Scripture Readings (KJV)
(9th Matins Gospel)
19Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
20And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
21Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
22And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
23Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
24But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
25The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
26And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
28And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
29Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
30And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
31But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
Hebrews 11.24-26, 32-12.2 (Epistle)
24By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;
25Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
26Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
32And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
33Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
34Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
40God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
John 1.43-51 (Gospel)
43The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.
44Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
45Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
46And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.
47Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!
48Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.
49Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.
50Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.
51And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
St Sophronios, patriarch of Jerusalem (638)
He was born in Damascus to an eminent family, and was well educated in his youth. Discontented with the wisdom of the world, he entered monastic life in the monastery of St Theodosius, where he became the lifelong friend and disciple of John Moschos. Together they visited the monasteries and hermitages of Egypt; they later wrote down their discoveries among the holy monks in the classic Spiritual Meadow. After the death of his teacher, St Sophronius traveled to Jerusalem, which had just been liberated from the Persians. He was there to see the Precious Cross returned from Persia by the Emperor Heraclius, who carried it into Jerusalem on his back. A few years later, in 634, St Sophronius was elected Patriarch of Jerusalem, where he served his flock wisely for three years and three months. He was zealous in the defense of Orthodoxy against the Monothelite heresy: He convoked a Council in Jerusalem which condemned it before it was condemned at the Sixth Ecumenical Council. The holy Patriarch even traveled to Constantinople to rebuke the Patriarch Sergius and Emperor Heraclius, who had embraced the Monothelite error.
The years of peace were few for the Holy Land; for just as the Persian Empire was decisively defeated by Heraclius, the followers of Islam erupted out of Arabia, conquering most of North Africa and the Middle East in a few years. The Saint was so grieved by the capture of Jerusalem in 637 by the Caliph Omar that begged God to take him, so that he might not live to see the desecration of the holy places. His prayer was granted, and he reposed in peace less than a year later.
St Sophronios is the author of the Life of Saint Mary of Egypt, appointed to be read in the churches during every Great Lent. He also wrote the service of the Great Blessing of the Waters. Some have attributed the Vesperal hymn “Gladsome Light” to him, but we know that it dates from before the time of St Basil the Great, who mentions it in his writings. It seems though, that St Sophronios supplemented the hymn, and that its present form is due to him.
St John Moschos, author of the Spiritual Meadow (622)
He is commemorated today along with his disciple and friend St Sophronius (see above).
Holy Martyr Pionius (250)
“A priest of Smyrna, he suffered there in the time of Decius’ persecution. They condemned him to be crucified, which was a great joy to him. And as soon as the soldiers assembled the cross and laid it on the ground, Pionius laid himself on it and stretched out his arms, calling to the soldiers to put the nails into his hands. The cross was inserted into the ground upside down, and a fire lit under the martyr’s head. There were many bystanders. Pionius closed his eyes and prayed to God within himself. The flames could not succeed in igniting even his hair, and when the fire had at last gone out and everyone thought that he was dead, Pionius opened his eyes and cried out joyfully: ‘O Lord, receive my spirit!’, and breathed his last. This saint wrote the life of St Polycarp of Smyrna, together with whom he now makes merry in the Kingdom of Christ. He suffered and was glorified in 250.” (Prologue)