Our venerable father Maximus the confessor, noted theologian and writer who resigned his post as secretary to the Emperor Heraclius and entered the monastery of Chrysopolis, of which he eventually became hegumen. He headed the opposition to the Monothelite heresy. For this he was banished, imprisoned, and lost his tongue and right hand.
The holy martyr Neophyte of Nicea, died a martyr at the age of fifteen during the reign of Diocletian.
The holy martyrs Eugene, Candidus, Valerian, and Aquila suffered for their faith in Christ during the reign of Diocletian and Maximian, under the regimental commander Lycius.
O guide of the true faith, mirror of piety and commendable behavior, bright star of the universe, and adornment of pontiffs, you enlightened us all by your teachings. O wise Maximus, inspired by God and lyre of the Holy Spirit, intercede with Christ our God that he may save our souls.
O Lord our God, your holy martyr Neophyte has deserved the crown of immortality on account of his good fight. Armed with your strength, he has vanquished his persecutors and crushed Satan’s dreadful might. Through his supplications, O Christ our God, save our souls.
Today the Church is filled with music, and the world is replete with miracles. These four holy men have acted bravely against guile, and in their faith they professed Christ. O saints, obtain remission of sins for those who venerate your holy memory.
Let us, O faithful, honor with worthy hymns the great Maximus so highly devoted to the Holy Trinity. He preached faith in God with great courage and glorified Christ in his two natures, two wills, and two operations. Therefore, let us cry out: Rejoice, O preacher of the true faith.
You are a new shoot in the garden of Christ’s martyrs. You offer the fruits of heavenly understanding which nourish those who venerate you in faith. O glorious, wise, and brave martyr Neophyte, as you stand before God, pray for our souls.
Now that we have assembled let us praise the holy and God-bearing martyrs: Eugene, Candidus, Valerian, and Aquila. They spurned the goods of the world, and now we honor them as a choir of four.
Hebrews 11: 33-40
Brothers and sisters: By faith [the Saints] conquered the kingdoms, did what was just, obtained the promises; they broke the jaws of lions, put out raging fires, escaped the devouring sword; though weak they were made powerful, became strong in battle, and turned back foreign invaders. Women received back their dead through resurrection. Others were tortured and would not receive deliverance, in order to obtain a better resurrection. Still others endured mockery, scourging, even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, sawed in two, put to death at sword’s point; they were about garbed in the skins of sheep or goats, needy, afflicted, tormented. The world was not worthy of them. They wandered about in the deserts and on mountains, they dwelt in caves and in holes in the earth. Yet despite the fact that all of these were approved because of their faith, they did not obtain what had been promised. God had made a better plan, a plan which included us. Without us, they were not to be made perfect.
Luke 12: 2-12
The Lord said to his disciples: “There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nothing hidden that will not be made known. Everything you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight; what you have whispered in locked rooms will be proclaimed from the rooftops. I say to you who are my friends: Do no not be afraid of those who kill the body and can do no more. I will show you whom you ought to fear. Fear him who has power to cast into Gehenna after he has killed. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for a few pennies? Yet not one of them is neglected by God. In very truth, even the hairs of your head are counted! Fear nothing, then. You are worth more than a flock of sparrows.
“I’ll tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men– the Son of Man will acknowledge him before the angels of God. But the man who has disowned me in the presence of men will be disowned in the presence of the angels of God. Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever blasphemes the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. When they bring you before synagogues, rulers, and authorities, do not worry about how to defend yourselves or what to say. The Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment all that should be said.”
1 Thessalonians 5: 14-23
Brothers and sisters: We exhort you to admonish the unruly; cheer the faint hearted; support the weak; be patient toward all. See that no one returns evil to any other; always seek one another’s good and, for that matter, the good of all. Rejoice always, never cease praying, render constant thanks; such is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Spirit. Do not despise the prophecies. Test everything; retain what is good. Avoid any semblance of evil.
May the God of peace make you perfect in holiness. May he preserve you whole and entire, spirit, soul, and body, irreproachable at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Luke 17: 3-10
The Lord said: “Be on your guard. If your brother does wrong, correct him; if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times a day, and seven times a day turns his back to you saying, ‘I am sorry,’ forgive him.”
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith,” and Jesus answered: “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this sycamore, ‘Be uprooted and transplanted into the sea,’ and it would obey you. If one of you had a servant plowing or herding sheep and he came to you from the fields, would you say to him, ‘Come and sit down at table’? Would you not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You can eat and drink afterward’? Would he be grateful to the servant who was only carrying out his orders? It is quite the same with you who hear me. When you have done all you have been commanded to do, say, ‘We are useless servants. We have done no more than our duty.’”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Friday, January 20 –