Dec. 18 The Holy Martyr Sebastian and his Companions

Bulletin as of December 17 2023

The holy martyr Sebastian was born in Italy and brought up in the city of Milan where he intended to be a soldier. The emperor Diocletian made him captain of the imperial guard. During this time, Sebastian professed the Faith and was greatly persecuted for it. After many of his converts were martyred, the emperor called Sebastian and rebuked him for his betrayal. Sebastian replied, “I always pray to my Christ for your health and for the peace of the Roman Empire.” The emperor ordered him stripped and shot with arrows. Since this did not kill him, he was beaten to death with staves in the year 287.


Your martyrs, O Lord our God, in their struggles received incorruptible crowns from You. With Your strength, they brought down the tyrants and broke the cowardly valor of demons. Through their prayers, O Christ our God, save our souls.


O Sebastian, by the shedding of your blood you were clothed in martyrdom, being arrayed in a robe of precious purple. Therefore, you took up your abode with Christ in the kingdom without end on high, and with those who suffered with you, you received the crown of glory. O wise Sebastian, as you sing with them, always remember us. 


Hebrews 8: 7-13

Brothers and sisters: If that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no place for a second one. But God, finding fault with them, says, “Days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers the day I took them forth from the land of Egypt; for they broke my covenant and I grew weary of them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will place my laws in their minds and I will write them upon their hearts; I will be their God and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach their fellow citizens or their brothers, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know me, from least to greatest. I will forgive their evildoing, and their sins I will remember no more.”

When he says, “a new covenant,” he declares the first one obsolete. And what has become obsolete and has grown old is close to disappearing.


Mark 9:42- 10:1

The Lord said, “It would be better if anyone who leads astray one of the simple believers were to be plunged in the sea with a great millstone fastened around his neck. If your hand is your difficulty, cut it off! Better for you to enter life maimed than to keep both hands and enter Gehenna with his unquenchable fire. If your foot is your own doing, cut it off! Better for you to enter life crippled than to be thrown into Gehenna with both feet. If your eye is your downfall, tear it out! Better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to be thrown with both eyes into Gehenna, where ‘the worm dies not and the fire is never extinguished.’ Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is excellent in its place; but if salt becomes tasteless, how can you season it? Keep salt in your heart and you will be at peace with one another.”

From where Jesus moved on to the districts of Judea and across the Jordan. Once more crowds gathered around him, and as usual he began to teach them.

Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications –

Sunday, December 17 –

  • 5:00 PM