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 16: 1-16
Brothers and sisters: I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a deaconess of the church of Cenchreae. Please welcome her in the Lord, as saints should. If she needs help in anything, give it to her, for she herself has been of help to many, including myself.
Give greetings to Prisca and Aquila; they were my fellow workers in the service of Christ Jesus and even risked their lives for the sake of mine. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. Remember me also to the congregation that meets in their house. Greetings to my beloved Epaenetus; he is the first offering that Asia made to Christ. My greetings to Mary, who has worked hard for you, and to Andronicus and Junias, my kinsman and fellow prisoners; they were outstanding apostles, and they were in Christ even before I was. Greetings to Ampliatus who is dear to me in the Lord; to Urbanus, our fellow worker in service of Christ; and to my beloved Stachys. Greetings to Apelles, who proved himself in Christ’s service, and to all who belong to the household of Aristobulus. Greetings to my kinsman Herodion and to the members of the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord. Greetings too, to Tryphaena and Tryphosa, who have worked hard for the Lord; and also to dear Persis, who has labored long in the Lord’s service. Greetings to Rufus, a chosen servant of the Lord, and to his mother, who has been a mother to me as well. Greetings to Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers who are with them; to Philologus and Julia, to Nereus and his sister, to Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send you greetings.
Matthew 13: 3-9
The Lord addressed the people at length in parables, speaking in this fashion: “One day a farmer went out sowing. Part of what he sowed landed on a footpath, where birds came and ate it up. Part of it fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprouted at once since the soil had no depth, but when the sun rose and scorched it, it began to wither for the lack of roots. Again, part of the seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked it. Part of it, finally, landed on good soil and yielded grain a hundred – or sixty – or thirtyfold. Let everyone heed what he hears!”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Thursday, June 29 –