Scripture Readings (KJV)
Composite 2 - Proverbs 10, 3, 8 (Vespers)
1The memory of a just man is praised, and the Lord’s blessing is upon his head. Blessed is one who has found wisdom; a mortal who knows understanding. To import her is better than treasures of gold and silver. She is more valuable than precious stones; nothing of value equals her worth. Justice proceeds from her mouth; she bears law and mercy on her tongue. Therefore, my children, listen to me, for I speak weighty things. And blessed is the one who keeps my ways. For my goings out are the goings out of life, and favour is prepared from the Lord. Therefore I exhort you, and utter my voice to the children of humankind. Because I, Wisdom, have prepared counsel, knowledge and understanding. I have called on them. Counsel and sureness are mine; prudence is mine, strength is mine. I love those who are my friends, while those who seek me will find grace. You innocent, then, understand cunning; you untaught, take it to heart. Listen to me, for I will speak weighty things, and I will open right things from my lips. Because my throat will meditate truth; lying lips are abominable before me. All the words of my mouth are with justice, there is nothing crooked in them nor twisted. They are all straight for those who understand, and right for those who find knowledge. For I teach you what is true, that your hope may be in the Lord and that you may be filled with spirit.
Composite 4 - Proverbs 10; Wisdom of Solomon 6, 7, 8, 9 (Vespers)
1The mouth of a just man distils wisdom; the lips of men know graces. The mouth of the wise meditates wisdom; justice delivers them from death. When a just man dies hope is not lost; for a just son is born for life, and among his good things he will pluck the fruit of justice. There is light at all times for the just, and they will find grace and glory from the Lord. The tongue of the wise knows what is good, and wisdom will take its rest in their hearts. The Lord loves holy hearts; while all who are blameless in the way are acceptable to him. The wisdom of the Lord will enlighten the face of the understanding; for she anticipates those who desire her before they know it, and is easily contemplated by those who love her. One who rises for her at dawn will not toil, and one who keeps vigil because of her will be without care. For she goes about seeking those who are worthy of her, and shows herself favourably to those on her paths. Wickedness will never prevail against wisdom. Because of this I too became a lover of her beauty and became her friend, and I sought her out from my youth, and I sought to take her as my bride, because the Master of all things loved her, for she is an initiate of the knowledge of God and one who chooses his works. Her toils are virtues; she herself teaches sobriety and prudence; justice and courage, than which things nothing is more useful in human life. If anyone longs for much experience, she knows how to compare things of old and those that are to come. She knows the twists of words and the explanations of riddles. She foresees signs and wonders and the outcomes of seasons and times. And to all she is a good counsellor. Because immortality is in her, and fame in the fellowship of her words. Therefore I appealed to the Lord and besought him and said from my whole heart, ‘God of my Fathers and Lord of mercy, who made all things by your Word, and established humanity by your Wisdom to be sovereign over the creatures that had come into being by you, and to order the world in holiness and justice, give me Wisdom who sits by your throne, and do not reject me from among your children, for I am your servant and the son of your maid servant. Send her out from your holy dwelling and from the throne of your glory, that she may be present with me and teach me what is well pleasing before you. And she will guide me with knowledge and guard me with her glory. For all the thoughts of mortals are wretched and their ideas are unstable.’
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.
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.
1 Corinthians 10.23-28 (Epistle)
23All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.
24Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.
25Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake:
26For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof.
27If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.
28But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof:
1 Thessalonians 4.13-17
13But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
(Epistle, St Theodosius)
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 21.8-9, 25-27, 33-36 (Gospel)
8And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.
9But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.
25And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
27And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
33Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
34And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
35For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
36Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
24Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
25Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
26For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
27And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
28Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
30I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
(Gospel, St Theodosius)
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.
