Scripture Readings (KJV)
Wisdom of Solomon 3.1-9 (Vespers)
1But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and there shall no torment touch them.
2In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and their departure is taken for misery,
3And their going from us to be utter destruction: but they are in peace.
4For though they be punished in the sight of men, yet is their hope full of immortality.
5And having been a little chastised, they shall be greatly rewarded: for God proved them, and found them worthy for himself.
6As gold in the furnace hath he tried them, and received them as a burnt offering.
7And in the time of their visitation they shall shine, and run to and fro like sparks among the stubble.
8They shall judge the nations, and have dominion over the people, and their Lord shall reign for ever.
9They that put their trust in him shall understand the truth: and such as be faithful in love shall abide with him: for grace and mercy is to his saints, and he hath care for his elect.
Wisdom of Solomon 5.15-6.3 (Vespers)
15But the righteous live for evermore; their reward also is with the Lord, and the care of them is with the most High.
16Therefore shall they receive a glorious kingdom, and a beautiful crown from the Lord’s hand: for with his right hand shall he cover them, and with his arm shall he protect them.
17He shall take to him his jealousy for complete armour, and make the creature his weapon for the revenge of his enemies.
18He shall put on righteousness as a breastplate, and true judgment instead of an helmet.
19He shall take holiness for an invincible shield.
20His severe wrath shall he sharpen for a sword, and the world shall fight with him against the unwise.
21Then shall the right aiming thunderbolts go abroad; and from the clouds, as from a well drawn bow, shall they fly to the mark.
22And hailstones full of wrath shall be cast as out of a stone bow, and the water of the sea shall rage against them, and the floods shall cruelly drown them.
23Yea, a mighty wind shall stand up against them, and like a storm shall blow them away: thus iniquity shall lay waste the whole earth, and ill dealing shall overthrow the thrones of the mighty.
1Hear therefore, O ye kings, and understand; learn, ye that be judges of the ends of the earth.
2Give ear, ye that rule the people, and glory in the multitude of nations.
3For power is given you of the Lord, and sovereignty from the Highest, who shall try your works, and search out your counsels.
Wisdom of Solomon 4.7-15 (Vespers)
7But though the righteous be prevented with death, yet shall he be in rest.
8For honourable age is not that which standeth in length of time, nor that is measured by number of years.
9But wisdom is the gray hair unto men, and an unspotted life is old age.
10He pleased God, and was beloved of him: so that living among sinners he was translated.
11Yea speedily was he taken away, lest that wickedness should alter his understanding, or deceit beguile his soul.
12For the bewitching of naughtiness doth obscure things that are honest; and the wandering of concupiscence doth undermine the simple mind.
13He, being made perfect in a short time, fulfilled a long time:
14For his soul pleased the Lord: therefore hasted he to take him away from among the wicked.
15This the people saw, and understood it not, neither laid they up this in their minds, That his grace and mercy is with his saints, and that he hath respect unto his chosen.
(6th Matins Gospel)
36And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
37But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.
38And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
39Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
40And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.
41And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?
42And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.
43And he took it, and did eat before them.
44And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
45Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
46And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
47And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
48And ye are witnesses of these things.
49And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
50And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.
51And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.
52And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:
53And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.
2 Corinthians 6.16-7.1 (Epistle)
16And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
18And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
1Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
(Epistle, St Tikhon)
26For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
27Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
28For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
1Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;
2A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
Luke 7.11-16 (Gospel)
11And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people.
12Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.
13And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.
14And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.
15And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.
16And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.
(Gospel, St Tikhon)
9I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
10The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
11I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
12But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
13The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
14I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
15As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
Holy Apostle James, Son of Alphaeus.
He was one of the Twelve Apostles, the brother of the Apostle and Evangelist St Matthew. After Pentecost he preached the Gospel in many nations, and was finally martyred in Egypt, crucified by pagans.
Saints Andronicus and Athanasia (5th c.)
Andronicus was a goldsmith who lived in Antioch during the reign of Theodosius the Great (379-395). He and his wife Athanasia were devout Christians who strove to follow Christ in all things. They gave a third of all that they earned to the poor, another third to the Church, and lived on the remainder. After they had two children, they agreed to live henceforth as brother and sister. Both their children died on the same day, and they grieved inconsolably until St Justin the Martyr appeared to Athanasia at the children’s grave and told her that her children were in the Kingdom of God, happier than they had ever been on earth. Andronicus and Athanasia then travelled to Egypt, where each took up the monastic life in different monasteries. After living for many years in asceticism, they reposed in peace within ten days of one another.
Holy and Righteous Abraham and Lot
Read their story in the book of Genesis. They are also commemorated on the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers, Dec 11-17.
St Stephen the Blind, Prince of Serbia (1476)
He was born in 1417. Stephen and his younger brother Gregory were taken captive by the Turks and blinded on the day of Pascha 1441; several years later they were ransomed back to their father. After his father’s death, Stephen, though blind, ruled Serbia for a short time, but was deposed in a coup and exiled to Albania. There he met St Angelina, whom he married in 1461. Their marriage was blessed with three children. Once again Stephen was threatened by the Turks and fled with his family to Trieste in Italy. There he held firmly to the Orthodox faith despite strong pressures to convert to Roman Catholicism. The holy prince, having patiently endured the many hardships of his life, reposed in peace in 1476. Years after his death, a heavenly light miraculously appeared over his tomb. When the tomb was opened, his relics were found to be incorrupt; the sick were healed by touching them, and the blind received their sight. The relics were placed in the Monastery of Krushedol, founded by his widow St Angelina. The Monastery was sacked in 1716 by the Turks, who burned the church and cut the holy relics to pieces. Some fragments still remain at the reconstructed monastery.
Holy Hieromartyr Denis (Dionysius), first Bishop of Paris (ca. 258)
Saint Denis (a westernization of the the Greek Dionysius), was one of seven bishops sent to Gaul by the Bishop of Rome during the reign of the Emperor Decius. Their mission was to extend the spread of the Gospel in that mostly-pagan land. While most of the bishops were sent to major settlements, St Denis was assigned to the small, remote pagan town of Lutetia — which later grew to become the city of Paris. He and his companions settled outside the town in a house given to him by a convert, where the few Christians could meet in secret. Soon, through the holy bishop’s grace-filled preaching and his many miracles, Christianity grew rapidly.
Soon a fierce persecution of Christians swept through Gaul, and many of the faithful were abused, tortured or put to death. Saint Denis, fearless of danger and heedless of his own old age, travelled among the Christians, visiting the prisoners and exhorting all to remain firm in their confession of Christ. Soon he himself was arrested along with several companions, and was tortured without pity. When was publicly hung on a cross, he preached to the onlookers of the mystery of Christ’s Passion. Taken back to prison, he celebrated the holy Eucharist for the last time, enveloped in a heavenly light. He and a host of other Martyrs were then beheaded on a hill, now called Montmartre in their memory. There is a tradition that at his beheading he rose up, took his own head in his hands, and walked for several miles to a place that later became the Basilica of St Denis in the town named after him. Before the French Revolution, the Kings and Queens of France were buried in this church.