Hymns of the Day
Thou didst shatter death by thy Cross; thou didst open paradise to the thief; thou didst turn the sadness of the ointment-bearing women into joy, and didst bid thine Apostles proclaim warning that thou hast risen, O Christ, granting the world Great Mercy.
O foremost in the ranks of Apostles,and teachers of the world, Peter and Paul, intercede with the Master of all to grant safety to the world,and to our souls the Great Mercy.
Thou wast transfigured on the mount, and thy Disciples, in so far as they were able, beheld thy glory, O Christ our God: so that, when they should see thee crucified, they would remember that thy suffering was voluntary, and could declare to all the world that thou art truly the effulgent Splendor of the Father.
Gospel and Epistle Readings
The Reading is from St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians (1:10-17)
BRETHREN, I appeal to you by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brethren. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispos and Gaius; lest any one should say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any one else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Matthew (14:14-22)
At that time, Jesus saw a great throng; and he had compassion on them, and healed their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a lonely place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass; and taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke and gave the loaves to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. Then he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.
Saints and Feasts
Saint Irene, who was from Cappadocia, flourished in the ninth century. Because of her great beauty and virtue, she was brought to Constantinople as a prospective bride for the young Emperor Michael (842-867); however, as Saint Joannicius the Great foretold, it was God’s will that she assume the monastic habit instead. She shone forth in great ascetical labours, and suffered many attacks from the demons; while yet a novice, she attained to the practice of Saint Arsenius the Great, of praying the whole night long with arms stretched out towards Heaven (see May 8). God showed forth great signs and wonders in her, and she became the Abbess of the Convent of Chrysovalantou. She was granted the gift of clairvoyance and knew the thoughts of all that came to her. She appeared in a vision to the king and rebuked him for unjustly imprisoning a nobleman who had been falsely accused. Through a sailor from Patmos to whom he had appeared, Saint John the Evangelist sent her fragrant and wondrous apples from Paradise. She reposed at the age of 103, still retaining the youthful beauty of her countenance. After her repose, marvelous healings beyond number have been wrought by her to the present day.
The names of the Holy Maccabees are Abim, Anthony, Guria, Eleazar, Eusebona, Achim, and Marcellus. They were Jews by race and exact keepers of the Laws of the Fathers. They lived during the reign of Antiochus, who was surnamed Epiphanes (“Illustrious”), the King of Syria and an implacable enemy of the Jews. Having subjugated their whole nation and done many evil things to them, not sparing to assail the most sacred matters of their Faith, he constrained them, among other things, to partake of swine’s flesh, which was forbidden by the Law. Then these pious youths, on being apprehended together with their mother and their teacher, were constrained to set at nought the Law, and were subjected to unspeakable tortures: wrackings, the breaking of their bones, the flaying of their flesh, fire, dismemberment, and such things as only a tyrant’s mind and a bestial soul is able to contrive. But when they had endured all things courageously and showed in deed that the mind is sovereign over the passions and is able to conquer them if it so desires, they gloriously ended their lives in torments, surrendering their life for the sake of the observance of the divine Law. The first to die was their teacher Eleazar, then all the brethren in the order of their age. As for their wondrous mother Solomone, “filled with a courageous spirit, and stirring up her womanish thoughts with a manly wrath” (II Macc. 7:21), she was present at her children’s triumph over the tyrant, strengthening them in their struggle for the sake of their Faith, and enduring stout-heartedly their sufferings for the sake of their hope in the Lord. After her last and youngest son had been perfected in martyrdom, when she was about to be seized to be put to death, she cast herself into the fire that they might not touch her, and was thus deemed worthy of a blessed end together with her sons, in the year 168 before Christ.
Wisdom of the Fathers