Feb. 06 Our Venerable Father Bucolus, Bishop of Smyrna; The Holy Martyr Silvanus, Bishop of Emesa, and his Companions

Our venerable father Bucolus was a disciple of St. John the Evangelist, who consecrated him Bishop of Smyrna. In Smyrna there were few that were baptized. In the darkness of paganism, St. Bucolus shone as bright as a candle. He distinguished himself with every virtue, especially meekness and humility. Before his death, Bucolus consecrated the glorious Polycarp as his successor to the episcopacy. He died peacefully in the 2nd century. 

The holy martyr Silvanus of Esmesa in Syria, was a bishop, who, when he had led the same Church for forty years, finally, under the emperor Maximinus, was thrown to the wild beasts. Together with Luca the deacon and Mocius the lector he received the palm of martyrdom in 313.



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 Bucolus, intercede with Christ our God to save our souls.



Radiant with the light of the priesthood, you illuminated the people, O pastor. You destroyed the darkness of idolatry, and you dispersed the clouds of passions by your cures. You went before the unsetting Light. Now we ask you to pray for us who honor you, O blessed Bucolus. 



1 John 2:18 – 3:10

Children, it is the final hour; just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many such antichrists have appeared. This makes us certain that it is the final hour. It was from our ranks that they took their leave — not that they really belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have stayed with us. It only served to show that none of them was ours. But you have the anointing that comes from the Holy One, so that all knowledge is yours. My reason for having written you is not that you do not know the truth but that you do, and that no lie has anything in common with the truth. Who is the liar? Who denies that Jesus is the Christ. He is the antichrist, denying the Father and the Son. Anyone who denies the Son has no claim on the Father, but he who acknowledges the Son can claim the Father as well.

As for you, let what you heard from the beginning remain in your hearts. If what you heard from the beginning does remain in your hearts, then you will in turn will remain in the Son and in the Father.

He himself made us a promise and the promise is no less than this: eternal life. I have written you these things about those who try to deceive you.

 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in your heart. This means you have no need for anyone to teach you. Rather, as his anointing teaches you about all things and is true — free from any lie — remain in him as that anointing taught you.

Remain in him now, little ones, so that, when he reveals himself, we may be fully confident and not retreat in shame at his coming. If you consider the holiness that is his, you can be sure that everyone who acts in holiness has been begotten by him.

See what love the Father has bestowed on us in letting us be called children of God! Yet that is what we are. The reason the world does not recognize us is that it never recognized the Son. Dearly beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall later be has not yet come to light. We know that when it comes to light we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him keeps himself pure, as he is pure.

Everyone who sins acts lawlessly for sin is lawlessness. You know well that the reason he revealed himself was to take away sins; in him there is nothing sinful. The man who remains in him does not sin. The man who sins has not seen him or known him.

Little ones, let no one deceive you; the man who acts in holiness is holy indeed, even as the Son is holy. The man who sins belongs to the devil, because the devil is a sinner from the beginning. It was to destroy the devil‘s works that the Son of God revealed himself. No one begotten of God acts sinfully because he remains of God’s stock; he cannot sin because he is begotten of God. That is the way to see who are God’s children, and who are the devils.



Mark 11: 1-11

At that time as Jesus and the disciples neared Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives, close to Jerusalem, he sent off two of his disciples with the instruction: “Go to the village straight ahead of you, and as soon as you enter it you will find tethered there a colt on which no one has ridden. Untie it and bring it back. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing that?’ say, ‘The Master needs it but he will send it back here at once.’” So they went off, and finding a colt tethered out on the street near a gate, they untied it. Some of the bystanders said to them, “What do you mean by untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the men let them take it. They brought the colt back to Jesus and threw their cloaks across its back, and Jesus sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread reeds which they had cut in the fields. Those preceding Jesus as well as those who followed cried out: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the reign of our father David to come! Hosanna in the highest!” Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple precincts. He inspected everything there, but since it was already the afternoon, he went out to Bethany accompanied by the Twelve. 


Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com



Feb. 05 The Holy Martyr Agatha

The holy martyr Agatha, the glorious virgin and martyr for Christ, was born in the Sicilian town of Palermo to noble and wealthy parents. When the emperor Decius began the persecution of Christians, St. Agatha was arrested and brought to trial before the judge Quintian. The judge, seeing Agatha beautiful in countenance, desired to have her for his wife. When he suggested this, Agatha answered that she was the bride of Christ and would not be unfaithful to her Betrothed. Quintian subjected her to cruel tortures. Agatha was mocked, whipped, bound to a tree and flogged until blood flowed. After that, the judge again tried to persuade her to deny Christ and avoid any further torture and suffering. St. Peter appeared to Agatha in prison and restored her to health and wholeness of body. Again Agatha was led out for torture, and again she was cast into prison, where she gave up her soul to God in the year 251 in the town of Catania, during the reign of Emperor Decius.



