The placing of the Venerable Belt of the Most Holy Theotokos in a church of Constantinople’s Chalcoprateia district took place during the reign of the emperor Theosodius the Younger. Before this the holy relic, entrusted to the Apostle Thomas by Mary herself, was kept by pious Christians at Jerusalem after her Dormition. During the reign of the Emperor Leo the Wise (886-911), his wife Zoe was afflicted with an unclean spirit, and he prayed that God would heal her. The empress had a vision that she would be healed of her infirmity if the Belt of the Theotokos was placed upon her. The emperor then asked the Patriarch to open the coffer. The Patriarch removed the seal and opened the coffer in which the relic was kept, and the Belt of the Mother of God appeared completely whole and undamaged by time. The Patriarch placed the Belt on the sick empress, and immediately she was freed from her infirmity. They sang hymns of thanksgiving to the Most Holy Theotokos, then they placed the venerable Belt back into the coffer and resealed it. In commemoration of the miraculous occurrence and the twofold placing of the venerable Belt, the Feast of the Placing of the Venerable Belt of the Most Holy Theotokos was established in 942.
Ever-Virgin Theotokos and protection of the human race, you gave the robe and cincture of your most pure body to your city as a powerful protection. These garments remained incorrupt because of your virginal childbirth. For in you, both time and nature have been renewed. Therefore, we pray that you grant peace to the universe and great mercy to our souls.
As a mantle of immortality you have given to the faithful the garment that covered your most pure body, O Virgin whom God himself has blessed and divine protection of the human race. With love we celebrate the feast of the deposition of your mantle, and we sing with faith: Rejoice, O Virgin, for you are the pride of Christians.
Hebrews 9: 1-7
Brothers and sisters: The first covenant had regulations and an earthly sanctuary. For a tabernacle was constructed, the outer one, in which were the lampstand, the table, and the showbread; this was called the holy place. Behind the second veil was the tabernacle called the holy of holies, in which were the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant entirely covered with gold. In the ark were the golden jars containing manna, the rod of Aaron which had blossomed, and the tablets of the covenant. Above the ark were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the place of expiation. We cannot speak now of each of these in detail. These were the arrangements for worship. In performing their service the priests used to go into the inner one, and that but once a year, with the blood which he offered for himself and for the sins of the people.
Luke 10: 38-42, 11: 27-28
At that time Jesus entered a village where a woman named Martha welcomed him to her home. She had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and listened to his words. Martha, who was busy with all the details of hospitality, came to Jesus and said, “Lord, are you not concerned that my sister has left me to do the household tasks all alone? Tell her to help me.”
The Lord in reply said to her: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and upset about many things; one thing only is required. Mary has chosen the better portion and she shall not be deprived of it.”
While he was saying this a woman from the crowd called out, “Blest is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!” Jesus replied, “Rather, blest are they who hear the word of God and keep it.”
2 Corinthians 9:12 – 10:7
Brothers and sisters: the administering of this [charity collection] not only supplies the needs of the members of the church but also overflows in much gratitude to God. Because of your praiseworthy service they are glorifying God for your obedient faith in the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with all. They pray for you longingly because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
I, Paul, exhort you be the meekness and kindness of Christ, I who (you say) when present in your midst am lowly, but when absent am bold toward you. I beg you that when I am there, I may not have to act boldly, with that assurance I might dare to use courageously against certain ones who accuse us of weak human behavior. We do indeed live in the body but we do not wage war with human resources. The weapons of our warfare are not merely human. They possess God’s power for the destruction of the strongholds. We demolish sophistries and every proud pretension that raises itself against the knowledge of God; we likewise bring every thought into captivity to make it obedient to Christ. We are ready to punish disobedience in anyone else once your own disobedience is perfect. You view things superficially. If anyone is convinced that he belongs to Christ, let him reflect on this: he may belong to Christ but just as much as we do.
Mark 3: 20-27
At that time Jesus returned to the house with the Twelve 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”; while the scribes who arrived from Jerusalem asserted, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,: and “He expels demons with the help of the prince of demons.” Summoning the scribes, Jesus then began to speak to them by the way of examples: “How can Satan expel Satan? If a kingdom is torn by civil strife, that kingdom cannot last. If a household is divided according to loyalties, that household will not survive. Similarly, if Satan has suffered mutiny in his ranks and is torn by dissension, he cannot endure; he is finished. No one can enter a strong man’s house and despoil his property unless he has first put him under restraint. Only then can he plunder the house.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Tuesday, August 30 –