Scripture Readings (KJV)
Wisdom of Solomon 5.15-6.3 (Vespers)
15But the righteous live for evermore; their reward also is with the Lord, and the care of them is with the most High.
16Therefore shall they receive a glorious kingdom, and a beautiful crown from the Lord’s hand: for with his right hand shall he cover them, and with his arm shall he protect them.
17He shall take to him his jealousy for complete armour, and make the creature his weapon for the revenge of his enemies.
18He shall put on righteousness as a breastplate, and true judgment instead of an helmet.
19He shall take holiness for an invincible shield.
20His severe wrath shall he sharpen for a sword, and the world shall fight with him against the unwise.
21Then shall the right aiming thunderbolts go abroad; and from the clouds, as from a well drawn bow, shall they fly to the mark.
22And hailstones full of wrath shall be cast as out of a stone bow, and the water of the sea shall rage against them, and the floods shall cruelly drown them.
23Yea, a mighty wind shall stand up against them, and like a storm shall blow them away: thus iniquity shall lay waste the whole earth, and ill dealing shall overthrow the thrones of the mighty.
1Hear therefore, O ye kings, and understand; learn, ye that be judges of the ends of the earth.
2Give ear, ye that rule the people, and glory in the multitude of nations.
3For power is given you of the Lord, and sovereignty from the Highest, who shall try your works, and search out your counsels.
Wisdom of Solomon 3.1-9 (Vespers)
1But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and there shall no torment touch them.
2In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and their departure is taken for misery,
3And their going from us to be utter destruction: but they are in peace.
4For though they be punished in the sight of men, yet is their hope full of immortality.
5And having been a little chastised, they shall be greatly rewarded: for God proved them, and found them worthy for himself.
6As gold in the furnace hath he tried them, and received them as a burnt offering.
7And in the time of their visitation they shall shine, and run to and fro like sparks among the stubble.
8They shall judge the nations, and have dominion over the people, and their Lord shall reign for ever.
9They that put their trust in him shall understand the truth: and such as be faithful in love shall abide with him: for grace and mercy is to his saints, and he hath care for his elect.
Wisdom of Solomon 4.7-15 (Vespers)
7But though the righteous be prevented with death, yet shall he be in rest.
8For honourable age is not that which standeth in length of time, nor that is measured by number of years.
9But wisdom is the gray hair unto men, and an unspotted life is old age.
10He pleased God, and was beloved of him: so that living among sinners he was translated.
11Yea speedily was he taken away, lest that wickedness should alter his understanding, or deceit beguile his soul.
12For the bewitching of naughtiness doth obscure things that are honest; and the wandering of concupiscence doth undermine the simple mind.
13He, being made perfect in a short time, fulfilled a long time:
14For his soul pleased the Lord: therefore hasted he to take him away from among the wicked.
15This the people saw, and understood it not, neither laid they up this in their minds, That his grace and mercy is with his saints, and that he hath respect unto his chosen.
27All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
28Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
2 Timothy 4.9-22 (Epistle)
9Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me:
10For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
11Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
12And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus.
13The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
14Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:
15Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.
16At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
17Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
18And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
19Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.
20Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.
21Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren.
22The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.
(Epistle, St Anthony)
17Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
18Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.
19But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.
20Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
21Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Luke 20.1-8 (Gospel)
1And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders,
2And spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority?
3And he answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer me:
4The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?
5And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not?
6But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet.
7And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was.
8And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
(Gospel, St Anthony)
17And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judæa and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;
18And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed.
19And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.
20And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
21Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
22Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.
23Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.
Our Holy Godbearing Father Anthony the Great (356).
‘Saint Anthony, the Father of monks, was born in Egypt in 251 of pious parents who departed this life while he was yet young. On hearing the words of the Gospel: “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell what thou hast, and give to the poor” (Matt. 19:21), he immediately put it into action. Distributing to the poor all he had, and fleeing from all the turmoil of the world, he departed to the desert. The manifold temptations he endured continually for the space of twenty years are incredible. His ascetical struggles by day and by night, whereby he mortified the uprisings of the passions and attained to the height of dispassion, surpass the bounds of nature; and the report of his deeds of virtue drew such a multitude to follow him, that the desert was transformed into a city, while he became, so to speak, the governor, lawgiver, and master-trainer of all the citizens of this newly-formed city. But the cities of the world also enjoyed the fruit of his virtue. When the Christians were being persecuted and put to death under Maximinus in 312, he hastened to their aid and consolation. When the Church was troubled by the Arians, he went with zeal to Alexandria in 335 and struggled against them in behalf of Orthodoxy. During this time, by the grace of his words, he also turned many unbelievers to Christ.
