The First Ecumenical Council (325) decreed that the Church’s year should begin on September 1. The lunar month corresponding to September on the Jewish calendar was the beginning of the civil year (cf Exodus 12:2); it was at this time that our Lord Jesus went into the synagogue at Nazareth and read the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.. To proclaim ‘the acceptable year of the Lord.’ (Isaiah 6: 1-2, Luke 4: 16-21).
Our venerable father Simeon the Stylite and his mother: Simeon lived near Antioch in Syria. He was a monk, who lived for many years standing atop a column, hence he received the nickname “Stylite.” His life and admirable conversation were remarkable. (459)
The synaxis of the most holy Theotokos of Miasena: The Miasena Icon of the most holy Theotokos was thrown into Lake Zagura in the 9th century in an effort to save it from the iconoclasts. After a long time, the wonderworking icon emerged from the water unharmed and was brought to the Miasena Monastery.
The holy martyr Aeithalas, was a deacon, who by the order of the Persian emperor Sapor II was put to death by stoning in the year 380 for confessing for Christ.
The 40 holy women martyred with their instructor, Ammon the deacon, were martyred during the time of Licinius at Heraclea in Thrace in 313.
The holy martyr Callista and her brothers, Evodius and Hermogenes, with other Christians of Nicomedia, were brought to trial before the pagan governor for confessing their faith in Christ. Refusing to offer sacrifice to idols, they were cut down by the sword in 309.
The just Joshua, son of Nun, servant of the Lord. When the hand of Moses was placed on him, he was filled with the spirit of wisdom. He led the people of Israel after the death of Moses through the Jordan River to the promised land.
O Lord, maker of the universe, who alone has power over seasons and times, bless the year with your bounty, preserve our country in safety, and keep your people in peace. Save us through the prayers of the Theotokos.
You became a column of endurance and rivaled the forefathers, O venerable one, becoming like Job in your sufferings and like Joseph in your trials, like the bodiless angels, though you lived in the flesh. O Simeon, our father, intercede with Christ our God that He may save our souls.
Rejoice, O woman full of grace, ever-virgin Theotokos, harbor and protectress of the human race. The Savior of the universe received flesh from you, for you are the only one to be both mother and virgin, forever blessed, forever glorified. Intercede with Christ our God that He may grant peace to the whole world.
O Christ the King Who dwells on high, Creator and Maker of all that is visible and invisible, You Who made both day and night and Who have established time and years, now bless the crown of this new year. Protect and keep in peace our civil authorities, Your right-believing rulers, and Your people, O Most Merciful One.
You looked to heaven and became an angel. You made of your pillar a fiery chariot. Now that you are among the angels, join them in praying to Christ that He might save our souls, O venerable Father.
1 Timothy 2: 1-7
Timothy, my son: First of all, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered for all men, especially for kings and those in authority, that we may be able to lead undisturbed and tranquil lives in perfect piety and dignity. Prayer of this kind is good, and God our Savior is pleased with it, for he wants all men to be saved and come to know the truth. And the truth is this: “God is one. One also is the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all.” This truth was attested at the fitting time. I have been made its herald and apostle (believe me, I am not lying but speak the truth), the teacher of the nations in the true faith.
Luke 4: 16-22
At that time Jesus came to Nazareth where he had been reared, and entering the synagogue on the sabbath as he was in the habit of doing, he stood up to do the reading. When the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him, he unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it is written: “The spirit of the Lord is upon me; therefore he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind and release to prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord.”
Rolling up the scroll he gave it back to the assistant and sat down. All in the synagogue had their eyes fixed on Jesus. Then he began by saying to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” All who were present spoke favorably of him; they marveled at the appealing discourse which came from his lips.
Colossians 3: 12-16
Brothers and sisters: Because you are God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with heartfelt mercy, with kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another; forgive whatever grievances you have against one another. Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you. Over all these virtues put on love, which binds the rest together and makes them perfect. Christ’s peace must reign in your hearts, since as members of the one body you have been called to that peace. Dedicate yourselves to thankfulness. Let the word of Christ, rich as it is, dwell in you. In wisdom made perfect, instruct and admonish one another. Sing gratefully to God from your hearts in psalms, hymns, and inspired songs.
Matthew 11: 27-30
The Lord said to his disciples: “Everything has been given over to me by my Father. No one knows the Father but the Son–and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. Your souls will find rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden light.”
Galatians 2: 6-10
Those who were regarded as important, however (and it makes no difference to me how prominent they were – God plays no favorites), made me add nothing.
On the contrary, recognizing that I had been entrusted with the gospel for the uncircumcised, just as Peter was for the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter as his apostle among the Jews had been at work in me for the Gentiles), and recognizing, too, the favor bestowed on me, those who were the acknowledged pillars, James, Cephas, and John, gave Barnabas and me the handclasp of fellowship, signifying that we should go to the Gentiles as they to the Jews. The only stipulation was that we should be mindful of the poor – the one thing that I was making every effort to do.
Mark 5: 22-24, 35-43; 6:1
At that time one of the officials of the synagogue, a man named Jairus, came near. Seeing Jesus, the official fell at Jesus’ feet and made this earnest appeal: “My little daughter is critically ill. Please come and lay your hands on her so that she may get well and live.” The two went off together and a large crowd followed, pushing against Jesus.
And then people from the official’s house arrived saying, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the Teacher further?” Jesus disregarded the report that had been brought and said to the official: “Fear is useless. What is needed is trust.” He would not permit anyone to follow him except Peter, James, and James’ brother John. As they approached the house of the synagogue leader, Jesus was struck by the noise of the people wailing and crying loudly on all sides. He entered and said to them: “Why do you make this din with your wailing? The child is not dead. She is asleep.” At this they began to ridicule him. Then he put them all out.
Jesus took the child’s father and mother and his own companions and entered the room where the child lay. Taking her hand he said to her, “Talitha, koum,” which means, “Little girl, get up.” The girl, a child of twelve, stood up immediately and began to walk around. At this the family’s astonishment knew no bounds. Jesus enjoined them strictly not to let anyone know about it, and told them to give her something to eat.
He departed from there and returned to his own part of the country followed by his disciples.
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Thursday, August 31 –