The Week Leading Up to… Sunday, February 23

Sunday of the Last Judgment (Meat-Fare Sunday)

Schedule for This Week

Wednesday, February 19, 5:30 pm: Compline & Akathist

Saturday, February 22, 5:00 pm: Vespers (opportunity for Confession following)

Sunday, February 23, 9:00 am: Orthros (Reader’s Service)

                                              10:00 am: Divine Liturgy

Further Out: The Annual Parish Meeting will be held after Liturgy on

Sunday, March 9. Please plan to attend.

Seventeenth Century Icon of the Last Judgement

Seventeenth Century Icon of the Last Judgement

Saints Commemorated this Sunday:

Hieromartyr Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna [see below]; Venerable Gorgonia, sister of Gregory the Theologian; Venerable Zebinas, Polychronios, Moses and Damian near Cyrrhus in Syria; Venerable Damian of Esphigmenou monastery on Mount Athos.

RESURRECTIONAL APOLYTIKION IN TONE TWO

When Thou didst submit Thyself unto death, O Thou deathless and immortal One, then Thou didst destroy hell with Thy Godly power. And when Thou didst raise the dead from beneath the earth, all the powers of Heaven did cry aloud unto Thee: O Christ, Thou giver of life, glory to Thee.

(Click here to listen to it sung, here for sheet music)

KONTAKION FOR SUNDAY OF LAST JUDGMENT IN TONE ONE

When Thou comest, O God, to earth with glory, and all creatures tremble before Thee, and the river of fire floweth before the Altar, and the books are opened and sins revealed, deliver me then from that unquenchable fire, and make me worthy to stand at Thy right hand, O righteous Judge.

THE EPISTLE

The Lord is my strength and my praise.

The Lord chastising hath chastised me, but He hath not delivered me over to death.

The Reading from the First Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians. (8:8-9:2)

            Brethren, food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. Only take care, lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if any one sees you—a man of knowledge—at table in an idol’s temple, might he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak man is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is a cause of my brother’s falling, I will never eat meat, lest I cause my brother to fall. Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

THE GOSPEL

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew. (25:31-46)

The Lord said, “When the Son of man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and He will place the sheep at His right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at His right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see Thee hungry and feed Thee, or thirsty and give Thee drink? And when did we see Thee a stranger and welcome Thee, or naked and clothe Thee? And when did we see Thee sick or in prison and visit Thee?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ Then He will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see Thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to Thee?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to Me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Hieromartyr Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna

The Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp

He was born at Ephesus around the year 70. St Irenaeus of Lyons, his disciple, says that St Polycarp was ‘a disciple of the Apostles and acquainted with those who had seen the Lord.’ His parents died as martyrs, and he was given into the care of a devout lady named Callista. As a child, the Saint was so eager to follow the commandments of Christ that he repeatedly emptied his foster-mother’s pantry to feed the poor. Since her supplies were always miraculously renewed, Callista changed his name from Pancratius to Polykarpos, meaning ‘Much fruit.’ When grown, Polycarp became a disciple of St John the Theologian, and in time became Bishop of Smyrna; it is told that the messages to the Church at Smyrna in the Book of Revelation are addressed to St Polycarp and his flock. He knew St Ignatius of Antioch personally, and some of their correspondence is preserved. Polycarp led his Church in holiness for more than fifty years, and became known throughout the Christian world as a true shepherd and standard-bearer of the Faith. About the year 154 he traveled to Rome and consulted with Pope Anacletus on the defense of the Faith. Not long after he returned to Smyrna, a fierce persecution was unleashed against Christians in Asia Minor; along with many others, St Polycarp was arrested, having predicted his imminent martyrdom. (The account of his martyrdom that follows is based on eyewitness accounts gathered immediately after his death.) On the evening of Holy Friday, soldiers burst into the farmhouse where he was staying. The Bishop welcomed them cheerfully, and ordered that a meal be prepared for them. He was granted some time to pray, and for two hours stood commemorating everyone that he had known and praying for the Church throughout the world. His captors sorrowed that they had come to take such a venerable man, and reluctantly took him to the Proconsul. When urged to deny Christ and save his life, the aged Saint replied, ‘For eighty-six years I have been his servant, and he has wronged me in nothing; how can I blaspheme my King and Savior?’ Told that he would die by fire if he did not apostatize, Polycarp replied ‘You threaten me with a fire that burns for a short time and then goes out, while you know nothing of the fire of the judgment to come and of the everlasting torment awaiting the wicked. Why wait any longer? Do what you will!’ Placed on the pyre, Polycarp lifted his eyes heavenward and gave thanks to God for finding him worthy to share with the holy Martyrs of the cup of Christ. When he had said his Amen, the executioners lit the fire. The eyewitnesses write that the fire sprang up around him like a curtain, and that he stood in its midst glowing like gold and sending forth a delightful scent of incense. Seeing that the fire was not harming him, the executioners stabbed him with a sword. His blood flowed so copiously that it put out the fire, and he gave back his soul to God. His relics were burned by the persecutors, but Christians rescued a few fragments of bone, which were venerated for many generations on the anniversary of his repose.
                                                                                                                                                                                                           (from abbamoses.com)

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To read a translation of the Second Century “Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp,” click here.

Byzantine Tile Border

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