Your lamb Agatha, O Jesus, cries out in a loud voice: I love you, my Bridegroom; I seek You with painful longing; I am crucified with You; in Your baptism, I am buried with You; I suffer for You that I may reign with You; and I die for You that I may live with You. Receive me as a spotless sacrifice immolated with love for You. By her prayers, O merciful One, save our souls.



May the Church be robed today in a mantle of precious purple made of the blood of the pure martyr Agatha. Let us all cry out to her: Rejoice, Agatha, O pride of Catania!



1st Corinthians 6: 12-20

Brothers and sisters: “Everything is lawful for me” but that does not mean that everything is good for me. “Everything is lawful for me” – but I will not let myself be enslaved by anything. “Food is for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will do away with them both in the end” – but the body is not for immorality; it is for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. God, who raised up the Lord, will raise us also by his power.

Do you not see that your bodies are members of Christ? Would you have me take Christ’s members and make them the members of a prostitute? God forbid! Can you not see that the man who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? Scripture says, “The two shall become one flesh.” But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun lewd conduct. Every other sin a man commits is outside his body, but the fornicator sins against his own body. You must know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is within pp the Spirit you have received from God. You are not your own. You have been purchased, and at a price. So glorify God in your body.



Luke 15: 11-32

The Lord told this parable: “A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that is coming to me.’ So the father divided up the property. Some days later this younger son collected all his belongings and went off to a distant land, where he squandered his money on dissolute living. After he had spent everything, a great famine broke out in that country and he was in dire need. So he attached himself to one of the propertied class of the place, who sent him to his farm to take care of the pigs. He longed to fill his belly with the husks that were fodder for the pigs, but no one made a move to give him anything. Coming to his senses at last, he said: ‘How many hired hands at my father’s place have more than enough to eat, while here I am starving! I will break away and return to my father, and say to him, Father, I have sinned against God and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son. Treat me like one of your hired hands.’ 

With that he set off for his father’s house. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him and was deeply moved. He ran out to meet him, threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against God and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ The father said to his servants: ‘Quick! Bring out the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet. Take the fatted calf and kill it. Let us eat and celebrate because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life. He was lost and is found.’ Then the celebration began.

“Meanwhile the elder son was out on the land. As he neared the house on his way home, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked him the reason for the dancing and the music. The servant answered; ‘You brother is home, and your father has killed the fatted calf because he has him back in good health.’ The son grew angry at this and would not go in; but his father came out and began to plead with him.

“He said to his father in reply: ‘For years now I have slaved for you. I never disobeyed one of your orders, yet you never gave me so much as a kid goat to celebrate with my friends. Then, when this son of yours returns after having gone through your property with loose women, you kill the fatted calf for him.’

“‘My son,’ replied the father, ‘you are with me always, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice! This brother of yours was dead, and has come back to life. He was lost, and is found.’”


Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com


Sunday Bulletin 02/05/23


Saturday, Feb. 4  –  Isidore, Venerable        

5:00 PM          Santa Paula Outreach Vespers-Divine Liturgy

6:30 PM          Reader Vespers

Sunday, Feb. 5  – Sunday of the Prodigal Son            

8:30 AM          Matins

9:30 AM          Divine Liturgy

Monday, Feb. 6  –  Bucolus, Bishop           

5:30 PM          Akathist* for those suffering Addictions & Mental Illness

Saturday, Feb. 11  –  1st All Souls Saturday       

8:30 AM          Liturgy & Panachida 

5:00 PM          Santa Paula Outreach Divine Liturgy

Sunday, Feb. 12  –  Meat-fare Sunday        

8:30 AM          Matins

9:30 AM          Divine Liturgy 

*Add first names to this prayer service by emailing niemirick@gmail.com


St. Mary’s: Sundays 8:45 AM or by appointment

Santa Paula: Saturdays 4:15 PM or by appointment


(Please resubmit or submit names to admin@ByzantineLA.com)

