Scripture Readings (KJV)
(Matins Gospel, St Innocent)
1Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
2But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
3To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
4And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
5And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
6This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.
7Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
8All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
9I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
11Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.
12I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.
13I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the LORD of hosts.
14Thus saith the LORD, The labour of Egypt, and merchandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall be thine: they shall come after thee; in chains they shall come over, and they shall fall down unto thee, they shall make supplication unto thee, saying, Surely God is in thee; and there is none else, there is no God.
15Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.
16They shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of them: they shall go to confusion together that are makers of idols.
17But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.
Genesis 22.1-18 (Vespers)
1And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
2And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
3And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
4Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.
5And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.
6And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.
7And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
8And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
9And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
10And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
11And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
12And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
13And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
14And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.
15And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,
16And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
17That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
18And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
Proverbs 17.17-18.5 (Vespers)
17A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
18A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.
19He loveth transgression that loveth strife: and he that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction.
20He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.
21He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow: and the father of a fool hath no joy.
22A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
23A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.
24Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.
25A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him.
26Also to punish the just is not good, nor to strike princes for equity.
27He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.
28Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.
1Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.
2A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.
3When the wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt, and with ignominy reproach.
4The words of a man’s mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.
5It is not good to accept the person of the wicked, to overthrow the righteous in judgment.
(Epistle, St Innocent)
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.
(Gospel, St Innocent)
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.
St Innocent, enlightener of Alaska and Siberia (1879)
He was born in Siberia in 1797 to a clerical family, and became a married parish priest in Irkutsk. A devout explorer, John Kriukov, told him of the great spiritual needs among the Russian and native peoples in Alaska, then Russian territory. Moved to serve Christ in this very difficult environment, he and his family arrived in Alaska in 1824. He quickly learned the Aleut language and worked humbly and tirelessly among the Aleuts. His spiritual classic, An Indication of the Way to the Kingdom of Heaven, was originally written in Aleut and later translated into many languages.
While he was visiting Russia in 1838, his wife died; one year later he was tonsured a monk and given the name of Innocent (he had been Fr John Veniaminov). Almost immediately after his tonsuring he was, without warning, raised to the rank of Bishop of all Eastern Siberia and Russian America, probably the largest diocese in the world at that time. Returning to Alaska, he continued his missionary work with vigor, often traveling among Aleut and Tlingit settlements in his own kayak. Wherever he went, he found the Alaskan people hungry for the faith, and his labors bore rich fruit which is still obvious today: Alaska has more Orthodox churches per capita than any other state.
In old age he was made Metropolitan of Moscow, head of the entire Russian Orthodox Church. His concern for Christian mission was undiminished, and as Metropolitan he created the Orthodox Missionary Society. He reposed on Holy Saturday of 1879.
Hieromartyr Hypatius, Bishop of Gangra (326)
He was born in Cilicia in Asia Minor, and became Bishop of Gangra, the capital of Paphlagonia. He took part in the First Ecumenical Council, where he was praised by all for his piety and miracles. It is said that the Emperor Constantius kept a bust of Hypatius in his palace as a weapon against demonic powers. The Saint was murdered by the Novatians, a sect which believed that there is no forgiveness for sins committed after Baptism. [The popularity of this belief helps to explain why many believers at that time postponed baptism until very late in life.] As Hypatius was traveling home from Constantinople, they attacked him on the road and stoned him to death. A woman who took part in the attack went mad and began to beat herself with a stone; she was only healed when her friends took her to the grave of St Hypatius and prayed for her. Restored by his compassionate intercession, she spent the rest of her life in repentance and prayer.
St Jonah, Metropolitan of Moscow (1461)
He became a monk at the age of twelve and lived in the Simonov Monastery near Moscow. He later became Bishop of Ryazan, then was chosen as Metropolitan of Moscow (at this time the Russian Church was still under the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and the Metropolitanate of Moscow was its highest office). But through some political intrigue, a man named Isidore became Metropolitan instead. It was this Isidore who attended the Council of Florence and voted for the infamous Union with Rome perpetrated there. When he returned to Moscow three years later he was condemned as an apostate and exiled. Bishop Jonah at last became Metropolitan in his place. In his lifetime he was widely known as a healer, wonder-worker, seer and spiritual father. In his last years he prayed to suffer greatly through some illness, so as to be purified by his sufferings. In answer to this prayer, he was given wounds in his feet, of which he died. His relics continued to perform many wonders. The Prologue recounts, “A dumb man, John, was brought to the saint’s relics. John kissed Jonah’s hand and, as he related afterwards, the hand grabbed hold of his tongue and he felt a sharp pain. When it let his tongue go, he went back to his friends — and spoke as if he had never been dumb.”