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Daily Devotional

Saturday, July 20, 2019 (NS)
July 7, 2019 (OS)


Commemorations

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Saturday of the Fifth Week

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of the holy Great-martyr Kyriake (Gk. calendar only), and our venerable Father Thomas of Mount Maleon, and our venerable Father Akakios of Sinai (commemorated on Gk. calendar on the 26th of November).


Fasting Information

No Fasting.


Scripture Readings

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Saturday of the Fifth Week

Epistle:

The Reading is from the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Romans [§ 97]. Brethren:

8 14As many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15For ye did not receive a spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye received a Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, "Abba, Father." 16The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God: 17And if children, also heirs-on the one hand heirs of God, on the other hand joint-heirs of Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, in order that we might also be glorified together. 18For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy in comparison to the future glory to be revealed in us. 19For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly awaiteth the revelation of the sons of God. 20For creation was subjected to vanity, not willingly, but on account of Him Who subjected it in hope, 21that the creation itself also shall be freed from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

Gospel:

The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Matthew [§ 30]. At that time:

9 9As Jesus passed by from that place, He saw a man called Matthew sitting at the custom-house. And He saith to him, "Follow thou Me." And he rose up and followed Him. 10And it came to pass, as He reclined at table in the house, also behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining at table with Jesus and His disciples. 11And after the Pharisees saw Him, they said to His disciples, "Why eateth your Teacher with the tax collectors and sinners?" 12And Jesus, having heard it, said to them, "They who are strong have no need of a physician, but they who are ill. 13"But go and learn what this is, 'I wish mercy, and not sacrifice [cf. Hos. 6:6]': For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of the holy Great-martyr Kyriake (Gk. calendar only), and our venerable Father Thomas of Mount Maleon, and our venerable Father Akakios of Sinai (commemorated on Gk. calendar on the 26th of November).

No readings given.


Lives of the Saints
(Prologue)

July 20th – Civil Calendar
July 7th - Church Calendar

1. The Holy and Great Martyr Dominica (Nedelja).

In the time of the Emperors Diocletian and his son-in-law Maximian, both adversaries of Christ, there lived in Anatolia two elderly, devout souls, Dorotheus and Eusebia. They were devoted Christians, rich but childless. With unceasing prayer, they besought God for a child, and their prayers were answered in this holy Dominica. She consecrated herself to God from her childhood, holding herself apart from the activities of carefree children. When she had grown up, beautiful in body and soul, she had many suitors but refused them all, saying that she had betrothed herself to Christ the Lord and desired nothing other than to die a virgin. One of these rejected suitors denounced Dominica and her parents to the Emperor Diocletian as Christians. The Emperor ordered that her parents be tortured, and after torture had them exiled to the town of Melitene, where they died under further torture. Diocletian sent Dominica to Maximian for trial. When she affirmed her faith in Christ the Lord before Maximian, he ordered that she be thrown to the ground and flogged with bull-whips. Then the Emperor handed her over to the generals - firstly to Hilarion and then, after his death, to Apollonius. They tortured her bestially in all possible ways, but in vain. While holy Dominica lay in prison wounded all over, Christ the Lord appeared to her, healed her and said to her: 'Don't be afraid of the torture, Dominica; My grace is with thee.' And indeed Christ's grace saved this martyr from fire and from wild beasts, which the godless torturers were certain would bring about her death. Seeing the miraculous saving of Dominica from such a death, many of the pagans came to belief in Christ. All were beheaded. Dominica said to Apollonius: 'There is no way that you can turn me from my faith. Throw me into the fire - I have the example of the Three Children; throw me to the wild beasts - I have the example of Daniel; throw me into the sea - I have the example of Jonah the prophet; put me to the sword - I shall remember the honoured Forerunner. For me, to die is life in Christ.' Then Apollonius ordered that she be beheaded. Dominica knelt and raised her hands to heaven in prayer to God, that He would have mercy on and save all those who would celebrate her memory, and that he would give rest to her soul and those of her parents. Finishing her prayer, she gave her soul to God before the sword descended on her head. She suffered with honour in Nicomedia and went to eternal joy in the year 289.

2. Our Holy Father Thomas of Malea.

This Thomas was a general, famed for his courage and wealth. He was massive of body and a source of fear to his enemies. But, when he came to love Christ more than the world or anything in the world, he left everything and retired to the desert, where he became a monk and gave himself to asceticism. The Prophet Elias appeared to him, and led him to the mountain called Malea, near the Holy Mountain. There he lived in solitude, alone with God, in unceasing prayer day and night. Although he hid from the world, he could not succeed in concealing himself. Learning of the holiness of his life, people began to go to him, bringing their sick. St Thomas healed them of all ills and weaknesses. When he went to God (in the tenth century), his relics continued to give aid to all who drew near to them in faith.

3. Our Holy Fathers, the Martyrs Epictetus and Astius.

Epictetus, a priest, brought Astius, the only son of his parents, to the Christian faith, baptised him and made him a monk. They then went off eastwards, to the region of Scythia, and settled in the Scythian town of Almirida (now Ramzina), at the mouth of the Danube on the Black Sea. They were tortured and killed for the Christian faith in about 290. They both appeared after their deaths in great light to St Astius' parents, Alexander and Marcellina, who turned to Christ and were baptised by Bishop Evangelus, who was himself then executed for Christ; 'Evangelus, another angel', as is sung of him.

FOR CONSIDERATION

The example of St Dominica, a beautiful maiden, and of St Astius, a rich young man, who both gave themselves over to torture and death for the sake of Christ the Lord, leads us to the thought that there is no equal in history to the power of Christ, by whose aid young people conquer themselves and, through that conquest, conquer all else. Victory over oneself is the greatest victory. The Church counts such victors in their thousands, in their many thousands. St Cyprian, writing on virginity, says: 'To be victorious over pleasure is the greatest pleasure, and there is no greater victory than victory over one's desires. He who has overcome an enemy shows himself stronger than the other, but he who has overcome his desires shows himself stronger than himself. Every other evil is easier to overcome than pleasure, for all other evils are repulsive, while pleasure is an attractive evil. Those who free themselves from their desires are freed also from fear, for desire is the root of fear.'


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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