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Daily Devotional

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 (NS)
February 6, 2019 (OS)


Commemorations

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Tuesday of the Thirty-Fourth Week

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of the Afterfeast of the Meeting of the Lord, and our holy father among the saints, Bucolos, Bishop of Smyrna, and Photios the Great, Patriarch of Constantinople and the Equal-to-the-apostles.


Fasting Information

No Fasting.


Scripture Readings

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Tuesday of the Thirty-Fourth Week

Epistle:

The Reading is from the Second General Epistle of Saint Peter [§ 67]. Beloved:

2 9TheLord knoweth how to deliver the pious out of temptation, and to keep the unjust who are under punishment until a day of judgment, 10and, most of all, those who walk after the flesh in the lust of defilement and despise dominion. They are daring, self-willed! They tremble not at blaspheming dignities; 11whereas angels, who are greater in strength and power, do not bring a reviling condemnation against them before the Lord. 12But these-as irrational animals, in accordance with nature, having been born for capture and corruption, blaspheming in which things they are ignorant-shall be destroyed in their corruption, 13and are about to receive the wages of unrighteousness, since they deem it pleasure living softly in the day. Spots they are and blemishes, revelling in their deceits, feasting with you, 14having eyes full of an adulteress and of incessant sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart which hath been exercised with greedy desires, children of a curse! 15Forsaking the straight way, they were led astray, following the way of Balaam, son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness. 16But he had reproof of his own transgression of the law: the dumb beast of burden which spoke in a man's voice hindered the madness of the prophet. 17These are waterless fountains, clouds being driven by a storm, for whom the gloom of darkness hath been kept forever. 18For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they entice with the desires of the flesh, by licentious acts, the ones who verily escape from those who conduct themselves in error, 19promising them freedom who are themselves slaves of corruption; for by whom anyone hath been defeated, by the same hath he been enslaved. 20For if, after they escaped the pollutions of the world by a full knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they then are again entangled in these and defeated, the last state hath become worse to them than the first. 21For it would have been better for them not to have acknowledged the way of righteousness, than, having acknowledged it, to have turned from the holy commandment which was delivered to them. 22But the word of the proverb hath happened to them: "The dog returned to its own vomit [cf. Prov. 26:11]"; and, "The sow, having washed herself, to her wallowing in the mire."

Gospel:

The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Mark [§ 60]. The Lord said to His disciples:

13 14"Whenever ye see 'the abomination of the desolation [cf. Dan. 9:27, 12:11],' which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not-the one who readeth, let him understand-then let those in Judæa flee to the mountains. 15"And the one who is on the housetop, let him not come down into the house, nor go in to take away anything out of his house. 16"And the one who is in the field, let him not return to the things behind, to take up his outer garment. 17"And woe to those who are with child, and to those who give suck in those days! 18"But be praying that your flight might not take place in winter. 19"For there shall be affliction in those days, such as hath not been the like from the beginning of creation which God created until the present, and never shall be. 20"And if the Lord did not shorten those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake, whom He chose for Himself, He shortened the days. 21"And then if anyone should say to you, 'Behold, here is the Christ; behold, there,' do not begin to believe it. 22"For false christs and false prophets shall be raised up, and shall produce signs and wonders, with a view to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 23"Be taking heed; behold, I have told you all things beforehand."

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of the Afterfeast of the Meeting of the Lord, and our holy father among the saints, Bucolos, Bishop of Smyrna, and Photios the Great, Patriarch of Constantinople and the Equal-to-the-apostles.

Epistle:

For St. Photios:

The Reading is from the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Hebrews [§ 318]. Brethren:

7 26Such a High Priest was fitting for us: holy, guileless, undefiled, Who hath been separated from the sinners and hath become higher than the heavens, 27Who hath no need daily, even as the high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins, then for those of the people; for this He did once for all after He offered up Himself. 28For the law appointeth men high priests who have weakness; but the word of the oath, which is after the law, appointeth the Son, Who hath been perfected forever.

8 1Now in reference to the things being spoken of, the chief point is: We have such a High Priest, Who sat down on the right of the throne of the majesty in the heavens, 2a Liturgist of the holies and of the tabernacle, the true one, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

Gospel:

The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint John [§ 36]. The Lord said to the Jews who had come to Him:

10 9"I am the door; by Me if anyone should enter, he shall be saved, and shall go in and go out and find pasture. 10"The thief cometh not, except that he might steal, and slay, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. 11"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd layeth down his life for the sheep. 12"But the hireling, who indeed is not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep and fleeth; and the wolf seizeth them and scattereth the sheep. 13"Now the hireling fleeth, because he is a hireling and careth not about the sheep. 14"I am the good shepherd; and I know those that are Mine, and am known of those that are Mine. 15"Even as the Father knoweth Me, I also know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16"And I have other sheep which are not of this fold; them also it is needful for Me to bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one flock and one Shepherd."


