The holy martyr Euphemia the Illustrious was handed over to the beasts after various tortures under the emperor Diolcetian. Her passing is kept on Sept. 16; today is the day that her holy relics confirmed the orthodox faith at the Fourth Ecumenical Council in Chalcedon.
The passing of Olga, princess of Kiev, baptized Helen, at Kiev in Rus: St. Olga was the grandmother of St. Vladimir, the first of the Rurik dynasty to receive baptism. She prepared the way to Christ for all the peoples of Rus.
Lighting your lamp, you loved your Spouse. You were radiant from your virtues, O praiseworthy one, and because of this you pledged yourself to Christ. You received a crown of suffering from Him. From troubles deliver us who venerate your memory in faith, O Euphemia.
Raising your mind on the wings of theology, you soared far above visible creation. Seeking the God and Creator of all things being rewarded by finding Him, you were born again to Christ in baptism. Receiving delight from the Tree of Life, you remain incorrupt for all ages, O glorious Olga.
You took part in the struggle with great valor, defending faith in Christ your beloved Savior. Through the powerful intercession of the Mother of God, intercede with Christ that He may wipe out all false teachings and humiliate the pride of the enemy. From the six hundred and thirty Fathers of the Council, you have received the definition of the faith and preserved it faithfully, O Euphemia worthy of all praise.
Let us sing hymns to the Benefactor of the world who exalted the God-wise Olga in the land of Rus. May He forgive our sins by her prayers.
2 Corinthians 6: 1-10
Brothers and sisters: As your fellow workers we beg you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says, “In an acceptable time I have heard you; on a day of salvation I have helped you.” Now is the acceptable time! Now is the day of salvation! We avoid giving anyone offense, so that our ministry may not be blamed. On the contrary, in all that we do we strive to present ourselves as ministers of God, acting with patient endurance amid trials, difficulties, distresses, beatings, imprisonments, and riots; as men familiar with hard work, sleepless nights, and fastings; conducting ourselves with innocence, knowledge, and patience, in the Holy Spirit, in sincere love as men with the message of truth and the power of God; wielding the weapons of righteousness with right hand and left, whether honored or dishonored, spoken of well or ill. We are called imposters, yet we are truthful; nobodies who in fact are well known; dead, yet here we are alive; punished, but not put to death; sorrowful, though we are always rejoicing; poor, yet we enrich many. We seem to have nothing, yet everything is ours!
Luke 7: 36-50
At that time there was a certain Pharisee who invited Jesus to dine with him. Jesus went to the Pharisee’s home and reclined to eat. A woman known in the town to be a sinner learned that he was dining in the Pharisee’s home. She brought in a vase of perfumed oil and stood behind him at his feet, weeping so that her tears fell upon his feet. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissing them and perfuming them with the oil. When his host, the Pharisee, saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet he would know who and what sort of woman this is that touched him–that she is a sinner.” In answer to his thoughts, Jesus said to him, “Simon, I have something to propose to you.” “Teacher,” he said, “speak.”
Jesus said, “Two men owed money to a certain money-lender; one owed a total of five hundred coins, the other fifty. Since neither was able to repay, he wrote off both debts. Which of them was more grateful to him?” Simon answered, “He, I presume, to whom he remitted the larger sum.” Jesus said to him, “You are right.”
Turning then to the woman, Jesus said to Simon: “You see this woman? I came to your home and you provided me with no water for my feet. She has washed my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since I entered. You did not anoint my feet with perfume. I tell you, that is why her many sins are forgiven–because of her great love. Little is forgiven the one whose love is small.”
Jesus said to her then, “Your sins are forgiven”; at which his fellow guests began to ask among themselves, “Who is this that he even forgives sins?” Meanwhile Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has been your salvation. Now go in peace.”
1 Corinthians 6:20 – 7:12
Brothers and sisters: Glorify God in your body. Now for the matters you wrote about. A man is better for having no relations with a woman. But to avoid immorality, every man should have his own wife and every woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his conjugal obligations toward his wife, the wife hers toward her husband. A wife does not belong to herself but to her husband; equally, a husband does not belong to himself but to his wife. Do not deprive one another, unless perhaps by mutual consent for a time, to devote yourselves to prayer. Then return to one another, that Satan may not tempt you through your lack of self-control. I say this by way of concession, not as a command. Given my preference, I should like you to be as I am. Still, each one has his own gift from God, one this and another that.
To those not married and to widows I have this to say: It would be well if they remain as they are, even as I do myself; but if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. It is better to marry than to be on fire. To those now married, however, I give this command (though it is not mine; it is the Lord’s): a wife must not separate from her husband. If she does separate, she must either remain single or become reconciled to him again. Similarly, a husband must not divorce his wife.
As for the other matters, although I know of nothing the Lord has said, I say: If any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever but is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her.
Matthew 14: 1-13
On one occasion Herod the tetrarch, having heard of Jesus’ reputation, exclaimed to his courtiers, “This man is John the Baptizer – it is he in person, raised from the dead; that is why such miraculous powers are at work in him!” Recall that Herod had had John arrested, out in chains, and imprisoned on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. That was because John had told him, “It is not right for you to live with her.” Herod wanted to kill John but was afraid of the people, who regarded him as a prophet. Then on Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias performed a dance before the court which delighted Herod so much that he swore he would grant her anything she asked for. Prompted by her mother she said, “Bring me the head of John the Baptizer on a platter.” The king immediately had his misgivings, but because of his oath and the guests who were present he gave the order to have John beheaded in prison. John’s head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who took it to her mother. Later his disciples presented themselves to carry his body away and bury it. Afterward, they came and informed Jesus.
When Jesus heard this, he withdrew by boat from there to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of it and followed him on foot from the towns.
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Monday, July 10 –