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Daily Devotional

Monday, October 16, 2017 (NS)
October 3, 2017 (OS)


Commemorations

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Monday of the Twentieth Week

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of Hieromartyr Dionysios the Areopagite.


Fasting Information

No Fasting.


Scripture Readings

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Monday of the Twentieth Week

Epistle:

The Reading is from the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Philippians [§ 241]. Brethren:

2 12Even as ye always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much rather in mine absence, be working out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13for God is the One Who energizeth in you both to will and to energize for the sake of His good pleasure. 14Be doing all things without murmurings and disputings, 15in order that ye might become blameless and unsullied, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and wayward generation, among whom ye shine as luminaries in the world, 16holding forth the word of life, for a boast to me in the day of Christ, that I ran not in vain, nor labored in vain.

Gospel:

The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke [§ 25]. The Lord said to those Jews who had come to him:

6 24"Woe to you, the rich! For ye are receiving in full your consolation.

25"Woe to you who have been filled, for ye shall hunger.

Woe to you who laugh now, for ye shall mourn and weep.

26"Woe to you, whenever all men shall speak well of you, for according to these things their fathers were doing to the false prophets.

27"But I say to you who hear, keep on loving your enemies, doing well to those who hate you, 28"blessing those who curse you, and praying for those who act despitefully toward you. 29"To him who smiteth thee on the cheek, be offering also the other; and from him who taketh away thine outer garment, do not even withhold thy tunic. 30"And to everyone who asketh thee, be giving; and from him who taketh away your things, cease demanding them back."

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of Hieromartyr Dionysios the Areopagite.

Epistle:

The Reading is from the Acts of the Apostles [§ 40]. In those days:

17 16While Paul awaited Silas and Timothy in Athens, his spirit was provoked in him when he beheld that the city was full of idols. 17Therefore he was discoursing indeed in the synagogue with the Jews and those who were devout, and in the market every day with those who happened to be present. 18But certain philosophers of the Epicureans and of the Stoics were conversing with him, and some were saying, "What would this picker up of seeds of news wish to say?" And some said, "He seemeth to be a proclaimer of foreign deities," because he was preaching to them Jesus and the resurrection. 19And having taken hold of him, they led him to the Areopagos, saying, "May we come to know what this new teaching is which is spoken by thee? 20"For thou bringest in certain surprising things to our ears. We wish therefore to know what these things may mean." 21Now all Athenians and the strangers living there have leisure for nothing else other than to say something and to hear newer things. 22And Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagos, and said, "Men, Athenians, I perceive how in all things ye are most religious. 23"For passing through and carefully observing the objects of your veneration, I also found an altar on which it had been written: 'To an unknown God.' Therefore since ye know not Whom ye reverence, I proclaim this One to you. 24"The God Who made the world and all things in it, this same One, being Lord of heaven and of earth, dwelleth not in temples made by hand; 25"neither is He being serviced to by the hands of men, as though in need of anything, because He Himself giveth to all life, and breath, in all respects. 26"And He made of one blood every nation of mankind, to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined preappointed seasons and the boundaries of their dwelling, 27"to seek the Lord, if perhaps they might feel about for Him and find Him, though indeed He is not far from each one of us. 28"For in Him we live, and move, and exist, as also some among your poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.' 29"Being then offspring of God, we ought not to think that which is divine is like gold or silver or stone, graven by art and man's conception. 30"Therefore God, having overlooked indeed the times of ignorance, now commandeth all men everywhere to repent, 31"because He set up a day in which He is going to judge the inhabited world in righteousness by a Man Whom He ordained, after He gave assurance to all and raised Him from the dead." 32But after they heard "a resurrection of the dead," some indeed began to mock, but others said, "We will hear thee again concerning this matter." 33And thus Paul went out from their midst. 34But certain men, having joined themselves together to him, believed, among whom were Dionysios the Areopagite and a woman, by name Damaris, and others with them."

Gospel:

The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Matthew [§ 55]. The Lord said this parable:

13 44"The kingdom of the heavens is like treasure which hath been hidden in the field, which, after a man found, he hid; and for the joy of it, he goeth and selleth all things, as much as he hath, and buyeth that field. 45"Again, the kingdom of the heavens is like a man, a merchant, seeking beautiful pearls, 46"who, after he found one very precious pearl, went away and sold all things, as much as he had, and bought it. 47"Again the kingdom of the heavens is like a dragnet which was cast into the sea and brought together of every kind, 48"which, when it was full, they drew up on the shore; and they sat down and gathered together the good into vessels, but the rotten they cast out. 49"Thus shall it be in the consummation of the age: the angels shall go forth, and shall separate the evil from the midst of the righteous, 50"and shall cast them into the furnace of the fire. There shall be there the weeping and the gnashing of the teeth." 51Jesus saith to them, "Did ye understand all these things?" They say to Him, "Yes, Lord." 52And He said to them, "On this account every scribe who was instructed into the kingdom of the heavens is like a man that is a master of a house, who putteth forth out of his treasure things new and old."

