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Wednesday, 22nd March 2017 --- 13 Baramhat 1733


Today's Readings

Readings for Wednesday of fifth week of Great Lent


Matins


Exodus 8 : 20 - 32 Exodus 9 : - 35 Isaiah 41 : 4 - 14 Joel 3 : 9 - 21 Job 28 : 12 - 28 Proverbs 4 : 10 - 19 1 Samuel 1 : 1 - 28 1 Samuel 2 : 1 - 21

Exodus 8 : 20 - 32

Chapter 8

20And the LORD said to Moses, "Rise early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh as he comes out to the water. Then say to him, "Thus says the LORD: "Let My people go, that they may serve Me.
21Or else, if you will not let My people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies on you and your servants, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground on which they stand.
22And in that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there, in order that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the land.
23I will make a difference between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall be.'
24And the LORD did so. Thick swarms of flies came into the house of Pharaoh, into his servants' houses, and into all the land of Egypt. The land was corrupted because of the swarms of flies.
25Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, "Go, sacrifice to your God in the land."
26And Moses said, "It is not right to do so, for we would be sacrificing the abomination of the Egyptians to the LORD our God. If we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, then will they not stone us?
27We will go three days' journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the LORD our God as He will command us."
28So Pharaoh said, "I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away. Intercede for me."
29Then Moses said, "Indeed I am going out from you, and I will entreat the LORD, that the swarms of flies may depart tomorrow from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people. But let Pharaoh not deal deceitfully anymore in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD."
30So Moses went out from Pharaoh and entreated the LORD.
31And the LORD did according to the word of Moses; He removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people. Not one remained.
32But Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also; neither would he let the people go.


Exodus 9 : - 35

Chapter 9

1Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go in to Pharaoh and tell him, "Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews: "Let My people go, that they may serve Me.
2For if you refuse to let them go, and still hold them,
3behold, the hand of the LORD will be on your cattle in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels, on the oxen, and on the sheep--a very severe pestilence.
4And the LORD will make a difference between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt. So nothing shall die of all that belongs to the children of Israel.'
5Then the LORD appointed a set time, saying, "Tomorrow the LORD will do this thing in the land."
6So the LORD did this thing on the next day, and all the livestock of Egypt died; but of the livestock of the children of Israel, not one died.
7Then Pharaoh sent, and indeed, not even one of the livestock of the Israelites was dead. But the heart of Pharaoh became hard, and he did not let the people go.
8So the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Take for yourselves handfuls of ashes from a furnace, and let Moses scatter it toward the heavens in the sight of Pharaoh.
9And it will become fine dust in all the land of Egypt, and it will cause boils that break out in sores on man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt."
10Then they took ashes from the furnace and stood before Pharaoh, and Moses scattered them toward heaven. And they caused boils that break out in sores on man and beast.
11And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians and on all the Egyptians.
12But the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh; and he did not heed them, just as the LORD had spoken to Moses.
13Then the LORD said to Moses, "Rise early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh, and say to him, "Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews: "Let My people go, that they may serve Me,
14for at this time I will send all My plagues to your very heart, and on your servants and on your people, that you may know that there is none like Me in all the earth.
15Now if I had stretched out My hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, then you would have been cut off from the earth.
16But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.
17As yet you exalt yourself against My people in that you will not let them go.
18Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause very heavy hail to rain down, such as has not been in Egypt since its founding until now.
19Therefore send now and gather your livestock and all that you have in the field, for the hail shall come down on every man and every animal which is found in the field and is not brought home; and they shall die.'
20He who feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his livestock flee to the houses.
21But he who did not regard the word of the LORD left his servants and his livestock in the field.
22Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt--on man, on beast, and on every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt."
23And Moses stretched out his rod toward heaven; and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire darted to the ground. And the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt.
24So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, so very heavy that there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.
25And the hail struck throughout the whole land of Egypt, all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail struck every herb of the field and broke every tree of the field.
26Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, there was no hail.
27And Pharaoh sent and called for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, "I have sinned this time. The LORD is righteous, and my people and I are wicked.
28Entreat the LORD, that there may be no more mighty thundering and hail, for it is enough. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer."
29So Moses said to him, "As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands to the LORD; the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, that you may know that the earth is the LORD's.
30But as for you and your servants, I know that you will not yet fear the LORD God."
31Now the flax and the barley were struck, for the barley was in the head and the flax was in bud.
32But the wheat and the spelt were not struck, for they are late crops.
33So Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh and spread out his hands to the LORD; then the thunder and the hail ceased, and the rain was not poured on the earth.
34And when Pharaoh saw that the rain, the hail, and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet more; and he hardened his heart, he and his servants.
35So the heart of Pharaoh was hard; neither would he let the children of Israel go, as the LORD had spoken by Moses.


