Our venerable father Auxentius on Mount Skopa in Bithynia, priest and archimandrite, who argued the Chalcedonian faith with a strong voice in a prominent place as if established in a place of authority.
The passing of our venerable father Constantine, whose monastic name was Cyril, the Apostle of the Slavs: This man from Thessalonica, along with his brother Methodius, was sent by Photius the bishop of Constantinople to Moravia, where he preached the Christian faith and devised an alphabet that they might translate the sacred books from Greek to the Slavic language. When they came to Rome, Cyril, who was previously known as Constantine, was afflicted by an illness. He was made a monk and the same day fell asleep in the Lord in 869.
You made the wilderness your dwelling, O Auxentius, the bearer of God. You became an angel in the flesh and a wonder-worker. Through prayers, fast, and vigils, you obtained from God special graces to heal the sick and to sanctify the souls of those who come to you with trust. Glory to the One who gave you strength! Glory to the One who crowned you! Glory to the One who through your intercession grants healing to all!
From your childhood you made wisdom your sister, and you took her to wife as a radiant virgin. You adorned your mind and soul with it like gold. You became a second great Cyril, O voice of God. You became a martyr by name and a blessed thinker.
You found your paradise in asceticism and mastered your body’s passions; you grew stronger in faith and blossomed as a flower in the midst of the Garden, O Auxentius.
Enlightening the world by your divinely inspired teachings, you have extended your sway like lightning over the world. You sow the brilliant Word of God everywhere you go; all the corners of the world shine with your miracles, the north, south, east and west, O blessed Cyril.
Hebrews 7:26- 8:2
Brothers and sisters: It was fitting that we should have such a high priest [as Jesus]: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, higher than the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he has no need to offer sacrifice day after day, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did that once for all when he offered himself. For the law sets up as high priests men who are weak, but the word of the oath which came after the law appoints as priests the Son, made perfect forever.
The main point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, minister of the sanctuary and of that true tabernacle set up, not by men, but by the Lord.
John 10: 9-16
The Lord said: “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be safe. He will go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy. I came that they might have life and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand – who is no shepherd nor owner of the sheep– catches sight of the wolf coming and runs away, leaving the sheep to be snatched and scattered by the wolf. That is because he works for pay; he has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me in the same way that the Father knows me and I know the Father; for these sheep I will give my life. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must lead them, too, and they shall hear my voice. There shall be one flock, then, one shepherd.”
Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who have been called by God; who have found love in God the Father and have been guarded safely in Jesus Christ. May mercy, peace, and love be yours in ever greater measure.
I was already fully intent on writing you, beloved, about the salvation we share. But now I feel obliged to write and encourage you to fight hard for the faith delivered once for all to the saints. Certain individuals have recently wormed their way into your midst, godless types, long ago destined for the condemnation I shall describe. They pervert the gracious gift of our God to sexual excess and deny Jesus Christ, our only master and Lord.
I wish to remind you of certain things, even though you may already be very well aware of them. The Lord first rescued his people from the land of Egypt but later destroyed those who refused to believe. There were angels, too, who did not keep to their own domain, who deserted their dwelling place. These the Lord has kept in perpetual bondage, shrouded in murky darkness against the judgment of the great day. Sodom, Gomorrah, and the towns there abouts indulged in lust, just as those angels did; they practiced unnatural vice. They are set before us to dissuade us, as they undergo a punishment of eternal fire.
Similarly, these visionaries pollute the flesh; they spurn God’s dominion and revile the angelic beings. Even the archangel Michael, when his case with the devil was being judged – a dispute over Moses’ body – did not venture to charge him with blasphemy. He simply said, “May the Lord punish you.” These people, however, not only revile what they have no knowledge of but are corrupted through the very things they know by instinct, like brute animals.
Luke 22: 39-42, 45-71, 23:1
At that time Jesus went out and made his way, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; his disciples accompanied him. On reaching the place he said to them, “Pray that you may not be put to the test.” He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, then went down on his knees and prayed in these words: “Father, if it is your will, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.”
Then Jesus rose from prayer and came to his disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted with grief. He said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Wake up, and pray that you may not be subjected to the trial.”
While he was still speaking a crowd came, led by the man named Judas, one of the Twelve. He approached Jesus to embrace him. Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” When the companions of Jesus saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, shall we use the sword?” One of them went so far as to strike the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. Jesus said in answer to their question, “Enough!” Then he touched the ear and healed the man. But to those who had come out against him – the chief priests, the chiefs of the temple guards, and the ancients – Jesus said, “Am I a criminal that you come after me armed with swords and clubs? When I was with you day after day in the temple you never raised a hand against me. But this is your hour – the triumph of darkness!”
They led Jesus away under arrest and brought him to the house of the high priest, while Peter followed at a distance. Later they lighted a fire in the middle of the courtyard and were sitting beside it, and Peter sat among them. A servant girl saw him sitting in the light of the fire. She gazed at him intently, then said, “This man was with him.” Peter denied the fact, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” A little while later someone else saw him and said, “You are one of them too.” But Peter said, “No, sir, not I!” About an hour after that another spoke more insistently: “This man was certainly with him, for he is a Galilean.” Peter responded, “My friend, I do not know what you are talking about.” At the very moment he was saying this, a cock crowed. The Lord turned around and looked at Peter, and Peter remembered the word that the Lord had spoken to him, “Before the cock crows today you will deny me three times.” Peter went out and wept bitterly.
Meanwhile the men guarding Jesus amused themselves at his expense. They blindfolded him first, slapped him, and then taunted him: “Play the prophet; which one struck you?” And they directed many other insulting words at him.
At daybreak, the elders of the people, the chief priests, and the scribes assembled again. Once they had brought him before their council, they said, “Tell us, are you the Messiah?” Jesus replied, “If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I question you, you will not answer. This much only I will say: ‘From now on, the Son of Man will have his seat at the right hand of the Power of God.’” “So you are the Son of God?” they asked in chorus. He answered, “It is you who say I am.” They said, “What need have we of witnesses? We have heard it from his own mouth.” Then the entire assembly rose up and led him before Pilate.
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Monday, February 13 –