The synaxis of the glorious and all-praiseworthy Twelve Apostles of Christ appears to be an ancient Feast. The church honors each of the Twelve Apostles on separate dates throughout the year, and has established general commemoration for all of them on the day after the commemoration of the glorious and and first-ranked among the apostles Peter and Paul. The holy God-crowned Emperor Constantine the Great built a church in Constantinople in honor of the Twelve Apostles. There are instructions for this Feast which date from the fourth century.
Your preaching has spread over the whole earth, because you have received the Spirit in flaming tongues. You burned down the lies of idolatry, and you have caught the straying people with the net of faith. The heavens declare your glory for this, and the firmament proclaims your works. We join them in a song to your memory: Through the prayers of your twelve apostles, save us, O God.
Christ our Rock has exalted the foundation stone of faith, the chosen twelve from the disciples and Paul. As we observe their memory with faith, let us praise the One who glorifies them.
1st Corinthians 4: 9-16
Brothers and sisters: As I see it, God has put us apostles at the end of the line, like men doomed to die in the arena. We have become like a spectacle to the universe, to angels and men alike. We are fools on Christ’s account. Ah, but in Christ you are wise! We are the weak ones, you the strong! They honor you, while they sneer at us! Up to this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, poorly clad, roughly treated, wandering about homeless. We work hard at manual labor. When we are insulted we respond with a blessing. Persecution comes our way; we bear it patiently. We are slandered, and we try conciliation. We have become the world’s refuse, the scum of all; that is the present state of affairs.
I am writing you this way not to shame you but to admonish you as my beloved children. Granted you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you have only one father. It was I who begot you in Christ Jesus through my preachings of the gospel. I beg you, be imitators of me.
Mark 3: 13-19
At that time Jesus went up the mountain and summoned the men he himself had decided on, who came to join him. He named twelve as his companions whom he would send to preach the good news; they were likewise to have authority to expel demons. He appointed the Twelve as follows: Simon to whom he gave the name Peter; James and John the sons of Zebedee (he gave these two names Boanerges, or “sons of thunder”); Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus; Thaddaeus, Simon of the Zealot party, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
Romans 11: 13-24
Brothers and sisters: I say this now to you Gentiles: Inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I glory in my ministry, trying to rouse my fellow Jews to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection has meant reconciliation for the world, what will their acceptance mean? Nothing less than life from the dead! If the first fruits are consecrated, so too is the whole mass of dough, and if the root is consecrated, so too are the branches. If some of the branches were cut off and you, a branch of the wild olive tree, have been grafted in among the others and have come to share in the rich root of the olive, do not boast against the branches. If you do boast, remember that you do not support the root; the root supports you. You will say, “Branches were cut off that I might be grafted in.” Well and good. They were cut off because of unbelief and you are there because of faith. Do not be haughty on that account, but fearful. If God did not spare the natural branches, he will certainly not spare you.
Consider the kindness and the severity of God – severity toward those who fell, kindness toward you, provided you remain in his kindness; if you do not, you too will be cut off. And if the Jews do not remain in their unbelief they will be grafted back on, for God is able to do this. If you were cut off from the natural wild olive and, contrary to nature, were grafted into the cultivated olive, so much the more will they who belong to it by nature be grafted into their own olive tree.
Matthew 11: 27-30
The Lord said to his disciples: “Everything has been given over to me by my Father. No one knows the Father but the Son–and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. Your souls will find rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden light.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Wednesday, June 29 –