The martyrs Florus and Laurus were brothers by birth not only in flesh but in spirit. They lived in the 2nd century in Byzantium, and afterwards they settled in Illyria [now Yugoslavia]. By occupation they were stone masons. The prefect of Illyria, Likaion, sent the brothers to a nearby district for work on the construction of a pagan temple. The saints toiled at the structure, distributing to the poor the money they earned, while they kept strict fast and prayed without ceasing. When the construction of the temple was completed, the brothers gathered the Christians together, and going through the temple, they smashed the idols. In the eastern part of the temple they set up the Holy Cross. They spent all night praying, illumined with heavenly light. Having learned of this, the head of the district condemned to burning the former pagan priest Mamertin and his son and 300 Christians. Florus and Laurus were sent back to the prefect Likaion and were thrown down an empty well and covered with earth. After many years, the relics of the holy martyrs were uncovered, incorrupt, and transferred to Constantinople.
O faithful, let us praise the blessed Florus and Laurus, for they preached the Trinity without hesitation. Spilling their blood as a sign of their conviction, they have received laurels as God’s seal of approval. Pray to Christ our God to save our souls.
Today the world glorifies Florus and Laurus as holy and long-suffering martyrs for God. We hope to find grace and mercy from their prayers. We ask to be free from temptation, afflictions, anger, and pain on Judgment Day.
2 Corinthians 7: 10-16
Brothers and sisters: Indeed, sorrow for God’s sake produces a repentance without regrets, leading to salvation, whereas worldly sorrow brings death. Just look at the fruit of this sorrow which stems from God. What a measure of holy zeal it has brought you, not to speak of readiness to defend yourselves! What indignation, fear, and longing! What ardent desire to restore the balance of justice! In every way you have displayed your innocence in this matter. Therefore, my writing to you was not intended for the man who had given the offense or for the one offended, but to make plain in the sight of God the devotion you have for us. This done, we are comforted.
Beyond this consolation, we have rejoiced even more at the joy of Titus because his mind has been set at rest by all of you. For though I had boasted to him about you, I was not put to shame. Rather, just as everything I ever said to you was true, so my boasting to Titus has been proved equally true. His heart embraces you with an expanding love as he recalls the obedience you showed to God when you received him in fear and trembling. I rejoice because I trust you utterly.
Mark 2: 18-22
At that time John’s disciples and the Pharisees were accustomed to fast. People came to Jesus with the objection, “Why do John’s disciples and those of the Pharisees fast while yours do not?” Jesus replied: “How can the guests at a wedding fast as long as the groom is still among them? So long as the groom stays with them, they cannot fast. The day will come, however, when the groom will be taken away from them; on that day they will fast. No one sews a patch of shrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he should do so, the very thing he has used to cover the hole would pull away – the new from the old – and the tear would get worse. Similarly, no man pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does so, the wine will burst the skins, and both wine and skins will be lost. No, new wine is poured into new skins.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Thursday, August 17 –