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Daily Devotional

Sunday, December 5, 2021 (NS)
November 22, 2021 (OS)


Commemorations

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Sunday of the Twenty-Fourth Week

Grave Mode — Second Eothinon

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of the Afterfeast of the Entrance of the Virgin into the Temple, and the holy Apostles Philemon, Archippos, Apfia, and Onesimos, the disciples of Paul the Apostle.


Fasting Information

Fast day, but Fish, Wine and Oil Allowed.


Scripture Readings

Movable Calendar (Pascalion):

Sunday of the Twenty-Fourth Week

Grave Mode — Second Eothinon

Epistle:

The Reading is from the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Ephesians [§ 221]. Brethren:

2 14Christ is our peace, the One Who made the both one, and broke down the middle wall of the hedge, 15having abolished by ordinances the enmity—the law of the commandments—in His flesh, in order that He might create in Himself the two into one new man, making peace, 16and might thoroughly reconcile them both in one body to God through the Cross, having slain the enmity by it. 17And He came and preached the good tidings, peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18For through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19So then ye are no longer strangers and sojourners, but fellow citizens of the saints and of the household of God, 20who were built up on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the cornerstone, 21in Whom every building, being joined together, increaseth to a holy temple in the Lord, 22in Whom ye also are being built up together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Gospel:

The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke [§ 66]. The Lord said this parable:

12 16“The land of a certain rich man produced well. 17“And he was considering within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, because I have no room where I shall gather together my fruit?’ 18“And he said, ‘This will I do: I will take down my storehouses and build greater ones; and there will I gather together all my produce and my good things. 19“‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, thou hast many good things being laid up for many years; be taking thy rest; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ 20“But God said to him, ‘Fool, this night they demand thy soul from thee; and what thou didst prepare, for whom shall it be?’ 21“Thus is the one who treasureth up for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

After He said these things, He said aloud, “The one who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

Fixed Calendar:

The commemoration of the Afterfeast of the Entrance of the Virgin into the Temple, and the holy Apostles Philemon, Archippos, Apfia, and Onesimos, the disciples of Paul the Apostle.

Epistle:

The Reading is from the Epistle of Saint Paul to Saint Philemon [§ mid 302 B].

1Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon the beloved and our fellow worker, 2and to Apfia the beloved, and to Archippos our fellow soldier, and to the church in thy house. 3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

4I thank my God, making mention of thee always in the time of my prayers, 5hearing of thy love and the faith which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus and in regard to all the saints, 6that the communion of thy faith might become energized in full knowledge of every good which is in you in regard to Christ Jesus. 7For we have much joy and consolation over thy love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through thee, brother. 8Wherefore, though I have much boldness in Christ to enjoin thee to that which is becoming, 9yet for the sake of love I rather beseech, being such a one as Paul, an elder, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ, 10I beseech thee concerning my child, Onesimos, whom I begot in my bonds— 11the one who was once useless to thee, but is now useful to thee and to me—whom I am sending back. 12Now receive thou him, that is, mine own heart, 13whom I was wishing to hold for myself, that he may minister to me in the bonds of the Gospel; 14but without thine opinion I wished to do nothing, that thy good may not be as according to necessity, but according to willingness. 15For perhaps on this account he was separated from thee for a season, in order that thou mayest receive him in full forever, 16no longer as a slave, but above a slave, a brother beloved, especially to me, and how much more to thee, both in the flesh and in the Lord! 17If then thou holdest me a partner, take him to thyself as thou wouldest me. 18But if he wronged thee in anything or oweth thee, be reckoning this to me; 19I, Paul, am writing it with mine own hand, I will repay it; not that I may mention that to me thou owest even thyself. 20Yes, brother, may I benefit from thee in the Lord; refresh thou my heart in the Lord.

21Having trusted to thine obedience, I am writing to thee, knowing that even beyond what I may say thou wilt do. 22And at the same time also, be preparing a lodging for me, for I hope that through your prayers I shall be graciously given to you. 23There greeteth thee Epaphras, my fellow captive in Christ Jesus, 24Mark, Aristarchos, Demas, Luke, my fellow workers.

25The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Gospel:

The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke [§ 50]. At that time:

10 1The Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them forth two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. 2Therefore He was saying to them, “The harvest indeed is great, but the workers are few. Entreat therefore the Lord of the harvest that He would send out workers into His harvest. 3“Go; behold, I send you forth as lambs in the midst of wolves. 4“Cease carrying a purse, neither a leathern pouch, nor sandals; and do not begin to greet anyone along the way. 5“And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ 6“And if, indeed, there be there a son of peace, your peace shall come to rest upon it; but if not so, it shall return to you. 7“And in that very house keep on remaining, eating and drinking the things given by them, for the worker is worthy of his hire. Do not have the habit of moving from house to house. 8“And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, go on eating the things which are set before you; 9“and keep on curing the sick in it, and saying to them, ‘The kingdom of God hath drawn near to you.’ 10“But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go out into its broad streets, and say, 11“‘Even the dust of your city, which cleaveth to us, we wipe off ourselves against you; but know this, that the kingdom of God hath drawn near to you.’ 12“But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city. 13“Woe to thee, Chorazin! Woe to thee, Bethsaida! For if the works of power which took place in you took place in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14“But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you. 15“And thou, Capernaum, which hath been lifted high unto the heaven, shall be brought down as far as Hades.”