The Carlin Family, Michael Hefferon, Shirley Kunze, Michael Mina, Peter Mina, Fr, John Mina, Mila Mina, Lana Zimmerman, Patrick Zimmerman, Shannon O’Neill, Fern Bonowicz, All the sick and suffering of St. Mary’s


Collection: $2,175.00; Online: $230.00; Santa Paula: $452.00; Candles: $41.60; Church Improvements: $100.00; Santa Paul Improvements: $50.00; Parish Socials: $90.00; Initial Offering: $5.00; All Souls Days: $120.00

Total: $3,263.60 / Attendance – PSM: 78  

“All that is mine is yours.” The merciful Father welcomed the Prodigal Son and showed love to his brother when he questioned that profound love which gave all that was his to his children. Are you open to share that love of the Father by a vocation to the priesthood, diaconate, religious or monastic life? If so, contact the Vocations Office at 206-329-9219 or email: vocations@ephx.org 

You are Not Your Own

“Independence” is one of the great “rights” of man that is held to be sacred and inviolable for Americans. The Epistle proclaimed in the Church today, however, challenges our modern notion of independence when it proclaims Saint Paul’s teaching that we were “purchased with a price” and that we are not our own, but that we belong to the Lord. On the day of our baptism, each one of us was incorporated into the church and made members of Christ’s body, and sharers in his eternal life. Just as the parts of the body are interdependent, and ultimately totally dependent the soul and spirit for life, so it is with Christ and the members of his Church. Each of us derives our spiritual life from Christ and receives that life through other members of the body of the Church. As such, none of us is “independent,” but rather we are totally dependent upon one another, and all of us are dependent upon Christ. From the important biblical concept of spiritual dependence, we can understand the need for us to live a life in conformity with him from whom we received it, and on whom we depend for everything. Applying the parable of the prodigal son to the above explanation helps this truth take flesh in our imagination and allows us and those whom we teach to better understand what life is like away from our source of life, and what it is like to return in our hearts to our King and our God.                                                                                                                                                From God With Us Online

2022 Giving Statements

Contribution statements for 2022 are ready! We will again be emailing them in lieu of printing. Please make sure your email address is up to date with the office. If you are not sure, please check with Anne Seabright or email admin@byzantineLA.com to be sure. If you would like a paper copy, please let Anne know.

Feb. 04 Our Venerable Father Isidore of Pelusium

Our venerable father Isidore of Pelusium, in Egypt, priest, who, notable in his teachings, spurning the world and riches, preferred to imitate the life of John the Baptist in the desert, having taken up the monastic state, founded a monastery in Pelusium in the 5th century, and was held in much esteem as a theologian and a guide for souls. 



In you, O father, the divine image was strictly preserved; taking up your cross, you followed Christ. You taught us by example how to spurn the flesh, for it passes away, and how to care for the soul, which is immortal. O venerable Isidore, your soul rejoices with the angels. 



O glorious Isidore, the Church has found in you another morning star, for you enlighten her with the clarity of your teaching. And she cries out to you: Rejoice, Isidore most blessed, who spiritual knowledge is so revered. 



2 Timothy 3: 1-9

Timothy my son: But understand this: there will be terrifying times in the last days. People will be self-centered and lovers of money, proud, haughty, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, irreligious, callous, implacable, slanderous, licentious, brutal, hating what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, as they make a pretense of religion but deny it power. Reject them. For some of these slip into homes and make captives of women weighed down by sins, led by various desires, always trying to learn but never able to reach a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so they oppose the truth–people of depraved minds, unqualified in the faith. But they will not make further progress, for their foolishness will be plain to all, as it was with those two. You have followed my teaching, way of life, purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra, persecutions that I endured. Yet from all these things the Lord delivered me. In fact, all who want to live religiously in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But wicked people and charlatans will go from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived. But you, remain faithful to what you have learned and have known [the] sacred scriptures, which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 



Luke 20:46 – 21:4

At that time, in hearing of all the people, Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware of the scribes, who like to parade around in their robes, and love marks of respect in public, front seats at synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. There men are going through the savings of widows while they recite long prayers to keep up appearances. The heavier sentence will be theirs.”

Jesus glanced up and saw the rich putting their offerings into the treasury, and also a poor widow putting in two copper coins. At that he said: “I assure you, this widow has put in more than all the rest. They make contributions out of their surplus, but she from her want has given what she could not afford – every penny she has to live on.”


Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com


Feb. 03 Synaxis of the Holy and Just Simeon, Who received God, and the Prophetess Anna

The synaxis of the holy prophet Simeon and the prophetess Anna, who, the one a righteous and devout old man, and the other a widow and prophetess, were worthy to hail the infant Jesus as the Messiah and Savior, the blessed hope and redemption of Israel, when he had been brought to the temple to be circumcised according to the custom of the law. All we know of them is given in the second chapter of the Gospel according to St. Luke.



The elderly Simeon is filled with happiness today, receiving the eternal God as an infant into his arms. He begs to be released from the bonds of the flesh, for he cries: I have seen Your salvation for the world. 



The Elder departed from the bonds of the flesh of this passing life today. He received Christ the Creator and Lord into his arms.


Readings for the saints


Hebrews 9: 11-14

Brothers and sisters: When Christ came as high priest of the good things which have come to be, he entered once for all into the sanctuary, passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation. He entered, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, and achieved eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of a heifer’s ashes can sanctify those who are defiled so that their flesh is cleansed, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself up unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living the God!



Luke 2: 25-38

At that time there lived in Jerusalem at the time a certain man named Simeon. He was just and pious, and awaited the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not experience death until he had seen the anointed of the Lord. He came to the temple now, inspired by the Spirit; and when the parents brought in the child’s Jesus to perform for him the customary ritual of the law, Simeon took the child in his arms and blessed God in these words: “Now, Master, you can dismiss your servant in peace; you have fulfilled your word. For my eyes have witnessed your saving deed displayed for all the peoples to see: A revealing light to the Gentiles, the glory of your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother were marveling at what was being said about him. Simeon blessed him and said to Mary his mother: “This child is destined to be the downfall on the rise of many in Israel, a sign that will be opposed — and you yourself shall be pierced with a sword — so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare.”

There was also a certain prophetess, Anna by name, daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher. She had seen many days, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage and then as a widow until she was 84. She was constantly in the temple, worshiping day and night in fasting and prayer. Coming on the scene at this moment, she gave thanks to God and talked about the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.


Readings for the day


1 John 2: 7-17

Dearly beloved, it is no new commandment that I write to you, but an old one which you had from the start. The commandment, now old, is the word you have already heard. On second thought, the commandment that I write is new, as it is realized in him and you, for the darkness is over and the real light begins to shine. The man who claims to be in light, hating his brother all the while, is in darkness even now. The man who continues in the light is the one who loves his brother; there is nothing in him to cause a fall. But the man who hates his brother is in darkness. He walks in shadow, not knowing where he is going, since the dark has blinded his eyes.

Little ones, I address you, for through his Name your sins have been forgiven. Fathers, I address you, for you have known him who is from the beginning. Young men, I address you, for you have conquered the evil one. I address you, children, for you have known the Father. I address you, fathers, for you have known him who is from the beginning. I address you, young men, for you are strong, and the word of God remains in you, and you have conquered the evil one. 

Have no love for the world, nor the things that the world affords. If anyone loves the world, the Father’s love has no place in him, for nothing that the world affords comes from the Father. Carnal allurements, enticements for the eye, the life of empty show – all these are from the world. And the world with its seductions is passing away but the man who does God’s will endures forever. 



Mark 14:3-9

At that time Jesus was in Bethany reclining at table in the house of Simon the leper. A woman entered carrying an alabaster jar of perfume made of expensive aromatic nard. Breaking the jar, she began to pour the perfume over his head. Some were saying to themselves indignantly: “What is the point of this extravagant waste of perfume? It could have been sold for over three hundred silver pieces and the money given to the poor.” They were infuriated with her, but Jesus said: “Let her alone. Why do you criticize her? She has done me a kindness. The poor you will always have with you and you can be generous to them whenever you wish, but you will not always have me. She has done what she could. By perfuming my body she is anticipating its preparation for burial. I assure you, whenever the good news is proclaimed throughout the world, what she has done will be told in her memory.”


Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com

Feb. 02 Meeting of our Lord with Simeon and Anna

The encounter of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ with Simeon and Anna, celebrated 40 days after the Nativity of the Savior on Dec. 25, is one of the most ancient of all feasts established in Jerusalem in the 4th century. St. Sophronius of Jerusalem wrote about this feast: “Let us all hasten to meet (encounter) Christ. Everyone should be eager to join the procession and carry a light. Our lighted candles are a sign of the divine splendor of the One who comes to expel the dark shadows of evil and to make the whole universe radiant with the brilliance of his eternal Light.”



