Our holy father Artemon, Bishop of Seleucia, was born and lived in Seleucia of Pisidia (Asia Minor). He was pious and virtuous, therefore when the holy Apostle Paul came to Seleucia, he established St. Artemon as the first bishop of this city, since he was the most worthy. St. Artemon wisely nourished the flock entrusted to him and won glory as a comforter of the poor and oppressed. St. Artemon died in great old age.
Our venerable father Zachary was born in Egypt. His father left his family to become a monk and took Zachary with him. God gave him great gifts of grace; he was a great light among the monks in the desert, and went to his peace in the Lord at an early age.
Today is the prelude of joy for the whole world. Let us then anticipate the feast and celebrate, for, behold, Gabriel is on his way with the glad tidings for the Virgin. He is about to cry out in fear and amazement: Rejoice, O woman full of grace, the Lord is with you!
You are the beginning of salvation for all those born on earth, O virgin Theotokos. The prince of the heavenly legions has been sent to stand before you with a message of joy. We join the chorus and call out to you: Rejoice, O Bride and Maiden ever-pure.
Genesis 22: 1-18
After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.” Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.
When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
The angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, “By myself I have sworn, says the Lord: Because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you, and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of their enemies, and by your offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.”
Proverbs 17:17 – 18:5
A friend loves at all times, and kinsfolk are born to share adversity.
It is senseless to give a pledge, to become surety for a neighbor.
One who loves transgression loves strife; one who builds a high threshold invites broken bones.
The crooked of mind do not prosper, and the perverse of tongue fall into calamity.
The one who begets a fool gets trouble; the parent of a fool has no joy.
A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.
The wicked accept a concealed bribe to pervert the ways of justice.
The discerning person looks to wisdom, but the eyes of a fool to the ends of the earth.
Foolish children are a grief to their father and bitterness to her who bore them.
To impose a fine on the innocent is not right, or to flog the noble for their integrity.
One who spares words is knowledgeable; one who is cool in spirit has understanding.
Even fools who keep silent are considered wise; when they close their lips, they are deemed intelligent.
The one who lives alone is self-indulgent, showing contempt for all who have sound judgment.
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing personal opinion.
When wickedness comes, contempt comes also; and with dishonor comes disgrace.
The words of the mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a gushing stream.
It is not right to be partial to the guilty, or to subvert the innocent in judgment.
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Thursday, March 23 –