Isaiah 41 : 4 - 14

Chapter 41

4Who has performed and done it, Calling the generations from the beginning? "I, the LORD, am the first; And with the last I am He."'
5The coastlands saw it and feared, The ends of the earth were afraid; They drew near and came.
6Everyone helped his neighbor, And said to his brother, "Be of good courage!"
7So the craftsman encouraged the goldsmith; He who smooths with the hammer inspired him who strikes the anvil, Saying, "It is ready for the soldering"; Then he fastened it with pegs, That it might not totter.
8"But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, The descendants of Abraham My friend.
9You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its farthest regions, And said to you, "You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away:
10Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'
11"Behold, all those who were incensed against you Shall be ashamed and disgraced; They shall be as nothing, And those who strive with you shall perish.
12You shall seek them and not find them--Those who contended with you. Those who war against you Shall be as nothing, As a nonexistent thing.
13For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, "Fear not, I will help you.'
14"Fear not, you worm Jacob, You men of Israel! I will help you," says the LORD And your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.


Joel 3 : 9 - 21

Chapter 3

9Proclaim this among the nations: "Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, Let all the men of war draw near, Let them come up.
10Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, "I am strong."'
11Assemble and come, all you nations, And gather together all around. Cause Your mighty ones to go down there, O LORD.
12"Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; For there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations.
13Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; For the winepress is full, The vats overflow--For their wickedness is great."
14Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
15The sun and moon will grow dark, And the stars will diminish their brightness.
16The LORD also will roar from Zion, And utter His voice from Jerusalem; The heavens and earth will shake; But the LORD will be a shelter for His people, And the strength of the children of Israel.
17"So you shall know that I am the LORD your God, Dwelling in Zion My holy mountain. Then Jerusalem shall be holy, And no aliens shall ever pass through her again."
18And it will come to pass in that day That the mountains shall drip with new wine, The hills shall flow with milk, And all the brooks of Judah shall be flooded with water; A fountain shall flow from the house of the LORD And water the Valley of Acacias.
19"Egypt shall be a desolation, And Edom a desolate wilderness, Because of violence against the people of Judah, For they have shed innocent blood in their land.
20But Judah shall abide forever, And Jerusalem from generation to generation.
21For I will acquit them of the guilt of bloodshed, whom I had not acquitted; For the LORD dwells in Zion."


Job 28 : 12 - 28

Chapter 28

12"But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?
13Man does not know its value, Nor is it found in the land of the living.
14The deep says, "It is not in me'; And the sea says, "It is not with me.'
15It cannot be purchased for gold, Nor can silver be weighed for its price.
16It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, In precious onyx or sapphire.
17Neither gold nor crystal can equal it, Nor can it be exchanged for jewelry of fine gold.
18No mention shall be made of coral or quartz, For the price of wisdom is above rubies.
19The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it, Nor can it be valued in pure gold.
20"From where then does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding?
21It is hidden from the eyes of all living, And concealed from the birds of the air.
22Destruction and Death say, "We have heard a report about it with our ears.'
23God understands its way, And He knows its place.
24For He looks to the ends of the earth, And sees under the whole heavens,
25To establish a weight for the wind, And apportion the waters by measure.
26When He made a law for the rain, And a path for the thunderbolt,
27Then He saw wisdom and declared it; He prepared it, indeed, He searched it out.
28And to man He said, "Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding."'


Proverbs 4 : 10 - 19

Chapter 4

10Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, And the years of your life will be many.
11I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths.
12When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, And when you run, you will not stumble.
13Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; Keep her, for she is your life.
14Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not walk in the way of evil.
15Avoid it, do not travel on it; Turn away from it and pass on.
16For they do not sleep unless they have done evil; And their sleep is taken away unless they make someone fall.
17For they eat the bread of wickedness, And drink the wine of violence.
18But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.
19The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know what makes them stumble.


