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Daily Devotional

Monday, May 16, 2022 (NS)
May 3, 2022 (OS)


Commemorations

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Monday of the Fourth Week

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of the holy Martyrs Timothy the Reader and Mavra of Antinoe in Egypt, and our venerable Father Theodosios, Abbot of the Monastery of the Caves, initiator of the cnobitic monastic life in Russia.


Fasting Information

No Fasting.


Scripture Readings

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Monday of the Fourth Week

Epistle:

The Reading is from the Acts of the Apostles [§ 24]. In those days:

10 1There was a certain man in Cæsarea, by name Cornelius, a centurion from a cohort which is called Italic, 2a pious man and one who feared God with all his house, who both did many alms to the people and entreated God continually. 3He saw in a vision plainly, about the ninth hour of the day, an angel of God come in to him and say to him, “Cornelius.” 4And after he looked intently on him, he became afraid, and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Thy prayers and thine alms are gone up for a memorial before God. 5“And now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon, who is surnamed Peter. 6“This man is staying as a guest with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea.” 7And when the angel who spoke to Cornelius departed, he called two of his household servants, and a pious soldier of those who remained in service to him. 8And after he related in full all things to them, he sent them forth to Joppa. 9And on the morrow, as they sojourned and drew near to the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. 10And he became very hungry, and was wishing to taste food. But while they prepared, a state of ecstasy fell upon him. 11And he beholdeth the heaven having been opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as a great sheet bound at the four corners, and being let down upon the earth, 12in which were all the quadrupeds of the earth, and the beasts, and the creeping things, and the birds of the heaven. 13And there came a voice to him, “Rise up, Peter, slay and eat.” 14But Peter said, “Not at all, Lord; for I never ate anything common or unclean.” 15And a voice again came for the second time to him, “What God cleansed, cease thou making common.” 16And this took place thrice; and the vessel was taken up again into the heaven.

Gospel:

The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint John [§ 24]. The Lord said to those Jews who had believed Him:

6 56“The one who eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abideth in Me, and I in him. 57“Even as the living Father sent Me forth, and I live because of the Father, also the one who eateth Me, even he shall live because of Me. 58“This One is the bread, the One having come down out of the heavens—not as your fathers ate the manna, and died. The one who eateth this bread shall live forever.” 59These things He said in the synagogue, as He taught in Capernaum.

60Many of His disciples, therefore, after they heard this, said, “Hard is this saying; who is able to hear it?” 61But Jesus, knowing in Himself that His disciples were murmuring about this, said to them, “Doth this offend you? 62What if then ye should see the Son of Man ascending where He was before? 63“It is the spirit that maketh alive; the flesh profiteth nothing. The words which I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64“But there are some of you who believe not.” For Jesus knoweth from the beginning who they are who believe not, and who is the one who shall deliver Him up. 65And He was saying, “Therefore, I have told you, that no one is able to come to Me, except it be given to him from My Father.” 66From this time on, many out of His disciples went away to the things left behind, and no longer walked about with Him. 67Then said Jesus to the twelve, “Ye do not also wish to go away, do ye?” 68Then Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life; 69“and we have believed and have come to know that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God, the living One.”

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of the holy Martyrs Timothy the Reader and Mavra of Antinoe in Egypt, and our venerable Father Theodosios, Abbot of the Monastery of the Caves, initiator of the cnobitic monastic life in Russia.

Epistle:

For the venerable Father:

The Reading is from the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Hebrews [§ 334]. Brethren:

13 7Be remembering those who lead you, who spoke to you the word of God, whose faith keep on imitating, observing attentively the end of their conduct: 8Jesus Christ, the same yesterday and today and to the ages. 9Cease being carried about by various and strange teachings. For it is good for the heart to be confirmed by grace, not by foods, in which those walking therein were not profited. 10We have an altar from which those serving the tabernacle have no authority to eat; 11for the bodies of those animals, “whose blood is being brought into the holies for sins” by the high priest, “are being burned outside of the encampment [cf. Lev. 16:27].” 12Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people by His own blood, suffered outside of the gate. 13Let us be going forth therefore to Him outside of the encampment, bearing His reproach; 14for we have no abiding city here, but we seek the coming one. 15Through Him, then, let us be offering up a “sacrifice of praise [Lev. 7:2(12)]” continually to God, that is, “the fruit of the lips [cf. Hos. 14:3(2); Is. 57:19],” giving thanks to His name. 16But cease being forgetful of doing good and of contributing; for God is well pleased with such sacrifices.

