Feb. 23 The Holy Priest Martyr Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna 

Bulletin as of February 22 2024

The holy priest martyr Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, who was “fruitful in every good work” (Col. 1:10), was born in the first century, and lived in Smyrna in Asia Minor. He was orphaned at an early age, but at the direction of an angel, he was raised by the pious widow Kallista. After the death of his adoptive mother, Polycarp gave away his possessions and began to lead a chaste life, caring for the sick and infirm. He was very fond of and close to St. Bucolus, Bishop of Smyra (who we celebrate Feb. 6). He ordained Polycarp as deacon, entrusting him to preach the Word of God in church. He also ordained him to the holy priesthood. Under the emperors Marcus Antoninus and Lucius Aurelius Commodus, at about the age of 90, St. Polycarp was given over to the flames in the amphitheater at Smyrna. Before the proconsul and the whole people, he gave thanks to God the Father because he had deemed worthy to be numbered among martyrs and to receive a portion from the cup of Christ.


O holy priest-martyr Polycarp, you lent yourself to the apostles’ way of life and succeeded them on their throne. Inspired by God, you found the way to contemplation through the practice of virtue. Therefore, you became a perfect teacher of truth, fighting for the faith unto the shedding of your blood. Intercede with Christ our God that He may save our souls. 


O wise priest-martyr Polycarp, you offered spiritual fruits to God and became worthy of Him because of your virtues. Therefore, we who have been enlightened by your teachings, honor your memory and glorify the Lord.

Readings for the day

Genesis 5:32- 6:8

When Noah was five hundred years old, he begot Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

When human beings began to grow numerous on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw how beautiful the daughters of human beings were, and so they took for their wives whomever they pleased. Then the Lord said: My spirit shall not remain in human beings forever, because they are only flesh. Their days shall comprise one hundred and twenty years. 

The Nephilim appeared on earth in those days, as well as later, after the sons of God had intercourse with the daughters of human beings, who bore them sons. They were the heroes of old, the men renown. 

When the Lord saw how great the wickedness of human beings was on earth, and how every desire that their heart conceived was always nothing but evil, the Lord regretted making human beings on the earth, and his heart was grieved.

So the Lord said: I will wipe out from the earth the human beings I have created, and not only the human beings, but also the animals and the crawling things and the birds of the air, for I regret that I made them. But Noah found favor with the Lord. 

Proverbs 6:20 – 7:1

Observe, my son, your father’s command, and do not reject your mother’s teaching;

Keep them fastened over your heart always, tie them around your neck.

When you lie down they will watch over you, when you wake, they will share your concerns; wherever you turn, they will guide you.

For the command is a lamp, and the teaching a light, and a way to life are the reproofs that discipline, 

Keeping you from another’s wife, from the smooth tongue of a foreign woman. 

Do not lust in your heart after her beauty, do not let her captivate you with her glance!

For the price of a harlot may be scarcely a loaf of bread, but a married woman is a trap for your precious life.

Can a man take embers into his bosom, and his garments not be burned?

Or can a man walk in live coals, and his feet not be scorched?

So with him who sleeps with another’s wife– none who touches her shall go unpunished.

Thieves are not despised if out of hunger they steak to satisfy their appetite. 

Yet if caught they must pay back sevenfold, yield up all the wealth of their house.

But those who commit adultery have no sense; those who do it destroy themselves.

They will be beaten and disgraced, and their shame will not be wiped away;

For passion enraged the husband, he will have no pity on the day of vengeance;

He will not consider any restitution, nor be satisfied by your many bribes.

My son, keep my words, and treasure my commands.

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

Thursday, February 22 –

  • 6:12 PM