Holy Martyr Agatha of Palermo in Sicily (251)
She is one of the best loved and most venerated Martyrs of the West. She was born to a noble family in Catania or Palermo in Sicily. At an early age she consecrated herself to the Lord and, though very beautiful, sought only to adorn herself with the virtues. During the persecution under Decius (251), she was arrested as a Christian; at this time she was about fifteen years old. Quintinian, the Governor of Sicily, was taken by her beauty and offered to marry her, thinking in that way not only to possess her body but her riches as well. When she spurned his advances, and continued to mock the idols, he grew angry and decided to have her tortured. She was gruesomely tormented and cast bleeding into a dungeon to die; but in the night her Guardian Angel brought the Apostle Peter to her, and he healed her wounds. The following day, the Governor ordered that she be subjected to further torments, but at his words the city was shaken by an earthquake and part of the palace collapsed. The terrified people stormed the palace and demanded that Agatha be released, lest they be subject to the wrath of her God. The Saint was returned to her prison cell, where in response to her prayers she was allowed to give up her soul to God.
At Agatha’s burial, attended by many, her Guardian Angel appeared and placed a marble slab on her tomb, inscribed with the words ‘A righteous mind, self- determining, honor from God, the deliverance of her fatherland.’ Quintinian died soon thereafter, thrown from his chariot.
On the first anniversary of Agatha’s death, Mt Etna erupted and Catania was about to be engulfed in lava. Christians and pagans together, remembering the inscription on her tomb, took the slab from the tomb and bore it like a shield to the river of lava, which was immediately stopped. The same miracle has happened many times in the following centuries, and Saint Agatha is venerated as the Protectress of Catania and Sicily, loved and honored by Christians of the East and the West.
Our Holy Father Polyeuctus, Patriarch of Constantinople (970)
Born in Constantinople, he was made a eunuch in childhood by his parents, who hoped that he would go into the Byzantine civil service. But he became a monk, and so distinguished himself for his holiness and learning that in 956 he was made Patriarch of Constantinople by the Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitos. In his own day he was called ‘the Second Chrysostom’ for the power of his preaching and his zeal for the Orthodox faith.
In 957, St Polyeuctus baptized the Russian princess St Olga (July 11) in Constantinople; at her baptism, he spoke these prophetic words: ‘Blessed are you among all the women of Russia, for you have rejected darkness and desired the light. Moreover, the children of the Russian land will bless you in every generation.’ He fell asleep in peace in 970.
Holy New Martyr Antony of Athens (1774)
‘Saint Antony was the son of poor Christians from Athens. In order to help his parents, he entered the service of an Albanian Muslim at the age of twelve. In 1770, during the repression which followed the Greek rising in the Peloponnese, his masters sold him to some Turks, who tried in vain to convert him. He was then sold to a succession of five harsh, fanatical masters, but he remained unshaken in the Faith, and was bought at last by a Christian coppersmith in Constantinople. Having been warned one night in a dream that he would receive God’s help to obtain the glory of martyrdom, he was recognized next day in the street by one of his former masters, who began shouting to the passers-by that the young Christian was his runaway slave and an apostate from Islam. Antony was dragged to the court amid much commotion. He confessed that he was willing to die a thousand deaths for the love of Christ. “You would become a Christian more easily than you could make me deny my Christ,” he told the judge. Unable to persuade the Saint to feign conversion in order to save his life and under pressure from false witnesses, the judge reluctantly committed him to prison. Antony consoled the other Christian prisoners, gave away what little money he had to the poor, and wrote to thank his master for all his kindnesses and through him asked the forgiveness of all Christians and besought the prayers of the Church.
‘As the vizir delayed passing sentence, the Saint’s accusers made a complaint to the Sultan Abdul Hamid who, fearing a breach of the peace, ordered his immediate execution. The valiant sixteen-year-old went joyfully to the place of martyrdom. He offered his neck to the executioner, who struck him lightly three times to see if the pain would make him yield. Then, finding that he remained steady, he cut his throat like a slaughtered lamb.’ (Synaxarion)