Scripture Readings (KJV)
Hebrews 10.1-18 (Epistle)
1For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
2For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
3But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
4For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
5Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
6In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
7Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
8Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;
9Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
10By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
13From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
14For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
15Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,
16This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
17And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
18Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
Mark 8.30-34 (Gospel)
30And he charged them that they should tell no man of him.
31And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
32And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.
33But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.
34And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Holy Wonderworkers and Unmercenaries Cyrus and John, and those with them (311)
They are counted among the Unmercenary Physicians. Cyrus was a physician living in Alexandria. A pious Christian, he healed not only bodies but souls, bringing many to Christ, and often healing through prayer rather than the use of his medicines. He often said to his patients, ‘If you want to keep clear of illness, take care not to sin, because more often than not illness is a result of sin.’ When Diocletian’s persecution broke out, Cyrus was denounced to the pagan governor and fled to Arabia, where he became a monk. He gained great renown there by healing many ailments using only the sign of the Cross.
John was a soldier from Edessa who heard of Cyrus’ deeds and, leaving the army, sought him out. They met in Egypt, where John became a monk and Cyrus’ disciple, joining him in the practice of the virtues and in healing illnesses by prayer.
They heard of the arrest of a Christian lady named Athanasia and her daughters Theoctista and Eudoxia. Concerned that the tender maidens might renounce Christ under torture, the two monks sought them out to encourage them in their confession of the Faith. They themselves were captured, and the governor decided to have them tortured in front of the women, assuming that this would break their spirit. Instead, Cyrus and John bore their sufferings so patiently and boldly that the women were only strengthened in their resolve. Seeing that he had failed, the governor had all five of them beheaded. Their bodies were placed in the Church of St Mark in Alexandria.
In the fifth century the relics of Sts Cyrus and John were enshrined in a church at Aboukir near Alexandria by St Cyril (June 9). There they were the source of abundant healings and miracles, and the shrine became one of the greatest places of pilgrimage in the Christian world.
Venerable Nicetas, hermit of the Kiev Caves and Bishop of Novgorod (1108)
His is a remarkable story of spiritual delusion (prelest in Russian) and repentance of delusion. Nicetas was a young and zealous monk of the Lavra of the Kiev Caves who, against the advice of his abbot St Nikon (March 25), retired alone to a cave and walled himself in. Some time later, the young monk experienced a delightful scent filling his cave. Believing himself to be receiving a divine revelation, he cried out ‘Lord, show Thyself to me, that I might worship Thee face to face!’ A voice answered, ‘I am sending you an angel: do whatever he tells you.’ The Devil soon appeared to him as an ‘angel of light’ and Nicetas, completely taken in, prostrated before him. The Devil ordered him to stop praying and to devote all his time to reading and memorizing the Old Testament. Nicetas obeyed without question. After awhile, the Devil began to reveal to him things that were happening in the outside world, so that the young monk acquired a reputation for prophecy among visitors to his cave. When the Elders of the Caves realized that Nicetas never spoke to his visitors or anyone else of the New Testament, they decided that he was beguiled by the Devil. Breaking down the door of his cave, they drove out the deceiver by their prayers and forcibly took the young hermit back to the monastery.
As soon as the evil angel had been driven off, Nicetas became like a young child: he instantly forgot the entire Old Testament (which he had virtually memorized) and even lost the ability to read, so that he had to be sent to school again. Slowly he returned to himself, realized his former delusion and repented in tears. Thereafter he devoted himself to humility and obedience in the monastic community. Such was his repentance and progress in the virtues that he was later made Bishop of Novgorod. He reposed in peace in 1108 and became known for working many miracles, especially healing of blindness.
Marcella of Rome (410)
The daughter of a prominent Roman family, she was given in marriage despite her reluctance, but was widowed after less than a year. Following the example of the prophetess Anna, she dedicated her widowhood to God and turned her fine house in Rome into a monastery, living there in strict asceticism.
“When the Church was riven by controversies about the doctrines of Origen, Saint Marcella kept silent for a while but, deciding at length to take up the cause of Orthodoxy, and maintaining a sweet and gentle manner in the exchanges, she succeeded in confounding the arguments of the heretics.” (Ormylia Synaxarion)
When the Goths invaded and pillaged Rome in 410 they broke into her house. Marcella received them calmly, but when they demanded money she answered that no one as poorly clothed as she was could be expected to have any money. At this the invaders beat her mercilessly despite her great age. She bore their blows without complaint, asking only that they spare her spiritual daughter Principia. Struck to the heart by her response, the barbarians took her and her disciple to the Church of St Paul, where she reposed two days later.