Lives of the Saints
(Prologue)

December 5th — Civil Calendar
November 22nd — Church Calendar

1. The Holy Martyr Cecilia.

The
  Holy Martyr Cecilia.Born in Rome of rich and eminent parents, she had a firm faith in Christ the Lord and a great zeal for the Faith. Vowing life-long virginity to God, holy Cecilia wore a rough hair-shirt underneath the costly raiment that her parents gave her. When they forced her into marriage with a pagan, Valerian, she spent the first night urging her newly-wedded bridegroom to go to Bishop Urban for baptism, and then himself to live a life of virginity. Embracing the Christian faith, Valerian also brought his brother Tibertius to it. Both brothers were very soon condemned to death for their faith, but their zeal did not falter in the face of death itself. Taken to the scaffold, these two brothers succeeded in bringing the captain of the guard, Maximus, to the Faith, and they all three suffered together for Christ the Lord. St Cecilia buried their bodies together and was then herself taken for trial, having unwearyingly won over many pagans to the Christian faith. In one evening, she had won over four hundred souls. When the judge asked her whence came her daring, she answered: ‘From a pure conscience and an unquestioning faith.’ After harsh torture, she was condemned to be beheaded with the sword. The executioner brought the sword down on her neck three times, but failed to kill her; he only wounded her and the blood ran down from her wounds, being caught in kerchiefs and bowls by the faithful to use for healing. Three days later, Christ’s martyr and virgin gave her spirit into the hands of her Lord, to rejoice with him in eternity. St Cecilia suffered with the others in about the year 230. Her relics are preserved in the church dedicated to her name in Rome.

In the Orthodox Church, St Cecilia is regarded as the patron of Church Music because during those three days that she suffered for Christ, she sang praises to the Lord.

2. St Kallistos, Patriarch of Constantinople.

He was named ‘Xanthopoulos’ after the cell of that name on Mount Athos, where he lived for a long time in asceticism with his friend Ignatius. Together with this Ignatius, St Kallistos wrote of his personal experience of a life of silence in a book containing a hundred chapters. This book holds a very important place in ascetic literature. St Kallistos was greatly influenced by his teacher, St Gregory the Sinaite, whose life he recorded.

3. The Holy Martyr Menignus.

Born on the Hellespont, he worked as a linen-bleacher, and so was called ‘the Bleacher’. In the time of the Emperor Decius (249-251), he tore up the imperial decree on the persecution of Christians, and was consequently thrown into prison. There, the Lord Himself appeared to him and encouraged him, saying: ‘Fear not; I am with thee.’ At that moment, his shackles melted like wax, the prison opened of itself and he went out. He was again seized and brought to trial. He was inhumanly tortured: his fingers and toes were cut off, and then he was beheaded. His severed head glowed at night like a lamp.

4. Holy and Righteous Michael the Soldier.

He was a Bulgarian by birth. He went with his friends into the Greek army to fight against the Hagarenes in Ethiopia, there displaying an extraordinary fearlessness. He killed a poisonous snake and freed a maiden. Very soon after that, this righteous man entered into eternal life. He was first buried somewhere in Thrace, but in 1206 the Emperor Kalo-John translated his relics to Trnovo. He lived and died in the ninth century.

5. The Holy Apostles Philemon, Archippus and Apphia.

Apostle PhelemonTheir lives are recorded on February 19th.

FOR CONSIDERATION

In vain does one strive to learn if one does not strive for purity of faith and life. The heavenly world is revealed not to the learned, but to the pure. When St Cecilia had been led to the bridal chamber with her newly-wedded husband on the first night, she said to him: ‘I want to show you a mystery. There is standing here an angel of God, the guardian of my virginity, whom you cannot see. He is standing here ready to defend me, his handmaid, from assault. If you only touch me, he will kill you.’ Hearing this, Valerian begged Cecilia to show him the angel, that he too might see it. The maiden replied: ‘You are a man that does not know the true God, and you cannot see His angel until you are cleansed of the foulness of your unbelief.’ When Valerian had been baptized, he saw the angel in great light and unspeakable beauty. So also Tibertius, Valerian’s brother, when he had been baptized and had changed his way of life from impurity to purity, saw holy angels and spoke with them. Maximus also, their fellow-sufferer, at the time that these two brothers were beheaded, called down imprecations on himself from the executioner and the assembled people, saying: ‘I see angels of God bathed in light like the sun, taking their souls from the bodies of the martyrs, like beautiful maidens from the bridal chamber, and carrying them to heaven with great glory.’ But that which he saw was invisible to the unbelievers and the impure.


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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Buena Vista, CO 81211-3177
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