The holy martyrs and confessors Gurias, an ascetic, and Samonas suffered at Edessa in Osrhoene. They were condemned to death under Diocletian the emperor after a lengthy and savage torture, they were then beheaded by sword. Habibus was a deacon who suffered for the faith later. The martyrs endured everything with firmness and Samonas uttered a prayer to the Lord, which one of the witnesses to their death wrote down: “O Lord my God, against Whose will not a single sparrow falls into the snare. It was You Who made room for David in his sorrow (Ps. 4:1).” The martyrs were buried reverently by Christians after their death. After some years, the last pagan emperor, Licinius (311-324), began a persecution against Christians. Habibus, a deacon of the Church of Edessa whom the emperor ordered to be arrested for his zealous spreading of the True Faith, presented himself before the executioners when he learned they were searching for him. The saint confessed for Christ and was sentenced to be burned alive. The martyr went willingly into the fire and with a prayer surrendered his soul to the Lord. When the fire went out, the mother and relatives of the saint found his body unharmed. They buried the martyr next to Saints Gurias and Samonas.
You granted us the miracles of Your holy martyrs as an unshakable stronghold, O Christ God. Through their prayers, confound the snares of pagans, strengthen the scepters of the kingdom for You alone are good and love mankind.
Having received grace from on high O wise ones, you stood before those tempters, O all-praised ones. Therefore, like the three holy youths, you were delivered from bitter death, for in truth you are the glory of Edessa and the joy of the world.
2 Thessalonians 2: 1-12
Brothers and sisters: On the question of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we beg you, brethren, not to be so easily agitated or terrified, whether by an oracular utterance, or rumor, or a letter alleged to be ours, into believing that the day of the Lord is here.
Let no one seduce you, no matter how. Since the mass apostasy has not yet occurred nor the man of lawlessness been revealed–that son of perdition and adversary who exalts himself about every so-called god proposed for worship, he who seats himself in God’s temple and even declares himself to be God – do you not remember how I used to tell you about these things when I was still with you? You know what restrains him until he shall be revealed in his own time. The secret force of lawlessness is already at work, mind you, but there is one who holds him back until that restrainer shall be taken from the scene. Thereupon the lawless one will be revealed, and the Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of his mouth and annihilate him by manifesting his own presence. This lawless one will appear as part of the workings of Satan, accompanied by all the power and signs and wonders at the disposal of falsehood–by every seduction the wicked can devise for those destined to ruin because they have not opened their hearts to the truth in order to be saved. Therefore God is sending upon them a perverse spirit which leads them to give credence to falsehood, so that all who have not believed the truth but have delighted in evildoing will be condemned.
Luke 15: 1-10
At that time the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus, at which the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus addressed this parable to them: “Who among you, if he has a hundred sheep loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wasteland and follow the lost one until he finds it? And when he finds it, he puts it on his shoulders in jubilation. Once arrived home, he invites friends and neighbors in and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, there will likewise be more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent.
“What woman, if she has ten silver pieces and loses one, does not light a lamp and sweep the house in a diligent search until she has retrieved what she lost? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors to say, ‘Rejoice with me! I have found the silver piece I lost.’ I tell you, there will be the same kind of joy before the angels of God over one repentant sinner.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Tuesday, November 14 –