The holy bishop martyr Januarius and his companions Proculus, Sonius and Faustus (deacons), Desiderius (lector), Eutyches, and Akutionus were martyred in the reigns of Maximian and Galerius the emperors, by the persecutor Timothy. Januarius was bishop of Benevento in Italy. To this day, many wonders are worked at the tomb of this saint.
The holy martyr Theodore and his mother Philippa suffered under the reign of Antoninus Pius (138-161) in Perga, Pamphylia along with Dioscorus, Socrates, and Dionysius. The military commander there ordered the youth to offer sacrifice to idols, but the martyr submitted to neither persuasion nor threats. Then the military commander had him placed on a red-hot plate and poured liquid tar on him. Suddenly, there was an earthquake, and a torrent of water gushed forth from the ground and extinguished the fire. The military commander told St. Philippa to save her son by urging him to offer sacrifice to the idols. St. Philippa replied that when her son was born, it was revealed to her that he would be crucified for Christ. Hearing this, the military commander ordered to crucify St. Theodore, and the other martyrs to be beheaded. St. Theodore hung on the cross for three days, offering prayers to God until he finally died.
Anointed with the grace of the priesthood, you became good shepherds for God’s people. You were snatched and eaten like sheep, but you were offered like a sacrifice to God in imitation of your Master who was slaughtered like a lamb. Pray for us who hold fast to your cherished memory.
You were anointed with the chrism of the priesthood and washed in the blood of martyrdom. You are radiant as you sing praise in heaven’s halls. Guard those who come to your temple and sing; Preserve us who supplicate Christ our God.
Acts 5: 1-11
In those days, a man named Ananias and his wife Sapphira sold a piece of property. With the connivance of his wife he put aside a part of the proceeds for himself; the rest he took and laid at the feet of the apostles. Peter exclaimed:” Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart so as to make you lie to the Holy Spirit and keep for yourself some of the proceeds from that field? Was it not yours so long as it remained unsold? Even when you sold it, was not the money still yours? How could you ever concoct such a scheme? You have lied not to men but to God!” At the sound of these words, Ananias fell dead. Great fear came upon all who later heard of it. Some of the young men came forward, wrapped up the body, and carried it out for burial. Three hours later Ananias’ wife came in, unaware of what had happened. Peter said to her, “Tell me, did you sell that piece of property for such and such an amount?” She answered, “Yes, that was the sum.” Peter replied, “How could you two scheme to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? The footsteps of these men who have just buried your husband can be heard at the door. They stand ready to carry you out too.” At that, she fell dead at his feet. The young men came in, found her dead, and carried her out for burial beside her husband. Great fear came on the whole church and on all who heard it.
John 5: 30-47, 6: 1-2
The Lord said, “I cannot do anything myself. I judge as I hear and my judgment is honest because I am not seeking my own will but the will of him who sent me. If I witness on my own behalf, you cannot verify my testimony; but there is another who is testifying on my behalf, and the testimony he renders me I know can be verified. You have sent to John, who has testified to the truth. (Not that I myself accept such human testimony – I refer to these things only for your salvation.)
“He was the lamp, set aflame and burning bright, and for a while you exulted willingly in his light. Yet I have testimony greater than John’s, namely, the works the Father has given me to accomplish. These works which I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. Moreover, the Father who sent me has himself given testimony on my behalf. His voice you have heard, his form you have never seen, neither do you have his word abiding in your hearts because you do not believe the One he has sent. Search the Scriptures in which you think you have eternal life — they also testify on my behalf. Yet you are unwilling to come to me to possess that life.
“ It is not that I accept human praise — it is simply that I know you, and you do not have the love of God in your heart. I have come in my Father’s name, yet you do not accept me. But let someone come in his own name and him you will accept. How can people like you believe, when you accept praise from one another you do not seek the glory that comes from the One (God)? Do not imagine that I will be your accuser before the Father; the one to accuse you is Moses on whom you have such your hopes. If you believed Moses you would then believe me, for it was about me that he wrote. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how can you believe what I say?”
Later on, Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee to the shores of Tiberias; a vast crowd kept following him because they saw the signs he was performing for the sick.
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Thursday, April 20 –