The holy martyr Agathonicus was a citizen of Nicomedia and a Christian by faith. With great zeal he converted the Hellenes from idolatry and instructed them in the true Faith. At emperor Maximian’s orders, the regional governor cruelly persecuted Christians. The deputy captured St. Zoticus in a place called Carpe. He crucified Zoticus’ disciples and brought Zoticus himself to Nicomedia where he also captured and bound Agathonicus, Princeps, Theoprepius, Acindynus, Severianus, Zeno and many others. Securely bound, they were all taken to Byzantium. As they traveled, Saints Zoticus, Theoprepius, and Acindynus died of their many wounds and exhaustion. Severianus was slain near Chalcedon. Agathonicus and the others were taken to Silybria in Thrace. There, after being tortured in the emperor’s presence, they were beheaded, and entered into eternal life and the joy of their Lord.
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.
O holy martyr, you have gained a good name for yourself; you put an end to the worship of the evil ones without fearing the suffering that you would bear. Therefore, you have inherited the eternal gifts, O Agathonicus, and together with your companions, you were worthy to obtain the crowns of heaven.
2 Corinthians 8:16 – 9:5
Brothers and sisters: Thanks be to God, who has put an equal zeal for you in the heart of Titus! Not only did he welcome our appeal, but being very eager he has gone to you freely. We have sent along with him that brother whom all the churches praise for his preaching of the gospel. He has been appointed our traveling companion by the churches, as we willingly carry on this work of charity for the glory of the Lord. There is one thing I wish to avoid, namely any blame over my handling of this generous collection. We are concerned not only for God’s approval but also for the good esteem of men. We have sent along that brother whose eagerness has been proved to us in many ways. He is now more eager than ever for this work because of his great trust in you. As for Titus, he is my companion and fellow worker on your behalf; our brothers too are apostles of the churches, the glory of Christ. Therefore, show these men the proof of your love, and why we boast about you, for all the churches to see.
There is really no news for me to write you about this collection for the members of the church. I already know your willingness, and boast about you to the Macedonians with respect to it, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. Your zeal has stirred up most of them. I nonetheless send the brothers so that our claims for you in this regard may not be shown empty. I do so that you may be ready, as I have been saying you are, lest any Macedonians come with me and find you unready; then I should be put to shame – to say nothing of you – for having had this trust. I have thought it necessary to exhort the brothers to go to you and arrange in advance for the bountiful gift you have already promised. It should be ready as a gracious gift, not as an exaction.
Mark 3: 13-21
At that time Jesus went up the mountain and summoned the men he himself had decided on, who came and joined him. He named twelve as his companions whom he would send to preach the good news; they were likewise to have the authority to expel demons. He appointed the Twelve as follows: Simon to whom he gave the name Peter; James, son of Zebedee; and John, the brother of James (he gave these two the name Boanerges, or “sons of thunder”); Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus; Thaddaeus, Simon of the Zealot Party, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
He returned to the house with them and again the crowd assembled, making it impossible for them to get any food whatever. When his family heard of this they came to take charge of him, saying, “He is out of his mind.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Monday, August 21 –