Scripture Readings (KJV)
(1st Matins Gospel)
16Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
17And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
18And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Ephesians 2.4-10 (Epistle)
4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Luke 10.25-37 (Gospel)
25And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
26He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
27And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
28And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
29But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
30And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
31And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
33But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
34And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
35And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
36Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
37And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
Our Father among the Saints Martin, Bishop of Tours (397)
This holy and beloved Western Saint, the patron of France, was born in Pannonia (modern-day Hungary) in 316, to a pagan military family stationed there. Soon the family returned home to Italy, where Martin grew up. He began to go to church at the age of ten, and became a catechumen. Though he desired to become a monk, he first entered the army in obedience to his parents.
One day, when he was stationed in Amiens in Gaul, he met a poor man shivering for lack of clothing. He had already given all his money as alms, so he drew his sword, cut his soldier’s cloak in half, and gave half of it to the poor man. That night Christ appeared to him, clothed in the half-cloak he had given away, and said to His angels, “Martin, though still a catechumen, has clothed me in this garment.” Martin was baptised soon afterward. Though he still desired to become a monk, he did not obtain his discharge from the army until many years later, in 356.
He soon became a disciple of St Hilary of Poitiers (commemorated January 13), the “Athanasius of the West.” After traveling in Pannonia and Italy (where he converted his mother to faith in Christ), he returned to Gaul, where the Arian heretics were gaining much ground. Not long afterward became Bishop of Tours, where he shone as a shepherd of the Church: bringing pagans to the faith, healing the sick, establishing monastic life throughout Gaul, and battling the Arian heresy so widespread throughout the West. Finding the episcopal residence too grand, he lived in a rude, isolated wooden hut, even while fulfilling all the duties of a Bishop of the Church.
His severity against heresy was always accompanied by love and kindness toward all: he once traveled to plead with the Emperor Maximus to preserve the lives of some Priscillianist heretics whom the Emperor meant to execute.
As the holy Bishop lay dying in 397, the devil appeared to tempt him one last time. The Saint said, “You will find nothing in me that belongs to you. Abraham’s bosom is about to receive me.” With these words he gave up his soul to God.
He is the first confessor who was not a martyr to be named a Saint in the West. His biographer, Sulpitius Severus, wrote of him: “Martin never let an hour or a moment go by without giving himself to prayer or to reading and, even as he read or was otherwise occupied, he never ceased from prayer to God. He was never seen out of temper or disturbed, distressed or laughing. Always one and the same, his face invariably shining with heavenly joy, he seemed to have surpassed human nature. In his mouth was nothing but the Name of Christ and in his soul nothing but love, peace and mercy.”
Note: St Martin is commemorated on this day in the Greek and Slavic Synaxaria; his commemoration in the West, where he is especially honored, is on November 11.
Our Father among the Saints John the Merciful, Patriarch of Alexandria (619)
He was the son of a noble family in Cyprus. He married and had several children, but when his wife and children all died at nearly the same time, he took his loss as a call to forsake worldly cares, and committed his life entirely to God. In time he was consecrated Archbishop of Alexandria, where he became known for his zeal for the Orthodox faith and his struggles against the various heresies that prevailed in Egypt at that time. Most of all, though, he was known for the amazing purity of his generosity and compassion toward all.
On the day of his elevation to the Patriarchate, he ordered a careful census of his “masters,” as he called the poor and beggars. It was found that there were 7,500 indigents in the city, and St John ordered that all of them be clothed and fed every day out of the Church’s wealth. In his prayers he would say “We will see, Lord, which of us will win this contest: You, who constantly give me good gifts, or I, who will never stop giving them away to the poor. For I have nothing that does not come to me by Thy mercy, which upholds my life.”
His lack of judgment in giving to the poor sometimes dismayed those around him. Once a wily beggar came to John four times in four different disguises, receiving alms each time. When the holy Patriarch was told of this, he ordered that the man be given twice as much, saying “Perhaps he is Jesus my Savior, who has come on purpose to put me to the test.” Still, the more generously he gave, the more generously God granted gifts to the Church, so that money was never lacking either for the poor or for the Church’s own real needs. One of the clergy once gave only a third of what the Patriarch instructed to a rich man who had fallen into poverty, thinking that the Church’s treasury could not afford to give so much. Saint John then revealed to him that a noblewoman who had planned to give an enormous gift to the Church had, shortly thereafter, given only a third of what she originally planned.
Once, when he was serving the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral, the Patriarch stopped just before the consecration, instructed the deacon to repeat the litanies, and sent for one of his clergy who bore a grudge against him and would not come to church. When the man came, the Patriarch prostrated himself before him and, with tears, begged his forgiveness. When they were reconciled, he returned to the altar and proceeded with the service.
Though the Patriarch lived in a well-appointed palace befitting his rank, he owned no property and lived in a humble cell within the palace. A godly citizen, knowing his poverty, once gave him a fine blanket. The Saint immediately sold the blanket and gave the proceeds to the poor. The donor, however, found his gift for sale in a shop, bought it, and gave it again to the Patriarch. The Patriarch again sold it, and the donor again found it and gave it. The Synaxarion says, “As neither of them would give in, the bed-cover passed through their hands a good many times and was the means whereby John indirectly prevailed on the rich man to give away a great fortune to the poor.”
Despite his generosity, the Patriarch was firm with the Monophysite heretics. Though he gave them all that he could whenever they were in need, he instructed the Orthodox faithful never to worship or pray with them.
At his own request, the Patriarch returned to Cyprus where, in 619, he died at the age of 64. In his last hours, he gave thanks to God that nothing remained of the riches of which he had been given stewardship for the sake of the poor.
Our Holy Father Nilus the Ascetic of Sinai (430)
He served as Prefect of Constantinople during the reign of the Emperor Theodosius. He was married and had two children, a son and a daughter. Despising their eminent worldly position, Nilus and his wife agreed to take up the monastic life in Egypt, she taking their daughter to a women’s monastery, he taking their son to Mount Sinai. Together Nilus and his son Theodoulos lived in hesychia on the slopes of the mountain with the other monks, who spent their lives in solitude, only gathering once a week to partake of the Mysteries. One day some Saracen raiders attacked the monks, killing many and capturing others; Nilus’ own son Theodoulos was among those taken. Nilus, to overcome his sorrow at losing his son, redoubled his prayers and ascetical labors, and became widely-known for his gifts of prophecy and discernment. He wrote more than a thousand letters and spiritual treatises, including some defending his spiritual father St John Chrysostom, who had been unjustly exiled.
After many years at Mt Sinai, St Nilus found his long-lost son alive. Father and son together were ordained to the priesthood by the Bishop of Elusas, who had been caring for Theodoulos. Saint Nilus reposed in peace around the year 430. His relics were later returned to Constantinople and venerated at the Church of the Orphanage.
St Nilus the Myrrh-Gusher of Mt Athos (1651)
He was born around the end of the sixteenth century in southern Greece. At an early age he entered into monastic life and in time found an isolated cave on the southern cliffs of Mt Athos, devoting his days to prayer, unknown to almost everyone. He reposed in peace in 1651 and was buried near his cave. A fragrant myrrh flowed from his body so copiously that it formed a stream flowing into the sea below; many people came in boats to collect the myrrh, which healed many ailments. One of his disciples, disturbed by the steady procession of visitors, complained in prayer to the Saint, and the flow of myrrh instantly stopped, never to resume.