1 Samuel 1 : 1 - 28

Chapter 1

1Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim, of the mountains of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.
2And he had two wives: the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
3This man went up from his city yearly to worship and sacrifice to the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. Also the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there.
4And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters.
5But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the LORD had closed her womb.
6And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the LORD had closed her womb.
7So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat.
8Then Elkanah her husband said to her, "Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?"
9So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle of the LORD.
10And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the LORD and wept in anguish.
11Then she made a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head."
12And it happened, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli watched her mouth.
13Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk.
14So Eli said to her, "How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!"
15But Hannah answered and said, "No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD.
16Do not consider your maidservant a wicked woman, for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now."
17Then Eli answered and said, "Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him."
18And she said, "Let your maidservant find favor in your sight." So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
19Then they rose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD, and returned and came to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her.
20So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, "Because I have asked for him from the LORD."
21Now the man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the LORD the yearly sacrifice and his vow.
22But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, "Not until the child is weaned; then I will take him, that he may appear before the LORD and remain there forever."
23So Elkanah her husband said to her, "Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him. Only let the LORD establish His word." Then the woman stayed and nursed her son until she had weaned him.
24Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bulls, one ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD in Shiloh. And the child was young.
25Then they slaughtered a bull, and brought the child to Eli.
26And she said, "O my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the LORD.
27For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition which I asked of Him.
28Therefore I also have lent him to the LORD; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the LORD." So they worshiped the LORD there.


1 Samuel 2 : 1 - 21

Chapter 2

1And Hannah prayed and said: "My heart rejoices in the LORD; My horn is exalted in the LORD. I smile at my enemies, Because I rejoice in Your salvation.
2"No one is holy like the LORD, For there is none besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God.
3"Talk no more so very proudly; Let no arrogance come from your mouth, For the LORD is the God of knowledge; And by Him actions are weighed.
4"The bows of the mighty men are broken, And those who stumbled are girded with strength.
5Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, And the hungry have ceased to hunger. Even the barren has borne seven, And she who has many children has become feeble.
6"The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up.
7The LORD makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up.
8He raises the poor from the dust And lifts the beggar from the ash heap, To set them among princes And make them inherit the throne of glory. "For the pillars of the earth are the LORD's, And He has set the world upon them.
9He will guard the feet of His saints, But the wicked shall be silent in darkness. "For by strength no man shall prevail.
10The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken in pieces; From heaven He will thunder against them. The LORD will judge the ends of the earth. "He will give strength to His king, And exalt the horn of His anointed."
11Then Elkanah went to his house at Ramah. But the child ministered to the LORD before Eli the priest.
12Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the LORD.
13And the priests' custom with the people was that when any man offered a sacrifice, the priest's servant would come with a three-pronged fleshhook in his hand while the meat was boiling.
14Then he would thrust it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; and the priest would take for himself all that the fleshhook brought up. So they did in Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there.
15Also, before they burned the fat, the priest's servant would come and say to the man who sacrificed, "Give meat for roasting to the priest, for he will not take boiled meat from you, but raw."
16And if the man said to him, "They should really burn the fat first; then you may take as much as your heart desires," he would then answer him, "No, but you must give it now; and if not, I will take it by force."
17Therefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD, for men abhorred the offering of the LORD.
18But Samuel ministered before the LORD, even as a child, wearing a linen ephod.
19Moreover his mother used to make him a little robe, and bring it to him year by year when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.
20And Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, "The LORD give you descendants from this woman for the loan that was given to the LORD." Then they would go to their own home.
21And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile the child Samuel grew before the LORD.




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Matins

Matins Psalm

From the Psalms of our teacher David the prophet.
May his blessings be with us all.

Psalms 55 : 1 - 2

Chapter 55

1Give ear to my prayer, O God, And do not hide Yourself from my supplication.
2Attend to me, and hear me; I am restless in my complaint, and moan noisily,

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Our Lord God, Savior, and King of us all, Jesus Christ, the Living Son of God to whom be glory forever.
Amen.


Matins Gospel

Stand in the fear of God and listen to the Holy Gospel.
A reading from the Gospel according to our teacher Saint Mark the Evangelist.
May His Blessings be with us all.

Mark 10 : 1 - 12

Chapter 10

1Then He arose from there and came to the region of Judea by the other side of the Jordan. And multitudes gathered to Him again, and as He was accustomed, He taught them again.
2The Pharisees came and asked Him, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" testing Him.
3And He answered and said to them, "What did Moses command you?"
4They said, "Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her."
5And Jesus answered and said to them, "Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.
6But from the beginning of the creation, God "made them male and female.'
7"For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,
8and the two shall become one flesh'; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.
9Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."
10In the house His disciples also asked Him again about the same matter.
11So He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.
12And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."

And Glory be to God forever.


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Liturgy Gospel

Paulines Epistle

Paul, the servant of our Lord Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, appointed to the Gospel of God.
A reading from the Epistle of our teacher Paul to the Romans .
May his blessings be upon us.
Amen.