‘He began his ascetical life outside his village of Coma in Upper Egypt, studying the ways of the ascetics and holy men there, and perfecting himself in the virtues of each until he surpassed them all. Desiring to increase his labours, he departed into the desert, and finding an abandoned fortress in the mountain, he made his dwelling in it, training himself in extreme fasting, unceasing prayer, and fierce conflicts with the demons. Here he remained, as mentioned above, about twenty years. Saint Athanasius the Great, who knew him personally and wrote his life, says that he came forth from the fortress “initiated in the mysteries and filled with the Spirit of God.” Afterwards, because of the press of the faithful, who deprived him of his solitude, he was enlightened by God to journey with certain Bedouins, until he came to a mountain in the desert near the Red Sea, where he passed the remaining part of his life. Saint Athanasius says of him that “his countenance had a great and wonderful grace. This gift also he had from the Saviour. For if he were present in a great company of monks, and any one who did not know him previously wished to see him, immediately coming forward he passed by the rest, and hurried to Anthony, as though attracted by his appearance. Yet neither in height nor breadth was he conspicuous above others, but in the serenity of his manner and the purity of his soul.”
‘So passing his life, and becoming an example of virtue and a rule for monastics, he reposed on January 17 in the year 356, having lived together some 105 years.’ (Great Horologion)
Speaking of the demonic temptations and struggles with the passions that beset those who seek their salvation, St Anthony said: “All these trials are to your advantage. Do away with temptation and no one will be saved.”
Pious Emperor Theodosius the Great (395)
He was born in Spain, became a general in the Imperial Army, and was crowned Emperor of the East in 379. He quickly made his Orthodoxy clear by decisively rejecting Arianism, which had divided Christians, troubled the Church, and confused previous emperors, for many years. He summoned the Second Ecumenical Council at Constantinople in 381, which reaffirmed the doctrine of Nicaea and proclaimed the divinity of the Holy Spirit. While Constantine had outlawed the persecution of Christians and made Christianity the religion of the state, Theodosius outlawed the worship of idols within the Empire.
Theodosius was several times guilty of anger and bloodshed during his reign, but, when corrected, always expressed sincere repentance and submitted himself to the authority and discipline of the Church. He endured a long excommunication and penance from Ambrose, bishop of Milan (December 7), for a massacre perpetrated at his order. Once he was about to enact bloody punishment of the people of Antioch for a rebellion, but relented when St Placilla (September 14) and Patriarch Flavian enjoined him to be merciful. In this, he showed a humility and submission to the Church almost unknown in Christian rulers before or since.
Having reigned for sixteen years, the Emperor Theodosius reposed in peace in 395 at the age of sixty.
Our Holy Father Makarios (Kalogeras) of Patmos (1737)
He was born to a prosperous family on the island of Patmos. As soon as he was old enough to leave home, he attended the Patriarchal School in Constantinople, where he distinguished himself. He became a monk, then a deacon, but always refused to be ordained to the priesthood, though the Metropolitan of Nikomedia wished Makarios to be his successor. Instead, he returned to Patmos in 1713 and entered the Monastery of St John the Theologian, where he remained until his death.
Though he lived in great asceticism and constant prayer, Saint Makarios was moved by a concern for the salvation and education of the Orthodox people, who often lived in great ignorance, even of their own faith, under Ottoman rule. He established a school in a building adjacent to the monastery, and offered courses free of charge to any who could come. Modeling the curriculum on that of the Patriarchal School, he served more as a spiritual father than a worldly professor. The school grew steadily, partly due to generous contributions from a few wealthy Greek families and trade guilds in Constantinople. But students, many of them very poor, still had to pay for their own needs, and Saint Makarios used his own funds to aid the poorest of them. In addition, he secretly distributed any money that came to him personally to the poor on Patmos. The school at Patmos became famous throughout the Greek Church, and its head became a spiritual father not only to his students but througout the Greek nation. Bishops often asked him to write homilies; about sixty of these were published in book form as The Trumpet of the Gospel, which is still widely read today by the faithful. Having greatly edified thousands while laboring tirelessly for the salvation of his soul, Saint Makarios reposed in peace in 1737.