The holy martyr Charalampus was a bishop in Magnesia who suffered for Christ in his 113th year. When a terrible persecution began during the reign of Emperor Septimius Severus, the elderly Charalampus did not hide from the persecutors. Instead, he freely and openly perched the Christian faith. He endured all tortures as though he were in someone else’s body.When they skinned him alive, the forgiving elder said to the emperor’s soldiers: “Thank you, my brethren, for in scraping my old body you renew my spirit for a new eternal life.” He worked many miracles and converted many to the Faith. Even the emperor’s daughter, Galina, abandoned the idolatry of her father and became a Christian. Condemned to death and brought to the place of execution, St. Charalampus raised his hands to heaven and prayed to God for all people, that God would grant them bodily health and spiritual salvation, and that He would multiply their fruit of the earth: “O Lord, Thou knowest that men are flesh and blood; forgive them their sins and pour out Thy grace on all!” After praying, this holy elder gave up his soul to God before the executioner lowered the sword on his neck. He suffered and died in the year 202. The emperor’s daughter Galin removed the saint’s body and buried it with honor.
You martyr Charalampus, 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 were delighted with the grace of the priesthood, and you decorated the Church with your sufferings, You accepted them with joy for Christ, glorious and dear Charalampus, and now you enlighten the world as a true victor.
2 John 1 1-13
The elder to a Lady who is elect and to her children. In truth I love each of you – and that only I but also all those who have come to know the truth. This love is based on the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever. In truth and love, then, we shall have grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son.
It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the path of truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. By now, my Lady, I would make this request of you (not as if I were writing you some new commandment; rather, it is a commandment we have had from the start): let us love one another. This love involves our walking according to the commandments, and as you have heard from the beginning, the commandment is the way in which you should walk.
Many deceitful men have gone out into the world, men who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ is coming in the flesh. Such is the deceitful one! This is the antichrist! Look out that you yourselves do not lose what you have worked for; you must receive your reward in full. Anyone who is so “progressive” that he does not remain rooted in the teaching of Christ does not possess God, well anyone who remains rooted in the teaching possesses both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you who does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house; do not even greet him, for whoever greets him shares in the evil he does.
Well there is much more that I could write you, I do not intend to put it down on paper; instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face-to-face, so that our joy may be full. The children of your elect sister send you their greetings.
Mark 15: 22, 25, 33-41
At that time they brought Jesus to the site of Golgotha (which means “Skull Place”). It was about nine in the morning when they crucified him.
When noon came, darkness fell in the whole countryside and lasted until midafternoon. At that time, Jesus cried in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” A few bystanders who heard it remarked, “Listen! He is calling on Elijah!” Someone ran off, and soaking a sponge in sour wine, stuck it on a reed to try to make him drink. The man said, “Now let’s see whether Elijah comes down to take him down.”
Then Jesus, uttering a loud cry, breathed his last. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The centurion who stood guard over him, on seeing the manner of his death, declared, “Clearly this man was Son of God!” There were also women present looking on from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and Joses and Salome. There women had followed Jesus when he was in Galilee and attended to his needs. There were also many others who had come up with him to Jerusalem.
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Friday, February 10 –