The holy martyr Phocas, bishop of Sinope, strengthened the faithful by his example and words as bishop, and brought many to the true faith. The governor of the province had him seized and tortured, and then killed him by throwing him into boiling water. He died during the reign of the emperor Trajan in 103.
The holy prophet Jonah, son of Amathi, by whose name a book of the Old Testament is called. Jonah’s famous passage from the belly of the whale is told as a sign of the resurrection of the Lord in the Gospel.
Our venerable father Jonah the priest was the father of Theophane the Hymnographer and Theodore the Artist. He was a wonder-worker who died in the monastery of St. San as the Sanctified in the 9th century.
You shared in the apostles’ way of life and succeeded to their throne, divinely inspired Bishop. You found access to contemplation in the active life. Therefore, you rightly taught the word of truth and struggled for the faith to the shedding of your blood. O Priest-Martyr Phocas, pray to Christ our God to save our souls.
As we celebrate the memory of your prophet Jonah, O Lord, we implore you to save our souls through his prayers
As a bishop you offered the sacrifice, O father, and at the end of your life you offered yourself. You gave witness to Christ God before the law, strengthened by angels and ready for death. Be ever with those who sing to you: Be with us, Phocas, and never against us.
You accepted God‘s decree and became a marvelous prophet. You remained in the whale for three days as an image of the third day Resurrection. You left the whale unharmed. You were a confessor of the faith in the great city of Nineveh. For all of this we pray to you, Jonah, as a type of Christ God who loves mankind.
Ephesians 4: 17-25
Brothers and sisters: I declare and solemnly attest in the Lord that you must no longer live as the pagans do–their minds empty, their understanding darkened. They are estranged from a life in God because of their ignorance and their resistance; without remorse they have abandoned themselves to lust and the indulgence of every sort of lewd conduct. That is not what you learned when you learned Christ! I am supposing, of course, that he has been preached and taught to you in accord with the truth that is in Jesus: namely, that you must lay aside your former way of life and the old self which deteriorates through the illusion and desire, and acquire a fresh, spiritual way of thinking. You must put on that new man created in God’s image, whose justice and holiness are born of truth. See to it, then, that you put an end to lying; let everyone speak the truth to his neighbor, for we are members of one another.
Luke 4: 22-30
At that time, all who were present in the synagogue spoke favorably of Jesus; 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 21 –