The Holy Apostles Herodian, Agabus, Rufus, Asyncritus, Phlegon And Hermes They were all numbered among the Seventy [Lesser] Apostles. All were mentioned by the Apostle Paul in his Epistles. Herodian was a kinsman of Paul. SaluteHerodian my kinsman (Romans 16:11), writes St. Paul to the Romans. As the Bishop of Neoparthia, Herodian suffered much at the hands of the Jews. They beat him over the head with rods; they struck him on the mouth with stones and stabbed him with knives. After they left him for dead, St. Herodian arose and continued to serve the apostles. He assisted the Apostle Peter in Rome and was beheaded, along with many other Christians, on the same day that St. Peter was crucified. St. Agabus possessed a prophetic spirit. Two of his prophecies are recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. First, he prophesied a great famine throughout the world, which came true during the reign of Caesar Claudius: And one of them named Agabus stood up and predicted by the Spirit that there would be a severe famine all over the world and it happened under Claudius (Acts 11:28). Second, when he met the Apostle Paul in Caesarea (who was enroute to Jerusalem), Agabus took Paul’s belt and bound his own hands and feet, saying: Thus saith the Holy Spirit, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles (Acts 21:11). St. Rufus was Bishop of Thebes in Greece. St. Paul also mentions him. Salute Rufus, chosen in the Lord (Romans 16:13). St. Asyncritus was Bishop of Hyrcania in Asia and is mentioned along with the others in Romans 16:14. St. Phlegon, who is mentioned in the same place, ws a bishop in the Thracian city of Marathon: Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas and Hermes and the brethren which are with them (Romans 16:14). St. Hermas, mentioned with the others, was a bishop in Dalmatia. All of them, like Christ’s bees, spread the honey of the Gospel throughout the various regions, suffering much for the love of Christ. All were translated into the Eternal Kingdom of Christ the Beloved.
Saint Niphon, Bishop Of Novgorod Niphon was distinguished by his great zeal in constructing and restoring the churches of God and by showing great courage in opposing the tyrannical princes. Thirteen days before Niphon’s death, St. Theodosius appeared to him and announced his imminent passing over to the other world. He reposed in the year 1156 A.D.
Saint Celestine, Pope Of Rome Celestine was a great champion of the Orthodox Faith. At the time of the Third Ecumenical Council [Ephesus, 431 A.D.], Celestine wrote an epistle against the heretic Nestorius. He reposed peacefully in the year 432 A.D.
Hymn Of Praise The Holy Apostles The holy apostles of God Ran the race and reached the goal. They despised the vanity of the world; they strove toward God. They sacrificed the worldly and acquired the eternal. Love for Christ, stronger than all other powers, Shone from them through the darkness of paganism. The race is over, the battle won, The army of heroes is brought to Christ. Many are the wreaths of victory in Christ: If you desire, you too can be crowned. Holy apostles, pray to God, That He deprive us not of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Reflection There is heroism above heroism and asceticism above asceticism. St. Epiphanius of Cyprus invited Hilarion the Great to dinner and, in order to show the greatest hospitality to his distinguished guest, set roasted chicken on the table and offered it to him. Hilarion said to him: “Forgive me, but ever since I was tonsured a monk, I have eaten nothing butchered.” To this Epiphanius replied: “And I, ever since I was tonsured a monk, have never lay down in bed until I first forgave my enemy.” Amazed, Hilarion said: “Your virtue is greater than mine, O holy master!” This is a great lesson for all of us. Fasting is an admirable thing, but it is more admirable to forgive insults. Through fasting a man is preparing for charity, but by forgiving insults a man shows charity. Fasting precedes forgiveness, but fasting alone does not save without forgiveness.
Contemplation Contemplate the resurrected Lord Jesus:
- In an earthly body before the Resurrection, in a body susceptible to hunger, pain and death;
- In a heavenly body after the Resurrection, in a body not susceptible to hunger, pain and death.
Homily on the resurrection of the dead “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?’” (1 Corinthians 15:35). The Apostle Paul knows in advance the objections that the unbelievers will make concerning the resurrection from the dead, and he rejects them in advance. Even today, the non-believers–who have not seen with physical eyes the miracle of the resurrection in nature, much less the spiritual resurrection–ask: “How will the dead be raised?” Thou fool! continues the apostle, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die (1 Corinthians 15:36). Unless the seed dies in the ground, the plant will not grow; in other words, something totally different from the seed will sprout up. The unbelievers see through their eyes yet do not see, but ask: “How will a dead man resurrect?” How? In the same way that Christ resurrected. He went down lifeless into the tomb, and rose alive. Even nature manifests resurrection from the dead; but more strongly than nature, it is manifested by the resurrected Lord. In order to make it easier for us to believe and to hope–to believe in the resurrection in general and to have hope in our own resurrection–He Himself resurrected from the grave and, prior to that, resurrected Lazarus the four-days-dead, the son of the widow of Nain, and the daughter of Jarius. The unbelievers ask: “With what kind of body will the dead rise?” In whatever kind of body God wills. With God there are many kinds of bodies. The Apostle Paul divides all bodies into two groups: earthly bodies and heavenly bodies. Therefore, they who have died in earthly bodies will be clothed with heavenly bodies: the incorruptible will replace the corruptible; the immortal will replace the mortal; the beautiful will replace the ugly. In the heavenly body, man will also recognize himself and others around him, just as man recognizes himself both when he is clothed in beggar’s rags and when he is clothed in royal purple. Lord, Most-rich, do not give us over to eternal corruption but clothe us as royal sons in the garment of immortality. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.