The Venerable Martyr Eudocia Eudocia lived in the Phoenician city of Heliopolis during the reign of Trajan. Initially, Eudocia was a great debauchee, but afterward she was a penitent, an ascetic, and finally a martyr. Through her harlotry she amassed a huge fortune. The change in her life occurred inadvertently through God’s providence and a certain elder, the monk Germanus. Having come into the city on an obedience, Germanus was residing at the home of a Christian whose house was adjacent to that of Eudocia. In the evening, according to monastic practice, he began to recite the Psalter and a book on the Dread Judgment. Eudocia heard him and eavesdropped attentively to the end. Fear and terror overcame her, and she remained awake until dawn. At daybreak she sent her servant to beseech the monk to come to her. Germanus came, and a lengthy conversation took place between them about what the elderly monk had been reading the night before, and about faith and salvation in general. As a result of their conversation, Eudocia petitioned the local bishop to baptize her. Following her baptism, Eudocia bequeathed her entire estate to the Church, to be distributed among the poor. After dismissing her servants and slaves, she withdrew to a convent. Thus, Eudocia resolved to dedicate herself to the monastic life: obedience, patience, vigils, prayer and fasting. After thirteen months Eudocia was elected abbess. She lived in the convent for fifty-six years and was found worthy before God. He endowed her with such grace that she even raised the dead. When the persecution of Christians began under Prince Vincent, St. Eudocia was beheaded. Eudocia is a glorious example of how a vessel of impurity can be purified, sanctified and filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit, the precious fragrance of heaven.
The Venerable Agapius He was a novice under the spiritual father of Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos. Captured by pirates, Agapius was sold as a slave in Magnesia. After twelve years he was miraculously freed and returned to Vatopedi through the help of the All-holy Mother of God. He baptized his former master and became his spiritual father. Agapius spent the remainder of his life in asceticism in Vatopedi and reposed peacefully in the Lord.
The Holy Female Martyr Antonina Antonina was born in Nicaea. Because of her faith in Christ, she was arrested and brutally tortured. Finally she was sewn in a sack and drowned in a lake, in the year 302 A.D. God saved her soul and has glorified her forever among the angels in heaven and the faithful on earth.
Hymn Of Praise Saint Eudocia Once a woman filled with sin, And finally a meek penitent, Eudocia prayed to God, All the while kneeling, shedding tears. This enkindled the rage of Satan, And to the heavens he cried out: “O Michael, heavenly commander, You speak justice, but you do me injustice. You intend to empty my sheepfold completely, And to seize from me the last sheep. Why do you take this sinful woman? Her sins are greater than mine! For some minor disobedience I fell to hades and into eternal torments. Her sins are as the stagnant sea, Encompassing everything that comes near her.” Thus, malice rages against good; For every penitent it wishes evil. But Michael, the guardian of the penitent, With angels came to Eudocia And took her under his protection. By his breath he dispelled the demons. At that moment a song echoed from heaven: The mercy of God so willed That every penitent be embraced, That every penitent be forgiven. Repentance, and for all mankind salvation: That is both God’s mercy and will. God’s will overcomes the evil will of Satan.
Reflection Faithfulness and obedience to the will of God must adorn the life of every Christian. God glorifies the faithful and the obedient, as is seen in the life of St. Agapius. When Agapius was a young man, he was captured by pirates, taken to Asia, and sold to a certain Arab. For twelve years Agapius remained quietly and obediently a slave of this Arab. And for twelve years he prayed to the All- holy Mother of God to help him gain his freedom from bondage. One night the Virgin Mother of God appeared to him and told him to arise and go without fear to his elder. Agapius rose and went to his elder on the Holy Mountain. When the elder saw Agapius, he was saddened, thinking that Agapius had fled from his master. He said to him, “My child Agapius, you have deceived your master, but you can never deceive God. On the day of the Dread Judgment you will have to render an answer for that money with which your master purchased you to serve him. Therefore, you must return and faithfully serve your master.” Agapius, faithful and obedient to the will of God, returned immediately to Asia, reported to his master, and informed him about everything that had happened. Learning of all this, the Arab was amazed at the virtue of Christians, and he desired to see Agapius’s elder. Thus he took his two sons and went to the Holy Mountain. There he and his two sons were baptized, and all three of them were tonsured as monks. They remained there until their deaths, living in asceticism at first under the guidance of Agapius’s spiritual father, and later under Agapius himself. Thus, the previously cruel masters became the obedient disciples of their former slave, the faithful Agapius, who was himself submissive to the will of the God.
Contemplation Contemplate the Lord Jesus at the Mystical Supper:
- How He washed the feet of His disciples, and how by this act He especially taught them humility and love for one another;
- How Peter, one of the most faithful, was ashamed and forbade the Lord to wash his feet;
- How Judas, the unbeliever and traitor, was not ashamed and did not forbid the Lord to wash his feet;
- How, today also, the faithful receive countless blessings from God with embarrassment and shame, but the faithless receive the same without embarrassment or shame, and even murmur against God.
Homily on knowing and doing “If ye know these things, blessed are ye if ye do them” (John 13:17). The most important aspect of this saying of our Lord’s, dear brethren, is that the Lord does not bless the knowing, but the doing. He does not say to the apostles: “Blessed are ye when ye know this.” Some pagan teachers who viewed salvation only in terms of knowledge spoke in this manner. However, our Lord says: Blessed are ye if ye do them. The knowledge of salvation was given to us by the Lord Jesus Himself, and no one is able to attain that knowledge through his own efforts. Some of the ancient Greek philosophers said that mankind could neither come to the knowledge of the truth nor be saved until God Himself came to earth. The Lord came among men and revealed this knowledge to them. Whosoever receives this knowledge also accepts the obligation to fulfill it. Oh, how much easier will it be at the Judgment for those who never received this knowledge at all and consequently did not fulfill it, than for those who received this knowledge and neglected to fulfill it! Oh, how much easier it will be at the Judgment for unlearned pagans than for the learned Christians! The Lord Himself showed that he was not only a Knower but also as a Doer. His perfect knowledge corresponded to His perfect doing. Before the eyes of His disciples, He personally fulfilled all of His own commandments. He gave them this commandment after He had completed an act of humility and love. When He had washed the feet of His disciples. He then commanded that they should do the same to one another. The Lord did not dwell among men to soil them, but to wash them. He never soiled anyone, but cleansed all who wished to be cleansed. What a shame it is for many of us, who labor much to wash ourselves and labor twice as much to soil others? O my brethren, we muddy our own blood brothers. Even Christ weeps when He sees how we, with the mud of slander, soil those whom He has washed with His own blood. O Lord, forgive us! We sin every day against our own brothers. O Lord, make our brothers, whom we have soiled, brighter than us in Thy Kingdom. Thou art just and Thou seest all. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.