The holy martyr Agathopodes was a deacon and the holy martyr 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.
Exodus 2: 11-22
One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and saw their forced labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his kinsfolk. He looked this way and that, and seeing no one he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. When he went out the next day, he saw two Hebrews fighting; and he said to the one who was in the wrong, “Why do you strike your fellow Hebrew?” He answered, “Who made you a ruler and judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought, “Surely the thing is known.” When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses.
But Moses fled from Pharaoh. He settled in the land of Midian, and sat down by a well. The priest of Midian had seven daughters. They came to draw water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. But some shepherds came and drove them away. Moses got up and came to their defense and watered their flock. When they returned to their father Reuel, he said, “How is it that you have come back so soon today?” They said, “An Egyptian helped us against the shepherds; he even drew water for us and watered the flock.” He said to his daughters, “Where is he? Why did you leave the man? Invite him to break bread.” Moses agreed to stay with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah in marriage. She bore a son, and he named him Gershom; for he said, “I have been an alien residing in a foreign land.”
Job 2: 1-10
One day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil. He still persists in his integrity, although you incited me against him, to destroy him for no reason.” Then Satan answered the Lord, “Skin for skin! All that people have they will give to save their lives. But stretch out your hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, he is in your power; only spare his life.”
So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and inflicted loathsome sores on Job from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. Job took a potsherd with which to scrape himself, and sat among the ashes.
Then his wife said to him, “Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse God, and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as any foolish woman would speak. Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
Mathew 26: 6-16
While Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, a woman carrying a jar of costly perfume came up to him at table and began to pour it on his head. When the disciples saw this they grew indignant, protesting: “What is the point of such extravagance? This could have been sold for a good price and the money given to the poor.” Jesus became aware of this and said to them: “Why do you criticize the woman? It is a good deed she has done for me. The poor you will always have with you but you will not always have me. By pouring this perfume on my body, she has contributed toward my burial preparation. I assure you, wherever the good news is proclaimed throughout the world, what she did will be spoken of as her memorial.”
Then one of the Twelve whose name was Judas Iscariot went off to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand Jesus over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he kept looking for an opportunity to hand him over.
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Tuesday, April 4 –