The Holy Apostles of the Seventy Philemon and his wife Apphia lived in the city of Colossa in Phrygia. After they were baptized by the holy Apostle Paul, they converted their house into a house of prayer, where all those who believed in Christ gathered and attended services. They devoted themselves to serving the sick and downcast. St. Philemon became bishop of the city of Gaza, and he preached the Word of God throughout Phrygia. Saints Philemon and Apphia, and also St. Archippus (who also lived at Colossa), all received the crown of martyrdom during the persecution of Nero (54-68). During a pagan festival an enraged crowd rushed into the Christian church when services were going on. All fled in terror, and only Saints Philemon, Archippus, and Apphia remained. They seized them and led them off to the city prefect. The crowd beat and stabbed St. Archippus with knives, and he died on the way to the court. Saints Philemon and Apphia were stoned to death by order of the prefect.
The holy martyrs Cecilia, Valerian, Tiburtius and Maximus: St. Cecilia, virgin and martyr, who it is said attained that double palm for the love of Christ at Rome in the cemetery of Callistus on the Appian Way. She was martyred after she buried with loving care the bodies of the martyrs Valerian, Tiburtius, and Maximus whom she led to Christ through her great devotion. (c. 230)
O holy apostles, intercede with the merciful God that he may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.
We praise the apostles of Christ as stars who bathe the ends of the world with light: the glorious Philemon, and the consecrated Archippus, and Onesimus, and Mark, and Appollos, and with them the all-wise Apphia, singing: pray unceasingly for all of us.
1 Timothy 1: 18-20; 2: 8-15
Timothy, my son, I have a solemn charge to give you. This charge is in accordance with the prophecies made in your regard, and I give it to you so that under the inspiration of these prophecies you may fight the good fight, and hold fast to faith and good conscience. Some men, by rejecting the guidance of conscience, have made shipwreck of their faith, among them Hymenaeus and Alexander; these I have turned over to Satan so that they may learn not to blaspheme.
It is my wish, then, that in every place the men shall offer prayers with blameless hands held aloft, and be free from anger and dissension. Similarly, the women must deport themselves properly. They should dress modestly and Quietly, and not be decked out in fancy hairstyles, gold ornaments, pearls, or costly clothing; rather, as becomes women who profess to be religious, their adornment should be good deeds. A woman must learn in silence and be completely submissive. I do not permit a woman to act as teacher, or in any way to have authority over a man; she must be Quiet. For Adam was created first, Eve afterward; moreover, it was not Adam who was deceived but the woman. It was she who was led astray and fell into sin. She will be saved through childbearing, provided she continues in faith and love and holiness – her chastity being taken for granted.
Luke 18: 15-17, 26-30
At that time they even brought babies to be touched by Jesus. When the disciples saw this, they scolded the people roundly; but Jesus called for the children, saying, “Let the little children come to me. Do not shut them off. The reign of God belongs to such as these. Trust me when I tell you that whoever does not accept the kingdom of God as a child will not enter into it.”
His listeners asked him, “Who, then, can be saved?” to which Jesus replied, “Things that are impossible for men are possible for God.” Peter said, “We have left all we own to become your followers.” Jesus’ answer was, “I solemnly assure you, there is no one who has left home or wife or brothers, parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God who will not receive a plentiful return in this age and life everlasting in the age to come.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Tuesday, November 21 –