Gospel:

The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Matthew [§ 43]. The Lord said to His disciples:

11 27“All things were delivered to Me by My Father. And no one doth fully know the Son, except the Father; nor doth anyone fully know the Father, except the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son is willing to reveal Him. 28“Come to Me, all ye who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. 29“Take up My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble in heart; and ye shall find rest to your souls. 30“For My yoke is good and My burden is light.”


Lives of the Saints
(Prologue)

May 16th — Civil Calendar
May 3rd — Church Calendar

1. The Holy Martyrs Timothy and Maura.*

Strange was the destiny of these wonderful martyrs; husband and newly-wedded wife. Twenty days after their wedding, they were taken for trial for their Christian faith before Arrianus, the pagan governor of the Thebaid, in the time of the Emperor Diocletian. Timothy was a reader in the church where he lived. ‘Who are you?’, the governor asked him. Timothy replied: ‘I am a Christian and a reader in the Church of God.’ The governor said to him further: ‘You see, don’t you, the instruments prepared for torture?’ Timothy replied: ‘But you don’t see the angels of God, which are strengthening me. ‘Then the governor commanded that he be pierced through the ears with iron rods, so that the pupils of his eyes leapt out with the pain. They then suddenly hanged him by the feet and stuffed his mouth with wood. Maura was at first afraid of torture, but when her husband gave her courage, she also confessed her steadfast faith before the governor. He commanded that first her hair be torn out, then all her fingers cut off. After many other tortures, to which they would quickly have succumbed had they not been strengthened by the grace of God, they were both crucified, one in sight of the other. And thus, hanging on their crosses, they remained alive for nine full days, counseling each other and encouraging each other in endurance. On the tenth day they gave their spirits into God’s hands, the God for whom they had suffered crucifixion, and thus became worthy of His Kingdom. They suffered with honour for Christ in 286.

*Author’s note: ‘Maura’ means ‘black’, from which it comes that in Macedonia the day of these saints is known as ‘Black Day’. On the island of Zakynthos there is a church of Saints Timothy and Maura, in which many miraculous healings have taken place.

2. Our Holy Father Theodosius of the Kiev Caves.

From his earliest youth, he fled from laughter and merriment and gave himself to pondering on God and prayer. Because of this, he was often beaten by his mother, and especially when she saw one day an iron belt around his naked body, from which his shirt was stained with blood. Reading one day in the Gospel the words of the Lord: ‘He who loves father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of Me’, he left his parents’ home and fled to Kiev, to the cave of our holy father Antony. Antony received him and quickly made him a monk. When his mother found him, and called him to return home, he spoke with her and she then became a nun in a women’s monastery. By his asceticism, his meekness and his goodness, Theodosius quickly outstripped all the other monks and became very dear to Antony, who made him abbot of the monastery. In his time, the number of brethren in the monastery grew very rapidly, churches and cells were built and the Rule of the Studion introduced in its fullness. God endowed Theodosius with great grace in response to his virginal purity, labours in prayer and love for his neighbour, and so this man of God had great power over unclean spirits and healed sicknesses and had insight into the destinies of men. With St Antony, St Theodosius is regarded as the restorer and organizer of Russian monasticism. He entered peacefully into rest in 1074, and his healing relics rest beside those of St Antony.

FOR CONSIDERATION

Abba John the Dwarf asked his monks: ‘Who or what sold Joseph?’ One of them answered: ‘His brethren.’ To this the staretz said: ‘Not his brothers, but his humility.’ Joseph could have revealed that he was their brother, and thus oppose the sale. But he kept silent about that. By humility, then, was he sold, and this same humility later made him ruler of Egypt. We guard ourselves too carefully from the outward difficulties encountered in giving ourselves over to the will of God, and so we lose the good fruits that are reaped in difficult circumstances endured with humility. Abba Poemon spoke wisely thus: ‘We have set aside the light yoke; that is, self-instruction, and loaded ourselves with the heavy one; that is, self-righteousness.’ Christians accept every difficulty as payment for past or present sins, seeking the will of God with faith in all things, and looking to the end with hope.


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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