The Seventh Sunday After Pentecost
For Lives of Saints of the Day, click here (from oca.org).
O Lord, save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance.
Until Thee will I cry, O Lord my God.
The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans. (15:1-7)
Brethren, we who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves; let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to edify him. For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached thee fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures, we might have hope. May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew. (9:27-35)
At that time, as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud: “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” When He entered the house, the blind men came to Him; and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly charged them, “See that no one knows it.” But they went away and spread His fame through all that district. As they were going away, behold, a dumb demoniac was brought to Him. And when the demon had been cast out, the dumb man spoke; and the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.” And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity.
Troparion — Tone 7
You were Transfigured on the Mount, O Christ God, / Revealing Your glory to Your disciples as far as they could bear it. / Let Your everlasting Light shine upon us sinners! / Through the prayers of the Theotokos, O Giver of Light, glory to You!
Kontakion — Tone 7
On the Mountain You were Transfigured, O Christ God, / And Your disciples beheld Your glory as far as they could see it; / So that when they would behold You crucified, / They would understand that Your suffering was voluntary, / And would proclaim to the world, / That You are truly the Radiance of the Father!
Troparion — Tone 4
As a holy deacon and righteous minister of the Church of Christ, / You contended superbly. / You sailed over the sea of many torments and afflictions, / O all-bless Euplus. / Guide us into the haven of heaven.
Kontakion — Tone 1
When the love of Christ was your only defense, / You stood in the midst of your fight and said: / I endure this struggle willingly and with confidence! / You rejoiced, O Euplus, to offer your head to the sword and so complete your course!
Holy Martyr and Archdeacon Euplius of Catania
“The Martyr Archdeacon Euplus suffered in the year 304 under the emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian (305-311). He served in the Sicilian city of Catania. Always carrying the Gospel with him, St Euplus preached constantly to the pagans about Christ.
Once, while he read and explained the Gospel to the gathered crowd, they arrested him and took him to the governor of the city, Calvisianus. St Euplus confessed himself a Christian and denounced the impiety of idol-worship. For this they sentenced him to torture.
They threw the injured saint into prison, where he remained in prayer for seven days. The Lord made a spring of water flow into the prison for the martyr to quench his thirst. Brought to trial a second time, strengthened and rejoicing, he again confessed his faith in Christ and denounced the torturer for spilling the blood of innocent Christians.
The judge commanded that the saint’s ears be torn off, and that he be beheaded. When they led the saint to execution, they hung the Gospel around his neck. Having asked time for prayer, the archdeacon began to read and explain the Gospel to the people, and many of the pagans believed in Christ. The soldiers beheaded the saint with a sword.
His holy relics are in the village of Vico della Batonia, near Naples.”
The Holy Martyr Susanna the Virgin was the daughter of Presbyter Gavinius and a niece of the Holy Bishop Caius of Rome (283-296). She was raised in strict Christian piety and in her youthful years dedicated herself to God. The family of the saint was related to the emperor Diocletian (284-305), who heard reports of her virtue and beauty.
Having decided to give St Susanna in marriage to his co-emperor Maximian (305-311), Diocletian sent his own kinsman, the dignitary Claudius, to the priest Gavinius, and then his own brother Maximus. Both of them, together with the wife of Claudius Prepedigna and her sons Alexander and Cythius, accepted Baptism after conversation with the pious family. Having learned that the entire family of his relatives had been converted to Christianity, Diocletian sent them into exile.
Soon they burned the martyrs at Ostia, not far from Rome, and threw the ashes into the sea. They took the holy virgin Susanna to the palace, and the empress tried to persuade her to submit. But the empress, secretly a Christian, supported the martyr in her intention to preserve her virginity for the sake of the Lord. She explained to the emperor about the virgin’s unwillingness to enter into marriage with a pagan. Diocletian gave permission to his co-ruler to defile the holy virgin, but an angel defended her.
Macedonius began to urge the martyr to offer sacrifice to the idols. “I offer myself in sacrifice to my Lord,” she answered. Then Macedonius cut off the martyr’s head. The empress secretly buried the body of the saint. The room where the murder occurred was consecrated into a church by the holy Bishop Caius. Soon the father of St Susanna, Presbyter Gavinius, accepted a martyr’s end, as did St Caius in the year 296.