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Daily Devotional

Sunday, April 30, 2017 (NS)
April 17, 2017 (OS)


Commemorations

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Third Sunday of Pascha,

Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearers

Mode Two -- Fourth Eothinon

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of our holy father among the saints, Symeon, Bishop of Persia, and those with him, Avdella the presbyter, Gothazat, Fousik, and 1,150 others, and our holy father among the saints, Akakios, Bishop of Melitene.


Fasting Information

No Fasting.


Scripture Readings

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Third Sunday of Pascha,

Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearers

Mode Two -- Fourth Eothinon

Epistle:

The Reading is from the Acts of the Apostles [§ 16].

6 1In those days, when the disciples were multiplying, there arose a murmuring of the Hellenists against the Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily ministration. 2And the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples, and said, "It is not pleasing to us to leave behind the word of God to serve tables. 3"Therefore, brethren, look out for seven men from among yourselves, whose character is approved by testimony, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint over this business; 4"but we will persevere in prayer and the ministry of the word." 5And the saying was pleasing before the whole multitude. And they chose for themselves Stephen (a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit), and Philip, and Prochoros, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicholas (a proselyte of Antioch), 6whom they set before the apostles; and having prayed, they laid their hands on them. 7And the word of God kept on increasing, and the number of the disciples was being multiplied in Jerusalem exceedingly, and great numbers of the priests were obedient to the faith.

Gospel:

The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Mark [§ 69]. At that time:

15 43Joseph, a noble counselor, who was from Arimathea, and who himself also was waiting for the kingdom of God, came; and having become bold, he went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus for himself. 44And Pilate wondered if He were already dead; and having summoned the centurion, he questioned him if He died not long ago. 45And having come to know it from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph. 46And he bought a linen cloth, and took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen, and laid Him in a sepulcher which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone against the door of the sepulcher. 47And Mary Magdalene and Mary the Mother of Joses were beholding where He was laid.

16 1And the sabbath having passed, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the Mother of Iakovos, and Salome bought aromatic spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2And very early in the morning on the first day of the week they came to the sepulcher, after the sun rose. 3And they were saying among themselves, "Who shall roll away the stone from the door of the sepulcher for us?" 4And they looked up and saw that the stone had been rolled away, for it was exceedingly great. 5And after they entered into the sepulcher, they saw a young man sitting on the right, clothed in a white robe, and they were amazed. 6And he saith to them, "Cease being amazed. Ye are seeking Jesus the Nazarene Who hath been crucified. He was raised, He is not here. Behold the place where they laid Him. 7"But go and say to His disciples, and to Peter, that He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him, even as He told you." 8And they went out and fled from the sepulcher. And trembling and ecstasy held them fast, and to no one did they say anything, for they were afraid.

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of our holy father among the saints, Symeon, Bishop of Persia, and those with him, Avdella the presbyter, Gothazat, Fousik, and 1,150 others, and our holy father among the saints, Akakios, Bishop of Melitene.

No readings given.


Lives of the Saints
(Prologue)

April 30th - Civil Calendar
April 17th - Church Calendar

1. The Hieromartyr Simeon, Bishop in Persia.

In the time of the wicked King Savori, or Sapor, Simeon was tortured for Christ together with two of his priests, Audel and Ananias. The King's eunuch, Ustazan, who had first denied Christ but then, moved by the reprimand of St Simeon, again confessed the true Faith before the King, was executed before they were. A thousand other Christians were also led to execution with St Simeon, who purposely stood a little back so that he should be the last to die, and so be able to encourage the other Christians right to the end and keep them from wavering through fear of death. When the priest Ananias laid his head on the block, he was trembling all over. But the King's clerk, Fusik, who was himself secretly a Christian, began to encourage him, saying: 'Don't be frightened, old man. Shut your eyes and be a man, and you'll see the divine light.' As soon as he had said this, it was seen that he was a Christian and he was denounced to the King. The King wore him down with harsh tortures, and also his daughter, the maiden Askitria. St Simeon was eventually beheaded, after having seen his flock into the other world. The following year, on Great Friday, the King's beloved eunuch, Azat, was slain for Christ, along with another thousand of the faithful. Then the King grieved for his eunuch and gave up killing any more Christians. They all suffered with honour for Christ their King and Lord in about 341.

2. St Acacius, Bishop of Melitene.

He lived in asceticism in his birthplace, the city of Melitene in Armenia. Blessed Otreius, the bishop of that city, who took part in the Second Ecumenical Council in 381, ordained him to the priesthood. After Otreius' death, Acacius was chosen as bishop. He participated in the Third Ecumenical Council in 431, which condemned the Nestorian blasphemy concerning the Mother of God. There he, together with St Cyril of Alexandria, showed great zeal for the purity of the Orthodox faith. St Acacius was endowed with great grace by God, and worked many miracles. After long and zealous service of God, he died peacefully in 435.

3. St Agapetus, Pope of Rome.

He was sent by Theodotus, King of the Goths, to the Emperor Justinian in Constantinople, to dissuade the latter from his campaign against the Goths. On the way, he healed a dumb and blind man. In Constantinople, he helped to uphold Orthodoxy, and died in 536.

4. Our Holy Fathers Sabbatius and Zossima.

These two were the founders of an ascetic community on the island of Solovetz in the White Sea. Many great saints were glorified in this community. St Sabbatius entered into rest in 1435, and St Zossima in 1478.

FOR CONSIDERATION

After the Council of Chalcedon the Emperor Anastasius, a heretic, sent Elias, the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, and Flavian of Antioch to prison. One day these two saints foresaw the death of the heretic Emperor, and simultaneously sent each other word of this, saying: 'Anastasius has at this moment died; let us set out that we may be judged by God together with him!' The Emperor died, and both Patriarchs died two days later. What zeal for the true Faith! And what a humble attitude to God's judgement! These saints saw no other reason for their earthly life than the truth of God. Neither did they say: 'We have judged', but, 'let God judge!'. Our sojourn on earth is not just for the sake of our being here, but for our personal decision for good or evil, for truth or falsehood. Blessed are we if we can lay all before the will of God and the judgement of God. But in all things a strong faith is vital. These Orthodox hierarchs had strong faith.

So had St Acacius. Once, in a time of great drought, when the people were in despair, Acacius held a procession with the people all round the town. And he arranged for the Liturgy to be celebrated outside the town, outside the Church of St Eustace. Consecrating the Holy Gifts, Acacius did not pour water into the wine, but prayed God that He, the Almighty, would send water into the chalice from a cloud. God hearkened to the prayer of His faithful servant and sent abundant rain onto the thirsty fields, as well as into the chalice.


Daily Scripture Readings taken from The Orthodox New Testament, translated and published by Holy Apostles Convent, Buena Vista, Colorado, copyright © 2000, used with permission, all rights reserved.

Daily Prologue Readings taken from The Prologue of Ochrid, by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic, translated by Mother Maria, published by Lazarica Press, Birmingham, England, copyright © 1985, all rights reserved.


Archbishop Gregory
Dormition Skete
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