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Daily Devotional

Friday, April 20, 2018 (NS)
April 7, 2018 (OS)


Commemorations

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Friday of the Second Week

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of our holy father among the saints, George, Bishop of Mitylene, and the holy Martyr Kalliopios.


Fasting Information

Fast day, but Wine and Oil Allowed.


Scripture Readings

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Friday of the Second Week

Epistle:

The Reading is from the Acts of the Apostles [§ 13]. In those days:

5 1A certain man, by name Ananias, with Sapphire his wife, sold a property, 2and appropriated for themselves part of the price, his wife also being privy to it. And he brought a certain part, and laid it at the feet of the apostles. 3But Peter said, "Ananias, why did Satan fill thy heart for thee to deceive the Holy Spirit, and to appropriate part of the price of the land? 4"While it remained, it did remain thine own, did it not? And after it was sold, was it not in thine own authority? Why didst thou put this thing in thy heart? Thou didst not lie to men, but to God." 5And Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and expired. And great fear came to be upon all who heard these things. 6And the younger men rose up and wrapped him round, and carried him out, and buried him. 7And there came to pass an interval of about three hours, and his wife, who knew not what had happened, entered. 8And Peter began to speak to her,"Tell me whether ye yourselves sold the land for so much?" And she said, "Yes, for so much." 9And Peter said to her, "Why was it agreed together by you to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who buried thy husband are at the door, and they shall carry thee out." 10And immediately she fell down at his feet and expired. And the young men entered and found her dead. And they carried her out and buried her by her husband. 11And great fear came to be upon the whole church and upon all those who heard these things.

Gospel:

The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint John [§ 17]. The Lord said to the Jews having come to Him:

5 30"I am not able to do anything of Myself. Even as I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the One Who sent Me, the Father. 31"If I bear witness concerning Myself, My witness is not true. 32"It is Another Who beareth witness concerning Me, and I know that the testimony which He beareth witness to concerning Me is true. 33"Ye have sent away to John, and he hath borne witness to the truth. 34"But I receive not testimony from man. But I say these things that ye might be saved. 35"That one was the lamp that burneth and shineth, and ye became willing to rejoice for an hour in his light. 36"But I have the testimony greater than that of John; for the works which the Father gave to Me in order that I should finish them, the very works which I do, bear witness concerning Me that the Father hath sent Me forth. 37"And the Father Who sent Me, Himself hath borne witness concerning Me. Ye have neither heard His voice at any time, nor have seen His form. 38"And ye have not His word abiding in you, for He Whom that One sent forth, this One ye believe not. 39"Keep on searching the Scriptures, for in them ye think to have eternal life; and these are they which testify concerning Me. 40"And yet ye are not willing to come to Me in order that ye may have life. 41"I receive not glory from man. 42"But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in yourselves. 43"I have come in the name of My Father, and ye receive Me not; if another should come in his own name, that one ye will receive. 44"How are ye able to believe, who receive glory from one another, and seek not the glory which is from the only God? 45"Cease thinking that I will accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuseth you-Moses, in whom ye have hoped. 46"For if ye had believed Moses, ye would have believed Me; for concerning Me that one wrote. 47"But if ye believe not the writings of that one, how shall ye believe My words?"

6 1After these things Jesus went away across the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2And a great crowd was following Him, because they had been seeing the signs which He brought about upon those who were sick.

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of our holy father among the saints, George, Bishop of Mitylene, and the holy Martyr Kalliopios.

No readings given.


Lives of the Saints
(Prologue)

April 20th - Civil Calendar
April 7th - Church Calendar

1. St George the Confessor.

For his great virtues, which he acquired through long asceticism, George was chosen and installed as Metropolitan of Mitylene. And this saint governed his flock with zeal and wisdom to old age. But when a persecution arose under Leo V, the Armenian, who destroyed the holy icons, this holy elder was summoned by the Emperor to Constantinople, to the Council of bishops which was summoned, at the Emperor's desire, to put a stop to the veneration of icons. But George not only refused to act according to the Emperor's desire; he, together with some other courageous bishops, stood up in defence of the holy icons. For this he was held in derision by the Emperor and exiled to the region of Cherson, where, in physical pain and every sort of need, he spent the remainder of his earthly life. He died and went to immortal life in about 816. He was a wonderworker both during his life and after his death, through his great righteousness and love for the Lord Jesus.

2. Our Holy Father Nil Sorsky.

One of the great fathers of the Russian Church, he was the founder of the monastic 'skete' way of life in Russia. He died peacefully in 1508, and his relics are preserved in the monastery at Sora. His rule of life in the sketes presents a spiritual and pragmatic work of the first order.

3. The Holy Martyr Calliopus.

He was the only son, obtained from God with tears, of a senator of Perga in Pamphylia. His devout mother, Theoclea, taught him veneration of God and purity of life at an early age. Calliopus was still very young when a terrible persecution arose under the Emperor Maximian. To save him from death, his mother put him into a ship, gave him a sufficient sum of money and sent him off to the city of Pompeiopolis. But things turned out differently, by the providence of God. Disembarking at Pompeiopolis, Calliopus walked straight into some tumultuous pantheistic celebration. When he, in the press of the crazed mob, refused to take part in that senseless feast, he was brought to the commander, Maximus, to whom he confessed that he was a Christian. The commander ordered that he be beaten with iron staves, burned by fire and finally, wounded all over, thrown into prison. Hearing of the torture of her son, his mother, Theoclea, gave away all her goods to the poor and needy and, with a small sum of money, hurried to her son's prison. Entering the prison, she bowed to her son and bound up his wounds. Finally, the commander pronounced the sentence that Calliopus be crucified. Joy and anguish were mingled together in his mother's heart. When they led her son to the place of execution, she passed the executioner five gold pieces to crucify her son, not like the Lord, but upside-down. This she did from humility towards the Lord. Calliopus was crucified, upside-down, on Holy Thursday, and his mother stood below the cross giving thanks to God. When they took his dead body down from the cross the next day, she fell on it and breathed her last. Thus these two went to stand before the throne of the King of glory. They suffered with honour in 304.

4. Our Holy Father Daniel of Pereyaslavl.

He had as his special asceticism the care of the dead. Whenever he heard that someone had frozen to death or died in some other way, he hurried to give him burial and to pray to God for him. He died peacefully in 1540. His healing relics are preserved to this day.

5. Our Holy Father Gregory the Sinaite.

A great saint and ascetic of Sinai and Athos (see August 8th).

FOR CONSIDERATION

'Those in spiritual authority must be careful to differentiate between themselves and those under them, as a shepherd must between himself and his sheep.' So speaks St Isidore of Pelusium, interpreting the First Epistle to Timothy. The life of a priest always serves as an example, whether for good or for ill. By a good life, a priest confirms the Gospel, and denies it by a bad one. No one else is in such a position to confirm or deny the Gospel as is a priest by his life. A good priest is differentiated by his actions from a bad priest, no less than a shepherd from a wolf. Therefore the portion of the good priest will be with the sons of God, and that of the bad with the wild beasts in darkness. Good shepherds of the Church, even at the moment of their last breath, were concerned for the flock that they were leaving behind them. On his deathbed, St Joseph the Hymnographer prayed to God: 'Defend Thy flock, O Son of God, and protect all the works of Thy hands to the end of time. Be Thou a helper of the beloved sons of Thy Church. Give to Thy Bride (the holy Church) eternal peace and stormless quiet. And St Antipas, burning in a red-hot copper ox, prayed to God: 'Not for myself alone, but for those who will, after me, become partakers of Thy mercy.'


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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