St. Cyrus was a noted physician in the city of Alexandria, where he had been born and raised. He was a Christian and he treated the sick without charge. Preaching the gospel, the holy physician converted many pagans to Christ. During the persecution of Diocletian (284-305), St. Cyrus withdrew into Arabia, where he became a monk. He continued to heal people by his prayer, having received from God the gift to heal every sickness.
In the city of Edessa at this time lived the soldier John, a pious Christian. When the persecution started, he went to Jerusalem and there he heard about St. Cyrus. He began to search for him, going first to Alexandria and then to Arabia. When St. John finally found St. Cyrus, he remained with him and became his faithful follower. After helping the Christian woman Athanasia and her three young daughters, Theoctiste, Theodota, and Eudoxia, they were flogged and then beheaded, receiving their crowns of martyrdom.
The grace of the trinity settled in your pure hearts, most blessed Cyrus and John. You have become marvelous exorcists of impure spirits. You were doctors over hidden and visible illnesses. Now that you stand before God, heal our spiritual diseases by your unceasing prayers.
Receiving the gift of miracles from divine grace, you work all sorts of wonders, O holy ones. By your invisible labors you uproot all our passions, for you our heavenly doctors, O God-wise Cyrus! O glorious John!
2 Peter 2: 9-22
Dearly beloved: the Lord, indeed, knows how to rescue devout men from trial, and how to continue the punishment of the wicked up to the day of judgment. He knows, especially, how to treat those who live for the flesh and their desire for whatever corrupts, and who despise authority. These bold and arrogant men have no qualms whatsoever about reviling celestial beings, on whom angels, though greater than men in strength and power, pass no opprobrious sentence in the Lord’s presence. These men pour abuse on things of which they are ignorant. They act like creatures of instinct, brute animals born to be caught and destroyed. Because of their decadence they two will be destroyed, suffering the reward of their wickedness. Thinking daytime revelry a delight, they are stain and defilement as they share your feasts in a spirit of seduction. Constantly on the lookout for a woman, theirs is a never ending search for sin. They lure the weaker types. Their hearts are trained in greed. An accursed lot they are! They have abandoned the straight road and wander off the path taken by Balaam, son of Beor. He was a man attracted to dishonest gain, but he was rebuked before his evildoing. A mute beast spoke with a human voice to restrain the prophet’s madness.
These men are waterless springs, mists whipped by the gale. The darkest gloom has been reserved for them. They talk empty bombast while baiting their hooks with passion, with the lustful ways of the flesh, to catch those who have just come free of a life of errors. They promise them freedom though they themselves are slaves of corruption – for surely anyone is the slave of that by which he has been overcome. When men have fled a polluted world by recognizing the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and then I cut up and overcome in pollution once more, their last condition is worse than their first. It would have been better for them not to have recognized the road to holiness than to have turned their backs on the holy law handed on to them, once they had known it. How well the proper fits them: “The dog returns to its vomit,” and, “a sow bathes by wallowing in mire.”
Mark 13: 14-23
The Lord said to his disciples: “When you see the abominable and destructive presence standing where it should not be – let the reader take note!– those in Judea must flee to the mountains. If a man is on the roof terrace, he must not come down or enter his house to get anything out of it. If a man is in the field, he must not turn back to pick up his cloak. It will go badly with pregnant and nursing women in those days. Keep praying that none of this happens in winter. Those times will be more distressful than any between God’s work of creation and now, and for all time to come. Indeed, had the Lord not shortened the period, not a person would be saved. But for the sake of those he has chosen, he has shortened the days. If anyone tells you at that time, ‘Look, the Messiah is here!’ ‘Look, he is there!’ – do not believe it. False messiahs and false prophets will appear performing signs and wonders to mislead, if it were possible, even the chosen. So be constantly on guard! I have told you about it beforehand.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Monday, January 30 –