St. Theodore, a Roman commander in the army of emperor Licincius and the governor of the town of Heraclea, scorned his youth, his handsome appearance, his military rank, and the good grace of the emperor; he was martyred in the year 318. His miracle-working relics were translated from Euchaita to Constantinople and interred in the Blanchernae church.
The holy prophet Zechariah, who prophesied that the Chosen People would return from their exile to the land of promise. He bore the news to them of the king of peace, which Christ the Lord fulfilled marvelously by his triumphant entrance to the holy city of Jerusalem.
O Theodore the triumphant, you became a brilliant general in the armies of the King of heaven. You fought courageously with the weapons of faith and put the legions of demons to flight. Therefore, we praise you with fervor at all times.
Troparion for the Prophet
As we celebrate the memory of you prophet Zechariah, O Lord, we implore You to save our souls through his prayers.
O Theodore, the pride of martyrs. You put on the armor of faith and took the Word of God as a spear to vanquish the enemy. In the company of the martyrs, do not cease to intercede with Christ our God in behalf of all of us.
Kontakion for the prophet
You saw the chariots being directed by the hand of God, and you looked down upon the servants, O Zechariah. As you rest among them now as a favored prophet, pray for those who remember you with unwavering faith, that we may walk the road of understanding.
2 Timothy 2: 1-10
Timothy, my son: You must be strong in the grace which is ours in Christ Jesus. The things which you have heard from me through many witnesses you must hand on to trustworthy men who will be able to teach others. Bear hardship along with me as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier becomes entangled in the affairs of civilian life; he avoids this in order to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if one takes part in an athletic contest, he cannot receive the winner’s crown unless he has keeps the rules. The hard-working farmer is the one who should have the first share of the crop. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will make my meaningfully clear.
Remember that Jesus Christ, a descendant of David, was raised from the dead. This is the gospel I preach; in preaching it I suffer as a criminal, even to the point of being thrown into chains – but there is no chaining the word of God! Therefore I bear with all of this for the sake of those whom God has chosen, in order that they may obtain the salvation to be found in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.
Matthew 10: 16-22
The Lord said to his disciples: “What I am doing is sending you out like sheep among wolves. You must be as clever as snakes and innocent as doves. Be on your guard with respect to others. They will hale you into court, they will flog you in their synagogues. You will be brought before them and before the Gentiles on my account. When they hand you over, do not worry about what you will say or how you will say it. When the hour comes, you will be given what you are to say. You yourselves will not be the speakers; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you.
“Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will turn against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all on account of me. But whoever holds out till the end will escape death.”
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
Monday, February 7 –