Wednesday October 21, 2020 / October 8, 2020
20th Week after Pentecost. Tone two.
Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Venerable Pelagia the Penitent of the Mount of Olives (457). New Hieromartyrs Demetrius archbishop of Mozhaysk and with him John deacon, Hieromartyr Ambrosius and Pakhomius, Virgin-martyr Tatiana, Martyr Nicholas, Virgin-martyrs Mary and Nadezhda (1937). New Hieromartyr Jonah bishop of Velizhsk, Hieromartyr Seraphim, New Hieromartyrs Peter, Basil, Paul, Peter, Vladimir priests, Martyrs Victor, John, Nicholas and Virgin-martyr Elizabeth (1937). New Hieromartyr Barlaam (end of 1930th). Venerable Dositheus, abbot of Verkneostrov (Pskov) (1482). Venerable Tryphon, abbot, of Vyatka (1612). Synaxis of All Saints of Vyatka. Venerable Thais (Taisia) of Egypt (4th c.). Virgin-martyr Pelagia of Antioch (303
The Scripture Readings
The Nun Pelagia
Commemorated on October 8
The Nun Pelagia was converted to Christianity by Sainted Nonnos, Bishop of Edessa (Comm. on Saturday of Cheesefare Week). Before her acceptance of saving Baptism, Pelagia was head of a dance troupe in Palestinian Antioch, living life in frivolity and profligacy. But one time Pelagia, elegantly dressed, was making her way past a church, at the doors of which Saint Nonnos was preaching a sermon. Believers turned their faces away from the sinner, but the bishop long glanced after her. Struck by the outer beauty of Pelagia and having foreseen the spiritual greatness in her, the saint in his cell prayed long to the Lord for the sinner, grieving that the poverty attiring his soul could not compare with the splendid garb and beauty of the profligate.
On the following day, when Saint Nonnos was teaching in the church about the Dread Last Judgement and its consequences, Pelagia came. The teaching made such an impression upon her, that betaken with the fear of God and bursting out in tears of repentance, she besought the saint for Baptism. Seeing the sincere and full repentance of Pelagia, Bishop Nonnos baptised her.
By night the devil appeared to Pelagia, urging her to return to her former life. In answer to this the saint made prayer, signed herself with the Sign of the Cross, and the devil vanished. Having gathered up her valuables, Saint Pelagia took them to Bishop Nonnos. The bishop gave orders to distribute it amidst the poor with the words: “Let be wisely dispersed what is miraculously gathered”. After this Saint Pelagia in hair-shirt journeyed to Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives. There, until her end (457), she asceticised in seclusion under the masculine-name Pelagios, and attained to great spiritual gifts.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.
The Monk Tryphon, Archimandrite of Vyatsk
The Monk Tryphon, Archimandrite of Vyatsk, came of pious parents, living in Arkhangelsk diocese. His parents intended to marry Tryphon off, but he had from his youthful years a desire for the monastic life, and he secretly left his home for the city of Ustiug, where he took up residence with a parish priest who dwelt in strict fasting and prayer. And then he lived in the town of Orletsa nearby the church, enduring hunger and cold, and from there he moved on to the Pyshkorsk monastery at the River Kama. Here the Monk Tryphon was received into monastic life and received tonsure under the hegumen Varlaam. The 22 year old monk did not pass up a single church service, and he did heavy obedience in the bakery. When he fell grievously ill, Saint Nicholas appeared to him and healed him, encouraging him in ascetic effort.
In search of solitude, the monk went to the Mulyanka River and settled at the place where now is situated the city Perm. Here he converted to Christianity the pagan Ostyaks and Voguli. Then the Monk Tryphon withdrew to the River Chusova and founded there a monastery in honour of the Uspenie-Dormition of the MostHoly Mother of God. In 1580 he arrived in the city of Khynov in Vyatsk diocese, and likewise he founded there an Uspensk monastery and was made archimandrite. Being a strict ascetic, he wore an hairshirt on his body and also heavy chains. The soul of the elder thirsted for the enlightenment of the lost with the light of faith in Christ. He devoted all his energy to this holy effort.
Before his death, the Monk Tryphon wrote a last testament to the brethren, in which he says: “Fathers and brethren, thou flock gathered about Christ! Heed me, a sinner. Though I be coarse and worse than any, God and His All-Pure Mother have permitted me, a sinner, to manage His household. I beseech ye, for God and His All-Pure Mother, have spiritual love amongst yourselves. Without this no virtue is complete before God. The lips of Christ bespoke the disciples: “Love one another” (Jn. 13: 34). And in the words of the Apostle Paul: “Bear each other’s burdens” (Gal. 6: 2). Condemn ye not one another before God, whether in the temple or in the cell, either alone or in common with the brethren. Do fearfully your cell prayers. And by no means neglect church singing; although there be other matters, hasten to church to God for spiritual song. First give to God what is God’s, and then fulfill the other matters”. The Monk Tryphon expired to the Lord in old age in 1612. He was buried in the Vyatsk monastery founded by him.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.
