O holy apostles, intercede with the merciful God that he may grant our souls forgiveness of our sins.
Come, you faithful people, let us praise the seventy disciples of Christ with heavenly hymns. Through them we have come to adore the Holy Trinity, and they are still a light of faith for us.
In you, O father, the divine image was strictly preserved; taking up your cross, you followed Christ. You taught us by example how to spurn the flesh, for it passes away, and how to care for the soul, which is immortal. Therefore, O venerable Theoctistus, your soul rejoices with the angels.
You gained your merit by feeding the sheep of the Lord by your words of exhortation in an unfeeling land. You filled it with zeal and presented it to the Savior. Now that you have passed over to Him , you have received a reward worthy of your troubles. Glory to Him who strengthened you! Glory to Him who crowned you! Glory to Him who heals us through you!
Hebrews 4: 1-13
Brothers and sisters: While the promise of the entrance into God’s rest still holds, we ought to be fearful of disobeying lest anyone of you be judged to have lost his chance of entering. We have indeed heard the good news, as they did. But the word which they heard did not profit them, for they did not receive it in faith. It is we who have believed who enter into that rest, just as God said: “Thus I swore in my anger, ‘They shall never enter into my rest.’” Yet God’s work was finished when He created the world, for in reference to the seventh day Scripture somewhere says, “And God rested from all his work on the seventh day”; and again, in the place we have referred to, God says, “They shall never enter into my rest.” Therefore, since it remains for some to enter, and those to whom it was first announced did not because of disbelief, God once more set a day, “today,” when long afterward he spoke through David the words we have quoted: “Today, if you should hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Now if Joshua had led them into the place of rest, God would not have spoken afterward of another day. Therefore a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God. and he who enters into God’s rest, rests from his own work as God did from his. Let us strive to enter into that rest, so that no one may fall, in imitation of the example of Israel’s unbelief.
Indeed, God’s word is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword. It penetrates and divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges reflections and thoughts of the heart. Nothing is concealed from him; all lies bare and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render and account.
Luke 21: 12-19The Lord said to his disciples, “Before any of this [trouble] they will manhandle and persecute you, summoning you to synagogues and prisons, bringing you to trial before kings and governors, all because of my name. You will be brought to give witness on account of it. I bid you resolve not to worry about your defense beforehand, for I will give you words and a wisdom which none of your adversaries can take exception to or contradict. You will be delivered up even by your parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and some of you will be put to death. All will hate you because of me, yet not a hair of your head will be harmed. By patient endurance you will save your lives.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
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Monday, January 3 –