Romans 4 : 14 - 25

Chapter 4

14For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect,
15because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.
16Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all
17(as it is written, "I have made you a father of many nations" ) in the presence of Him whom he believed--God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;
18who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, "So shall your descendants be."
19And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb.
20He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God,
21and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
22And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness."
23Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him,
24but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead,
25who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.


Romans 5 : 1 - 5

Chapter 5

1Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;
4and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
5Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.


The grace of God the Father be with you all.
Amen.


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Catholic Epistle

A Reading from Epistle 1 of St. Peter .
May his blessing be upon us.
Amen.

1 Peter 4 : 12 - 19

Chapter 4

12Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;
13but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
14If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.
15But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters.
16Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.
17For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
18Now "If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?"
19Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

Do not love the world or the things in the world.
The world passes away, and its desires; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
Amen.


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Acts of the Apostles

The Acts of our fathers the apostles, may their blessings be with us.

Acts 11 : 12 - 18

Chapter 11

12Then the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered the man's house.
13And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, "Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter,
14who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.'
15And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning.
16Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, "John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'
17If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?"
18When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life."

The word of the Lord shall grow, multiply, be mighty, and be confirmed, in the holy Church of God.
Amen.


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Synaxarium

Day 13 of the Blessed Coptic Month of Baramhat, may God make it always received, year after year, with reassurance and tranquility, while our sins after forgiven by the tender mercies of our God my fathers and brothers.
Amen.

The Thirteenth Day of the Blessed Month of Baramhat

Departure of Abba Dionysius, the Fourteenth Pope of Alexandria

    On this day (March 8th, 264 A.D.) the great father Abba Dionysius, the fourteenth Pope of Alexandria, departed. His parents were stare worshippers of the Sun (Sabians) and they put emphasis on teaching him all the knowledge of that sect. One day a Christian old woman passed by him, who had with her some pages of a book containing an Epistle of St. Paul the apostle and offered it to him to buy it. When he read it he found in it strange sayings and unusual knowledge. He asked her: "For how much will you sell it?" She said: "For one dinar of gold." He gave her three dinars and asked her to find the rest of the pages of the book and he was willing to pay her double. She went and brought him more pages. Having read them through he found the book to be still incomplete, he asked her to search for the rest of the book. She told him: "I found these quires among my father's books. If you want to acquire the complete book, go to the church and there you can find it." He went and asked one of the priests to show him what is called the Epistles of Paul. He gave it to him, read it, and memorized it. Then he went to St. Demetrius the twelfth Pope, who taught and instructed him in the facts of the Christian faith then baptized him. He became well rehearsed in the doctrine and knowledge of the church, and Anba Demetrius appointed him a teacher for the people. When Anba Demetrius departed and Anba Heraclas (Yaroklas) was enthroned, he appointed him as a deputy to judge among the believers and entrusted him to administer the affairs of the patriarchate.

    When St. Heraclas departed, all the people agreed to appoint this father Patriarch. He was enthroned on the first of Tubah (December 28th, 246 A.D.) during the reign of Emperor Philip who was a lover of the Christians, and he shepherded his flock with the best of care, nevertheless, he suffered much tribulations. When Decius rose up against Philip and killed him, and reigned in his place, he incited persecution against the Christians. Decius slew many of the patriarchs, bishops, and believers. This father endured much suffering during that time. Decius died and Gallus reigned after him, and persecution quieted down during his reign. When Gallus died and Valerian reigned in his place, he renewed the persecution severely against the Christians, and his men seized Abba Dionysius and imprisoned him. They asked him to worship the idols but he refused saying: "We worship God the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit the One God." They threatened him, killed few men in front of him to terrify him but he was not afraid. They banished him and shortly after, they brought him back and told him: "We have been informed that you consecrate the offering secretly by yourself." He replied: "We do not forsake our prayers day or night" then he turned to the people present around him and told them: "Go and pray and if I am away from you in the body, I shall be with you in spirit." The governor became raged and returned him to exile. When Sapor king of Persia overcame Emperor Valerian and seized him, his son Gallienus, who was wise and gentle, took over the empire. He released all the believers who were in prison and brought back those who were in exile. He wrote to the Patriarch and the bishops a letter to assure their safety in opening the churches. In the days of this father, certain people arose in the Arabian countries saying: "That the soul dies with the body, and on the day of Resurrection, it shall be raised up with it." He gathered against them a council and anathematized them. When Paul of Samosata denied the Son, a Council assembled against him in Antioch, this Saint was not able to attend for his age. He wrote a letter to the council, rich with wisdom, explained in it the corruptive opinion of this heretic, and stated the true Orthodox belief. He finished his good strife, and departed in a good old age on (March 8th, 264 A.D.), having sat on the Apostolic Throne seventeen years, two month and ten days.

