Ezekiel the Prophet
The Prophet Ezekiel (“God is strong”) was the son of Buzi and a priest by rank. He was taken captive and brought to Babylon during the reign of Jechonias. In the fifth year of this captivity, about 594 or 593 B.C., he began to prophesy. Having prophesied for about twenty-eight years, he was murdered, it is said, by the tribe of Gad, because he reproached them for their idolatry. His book of prophecy, divided into forty-eight chapters, is ranked third among the greater Prophets. It is richly filled with mystical imagery and marvellous prophetic visions and allegories, of which the dread Chariot of Cherubim described in the first Chapter is the most famous; in the “gate that was shut,” through which the Lord alone entered, he darkly foretold of the Word’s Incarnation from the Virgin (44:1-3); through the “dry bones” that came to life again (37:1-14), he prophesied both of the restoration of captive Israel, and the general resurrection of our race.
Apolytikion of Prophet Ezekiel in the Second Tone
As we celebrate the memory of Thy Prophet Ezekiel, O Lord, through him we beseech Thee to save our souls.
Kontakion of Prophet Ezekiel in the Fourth Tone
O divine Ezekiel, as God’s true Prophet, thou foretoldest unto all the Incarnation of the Lord, the Lamb of God, the Artificer, the Son of God, the Eternal made manifest.
Phocas the Holy Martyr, Bishop of Sinope
This saint was known for the many miracles he worked and for his apostolic zeal in shepherding the flock of Sinope. He contested for the Faith during the reign of the Emperor Trajan, in the year 102, when he was burned to death in a bath-house. A homily in his honour was composed by Saint John Chrysostom. The translation of his holy relics is celebrated on July 23.
Apolytikion of Hieromartyr Phocas in the Fourth Tone
As a sharer of the ways and a successor to the throne of the Apostles, O inspired of God, thou foundest discipline to be a means of ascent to divine vision. Wherefore, having rightly divided the word of truth, thou didst also contest for the Faith even unto blood, O Hieromartyr Phocas. Intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.
Kontakion of Hieromartyr Phocas in the Second Tone
The Master hath established thee as a divinely-radiant, luminous, and spiritual sun shining upon the multitude of the church’s faithful, O glorious Martyr Phocas; for He hath accepted thy life, faith, and contests as fragrant myrrh, since He alone is abundant in mercy.
The Icons of the Most Holy Theotokos of Pochaev
The Icon of the Mother of God of Pochaev – Metropolitan Neophytus, a bishop belonging to the see of Constantinople, was travelling through Volhynia in Ukraine where he was given hospitality by a pious woman, Anna Goyskaya. The bishop gave this woman an icon of the holy Theotokos, which began to work miracles, including the healing of her blind brother. In 1597 the icon was given to the monks residing in Pochaev near the border of Galicia, where the Mother of God had appeared in 1340, leaving an imprint of her footprint in the rock, from which a stream gushed forth. In 1675 when the Lavra of Pochaev was besieged by the Moslem Turks, it was saved by the miraculous intervention of the Mother of God through her wonderworking icon. Even though the Lavra of Pochaev came into Uniate hands for over a century, miracles continued to be worked through the holy icon. Since its return to the Orthodox Catholic Church in 1831, the icon has been a grace-bestowing support for Orthodox Christians, especially those in western Ukraine and the Carpathian region.
Apolytikion of Icons of the Holy Theotokos of Pochaev in the Plagal of the First Tone
They that pray before thy holy icon, O sovereign Lady, are made worthy of healing, receive the gift of understanding of the true Faith, and repel the attacks of the Hagarenes; likewise for us who fall down before thee, do thou ask for forgiveness of our sins. Enlighten our hearts with devout purpose and raise thy prayer to thy Son for the salvation of our souls.
Kontakion of Icons of the Holy Theotokos of Pochaev in the First Tone
Thine icon of Pochaev, O Theotokos, hath been shown to be a source of healing and a confirmation of the Orthodox Faith. Therefore deliver us who flee to it from danger and temptation; preserve thy Lavra unharmed; strengthen Orthodoxy in the neighbouring lands; and loose thy suppliants from sins; for thou canst do whatsoever thou dost will.
Icon of the Mother of God
The Icon of the Mother of God “Joy of All That Sorrow” – As with so many other icons of the Theotokos, wonder-working copies of this icon have been found throughout Orthodox Russia, each with its own history and moving collection of miracles. In this icon, the most holy Mother of God is depicted standing full stature sometimes with, sometimes without the Divine Child in her arms; she is surrounded by all manner of the sick and the suffering, to whom Angels of the Lord bear gifts of mercy, consolation, and suitable aid from the most holy Theotokos. The icon “Joy of all that Sorrow” was inspired by the hymn of the same name; see page 222 in Great Compline. Through one copy of this icon, the sister of Patriarch Joachim was healed at the end of the seventeenth century in Moscow, from which time the feast was established. Another copy of the icon was found in Saint Petersburg; on July 23, 1888, during the severe thunderstorm, lightning struck a chapel at a glass factory, burning the interior walls of the church, but leaving the icon unsigned. From the violent disturbance of the air, the icon was knocked to the floor, the poor-box broke open, and twelve copper coins adhered to the icon in various places; afterwards many miracles were worked by the grace of the holy icon.
Apolytikion of Icon of the Mother of God in the Fourth Tone
To God’s Birth-giver let us run now most earnestly, we sinners all and wretched ones, and fall prostrate in repentance, calling from the depths of our souls: Lady, come unto our aid, have compassion upon us; hasten thou, for we are lost in a throng of transgressions; turn not thy servants away with empty hands, for thee alone do we have as our only hope.
Kontakion of Icon of the Mother of God in the Plagal of the Second Tone
We have no other help, we have no other hope, but thee, O sovereign Lady; do thou help us. In thee do we hope, and of thee do we boast, for we are thy servants. Let us not be put to shame.
Also today we celebrate:
- Pelagia the Righteous of Tinos
- Trophimos & Theophilios and the 13 others martyred in Lycia
- St. Anna of Levkadio