The Week Leading Up to Sunday, December 14

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Father Onouphrey will be joining us this coming weekend, to celebrate Great Vespers on Saturday evening (5:30 pm), and the Divine Liturgy on Sunday Morning (10 am).

Hymns of the Day

Resurrectional Apolytikion in the 2nd Tone

When thou didst submit thyself unto death, O Thou deathless and immortal one, then Thou didst destroy Hell with Thy Godly pow’r, and when Thou didst raise the dead from beneath the earth, all the pow’rs of heaven did cry aloud unto Thee O Christ thou giver of life glory to Thee.

Apolytikion for 11th Sun. of Luke in the 2nd Tone

Thou hast justified by faith the ancient forefathers and through them thou hast gone before and betrothed unto thyself the Church of the Gentiles. Let the saints, therefore, take pride in glory; for from their seed sprouted forth a noble fruit, and she it was who gave birth to thee without seed. Wherefore, by their pleadings, O Christ God, save our souls.

Apolytikion of Saints Peter and Paul in the 4th Tone

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.

Seasonal Kontakion in the 3rd Tone

On this day the Virgin cometh to the cave to give birth to * God the Word ineffably, * Who was before all the ages. * Dance for joy, O earth, on hearing * the gladsome tidings; * with the Angels and the shepherds now glorify Him * Who is willing to be gazed on * as a young Child Who * before the ages is God.

Gospel and Epistle Readings

Epistle Reading

The Reading is from St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians 3:4-11

BRETHREN, when Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience. In these you once walked, when you lived in them. But now put them all away; anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all.


Gospel Reading

11th Sunday of Luke
The Reading is from Luke 14:16-24

The Lord said this parable: “A man once gave a great banquet, and invited many; and at the time of the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for all is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I go out and see it; I pray you, have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I must go to examine them; I pray you, have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported this to his master. Then the householder in anger said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and maimed and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and there is still room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet. For many are called, but few are chosen.'”


Saints and Feasts

Patapios
December 8
MONDAY: Saint Patapius the Righteous of Thebes

This Saint was from the Thebaid of Egypt and struggled many years in the wilderness. He departed for Constantinople, and having performed many miracles and healings, he reposed in peace in a mountain cave on the Gulf of Corinth, where his holy relics are found incorrupt to the present day.


Anna
December 9
TUESDAY: The Conception by St. Anna of the Most Holy Theotokos

According to the ancient tradition of the Church, since Saint Anna, the Ancestor of God, was barren, she and her husband Joachim remained without children until old age. Therefore, sorrowing over their childlessness, they besought God with a promise that, if He were to grant them the fruit of the womb, they would offer their offspring to Him as a gift. And God, hearkening to their supplication, informed them through an Angel concerning the birth of the Virgin. And thus, through God’s promise, Anna conceived according to the laws of nature, and was deemed worthy to become the mother of the Mother of our Lord (see also Sept. 8).


_10_dec_menas_hermogenes_eugraphus
December 10
WEDNESDAY: The Holy Martyrs Menas, Hermogenes, and Eugraphus

Saint Menas, according to the Synaxaristes, had Athens as his homeland. He was a military officer, an educated man and skilled in speech, wherefore he was surnamed Kallikelados (“most eloquent”); Eugraphus was his scribe. Both had Christian parents. The Emperor Maximinus (he was the successor of Alexander Severus, and reigned from 235 to 238) sent Saint Menas to Alexandria to employ his eloquence to end a certain strife among the citizens. Saint Menas, having accomplished this, also employed his eloquence to strengthen the Christians in their faith, which when Maximinus heard, he sent Hermogenes, who was an eparch born to unbelievers to turn Menas away from Christ. But Hermogenes rather came to the Faith of Christ because of the miracles wrought by Saint Menas. Saints Menas, Eugraphus, and Hermogenes received the crown of martyrdom in the year 235.


Dnlsty
December 11
THURSDAY: Saint Daniel the Stylite of Constantinople

This Saint was from the village of Marutha in the region of Samosata in Mesopotamia. He became a monk at the age of twelve. After visiting Saint Symeon the Stylite (see Sept. 1) and receiving his blessing, he was moved with zeal to follow his marvellous way of life. At the age of forty-two, guided by providence, he came to Anaplus in the environs of Constantinople, in the days of the holy Patriarch Anatolius (see July 3), who was also healed by Saint Daniel of very grave malady and sought to have him live near him. Upon coming to Anaplus, Saint Daniel first lived in the church of the Archangel Michael, but after some nine years, Saint Symeon the Stylite appeared to him in a vision, commanding him to imitate his own ascetical struggle upon a pillar. The remaining thirty-three years of his life he stood for varying periods on three pillars, one after another. He stood immovable in all weather, and once his disciples found him covered with ice after a winter storm. He was a counsellor of emperors; the pious emperor Leo the Great fervently loved him and brought his royal guests to meet him. It was at Saint Daniel’s word that the holy relics of Saint Symeon the Stylite were brought to Constantinople from Antioch, and it was in his days that the Emperor Leo had the relics of the Three Holy Children brought from Babylon. Saint Daniel also defended the Church against the error of the Eutychians. Having lived through the reigns of the Emperors Leo, Zeno, and Basiliscus, he reposed in 490, at the age of eighty-four.


