretly agreed with the Eutychian heresy, having heeded the counsel of the perfidious eunuch Chrysaphius. But misfortune unexpectedly befell her. One day her husband, Emperor Theodosius, brought her an apple of unusual size. The empress sent the apple to the ailing senator Paulinus and he, out of love for the emperor, sent this same apple to Emperor Theodosius. This gave the emperor reason to suspect an illicit relationship between his wife and the senator. The emperor asked his wife to show him the apple he had given her. The empress lied and said: “I ate it!” This made the emperor’s suspicion even stronger, and he banished Eudocia to Palestine. In time Eudocia cured herself of heresy, and through the counsels of the great Palestinian spiritual fathers returned completely to Orthodoxy. The misfortune that befell the empress did not arise from an illicit relationship with Paulinus–in this, she was completely innocent–but because of her heretical disposition. A second but different case: When he was still a military commander, the future Emperor Marcian was traveling near Philipopolis and saw the corpse of a murdered man on the road. Out of pure compassion, he got off his horse and started to bury the corpse. Just then someone came by and saw him burying the corpse, and reported him to the court as a murderer. Marcian would have been punished by death, had God not shortly revealed the true murderer. This kind of misfortune falls into that second category–“for the receiving of a wreath.” Shortly after this, General Marcian was chosen to be emperor.

CONTEMPLATION

Contemplate God’s wondrous judgment with regard to men (I Kings 14):

1. How Jeroboam’s son became ill and died, for the punishment of his apostate father and for his own salvation;

2. How the rest of Jeroboam’s men perished, and were eaten by dogs in the city and by birds in the field.

HOMILY

on the Lord, the holder of power

I have power to lay it [My life] down and I have power to take it again (John 10:18).

The divine power of our Lord Jesus Christ manifested itself in His complete power over Himself. If divine power could be separated from divine love, then it could be said of Christ that He would have been able to incarnate, or not incarnate; or again, that He would have been able to die, or not die. But, He became incarnate according to His divine love for men and, according to this same inexpressible love, He gave Himself up to death as a Good Shepherd for His sheep (John 10:11). A man who kills himself does not truly have power over his life, for he does not kill himself by his own power, but rather by the power of sin, or by the power of the devil, or by the power of some other grave circumstance. So also, a man whom others kill has no power over his life, nor can he speak for his life before his murderers: he cannot say I have power to lay it down, for he must lay it down unwillingly. Only our Lord Jesus Christ could say in the presence of his murderers, the Jews: I have power to lay it down. Having that power, He could, by a miracle that would have been easy for Him, have made all the Jews perish before they crucified Him on the Cross. Yet He foresaw the saving fruits of His death, and that is why He willingly gave Himself up to be slain.

And I have power to take it again. With these words He foretold His Resurrection. Therefore, the Lord both died and resurrected by His divine power.

O Almighty and man-loving Lord, how beautifully Thou didst plan the salvation of men by Thy divine power and love. Help us, O help us, that we might embrace that salvation!

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.