Agathopodes was a deacon and Theodulus was a reader in the church at Thessalonica. Agathopodes was adorned with the grey hairs of old age and Theodulus with youthful chastity. At the time of Diocletian’s pursuit of Christians these two were summoned to court. They responded with rejoicing, and, holding each other’s hand, they walked along crying out: “We are Christians!” All the advice of the judges that they deny Christ and worship idols was in vain. After extended imprisonment and starvation, they were sentenced to death by drowning in the sea. Their hands were bound behind their backs, a heavy stone was hung around their necks, and they were led out to be drowned. When they prepared to hurt Agathopodes into the deep, he cried out: “Behold, by this second baptism we are washed of all of our sins, and in purity we depart to Christ Jesus.” Shortly afterward, the sea cast their drowned bodies upon the shore, and Christians buried their bodies with honor. St. Theodulus appeared to his acquaintances as a bright angel in radiant attire and ordered them to distribute all of his remaining estate to the poor. These glorious and wonderful soldiers of Christ suffered honorably in the year 303.
O Lord our God, your holy martyrs have deserved the crown of immortality on account of their good fight. Armed with your strength, they have vanquished their persecutors and crushed Satan’s dreadful might. Through their supplications, O Christ our God, save our souls.
Brothers to each other by the spirit and united together in a bond of faith, you passed through life in prayer and fasting and attracted many people to knowledge of the holy. By your bravery you imprisoned guile, and, suffering under the law, you received crowns. O truly great saints, beg God to forgive the sins of those who honor your sacred memory.
Genesis 31: 3-16
Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your ancestors and to your kindred, and I will be with you.” So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah into the field where his flock was, and said to them, “I see that your father does not regard me as favorably as he did before. But the God of my father has been with me. You know that I have served your father with all my strength; yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not permit him to harm me. If he said, ‘The speckled shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore speckled; and if he said, ‘The striped shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore striped. Thus God has taken away the livestock of your father, and given them to me.
“During the mating of the flock I once had a dream in which I looked up and saw that the male goats that leaped upon the flock were striped, speckled, and mottled. Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Here I am!’ And he said, ‘Look up and see that all the goats that leap on the flock are striped, speckled, and mottled; for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and return to the land of your birth.’” Then Rachel and Leah answered him, “Is there any portion or inheritance left to us in our father’s house? Are we not regarded by him as foreigners? For he has sold us, and he has been using up the money given for us. All the property that God has taken away from our father belongs to us and to our children; now then, do whatever God has said to you.”
Proverbs 21: 3-21
To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
Haughty eyes and a proud heart—the lamp of the wicked—are sin.
The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to want.
The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death.
The violence of the wicked will sweep them away, because they refuse to do what is just.
The way of the guilty is crooked, but the conduct of the pure is right.
It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a contentious wife.
The souls of the wicked desire evil; their neighbors find no mercy in their eyes.
When a scoffer is punished, the simple become wiser; when the wise are instructed, they increase in knowledge.
The Righteous One observes the house of the wicked; he casts the wicked down to ruin.
If you close your ear to the cry of the poor, you will cry out and not be heard.
A gift in secret averts anger; and a concealed bribe in the bosom, strong wrath.
When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous, but dismay to evildoers.
Whoever wanders from the way of understanding will rest in the assembly of the dead.
Whoever loves pleasure will suffer want;whoever loves wine and oil will not be rich.
The wicked is a ransom for the righteous, and the faithless for the upright.
It is better to live in a desert land than with a contentious and fretful wife.
Precious treasure remains in the house of the wise, but the fool devours it.
Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life and honor.
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Monday, April 4 –