16th Week after Pentecost.
Martyrs Mamas of Caesarea in Cappadocia, and his parents, Theodotus and Rufina (3rd c.) St. John the Faster, patriarch of Constantinople (595). Sts. Anthony (1073) and Theodosius (1074), of the Kiev Caves.
3,628 Martyrs at Nicomedia (303-305). Synaxis of the Saints of Saratov.
New Hieromartyrs Barsanuphius (Lebedev), bishop of Kyrillov, and priest John Ivanov, and Martyrs Seraphima (Sulimova), abbess of the Therapontov Convent, and Anatole, Nicholas, Michael, and Philip, all at the St. Cyril of White Lake Monastery (1918). New Hieromartyr Damascene (Tsedrik), bishop of Starodub (1937). New Hieromartyrs Herman (Ryashentsev), bishop of Vyaznikov, and the priest Stephen Yaroshevich (1937).
“Kaluga” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (1748).
Righteous Eleazar, son of Righteous Aaron, and Righteous Phineas (ca. 1400 b.c.). St. Hieu, abbess of Tadcaster (England) (ca. 657).
Repose of Archbishop Vladimir of Kazan (1897).
Thoughts for Each Day of the Year
According to the Daily Church Readings from the Word of God
By St. Theophan the Recluse
Tuesday. [Gal. 5:11-21; Mark 7:5-16]
There is nothing from without a man,
that entering into him can defile him: but the things
which come out of him, those are they that defile the
man. This and similar passages, for example: But
meat commendeth us not to God (1 Cor. 8:8) are usually
cited by those who do not like to fast, supposing that
they thereby sufficiently justify their not fasting
according to the rule and custom of the Church. The
validity of this excuse is known to everyone faithful to
the Church. The fast decrees that we abstain from some
foods not because they are defiled, but because we can
more conveniently refine our flesh by this
abstinence—something crucial for inner progress.
This meaning of the law of fasting is so essential that
those who consider some foods to be defiled are numbered
among the heretics. Those who do not like to fast would do
better not dwell on this point, but on the point that
fasting is not obligatory, although it definitely is a
means for overcoming sinful urges and the strivings of the
flesh. But they can in no way stand their ground on this
point, either. If inner progress is obligatory, then the
means by which it is obtained is also obligatory, namely,
fasting. Each person’s conscience says this to him.
In order to soothe their conscience, they assert: I will
compensate for my omission of fasting in another way; or,
fasting is harmful for me; or, I will fast when I want to,
and not during the established fasts. However, the first
excuse is inappropriate because nobody has yet managed
without fasting to cope with his flesh, or order his inner
life properly. The last excuse is also inappropriate,
because the Church is one body, and to separate oneself
from others in it means opposing its construction. One can
remove oneself from the general customs of the Church only
by leaving it; but while someone is a member of it, he
cannot say this and demand that. The second excuse has a
shadow of a right. Indeed, among the limitations of
fasting the obligation is lifted from those for whom
fasting acts destructively, because the fast was
established not to kill the body, but to mortify the
passions. But if one should conscientiously count the true
number of such people it would be seen that they are so
few that they do not even count. Only one real reason
remains—lack of desire. There is no point in
debating with this. You will neither be brought to heaven
against your will; only when you are condemned to hell you
will go whether you want to or not—they will grab
you and fling you there.
Monday. [Gal. 4:28-5:10; Mark 6:54-7:8]
The Lord rebukes the Pharisees not for
their external routines and rules of conduct, but for
partiality toward them—for limiting themselves to
external worship of God, with no concern for what was in
the heart. It is impossible to be without externals. The
highest internal things require the external as their
expression and garment. In reality, internal things are
never alone, but are always united with the outer; only in
false theories are they separated. But again it is obvious
that externals alone are nothing; their worth comes from
the presence of the internal things contained in them.
Thus, once the internal ceases to be, the external might
as well not be there. Meanwhile, we have a weakness for
outward appearances in which the internal is depicted and
takes definite form, to such an extent that we are
satisfied with fulfilling them alone, without even
thinking that there might be internal things. And since
the internal is harder to attain than the external, it is
quite natural to get stuck on the latter, not striving for
the former. What can we do? We must govern ourselves and
keep the internal things in mind, always pushing ourselves
toward them through the externals, only considering a work
to be real when the internal and external are united in
it. There is no other way. Attentiveness toward oneself,
soberness, and vigilance are the only levers for raising
up our nature which is fat and has a penchant for lowly
things. Notice that those who possess the internal never
abandon the external, though they consider it to be of no