 Rejoice, Theotokos, Virgin full of grace; for from you has shown forth the Sun of Justice, Christ our God enlightening those who are in darkness. Rejoice also, you just elder; you received in your arms the liberator of our souls, who grants us resurrection.



Christ our God, through Your birth You sanctified the virgin’s womb and blessed the hands of Simeon as was proper. Now You have come and saved us. Give peace to nations at war and strengthen our government. You, alone, love mankind. 


Readings for the feast


Hebrews 7: 7-17

Brothers and sisters: it is indisputable that a lesser person is blessed by a greater. And whereas men subject to death receive tithes, scripture testifies that this man lives on. Levi, who receives tithes, was, so to speak, tithed in the person of his father, so he was still in his fathers loins when Melchizedek met Abraham.

If, then, perfection had been achieved through the levitical priesthood (on the basis of which the people received the law), what need would there have been to appoint a priest according to the order of Melchizedek, instead of choosing a priest according to the order of Aaron? When there is a change of priesthood, there is necessarily a change of law. Now he of whom these things are said was of a different tribe, none of whose members ever officiated at the altar. It is clear that our Lord rose from the tribe of Judah, regarding which Moses said nothing about priests. The matter is clearer still if another priest is appointed according to the likeness of Melchizedek: one who has become a priest, not in virtue of a law expressed in a commandment concerning physical descent, but in virtue of the power of a life which cannot be destroyed. Scripture testifies: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”



Luke 2: 22-40

When the day came to purify the child and mother according to the law of Moses, Joseph and Mary brought Jesus up to Jerusalem so that he could be presented to the Lord, forward is written in the law of the Lord, “Every first-born male shall be consecrated to the Lord.” They came to offer and sacrifice “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,” in accord with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

There lived in Jerusalem at the time a certain man named Simeon. He was just and pious, and awaited the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not experience death until he had seen the anointed of the Lord. He came to the temple now, inspired by the Spirit; and when the parents brought in the child’s Jesus to perform for him the customary ritual of the law, Simeon took the child in his arms and blessed God in these words: “Now, Master, you can dismiss your servant in peace; you have fulfilled your word. For my eyes have witnessed your saving deed displayed for all the peoples to see: A revealing light to the Gentiles, the glory of your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother were marveling at what was being said about him. Simeon blessed him and said to Mary his mother: “This child is destined to be the downfall on the rise of many in Israel, a sign that will be opposed — and you yourself shall be pierced with a sword — so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare.”

There was also a certain prophetess, Anna by name, daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher. She had seen many days, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage and then as a widow until she was 84. She was constantly in the temple, worshiping day and night in fasting and prayer. Coming on the scene at this moment, she gave thanks to God and talked about the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.

When the pair had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee and their own town of Nazareth the child grew in size and strength, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.


Readings for the day


1 John 1:8- 2:6

Dearly beloved: If we say, “We are free of the guilt of sin,” we deceive ourselves; the truth is not to be found in us. But if we acknowledge our sins, he who is just can be trusted to forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrong. If we say, “We have never sinned,” we make him a liar and his word finds no place in us. 

My little ones, I am writing this to keep you from sin. But if anyone should sin, we have, in the presence of the Father, Jesus Christ, an intercessor who is just. He is an offering for our sins, and not for our sins only, bit for those of the whole world. 

The way we can be sure of our knowledge of him is to keep his commandments. The man who claims, “I have known him,” without keeping his commandments is a liar; in such a one there is no truth. But whoever keeps his world truly has the love of God been made perfect in him.  The way we can be sure we are in union with him is for the man who claims to abide in him to conduct himself just as he did.



Mark 13:31- 14:2

The Lord said to his disciples: “The heavens and the earth will pass away but my words will not pass. As to the exact hour, no one knows it, neither the angels in heaven nor even the Son, but only the Father. Be constantly on the watch! Stay awake! You do not know when the appointed time will come. It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his own task; and he orders the man at the gate to watch with a sharp eye. Look around you! You do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether at dusk, at midnight, when the cock crows, or at early dawn. Do not let him come suddenly and catch you asleep. What I say to you, I say to all; Be on guard!”

The feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread were to be observed in two days’ time, and therefore the chief priests and scribes began to look for a way to arrest Jesus by some trick and kill him. Yet they pointed out, “Not during the festival, or people may riot.”


Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com


Feb. 01 The Holy Martyr Tryphon

The holy martyr Tryphon was born in Phrygia, one of the districts of Asia Minor. From his early years, the Lord granted him the power to cast out demons and to heal various maladies. He once saved the inhabitants of his native city of Lampsacus from starvation. He was condemned to death by beheading with a sword. The holy martyr prayed before his execution, thanking God for strengthening him in his sufferings. Just as the soldiers raised the sword over the head of the holy martyr, he surrendered his soul to the hands of the Lord. This occurred in the city of Nicea in the year 250.



Your martyr Tryphon, O Lord our God, in his struggle received an incorruptible crown from You. With Your strength, he brought down the tyrants and broke the cowardly valor of demons. Through his prayers, O Christ our God, save our souls. 



You are worthy of all praise, O Tryphon, for through the power of the Holy Trinity, you wiped out the might of pagan gods and increased in honor before God. Unconquered, you vanquished your persecutors through the power of Christ the Savior, deserving the crown of martyrdom and God-given grace of healing the sick. 


Readings of the saint


Romans 8:28-39

Brothers and sisters: We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his decree. Those whom he foreknew he predestined to share the image of his Son, that the Son might be the first-born of many brothers. Those he predestined he likewise called; those he called he also justified; and those he justified he in turn glorified. What shall we say after that? If God is for us, who can be against us? Is it possible that he who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for the sake of us all will not grant us all things besides? Who shall bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? God, who justifies? Who shall condemn them? Christ Jesus, who died or rather was raised up, who is at the right hand of God and who intercedes for us? 

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Trial, or distress, or persecution, or hunger, or nakedness, or danger, or the sword? As Scripture says: “For your sake we are being slain all the day long; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.” Yet in all this we are more than conquerors because of him who has loved us. For I am certain that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor powers, neither height nor depth nor any other creature, will be able to separate us from the love of God that comes to us in Christ Jesus our Lord.  



Luke 10: 19-21

At that time the Lord said: “Behold, I have given you the power to ‘tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” 

At that very moment he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I give praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes Father, such has been your gracious will.”


Readings for the day


2 Peter 3: 1-18

Dearly beloved: I am writing you this second letter, intending them both as reminders urging you to sincerity of outlook. Recall the teaching delivered long ago by the holy prophets, as well as the new command of the Lord and Savior preached to you by the apostles. 

Note this first of all: in the last days, mocking, sneering men who are ruled by their passions will arrive on scene. They will ask: “Where is that promised coming of his? Our forefathers have been laid to rest, but everything stays just as it was when the world was created.” In believing this, they do not take into account that of old there were Heavens and the earth drawn out of the waters and standing between the waters, all brought into being by the word of God. By water that world was then destroyed; it was overwhelmed by the deluge. The present heavens and earth are reserved by God‘s word for fire; they are kept for the day of judgment, the day when godless men will be destroyed.

This point must not be overlooked, dear friends. In the Lord‘s eyes, one day is as 1000 years and 1000 years are as a day… The Lord does not delay in keeping his promise – those some consider it a “delay.” Rather, he shows you generous patience, since he wants none to perish but all to come to repentance. The day of the Lord will come like a thief, and on that day the heavens will vanish with the war; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and all its deeds will be made manifest.

Since everything is to be destroyed in this way, what sort of men must you not be! How holy in your conduct and devotion, looking for the coming of the day of God and trying to hasten it! Because of it, the heavens will be destroyed in flames and the elements will melt away in a blaze. What we await are new heavens and a new earth where, according to his promise, the justice of God will reside. 

So, beloved, while waiting for this, make every effort to be found without stain or defilement, and at peace in his sight. Consider that our Lord‘s patience is directed toward salvation. Paul, our beloved brother, wrote you this in the spirit of wisdom that is his, dealing with these matters as he does in all his letters. There are certain passages in them hard to understand. The ignorant and the unstable to start them (just as they do the rest of Scripture) to their own ruin.



Mark 13:24-31

The Lord said to his disciples: “During that period after trials of every sort the sun will be darkened, the moon will not shed it’s light, stars will fall out of the skies, and the heavenly hosts will be shaken. Then men will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. He will dispatch his angels and assemble his chosen from the four winds, from the farthest bounds of earth and sky. Learn a lesson from the fig tree. Once the sap of its branches runs high and it begins to sprout leaves, you know that summer is near. And the same way, when you see these things happening, you will know that he is near, even at the door. I assure you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. The heavens and earth will pass away but my words will not pass.”


Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com

Jan. 31 The Holy Wonderworkers and Unmercenaries Cyrus and John

St. Cyrus was a noted physician in the city of Alexandria, where he had been born and raised. He was a Christian and he treated the sick without charge. Preaching the gospel, the holy physician converted many pagans to Christ. During the persecution of Diocletian (284-305), St. Cyrus withdrew into Arabia, where he became a monk. He continued to heal people by his prayer, having received from God the gift to heal every sickness.

In the city of Edessa at this time lived the soldier John, a pious Christian. When the persecution started, he went to Jerusalem and there he heard about St. Cyrus. He began to search for him, going first to Alexandria and then to Arabia. When St. John finally found St. Cyrus, he remained with him and became his faithful follower. After helping the Christian woman Athanasia and her three young daughters, Theoctiste, Theodota, and Eudoxia, they were flogged and then beheaded, receiving their crowns of martyrdom.



The grace of the trinity settled in your pure hearts, most blessed Cyrus and John. You have become marvelous exorcists of impure spirits. You were doctors over hidden and visible illnesses. Now that you stand before God, heal our spiritual diseases by your unceasing prayers.



Receiving the gift of miracles from divine grace, you work all sorts of wonders, O holy ones. By your invisible labors you uproot all our passions, for you our heavenly doctors, O God-wise Cyrus! O glorious John!



2 Peter 2: 9-22

Dearly beloved: the Lord, indeed, knows how to rescue devout men from trial, and how to continue the punishment of the wicked up to the day of judgment. He knows, especially, how to treat those who live for the flesh and their desire for whatever corrupts, and who despise authority. These bold and arrogant men have no qualms whatsoever about reviling celestial beings, on whom angels, though greater than men in strength and power, pass no opprobrious sentence in the Lord’s presence. These men pour abuse on things of which they are ignorant. They act like creatures of instinct, brute animals born to be caught and destroyed. Because of their decadence they two will be destroyed, suffering the reward of their wickedness. Thinking daytime revelry a delight, they are stain and defilement as they share your feasts in a spirit of seduction. Constantly on the lookout for a woman, theirs is a never ending search for sin. They lure the weaker types. Their hearts are trained in greed. An accursed lot they are! They have abandoned the straight road and wander off the path taken by Balaam, son of Beor. He was a man attracted to dishonest gain, but he was rebuked before his evildoing. A mute beast spoke with a human voice to restrain the prophet’s madness.

These men are waterless springs, mists whipped by the gale. The darkest gloom has been reserved for them. They talk empty bombast while baiting their hooks with passion, with the lustful ways of the flesh, to catch those who have just come free of a life of errors. They promise them freedom though they themselves are slaves of corruption – for surely anyone is the slave of that by which he has been overcome. When men have fled a polluted world by recognizing the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and then I cut up and overcome in pollution once more, their last condition is worse than their first. It would have been better for them not to have recognized the road to holiness than to have turned their backs on the holy law handed on to them, once they had known it. How well the proper fits them: “The dog returns to its vomit,” and, “a sow bathes by wallowing in mire.”



Mark 13: 14-23

The Lord said to his disciples: “When you see the abominable and destructive presence standing where it should not be – let the reader take note!– those in Judea must flee to the mountains. If a man is on the roof terrace, he must not come down or enter his house to get anything out of it. If a man is in the field, he must not turn back to pick up his cloak. It will go badly with pregnant and nursing women in those days. Keep praying that none of this happens in winter. Those times will be more distressful than any between God’s work of creation and now, and for all time to come. Indeed, had the Lord not shortened the period, not a person would be saved. But for the sake of those he has chosen, he has shortened the days. If anyone tells you at that time, ‘Look, the Messiah is here!’ ‘Look, he is there!’ – do not believe it. False messiahs and false prophets will appear performing signs and wonders to mislead, if it were possible, even the chosen. So be constantly on guard! I have told you about it beforehand.”


Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com


Jan. 30 The Three Holy Hierarchs and Great Archbishops: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom; The Holy Priest-Martyr Hippolytus of Rome

The three Holy Hierarchs: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom: All three of these saints have their own feast days. This celebration began in 1100 in the days of the Emperor Alexis Comnenus. A great quarrel arose in Constantinople as to which of these three was the greatest theologian. They appeared in a dream to Patriarch John and told him that they were equal before God, and each had his special gifts and talents. John chose Jan. 30 to commemorate all three of them together, and composed the office.



O teachers of the universe, equal to the apostles, pray to the Lord of all to grant peace to the world and abundant mercy to our souls. 