Stpeter-aleut
December 12
FRIDAY: Holy New Martyr Peter the Aleut

The holy New Martyr Peter suffered martyrdom in San Francisco at the time that California belonged to Spain. An Aleut from Alaska, he and his companions were captured in California by the Spaniards. When he refused to abandon Orthodoxy to accept Latinism, which they wished to force upon him, the Spaniards submitted him to a martyrdom like that suffered by Saint James the Persian, cutting him apart joint by joint. He died from loss of blood in steadfast confession of the Faith in 1815.


Hermanalaska
December 13
SATURDAY: Saint Herman the Wonderworker of Alaska & First Saint of America

Saint Herman (his name is a variant of Germanus) was born near Moscow in 1756. In his youth he became a monk, first at the Saint Sergius Hermitage near Saint Petersburg on the Gulf of Finland; while he dwelt there, the most holy Mother of God appeared to him, healing him of a grave malady. Afterwards he entered Valaam Monastery on Valiant Island in Lake Ladoga; he often withdrew into the wilderness to pray for days at a time. In 1794, answering a call for missionaries to preach the Gospel to the Aleuts, he came to the New World with the first Orthodox mission to Alaska. He settled on Spruce Island, which he called New Valaam, and here he persevered, even in the face of many grievous afflictions mostly at the hands of his own countrymen in the loving service of God and of his neighbour. Besides his many toils for the sake of the Aleuts, he subdued his flesh with great asceticism, wearing chains, sleeping little, fasting and praying much. He brought many people to Christ by the example of his life, his teaching, and his kindness and sanctity, and was granted the grace of working miracles and of prophetic insight. Since he was not a priest, Angels descended at Theophany to bless the waters in the bay; Saint Herman used this holy water to heal the sick. Because of his unwearying missionary labours, which were crowned by God with the salvation of countless souls, he is called the Enlightener of the Aleuts, and has likewise been renowned as a wonderworker since his repose in 1837.


Forefathers
December 14
11th Sunday of Luke

On the Sunday that occurs on or immediately after the eleventh of this month, we commemorate Christ’s forefathers according to the flesh, both those that came before the Law, and those that lived after the giving of the Law.

Special commemoration is made of the Patriarch Abraham, to whom the promise was first given, when God said to him, “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 22:18). This promise was given some two thousand years before Christ, when Abraham was seventy-five years of age. God called him and commanded him to forsake his country, parents, and kinsmen, and to depart to the land of the Canaanites. When he arrived there, God told him, “I will give this land to thy seed” (Gen. 12:7); for this cause, that land was called the “Promised Land,” which later became the country of the Hebrew people, and which is also called Palestine by the historians. There, after the passage of twenty-four years, Abraham received God’s law concerning circumcision. In the one hundredth year of his life, when Sarah was in her ninetieth year, they became the parents of Isaac. Having lived 175 years altogether, he reposed in peace, a venerable elder full of days.


Decsts
December 14
SUNDAY: The Holy Martyrs Thyrsus, Leucius, and Callinicus of Asia Minor, and Philemon, Apollonius, and Arian of Alexandria

Of these, the Martyrs who were from Asia Minor contested for piety’s sake during the reign of Decius, in 250. Saint Leucius, seeing the slaughter of the Christians, reproached the Governor Cumbricius, for which he was hung up, harrowed mercilessly on his sides, then beheaded. For boldly professing himself a Christian and rebuking the Governor for worshipping stocks and stones as gods, Saint Thyrsus, after many horrible tortures, was sentenced to be sawn asunder, but the saw would not cut, and became so heavy in the executioners’ hands that they could not move it; Saint Thyrsus then gave up his spirit, at Apollonia in the Hellespont. Saint Callinicus a priest of the idols, was converted through the martyrdom and miracles of Saint Thyrsus, and was beheaded.

During the reign of Diocletian (284-305), the Governor of Antinoe in the Thebaid of Upper Egypt was Arian, a fierce persecutor who had sent many Christians to a violent death, among them Saints Timothy and Maura (see May 3) and Saint Sabine (Mar. 16). When he had imprisoned Christians for their confession of faith, one of them, named Apollonius, a reader of the Church, lost his courage at the sight of the instruments of torture, and thought how he might escape torments without denying Christ. He gave money to Philemon a flute-player and a pagan, that he might put on Apollonius’ clothes and offer sacrifice before Arian, so that all would think Apollonius to have done the Governor’s will, and he might be released. Philemon agreed to this, but when the time came to offer sacrifice, enlightened by divine grace, he declared himself a Christian instead. He and Apollonius, who also confessed Christ when the fraud was exposed, were both beheaded. Before beheading them, Arian had commanded that they be shot with arrows, but while they remained unharmed, Arian himself was wounded by one of the arrows; Saint Philemon foretold that after his martyrdom, Arian would be healed at his tomb. When this came to pass, Arian, the persecutor who had slain so many servants of Christ, himself believed in Christ and was baptized with four of his bodyguards. Diocletian heard of this and had Arian and his body-guards brought to him. For their confession of Christ, they were cast into the sea, and received the crown of life everlasting.


Wisdom of the Fathers

“What was the nature of the invitation? God the Father has prepared in Christ for the inhabitants of earth those gifts which are bestowed upon the world through Him, even the forgiveness of sins, the cleansing away of all defilement, the communion of the Holy Spirit, the glorious adoption of sons, and the kingdom of the heavens.”
 
 – St. Cyril of Alexandria. Translation courtesy of “The Orthodox New Testament” Volume 1. 4th Century
“Come, O faithful, Let us enjoy the Master’s hospitality, The banquet of immortality. In the upper chamber with uplifted minds Let us receive the exalted words of the Word Whom we magnify.”
– Last Ode of the Compline Canon
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