Scripture Readings (KJV)
11The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.
12For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:
13And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan,
14And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up,
15And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall,
16And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.
17And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.
18And the idols he shall utterly abolish.
19And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.
20In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats;
21To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.
Genesis 2.4-19 (Vespers)
4These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,
5And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
6But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
7And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
8And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
9And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
10And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
11The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;
12And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
13And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.
14And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.
15And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
16And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
18And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
19And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
Proverbs 3.1-18 (Vespers)
1My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:
2For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.
3Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:
4So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
5Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
7Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
8It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.
9Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:
10So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
11My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:
12For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
13Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.
14For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
15She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.
16Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.
17Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
18She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.
Hieromartyr Theodotus, bishop of Cyrenia (326)
Known for his wisdom and virtue, he was chosen as Bishop of Cyrenia on the island of Cyprus. When a persecution broke out against the Christians under the Emperor Licinius, Theodotus was arrested and subjected to many tortures. His torturer Sabinus urged him repeatedly to renounce Christ and worship the idols, but Theodotus replied, ‘If you knew the goodness of my God, who, it is my hope, will by these brief tortures make me worthy of eternal life, you would wish to suffer for Him as I do.’ The pagans then drove nails into his body, for which he thanked God. Believing that his death was approaching, he calmly gave counsel and instruction to the Christians around him. By God’s providence, an order came from the new Emperor Constantine to free all Christians who were being held for the sake of Christ. Thus Theodotus was freed and, though greatly weakened by his torments, served his flock faithfully for two more years before reposing in peace.
The Four Hundred and Forty Martyrs of Lombardy (579)
Forty of them were beheaded in one place in Lombardy (in Italy) because they refused to eat food offered to idols. Another four hundred were massacred because they refused to join with the Lombard pagans’ practice of dancing around a goat’s head that had been brought for sacrifice to the idols. Their deaths are recorded by St Gregory the Dialogist (Gregory the Great).
We sometimes imagine that the Roman Empire converted almost overnight to Christianity during the reign of St Constantine the Great. This incident, more than two hundred years into Europe’s ‘Christian era’, reminds us that the progress of the Faith among the people was often slow and halting, and that paganism remained a force for many centuries.
Holy Martyr Euthalia (257)
She was a pagan maiden living in Sicily with her mother (also named Euthalia) and her brother Sermilianus. When Euthalia’s mother became ill with an issue of blood, the holy martyrs Alphius, Philadelphus and Cyrinus (May 10) appeared to her in a dream and told her that she would only be healed if she were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Heeding the dream, she believed, was baptized, and was healed. Her daughter Euthalia, seeing this wonder, was also baptised. Sermilianus, despising and hating the Christian faith, first mocked his mother and sister for their conversion, then threatened them. The mother fled the house in fear. Euthalia remained, saying to her brother ‘I am a Christian, and have no fear of death.’ The cruel Sermilianus persecuted her more and more harshly until finally, enraged by the futility of his threats, he beheaded his own sister by his own hand, unknowingly procuring for her a crown of eternal glory. “And thus in this example were fulfilled the words of Christ that He was bringing a sword among men which would divide those of one blood but not those of one faith (Matt. 10:34-35).” (Prologue)