53And it came to pass, when Jesus finished these parables, He departed from that place. 54And after He came into His own country, He was teaching them in their synagogue.


Lives of the Saints
(Prologue)

October 16th - Civil Calendar
October 3rd - Church Calendar

1. The Hieromartyr Dionysius the Areopagite.

The Hieromartyr Dionysius the Areopagite.He is counted among the seventy lesser apostles. This wonderful man was of a noble, pagan family in Athens. Finishing his education in Athens, he went to Egypt to learn more. One day while he was there, the Lord Christ breathed His last on the Cross, and the sun was darkened and it was dark in Egypt for the space of three hours. Then Dionysius cried out: 'Either God the Creator of the world is suffering, or the world is ending.' Returning to Athens, he married a woman called Damaris and had sons by her. He was a member of the highest court in Greece, the Areopagus, and was always thereafter known as the Areopagite. When the Apostle Paul preached the Gospel in Athens, Dionysius was baptised with his whole household (Acts 17:34). Paul consecrated him bishop of Athens (he having left his wife and children and status from love of Christ), and he travelled widely with Paul, coming to know all the other apostles. He went especially to Jerusalem, to see the most holy Mother of God, and wrote of his meeting with her in one of his works, being at the burial of the Most Pure along with the other apostles. When his teacher, St Paul, suffered martyrdom, Dionysius desired to die such a death himself, so he went off to Gaul to preach the Gospel among the barbarians, accompanied by Rusticus, a priest, and a deacon called Eleutherius. They endured much but met with great success. By their labours, many were turned to the Christian faith and Dionysius built a small chapel in Paris* where he celebrated divine service. When he was ninety years old, he was seized and tortured for Christ, together with Rusticus and Eleutherius, until they were all three beheaded with the sword. The severed head of St Dionysius jumped a long way and fell in front of a Christian woman, Catula, who buried it with his body. He suffered in the time of Domitian, in the year 96. He wrote several famous works: on the names of God, on the heavenly and ecclesiastical hierarchies, on mystical theology and on the most holy Mother of God.

*Author's note: Some historians think that Dionysius of Paris was other than St Dionysius the Areopagite.

2. Our Holy Father John the Chozebite, the Egyptian.

He lived in asceticism in the community of Chozeba in the time of the Emperor Justinian. Whenever he served the Liturgy, he saw a heavenly light in the altar. Ananias, an elder, lived the ascetic life not far from him, and the humility of these two saints was wonderful. A man brought his mad son to Ananias to be healed by his prayers. Ananias sent him to St John, as being greater than he. John could not disobey the elder, but cried out: 'In the name of Jesus Christ, it is Ananias, not I, who commands you to come out of this boy!' And the boy was healed immediately.

3. Our Holy Father Dionysius of the Kiev Caves.

He was a hieromonk and an anchorite. The following occurred on Pascha in 1463: he was going round the graves with Cross and censer to cense the relics and graves of the saints buried there. With overflowing joy in the Resurrection, he cried out on going into the caves: 'My holy fathers and brethren, Christ is risen!' At that, a voice like thunder rose from the tombs: 'He is risen indeed!'

4. St Hesychius the Chorebite.

He was at first careless for his soul's salvation, but he became seriously ill and died, and came back from the dead and was healed. This wrought a profound change in him. He shut himself in a cell on the Holy Mountain and spoke not a single word to anyone for twelve years. Before his death, the monks opened his cell and begged him to give them some instruction. He only said: 'He who ponders on death cannot sin.' From him descended those known as the 'hesychasts', who held silence, pondering on God and mental prayer to be the chief works of the true monk. They had a skete, known as the Hesychast or Silent, on the Holy Mountain. It is said of Gregory the Theologian that he was a hesychast during the great Fast. St Hesychius lived in the sixth century.

FOR CONSIDERATION

A vision of St Andrew the Fool for Christ: Holy Andrew, walking one day along the streets of Constantinople, saw a great and splendid funeral. A rich man had died, and his cortege was magnificent. But when he looked more closely, Andrew saw a host of little black men capering merrily around the corpse, one grinning like a prostitute, another barking like a dog, a third grunting like a pig, a fourth pouring something filthy over the body. And they were mocking the singers and saying: 'You're singing over a dog!' Andrew, marveling, wondered what this man had done. Turning round, he saw a handsome youth standing weeping behind a wall. 'For the sake of the God of heaven and earth, tell me the reason for your tears', said Andrew. The young man then told him that he had been the dead man's guardian angel, but that the man had, by his sins, greatly offended God, casting his angel's counsel from him and giving himself over utterly to the black demons. And the angel said that this man was a great and unrepentant sinner: a liar, a hater of men, a miser, a shedder of blood and a dissolute man who had turned three hundred souls to immorality. In vain was he honored by the Emperor and respected by the people. In vain was this great funeral. Death had caught him unrepentant, and the harvest had come without warning.


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
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