The holy apostles Stachys, Amplius, and their companions were members of the Seventy Apostles. Stachys was the helper of St. Andrew the First Called, who made him bishop of Byzantium. Amplius and Urban were also fellow-workers with St. Andrew, and were made bishops of Lydda and Macedonia, respectively. Narcissus was made Bishop of Athens by the Apostle Philip, and Apelles was made Bishop of Heraklion in Trachius.
The holy martyr Epimachus of Alexandria was a native of Egypt. For a long time he lived in seclusion on Mt. Pelusium. During a persecution against Christians in Alexandria (about the year 250), St. Epimachus in his fervent zeal came into the city, destroyed pagan idols, and fearlessly confessed Christ. For this the saint was put to torture. Among the people watching the torture was a woman who was blind in one eye. A drop of blood from the martyr healed her infirmity. After fierce torture, the saint was beheaded by the sword.
The blessed martyr Theodore Romzha, Bisop of Mukachevo was born in the Subcarpathia region of what is now Ukraine on April 14, 1911. As a seminarian he was sent to Rome to study and was ordained a priest there on December 25, 1936. Completing his compulsory military service he served briefly as a pastor before being assigned as Spiritual Director and Professor at the Eparchial Seminary in Uzhorod in 1939. These were difficult years for the Church in Subcarpathia as it experienced the invasions first by Nazi Germany and then the Soviet Red Army. In 1944 at the young age of 33 he was consecrated a Bishop and appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Eparchy of Mukachevo. During this time he ministered tirelessly to the faithful of the Eparchy, defending them from the Soviet aggression and preparing them for the persecution to come. His ministry to the faithful met with many roadblocks, but he managed to find a way around them.This angered the Communist officials who now began looking for ways to kill the young, energetic and popular Bishop. Towards the end of October, 1947 an opportunity presented itself. On the way home from a parish visitation, Bishop Romzha’s horse drawn carriage was purposely rammed by a Soviet military truck and pushed off the side of the road. The soldiers (dressed as civilians) jumped from the truck and beat the Bishop and his companions. Soon after the brutal assault began a civilian truck came upon the scene and the assailants fled. Bishop Romzha and his companions were taken to Uzhorod where they were hospitalized. The Bishop was making good progress when late on the night of October 31 a new relief nurse was assigned to the Bishop. A little after midnight Bishop Romzha was found dead. The relief nurse had mysteriously disappeared. It was believed that she had administered a poison to the Bishop that caused his death.
O holy apostles, intercede with the merciful God that He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.
O Lord our God, Your holy martyr Epimachus has deserved the crown of immortality on account of his good fight. Armed with Your strength, he has vanquished his persecutors and crushed Satan’s dreadful might. Through his supplications, O Christ our God, save our souls.
My father, my father! the chariots of Israel and its horsemen! Upon a cart as upon his bishop’s throne, Theodore has been carried beyond the sanctuary veil. Let fall, O father, the mantle of prayer and beseech Christ to save our souls.
Let us properly praise the pure vessels of the All-Holy Spirit, and glorious rays of the sun, the wise apostles Amplius, Urban, Aristobulus, Apelles, Narcissus, and Stachys, who the grace of our God has joined together.
You were an inspired pillar and a witness to the truth. You conquered the bodiless foe through bodily torment and received the crown from Christ. Thus, O blessed one, we cry out to you: pray unceasingly, O glorious one, to grant us great mercy.
Though the godless poured poison into your veins, your heart still beats with love for Christ, O Bishop Theodore, martyred father, who now raise your prayers before the Throne of God.
1 Thessalonians 1: 6-10
Brothers and sisters: You became imitators of us and of the Lord, receiving the word despite great trials, with the joy that comes from the Holy Spirit. Thus you became a model for all the believers of Macedonia and Achaia. The word of the Lord has echoed forth from you resoundingly. This is true not only in Macedonia and Achaia; throughout every region your faith in God is celebrated, which makes it needless for us to say anything more. The people of those parts are reporting what kind of reception we had from you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve him who is the living and true God and to await from heaven the Son he raised from the dead–Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.
Luke 11: 34-41
The Lord said, “The eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyesight is sound, your whole body is lighted up, but when your eyesight is bad, your body is in darkness. Take care, then, that your light is not darkness. If your whole body is lighted up and partly in darkness, it will be as fully illumined as when a lamp shines brightly for you.”
As he was speaking, a Pharisee invited him to dine at his house. Jesus entered and reclined at table. Seeing this, the Pharisee was surprised that Jesus had not first performed the ablutions prescribed before eating. The Lord said to him: “You Pharisees! You cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but within you are filled with rapaciousness and evil. Fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside too? But if you give what you have as alms, all will be wiped clean for you.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Monday, October 30 –