Lives of the Saints
(Prologue)

February 19th - Civil Calendar
February 6th - Church Calendar

1. St Bucolus, Bishop of Smyrna.

He was a disciple of St John the Theologian, who consecrated him bishop of the city of Smyrna. There were few baptized Christians in Smyrna, and St Bucolus shone like a lamp in the pagan darkness. He was adorned with all the virtues, especially gentleness and meekness. Before his death, Bucolus named the famous Polycarp as his successor in the episcopate. Then he peacefully departed this life and went to the Lord.

2. The Holy Martyr Fausta.

Suffering for Christ in the reign of the Emperor Maximian (between 305 and 311), she made her torturers marvel by her heroism and brought them to the Christian faith. These were the eighty-year-old pagan priest Evilasius, and Maximus the Eparch. When the judge threatened Fausta with even harsher tortures, she asked him to have a picture of her made, showing her enduring all the tortures with which he was threatening her. When it was ready and shown to her, holy Fausta said: 'As this picture feels no torture, so my body does not feel the torture of your punishments, for my soul is established in the Lord.' The judge cast her into a cauldron of boiling water, where this thirteen-year-old girl departed this life with prayer on her lips, and went to Paradise.

3. The Holy Martyr Dorothea.

She was an eminent and beautiful maiden from Caesarea in Cappadocia. The administrator of the district, Sapricius, gave Dorothea into the care of two pagan sisters, Christina and Kallista, to turn her from Christ. But it happened the other way about: Dorothea succeeded in bringing both sisters to the Christian faith. Sapricius in fury ordered that the sisters be tied together back to back, cast into a vat of pitch and then set alight. He then condemned Dorothea to death. She listened to the sentence with joy and cried out: 'I thank Thee, O Christ, Thou Lover of souls, that Thou callest me to Thy Paradise and leadest me to Thy most holy court!' A nobleman, Theophilus, who was present laughed at these words and called out to Dorothea: 'Here, you bride of Christ; send me apples and wild roses from your bridegroom's paradise!' 'Yes; I'll do that!', the martyr replied. When Dorothea was at the place of execution, a handsome youth suddenly appeared with three marvelous apples and three red wild roses. This was an angel from God, and it was winter-time. At Dorothea's bidding, the angel took them to Theophilus and said: 'Here is what you asked for.' When Theophilus received the message and saw the gift, he was very much afraid. Everything within him turned topsy-turvy, and he rejected paganism and became a Christian. He was tortured and killed for Christ, and his soul quickly followed Dorothea's to the Lord's Paradise.

4. St Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople.

St Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople.A great light in the Church, he was a kinsman of the Emperor and grandson of the famous Patriarch Tarasius. He was reputed to be the wisest and most intelligent person in the empire, and was an instructor of many in Constantinople on subjects that ranged from secular science to the most sublime types of theology. He was a forceful protector of the Church from the power-seeking of the Pope and other Roman perverters of the Faith. He passed through all the ranks from layman to patriarch in six days, being made Patriarch on the Nativity of Christ in 858. He departed this life in the Lord in about 895.

5. Our Holy Fathers Barsanuphius and John.

Great ascetics from Gaza, gifted with insight and wonder-working power, they left us a well-known book of answers to various questions on the spiritual life. They lived in the sixth century.

6. The Holy Martyrs Martha and Mary and their brother Lycarion.

All three were crucified for Christ, then stabbed to death with a lance.

FOR CONSIDERATION

St Barsanuphius, who spent fifty years shut in his cell forbidding himself the sight of a single man, attained through the grace of God gifts of discernment and clairvoyance. Here are some of the thoughts from his book Answers: 'Every thought that is not preceded by the silence of humility does not originate in God. All that happens with confusion and bustle is of the devil.' 'When you pray, and God is slow to hear you, He does this for your good, to help you learn patience.' 'Visible robbers are the servants of invisible robbers in the thoughts.' 'The Lord Jesus Christ endured all things and finally ascended onto the holy Cross, which brought about the death of the body and the passions, and a holy and perfect rest.' 'The Lord desires you to reverence every man more greatly than yourself.' When the elder was asked if he would use the services of a paid advocate in a dispute in which the monastery was engaged, he replied: 'If you buy the advocacy of men, God will not be your advocate (lawyer).'


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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