May His prayers be with us all. Amen.

Return of the Great Saints Anba Macarius the Great and Anba Macarius of Alexandria from Exile

      On this day also is the commemoration of the return of the Great Sts. Anba Macarius the Great and Anba Macarius of Alexandria, from exile on an island in Upper Egypt. Emperor Valens the arian had exiled them to this island. The natives of this island worshipped idols, and according to the orders of Valens the two Saints were tortured severely for three years. It came to pass one day that satan entered the daughter of the pagan priest of this island and tortured her. St. Macarius the great came forward and prayed over her and the Lord healed her and subsequently the priest and the people of the island believed on the Lord Christ. The Saints taught them the facts of the Christian faith and baptized them on the eve of the feast of Epiphany, 11th. of Tubah, changed the temple into a church, and with a revelation from the Lord Christ they ordained priests and deacons for them. When they wished to return they did not know the way, so the angel of the Lord appeared to them, guided them walking, until they reached Alexandria. From there they went to the wilderness of Sheahat (Scetis). The monks of the wilderness came out to meat them, and they were at that time about fifty thousand monks among them were Anba John the short and Anba Bishoy, and they all rejoiced to meat their fathers.

May The prayers of these Saints be with us. Amen.

Martyrdom of the Forty Martyrs of Sebastia

      On this day also the holy forty martyrs of the city of Sebastia were martyred. Emperor Constantine the great had appointed his friend Lecius ruler for the east and commanded him to treat the Christians well. When he arrived to his headquarter, he ordered his subordinate to worship the idols but they refused and cursed his idols. That night some of the soldiers and their children, from the city of Sebastia, made an agreement among themselves to go to the governor confessing their faith. While they were sleeping the angel of the Lord appeared to them, strengthened them and comforted their hearts. In the morning they stood before the Governor and confessed their faith in the Lord christ, he threatened them but they were not afraid. He commanded his men to stone them, but the stones came back upon those who stoned them. He ordered to throw them in a nearby lake, which was icy. Their organs were severed because of the excessive cold. One of them whose strength was weakened, went out of the icy water and entered the bath house nearby the lake. The heat in the bath house melted the ice that was on him but he died quickly, and lost his reward.

      One of the guards saw angels descending from the heaven and in their hands crowns, they placed them over the heads of the thirty nine martyrs and remained one crown in the hand of the angel. The guard went down into the lake shouting "I am christian...I am christian." He took the crown that was in the hand of the angel and was counted among the martyrs. Among the martyrs, were young men, whose mothers encouraged and strengthened them. Because they remained in the lake for a long time and they did not die, the Governor wished to break their legs, but the Lord took their souls and reposed them. He ordered to burn their bodies and to cast them after that into the sea. As they were carrying them out of the lake, they found a young man alive, so they left him. His mother took him and tried to threw him on the wagon with his mates but they put him off the wagon again for he was still alive. His mother took him and he died in her bosom so she put him back on the wagon. They took them outside the city and cast them into the fire which did not harm them, then they casted them into the river. On the third day those holy martyrs appeared to the Bishop of Sebastia in a vision and told him: "Go to the river and take our bodies." He went with the priests, deacons and the people to the river and found the bodies. They carried the bodies with great honor and placed them in a beautiful shrine, and their strife was heard in all the countries.

May their prayers be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.


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Divine Psalm

Stand in the fear of God and listen to the Holy Gospel.
A reading from the Gospel according to our teacher Saint John the Evangelist.
May His Blessings be with us all. Amen.
From the Psalms of our teacher David the prophet, and the Good King.
May his blessings be with us all.

Psalms 86 : 13 - 14

Chapter 86

13For great is Your mercy toward me, And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
14O God, the proud have risen against me, And a mob of violent men have sought my life, And have not set You before them.


Hallelujah.


Divine Gospel

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Our Lord God, Savior, and King of us all, Jesus Christ, the Living Son of God to whom be glory forever.
Amen.

Luke 13 : 6 - 9

Chapter 13

6He also spoke this parable: "A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.
7Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, "Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?'
8But he answered and said to him, "Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it.
9And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down."'


And Glory be to God forever.


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Today's Readings


Acknowledgement

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