The holy great martyr Nicetas the Goth was a disciple of Theophilus, Bishop of the Goths, who participated in the First Ecumenical Council [Nicaea 325]. When the Gothic prince Athenarik began to torture Christians, St. Nicetas stood before the prince and denounced him for his paganism and inhumanity. Subsequently harshly tortured, Nicetas confessed his faith in Christ even more strongly, and prayed to God with thanksgiving. His mind was unceasingly raised up to God, and on his breast under his robe he bore an icon of the Theotokos with the Pre-eternal Christ Child standing and holding the cross in His hands. Finally, the tortures threw the soldier of Christ into the fire, where the holy martyr breathed his last, but his body remained untouched by the fire. His companion Marian took his body from the land of the Goths (Wallachia and Bessarabia) to the town of Mopsuestia, in Cilicia. There, he built a church dedicated to St. Nicetas. (372)
You lovingly took up the cross for armor, and you advanced to fight the enemy. You were burnt to death for Christ, and thus you offered up your priestly soul to the Lord. You have been rewarded with the gift of healing, O great-martyr Nicetas; now beg Christ our God to save our souls.
O glorious Nicetas, you crushed the power of deception by your perseverance in the faith and earned the crown of victory by your struggles; therefore, you now enjoy the company of angels in heaven. With them, do not cease to intercede with Christ our God that He many save all of us.
Ephesians 1: 7-17
Brothers and sisters: It is in Christ and through his blood that we have been redeemed and our sins forgiven, so immeasurably generous is God’s favor to us. God has given us the wisdom to understand fully the mystery, the plan he was pleased to decree on Christ, to be carried out in the fullness of time: namely, to bring all things in the heavens and on earth into one under Christ’s headship.
In him we were chosen; for in the decree of God, who administers everything according to his will and counsel, we were predestined to praise his glory by being the first to hope in Christ. In him you too were chosen; when you heard the glad tidings of salvation, the word of truth, and believed in it, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit who had been promised. He is the pledge of our inheritance, the first payment against the full redemption of a people God has made his own, to praise his glory.
For my part, from the time I first heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the members of the church, I have never stopped thanking God for you and recommending you in my prayers. May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, grant you a spirit of wisdom and insight to know him clearly.
Luke 4: 22-30
At that time, all who were present in the synagogue spoke favorably of Jesu; they marveled at the appealing discourse which came from his lips. They also asked, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”
Jesus said to them, “You will doubtless quote me the proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here in your own country the things we have heard you have done in Capernaum.’ But in fact,” he went on, “no prophet gains acceptance in his native place. Indeed, let me remind you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the heavens remained closed for three and a half years and a great famine spread over the land. It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but to a widow of Zarephath near Sidon. Recall, too, the many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one was cured except Naaman the Syrian.”
At these words the whole audience in the synagogue was filled with indignation. They rose up and expelled him from the town, leading him to the brow of the hill on which it was built and intending to hurl him over the edge. But he went straight through their midst and walked away.
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Thursday, September 14 –