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Daily Devotional

Saturday, December 15, 2018 (NS)
December 2, 2018 (OS)


Commemorations

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Saturday of the Twenty-Ninth Week

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of the Prophet Abbakoum.


Fasting Information

Fast day, but Fish, Wine and Oil Allowed.


Scripture Readings

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Saturday of the Twenty-Ninth Week

Epistle:

The Reading is from the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Ephesians [§ mid 220]. Brethren:

2 11Be remembering that once ye, the Gentiles in the flesh-the ones who are called uncircumcision by what is called circumcision in the flesh made by hand- 12that at that time ye were without Christ, having been alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus ye who once were afar off came to be near by the blood of the Christ.

Gospel:

The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke [§ 67]. The Lord said:

12 32"Cease being afraid, little flock, for your Father is well pleased to give you the kingdom. 33"Sell your possessions and give alms. Make for yourselves purses which do not become old, an unfailing treasure in the heavens, where no thief draweth near nor moth destroyeth; 34"for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 35"Let your loins be girded about and the lamps be kept burning; 36"and be ye like to men waiting for their own lord-whenever he should depart from the wedding festivities-that when he cometh and knocketh, straightway, they might open to him. 37"Happy are those slaves whom the lord, after he cometh, shall find watching. Verily I say to you that he shall gird himself about and shall have them recline at table, and will come forth and minister to them. 38"And if he should come in the second watch, and in the third watch should he come, and find them thus, happy are those slaves. 39"But know ye this, that if the master of the house had known in what hour the thief was coming, he would have watched and not let his house be broken into. 40"Ye therefore also keep on becoming ready, for in the hour ye think not, the Son of Man cometh."

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of the Prophet Abbakoum.

Epistle:

The Reading is from the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Romans [§ 105]. Brethren:

11 2God did not thrust away His people whom He foreknew. Or do ye not know what saith the Scripture in the case of Elias, how he pleadeth with God against Israel, saying, 3"Lord, they killed Thy prophets and dug down Thine altars, and I am left alone, and they seek my life [cf. 3 Kgs. (1 Kgs.) 19:10, 14]"? 4But what saith the divine answer of God to him? "I left to Myself seven thousand men, who bowed not a knee to Baal [cf. 3 Kgs. (1 Kgs.) 19:18]." 5So then, also in the present time there hath come to be a remnant according to an election of grace. 6And if by grace, it is no longer of works; otherwise grace no longer becometh grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise the work is no longer work. 7What then? What Israel seeketh for, this it did not obtain; but the election obtained it, and the rest were hardened. 8Even as it hath been written: "God gave them a spirit of stupefaction, eyes so as not to see, and ears so as not to hear, unto this day [cf. Is. 29:10]." 9And David saith, "Let their table be for a snare, and for a trap, and for a stumbling block, and for a recompense to them [cf. Ps. 68(69):27]. 10"Let their eyes be darkened, so as not to see, and bow down their back continually [Ps. 68(69):28]." 11I say then, they did not stumble that they should fall, did they? May it not be! But by their falling away, salvation is come to the nations, so as to provoke them to jealousy. 12Now if their falling away is the wealth of the world, and their loss the wealth of the nations, how much more their fullness?

Gospel:

No reading given.


Lives of the Saints
(Prologue)

December 15th - Civil Calendar
December 2nd - Church Calendar

1. The Holy Prophet Habakkuk.

The Holy Prophet Habakkuk.The son of Sapnat, of the tribe of Simeon, he prophesied six hundred years before Christ, in the time of King Manasseh, and foretold the devastation of Jerusalem. When Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, attacked Jerusalem, Habakkuk went into the land of the Ishmaelites, whence he returned to Jerusalem and made his living working on the land. One day, when he was carrying lunch to the workers in the fields, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him and said: 'Go, carry the meal that thou hast into Babylon, unto Daniel who is in the lion's den.' Habakkuk replied: 'Lord, I never saw Babylon, neither do I know where the den is' (Daniel 14:33 in the Greek text. It is omitted in the Hebrew Bible, and is to be found in the Apocrypha under Bel and the Dragon). Then the angel seized him by the hair and carried him straight to Babylon, over an immense distance, to the lion's den where Daniel had been cast by King Cyrus because he would not worship idols. 'O Daniel, Daniel,' cried Habakkuk, 'take the dinner which God hath sent thee!' And Daniel took it and ate. Then the angel of God again took hold of Habakkuk and carried him back to his field in Judea. Habakkuk preached and prophesied about the liberation of Jerusalem and the coming of Christ. He entered into rest in great old age and was buried at Keilah. His relics were discovered during the reign of Theodosius the Great.

