Scripture Readings (KJV)
13Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.
14And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
15And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.
16Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.
17And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.
18Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.
19And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?
20To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
21And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward.
22And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness.
1Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.
2The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
3Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
4For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.
5For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.
6For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
7Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Genesis 6.9-22 (Vespers)
9These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
10And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
11The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
12And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
13And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
14Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.
15And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.
16A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.
17And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.
18But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.
19And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.
20Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.
21And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.
22Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.
Proverbs 8.1-21 (Vespers)
1Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?
2She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.
3She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.
4Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man.
5O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.
6Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.
7For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
8All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.
9They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.
10Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.
11For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.
12I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.
13The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
14Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.
15By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.
16By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.
17I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.
18Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.
19My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.
20I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment:
21That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.
Blessed Nicholas of Pskov, fool for Christ (1576)
“A rare fearlessness is a characteristic of fools for Christ. Blessed Nicholas ran through the streets of Pskov, pretending madness, rebuking people for their secret sins and foretelling what would happen to them. When Tsar Ivan the Terrible entered Pskov, the whole town was in fear and dread of the terrible Tsar… The Tsar, learning about this blessed man, who and what he was, visited him in his tiny room. [Ivan was a great lover of external piety.] It was the first week of the Great Fast. Hearing that the Tsar was coming to visit him, Nicholas found a piece of raw meat and, when the Tsar entered his cell, Nicholas bowed and offered the meat to the Tsar. ‘Eat, little Ivan, eat!’ The terrible Tsar answered him furiously: ‘I am a Christian, and do not eat meat in the Fast.’ Then the man of God retorted, ‘You do that and worse; you feed on men’s flesh and blood, forgetting not only the Fast but God as well.’ This lecture entered deeply into the heart of Tsar Ivan, and he immediately left Pskov in shame, having intended to wreak great slaughter there.” (Prologue)
Holy New Martyr Kyranna (1751)
This pious and beautiful maiden lived in a village near Thessalonica. One day a Janissary, come to collect taxes, laid eyes on her and was struck by lust. When she refused his advances, the wicked official brought her before the judge in Thessalonica and, using other soldiers as false witnesses, said that she had agreed to marry him and to convert to Islam. To all these claims Kyranna replied, ‘I am a Christian, and I have no bridegroom but Christ, to whom I have offered my maidenhood as a dowry. Him I love and for Him I am ready to shed my blood! That is my answer; expect no other from me.’ Having said this, she ‘enclosed herself in silence’ (Synaxarion) and would testify no more. She was cast into prison, where she was tormented and finally beaten to death by her jailer. When she died, a divine Light surrounded her and illumined the entire prison. When news of the miracle spread, the shamed Turkish officials handed over her body to Christians, who laid it to rest outside the city.