The holy martyrs Nazarius, Gervase(Gervasius), Protasius(Protase), and Celsus: Nazarius was a fearless Christian who visited Gervase and Protasius in prison in Milan. The governor ordered Nazarius to be whipped and driven from the city. He eventually returned to Milan with his disciple Celsus. Gervase and Protasius were still in prison, and Nero the emperor ordered all four of them to die by beheading. St. Ambrose found the relics of Gervase and Protasius on this day and had them translated with solemn rites to a new basilica he built himself.
Our venerable mother Paraskeva of Trnovo was of Serbian birth with devout Christian parents. She left her home and went first to Constantinople and then to Jerusalem, and then to the wilderness beyond the Jordan, where she lived to old age in asceticism. At the end of her life, she returned to her birthplace of Epibata and gave her spirit to God there, sometime in the 11th century.
This quartet of martyrs illumines the Church like a brilliant star in the sky. Through the martyrdom of Nazarius, and the faith of Gervasius, and with the confession of Celsus and Protasius, the Church has been made to sing: Glory to God, Who has given strength to the martyrs!
You followed closely in the steps of Christ, your Spouse, loving the silent, desert life. As a young woman you took up His yoke, and armed yourself against the enemy with the cross. By fasting and prayer, by tears and penance, you utterly quenched the fires of passion. Now you stand with the wise virgins in Christ’s presence, and pray for those who honor your memory, O Paraskeva.
Let us celebrate the quadruple glory of the witnesses of Christ, O faithful! Let us sing of Nazarius and Protase! In our hymn, let us acclaim Celsus and Gervase! For they fought the good fight unto the point of being beheaded. Having received the crown of immortality, they intercede for our salvation.
Let us all sing of Paraskeva, holy intercessor of all who are in trouble. For she rejected the corruptible and accepted the incorruptible way of life forever. Therefore discover the glory, the grace of wonders, by the command of God.
2 Corinthians 1: 8-11
Brothers and sisters, we do not wish to leave you in the dark about the trouble we had in Asia; we were crushed beyond our strength, even to the point of despairing of life. We were left to feel like men condemned to death so that we might trust, not in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead. He rescued us from that danger of death and will continue to do so. We have out our hope in him who will never cease to deliver us. But you must help us with your prayers, so that on our behalf God may be thanked for the gift granted us through the prayers of so many.
Luke 6: 1-10
At that time on the sabbath Jesus was walking through the standing grain. His disciples were pulling off grain-heads, shelling them with their hands, and eating them. Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is prohibited on the sabbath?” Jesus said to them: “Have you not read what David did when he and his men were hungry–how he entered God’s house and took and ate the holy bread and gave it to his men, even though only priests are allowed to eat it?” Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord even of the sabbath.”
On another sabbath Jesus came to teach in a synagogue where there was a man whose right hand was withered. The scribes and Pharisees were on the watch to see if he would perform a cure on the sabbath so that they could find a charge against him. He knew their thoughts, however, and said to the man whose hand was withered, “Get up and stand here in front.” The man rose and remained standing. Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath–or evil? To preserve life–or destroy it?” He looked around at them all and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” The man did so and his hand was perfectly restored.
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Friday, October 13 –