O Lord, You have received your priestly and inspired preachers, the crown of your teachers, into the enjoyment of your goodness and repose. You accepted their labors and death above any other sacrifice, for only You can glorify your saints. 


Readings for the saints


Hebrews 13: 7-16

Brothers and sisters: Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you; consider how their lives ended, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching. It is good to have our hearts strengthened by the grace of God and not by foods which are useless to those who take them as a standard for living. We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. The bodies of the animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priests as a sin offering are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus died outside the gate, to sanctify the people by his own blood. Let us go to him outside the camp, bearing insult which he bore. For here we have no lasting city; we are seeking one which is to come. Through him let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips which acknowledge his name. Do not neglect good deeds and generosity; God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind. 



Mathew 5: 14-19

The Lord said to his disciples: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Men do not light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket. They set it on a stand where it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, your light must shine before men so that they may see goodness in your acts and give praise to your heavenly Father.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets. I have come, not to abolish them, but to fulfill them. This much I assure you: until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter of the law, not the smallest part of a letter, shall be done away with until it all comes true. That is why whoever breaks the least significant of these commands and teaches others to do so shall be called least in the kingdom of God. Whoever fulfills and teaches these commands shall be great in the kingdom of God.“

Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com

Jan. 29 The translation of the Relics of the Holy Bishop and Martyr Ignatius of Antioch

The translation of the Relics of the Holy Priest Martyr Ignatius the God-bearer, Bishop of Antioch: Ignatius was martyred in Rome at the beginning of the second century. His remains were later translated to Antioch, his birthplace and his episcopate. During the invasion of the Persians, the relics were once again taken from Antioch to Rome in the 6th century. 



Having offered yourself as a sanctified gift to God, you were thrown to the ravenous animals. You received the crown of victory from God for this. Save those who honor you as a pastor for Christ. A teacher and a companion of martyrs.



Rising in the east today and enlightening all the world by your teachings, you were graced with martyrdom, O heavenly Ignatius. 


Readings for the saint


Hebrews 4:14 – 5:6

Brothers and sisters: Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our profession of faith. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who was tempted in every way that we are, yet never sinned. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and favor and to find help in time of need.

Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal patiently with erring sinners, for he himself is beset by weakness and so must make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. One does not take this honor on his own initiative, but only when called by God as Aaron was. Even Christ did not glorify himself with the office of high priest; he received it from the One who said to him, “You are my son; today I have begotten you”; just as he says in another place, “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”

In the days when he was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to God, who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when perfected, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, designated by God as high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.



Mark 9: 33-41

At that time Jesus and his disciples returned to Capernaum and Jesus, once inside the house, began to ask them, “What were you discussing on the way home?” At this they fell silent, for on the way they had been arguing about who was most important. So he sat down and called the Twelve around him and said, “If anyone wishes to rank first, he must remain the last one of all and the servant of all.” Then he took a little child, stood him in their midst, and putting his arms around the child, said to them, “Whoever welcomes a child such as this for my sake welcomes me. And whoever welcomes me welcomes, not me, but him who sent me.”

John said to him, “Teacher, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we tried to stop him because he was not of our company.” Jesus said in reply: “Do not try to stop him. No man who performs a miracle using my name can at the same time speak ill of me. Anyone who is not against us is with us. Any man who gives you a drink of water because you belong to Christ will not, I assure you, go without his reward.”  


Readings for the day


2nd Timothy 3: 10-15

Timothy, my son: you have followed closely my teaching and my conduct. You have observed my resolution, fidelity, patience, love, and endurance, through persecution and sufferings in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. You know what persecutions I have had to bear, and you know how the Lord saved me from them all. Anyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus can expect to be persecuted. But all the while evil men and charlatans will go from bad to worse, deceiving others, themselves deceived. You, for your part, must remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know who your teachers were. Likewise, from your infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures, the source of the wisdom which through faith in Jesus Christ leads to salvation.



Luke 18: 10-14

The Lord told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray; one was a Pharisee, the other a publican. The Pharisee with head unbowed prayed in this fashion: ‘I give you thanks, O God, that I am not like the rest of men – grasping, crooked, adulterous – or even like this publican. I fast twice a week. I pay tithes on all I possess.’ The other man, however, kept his distance, not even daring to raise his eyes to heaven. All he did was beat his breast and say, ‘O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.’ Believe me, this man went home from the temple justified but the other did not. For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled while he who humbled himself shall be exalted.”


Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com