Hymns of the Day
Thou best bestowed upon thy city, O ever virgin Theotokos and shelter of mankind, the robe and the belt of thy pure body, at a secure mantle, which by thy seedless birthgiving have remained without corruption for by thee are nature and time regenerated Wherefore, we implore thee to grant thy city safety, and our souls the 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.
With thy yoke-mate and thy sons didst thou keep vigil in the courts of Christ thy Lord and thou didst cheerfully disperse thy wealth to paupers, O blessed one. Hence, ye have all now inherited joy divine.
Gospel and Epistle Readings
The Reading is from St. Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews 9:1-7
BRETHREN, the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. For a tent was prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence; it is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain stood a tent called the Holy of Holies, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, which contained a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. These preparations having thus been made, the priests go continually into the outer tent, performing their ritual duties; but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood which he offers for himself and for the errors of the people.
12th Sunday of Matthew
The Reading is from Matthew 19:16-26
At that time, a young man came up to Jesus, kneeling and saying, “Good Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you call me good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which?” And Jesus said, “You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have observed; what do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.
And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Saints and Feasts
Saint Titus was a Greek by race, and an idolater. But having believed in Christ through the Apostle Paul, he became Paul’s disciple and follower and labored with him greatly in the preaching of the Gospel. When Paul ordained him Bishop of Crete, he later wrote to him the Epistle which bears his name. Having shepherded in an apostolic manner the flock that had been entrusted to him, and being full of days, he reposed in peace, some ninety-four years of age.
Saint Pimen was from Egypt and shone forth in the ascetical life in Scete in the fourth century; he was renowned for his discretion. Many of his sayings and deeds are preserved in the Paradise of the Fathers and the Sayings of the Fathers.
Saint Moses, who is also called Moses the Black, was a slave, but because of his evil life, his master cast him out, and he became a ruthless thief, dissolute in all his ways. Later, however, coming to repentance, he converted, and took up the monastic life under Saint Isidore of Scete. He gave himself over to prayer and the mortification of the carnal mind with such diligence that he later became a priest of exemplary virtue. He was revered by all for his lofty ascetical life and for his great humility. Once the Fathers in Scete asked Moses to come to an assembly to judge the fault of a certain brother, but he refused. When they insisted, he took a basket which had a hole in it, filled it with sand, and carried it on his shoulders. When the Fathers saw him coming they asked him what the basket might mean. He answered, “My sins run out behind me, and I do not see them, and I am come this day to judge failings which are not mine.” When a barbarian tribe was coming to Scete, Moses, conscious that he himself had slain other men when he was a thief, awaited them and was willingly slain by them with six other monks, at the end of the fourth century. He was a contemporary of Saint Arsenius the Great (see May 8).
Although the historical accounts differ somewhat, the Deposition that is celebrated today took place most likely during the reign of Emperor Arcadius (395-408), when the precious Cincture of the Mother of God was brought from Zela of Cappadocia to Constantinople, and placed in the Church of the Theotokos in the section of Chalcopratia.
Saint Cyprian was born of pagan parents in Carthage of Roman Africa about the year 190. An eloquent teacher of rhetoric, he was converted and baptized late in life, and his conversion from a proud man of learning to a humble servant of Christ was complete; he sold his great possessions and gave them to the poor, and because of his zeal and virtue, was ordained presbyter in 247, then Bishop of Carthage in 248. He was especially steadfast in defending the sanctity and uniqueness of the Baptism of the Church of Christ against the confusion of those who would allow some validity to the ministrations of heretics; his writings continue to guide the Church even in our own day. Having survived the persecution of Decius about the year 250, he was beheaded in confession of the Faith during the persecution of Valerian in 258, on September 14; that day being the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, his feast is kept today.
Wisdom of the Fathers
“The sign that thou lovest God, is this, that thou lovest thy fellow; and if thou hatest thy fellow, thy hatred is towards God. For it is blasphemy if thou prayest before God while thou art wroth. For thy heart also convicts thee, that in vain thou multipliest words: thy conscience rightly judges that in thy prayers thou profitest nought.”
“Spiritual delight is not enjoyment found in things that exists outside the soul.”