Wednesday April 22, 2020 / April 9, 2020
Bright Week. Fast-free Synaxis of the Venerable Fathers of the Holy Mount Sinai (movable holiday on the Wednesday of the Bright Week). “Kasperov” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (movable holiday on the Wednesday of the Bright Week). Martyr Eupsychius of Caesarea in Cappadocia (362). New Martyr Gabriel (1942). Martyrs Desan bishop, Mariabus presbyter, Abdiesus, and 270 other martyrs in Persia (362). Hieromartyr Bademus (Vadim), archimandrite of Persia (379).
The Scripture Readings
The Kasperovsk Icon of the Most Holy Mother of God
Commemorated on the Wednesday of the Bright Week, October 1, June 29
The Kasperovsk Icon of the MostHoly Mother of God during the War of 1853‑1855 defended the city of Odessa against an incursion of hostile forces. Under archbishop Innokentii (Borisov) it was directed “that this event should not be forgotten in the teaching of posterity”, and to make celebration on 1 October. The icon had already been acknowledged as wonderworking and glorified by the MostHoly Synod in 1840, after investigation of a whole series of miracles. Before this, the image had been kept by the landowner Juliania Ioannovna Kasperova, who received it inheritance as a sacred family heirloom in 1809.
HYMN OF PRAISE
THE VENERABLE MARTYR VADIM
The courageous Vadim looks death in the eyes
And pities Nirsan, since misery has befallen him.
With a bare sword Nisan stands before Vadim;
He is not afraid of God, but of the saint.
He brandishes the sword, brandishes it and lowers it!
Before the knight of God–in truth, a sheer coward!
“Nirsan, Nirsan!” Vadim says to him.
“On the road to eternity, Vadim speaks to you:
Christ you denied; falsehood you embraced.
By yourself alone, you destroyed your soul.
I eagerly await death at each of God’s hours,
That He may open unto me the gate of the Eternal Kingdom.
But I am sorry to die by your hand,
And never more to see you, O Prince.
Eternal darkness will cover a traitor of Christ
And, twice as black, one who slays Christians.”
This the saint uttered and became silent,
And Nirsan slew him with a quivering hand.
Thus a lion died from a frightened rabbit!
But who did Nirsan slay–himself or the saint?
Eternal justice speaks: the thief judged himself,
And to the saint of God there came no harm.
It is said about Pericles that he was a man of almost perfect human beauty except that his head was oblong and resembled a gourd [squash], so that he was subject to ridicule when he appeared bareheaded in public. In order to conceal the defect of this great man of his people, Greek sculptors always portrayed him with a helmet on his head. When some of the pagans knew how to conceal the defects of their friends, how much more, therefore, are we Christians obligated to do the same? Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another (Romans 12:10), commands the Apostle to those who cling to Christ. How can we say that we adhere to the meek and All-pure Christ, if we daily poison the air with tales about the sins and shortcomings of others? To conceal your own virtue and the shortcomings of others–in this is preeminent spiritual wisdom.
Contemplate the resurrected Lord Jesus:
1. How He appeared to Mary Magdalene in the Garden and, at first glance, Mary did not recognize Him;
2. How He tenderheartedly addressed Mary, and how Mary then recognized Him and rejoiced in Him, and imparted her joy to the disciples.
on the need to die in order to bring forth much fruit
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12:24).
Why does the sower cast wheat upon the ground? Does he do this so that the wheat will die and rot? No, he does this so that it will live and bear fruit. In sowing the seed, the sower does not think about the death and decay of the seed, but rather about its life and yield. Indeed, with joy does the sower sow his seed, not thinking about the death of the seed, but rather about life and fruitfulness.
The Sower is Christ the Lord and men are His wheat. He was pleased to call us wheat. There are many other types of seed on earth, but nothing is more precious than wheat. Why did the Lord sow us throughout the world? So that we should die and decay? No, rather that we should live and bring forth fruit. He alludes to our death incidently. He alludes to death only as a condition for life and multiple yield. The goal of sowing is not death but life. The seed must first die and decay, and He mentions this only in passing because He knows we are fully aware of it. He only reminds us incidently of this, as His Gospel is primarily a narrative of life–about life and about bringing forth good fruit. He speaks to us a great deal about the latter because He knows we are not aware of it and that we are suffocating from ignorance and doubt. Not only does He speak to us abundantly about life, but He also shows us life. By His Resurrection, He demonstrates to us, more clearly than the sun, life and the multitude of fruit. The entire history of His Church is a clear map of life.
O invincible Lord of Life, save us from a sinful death. Deliver us from spiritual death.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.