The Holy Great Matyr Catherine


Feast Day Actually Celebrated 24 Nov 7530

By your virtues, as with the rays of the sun, you enlightened the pagan sages; / and like the brightest moon for those who walk at night, / you drove away the darkness of unbelief, and led the Empress to faith; / you also rebuked the tyrant, and you were called by God as His bride, O blessed Katherine. / With love you ascended to the heavenly Bridal Chamber of the most comely Bridegroom Christ, / by Whom you were crowned with a royal crown. / Now standing before Him with the Angels, pray for us who honor your holy memory.

Wednesday December 8, 2021 / November 25, 2021

25th Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Nativity (St. Philip’s Fast). Food with Oil

Apodosis of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple. Hieromartyr Clement, pope of Rome (101). Hieromartyr Peter, archbishop of Alexandria (311). Woman Hieromartyr Magdalen (1931). New Hieromartyrs Seraphim archbishop of Smolensk, Gregory, John, Basil, Cosmas, John, Simeon, Hilarion, Iaroslav, Alexander, John, Victor, Andrew, Barlaam priests and Martyr Paul (1937). Martyr Nicholas (1938). Venerable Peter the Silent, of Galata, Syria (429).

The Scripture Readings

2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
Luke 18:15-17, 26-30
Hebrews 9:1-7 Theotokos
Luke 10:38-42; 11:27-28 Theotokos
Philippians 3:20-4:3 Hieromartyr
Matthew 5:14-19 Hieromartyr

The Monk Peter the Silent, of Galatia

Commemorated on November 25

      About the Monk Peter of Galatia is known, that at nine years of age and yearning for the spiritual life, he left his parental abode, and set off first to Jerusalem, and then to Antioch. There he enclosed himself in a cave, devoted himself to deeds of prayer and strict abstinence, taking bread and water only after the daytime. In these exploits he was granted from God the gift of wonderworking, healing infirmities and expelling devils. The monk died in about the year 429 at the age of ninety-nine, of which he served God incessantly for ninety years.

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

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HYMN OF PRAISE

THE HOLY GREAT-MARTYR CATHERINE (Feast Day Actually Celebrated 24 Nov 7530)

The wise Catherine, an earthly princess,

Became a martyr for Christ the Savior.

Foolish Maxentius offered her life:

If she would consent to become his wife!

The holy Catherine, pure as gold,

Replied to the emperor thus:

“My betrothed is the Risen Christ,

And I desire not the love of a corrupt man.

You seek my body: the rotten seeks corruption,

Even as the incorrupt spirit seeks immortality.

The physical covering must wither away,

The true man takes care for his immortal soul.

Do what you wish, and torture me–

Burn me in the fire, turn me on a wheel;

I cannot renounce my own soul,

Nor worship any but Christ as God.

Remember, O Emperor, soon you will die,

And worms will erupt from your corpse–

Worms will glorify you, worms will eat you,

A curse will accompany you, and a curse will meet you:

For you dare wage war against Christ, Who is mightier than death.

You stand under the Rock, and He will crush you.”

Holy Catherine, Christ’s virgin,

You despised the throne for eternal truth’s sake;

And thus now reign in the Kingdom without end,

And sing with the angels, in the midst of sweet Paradise.


REFLECTION

A tale of Elder Barlaam to Ioasaph: The citizens in a certain town had a custom of choosing as king a stranger who did not know their laws and customs. After they had crowned him king, they clothed him in beautiful robes, fed him abundantly and surrounded him with every luxury. However, as soon as one year had elapsed, they deposed their king, stripped him of all his goods and his clothes, and drove him completely naked to a distant island, where he had neither bread nor roof nor companions, and where he would die in misery and humiliation. The citizens of this town would then choose another king, also a stranger and also for one year; then a third, then a fourth, then a fifth and so forth. But it once happened that they chose a very wise and cautious man. He learned from his servants what had happened to the kings of this town after their year. Therefore, over the course of the whole year he zealously gathered food and goods and daily sent them to that island. When the year had run out and when he was stripped of his clothing and cast onto the island, he found himself amidst an enormous quantity of food, silver, gold and precious stones, and continued to live there even better than he lived as king in that town. The interpretation is this: The town represents the world; the citizens represent the evil spirits; the kings are men, either foolish or wise. The foolish men think only of the pleasures of this life, as if it were eternal; but in the end, death cuts everything off and they, naked of all good works, go to hell. The wise, however, perform many good works, and send these good works ahead of them to the other world. At their repose, the wise kings–the good men–depart to that world where their accumulated riches await them, and where they reign in greater eternal glory and beauty than they reigned here on earth.
 

CONTEMPLATION

Contemplate the wondrous creation of the world (Genesis 2):

1. How God brought all animals, birds and beasts before Adam, to see how he would name them;

2. How Adam gave a name to every animal and every bird and every beast.

HOMILY

on Him Who descended and ascended

He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things (Ephesians 4:10).

In His love for man, the Lord Jesus Christ lowered Himself so low that He could go no lower; and then raised Himself so high that, in truth, He could go no higher. He descended into the lower parts of the earth (Ephesians 4:9): into hades itself, where He freed the forefathers, prophets and righteous ones, and led them into the Kingdom of Heaven. Completing His work both on earth and in hades, He ascended far above all heavens. The same One Who ascended is the very same One Who descended without any change, except that He descended without a body, and ascended with a body. Therefore, there are not both a Son of God and a Son of Man as heretics have said, but Christ is both the Son of God and the Son of Man–one and the same Person–one and the same God-man, our Savior Jesus Christ. As He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, so He is the same in the depths and in the heights: on earth, in hades, and in the heavens. He abased Himself lower than all men, and raised Himself above all the angelic powers, to show by example the truthfulness of His words: And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted (Matthew 23:12). If we are not humbled by virtues, then sin will humble us. Virtue leads to voluntary and temporary abasement, but sin leads to irreversible and eternal abasement.

O Lord Jesus, Who fills all by Thy power, fill us with the spirit of true humility.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.