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Daily Devotional

Sunday, August 18, 2019 (NS)
August 5, 2019 (OS)


Commemorations

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Sunday of the Ninth Week

Mode Plagal Four -- Ninth Eothinon

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of the Forefeast of the holy Transfiguration of our Lord, and the holy Martyr Efsignios of Antioch.


Fasting Information

Fast day, but Shell Fish, Wine and Oil Allowed.


Scripture Readings

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Sunday of the Ninth Week

Mode Plagal Four -- Ninth Eothinon

Epistle:

The Reading is from the First Epistle of Saint Paul to the Corinthians[§ 128]. Brethren:

3 9We are God's co-laborers; ye are God's cultivation, ye are God's building. 10According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise architect, I have laid a foundation and another buildeth upon it. But let each one be taking heed how he buildeth up; 11for no one is able to lay any other foundation beside the One being laid, Who is Jesus Christ. 12Now if anyone build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, grass, straw, 13the work of each shall become manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it is being revealed in fire; and the fire shall put to the test the work of each, of what sort it is. 14If the work of anyone abide which he built upon, he shall receive a reward. 15If the work of anyone shall be burned, he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, but so as in the midst of fire. 16Know ye not that ye are God's temple, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17If anyone corrupt the temple of God, God shall bring this same one to corruption; for the temple of God is holy, which ye are.

Gospel:

The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Matthew [§ 59]. At that time:

14 22Jesus constrained His disciples to embark into the ship and to go before Him to the other side, until He should dismiss the crowds. 23And after He dismissed the crowds, He went up into the mountain apart to pray. And evening having come to pass, He was there alone. 24But the ship was already in the midst of the sea, being tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. 25But in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went toward them, walking on the sea. 26And after the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, "It is a phantom"; and they cried out from fear. 27But straightway Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Be of good courage, I am; cease being afraid." 28And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it be Thou, command me to come to Thee on the water." 29And He said, "Come." And after Peter came down from the ship, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30But when he saw the strong wind, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me." 31And straightway Jesus stretched forth His hand and laid hold of him, and said to him, "O thou of little faith! Why didst thou doubt?" 32And after they stepped into the boat, the wind abated. 33And those in the ship came and made obeisance to Him, saying, "Truly, Thou art God's Son." 34And after they went across, they came into the land of Gennesaret.

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of the Forefeast of the holy Transfiguration of our Lord, and the holy Martyr Efsignios of Antioch.

Epistle:

The Reading is from the First General Epistle of Saint Peter [§ 58].

For Gk. usage, see 1 Pe. 1:1-25, 2:1-10; for Sl. usage, see 1 Pe. 1:1, 2, 10-12, 2:6-10.

1 1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who are sojourners of the diaspora of Pontos, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and of Bithynia, 2elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, to obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who according to His great mercy regenerated us to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, which hath been kept in the heavens for you, 5who are being guarded by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In which ye rejoice now for a little while, if it is needful, though ye have been grieved in diverse temptations, 7in order that the testing of your faith, much more precious than perishing gold, though it is being tested by fire, might be found to praise and honor and glory in the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8Whom not having seen, ye love; in Whom though now ye see Him not, but ye believe and are gladdened with a joy unspeakable and glorified, 9receiving for yourselves the end of your faith-the salvation of your souls. 10Concerning which salvation the prophets sought and searched out, who prophesied concerning the grace toward you, 11searching in regard to what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ Who was in them was declaring when He testified beforehand of the sufferings in regard to Christ and the glories after these. 12To whom it was revealed that not to themselves, but to you, were they ministering the same things which now were announced to you by those who preached the Gospel to you in the Holy Spirit Who was sent forth from heaven-things into which angels desire to look into.

13Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and perfectly hope on the grace which is being brought to you in the revelation of Jesus Christ, 14as children of obedience, not fashioning yourselves to the former desires in your ignorance, 15but according as the One Who called you is holy, do ye also become holy in all manner of behavior, 16because it hath been written: "Become holy; for I am holy [cf. Lev. 11:44, 19:2, 20:7]." 17And if ye call upon as Father the One Who without respect of persons judgeth according to the work of each, conduct yourselves during the time of your sojourning in fear, 18knowing that ye were not ransomed with corruptible things, as silver or gold, from your empty manner of life which was handed down from your fathers, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, 20Who indeed was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake, 21who through Him believe in God, Who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope might be in God.

22Since ye have purified your souls in obedience to the truth through the Spirit to unfeigned brotherly love, love one another intensely out of a pure heart, 23which is begotten anew, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Logos of God Who liveth and abideth forever, 24because "all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass; the grass withereth and its flower falleth out [cf. Is. 40:6-8; Ps. 102(103):13(15)]; 25"but the word of the Lord abideth forever[cf. Is. 40:8]." And this is the word which was preached in the Gospel to you.