2. The Holy Martyr Myrope.

Myrope was born in Ephesus of Christian parents. After the death of her father, she went to the island of Chios with her mother, and there suffered for Christ. The passion of this holy virgin took place soon after the passion and death of the soldier-martyr Isidore (May 14th). When the torturers had beheaded Isidore, the courageous Myrope took the body away secretly and buried it in a special place. The wicked prince Numerian heard that the martyr's body had been stolen, and threatened to execute the guards. Hearing that innocent people were to suffer for her act, blessed Myrope came before the authorities and confessed that it was she who had taken the martyr's body and buried it. On the prince's orders, Christ's holy virgin was savagely beaten, and cast into prison covered with wounds. But the Lord did not leave His martyr comfortless. A heavenly light illumined the prison in the dead of night, and many angels, with St Isidore in their midst, appeared to her. 'Peace to thee, Myrope', St Isidore said to her, 'thy prayer has ascended to God, and thou shalt soon be with us and receive the crown prepared for thee'. The holy martyr was filled with joy, and at that moment surrendered her soul into God's hands. A sweet fragrance came forth from her body and filled the whole prison. One of the guards who witnessed all this was moved to belief in Christ and was baptized, and soon thereafter suffered a martyr's death. St Myrope entered into eternity in the year 251.

3. St Uros, King of Serbia.

The son of King Dusan, he ruled during the difficult time of the fall of the Kingdom of Serbia. Humble, pious and gentle, he refused to attempt to restrain the power of the powerful nobles by force. Amongst these was Vukasin, who brought about his death. Good King Uros suffered a martyr's death on December 2nd, 1367, at the age of thirty-one. Killed by men, he was glorified by God. His wonderworking relics were preserved in the monastery of Jazak in the Fruska Gora, whence they were taken to Belgrade in 1942, during the Second World War, and placed in the Cathedral beside the bodies of Prince Lazar and Despot Stephen Stiljanovic. During the reign of this benevolent king, the monastery of St Nahum was built beside Lake Ochrid by one of Uros' nobles, Grgur.

4. Our Holy Father Athanasius, the Recluse of the Kiev Caves.

After a long life of asceticism, this holy man died and was washed, attired and prepared for burial. He lay dead for two days, then suddenly returned to life. When they came to bury him, they found him sitting up and weeping. He shut himself in his cell and lived a further twelve years on bread and water. He entered into rest in the Lord in 1176.

5. St Jesse, Bishop of Tsiklan.

One of the thirteen Syrian fathers (May 7th), he was a great wonderworker. He changed the course of a distant river by his prayers, and caused it to flow close to the city of Tsiklan. His relics are preserved in the church dedicated to him in that Syrian city.

FOR CONSIDERATION

'Who has ever come with tidings of the other world?' This is a frequent question on the lips of unbelievers. One should reply: 'Repent of your sins if you wish to find out; make yourselves worthy, and you will see.' The Prophet Habakkuk journeyed with an angel; St Myrope saw a host of angels, with St Isidore the Martyr among them. St Athanasius of the Caves was dead to the world for two days and alive only in the next. Upon the return of his soul to his body, they all gathered round him, asking him: 'How have you come back to life? What have you seen? What have you heard?' He would say nothing about it, being deeply amazed at what he had seen in the other world, and would only say: 'Save yourselves!' When many of them pressed him hard to say what he had seen in the other world after his death, he replied: 'If I should tell you, you would not believe me or want to listen to me.' When they urged him yet further, he said: 'Repent every moment, and pray to the Lord Jesus Christ and to His most pure Mother.

Even in our own time, cases of seeming death occur. The visions and reports of those who have seemed to die and have then returned to life are not contradictory, but complement and augment one another. For example: every person who 'dies' sees some part of that other world that is vast, immeasurably larger than this world. Many see their lone-dead kinsfolk and talk with them–this being quite a common occurrence. In 1926, in the village of Vevcani, Meletije P. was on his deathbed. He was talking with his children who had died twenty years earlier. When his living relatives said to him: 'You're rambling!', he replied: 'I'm not; I'm talking with them just as I'm talking with you, and I can see them just as clearly as I can see you!'


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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