Orthodox Calendar

Jan. 3, 2024
Wednesday of the 31st week after Pentecost

Nativity Fast

Commemorations

  • Virgin Martyr Juliana and Companions
  • Our Holy Father Peter, Metropolitan of Moscow (1326)
  • Saint Procopius of Vyatka, Fool for Christ (1627)

Scripture Readings (KJV)

James 1.1-18 (Epistle)

1James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

2My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 5If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. 9Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: 10But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. 11For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. 12Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. 13Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Mark 10.11-16 (Gospel)

11And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

13And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. 14But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 15Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. 16And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

Commemorations (abbamoses.com)

Holy Martyr Juliana of Nicomedia and those with her (304)

She was the daughter of a prominent family in Nicomedia during the reign of the persecutor Maximian (286-305). Her parents betrothed her to a nobleman named Eleusius, but without his knowledge, or that of her parents, she had already committed her life to Christ, and consecrated her virginity to him. To put off her suitor, she told him that she would not marry him until he became Prefect. Eleusius went to work using his fortune to bribe and influence those in power, and succeeded in being appointed Prefect of Nicomedia. When he went to Juliana to claim her as his wife, she was forced to confess herself a Christian, saying that she would never marry him unless he gave up the worship of idols and embraced the faith of Christ. For her confession, she was arrested and taken before the Prefect: Eleusius, her once-ardent suitor. He was now filled with an ardent rage toward her and, when she would not renounce her faith, had her subjected to the most sadistic tortures imaginable. Miraculously, she endured these without harm. Witnessing this wonder, 500 men and 130 women from among the pagans confessed Christ. The enraged Prefect had all of them beheaded immediately, followed by Juliana herself. She was eighteen years old when she won the Martyr’s crown.

Our Holy Father Peter, Metropolitan of Moscow (1326)

“Saint Peter was born in Volhynia in 1260 and entered a monastery there at the age of thirteen. Making the Ladder of Saint John Climacus his guide in the monastic life, his obedience, meekness and willingness to undertake tasks that were repugnant to his brethren made him beloved of them all. He also painted icons and was the originator of the Muscovite style of Russian iconography. After some years, he left for the small Monastery of the Transfiguration in order to find the quiet favourable to prayer. Saint Maximus, the metropolitan of Kiev (6 Dec.) visited this monastery and was greatly edified by the virtues of Peter, whom he decided should be his successor as head of the Russian Church. He was confirmed in this resolve by an apparition of the Mother of God, and he made the request to the Patriarch of Constantinople on whom the Russian Church depended. In 1325 therefore Saint Peter was consecrated Metropolitan of Kiev, of which the see had been transferred to Vladimir by Saint Maximus, after the sack of Kiev by the Tatars. Peter’s election was confirmed by a Council, but he immediately encountered opposition from the Russian princes, who were vying with one another for influence over the leader of the Church. Peter’s meekness and charity towards his enemies won him their respect; but although conciliatory in all that concerned himself personally, he was nonetheless strict as regards the faith and moral uprightness. He energetically opposed intense Muslim propaganda, and travelled throughout Russia to confirm the faith. He did not hesitate to risk his life for the sake of making peace among the princes and, foreseeing that Russia would reunite around the principality of Moscow, he transferred his Metropolitanate see to that city and began the construction of the renowned Cathedral of the Dormition in the Kremlin. He gave up his soul to God while at prayer on 21 December 1326, and many miracles of healing were wrought at his tomb.” (Synaxarion)

Saint Procopius of Vyatka, Fool for Christ (1627)

“Saint Procopius, the son of devout peasants, first feigned madness to escape a marriage that was being urged on him. He spent his life in the streets half-naked, slept wherever night overtook him and would never accept the shelter of a house. He used signs to make himself understood and never spoke a word, except to his spiritual father, with whom he would converse normally as a man in possession of all his faculties. When he was given an article of clothing, he wore it for a while out of obedience and then give it away to someone poor. When he visited the sick, he set fire to the beds of those who were going to get better, and rolled up in their sheets those who were going to die. He made many predictions, often by means of disconcerting prophetic signs, whose meaning became clear with the event. He spent thirty years in foolishness for Christ and, having foretold his death, fell asleep in peace in 1627.” (Synaxarion)