Beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God and Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN! ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! ΑΛΗΘΩΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ!
FROM THE PSALTER
O Lord, rebuke me not in Thine anger, nor chasten me in Thy wrath. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak. Heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled, and my soul is troubled greatly; but Thou, O Lord, how long? Turn to me again, O Lord, deliver my soul; save me for Thy mercy's sake. For in death there is none that is mindful of Thee, and in Hades who will confess Thee? I toiled in my groaning; every night I will wash my bed, with tears will I water my couch. Through wrath is mine eye become troubled, I have grown old among all mine enemies. Depart from me, all ye that work vanity, for the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping. The Lord hath heard my supplication, the Lord hath received my prayer. Let all mine enemies be greatly put to shame and be troubled, let them be turned back, and speedily be greatly put to shame.
On May 19th Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors and entreats the holy intercessions of the following Saints, Forefathers, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Preachers, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Ascetics and Teachers of Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Saint Patrikios of Prussa and his Companions.
THE HIEROMARTYR PATRIKIOS, BISHOP OF PRUSSA, WITH THREE PRIESTS: Acacius, Menander and Polyenus. They suffered for the Christian faith in the time of Julian the Apostate in Asian Prussa. The imperial governor, Junius, brought Patrick to a hot water spring and asked him: 'Who created this healing water, if not our gods, Aesculapius and the others, whom we worship?' Saint Patrikios (Patrick) answered: 'Your gods are demons; and this water, like all other water, was created by Christ, our Lord and God.' Then the governor asked: 'And will this Christ of yours save you if I throw you into this boiling water?' The Saint replied: 'If He wills, to be parted from this temporal life, that I may live eternally with Christ; but let His Holy will be done, without which not a hair of a man's head can fall.' Hearing this, the governor ordered that Saint Patrikios be thrown into the water. The boiling drops fell on all sides, and scalded many of the onlookers, but the Saint remained untouched, as though he were standing in cold water. Seeing this, the governor was wild with shame and commanded that Saint Patrikios and three of his priests be beheaded with axes. So these godly followers of Christ said their prayers and laid their heads under the executioner's axe. When they had been beheaded, their souls were taken merrily to Christ's Kingdom of Light, to reign eternally.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints and Holy Martyrs, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: Acts 15:35-41
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. John 10:27-38
FOR YOUR PERSONAL REFLECTION AND CONTEMPLATION
"What a disease--gossip and judging others! Everyone knows that this is a sin; nevertheless, there is nothing more common in our words than judgment of others...the sentence of the Lord for this sin is stern and resolute; he who judges others will not be justified." [St. Theophan the Recluse]
FROM THE LIFE OF SAINT NIKON
by Denis F. Sullivan
[source: The Life of Saint Nikon: We continue with the miracles]
But pay attention. For the story about to be told briefly will be seen to be strange and miraculous and worthy of telling. There is a man who is still alive and makes his home in the oft mentioned metochion of the monastery. He once suffered a misfortune to his eyes--no ordinary misfortune--and a cataract. It resulted from a flow of severely stinging fluid. He had the sight of his eyes dimmed. And he was wretchedly maimed with respect to the lights of the body and totally deprived of the light which is most sweet to all. And he was a pitiful sight to see and worthy of lament, shown as another Bartimaion, son of Timaios, as the holy gospel says, suddenly blind, totally losing the power of sight. Since the height of the suffering was consuming him greatly and this was not curable by any human remedy, this man scorned all other curable by any human remedy, this man scorned all other remedies. He gave up all care from men, and knew that he must have resource to the common and unpaid healer. And then he placed himself within the holy oratory situated in the metochion and dedicated to the name of the Saint, before the holy and wonder-working icon of the blessed one. There he raised his hands and the eyes of his mind and said: "Release me from the darkness, you who are heir of the first and true light. Redeem me from the pressing misfortune, free me from the enveloping night. Let me look upon your revered icon; let me revel in the holy precinct. I will herald and narrate your miracles to all." Prokopios--for this was the man's name--cried thus out to the holy man with what one might call great gratitude and contrition of spirit. And no more than three days sufficed for his complete release from the evil. But once again one must pay attention. For the most pleasing part will now be told. The great one acceded to his request and quickly, seeing to the aid and hurrying the cure. In the garb of a monk, who even now lives in the monastery, with the same name as his [i.e. Nikon], he came to Prokopios in his sleep.
And he called him by name, seemingly asking why he was sitting in the shrine. When he told him the reason, that one seemed to roll him onto his back and with his right foot to tread on his chest And he placed his hands to his eyes and as it were drew out the form of a snake from his eyes and threw it away. Then Prokopios suddenly awoke. O Christ, Your splendid works! O God, how wondrous You are in Your holy men! Immediately he regained the much desired light and full sight and saw as clearly as all who have perfect vision. Filled with happiness and rejoicing at this wondrous miracle he gave glory to God and thanks to the holy man. He was clear tongued as well as clear sighted and a piercing herald to this day of the miracle which happened to him.
Who is Saint Nikon?
The illustrious man flourished at the time when Nikephoros Phokas wielded the sceptre of the Romans. This man's blood John Tzimiskes unjustly shed for reasons which cannot be mentioned, as the story concerning him reveals. The blessed one's parents were quite illustrious and notable, abounding in wealth, that of the world no less than of virtue. And they were not disappointed in their expectation for their son. For he alone beyond his others peers, while still of an early age and being counted among children, did not have the mind of a child. Nor did he devote himself to toys and sports and races and horses and the other things desirable and beloved by the young. But immediately, as it were from the starting line, he fought against all desire of the flesh. He was glad to spend his time in churches and holy places; he was always completely eager to look on the fairest of habits and to direct himself to a life dear to God and blessed. And in that immature and early age he displayed the wisdom of an old man. To speak briefly, it was clear from his very birth, as it is with noble plants, what sort of person he would turn out to be with respect to virtue. For just as he was leaving behind youth and seizing on young manhood, his intelligence was increasing with his virtue and he gave proof indeed of his sharp love for God. He was seen reckoning all the things of the body as of no consequence. He judged them unworthy of his eyes, as insignificant and worthy of nothing. He had great control over his stomach and eyes, knowing that "the blossom of youth is unstable because of these and precarious," and "many and severe are its misfortunes," and that "God is served by nothing so well as by mortification."
But when he was still inflamed by the fire thrown to earth by the Lord, and he more vehemently was kindling in himself the desire to leave the guile and vanity of life and seek only the path leading to salvation, his father sent him to oversee their properties. For they had considerable and varied properties. And that generous and heavenly soul stood near the fields and saw and learned of the great suffering and hardship of those living in them as dependent peasants and always devoting themselves to working the earth. He took pity on the life of these poor people as being toilsome and sad; he said with great lamentation, "What purposelessness, oh the deceit of life; truly in vain does each man vex himself, and truly blessed and thrice blessed are those who have left everything for the Lord, that they may attain the good things announced in the gospels. For what profit will it be for a man to enjoy the whole world, but lose his soul, to which the whole universe is not equivalent? All the splendor and the blossom dies, but the word of the Lord remains forever." [To be continued].
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God