Orthodox Calendar

January 26, 2023
Thursday of the 33rd week after Pentecost

No Fast

Commemorations

  • Ven. Xenophon and Mary
  • St Ammonas of Egypt, disciple of St Anthony the Great (350)
  • Our Holy Mother Paula of Rome (404)

Scripture Readings (KJV)

James 4.7-5.9 (Epistle)

7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:

14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.

2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.

3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.

6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.

7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

Mark 11.27-33 (Gospel)

27 And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders,

28 And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things?

29 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.

30 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me.

31 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him?

32 But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed.

33 And they answered and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.

Commemorations (abbamoses.com)

Our Holy Father Xenophon, his wife Mary and their sons Arcadius and John (6th c.)

Xenophon was a wealthy senator in Constantinople during the reign of Justinian. He and his wife Mary had two sons, Arcadius and John, to whom they gave every advantage of education. When they were of age, Xenophon sent them both to study law in Berytus (Beirut). But the ship on which they set out was wrecked in a storm, and the two brothers were cast ashore, alive but separated, neither knowing whether the other had survived.

Both brothers gave thanks to God for their salvation and, newly conscious of the vanity of earthly things, both became monks: John in Tyre and Arcadius in Jerusalem. Two years later, having heard no news from his sons, Xenophon made inquiries and found that they had never arrived at Beirut, and that they had seemingly perished in a shipwreck. Giving thanks to God, who gives and takes away, both Xenophon and his wife Mary put on coarse garments and went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In Jerusalem, they met the spiritual father of Arcadius, who told them that both their sons were alive and that they would soon see them.

By God's providence, John and Arcadius met one another at Golgotha and, joyfully reunited, spent some time serving Arcadius' holy Elder. Two days later Xenophon and Mary, visiting the Elder, spent time with their two sons but did not recognize them until the Elder revealed their identity. The parents wept for joy and decided immediately to take up the monastic life themselves. Giving away their considerable wealth, the two entered monasteries in the Holy Land. Both parents and sons went far in the life of prayer, being granted the power to work miracles and foreknow future events.

St Ammonas of Egypt, disciple of St Anthony the Great (350)

"Saint Ammonas was a disciple of Saint Antony the Great and became his successor at the head of the hermits of the outer mountain of Pispir, after having spent fourteen years at Scetis in ceaseless prayer to the Lord to be granted victory over anger. He was afterwards consecrated bishop, probably by Saint Athanasius the Great. He possessed impassibility to the extent of being as though ignorant of the existence of evil, and incapable of passing judgment on anyone.

"One day some people came to ask him to settle a difference among them. The Saint responded by pretending to be insane, and answered a woman who treated him as a madman: 'You don't realize how much trouble I've given myself in the desert to acquire this madness and I have lost it today because of you!' On another occasion when he was taken to visit a brother with a bad reputation, he sat on the barrel where [the erring brother's] concubine was hiding while his accusers searched his cell in vain. Then, taking his leave of the unfortunate man, he simply said: 'Brother, have a care for yourself!'

"When he was asked which deeds of ascesis are most pleasing to God, he replied: 'Just sit in your cell and eat a little every day, always keeping the prayer of the Publican in your heart (Luke 18:13), and you can be saved.' He also said that the fear of God begets moans and tears and these cause joy to arise in the soul, filling it with divine strength to do what is pleasing to God, and that this power from on high establishes us in the company of the Angels. Raised thus from height to height as we humbly pray to be delivered from sin, we shall (he said) receive as if of itself, revelation of the mysteries of God." (Synaxarion)

Our Holy Mother Paula of Rome (404)

She was born in 347 to a noble family in Rome, and at age sixteen married Toxotius, a prominent nobleman. Though her husband was a pagan, he was devoted to her and gave her freedom to keep a Christian home and rear her children as Christians. They were blessed with five children. When she was thirty-two her husband died suddenly, and Paula resolved to turn her large house in Rome into a monastery. Later she traveled to the Holy Land with her spiritual father St Jerome (June 15). In Bethlehem she established two monasteries, one for women (where she dwelt) and one for St Jerome and his companions. Every day the nuns chanted the entire Psalter, which they were required to learn by heart. Paula was exceptionally austere in her fasting and lavish in her almsgiving, often giving away to the poor even the goods needed by her community for subsistence. She aided her spiritual father and brother Jerome in his controversies with Origen's followers: St Jerome himself was hot-tempered, and St Paula often exhorted him to confront his enemies with patience and humility.

When she was fifty-six years old, she felt her death approaching, and heard Christ say to her 'Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away; for lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone' (Song of Songs 2:10-11). To this she replied 'The time of harvest has come. I shall truly see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living,' and gave up her soul joyfully. Her funeral was attended by throngs of monks, nuns and poor people, all of whom revered her as their mother and benefactress.