The Holy Martyrs Ermil and Stratonik

Fourth Tone
Thy Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for Thee received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since they possessed Thy strength, they cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons’ strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.

Wednesday January 26, 2022 / January 13, 2022

32nd Week after Pentecost. Tone six.
Fast. Fish Allowed

Martyrs Hermylus and Stratonicus at Belgrade (315). Venerable Irinarch of Rostov (1616). Venerable Eleazar of Anzersk Island at Solovki (1656). Martyr Peter of Anium, at Eleutheropolis (1st c.). Venerable James, bishop of Nisibis (350

The Scripture Readings

James 1:1-18
Mark 10:11-16
Romans 8:28-39 Epistle, Holy Fathers Slain at Sinai and Raithu
Luke 6:17-23 Gospel, Holy Fathers Slain at Sinai and Raithu

  

Commemorated on January 13

      The Holy Martyrs Ermil and Stratonik, by origin Slavs, lived at the beginning of the IV Century during the time of persecution against Christians by the emperor Licinius (307-324). They were friends. Saint Ermil served as deacon in the city of Singedonum (Belgrade). Condemned by Licinius to imprisonment, he was long and cruelly tortured for the Name of Christ, but he remained unyielding. Saint Stratonik was a superintendent of the prison and a secret christian. Seeing the agonising torments of his friend, he was not able to keep from weeping, and he revealed that he was a Christian. They subjected him also to torture. After the torturing, they put the martyrs into a net and threw them into the Danube/Dunai. On the third day, the bodies of the saints were discovered on the bank of the river by Christians and buried near Singedonum. Their venerable heads are located in the Church of Saint Sophia, where the Russian pilgrim Antonii saw them in the year 1200.

HYMN OF PRAISE

SAINT MAXIMUS

Prayer in the heart beats like a heart,

Prayer in the heart, together with breathing,

Internal prayer is a light from within.

On Athos this was manifested by Maximus.

Like a spirit without a body, Maximus was lifted up.

Through prayer he was utterly infused with Light,

Through prayer he was filled with joy,

Through prayer he was filled with satisfaction,

Through prayer he saw the heavens opened.

Through prayer the human being was glorified,

Through prayer he sensed the nearness of Christ.

The Holy All-pure One openly appeared to him.

The soul of Maximus was sated with heaven.

Gregory of Sinai once asked him:

“Tell me, O righteous Maximus, whence do you know

That you have good and not evil visions,

And that all of these are not illusions of the devil,

False temptations and Satan’s deceptions?”

“From this, I know,” said he, “that they are not lies:

These visions console the spirit and body,

My spirit always yearns after them,

And, at the sign of the Cross, they will not vanish.

Because of sweet joy I know it is not delusion–

Because of blessed joy that warms me completely.”

REFLECTION

A good deed done in silence is worth more than a good deed done with an explanation, and is worth incomparably more than the most spiritual explanation without a good deed. From St. Nicholas of Myra in Lycia no words have remained, but his deeds have remained. On three occasions, without any explanation, he came at night to the home of a poor man and secretly threw a bag of gold through the window.

A certain elder of a Scetis in Egypt became very ill and desired to eat a little fresh bread, for the bread that the monks ate at that time was dried in the sun and kept for months. Upon hearing this, one of the monks, without saying anything to anyone, departed the Scetis and went to a distant town, where he purchased fresh bread for the ailing elder. Learning about the effort of this monk, the elder did not want the bread, saying: “This is the blood of my brother!” (That is to say, the brother provided it with great difficulty, with great effort). Then the other monks implored the elder to eat, saying to him: “Do not despise the sacrifice of the brother.” What kind of explanation and what words of brotherly love are able to replace this simple and silent act of brotherly love?

CONTEMPLATION

Contemplate the hunger and thirst of the Lord Jesus for justice:

1. How He came into the world to restore distorted justice;

2. How He proclaimed God’s justice and unmasked injustice;

3. How He hastened to do numerous acts of justice in order to leave us an example.

HOMILY

on the Kingdom of God which is within

“The Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21).

All that belongs to God carries the seal of immortality. And the Kingdom of God is immortal. If we desire to breathe the air of immortality, we must enter within ourselves, within our hearts, within the Kingdom of God. Outside of ourselves is the air of time, the air of transitoriness and decay, in which the soul breathes with difficulty. The kingdom of nature is the sensual kingdom; hence, it is a kingdom foreign to our souls–our souls being of our inner kingdom. Why do men love to reside for a long, long time in a foreign land? Why do they rarely and reluctantly enter into their own home? Whenever we think about the world, we are thinking about that foreign land. Whenever we converse about the sensual world, we are conversing about a foreign land. Living by the senses, we are similar to a man who rushes around all day to the homes of strangers and only at night returns to his own home to sleep. And so we dedicate our waking time to death and our sleep to immortality! We come to ourselves, we return to ourselves only in sleep. But even our sleep is dreaming of our waking life, i.e., even when we are in our own home, in an unconscious state, we dream of foreign homes. Our dreams are sensual, for our consciousness is sensual. And so we are in a foreign land; we are strangers in reality and in dreams. We are constantly outside ourselves. The Lord wants to return us to ourselves, to His home and to His homeland. For us, the Kingdom of God is within us; outside of ourselves is a foreign land. In order to escape from a foreign land and find our true home, in which we directly encounter God, we must enter within ourselves, into our hearts. There is the King; there also is the Kingdom.

O Lord, King of the angels and saints, show us the riches and the light of Thy Kingdom within us, that we may love Thy kingdom more than we love the foreign land of the sensual–the kingdom of change and transitoriness.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.