The Hieromartyr Theodotus, a native of Galatia in Asia Minor, was bishop of Cyrenia in Cyprus. During a time of persecution against Christians under the impious emperor Licinius, St. Theodotus openly preached Christ, calling the pagans to abandon idolatry and turn to the true God. Sabinus, the governor of Cyprus, ordered Bishop Theodotus be arrested and brought to trial. The governor ordered that the saint be beaten without mercy, suspended from a tree, raked with sharp implements, and then be taken to prison. Five days later, St. Theodotus was brought to the governor, who presumed that after his tortures the bishop would prefer to renounce Christ, rather than endure new sufferings. Many witnessed the sufferings of the martyr. Astonished at the saint’s endurance and his divinely-inspired speech, they came to believe in Christ. Learning this, Sabinus gave orders to stop the torture and throw the saint in prison. During the reign of St. Constantine the Great, freedom to confess their faith was given to all Christians, and among those set free from prison was St. Theodotus. The saint returned to Cyrenia and after two years serving as bishop he peacefully fell asleep in the Lord in about the year 326.
O holy priest-martyr Theodotus, you lent yourself to the apostles’ way of life and succeeded them on their throne. Inspired by God, you found the way to contemplation through the practice of virtue. Therefore, you became a perfect teacher of truth, fighting for the faith unto the shedding of your blood. Intercede with Christ our God that He may save our souls.
You dried up the sea of false belief and smashed the guile of the vicious idolatry by the true faith. Having become a heavenly holocaust, you feed the whole world on miracles. O sanctifying father Theodotus, beg Christ our God to have mercy on us.
Then God said: let the earth bring forth every kind of living creature: tame animals, crawling things, and every kind of wild animal. And so it happened: God made every kind if wild animal, every kind of tame animal, and every kind of thing that crawls on the ground. God saw that it was good. Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the tame animals, all the wild animals, and all the creatures that crawl on the earth.
God created mankind in his image;
In the image of God he created them;
Male and female he created them.
God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth. God also said: See, I give you every seed-bearing plant on all the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food; and to all the wild animals, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the earth, I give all the green plants for food. And so it happened. God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed– the sixth day.
Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed. On the seventh day God completed the work he had been doing; he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation.
My son, if you receive my words and treasure my command,
Turning your ear to wisdom, inclining your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you call for intelligence, and to understanding raise your voice;
If you seek her like silver, and like hidden treasure search her out,
Then will you understand the fear of the Lord; the knowledge of God you will find;
For the Lord give wisdom, from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding;
He has success in store for the upright, in the shield of those who walk honestly,
Guarding the paths of justice, protecting the way of his faithful ones,
Then you will understand what is right and just, what is fair, every good path;
For wisdom will enter your heart, knowing will be at home in your soul,
Discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you;
Saving you from the way of the wicked, from those whose speech is perverse.
From those who have left the straight paths to walk in the ways of darkness,
Who delight in doing evil and celebrate perversity;
Whose ways are crooked whose paths are devious;
Saving you from a stranger, from a foreign woman with her smooth words,
One who forsakes the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God;
For her path sinks down to death, and her footsteps lead to the shades.
None who enter there come back, or gain the paths of life.
Thus you may walk in the way of the good, and keep to the paths of the just.
For the upright will dwell in the land, people of integrity will remain in it;
But the wicked will be cut off from the land, the faithless will be rooted out of it.
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Tuesday, March 1 –