Scripture Readings (KJV)
Composite 1 - Genesis 17.1-2, 4, 5-7, 8, 9-10, 11-12, 14 (Vespers)
1The Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am your God. Be well pleasing before me and be blameless. I will establish my covenant between me and you, and I will multiply you greatly; and you will be the father of a multitude of nations. And your name will not be Abram, but your name will be Abraham, because I have established you as father of many nations. And I will increase you very greatly, and I will establish you for nations, and kings will come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and between your seed after you for their generations as an eternal covenant, and I will be their God.’ And Abraham fell on his face and worshipped the Lord. And God said to Abraham, ‘You are to keep my covenant, you and your seed after you to their generations. And this is the covenant which you are to keep between me and between your seed after you to their generations. Every male among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the foreskin of your flesh, and it shall be for a sign of the covenant between me and you. And every male child among you shall be circumcised at eight days for your generations. And an uncircumcised male that is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin on the eighth day, that soul shall be wiped out from its race; because it has rejected my covenant.’
Proverbs 8.22-30 (Vespers)
22The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
23I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
24When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
25Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:
26While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
27When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
28When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
29When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
30Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;
Proverbs 10.31-11.12 (Vespers)
31The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out.
32The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.
1A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.
2When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.
3The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.
4Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.
5The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.
6The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.
7When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.
8The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead.
9An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.
10When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth: and when the wicked perish, there is shouting.
11By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.
12He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.
9I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
10The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
11I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
12But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
13The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
14I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
15As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
2 Timothy 4.5-8
(Epistle, Sunday before Theophany)
5But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
6For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
8Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
8Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
9For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
10And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
11In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
12Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
(Epistle, St Basil)
26For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
27Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
28For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
1Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;
2A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
(Gospel, Sunday before Theophany)
1The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
2As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
3The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
4John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
5And there went out unto him all the land of Judæa, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.
6And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;
7And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.
8I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
Luke 2.20-21, 40-52
20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
21And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
40And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
41Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.
42And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.
43And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.
44But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.
45And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.
46And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
47And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
48And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
49And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?
50And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
51And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.
52And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
(Gospel, St Basil)
17And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judæa and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;
18And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed.
19And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.
20And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
21Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
22Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.
23Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.
The Circumcision of Our Lord Jesus Christ
In keeping with the Law of Moses, the Savior’s parents had Him circumcised eight days after His birth (see Luke ch. 2). On this day, following Jewish custom, he received the name Jesus (Yeshua, a form of Joshua), meaning “God saves.” Thus, on this day, the Covenant of Moses was fulfilled and brought to an end, and the Salvation of God’s people was proclaimed to the world.
Our Father among the Saints Basil the Great (379).
In its services, the Church calls St Basil a “bee of the Church of Christ”: bringing the honey of divinely-inspired wisdom to the faithful, stinging the uprisings of heresy. He was born in Cappadocia to a wealthy and prominent family. Their worldly wealth, however, is as nothing compared to the wealth of Saints that they have given to the Church: his parents St Basil the Elder and St Emmelia; his sister St Macrina (July 19), the spiritual head of the family; and his brothers St Gregory of Nyssa (January 10), and St Peter, future bishop of Sebaste (January 9).
Inspired and tutored by his father, a renowned professor of rhetoric, the brilliant Basil set out to master the secular learning and arts of his day, traveling to Athens, where he studied alongside his life-long friend St Gregory of Nazianzus. When he returned from his studies in 356, he found that his mother and his sister Macrina had turned the family home into a convent, and that his brothers had also taken up the monastic life nearby. Puffed up by his secular accomplishments, he at first resisted his sister’s pleas to take up a life devoted to God, but at last, through her prayers and admonition, entered upon the ascetical life.
After traveling among the monks of Egypt, Palestine and Syria, he settled in Cappadocia as a hermit, living in utter poverty and writing his ascetical homilies. A monastic community steadily gathered around him, and for its good order St Basil wrote his Rule, which is regarded as the charter of monasticism. (St Benedict in the West was familiar with this Rule, and his own is modeled on it.)
In about 370 he was consecrated Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia. Even as bishop, he continued to live without any possessions save a worn garment to cover himself. At this time the Arian heresy was rending the Church, and it became St Basil’s lot to defend Orthodoxy in Sermons and writings, a task which he fulfilled with such erudition and wisdom that he is called “Basil the Great.” He reposed in peace in 379, at the age of forty-nine.
St Gregory, Bishop of Nazianzus (374), father of St Gregory the Theologian
He converted to Christianity from paganism as an adult through the influence of his pious wife St Nonna (Aug. 5). He was made Bishop of Nazianzus in Cappadocia in 329, and served faithfully for forty-five years, defending his flock against the inroads of Arianism and the persecutions of Julian the Apostate. Late in life, he ordained his son Gregory, later known as St Gregory the Theologian (Jan. 25) to assist him. He reposed in peace, aged almost 100.
St Emilia (375), mother of Sts Macrina, Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa, Peter of Sebaste, and Theosevia
Her main commemoration is on May 8.