The monk martyr Nicon was born in Neapolis (Naples). His father was a pagan, and his mother a Christian. He was not baptized, but his mother secretly instructed him in the tenets of Christianity. Nicon was still a pagan when he reached adulthood. He served as a soldier, and showed unusual courage and strength. Once, Nicon and his military company were surrounded by enemies. In deadly peril, he remembered the Christian precepts of his mother and, signing himself with the Sign of the Cross, he prayed to God, vowing to be baptized if he were saved. Filled with unusual strengths, he killed many of the enemy, and put the rest to flight. He managed to return home, giving thanks to God for preserving his life. With the blessing of his mother, he set off in search of a priest. This was no easy thing to do in a time of persecution. St. Nicon took a ship to the island of Chios. He went up on a high mountain and spent eight days in fasting and prayer, entreating the Lord to help him. When St. Nicon had lived on the mountain for three years, an angel revealed to the bishop Theodosius that Nicon should be consecrated bishop, and should move to the province of Sicily with all the monks. Bishop Theodosius obeyed the angel, and then died after he had entrusted the 190 monks to St. Nicon. After he buried Bishop Theodosius, St. Nicon sailed to Sicily with the brethren.
O Lord our God, your holy martyrs have deserved the crown of immortality on account of their good fight. Armed with your strength, they have vanquished their persecutors and crushed Satan’s dreadful might. Through their supplications, O Christ our God, save our souls.
By your holy life you assembled a choir from those who had lived humbly and had followed you before the throne of God on high. Your radiance spans the heavens like the very sun, and the rays of your pains disperse darkness and wash out deceit by the torrent of your blood.
Genesis 18: 20-33
Then the Lord said, “How great is the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah and how very grave their sin! I must go down and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me; and if not, I will know.”
So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom, while Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Then Abraham came near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will you then sweep away the place and not forgive it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will forgive the whole place for their sake.” Abraham answered, “Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” Again he spoke to him, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.” Then he said, “Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” He said, “Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.” Then he said, “Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak just once more. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.
Proverbs 16:17 – 17:17
The highway of the upright avoids evil; those who guard their way preserve their lives.
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
It is better to be of a lowly spirit among the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.
Those who are attentive to a matter will prosper, and happy are those who trust in the Lord.
The wise of heart is called perceptive, and pleasant speech increases persuasiveness.
Wisdom is a fountain of life to one who has it, but folly is the punishment of fools.
The mind of the wise makes their speech judicious, and adds persuasiveness to their lips.
Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
Sometimes there is a way that seems to be right, but in the end it is the way to death.
The appetite of workers works for them; their hunger urges them on.
Scoundrels concoct evil, and their speech is like a scorching fire.
A perverse person spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.
The violent entice their neighbors, and lead them in a way that is not good.
One who winks the eyes plans perverse things; one who compresses the lips brings evil to pass.
Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.
One who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and one whose temper is controlled than one who captures a city.
The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is the Lord’s alone.
Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.
A slave who deals wisely will rule over a child who acts shamefully, and will share the inheritance as one of the family.
The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.
An evildoer listens to wicked lips; and a liar gives heed to a mischievous tongue.
Those who mock the poor insult their Maker; those who are glad at calamity will not go unpunished.
Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their parents.
Fine speech is not becoming to a fool; still less is false speech to a ruler.
A bribe is like a magic stone in the eyes of those who give it; wherever they turn they prosper.
One who forgives an affront fosters friendship, but one who dwells on disputes will alienate a friend.
A rebuke strikes deeper into a discerning person than a hundred blows into a fool.
Evil people seek only rebellion, but a cruel messenger will be sent against them.
Better to meet a she-bear robbed of its cubs than to confront a fool immersed in folly.
Evil will not depart from the house of one who returns evil for good.
The beginning of strife is like letting out water; so stop before the quarrel breaks out.
One who justifies the wicked and one who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord.
Why should fools have a price in hand to buy wisdom, when they have no mind to learn?
A friend loves at all times, and kinsfolk are born to share adversity.
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Wednesday, March 22 –