Orthodox Calendar

Sept. 22, 2023
Friday of the 16th week after Pentecost



  • Righteous Joachim and Anna
  • Ven. Joseph of Volotsk
  • Holy Ancestors of God Joachim and Anna
  • Commemoration of the Third Ecumenical Council (431)
  • Holy Martyr Severian of Sebaste (320)
  • Our Holy Father Ciaran of Clonmacnoise (549)

Scripture Readings (KJV)

Ephesians 1.7-17 (Epistle)

7In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

15Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

Mark 8.1-10 (Gospel)

1In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, 2I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: 3And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far. 4And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness? 5And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven. 6And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. 7And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. 8So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets. 9And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.

10And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha.


Holy Ancestors of God Joachim and Anna

St Joachim was of the tribe of Judah and a descendant of King David. St Anna was of the tribe of Levi, the daughter of a priest named Matthan. Matthan’s three daughters were Mary, Zoia and Anna. Mary became the mother of Salome the Myrrhbearer; Zoia bore Elizabeth, mother of St John the Baptist; and Anna married Joachim in Nazareth. Joachim and Anna, to their great sorrow, were barren for fifty years. They lived prayerfully and kept only a third of their income for themselves, giving a third to the poor and a third to the Temple. Once when they had come to Jerusalem to offer sacrifice at the Temple, Joachim was publicly scorned by the High Priest Issachar for his childlessness. Joachim and Anna, greatly grieved, prayed fervently that God would grant them the miracle that he had wrought for Abraham and Sarah, and give them a child in their old age. Once, as each was praying separately in a secluded place, angels appeared to each of them and revealed to them that they would be given a blessed daughter, `by whom all nations will be blessed, and through whom will come the salvation of the world.’ They both rushed home to tell one another the joyous news, and embraced when they met. (This is the moment depicted in their icon.) Anna conceived and gave birth to the Most Holy Theotokos. Both reposed in peace, not long after they had sent her to live in the Temple.

Commemoration of the Third Ecumenical Council (431)

The Council, called by the Emperor Theodosius the Younger, met in Ephesus. The two hundred fathers gathered there condemned the teaching of Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople, who would not call the holy Virgin Mary Theotokos (God-bearer) but only Christotokos (Christ-bearer). The holy fathers of the Council clearly affirmed that the Virgin Mary is, and is to be called, Mother of God. They also confirmed the teaching of the first two Councils and decreed that the Nicene Creed may not be altered (as it later was by the Western church).

Holy Martyr Severian of Sebaste (320)

He was a prominent citizen of Sebaste during the reign of Licinius. When the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (March 9) were in prison, he encouraged and comforted them. For this, and for his Christian example which had converted many pagans in the region, the Provincial Governor Lysias ordered his arrest. But before the soldiers could find him, he presented himself before the Governor and openly proclaimed his faith. For this he was subjected to many days of horrible tortures, during which he constantly exhorted the believers who followed him to stand firm in their confession of Christ. After astonishing endurance of his torments, he gave up his spirit to God.

At the Saint’s burial, the husband of one of his servants was miraculously raised from the dead, living for another fifteen years. The Christians could not decide where to bury Severian, so they wove a crown of flowers and laid it on his body to await a sign from heaven. An eagle took up the crown and dropped it in a nearby forest. The Christians buried the Martyr where the crown fell; his tomb became a fount of miracles, and the man who had been raised from the dead tended it for the rest of his life.

Our Holy Father Ciaran of Clonmacnoise (549)

Born to the family of a cartwright in Ireland, he entered monastic life when he was very young at the Monastery of Clonard, where he became a disciple of St Finnian (December 12). He became one of the ‘Twelve Apostles of Ireland’, all of them disciples of St Finnian. Ciaran founded the great monastery of Clonmacnoise (pronounced clon-mac-neesh) on the Shannon River, which became one of Ireland’s great monasteries. Once, during a great famine, He distributed all of the monastery’s food to the people, entrusting his monks’ survival, and his own, to providence. Saint Ciaran reposed in peace, aged only thirty-three, in 549.