Wednesday December 23, 2020 / December 10, 2020
29th Week after Pentecost. Tone three.
Nativity (St. Philip’s Fast). By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)Martyrs Menas the Melodius, Hermogenes, and Eugraphus of Alexandria (310). St. Ioasaph, bishop of Belgorod (1754). New Hieromartyr Jacob and Alexander priests, Hieromartyr Eugraphus and his son (1918). New Hieromartyrs Anatolius, Alexander, Eugene, Constantine, Nicholas priests and with them Martyrs Peter, Michael, Dorotheus, Laurentius, Gregory and Virgin-martyrs Alexandra and Tatiana, New Hieromartyr Michael priest, New Hieromartyr Sergius (1937). New Hieromartyrs Nicholas and Alexis priests (1938). Virgin-martyrs Anna and Tatiana confessors (1948). Virgin-martyr Thecla confessor (1954). Venerable Anna confessor (1958). Martyr Gemellus of Paphlagonia (361). Venerable Thomas of Bithynia (10th c.). Blessed John, king of Serbia (1503), and his parents Stephen (1468) and Angelina Brancovich (16th c.
The Scripture Readings
The Holy Martyrs Minos, Hermogenes and Eugraphos
Commemorated on December 10
The Holy Martyrs Minos, Hermogenes and Eugraphos suffered for their faith in Christ under the emperor Maximian (305-313).
Saint Minos was sent by the emperor from Athens to Alexandria to suppress the riots that had arisen between the Christians and the pagans. Distinguished for his gift of eloquence, Minos instead openly began to preach the Christian faith and he converted many pagans to Christ. Learning of this, Maximian dispatched Hermogenes to the Alexandria district to conduct a trial over the saints, and moreover was given orders to purge the city of Christians. Hermogenes, although he was a pagan, was distinguished however by his reverent bearing. And struck by the endurance of Saint Minos under torture and by his miraculous healing after the cruel torments, he also came to believe in Christ. Maximian himself then arrived in Alexandria. Neither the astonishing stoic endurance under torture of Saints Minos and Hermogenes, nor even the miracles of these days manifest of God in this city, in any way mollified the emperor, but instead vexed him all the more. The emperor personally stabbed Saint Eugraphos, the secretary of Saint Minos, and then gave orders to behead the holy Martyrs Minos and Hermogenes.
The remains of the holy martyrs, cast into the sea in an iron chest, were afterwards found (about this see under 17 February) and transferred to Constantinople. The emperor Justinian built a church in the name of the holy Martyr Minos of Alexandria. Saint Joseph the Melodist (Comm. 4 April) composed a canon in honour of the holy martyrs.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.
HYMN OF PRAISE
THE VENERABLE ANGELINA
The God-pleaser, holy Angelina,
Holy in marriage and also as a nun,
Patient in suffering, merciful in doing good,
Full of sorrow for another’s sorrow–
She looked to God, her Comforter,
And was calmed by the Cross of Christ the Savior.
She was a comfort to her husband, an example to her children;
And the children of the holy mother became saints.
Whoever invokes the name of Mother Angelina
Will see all his suffering quickly fade away.
In a time of gloom, when the empire collapsed,
When many harmed their souls by sin,
When the darkness of the Turks encompassed the land,
Angelina saved the souls of the Serbs
By pointing to heaven with her finger and her spirit,
Consoling them with Christ, healing them by the Cross.
And now she hastens to every aching soul,
And with greater power she both heals and consoles.
Whoever invokes the name of Mother Angelina,
Will see all his suffering quickly fade away.
REFLECTIONIn innumerable ways the Living Lord knows when to show mercy and when to chastise, when to deliver the faithful from temptations, when to turn unbelievers into believers, and when to punish incorrigible persecutors of the Faith. When the evil Maximin slew the wonderful martyrs of Christ, Menas, Hermogenes, and Eugraphus, he boarded a boat with his retinue and set sail from Alexandria for Byzantium. But suddenly he was blinded, being blind beforehand in soul and mind, and began to complain to those among his retinue of invisible hands that were harshly striking him. Shortly after that he died wickedly, just as he had lived. At the time of St. Ambrose the following incident occurred: The heretical Empress Justina had persuaded Euthymius, a landowner from Milan, to somehow seize the bishop, whom she hated, and to take him somewhere far away into exile. Euthymius prepared a cart and settled in a house near the church so that he could more easily catch sight of Ambrose alone and carry him off in the cart. And precisely on the day when he had arranged and prepared everything to seize Ambrose, an imperial order arrived that Euthymius immediately be exiled because of some crime. That day, the soldiers came, bound the malicious one, and took him off into exile in the very cart that he had prepared for Ambrose’s banishment. On another occasion, an Arian entered the church where St. Ambrose was celebrating, with the intention of hearing from his mouth something for which Ambrose could be denounced. Looking around, this heretic saw God’s saint instructing the people and beheld a shining angel alongside him, whispering words in his ear. Being greatly frightened by this, he became ashamed of himself, rejected the heresy and returned to Orthodoxy.
Contemplate the deluge of the world (Genesis 7):
1. How there was a flood of corruption in the world before the water flooded the world;
2. How the long-suffering God permitted the flood because of the sins of mankind, and how the water flooded the entire earth.
I … am but dust and ashes (Genesis 18:27).
These are the words that the righteous Abraham spoke of himself. Brethren, ridiculous are those people who pride themselves on their association with worldly princes and noblemen and begin to think highly of themselves. Abraham was found worthy to converse with the Eternal and Almighty King. Nevertheless, he remained unwavering in his humility, calling himself dust and ashes. Who was this Abraham, that he was found worthy of so much of God’s favor in his lifetime and praise after his death, from the Apostle (Galatians 3, Hebrews 11), and even from the Lord Christ Himself (Luke 16:22, John 8:39)? He was a peasant who possessed all the virtues, living always according to the Law of God, a man with a firm faith in God, a lover of justice, hospitable, compassionate, courageous, obedient, pure and humble. However, Abraham is especially glorified for his faith, a powerful faith. Abraham was one hundred years old when God told him that his wife, barren until then, would bear a son, and he believed. And even before Sarah had given birth to Isaac, God said to Abraham: I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth (Genesis 13:16). Abraham believed and doubted not. And when an only son was born to Abraham, God commanded him, as a test, to offer his only son as a sacrifice. Abraham was prepared to do this, had God not turned him from it at the last moment. How complete was this wonderful man’s faith and obedience to God! Therefore God blessed him and made him glorious on earth and in heaven. Brethren, blessed are they who, without hesitation, believe in God and fulfill His holy commandments. The blessing of God will accompany them in both worlds.
O our Blessed Creator, bless us sinners also and number us among Thine elect, who have a share with Abraham in Thy Kingdom.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.