Scripture Readings (KJV)
18Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.
19And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
20And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!
21Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
22And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
23And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?
24And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.
25The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?
26But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.
27And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
28But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.
29He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.
30And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
31Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
32For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.
33Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:
34And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
35And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
36Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.
37But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
38But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
39And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
40When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
41They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
42Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
43Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
1Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.
2In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity,
3The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him.
4And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.
5Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.
6And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.
7And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass.
8And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings.
9Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward.
10As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.
11Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies.
12And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went.
13As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning.
14And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.
15Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces.
16The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.
17When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went.
18As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four.
19And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up.
20Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.
Exodus 1.1-20 (Vespers)
1Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob.
2Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah,
3Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin,
4Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.
5And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already.
6And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation.
7And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.
8Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.
9And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we:
10Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.
11Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.
12But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.
13And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour:
14And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.
15And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah:
16And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.
17But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.
18And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive?
19And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them.
20Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.
Job 1.1-12 (Vespers)
1There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
2And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.
3His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.
4And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.
5And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.
6Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
7And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
8And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
9Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
10Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
11But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
12And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
3And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
4And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
6And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
10And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
11And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
13But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
15When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
23Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
24For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
25Behold, I have told you before.
26Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
27For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
28For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
29Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
32Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
33So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
34Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
35Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
Martyrs Terence, Africanus, Maximus, Pompeius and 36 with them, beheaded at Carthage (250)
These African Christians suffered during the persecution of the Church by the emperor Decius, during which a great many Christians denied the faith rather than suffer. These faithful few boldly upheld the Faith and, after many torments, were condemned to death by beheading. The went to their execution singing psalms and hymns of thanksgiving, and received the crown of martyrdom in 250.
In the early centuries of the Church, North Africa, especially the region of Carthage, was one of the centers of the Christian Faith, comparable to Asia Minor.
Six Thousand Holy Martyrs in Georgia (1615)
“In the wilderness of David-Garejeli in Georgia there were twelve monasteries, in which monks had lived the ascetic life for centuries. In 1615, Shah Abbas I invaded Georgia, laid it waste and slew innumerable Christians. One day, while out hunting at dawn on Easter Day intself, he saw the light of many candles shining in the hills. This was the monks of all twelve monasteries in procession all round the Church of the Resurrection, walking with candles in their hands. When the Shah discovered that it was monks, he asked in disbelief: ‘Isn’t the whole of Georgia put to the sword by now?’, and ordered his generals to go and slaughter the monks at once. An angel of God appeared to Abbot Arsenius, and revealed their imminent death to him, and Arsenius informed the brethren. They then all received Communion in the Holy Mysteries and prepared for death. Then the attackers arrived, hacked the abbot to pieces when he came out ahead of the others, and then killed all the rest. They all suffered with honour and were crowned with unfading wreaths in 1615. Thus ended the history of these famous monasteries, which had been like a flame of spiritual enlightenment in Georgia for more than 1,000 years. There remain just two today: St David and St John the Baptist. The King of Georgia, Archil, gathered the remains of all the martyrs and buried them. Their relics are to this day full of myrrh for the healing of those in sickness.” (Prologue)
New Hieromartyr Gregory, Patriarch of Constantinople (1821)
He was born on the Peloponnese, and became Archbishop of Smyrna in 1785. He served at a time when revolutionary feeling and activity was increasing among the Greek people, and witnessed the cruel retribution that the Ottoman Turks visited on any evidence of rebellion among their subject people.
Once in Smyrna, seeing that an action he had taken was causing discord in his dioceses, he came down from the hierarchical throne during a service, prostrated himself before the faithful and asked their forgiveness.
He was elected Patriarch of Constantinople in 1797. Under the Turkokratia, the Patriarch was not only the head of the Greek churches but the secular ruler of the Greek people, bound by oath to respect the authority of the Sultan. This, combined with Gregory’s personal experience of the treatment of Greek rebels, made him a staunch opponent of revolutionary activity among his people. Still, when revolutionaries on the Peloponnese declared Greek independence from Turkey on March 25, 1821, Turkish retribution was harsh: On Pascha, April 10, after serving the Paschal Liturgy, the aged Patriarch was arrested by the Turkish authorities. He was tortured in an effort to have him reveal the names of those heading the revolution, then was offered his freedom if he would convert to Islam. Gregory answered, ‘You ask in vain: the Patriarch of Christians dies a Christian.’ He (along with other clergy and hierarchs) was hanged as a traitor on the gate of the patriarchal compound. An eyewitness, a British clergyman visiting Constantinople, wrote: ‘His body, attenuated by abstinence and emaciated by age, had not sufficient weight to cause immediate death. He continued for a long time in pain which no friendly hand dared abridge, and the darkness of night came on before his final convulsions were over.’ His body was left hanging for three days, then sold by the Turkish authorities to a Jewish mob, who mutilated the body, then weighted it about the neck with a stone and threw it into the sea. Despite this, the body was found floating at sea by a Greek merchant ship captain. When the body was identified as that of the martyred Patriarch, it was secretly taken to Odessa, where Orthodox church leaders took it under their care. Tsar Alexander I ordered a state funeral for the holy hierarch, which was celebrated on June 17 1821 in Odessa.
In 1871 the relics were returned to Greece by Tsar Alexander III. They were incorrupt, though fifty years had passed since his death. Saint Gregory was officially glorified in 1921. His relics may be venerated at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Athens.