Wednesday April 29, 2020 / April 16, 2020
Second Week of Pascha. Tone one.
Fast. Fish Allowed
Virgin-martyrs Agape, Irene, and Chionia in Illyria (304). Martyrs Leonidas, Chariessa, Nice, Galina, Callista (Calisa), Nunechia, Basilissa, Theodora, and Irene of Corinth (250). The Weeping Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos “Ilyin Chernigov” (1658) and “Tambov” Icon (1692).
The Scripture Readings
The Il’insk-Chernigov Icon of the Mother of God
Commemorated on April 16
The Il’insk-Chernigov Icon of the Mother of God was written in the year 1658 by the iconographer Grigorii Konstantinovich Dubensky, – in monasticism Gennadii. In 1662 over the course of 8 days, from 16 to 24 April, tears flowed from the icon. In this same year Tatars descended upon Chernigov and devastated it. At midnight they burst into the Trinity monastery, went into the church, overturned all the icons and grabbed all the utensils, – but the wonderworking icon with its adornment remained untouched. An invisible power held back the impious from the holy icon. The Queen of Heaven likewise once had not permitted, that the enemy should enter into the cave of the Monk Antonii of Pechersk, where the brethren of the monastery had hidden. As though terrified by an incomprehensible vision, the Tatars turned to flight.
The miracle of the Mother of God from Her Chernigov Icon was described by Sainted Dimitrii of Rostov (Comm. 28 October and 21 September), in his book, “The Moistened Fleece” (“Runo Oroshennoe”). Later on Sainted John of Tobol’sk (+ 1715, Comm. 10 June) also wrote about the Chernigov Icon. A wonderworking copy of the Chernigov Icon of the Mother of God, situated in the Gethsemane skete-hermitage of the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra, was glorified in the year 1869 (account is under 1 September).
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.
HYMN OF PRAISE
THE HOLY FEMALE MARTYRS AGAPE, CHIONA AND IRENE
Chaste souls, chaste bodies,
Like three lilies, pure and white,
Three sisters, heroines,
Golden treasuries of the Holy Spirit.
Their blood they shed, their life they gave.
With wreaths are they crowned.
Chiona–glistening as the snow,
And Irene–namesake of peace.
In torments as in the midst of a feast,
They glorified the Living God
And the resurrected Lord:
“Most-high God, whatever we have,
Behold, to Thee we give all:
Body, soul and all pains–
Thou receivest all into Thy hands!
From the river of fire save our bodies;
From eternal wrath save the souls!
Oh, thanks be to Thee, that Thou didst create us,
And didst even make us worthy of sufferings!”
Three sisters, three virgins,
Martyrs for the sake of the Trinity.
A story of the Elder Barlaam: A certain man had three friends. Two of them he loved sincerely, but he avoided the third out of indifference. It so happened that the king summoned this man before him to render account and to repay his debt. He turned for help to his first friend, who rejected him and departed. He then turned to his second friend, but even he did not help him. With shame, he then turned to the third friend, who joyfully accompanied him to the king. The interpretation is this: the first friend is wealth; the second friend is one’s relatives; the third friend is the good works of men in this world. The king is God, Who, through death, sends a summons and seeks payment of debt. A dying man seeks help in his wealth, but it turns away and passes on immediately into the hands of another owner. He then turns to his relatives, but his relatives send him off alone and they remain. Then, he reminds himself of his good works, which he carried out with indifference, and these immediately accompany him on his way to the King and Judge. He who has ears to hear, let him hear. The only companions of the soul into the other world are the works of a man, be they good or be they bad. All that was dear and precious to a man leaves him and turns away from him. Only his works, to the very last one, accompany him. He who has a mind to understand, let him understand.
Contemplate the resurrected Lord Jesus:
1. How, according to the testimony of St. Paul, He appeared alive to five hundred people at once: After that, He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep (1 Corinthians 15:6);
2. How He appeared to the Apostle James, again, according to the testimony of the Apostle Paul: After that, He appeared to James, then to all the apostles (1 Corinthians 15:7);
3. How in the time of the Apostle Paul, even outside the circle of the apostles, many still lived who had seen Him.
on waking from sin
“Awake to righteousness and sin not” (1 Corinthians 15:34).
The Apostle Paul gives this commandment in relation to the Resurrection of Christ. Since he had enumerated many proofs of the Resurrection of the Lord, he decisively commands the faithful to awaken to righteousness and to sin no more.
Why does the Apostle make our wakefulness contingent on the Resurrection of the Lord? Because the Resurrection of Christ from the dead is the main rebuttal to sinning. And because nothing else in this world can turn us away from sinning as surely as the knowledge that the Lord resurrected from the grave and now sits alive on the Throne of Glory, awaiting us at His Judgment. Having acquired this knowledge, sinning is utterly absurd. Having acquired this knowledge, waking from sin is perfectly natural and reasonable.
Awake to righteousness! Not halfheartedly, but completely. Dismiss from your minds even the remembrance of sin. For sin is like a plant that can grow even in the most parched places. One drop of moisture, and a seemingly withered plant becomes green. One remembrance of a seemingly long-forgotten, dead sin makes it come alive and become stronger.
The heathens, who sinned without having the example of the Resurrection of the dead, will have some justification at the Judgment. They will say: “There was nothing powerful enough to awaken us from sinning. We believed that the grave was the final delta of the river of human life, for we did not have any proof of life after death.” Thus will the heathens speak? But how will you Christians justify yourselves, you who have learned of the Resurrection of Christ and have not awakened; you who have heard so many testimonies of the Resurrection and the Judgment and yet have continued to sin? How are you going to justify yourselves?
My brethren, awake to righteousness and sin not, for Christ is risen from the grave. O resurrected and living Lord, help us to awaken from sin once and for all.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.