The holy bishop Abercius, equal to the Apostles and wonder-worker lived in the 2nd century in Hieropolis in Phrygia. St. Abercius prayed to the Lord for the conversion of all the pagans living in the city. He was visited by an angel that told him to destroy the idols in the pagan temple. St. Abercius then went out and denounced the failings of pagans. There, the pagan tried to seize him. There were 3 youths possessed by demons among the crowd, and St. Abercius expelled them by his prayers. This amazed the crowd, and they asked him to instruct them on the Christian faith. After this the saint went to the surrounding cities and villages, healing the sick and preaching the Kingdom of God. For many years he guarded the Church against heretics, he confirmed Christians in the Faith, he set the prodigal upon the righteous path, he healed the sick and proclaimed the glory of Christ. Because of his great works, St. Abercius is termed “Equal of the Apostles.” St. Abercius returned home to Hieropolis, where he soon rested from his labors. After his death, many miracles took place at his tomb.
The seven holy children of Ephesus: During the persecution of the emperor Decius, even young soldiers refused to sacrifice to idols. Tradition says that their names were: Maximilian, Iamblichus, Martinian, John, Dionysius, Exacustodianus, and Antoninus. In the year 250 they concealed themselves in caves outside Ephesus, and the emperor had them sealed into the cave to kill them. In the reign of the Christian emperor Theodosius the Younger (408-450), there arose a dispute about the veracity of the Christian teaching on the resurrection of the dead. The youths awoke, testified to the true teaching, and one week later died in the year 45.
You became a preacher of truth and a worker of miracles, a father of orphans and a support of the poor, a brave shepherd for your flock and a scourge to the demons. Protect those who cry out to you: O our father Abercius, pray to Christ our God that He may save our souls!
The young men who were resplendent at Ephesus, numbering seven in the radiance of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, have transcended corruption throughout long years, despite death, in a manner that surpasses our understanding. They confirm our faith in the resurrection of all so clearly that the faithful cry aloud, “Glory to Him who kept you incorrupt! Glory to Him who raised you! Glory to Him who overthrew contrary things through your example!
The Church of all the faithful honors you, Abercius, as a great priest, equal to the Apostles. Through your intercessions, keep this Church unconquered, undisturbed from all heresy and undefiled, O blessed father whom we praise for your countless miracles.
You glorified Your saints on earth, O Christ, before Your second and awesome Coming. By raising the youths so gloriously, You manifested the resurrection to those who did not know it. Revealing the flesh and clothing incorrupt, You moved the emperor to cry aloud, “You are indeed the Resurrection of the dead!”
Galatians 2: 16-20
Brothers and sisters: Knowing that a man is not justified by legal observance but by faith in Jesus Christ, we too have believed in him in order to be justified by faith in Christ, not by observance of the law; for by works of the law no one will be justified. But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we are shown to be sinners, does that mean that Christ is encouraging sin? Unthinkable! If, however, I were to build up the very things I had demolished, I should then indeed be a transgressor. It was through the law that I died to the law, to live for God. I have been crucified with Christ, and the life I live now is not my own; Christ is living in me. I still live my human life, but it is a life of faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Saturday, October 21 –