Orthodox Calendar

March 18, 2023
Third Saturday of Lent

Lenten Fast — Wine and Oil are Allowed

Feasts

  • Memorial Saturday

Commemorations

  • Martyr Conon of Isauria
  • St Mark of Athens (4th c.)
  • St Mark the Ascetic (5th c.)

Scripture Readings (KJV)

Hebrews 10.32-38 (Epistle)

32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; 33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. 34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. 35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. 36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. 38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

1 Thessalonians 4.13-17 (Epistle, Departed)

13 But 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. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For 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. 16 For 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: 17 Then 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.

Mark 2.14-17 (Gospel)

14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphæus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him. 15 And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. 16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? 17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

John 5.24-30 (Gospel, Departed)

24 Verily, 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. 25 Verily, 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. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. 30 I 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.

Commemorations (abbamoses.com)

Martyr Conon of Isauria (2nd c.)

The holy Martyr Conon lived in the days of the holy Apostles; he was born in the village of Bydane of Isauria in Asia Minor, to parents named Nestor and Nada. He was instructed in the Faith and baptised into Christ by the Archangel Michael himself, who, it is said, accompanied him for the rest of his life. His parents joined him in marriage to a pagan maiden named Anna; but on their wedding night he took a candle, put it under a vessel, and asked her ‘Which is better, light or darkness?’ She answered ‘Light,’ and he told her of the Christian faith and the joys of the spiritual life. She accepted Christ, and the two agreed to live in virginity. Conon went on to bring many pagans to Christ, including his own parents. His wife and both parents died after a few years (Nestor as a Martyr) and he gave himself up entirely to prayer, fasting, and contemplation on God. He was known as a wonder-worker, and even evil spirits were compelled to serve him.

During one of the persecutions, Magnus the governor of Isauria imprisoned Conon and had him tortured, beaten and stabbed with knives. Believers obtained some of his blood, and the sick who were anointed with it became well. A large crowd of Christians whom Conon had brought to Faith surrounded the governor’s palace demanding Conon’s release, and the frightened governor let him go. He lived for two more years in his own home, then reposed in peace.

St Mark of Athens (4th c.)

He was born in Athens of pagan parents, but believed and was baptized, and, forsaking everything, lived as a hermit in the desert beyond Egypt. He did not see another human being for ninety-five years, and we would know nothing of his life had not the monk Serapion come upon him. Mark was about to depart this life, and lived only long enough to tell Serapion his story. Serapion then gave him burial.

St Mark the Ascetic (5th c.)

St Mark was a disciple of St John Chrysostom, tonsured a monk at the age of forty by St John himself. He then withdrew to the Nitrian desert and lived for sixty years as a hermit, devoting himself to fasting, prayer, and writing spiritual discourses.

Saint Mark knew all the Holy Scriptures by heart. His compassion was so great that he wept at the distress of any of God’s creatures: once he wept for the blind pup of a hyena, and the pup received its sight. Though he lived alone in the desert, it is said that he received Communion from an angel.

The holy and scholarly Patriarch Photios held his writings in the highest esteem, and at one time there was a saying, ‘sell all that you have, and buy Mark.’ Some of these beautiful and profound writings may be read in English in the first volume of the Philokalia.