The holy bishop-martyr Simeon, cousin of our Lord, who, as it is said, was a son of Cleophas and a relative of the Savior according to the flesh. Ordained bishop of Jerusalem after James, the brother of the Lord, he was afflicted with many tortures in the persecution of the emperor Trajan. As an old man, he was crowned by the martyrdom of the cross.
Our venerable father Stephen, Bishop of Vladimir in Volhynia, was a disciple of St. Theodosius of the Caves in Kyiv. He labored greatly for the regulation and organization of the monastic life. He was driven from the monastery by false accusations, but God proved him innocent. He was made bishop of Vladimir, and served into old age until 1094.
We praise you as a model for priests and a relative of the Lord, O Simeon. You kept the faith, and as a martyr you smashed the webs of lies. Celebrating your all-holy memory, we seek absolution of our sins through you.
Today the Church obtains a brilliant star in the person of Simeon, a perfect teacher of the things of God. Enlightened by him, she cries out: Rejoice, O holy martyr.
Acts 8: 26-39
In those days, an angel of the Lord then addressed himself to Philip: “Head south toward the road which goes from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route.” Philip began the journey. It happened that an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official in charge of the entire treasury of Candace (a name meaning Queen) of the Ethiopians, had come on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and was returning home. He was sitting in his carriage reading the prophet Isaiah. The Spirit said to Philip, “Go and catch up with that carriage.” Philip ran ahead and heard the man reading the prophet Isaiah. He said to the eunuch, “ Do you really grasp what you are reading?” “How can I,” the man replied, “unless someone explains it to me?” With that, he invited Philip to get in and sit down beside him. This was the passage of Scripture he was reading: “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, like a lamb before its shearer he was silent and opened not his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who will ever speak of his posterity, for he is deprived of justice. Who will ever speak of his posterity, for he is deprived of his life on earth?” The eunuch said to Philip, “Tell me, if you will, of whom the prophet says this himself or someone else?” Philip launched out with this Scripture passage as his starting point, telling him the good news of Jesus. As they moved along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look, there is some water right there. What is keeping me from being baptized?” He ordered the carriage stopped, and Philip went down into the water with the eunuch and baptized him. When they came out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away and the eunuch saw him no more. Nevertheless the man went on his way rejoicing.
John 6: 40-44
The Lord said to the people coming to him: “Indeed, this is the will of my Father, but everyone who looks upon the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life. Him I will raise up on the last day.”
At this point the people started to murmur in protest because he claimed, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They kept saying: “ Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother? How can I claim to have come down from heaven?”
“Stop your murmuring,” Jesus told them. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; I will raise him up on the last day.
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Wednesday, April 26 –