Your martyrs, O Lord our God, in their struggles received incorruptible crowns from You. With Your strength, they brought down tyrants and broke the cowardly valor of demons. Through their prayers, O Christ our God, save our souls.
These martyrs have become a means of holiness to those on earth. How well they endured the agony imposed by the torturer. They rejoice in the Lord and sing out: We adore Him who buried the sins of all in the flowing waters of the Jordan.
In you, O mother, 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 Syncletica, your soul rejoices with the angels.
You endured the pain of your suffering by fasting. You are delighted to find a finer dwelling in heaven and have been filled with more splendid light because you followed Christ so courageously along the difficult path. You turned away from the goods of earth and became like an angel. Now you share in their glory.
Hebrews 11: 8-16
Brothers and sisters: By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called, and went forth to the place he was to receive as a heritage; he went forth moreover, not knowing where he was going. By faith he sojourned in the promised land of a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise; for he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose designer and maker is God. By faith Sarah received power to conceive though she was past the age, for she thought that the One who had made the promise was worthy of trust. As a result of this faith, there came forth from one man who was himself as good as dead, descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sands of the seashore.
All of these died in faith. They did not obtain what had been promised but saw and saluted it from afar. By acknowledging themselves to be strangers and foreigners on the earth, they showed that they were seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking back to the place from which they had come, they would have had the opportunity of returning there. But they were searching for a better, a heavenly home. Wherefore God is not ashamed to called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
Luke 21: 37-38, 22: 1-8
At that time Jesus would teach in the temple by day, and leave the city to spend the night on the Mount of Olives. At daybreak all the people came to hear him in the temple.
The feast of unleavened Bread known as the Passover was drawing near, and the high priests and scribes began to look for some way to dispose of Jesus; but they were afraid of the people. Then Satan took possession of Judas, the one called Iscariot, a member of the twelve. He went off to confer with the chief priests and officers about a way to hand Jesus over to them. They were delighted, and agreed to give him money. Judas accepted, then kept looking for an opportunity to hand Jesus over without creating a disturbance.
The day of Unleavened Bread arrived on which it was appointed to sacrifice the paschal lamb. Accordingly, Jesus sent Peter and John off with the instruction, “Go and prepare our Passover supper for us.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
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Tuesday, January 4 –