Holy Apostle and Evangelist Mark (63).
St. Sylvester, abbot, of Obnora Monastery (1379). St. Basil, elder, of Poiana Marului (1767).
New Hieromartyr Sergius Rokhletsov, archpriest, of Veliki Ustiug (1938).
St. Annianus, second bishop of Alexandria (86). Hieromartyr Stephen, patriarch of Antioch (479). St. Rusticus, archbishop of Lyon (501). St. Macedonius, patriarch of Constantinople (516). St. Bassian the Blind, hieroschemamonk of the Kiev Caves (1827).
Repose of Elder Philotheus (Zervakos) of Paros (1980).
Saturday. [Acts 3:11–16; John 3:22–33]
We have two lives, fleshly and
spiritual. Our spirit is as though buried in our flesh.
Once it begins to extract itself—coming to life by
God’s grace—from its intertwining with the
flesh and to appear in its spiritual purity, then it will
be resurrected, or it will resurrect itself piece by
piece. When it wholly tears itself out of this binding,
then it comes forth as if from a tomb, in a renewed life.
In this manner the spirit becomes separate, alive and
active; whereas the tomb of the flesh is separate, dead
and inactive, though both are in the same person. This is
the mystery of what the apostle says: where the Spirit
of the Lord is, there is liberty (II Cor. 3:17). This
is liberty from decay, which surrounds our incorruptible
spirit; or from passions, corrupting our nature. This
spirit, entering into the freedom of the children of God
is like a beautifully coloured butterfly, fluttering away
from its cocoon. Behold its rainbow colouring: love, joy,
peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
meekness, temperance (Gal. 5:22). Is it possible for such
a beauty of perfection not to arouse in us a desire to
Wednesday. [Gal. 3:15-22; Mark 6:7-13]
When the Lord sent the holy apostles to
preach, He commanded that they not take anything with them
but the clothes on their backs, sandals on their feet, and
staff in hand. They were to have no cares about anything,
entering in to this work as if everything were fully
provided. Indeed, the apostles were completely provided
for, without any external provisions. How was this
arranged? Through their complete devotion to the will of
God; that is why the Lord arranged for them not to have
any need for anything. Their preaching moved the hearts of
listeners, who fed and sheltered the preachers. But the
apostles did not think of this and did not expect
anything, committing all to the Lord. That is why they
bore any unpleasantness they might have encountered
patiently. Their only care was to preach, and their only
sorrow was if people would not listen to their preaching.
From this came the purity, independence and great
fruitfulness of their preaching. The same is needed today
as well, but our infirmity demands external provision,
without which we will not take a step. This, however, is
not a reproach against our apostles of today. In the
beginning they definitely find comfort in being provided
for, but then the thought of it disappears from their
mind, and through their very labour they are raised up to
the state of committing themselves to God. Very likely
from that moment their preaching begins to be truly
fruitful. Committing oneself to God is a very high degree
of moral perfection, and people do not reach it
immediately the moment they understand its value. It comes
on its own after labors over oneself.