The holy martyr Anthimus, bishop of Nicomedia in Bithynia, and his companions, martyrs in the persecution of Diocletian the emperor in the year 303. In fact, a whole crowd followed St. Anthimus as he received the glory of martyrdom by beheading for the sake of his confession of Christ. Some of his companions were martyred by beheading, some burned up by fire, and finally, some were put in boats and drowned at sea.
Our venerable father Theoctistus of Palestine was the companion of our venerable father Euthymius the Great. They were persons of similar virtue and holiness, and they encouraged one another in their struggles. They went out to the desert for the Great Fast and discovered a cave where they planned to live in seclusion for the rest of their lives. The Lord had other plans, and they were discovered by a shepherd who spread the word of the ascetics living in a cave. Many monks from other monasteries came to visit them, and some stayed to be instructed by them. So many monks gathered that they built a lavra, and St. Theoctistus became the igumen there. The wise Theoctistus accepted all who came to him, confessing them and treating the infirmities of their wounded souls with appropriate spiritual remedies. When he had reached an advanced old age, St. Theoctistus became very ill. St. Euthymius (who was 90 years old himself) visited him and took care of him. St Theoctistus went to the Lord in 467.
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 Anthimus, pray to Christ our God to save our souls.
Your abundant tears made the wilderness bloom, and your sufferings made your labors fruitful a hundredfold; you became a shining torch over the world. O Theoctistus, our father, pray to Christ our God that He may save our souls.
You stood out among bishops and traveled the road to martyrdom. You became an opponent of pagan idol worship and the protector of your flock. O God-wise one. Therefore, we now honor you, crying out in spirit: Deliver us from dangers through your intercession. O ever-memorable Anthimus.
You joined the great Euthymius in the desert, and you became an angel on earth with your good works. O Father, you cleanse the hearts of the faithful by the power of wonderful signs. We venerate you with love for this, O Theoctistus.
2nd Corinthians 1:21 – 2:4
Brothers and sisters: God is one who firmly establishes us along with you in Christ; it is he who anointed us and has sealed us, thereby depositing the first payment, the Spirit, in our hearts. I call on God as my witness that it was out of consideration for you that I did not come to Corinth again. Domineering over your faith is not my purpose. I prefer to work with you toward your happiness. As regards faith, you are standing firm.
I did decide, however, not to visit you again in painful circumstances. For if I cause you pain, who can make me happy again but the ones I grieved? I wrote as I did so that when I come I may not be saddened by those who should rejoice my heart. I know you all well enough to be convinced that my happiness is yours. That is why I wrote you in great sorrow and anguish, with copious tears-not to make you sad but to help you realize the great love I bear you.
Matthew 22: 2-14
The Lord told this parable to the chief priests and the Pharisees: “The reign of God may be likened to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the wedding, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying: ‘Tell those who were invited, See, I have my dinner prepared! My bullocks and corn-fed cattle are killed; everything is ready. Come to the feast.’ Some ignored the invitation and went their way, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, insulted them, and killed them. This the king grew furious and sent his army to destroy those murderers and burn their city. Then he said to his servants: ‘The banquet is ready, but those who were invited were unfit to come. That is why you must go out into the by roads and invite to the wedding anyone you come upon.’ The servants then went out into the by roads and rounded up every one they met, bad as well as good. This filled the wedding hall with banqueters.
“When the king came in to meet the guests, however, he caught sight of a man not properly dressed for a wedding feast. ‘My friend,’ he said, ‘how is it you came in here and not properly dressed?’ The man had nothing to say. The king then said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the night to well and grind his teeth.’ The invited are many, the elect are few.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Saturday, September 2 –