The holy confessor Emilian, Bishop of Cyzicus, lived during the reign of the Iconoclast emperor Leo the Armenian (813-820). He was summoned together with the other bishops to the court of the emperor, who insistently urged the bishops to refrain from the veneration of holy icons. St. Emilian was the first to tell the emperor firmly that the question of the veneration of holy icons ought to be discussed and decided only within the Church by its spiritual leaders, and not at the imperial court. In the year 815 he was sent to prison for the Orthodox Faith, where he died as a confessor.
Your life has shown you to your flock as a rule of faith, an image of gentleness, and a teacher of moderation. You acquired greatness through humility and wealth through poverty. O father and bishop Emilian, intercede with Christ our God to save our souls.
The Church recognizes you, O father Emilian, as an advocate of the most Holy Trinity, and she glorifies you with hymns of praise. You even laid down your life as proof of your devotion. For all of this we honor your memory. Deliver your servants from pagan invasions.
2 Corinthians 2:14 – 3:3
Brothers and sisters: Thanks be to God, who unfailingly leads us on in Christ’s triumphal train, and employs us to diffuse the fragrance of his knowledge everywhere! We are an aroma of Christ for God’s sake, both among those who are being saved and those on the way to destruction; to the latter an odor dealing death, to the former a breath bringing life. For such a mission as this, is anyone really qualified? We at least are not like so many who trade on the word of God. We speak in Christ’s name, pure in motivation, conscious of having been sent by God and of standing in his presence.
Am I beginning to speak well of myself again? Or do I need letters of recommendation to you or from you as others might? You are my letter, known and read by all men, written on your hearts. Clearly you are a letter of Christ which I have delivered, a letter written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh in the heart.
Matthew 23: 23-28
The Lord said: “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, you frauds! You pay tithes on mint and herbs and seeds while neglecting the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and good faith. It is these you should have practiced, without neglecting the others.
“Blind guides! You strain out the gnat and swallow the camel! Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, you frauds! You cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, and leave the inside filled with loot and lust! Blind Pharisees! First cleanse the inside of the cup so that its outside may be clean. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, you frauds! You are like whitewashed tombs, beautiful to look at on the outside but inside full of filth and dead men’s bones. Thus you present to view a holy exterior while hypocrisy and evil fill you within.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Monday, August 7 –