The Hieromartyr Theodotus, Bishop Of Cyrenia On The Island Of Cyprus Because of his wisdom and virtue, Theodotus was elected to the episcopacy and governed the Church of God with love and zeal. When the persecution of Christians began during the reign of the wicked Emperor Licinius, this godly man was brought to trial and put through many tortures. When the torturer Sabinus advised him to deny Christ and to bow down before pagan idols and worship them, Theodotus replied: “If you knew the goodness of my God, Who I hope will make me worthy of eternal life because of these temporary sufferings, you also would wish to suffer in the same manner as I.” The torturers began to strike his body with nails, and he prayed to God with gratitude. Thinking his end was near, Theodotus counseled and taught the Christians who were assembled around him. By the providence of God, the Emperor Constantine at that time proclaimed freedom to Christians and ordered that all who were sentenced for the sake of Christ be released. Thus, this saint was freed and returned to his former position in Cyrenia. As tortured as he had been, Theodotus lived for several more years. After that, he found repose in the Lord, Whom he had faithfully served and for Whom he had suffered. In the year 302 A.D. his earthly life ended, and he passed on to the mansions of our Lord.
The Holy Martyr Troadius He suffered for Christ as a young man. Gregory of Neocaesarea saw in a vision how bravely Troadius withstood his tortures for Christ until the time he was killed. He saw his soul, when it had separated from the body, joyfully hastening toward heaven. St. Troadius suffered and was glorified in the third century.
The 440 Martyrs Slain By The Lombards They were slain by the Lombards in Italy in about the year 579 A.D. St. Gregory Dialogist writes about them. In one place, forty of them were beheaded. At another place, four hundred of them were beheaded, all because they refused to eat of the sacrifices to the idols. Additionally, these four hundred refused to dance around a goat’s head which had been offered to the demons as a pagan sacrifice, as was the custom of the Lombards.
The Venerable Agathon Agathon was a great Egyptian ascetic of the fifth century. He was a contemporary of St. Macarius and a disciple of St. Lot [Egyptian Ascetic]. He took care to fulfill all the commandments of the Lord. One of the brethren complimented him on a small knife, which he used to cut brushwood used for making baskets. Upon hearing this compliment, the saint joyfully handed over the knife to that brother as a gift. St. Agathon also said: “I would be satisfied to assume the body of a leper and give him mine.” Is this not perfect love?*)
*)In the Greek Synaxarion, he is commemorated on January 8.
- The Martyr Euthalia This holy Euthalia was a virgin from Sicily. She had a mother of the same name and a brother named Sermilianus. All were unbaptized pagans. Her mother Euthalia suffered from an issue of blood. The holy martyrs Alphius, Philadelphus and Cyrinus (May 10) appeared to her in a dream and told her that she would be healed only if she was baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Euthalia professed her faith in Christ, was baptized and indeed recovered. Upon seeing this miracle, Euthalia’s daughter was also baptized. Afterward, Sermilianus began to mock and ridicule his mother and sister because of their faith in Christ. He threatened them, causing the mother to become frightened and flee her home. Then the brother began to persecute his sister. His sister was not frightened, for Christ was dearer to her than her brother. She said to Sermilianus: “I am a Christian and I am not afraid of death.” The wicked brother then sent a servant to defile her. When the servant attacked St. Euthalia, he lost his eyesight. The evil brother saw this miracle but still remained hardhearted. Just as Cain pursued Abel, Sermilianus pursued his sister, caught her and beheaded her. Thus, the holy virgin Euthalia was crowned with the wreath of eternal glory. By this example the words of the Lord Christ were fulfilled: that He came to bring a sword among men, which causes division among blood relations but not among the faithful(cf. Matthew 10:34-35).
Hymn Of Praise Saint Agathon Reticent Agathon studied for three years With a pebble under his tongue in order to remain silent, That by his tongue he would not serve sin, But only speak words of solace to men And glorify God Who created him. Once when the saint began to speak Of anger, he said: “The one over whom anger takes control Does not please God, either now or ever. We have the power to resurrect the dead, But from an angry one God accepts no sacrifices.” When death hung over Agathon, The brethren gathered to see him, frail. He whispered prayers with great fear; Sigh upon sigh poured forth from his breast. The brethren asked him: “Are you also afraid, O all-good father, as you stand before God? You were utterly good to everyone–this is known to all. Among the stones of men, you glistened like gold!” Then the elder said with a countenance more radiant: “My children, before the judgment of God, I now stand. The judgment of man is one thing, and the judgment of God is another.” –And a more powerful sigh seized the elder!
Reflection If someone loses his faith in God, he is recompensed with stupidity. Of all the forms of stupidity, it is difficult to say whether there is a greater one than this: that someone calls himself a Christian and then proceeds to gather pathetic proofs for God and eternal life from other beliefs and philosophies. He will he who does not find gold among the wealthy find it among the poor? The revelation of eternal life, the facts, the proofs, the signs and the actual visions of the spiritual world–all of these not only constitute the foundation of the Christian Faith but also constitute the walls, the floors, the ornaments, all the furnishings, the roof and the domes of the majestic building of the Christian Faith. A single ray from the spiritual world shines through every word of the Gospels, not to mention the miraculous events, both in evangelical and post-evangelical times, throughout the entire two-thousand-year history of the Church. Christianity has thrown open the gates of that world to such a great degree that it almost should not be called a religion, in order not to confuse it with other faiths and religions. It is Revelation! God’s Revelation!
Contemplate the Lord Jesus Christ at the Mystical Supper:
- How he told His disciples that one of them would betray Him;
- How after all that He had done for Judas and after washing his feet and indicating that He knew his intention to betray, Judas remained obstinate in his desire to sell his Teacher and his own soul for silver;
- How our Lord was saddened at Judas’s destruction and downfall, as He is with the destruction and downfall of those who betray Him and His Church throughout all the ages till the end, all of which He foresees with His All-seeing Spirit.
Homily on the Father and the Son “And he that seeth Me seeth Him that sent Me” (John 12:45). He who sees the light also sees the sun beyond it. For could anyone see the sun and not the light? If the sun did not emit its light, none of us would know about the sun. All of our knowledge about the sun we have received with the help of the rays of light that have come from the sun. No one has ever seen the sun with the help of some other light, other than that which comes from the sun itself. So it is with our knowing the Father with the help of the Son. He who does not know the Son cannot know the Father. He who knows the Son, knows the Father. He who sees the Son, sees also the Father. God cannot be known without His Light, Who came among men. The Light of the Father is the Son. I am the Light (John 8: 2), said Christ. And the Light shineth in darkness (John 1:5). The physical world would be in complete darkness if it were not for the light from the sun. The spiritual and moral world and all the life of mankind would be in darkness if it were not for the Light that is from the Father. That Light is Christ the Lord. Truly, brethren, there is no true light which illuminates the Being of God as does the Light of Christ the Lord. He who sees Him sees God. He who does not see Him is in darkness. O Lord, Son of God, always help our souls to see Thee, and through Thee, Thy Heavenly Father and the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, the Trinity, one in Essence and undivided. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.