The holy martyr Mammas was born in Paphlagonia to Christian parents who were imprisoned for the name of Christ. He was dumb until the age of five, and his first word was ‘mama,’ and it is from this word that his name derives. At the age of fifteen, he was brought before the emperor Aurelian. The emperor commanded him to blaspheme Christ, and Mammas replied, “I shall not deny my God and King Jesus Christ, either in my heart or with my lips.” Mammas was martyred by a pagan priest in 274.
Our venerable father John the Faster was Patriarch of Constantinople from 582-595, and was the first to use the title “Ecumenical Patriarch.” He was a great faster, intercessor and wonderworker right up to the time of his death. Distinguished for his abstinence and prayer, St. John had such a love for the poor that he refused them nothing from his estate. After his death, his only personal possessions were found to be a wooden spoon, a linen shirt, and an old garnet. His writings on repentance and Confession are well known. After a virtuous life of piety, during which he performed many miracles, St. John reposed in the year 595.
Your martyr Mammas, O Lord our God, in his struggle received an incorruptible crown from You. With Your strength, he brought down the tyrants and broke the cowardly valor of demons. Through his prayers, O Christ our God, save our souls.
Your life has shown you to your flock as a rule of faith, an image of gentleness, and a teacher of moderation. You acquired greatness through humility and wealth through poverty. O father and bishop John, intercede with Christ our God to save our souls.
O holy Mammas, with the staff God gave to you, lead your people as a flock of life-giving pastures; crush the fierce and invisible enemies beneath the feet of those who honor you; for all those in danger have received you as their fervent intercessor.
You proved yourself a heavenly vessel of abstinence, O blessed John, and a lasting treasure of piety. Your life was radiant with perfect self-control, and you enriched the poor with alms, O venerable father, pray to Christ our God to give great mercy to us.
1 Corinthians 4: 1-5
Brothers and sisters: Men should regard us as servants of Christ and administrators of the mysteries of God. The first requirement of an administrator is that he prove trustworthy. It matters little to me whether you or any human court pass judgment on me. I do not even pass judgment on myself. Mind you, I have nothing on my conscience. But that does not mean that I am declaring myself innocent. The Lord is the one to judge me, so stop passing judgment before the time of his return. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and manifest the inventions of hearts. At that time, everyone will receive his praise from God.
Matthew 23: 1-12
At that time Jesus told the crowds and his disciples: “The scribes and the Pharisees have succeeded Moses as teachers; therefore, do everything and observe everything they tell you. But do not follow their example. Their words are bold but their deeds are few. They bind up heavy loads, hard to carry, to lay on other men’s shoulders while they themselves will not lift a finger to budge them. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and wear huge tassels. They are fond of places of honor at banquets and the front seats in synagogues, of marks of respect in public and of being called ‘Rabbi.’ As to you, avoid the title ‘Rabbi.’ One among you is your teacher, the rest are learners. Do not call anyone on earth your father. Only one is your father, the One in heaven. Avoid being called teachers. Only one is your teacher, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be the one who serves the rest. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, but whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Friday, September 1 –