2 1Having then laid aside from yourselves all wickedness, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envyings, and all evil speakings, 2as newborn babes, desire the pure rational milk, that by it ye might grow in regard to salvation, 3if indeed "ye tasted that the Lord is good [cf. Ps. 33(34):8]." 4To Whom coming, a living Stone-having indeed been rejected by men, but chosen by God-precious, 5ye also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, "Behold, I lay in Sion a cornerstone, chosen, precious; and the one who believeth on Him in no wise shall be put to shame [cf. Is. 28:16]." 7To you, therefore, who believe, is the honor, but to those who disobey-the "stone which the builders rejected, this became the head of the corner[Ps. 117(118):22]," 8and "a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense [cf. Is. 8:14]"-they stumble at the word, being disobedient, in regard to that which they also were appointed. 9But ye are "a chosen race[Is. 43:20], a royal priesthood, a holy nation [Ex. 19:6, 23:22], a people for a possession[cf. Deut. 7:6, 14:2]," that ye might "tell forth the virtues[cf. Is. 43:21]" of the One Who called you out of darkness into His wondrous light, 10who once were "not a people," but now are "a people of God," who "had not been pitied," but now "have been pitied [cf. Hos. 1:6, 8, 9, 2:23]."

Gospel:

No reading given.


Lives of the Saints
(Prologue)

August 18th – Civil Calendar
August 5th - Church Calendar

1. The Holy Martyr Eusignius.

He was a soldier under the Emperor Maximian, the Emperor Constantine the Great, and Constantine's sons, and was present at the martyrdom of the holy martyr Basiliscus (see May 22nd). He saw many angels, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself as He received the soul of this holy martyr from the angel's hands. He was a general under Constantine, and saw the Cross that appeared to the Emperor. Spending a full sixty years in military service, he withdrew from it in the time of Constantine's sons and went to Antioch, his home town. There he lived a godly life of fasting, prayer and good works. In the time of Julian the Apostate, two men at variance in the street called him to judge between them. He adjudged right to the righteous, at which the one at fault became enraged, went to the Emperor and denounced Eusignius as a Christian. The Emperor summoned him to trial, at which he fiercely denounced the Emperor for his apostasy from the Faith and rebuked him by citing the shining example of the great Constantine. The proud Julian ordered that he be beheaded. Eusignius suffered in great old age, in the year 362, and went to the Kingdom of heaven.

2. The Hieromartyr Fabian, Pope of Rome.

A Roman by birth, Fabian was first a village priest, but then, when a white dove was seen to descend on him during a papal election, he was chosen. He was meek and kindly. He gathered the bodies of the holy martyrs for burial with great diligence, and built churches over their graves. He also built chapels and shrines in the caves where the martyrs had hidden during fierce persecutions. He baptised the Emperor Philip and his son and heir, also called Philip, and with the help of the senator, Pontius, who was also baptised, destroyed many idols and temples. But, when the wicked Decius became Emperor, a terrible persecution of Christians arose in which Fabian suffered, being beheaded in the year 250. This Fabian established the custom of the blessing of oil on Holy Thursday.

3. The Holy Martyr Pontius the Senator.

Pontius was the son of the senator Marcus and his wife Julia, who was barren for twenty-two years before giving him birth. Baptised by Pope Pontianus, along with his friend Valerius (who wrote his life), he succeeded in bringing his father, Marcus, the Emperor Philip and his son, and many other eminent Romans to the Christian faith. He gave great protection and help to the Church as a senator, and was a close friend of Pope Fabian. When Decius' persecution began, Pontius fled from Rome and hid in the Alps, but, in the time of Valerian, he was taken and put to harsh torture, during which many miracles of God were revealed and many turned to Christ. There happened to be many Jews there, who cried to the judge: 'Kill him; kill this magician at once!' At this, Pontius raised his hands to heaven and said: 'I give thanks to Thee, O my God, that the Jews also cry against me, as their fathers once cried against Christ: Crucify him; crucify him! '. He was beheaded in 257 and was buried by his friend Valerius.

4. St Nonna.

The mother of St Gregory the Theologian, she was a Christian and a mighty wonderworker through prayer. By her prayers, she brought her husband back from the folly of idolatry to the Christian faith, and he later became bishop of the city of Nazianzus. By her prayers, St Nonna also saved her son, Gregory the Theologian, from a storm. She entered peacefully into rest as a deaconess in 374.

FOR CONSIDERATION

Valerian thus begins the Life of his friend Pontius: 'Who can believe, except by the gift of God? Who can embark on spiritual endeavour except with God's help? Who can receive the wreath (of martyrdom) except it be given by Christ?' God desires, and can perform, all that is needful for the salvation of men, but only if men ask Him. By her prayers, St Nonna brought her husband Gregory and her son Gregory the Theologian to the Christian faith. By his prayers, Basil brought his teacher Evulios to Christ. By prayer, King Hezekiah prolonged his life for fifteen years. By prayer, St Simeon Stylites turned back the Persians and Scythians, that they should not strike a blow against the land of Greece with the armies they held in readiness. For the rest, all the stars in heaven could more easily be counted than all the wonders in the world performed by prayer.


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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