HYMN OF PRAISE
THE VENERABLE HILARION THE GREAT
Holy Hilarion, like a brilliant comet,
Fleeing from men, traveled half the world.
But such a star hides in vain:
Its own light reveals it to the world.
Hilarion wished to escape earthly glory,
But from glory the saint could not flee.
Where God did not proclaim him, the demons did,
Being terrified by the saint, who cast them out.
Wherever he settled, Hilarion the Wonderful
Worked miracles and healed the sick,
Conquered his weakness and passions.
A conqueror of the world, he subdued the demons.
He hid in caves, yet was proclaimed by all.
He shunned all, but was glorified by all.
The Lord glorifies His glorifiers,
And crowns victorious runners with wreaths.
When the race of earthly life passes,
The wreaths of everlasting life are given.
The aged Hilarion, ever young in spirit,
Now takes delight in the Lord face to face.
Even now his prayers wage war for us,
That in His compassion the Lord would have mercy on us.
The All-seeing eye of God watches over all men and, in a wondrous manner, guides the faithful to salvation. That which seems to the faithful a great loss can show itself over time to be a great gain. The case of St. Philotheus and his brother, who were lost to their mother, is similar to the case of St. Xenophont (January 26), and the case of St. Eustathius and his wife and sons (September 20). When St. Philotheus and his brother were sitting in a Turkish prison in Macedonia, the Most-holy Theotokos appeared to them in the form of their mother and said, “Arise, my dear children, and follow me!” and suddenly the young men found themselves in a monastery in the town of Neapolis in Asia Minor. When the young men related to the abbot what had happened to them, he understood that this was from God, and he received the young men and tonsured them. A long time passed after this. Their mother grieved for them but overcame her loss. Finally, she decided to enter a convent and dedicate herself to God. God’s providence brought her near the monastery where her sons were. Once, during the patronal celebration of this monastery she came with the other nuns for the celebration. She saw her sons in church but did not recognize them. Just then, one of the brothers called the other by his secular name. The mother’s heart was touched by that name, which was dear to her, and she looked carefully into their faces. Then she recognized them and they recognized her. Their joy was exceedingly great, and they gave heartfelt thanks to God. Believing Christians should not despair over even the greatest loss.
Contemplate the wondrous healing of the blind Saul by Ananias (Acts 9):
1. How Ananias placed his hands on Saul, mentioning the name of the Lord Jesus;
2. How the blindness departed from Saul like scales falling from his eyes, and he saw and was baptized, and became Paul.
on the God-inspired heart and tongue
My heart will pour forth good words; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer (Psalm 45:1).
Behold the inspiration of the Spirit of God! The prophet wants to speak of Christ the Lord and his heart swells with power and wisdom. That is why the prophet does not say: “My heart will speak or will pronounce good words, but rather will pour forth as though a part of his own heart rushes out like a torrent of water from an overflowing well. A torrent of water is narrow underground, but when it reaches the opening of the spring, it bursts out in a large stream. Such is the heart of the prophet when he wants to speak of Christ. Such is the power of grace confined in the heart of man. If it does not manifest itself in powerful words or if it does not manifest itself in miraculous works, it will shine within man and work wonders. But when it comes out in words, the tongue of the prophet will become as a reed, as a pen of a ready writer. For such a man does not struggle to formulate his thoughts, nor does he struggle to clothe his thoughts in the garment of words, but grace itself pours out thoughts and words, already prepared, through his tongue. Where does such a power in man come from? From God the Holy Spirit. Why does such a power exist? The prophet wants to speak to the King about Himself: I speak of things which I have made touching the King (Psalm 45:1). Actions and words here are identical, as it often happens in Holy Scripture. Where the Spirit speaks, He also acts; and where He acts, He also speaks. One speaks most powerfully through action. The prophet takes from Christ the King, and gives to Christ the King. He speaks enthusiastically of love for the Savior of the world; he speaks from a heart burning with the zeal of divine love. From the distance of time, he sees the Incarnate Son of God, and his heart dances with joy like a weary night-traveler when he sees the beautiful dawn in the east!
O Lord God, the Holy Spirit, do not deny us Thy holy and powerful grace, that we may be cleansed from sins and made worthy of the Kingdom of Christ.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.